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View Full Version : OT - Batteries Stuck in Mag-Lite Flash Light



BigBoy1
12-31-2016, 09:57 AM
When I test my Mag-Lite Flash Light, the light was dim so I started to replace the batteries. The flash light is one which holds 6 C-cell batteries. The first two batteries slid out nicely but the remaining ones are stuck. I'm sure they are corroded to the Aluminum shell of the light.

Anyone have suggestions on how to loose/remove the batteries still stuck in the flashlight? They are firmly stuck in place and repeated slamming on the workbench didn't loosen the stuck batteries. I've tried sliding a thin piece of metal between the stuck battery and the tube wall but it didn't work either. Could the base of the battery be drilled and a screw extractor be used to try to break free the stuck battery? Would WD-40 be of any use in this situation? Any other ideas or suggestions? Thanks.

1-800miner
12-31-2016, 10:13 AM
I had to bin two of them for the same reason.
When they put the notice out to change your smoke alarm batteries, do your flashlights as well.
Then keep them high and dry.
Pop the rubber off the switch there is an allen screw under it. back it off and it frees up the inner part, if it isn't corroded tight as well.
Then you may be able to push everything out.

Fasttrack
12-31-2016, 10:17 AM
I had the same thing happen to a pair of nice aluminum knock-offs I bought from Menards. I couldn't get them out. I even tried some "excessive force" that damaged the aluminum housing but couldn't get the batteries to budge. If you figure out how to get them out, I'll certainly be interested to know! Now I always remove the batteries if I'm going to store the flashlight for any length of time.

1-800miner
12-31-2016, 10:23 AM
maybe fill them with baking soda water?
nothing to lose if it doesn't work.

Ohio Mike
12-31-2016, 10:24 AM
Batteries are alkaline use an acid such as vinegar.

wygant
12-31-2016, 11:01 AM
Baking soda and water...I've used it on old cameras with AA batteries that were corroded in place, car batteries to clean the tops off. Let it work for a day or so, you'll see the bubbles as it works.

J Tiers
12-31-2016, 11:06 AM
Phosphoric acid cleans battery juice crusty stuff off in seconds. And aluminum is reasonably resistant to many acids.

Remove as much of the switches etc as possible, then drip diluted phosphoric, vinegar, or whatever in. Should work pretty fast. Never tried vinegar, phosphoric is quick, and did not damage the simpler flashlights I have cleaned that way.

lakeside53
12-31-2016, 11:36 AM
Forget all the chemicals... just try hot water for a hour or two. "Close to boil" the flashlight if you like. The stuck batteries will free up. Then you can deal with any residual mess, if any.

polaraligned
12-31-2016, 11:40 AM
When I restuff old electrolytic capacitor cans for my vintage electronics restorations, I thread a heavy screw, or even a small lag bolt into the "guts" and use that to pull them out. Same method will probably work for the batteries, or at least help you out.

I find that the batteries in the last 5 to 10 years all start leaking, some heavily, before they die. This seems to be a constant problem of late at my house on thermostats, flashlights, etc.

Joel
12-31-2016, 12:28 PM
Like Mike said, alkaline battery leakage is base, so use vinegar. I just soak/fill them up with cheap vinegar (with a couple of drops of dish soap to break any surface tension) overnight and most of the time, that is enough. Bang them around periodically to get the vinegar down in there better, and tap/slam the open end against a block of wood on the ground to see if they have loosened.
I also do what polar does to extract - drill a 3" or longer drywall screw into it and pull with needle nose vise grips (since you are 2 batteries down).
Hmm, I tried water years ago with poor results, but I don't think it was particularly hot. Next time. I will try as Lakeside suggests. Hot vinegar would surely be even faster.

flylo
12-31-2016, 12:31 PM
Don't both ends come off? Just drive them out.

Arcane
12-31-2016, 12:45 PM
Batteries are alkaline use an acid such as vinegar.

Are all C-cell batteries alkaline batteries? BigBoy1 never stated what his were.

Axkiker
12-31-2016, 12:56 PM
slide hammer

danlb
12-31-2016, 01:07 PM
As Arcane pointed out, the first step is always to figure out what the batteries are first.

If they are LI-Ion, do NOT drive any metal object into it.

