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Old 05-15-2017, 07:45 AM   #1
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Battery terminal - What is this?

This has been happening on my battery terminals (positive side only). I clean it up but it comes back after a few months. What is it and how do I prevent this from happening?
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Old 05-15-2017, 07:58 AM   #2
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Greetings,
Mr. F. After your next cleaning, liberally coat the battery post and terminal with a corrosion inhibitor. Even Vasoline will work but there ARE purpose made products.
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Old 05-15-2017, 08:00 AM   #3
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Terminal corrosion spray, available any Wally's for a couple bucks.

From gassing.
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Old 05-15-2017, 08:04 AM   #4
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1. Remove terminal connection from battery post
2. Clean everything with stiff brush and baking soda/water mix (it neutralizes corrosive components of that green-blue deposit)
3. Use a wire brush or battery post cleaning tool on the post and terminal.
4. Put it back together using battery terminal grease or vaseline.
5. Make sure terminal is nice and snug - inspect regularly.
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Old 05-15-2017, 08:07 AM   #5
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Make VERY sure not to get anything, especially baking soda, into electrolyte
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Old 05-15-2017, 08:08 AM   #6
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I have also noticed that this happens more often if the battery vents a lot of corrosive fumes, sometimes caused by continually over-charging, or a poorly ventilated battery box.
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Old 05-15-2017, 08:11 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by john61ct View Post
Make VERY sure not to get anything, especially baking soda, into electrolyte
Agreed!
Make sure all caps are secure / tape any visible vent holes, and rinse battery top and compartment with fresh water afterwards.
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Old 05-15-2017, 08:31 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SlowGypsy View Post
1. Remove terminal connection from battery post
2. Clean everything with stiff brush and baking soda/water mix (it neutralizes corrosive components of that green-blue deposit)
3. Use a wire brush or battery post cleaning tool on the post and terminal.
4. Put it back together using battery terminal grease or vaseline.
5. Make sure terminal is nice and snug - inspect regularly.
+1^
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Old 05-15-2017, 08:31 AM   #9
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Ditto all above. A battery in good condition in a vented place won't do this even w/o protective goos.

When you clean the terminals, using the baking soda, check the wire where it is encased in the terminal and its insulation. Swollen insulation is an indicator of corrosion within.

I haven't done this in years, neither my boats nor my recent cars seem to be susceptible. However, I used to go out to the Studebaker with a cup of warm water with baking soda in it. I'd clean off the fittings and posts, dip the fittings and wire(s) into the cup until they quit fizzing, then pour the remaining water/soda on the terminal and around the battery (taking care to keep the caps [remember when batteries had caps?] on). If I were feeling particularly tidy, I'd hose off the battery and battery box.
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Old 05-15-2017, 09:37 AM   #10
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Another use for dielectric grease.
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Old 05-15-2017, 09:44 AM   #11
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Silicone version maybe but have to apply carefully, and it does gunk up over time.

Inhibitor spray is better
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Old 05-15-2017, 12:30 PM   #12
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A batt terminal that has been abused , hammered on may be the cause, it vents gas.

If you have solar reducing the Voltage where the charge falls back to float helps .
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Old 05-15-2017, 10:18 PM   #13
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Constant reappearance of that corrosion is often an indicator that the battery terminal to case seal has been damaged. Usually from banging or twisting when tightening/loosening the terminals or clamps. Use two wrenches on the nut and the terminal to prevent twisting of the terminal and a puller on the clamp type terminals for the same reason.

Clean it up thoroughly including the wire terminal , coat it with a spray, but if it still reappears shortly then one or more of the batteries has a damaged seal allowing tiny amount of acid leakage when charging.

You just have to decide if you wish to live with it or replace the batteries if the seal is the problem.
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Old 05-15-2017, 10:50 PM   #14
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..... I'd hose off the battery and battery box....
wouldn't water on the top of the battery create a connection between the positive and negative terminals and be a seriously bad thing ?
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Old 05-16-2017, 09:08 AM   #15
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wouldn't water on the top of the battery create a connection between the positive and negative terminals and be a seriously bad thing ?


Good question. I'm ashamed to say I've never thought about that over the years that I have used water to flush the tops of different batteries, mostly in cars.
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Old 05-16-2017, 09:32 AM   #16
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Are these batteries gassing and bubbling a lot? Could create an acidic misting which coats the battery environment resulting in corrosion. No problem washing with water the battery, just dry it off. The acid salts will form a conductive film on a real dirty battery. Salts tend to grab moisture right from the air. Acids will turn into salts when reacting with something.

I have used lithium chassis grease without moly sometimes, mostly my batteries stay corrosion free. My float voltage is about 13.7 to 13.8 vdc.

When a battery develops a shorted cell, it will get warmer and gasses.
That is how all my batteries eventually fail.
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Old 05-16-2017, 10:58 AM   #17
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wouldn't water on the top of the battery create a connection between the positive and negative terminals and be a seriously bad thing ?
If it stayed wet you might discharge the battery over time. A quick wipe with a rag after cleaning should prevent that. If the top of a battery gets dirty enough, it can self discharge. Clean is good when it comes to batteries.
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Old 05-16-2017, 12:04 PM   #18
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wouldn't water on the top of the battery create a connection between the positive and negative terminals and be a seriously bad thing ?
Fresh water has a high impedance / resistance so any current leakage from one post to the other will be insignificant. After all, you're just washing it off, not completely dunking it.

When you put distilled water into the battery, it mixes with electrolyte and becomes conductive.

If you were washing it with salty water, that would conduct more current than fresh, and might be an issue. don't do that...
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Old 05-16-2017, 03:38 PM   #19
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Constant reappearance of that corrosion is often an indicator that the battery terminal to case seal has been damaged. Usually from banging or twisting when tightening/loosening the terminals or clamps. Use two wrenches on the nut and the terminal to prevent twisting of the terminal and a puller on the clamp type terminals for the same reason.

Clean it up thoroughly including the wire terminal , coat it with a spray, but if it still reappears shortly then one or more of the batteries has a damaged seal allowing tiny amount of acid leakage when charging.

You just have to decide if you wish to live with it or replace the batteries if the seal is the problem.
This answer!

Micro crack between post and case. You won't see it even if you look. The vasoline or sprays mentioned will seal it somewhat.
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Old 05-17-2017, 05:23 AM   #20
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Batt terminals are greatly helped by using copper washers and nuts to attach cables.

A big electric supply has them as they are used on high power electric.

A stainless stud , steel washer ,copper cable terminal, steel washer and perhaps SS nut sandwich would be a great way to create a battery.
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