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OT Battery Connections That Corrode

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  • #16
    This something I have thought about a lot, I think it is a combination of things. Just the better quality of the construction on the side post batteries has gone a long way in eliminating corrosion, but I still get a little sometimes on the positive post, there I kind of go along with the current leakage theory. I also think it helps to coat them with about anything that seals them from the atmosphere or acid fumes, so that is a factor also. I had one Ford vehicle a few yrs. ago that would always get a little corrosion on the neg post, and the positive never needed any attention, it is usually just the opposite, never could figure that one out.
    James

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    • #17
      Originally posted by sasquatch
      battery terminals i have for years, cleaned them scrupously first with a short dip in water and baking soda,,then a good wash and scrub in hot water, dried completely, then a careful liberal coating of vaseline.
      For me this method has seemed to work fine for a few years.
      If you want to save yourself some time, slowly pour the HOT water over the battery and watch all the corrosion rinse right off. No scrubbing needed. Run a pot full of plain water through your coffee maker and simply pour it over the terminals. Clean to the bone.

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      • #18
        Thanks. I guess Dad was right about smearing grease all over the terminals and posts. I take the battery out of my RV when I winterize it and store it in my basement. Come spring, I'll clean everything up and grease it down!

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        • #19
          The battery posts are die cast. Some companies do a better job that others. If the casting has air bubbles in it, it looks like a sponge under a microscope so all those tiny micro size holes allow acid to leak through.

          All the lead plates inside are connected to together and the stack of plated on each end has a solid lead rod that sticks straight up. The battery posts are cast into the plastic top and side terminals are on the side.

          After the plastic top is put on the battery the lead rods stick up about 3/16" above the battery terminal through the hole in the battery terminal. A die is placed over both terminals to hold the head another machine melts the top of the lead rod just enough for the rod and terminal to melt together and make connection. The die holds the melted metal in place until it cools.

          If you clean your battery terminal you will see there is never any corrosion on the very tip top end all the corrosion is around the sides of the terminal.

          There is not much you can do to stop the acid from leaking through the termimal with all those micro size hole in it.

          Interstate batteries use to be the best about not having a corrosion problem but they sold out to another company and the quality is no longer as good as it once was.

          Next time you need to buy a battery talk to some auto mechanics ask them which battery have the least corrosion they will know from having to work on vehicles and fix those problems.

          Cleans your terminal with a brush. Pour baking soda water on the terminals too when it stops foaming the acid is cleaned off. Do not let any of the baking soda water get inside the battery.

          Lots of people put grease and vaseiline on the terminals that mostly hides the problem it keeps the acid from getting on the lead wire connecter that attaches to the battery terminal it is not a perment fix soon you have to remove the wires and clean the terminal grease only delays it and when you clean it all that grease makes it harder.

          Best way to stop the corrosion problem is carry a 2 liter soft drink bottle of baking soda water with you all the time. Every time you stop to fill up with gas pour a little baking soda water on the battery terminals while you wait this will keep them clean. Dribble the water very slow on the terminal when it stop foaming it is clean.

          Do not file, scrape or wire brush your battery terminal it will soon become too small for the wire to clamp on tight and make a good connection. If you need to brush the terminal use an old worn out tooth brush. About once a year remove the wire pour baking soda water on the terminals and wire to clean it. Preventative maintenace is the best.
          Last edited by gary350; 12-03-2010, 10:51 AM.

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          • #20
            That all sounds good in theory but isn't the real answer. There are different materials in the battery connector than in the lead from which the battery terminal is made. Battery lead has antimony alloyed to make it stronger but the connectors, if lead, do not since it also makes the lead more brittle. Some connectors now aren't even lead at all which is a stupid cost saving trick that doesn't work. My PT Cruiser has copper plated steel terminals and you can watch it corrode while doing an oil change.

            It's all about galvanic corrosion promoted by the acid fumes and caused by the continuous electrical micro currents that exist in all modern vehicles including trailers with water tank monitors and clocks.

            These are the terminals on my Land Rover. While they are somewhat rusty but there is zero acid corrosion since 1959.

            As you can see from the sticker the current battery has been installed since 1999. No corrosion.

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            • #21
              ^ Then why does my spare trailer battery that is never hooked up till it is used have corrosion?

              I have seen the same green corrosion other places as well like starter connections, light sockets, even fuses under the dash. Only way to keep it at bay is with a spray covering or grease.
              Andy

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              • #22
                Then why does my spare trailer battery that is never hooked up till it is used have corrosion?
                The only way a formerly clean battery can develop corrosion on the terminals if it isn't connected to anything is via leakage currents across the top of the battery. Antimony has an electronegativity of 2.05 and lead is 2.33. This means that the alloy can corrode via electrolysis all by itself just as many alloys of aluminum will. All it takes is very low currents to promote that corrosion along a path of nearly invisible dust with a trace of acid in a humid environment.

                Want to find out if that is really happening? Sand off the copper plating on a new penny to reveal the zinc. Solder a wire to it. Take a pre 1982 copper penny, shine it up and set it on top of the battery between the posts with a couple of drops of salt water under it. Wrap the free end of the wire around the positive post and set the zinc penny on top of the copper penny with a bit of salt water soaked paper towel between them. If there is no current flowing then nothing will happen. If there is the copper penny will become zinc plated over night. If it doesn't then dampen the paper and leave it longer. How fast it plates depends on the leakage current magnitude.