If they are alkaline, the leakage has probably eaten into the anodizing inside the flashlight body, making the surface rough and causing a mechanical grip if the battery swelled (as they tend to do). Use a light acid like vinegar to clean out the leakage.

If they are older carbon-zinc then the leakage is acid, which does not hurt the anodizing much. Use baking soda to clean out the leakage.

No matter what chemical you use to clean it, do NOT seal it with the tailcap while the chemicals are in it. That can create a very good seal and the chemicals can spray vigorously when you loosen the cap.

I've a hundred or so flashlights and have lost a dozen or so to extensive battery damage. Unless you are a collector or are broke, it's better to toss it and buy a new $10 knock-off from china that is 30 times brighter, will run many times much longer and fits comfortably in one hand. Not much use as a club.

Dan

RetiredFAE
12-31-2016, 01:10 PM
I have used Vinegar, Phosphoric Acid, and CLR (Calcium,Lime, Rust remover) all with good results to get Alkaline batteries that leaked out of friends and family members Mag Lights. Remove the switch , lamp head, etc. first though.

I prevent this in my own flashlights by taking a piece of wax paper, rolling it into a tube so that it just fits around the inside diameter of the flashlight tube, then sliding the batteries down inside the wax paper tube. Should I forget to check the batteries periodically, if they do leak, the wax paper stops the corrosion from bonding with the aluminum tube, and they slide out pretty easily unless grossly swollen, but even then they are still easier to remove than they would be if the corrosion was in direct contact with the aluminum tube.

flylo
12-31-2016, 01:20 PM
I would use dish soap in water & drive them out with a small ball peen hammer Handle, the wood part.

smalltime
12-31-2016, 01:58 PM
I had the same problem with a 3D cell model.

Banged, and drove, and pounded......................no joy.

Went down to Ace hardware and got a new 3D led badboy, never looked back.

What a great product. I'm sure you could see this thing from a mile away.

andywander
12-31-2016, 02:06 PM
The full sized Mag Lites allow removal of the switch and bulb-holder stuff. IIRC, you need to pop out the rubber cover over the switch, and then there is a tiny allen set screw down through the hole in the center of the switch button.

Once that stuff is out of the way, I'd just use an arbor press or hydraulic press to push out the batteries. Leaky batteries really do a number on the aluminum tubes, so they will be stuck pretty good.

1-800miner
12-31-2016, 02:07 PM
Chuck it up in the lathe with a boring bar. After all you are a home shop machinist.
Take lots of pictures and sell it as a magazine article to George.

H380
12-31-2016, 02:44 PM
Look for Fujitsu "Made in Japan" batteries. They cost more and are kind of hard to find. You need to look online. But they have a 10 year shelf life. My Korean guys turned me onto them. I have yet have one leak.

BigBoy1
12-31-2016, 03:16 PM
The full sized Mag Lites allow removal of the switch and bulb-holder stuff. IIRC, you need to pop out the rubber cover over the switch, and then there is a tiny allen set screw down through the hole in the center of the switch button.

Once that stuff is out of the way, I'd just use an arbor press or hydraulic press to push out the batteries. Leaky batteries really do a number on the aluminum tubes, so they will be stuck pretty good.

Yes, the batteries in the flash light were alkaline.

I was unaware of the allen set screw under the rubber switch. I'll remove it to see if the stuff blocking the front end of the tube can be taken out. If I have a clear shot, then I'll drive the batteries out. Thanks.

6PTsocket
12-31-2016, 03:17 PM
Batteries are alkaline use an acid such as vinegar.
That sounds like a good idea. I have used vinegar to clean up the mess from leaking batteries for a long time. Vinegar on a Q tip takes that blue gunk right off. I would combine two suggestions. Pour in and vinegar soak a bit then run a drill a hole and screw in a lag or big wood screw. Grab screw with vice grip hammer on end of jaw. If you have a real slide hammer, better yet.

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BigBoy1
12-31-2016, 03:22 PM
That sounds like a good idea. I have used vinegar to clean up the mess from leaking batteries for a long time. Vinegar on a Q tip takes that blue gunk right off. I would combine two suggestions. Pour in and vinegar soak a bit then run a drill a hole and screw in a lag or big wood screw. Grab screw with vice grip hammer on end of jaw. If you have a real slide hammer, better yet.

Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk

The stuck battery is about 6" from the rear so getting a vice grip into the flash light tube will be rather difficult. I was thinking of the easy-out for screws because the more you turn the screw extractor, the more it digs into the battery body.

6PTsocket
12-31-2016, 03:25 PM
Baking soda and water...I've used it on old cameras with AA batteries that were corroded in place, car batteries to clean the tops off. Let it work for a day or so, you'll see the bubbles as it works.
Car batteries are acid so alkaline baking soda works to neutralize it. Alkaline batteries are as the name says, alkaline. You need a mild acid like 5% acetic, aka vinegar to neutralize it. Try it on your AA's next time. You will be surprised how fast it works. Use a Q tip. Blue gunk gone.

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6PTsocket
12-31-2016, 03:34 PM
Phosphoric acid cleans battery juice crusty stuff off in seconds. And aluminum is reasonably resistant to many acids.

Remove as much of the switches etc as possible, then drip diluted phosphoric, vinegar, or whatever in. Should work pretty fast. Never tried vinegar, phosphoric is quick, and did not damage the simpler flashlights I have cleaned that way.
I wouldn't know the concentration or how much to dilute it. Plain old distilled white vinegar is 5% acetic,out of the bottle and dirt cheap. I have no doubt phosphoric works well, too. I just grab a couple of Qtips from the bathroom, vinegar from the kitchen cabinet, lay out some paper towel and clean up the battery holders. All done.

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6PTsocket
12-31-2016, 03:50 PM
The stuck battery is about 6" from the rear so getting a vice grip into the flash light tube will be rather difficult. I was thinking of the easy-out for screws because the more you turn the screw extractor, the more it digs into the battery body.
I was not suggesting putting the vice grips into the flasklight. Lag screws come in very long lengths and so do drills. Only the screw has to reach the battery. You can probably get the screw started with any long pointed thing that will punch a hole in the battery

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john b
12-31-2016, 04:28 PM
Call the battery manufacture. They will replace or repair. I have done this three times. Twice all i had to do was give them the model number and they sent a check within five days to cover the cost of the flashlight. On the third one it was an expensive flashlight, i got a check within 10 days. Easy peasy John b

Alistair Hosie
12-31-2016, 04:58 PM
Unless we are talking about a very valuable torch is it not maybe time to admit that you have either been careless or unlucky and just bite whatever comes to hand not a battery,LOL and chuck it deep down into the DUSTY BIN , GARBAGY ,or Trashey can and spend ninety nine hard earned and valuable cents and buy a nice shiny new one. Alistair ps it is Christmas time after all. LOL you could get it in green too for not a dime more

Mike Burdick
12-31-2016, 05:06 PM
I'm sure you did the obvious but just in case...

https://www.google.com/#q=removing+stuck+batteries+from+a+maglite

The problem I have had was that the old batteries had swelled and that made it impossible to get them out. This is when I learned not to buy expensive flashlights anymore! :D


(https://www.google.com/#q=removing+stuck+batteries+from+a+maglite&start=10)

flylo
12-31-2016, 05:12 PM
Sung to the melody of M. Jacksons "Beat It"

They told him don't you ever come around here
Don't want to see your face, you better disappear
The fire's in their eyes and their words are really clear
So bin it, just bin it
You better run, you better do what you can
Don't want to see no blood, don't be a macho man
You want to be tough, better do what you can
So bin it, but you want to be bad
Just bin it, bin it, bin it, bin it
No one wants to be defeated
Showin' how funky and strong is your fight
It doesn't matter who's wrong or right
Just binit, bin it
Just bin it, bin it
Just bin it, bin it
Just bin it, bin it
They're out to get you, better leave while you can
Don't want to be a boy, you want to be a man
You want to stay alive, better do what you can
So bin it, just bin it

JoeLee
12-31-2016, 05:24 PM
The damage is done. When the batteries leak, swell and corrode the ID of the tube your pretty much done. I've had it happen a few times in the past.
If they are Duracell batteries, call them and tell them your flashlight is ruined. I did and the sent me gift coupon for new batteries and a new flashlight.
Save the old batteries because they will want the exp. date and some other numbers off of them.

