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Li-ion battery went through washing machine - is it OK?

Paul Whiting , Jan 30, 2009; 12:51 p.m.

Dumb me... I carry my spare NB-4L lithium-ion batter for my Canon SD1000 in the watch pocket of my jeans and it went through the wash. Sat in the machine all night! I dried it off and put it in the camera, and it worked. But a friend told me not to try and charge it for seveal days, to let it dry out.
Have I ruined it? It looks pretty well-sealed... the only possible place water could get in is around the three metal contacts, and even those look quite tightly sealed. These puppies are $62 at Best Buy - ouch!


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Bill Clark - Minnetonka Minnesota , Jan 30, 2009; 12:56 p.m.

I wouldn't give up on it yet. I think it is a good idea to put it in a place where it can dry out. Maybe on a counter where the sun shines or a heat register that blows warm air. Let it sit for a few days, then see what happens. Since it is a spare you still have the other battery.

Umesh Bhayaraju , Jan 30, 2009; 01:00 p.m.

Thats funny. I doubt, I would have tried the battery direclty on the camera. :) without a voltmeter. If it works it should work hereafter. But, may be you can take to the electronic guys and ask them to check for the voltage output. hopefully under specs. Also, in the wash it would have got some good amount of salts which is not a goodthing. see if it drawing current different than the specs. if there is something wrong, that will ruin the camera. ok. Puppy is not important. But, Mama is :) lol

Sarah Fox , Jan 30, 2009; 01:10 p.m.

Dry out the battery, absolutely! You don't want water in your camera. However, if it works, it works. No worries. Before you dry it out, though, try dunking several times in distilled water, just to get all the salts out.

Mario Monti , Jan 30, 2009; 02:06 p.m.

Or you can buy replacement batteries at sterlingtek.com for cheap... :)


Michael Chang , Jan 30, 2009; 02:21 p.m.

It looks pretty well-sealed... the only possible place water could get in is around the three metal contacts, and even those look quite tightly sealed.

Paul, there's a big difference between "pretty well-sealed, tightly sealed" and a gas-tight waterproof seal (which I suspect these batteries are not). I'd be willing to bet that some amount of water has penetrated the seams, not enough to do immediate damage, but likely enough to at least elevate the compartment's internal relative humidity level to cause potential corrosion problems. If so, the outcome when the battery is subjected to self-heating when charged should also be considered.

I don't know if the NB-4L contains internal electronics as Sony's InfoLithium batteries do; if so, it'll be another level of worry.

Paul Whiting , Jan 30, 2009; 06:31 p.m.

Thanks, everyone!
A couple of people mentioned "salts"... are there salts in laundry soap? I'm no chemist!

Michael Chang , Jan 30, 2009; 08:02 p.m.

I'm no chemist either. I think salts is a generalized term which refers to water soluble impurities dissolved in pure water which makes it conductive - pure water is non-conductive.

I would guess that soapy laundry water is conductive.

Eric Merrill , Jan 31, 2009; 07:06 a.m.

How much does your camera cost?

How much is a replacement battery?

I'd throw out the battery if it were me.


Gunther Schlumbager , Feb 27, 2009; 12:40 a.m.

Hey Paul,

How's the battery workin'?
In regards to salt in the soap: taste it!
Got time for coffee any time soon? My schedule is flexible.

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