                Cleaning the battery with sodium bicarbonate doesn't solve the problem. The sodium bicarbonate can also act as an electrolyte. The battery needs to be rinsed with distilled water to really clean the surface.
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                • #23
                  Question for Evan--------

                  Let's see, battery installed early '99 and it is now late '10, that's approaching 12 years of age.

                  Could you guide us on to just what brand/type/breed of battery this is??

                  --G

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                  • #24
                    No Grease, No red Paint needed. 100 year old solution is to
                    just put one or two penny's on top of the battery.
                    Copper is more active than lead and the penny's will attract all corrosive vapers.
                    Rich

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                    • #25
                      Is Highpower the only person who knows that hot water is all you need to remove corrosion from battery terminals? Boil the electric kettle...job done.

                      Evan's disconnect theory doesn't sound correct to me, terminal corrosion has been around forever, including old Landrovers.....

                      A few years back you could buy greased felt pads which fitted the battery posts, they might have helped, but didn't stop corrosion.

                      I don't know why the corrosion ends up on the terminals, perhaps that's the only material in the area that can corrode...an overcharging battery will vent off and corrode its surrounds eventually....

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                      • #26
                        Peter, I guess it will remain our little secret.

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                        • #27
                          terminal corrosion has been around forever, including old Landrovers.....
                          Not mine. The battery is sold by Canadian Tire. I don't know who actually makes it. It is a deep discharge battery because the hydraulic pump on the snow blade is electric. It's not your usual electric snow blade pump but the type used on Dept of Hiways snow plows. It draws about the same as a starter motor and will lift the blade in 2 seconds.

                          If terminal corrosion isn't due to stray current then how come precharged new batteries don't corrode?
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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Evan
                            .........

                            If terminal corrosion isn't due to stray current then how come precharged new batteries don't corrode?
                            Not sure Evan, perhaps months of not being exposed to atmospheric contaminants, combined with a moist layer of sulphuric acid on top of the battery, in addition to not having dissimilar cable ends clamped to the posts might be a factor. Never mind the repeated discharge/charge cycles that a dirty battery in use has been exposed to.

                            Not exactly sure why your battery is as clean as it is, battery vent location and design is a big factor, as is the fact that your Landrover having a generator instead of an alternator may have a more gentle charging rate.

                            But I've owned a lot of equipment and vehicles with absolutely no electronics which could impose a parasitic drain, and I can say unequivocally that dirty battery posts are not a new phenomena associated with stray background currents. This problem has been around for a long time.

                            Yes, boiling water and a smear of grease are a pretty low cost and effective form of battery maintenance, I thought everyone knew.
                            Last edited by Willy; 12-03-2010, 11:19 PM.
                            Home, down in the valley behind the Red Angus
                            Bad Decisions Make Good Stories​

                            Location: British Columbia

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Evan
                              That all sounds good in theory but isn't the real answer. There are different materials in the battery connector than in the lead from which the battery terminal is made. Battery lead has antimony alloyed to make it stronger but the connectors, if lead, do not since it also makes the lead more brittle. Some connectors now aren't even lead at all which is a stupid cost saving trick that doesn't work. My PT Cruiser has copper plated steel terminals and you can watch it corrode while doing an oil change.

                              It's all about galvanic corrosion promoted by the acid fumes and caused by the continuous electrical micro currents that exist in all modern vehicles including trailers with water tank monitors and clocks.

                              These are the terminals on my Land Rover. While they are somewhat rusty but there is zero acid corrosion since 1959.

                              As you can see from the sticker the current battery has been installed since 1999. No corrosion.


                              I thought we were talking about why the battery terminal corrodes not all the other stuff, steel flat washers, steel sheet metal pieces, steel bolts, copper plated steel terminals, wires, crap, etc. Naturally all that other stuff is going to corrode because it was made Cheap in USA by a Union factory. Kick out the Union the factory becomes efficient and can make things with good quality parts at a cheaper price. Federal Law gives all workers all the same rights Unions claim to give only it is FREE, FREE, FREE. Did anyone every wonder why all the factories moved to China.

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                              • #30
                                We are talking about why the battery terminal corrode (or don't corrode). The steel bit in that picture are rusty. That has nothing to do with the usual battery terminal corrosion. It is due to stray currents, not unions.

                                Originally posted by Rich
                                100 year old solution is to
                                just put one or two penny's on top of the battery.
                                Copper is more active than lead and the penny's will attract all corrosive vapers.
                                That is precisely what is to be expected if stray currents are traveling between the battery posts along the top surface of the battery. It isn't limited to that though. Any current that must pass through the terminals regardless of which way it goes will produce galvanic corrosion. Sombody wondered why it affects the positive terminal only. That is because the positive terminal is the ion doner. The negative terminal is the acceptor for the ions so it is being plated instead of deplated (depleted?).

                                This same concept is used in active anticorrosion systems on metal hulled boats, especially aluminum hulls in salt water. Using a trickle current from the engine battery the negative is connected to the hull and the positive is connected to a series of insulated zinc blocks below the water line. By using battery voltage to power the system the hull is forced to be more negative than any other material on the boat, especially the zinc blocks. The active system overcomes passivation that is produced when a coating of zinc oxide builds up on the zinc anodes.

                                BTW, my Land Rover has a 90 amp alternator that I rewired for positive ground.
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