Happy New Year everyone .........

JL............

J Tiers
12-31-2016, 05:43 PM
So far, every item I have cleaned that did NOT have a circuit board has been fine when cleaned. Don't understand the issue of "if it leaks, you are pretty much done". I figured we were the folks who fix stuff, not gormless members of the throw-away society.

Bin it if you simply must join the Tiffie club........ But there is no harm in taking a look first to see if the thing is really dead. I have never yet seen a couple pits on the inside ruin a Maglite.

When the stuff eats the copper off the circuit board, then you have to evaluate the need for repair a bit more critically. I'd have to really need the thing for that to be worth the effort in general. Unless it's just a couple spots.

Magicniner
12-31-2016, 06:14 PM
I'd remove all the components possible then boil it for an hour or so in the salmon poaching pan to see if the batteries would loosen enough to remove.

flylo
12-31-2016, 06:20 PM
The battery will come out & I'm sure with a good cleaning it will be fine.

BigMike782
12-31-2016, 06:36 PM
Do bang the tail end too much or you will distort it.....AMHIK.

michigan doug
12-31-2016, 08:40 PM
And by all means, let us know how you resolve it...one way or the other.

You can get a kit and convert it to LED, brighter, and 5-10 times the battery life. Oh wait...that's what got you in trouble to start.

And yes, if it's a name brand battery, they will replace your flashlight or give you some money for your trouble.

6PTsocket
01-01-2017, 12:40 AM
There is a tendancy of alkalines to leak and some are worse than others. Practically every one in the last pack of Kirkland (Costco) leaked. I have heard that they are Duracell and have heard they leak a lot, too. In fact that is what Costco is selling now, no more house brand. I just got some HF. Fingers crossed. Who has had more than normal failures from a particular brand? You can get made in USA Panasonic AA and AAA in Dollar Tree. They come in 4 pack that is marked buy 3 get 1 free. That is only 25 cents each. Winners and losers?

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6PTsocket
01-01-2017, 12:56 AM
The damage is done. When the batteries leak, swell and corrode the ID of the tube your pretty much done. I've had it happen a few times in the past.
If they are Duracell batteries, call them and tell them your flashlight is ruined. I did and the sent me gift coupon for new batteries and a new flashlight.
Save the old batteries because they will want the exp. date and some other numbers off of them.

Happy New Year everyone .........

JL............
I just posted about leaking Duracells. Even if they make good for the damage, would you keep using them? From what I have been able to research, reading reviews, they leak. It is cheaper to replace the occassional flashlight than make better batteries. I wonder what would happen if you filed a claim for an expensive camera or electronic device. There probably is a maximum they will pay. The last pack of Kirkland (Costco rebranded Duracells) practically all leaked. No more Duracell for me.

Sung to the melody of M. Jacksons "Beat It"

They told him don't you ever come around here
Don't want to see your face, you better disappear
The fire's in their eyes and their words are really clear
So bin it, just bin it
You better run, you better do what you can
Don't want to see no blood, don't be a macho man
You want to be tough, better do what you can
So bin it, but you want to be bad
Just bin it, bin it, bin it, bin it
No one wants to be defeated
Showin' how funky and strong is your fight
It doesn't matter who's wrong or right
Just binit, bin it
Just bin it, bin it
Just bin it, bin it
Just bin it, bin it
They're out to get you, better leave while you can
Don't want to be a boy, you want to be a man
You want to stay alive, better do what you can
So bin it, just bin it


Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk

flylo
01-01-2017, 01:28 AM
I like the wax paper idea!

fixerdave
01-01-2017, 02:38 AM
Yeah... Duracell always seems to be the ones that leak on me. I avoid them.

Not saying the other ones don't, but Duracell just seems worse. Maybe confirmation bias... but probably some design issue. Don't feel like going through a whole lot of testing to find out for sure.

David...

Circlip
01-01-2017, 07:36 AM
With the Mini-maglites AA and AAA versions, when you remove the Lens and bulb, the compression disc (the bit that turns the torch on and off and focus) can be pulled vertically up and off allowing the ded cells to be pushed out from the loading end. After cleaning, the disc can be snapped back and the torch reassembled. Did both of mine but also dumped the blubs and replaced with Cree Leds.

