[vcf-midatlantic] batteries in computers (was: NeXTstation)

Herb Johnson hjohnson at retrotechnology.info
Mon Dec 4 13:54:08 EST 2017

In regards to the possible battery in a NeXTstation. Also, this post is 
appropriate to the discussion on "inventory".

> Check the large Panasonic lithium battery on the [NeXT] motherboard,
> like a Mac II, it will not boot with a dead battery.
> They are still produced and available from Mouser, the
 > Mac cubes and the slabs use the same type of battery.

Caution: the lithium batteries used in various computers to keep 
time-of-day running, and to retain other information (as in "Mac PRAM 
battery"), have good odds of *leaking* and emitting hydrogen or other 
gasses. The results are very, very damaging, and often not repairable.

Details: Any vintage Mac collector, and some owners, have had the horror 
of opening their Mac and seeing several square inches of circuit-board 
covered in goo. And, adjacent metal surfaces covered in red rust - not 
just discoloration, but deep rust. Components in the vicinity, have 
rusted leads and through-holes on the PC boards. These are not repairable.

I'm sure there's pictures on the Web of such damage. I myself, checked 
out several Macs recently, and found one so rusted by leakage, neither 
case nor motherboard was salvageable.

The Mac Plus/128K/512K, has a large 4.5v battery, in a holder accessed 
without disassembling the case. Leaving the battery in those units, 
almost guarantees the battery-holder will green-rust and corrode. No 
battery is needed to operate these oldest Macs.

Bottom line Suggestion:

While the VCF Museum is doing their inventory and cataloging, it may be 
a good idea to inspect computers for these batteries *and remove those 
batteries* if not wired in. I suppose a note can be added inside the 
computer, to specify the kind of battery removed and where it was 
connected if not obvious. If it's known the computer won't start without 
a working battery, add that info to the note.

Comment to "this is too complicated, too much work, etc."  This is the 
cost of long-term ownership. The space and time taken by a computer, 
will be lost if it it self-destructs and that's not discovered until 
that computer is needed or accessed.

Herb Johnson

Herbert R. Johnson, New Jersey in the USA
http://www.retrotechnology.com OR .net

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