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Disclaimer: The information contained herein is as a general guide only.

Please read this important text below.. it might save your equipment.

Last Updated October 12th 2006

WARNING - READ THIS NOW !...3.6 Volt Ni-Cad Battery alert !
To the Acid ( alkali ) Eaten circuit boards page
WARNING - THIS AFFECTS EVERYBODY SOONER OR LATER !

It is becoming painfully obvious by the amount of "acid eaten" A4000 computer motherboards in for repair, that
this is now almost an epidemic. One must ask the question, who's idea was it to use Ni-Cads on a motherboard?

Now, Having said that, technically speaking, Ni-Cads batteries used in computers contain "alkali" and not acid,
most folks refer to it as "acid" so, we'll go with that word and we will continue with the education.

WARNING - CADMIUM HANDLE WITH EXTREME CARE- WARNING

Please note : Cadmium is a toxic substance, it usually does not enter the body via the skin, however if you do
get the residue from the "off-gassing" of the battery on your hands or fingers, wash it off immediately ! Do not
eat food when touching the residue of the Ni Cad battery.  It's the Cadmium which can enter the blood stream
by intestinal absorption via the stomach, after ingestion of food or water, or by dust absorption from the lungs
after inhalation.

As mentioned, very little cadmium enters the body transdermally (through the skin) , though using suitable
rubber gloves is being cautious and is highly recommended.

Toxicology studies revealed that usually only about 1% to 5% of what is taken in by mouth is absorbed into the
blood, while about 30% to 50% of that which is inhaled is taken up into the blood.  However, once cadmium
enters the body, it is very much retained for some time, therefore even in low doses it may build up significant
cadmium levels in the body ( your body ) if your exposure continues for a long time, always be safe, wash it off
immediately !
We suggest that the dead Ni-Cad be replaced by a new one mounted in a sealed 35mm film container for safety
reasons and naturally potential corrosion considerations as well.

In disposing of the Ni-Cad battery, please consult your local E.P.A. ( Environmental Protection Authorities) on
how to handle and dispose thoughtfully of this rather toxic substance and to keep it from ever entering such
valuable resources as the water table, the lakes or the rivers and eventually, the fish we may perhaps eat.


 Nickel is also a toxic substance, however it usually is found in most everyday alloys such as stainless steel
 and widely used in coinage, persons who react to the nickel content in coins should avoid this substance.

 For further information on both of these toxic materials : Click here for more information

As mentioned above, one of the by-products of charging Ni-Cad batteries is the "Off gas", and over a period
of time, a certain amount of this "acid" moisture leaks out via the "off gas" release holes and this is typically
characterised by the gradual appearance of a "fungus looking" powdery mass that builds up at the ends of the
Ni-Cad battery, slowly releasing the acid vapour onto the circuit tracks, devouring the circuit board, resulting in
in damaged A4000 computer motherboards , sadly , some are just a too far gone and it is plainly a non-
-economical exercise to spend or waste many hours trying to resurrect a motherboard that's non-repairable.

In recent times, we have seen the results of what happens to multi-layer circuit boards, such as the AMIGA A4000
desktop, where these fine tracks are so badly eaten away under the memory simm sockets by the acid that it has
in fact eaten through the plated through-holes and eaten into the multi layers and followed down the copper  
tracks as if it were a travelling down a mine shaft and is not viable to economically repair this type of damaged
printed circuit board, therefore,  total replacement is the only viable long term reliable option, as the acid would
be extremely hard to remove from within the A4000's multi-layered circuit board.  Prevention is far better than
cure, so please folks, do heed our advise,  save your AMIGA A4000, do it today! It may just save your highly
valuable AMIGA A4000 motherboard as they are expensive to replace, let alone repair.

Has Acid eaten into your computer's motherboard ? click below to view 2 jpeg pictures (97Kb).

a4kacidpix3

psssst ..... Want to do it yourself ?

If   Not ... We reconstruct damaged and acid eaten circuit boards. Call for an assessment and estimation quote.

To the Ni-Cad Batteries page


Doing it yourself ?   confident ?.. OK ,..  please read on..  it's not difficult !


Do it yourself  ?  Yes if you think that you are up to it, technically competent,  then by all means,  do it yourself,
but do it properly, clean off every last trace of acid and acid etched copper track work, realising that if you
damage or come across damage track work,  it will need to be touched-up with a trace of 0.5mm diameter tinned
fine copper wire which can be angled and bent into position, thus following and reinforcing the damaged circuit
tracks, soldering as you go. Please use a temperature controlled soldering iron, one that displays with LEDs
the actual temperature either expressed as a digital display or as a LED bargraph. Don't "cook" the PCB tracks.

