25 February 2016

Saba Compact Clock A clean-up from NiCd spill

During a ful immersion into my pile of electronic junk I noticed an alarm clock radio from early 80's: SABA Compact Clock A. Since it was not my target I skipped over it, just to come back the next day and pick it up for further analysis and putting it back into service.

The display is LED, not VFD. Nevermind. The whole thing powers up but radio and clock don't work, so a look inside was desperatly needed.
The battery still in place and visible leak.

Horror! The radio contained a NiCd backup battery that has leaked over 1/3rd of the PCB. It is all dry now, in small crystals. According to many online discussions the dry electrolyte (KOH) will come off easily with a brush and then some simple chemical solution.

I will try a first cleaning round without becoming obsessed about it. If it doesn't work out then I might fit into the case a custom alarm clock built with modern technology that reuses the AC transformer, the display and the loudspeaker.

Solder side. The green protective layer comes off.

One thing is sure: I must tidy up my desk because I have KOH crystals all over and it needs a thorough cleaning!