Education Technology

Solution 39837: How to clean up "leaky" AAA or AA batteries on a TI calculator

Cleaning a TI calculator with  "leaky" AA or AAA batteries.

What causes alkaline batteries to leak or corrode?

All batteries gradually self-discharge (whether installed in a device or not), and dead batteries will eventually leak. Extremely high temperatures can also cause batteries to leak. The “leaking” from alkaline batteries (like typical AAA or AA batteries you buy at the store) often looks like a white, powdery substance. This substance is actually a base (alkaline), not an acid.

How can I help prevent alkaline batteries from leaking or corroding in my calculator?

Texas Instruments recommends removing batteries from a calculator that will be stored or otherwise not in use for three months or more.  Additionally, never expose your calculator to temperatures over 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit), such as in a hot car.

How can I clean the battery compartment if batteries have leaked or corroded inside my calculator?

Clean the contacts in the battery compartment with a clean, dry cloth or clean, dry, non-abrasive brush (like a toothbrush). If further cleaning is needed, apply a small amount of vinegar to a clean cloth, and gently rub the contacts.  The acid from the vinegar will neutralize the alkaline substance. Wipe away any remaining debris with a clean, dry cloth. Take care not to get the white, powdery substance on your hands or clothing, as it may bleach fabrics.

For information on caring for a TI Rechargeable Lithium-ion battery, visit