After soldering, remove all traces of flux,  clean off with a thinners or acetate based solvent, making sure not to
inhale any of the neuro-toxins and any carcinogens that abound in hydrocarbon based solvents, or better still,
use some reliable methylated spirits, it may take longer but it's much safer to use than hydrocarbon based
products. 

Select a fresh 60 mA Hr 3.6 Volt Ni-Cad and solder to the legs only ( keeping heat off the actual "Cells" ), a red
to the positive end ( +ve ) and a black wire to the negative ( -ve ) end .

Using a 35mm plastic film container, poke two small holes in the lid, then push the two wires through these holes
and then pull them out, taking up the slack wire, then put the battery in the container and place the lid firmly on
the film container and solder the red wire to where the positive (+Ve) wire was attached and then the black (-Ve)
wire to where the negative ( -ve ) leg of the old battery was attached.  We suggest discovering which is positive
and which is the negative wire before you start.

Melt some clear hot melt glue over the two soldered wire for mechanical support and insulation and now you
have a correctly installed Ni-Cad battery, all safely away from the other circuits, remember, Ni-Cads "off-gas"
as a chemical by-product of the charging process.

Next, mount the plastic container in a way so that it permanently stands upright with double sided tape on the
base and adhere it in a position so that any gases that may escape will not eat into a circuit board directly
above for instance, use your own good thinking and judgment on the simplest but most affective long term way
to mount it. 

After the circuit board area that you cleaned is dry, inspect with a loupe ( an eye piece ) to carefully examine the
area and if you are satisfied that all is good, then and only then, cover it with a clear lacquer or use a clear nail
polish, this will seal it once again, keeping the air and any moisture off the exposed copper tracks etcetera.

The key is total clean-off of the acid and just as important,  really close visual inspection, with a good "loupe"
or magnifying eyepiece, thorough inspection will lead to years of trouble free operation from the acid affected
area, making sure to coat the affected area with a good sealing non-conductive lacquer as outlined on this page.

After reading this and you're not comfortable with the above task, please have your friendly technician do it for
you. Please make sure they do know what is involved and quiz them on their experience in these type of repairs.  

Don't want to do it yourself ? That's fine, not everyone is a techo !  now Moving right along......

Our advise is to have your friendly technician carefully remove this offending Ni-Cad battery, or if you are not
very confident that this task can be performed to your satisfaction,  find someone who can do it, or send your,
boxed and safely packed motherboard to us for assessment, via secure and very trackable Australia Post.

We strongly urge you to remove the cover off your computer and check out your computer's 3.6V Ni-Cad battery
and as a precaution, replace it now. If the Ni-Cad is more that 3 years old, then totally remove the Ni-Cad and
replace it with a fresh and new one, replacing it into a empty 35mm film container with a red and black wire
protruding out via two small holes in the 35mm film container lid.  The two wires, the positive and the negative
must be carefully soldered to the two pads on the A4000 motherboard, and carefully to the two ends of the
Ni-Cad battery inside the 35 mm film container, the correct way of course , +ve to +ve and the -ve to -ve.
Put a knot in each wire so they do not pull through the lid once the battery is secured within the container.
If you like, pack the battery in foam rubber but remember to leave an air hole for the "off-gas" to release. 

This puts an end of ( potential ) circuit board damage problem forever.

This will alleviate any future acid leaks, the 35mm film container acts as an isolator as well as an insulator and
can be adhered to the chassis facing upwards with double sided tape or hot-melt glue, which ever is convenient
for you.  We do suggest that this procedure by carried out only by a qualified technician or a person with a
good technical expertise background who has good many years experience in multi-layer soldering techniques.
 


While on the subject of soldering, this word is spelt sol-der-ing not soddering,
sol as in soul,   der as in durr,   ing as in ring .  We are flabbergasted on just
 how many " illiterates " are actually out there and you know who you are !   
 It is easy to pronounce, say it slowly,    sol - der- ing  easy isn't it ? ...
 OK ... now you've got it ... SOL DER ING !   There is no silent " L " in the word.
 Don't put one there.  Learn it  !  remember it  !  Apply it  !  Use it   ! ;-)

Our service fee for this service including new 3.6 V Ni-Cad battery is AUD$ 45.00 + GST = AUD$ 49.50

Email us :sales@unitechelectronics.com

Please Note: This price does not include repairs to an acid affected area, replacing tracks one by one is a very
exacting technical service and may take several hours to perform, depending on how extensive the acid
damage is done to your motherboard, seen or unseen in between the printed circuit board layers.


