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

Herb Johnson hjohnson at retrotechnology.info
Wed Dec 6 23:04:25 EST 2017

I'll respond briefly to be clear, to some suggestions. Keep in mind 
there are HUNDREDS of computers in play, which may be unfamiliar, and 
the person at work will NEVER see that computer again. And there's no 
magic "database" to put fancy data into with a swipe of your 
smart-phone. I used to punch-cards, so I'm kinda primitive about this 
stuff, sorry.

> William Dudley:  A couple of suggestions:
> Take a photo of the battery in situ before you remove the battery.   
Jason Howe adds, "a Fuji Instax camera" No. Too much work, too many 
steps, where do you keep the JPEG photos? instant photo camera - how do 
you keep it stocked with film? Where do you get the lighting for a clear 
photo? Kerr-rrist! All this busy work!

  My suggestion was to leave a note inside the computer. *Sketch* where 
the battery was, sketch the battery. Done, and done.

> Extra credit: put the battery you removed in a zip log baggie and attach it
> to the computer [or elsewhere]

No, Jason Perkins said why. The battery will leak AND the bag will 
break. Make a sketch! You could photograph it, to LATER identify it, and 
TRY to update the note. That's not likely to happen, but photos may be 
useful later - if the photo is found later.

> David Gesswein: There are other materials that also will cause damage during decay.
> Certain foams will do that.  

True enough. Can't fix everything. (shrug) plastic bumpers melt, that 
acoustic foam crumbles or gets gooey. Don't get me started on conductive 

May be a good idea to build up a checklist of such stuff. But don't go 
nuts - a list with lotsa items and specific instructions will get 
ignored. battery damage is just awful, pulling a removable battery 
solves the damage problem - done and done.

> william degnan 
> Here's a good thread about rebuilding the NeXT after replacing a dead
> battery [link]. [also]   how to back up the
> configuration to diskette or the network or something .. 

It may be useful, to determine which computers have *serious* data 
maintained by backup batteries. But damage from leaking batteries, in my 
unhumble opinion, trumps "I can't save the configuration". Save the 
computer so you can update the lost data another day.

Bottom line: make this remove-the-battery too complicated, and it won't 
happen. It's a judgement call: how many destroyed computers do you want, 
versus the cost of some lost data or "where does that battery go? what 
battery does it need?" questions. I should send some photos of really 
destroyed Macs to make the case graphic, but it's the holiday season and 
it would put us out of the festive mood. ;)

I *think* a good rule of thumb would be: if you can pull out the 
battery, do so; leave a note about it, more detail is better. Past that, 
is repair and triage - but problem #2 would be to remove that black-foam 
stuff! Good call, that.

Herb "the Leaker" Johnson

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

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