Regards Ian.

reggie_obe
01-01-2017, 08:27 AM
Sung to the melody of M. Jacksons "Beat It"

They told him don't you ever come around here
Don't want to see your face, you better disappear
The fire's in their eyes and their words are really clear
So bin it, just bin it
You better run, you better do what you can
Don't want to see no blood, don't be a macho man
You want to be tough, better do what you can
So bin it, but you want to be bad
Just bin it, bin it, bin it, bin it
No one wants to be defeated
Showin' how funky and strong is your fight
It doesn't matter who's wrong or right
Just binit, bin it
Just bin it, bin it
Just bin it, bin it
Just bin it, bin it
They're out to get you, better leave while you can
Don't want to be a boy, you want to be a man
You want to stay alive, better do what you can
So bin it, just bin it

The above.....OldTiffie's theme song.

6PTsocket
01-01-2017, 09:07 AM
With the Mini-maglites AA and AAA versions, when you remove the Lens and bulb, the compression disc (the bit that turns the torch on and off and focus) can be pulled vertically up and off allowing the ded cells to be pushed out from the loading end. After cleaning, the disc can be snapped back and the torch reassembled. Did both of mine but also dumped the blubs and replaced with Cree Leds.

Regards Ian.
Thanks. That is the way to go.

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Seastar
01-01-2017, 09:46 AM
Whose batteries leak the most?
At our company we tested several brand name alkaline batteries a few years ago to determine the brand to buy for some of our products.
Duracell batteries had the largest capacity by about 5% above the average.
Duracell batteries also leaked sooner than any other brand after they were discharged and stored at room temperature.
We surmised there was a difference in chemistry.
I have no idea what it was.

Lots of good removal input here.
I have both pressed dead ones out and removed them with vinegar.
Both methods work fine.
I also still buy Duracell.
Bill

QSIMDO
01-01-2017, 10:24 AM
Chuck it in the lathe, part the case, empty, clean it up then TIG it back together!

Got a working flash light and a story.

flylo
01-01-2017, 11:36 AM
If you'd have used energizer batteries the rabbit would have poked it out with a drum stick.:o

Mike Nash
01-01-2017, 01:31 PM
First, I can't imagine feeding C or D cells to an old flashlight anymore, they are just too expensive for me.

Second, Duracell used to be the brand that never leaked and Eveready was worse than Rayovac. I must be showing my age.

Ironically, I had some AA Shazam batteries from a Homier truck sale that I finally used the last one a few months ago after maybe 8 years, none leaked, still good to the last one. I don't know that the whole pack of 12 cost more than a buck. Wish I had bought more!

The tendency to start leaking before the device quits working is really turning me off of battery powered anything.

mf205i
01-01-2017, 01:52 PM
Send it to Mag and they will cheerfully repair and tune it up for you at no charge. They told me that they have an agreement with most battery manufactures and they absorb the rest. I have a 23 year old 4 cell that I dropped and when I inquired about a replacement reflector and they said to send the light in. It came back completely rebuilt with new seals, reflector, lens and a new switch, all at no charge. I have found Mag Instrument to be an absolutely no BS organization with service second to none.
Mike

MillNut
01-03-2017, 10:15 AM
Hello gentlemen, new to the forum. Just thought I would share my experience with my Mag Lite. I have a 3 D cell unit which the batts had expanded. This was the third Mag that the Duracell batts did this to me. I had scrapped the other 2 and decided I wasn't scrapping another.

All efforts to remove old bats was fruitless so that resulted in brute force. I chucked the housing up into the lathe and proceeded to use increasingly larger drill bits to core out the bats. When I got close to the od of the cells I used a boring bar to clear out the rest. I was careful not to touch the I'd of the Mag body. It was a mess but I successfully removed the bats. I did use some vinegar/water to clean up scale followed by bake soda rinse. After everything dried I reassembled the lite and install Panasonic bats. They were more expensive and hard to find but seem to be superior quality compared to Duracell. That was a year ago and the lite is still working and bats are in good shape

After this experience I no longer buy or use Duracell bats. I instead look for Industrial grade bats or rechargers for anything that is worthwhile.


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