**CLICK HERE** to go to C-TICK information page


Don't let lightning strike and fry your modem, printer/scanner and computer

Line "ZAPS" collectively known as "transients", spikes, surges and other fluctuations in the electrical power
supply can spell disaster for all types of electrical equipment, especially for all computers, desktop or laptops,
modems, facsimile machines,   EFTPOS terminals and other electronic related peripherals.

The results of such transients range from irreparable damage to subtle operational problems the next time your
next time your computer crashes or hangs for no apparent reason, consider the possibility of an anomaly in the
power supply placing a glitch on your hard drive and not your operating system.  Your PC may have been spiked!
The screen may display the BSD ( Blue Screen of Death ) or the BSP ( Black Screen of Peril ) neither of these are
good looks.

The cause of these transients is so widely varied.   Lightning strikes are the most dramatic and the most serious
and devastating examples of electronic and electrical damage, along with other naturally occurring electrical
activity, eg: Static Electricity.   The 3M company wrote and dedicated an entire thick book on this very subject.

In fact as much as 80% of electrical equipment problems have been shown to be the direct or indirect result of
lightning and over voltage surges. When you consider that a lightning strike within a one kilometre radius of
your home or office can generate up to a staggering 120 million volt surge into the local above ground and also
below-ground level power cables and telephone lines, it's not hard to see how problems can arise.

On a more mundane level, any piece of electrical equipment sharing the same circuit as the device you are
using can cause a spike or surge when switched on or off.   Offending appliances can simply be household or
office items such as vacuum cleaners, fridges and freezers and anything else that utilises an electric motor or
electro magnetic switching.   Electric Arc Welders are somewhat notorious in creating spikes and surges.
Even equipment on a different circuit can be the source of problems by inducing voltage irregularities in
your neighbouring power cables.

As such business travellers and home workers alike need to very beware. Hotel cleaning staff will as a rule, not
bother generally check who or what is plugged in next door when cleaning a recently vacated a room, and your
laptop on charge could easily be drawing power from the same circuit as the maid's hotel vacuum cleaner.

Similarly, your state-of-the-art home office could be easily affected by a dodgy switch in the fridge in the kitchen.
If you have ever seen a light bulb dim momentarily or even very quickly, when appliances such as these are
are switched on, imagine what it's doing to your computer or other delicate electronic devices, DVD recorders, etc.

As well as the spectacular and terminal equipment failure that can be brought about by nasty lightning strikes,
a consistently poor mains power supply in your area can dramatically reduce the life-span of an electronic device.

Regular and albeit small, irregularities in the supply it is claimed, can place additional wear on the transformer
transformer in your equipment, supposedly leading it to develop faults long before it otherwise should. Not true.
There is no real scientific evidence that a ordinary "E" or "C" core transformer can be damaged by surges or
spikes !  It is simply a lie to state this. Beware of people who say this.   If travelling outside your office, we do
suggest using a high quality mains surge protection device, using a surge guard is the best free advice we can
give to you. Please see below " SURGE PROTECTORS " . 

Surge Protectors

It's also worth checking your insurance for the cover provided in the event of damage or faults caused by lightning
strikes. Some companies exclude this cover or place additional excesses where equipment is not adequately
protected against such terrible eventualities, to minimise their exposure to heavy claims. Act of God eh ? hmmm

A FINAL NOTE ON CIRCUIT BREAKERS AND POWER-BOARDS

Please don't be misled : Quick acting circuit breakers, Overload protected Power boards, fast-blow wire fuses and
other such " waffled about " and very misused terminology as safety devices, " yes " these devices do have their
"place" in the big protection scheme of things, however they DO NOT SAVE ELECTRONICS FROM DYING AS A
RESULT OF A SPIKE ON YOUR MAINS these are only there to stop you overloading a single 10 Amp power outlet,
for example, switching on a 3 bar 1200 watt (5 Amp) electric heater and a 1000 watt (4.16 Amps) jug then trying to
switch on a 850 watt (3.54 Amps) micro wave oven will not protect you against lightning strikes only an overload
on that feed line to that particular 10 Amp power point or GPO ( General Purpose Outlet ).

Doing the maths.. 5.0 + 4.16 + 3.54 = 12.70 Amps , Looking for a fuse blow out and a possible spike as a result ?

A spike or transient can occur in a nano second (1x10^ -9) to a micro second (1x10^ -6), the thermal spring
mechanism that provides movement to trigger the cut-off within a circuit breaker takes anything from 1 to five
seconds to react to an overload only, not to a micro-second spike !

Please remember this!

To save your valuable data from disappearing into the ether ... use a quality un-interruptible power supply, which
keeps the mains voltage present at all times even when brown-outs and blackouts occur, see below "U.P.S's" .  

To the U.P.S's pageTo the Ni-Cad Batteries pageTo the Techo more information page

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