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Important: Don't Ignore "Low Battery" Messages!!!

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Important: Don't Ignore "Low Battery" Messages!!!

Postby dubbmann » Thu Apr 20, 2017 7:38 pm

Hi all,

I just got off the phone with a very helpful tech from Peavey Instruments, who enlightened me about the damage that leaking batteries do to electronic equipment. Now, I'd always known this but he said something that REALLY clicked in my head: the "Low Battery" warning message is there not to give you a heads up that you might lose your precious presets but rather because once a battery drains, it's age means it's liable to start leaking. He said that once this happens, particularly if the battery leaks on to a multilayer PCB, there is nothing to do but throw the circuit board away. And if your gear is old (which is a safe assumption if the battery is low) then the odds are that the manufacturers won't have spare part boards. His words were "the bean counters plus the costs of minimum order sizes means that older gear can't be fixed".

Personally, I'd always assumed that I was only risking my presets by ignoring the "Low Battery" warning. Or, in the words of my Peavey Tech, "you know, most musicians are lazy" (I was pretending to be a tech repairing a customer's Peavey gear). I could only chuckle painfully at the truth of his words. What I've learned from this call is making me rethink many things, not least how I handle older gear that I might not use for years at a time. He asked me when the last time the customer (muggins) had used the gear successfully, and when I said a couple of years he replied that it was probably toast.

This obviously blows chunks for me. Let SoSer's learn from my mistake: don't ignore the "Low Battery" messages from your gear, and if you are going to not use stuff for a while, consider removing the batteries or practicing some preventive maintenance and putting in new batteries beforehand.

Cheers (or not)

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Re: Important: Don't Ignore "Low Battery" Messages!!!

Postby ConcertinaChap » Thu Apr 20, 2017 8:09 pm


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Re: Important: Don't Ignore "Low Battery" Messages!!!

Postby desmond » Thu Apr 20, 2017 9:15 pm

A low battery warning isn't implicitly related to leakage - low battery just means the battery is falling below levels it should put out when healthy, and thus will now longer provide the necessary power for whatever the power is used for.

Leakage is more usually linked to age - ie, leaving batteries in gear for long periods - no matter whether they are healthy or not. But your advice is good - anything that you are not using for a while, it's good to remove the batteries to avoid the risk of leakage/corrosion damaging anything...
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Re: Important: Don't Ignore "Low Battery" Messages!!!

Postby BJG145 » Fri Apr 21, 2017 7:55 am

...yeah, there are some old synths with soldered batteries that are notorious for this. Battery leakage has destroyed scores of Polysixes.
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Re: Important: Don't Ignore "Low Battery" Messages!!!

Postby James Perrett » Fri Apr 21, 2017 8:40 am

Interesting that it was a Peavey technician that said this as I've had this problem on a Peavey reverb unit which uses a NiCd rechargeable battery (and my old A&H mixer that uses the same type of battery). I've not noticed leakage problems with the lithium coin cells that some other manufacturers use.
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Re: Important: Don't Ignore "Low Battery" Messages!!!

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Apr 21, 2017 8:53 am

I think it depends on the type of battery as much as anything.

I had the battery in my Drawmer Masterflow DC2476 replaced last year after hearing of several other users whose units had been destroyed by leakage... :o

Definitely something to keep an eye on, and a good idea to replace before disaster strikes...

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Re: Important: Don't Ignore "Low Battery" Messages!!!

Postby Jumpeyspyder » Fri Apr 21, 2017 9:24 am

I don't think I have ever changed a internal battery in any music kit ever and since I've never seen a battery warning (not all gear has LCDs) I'd never even thought about it!

I have gear that is over 30 years old - I think I'd better get started :oops:

Thanks for the warning ! :clap:

PS If anyone wants to buy my old 'vintage' batteries PM me ;)
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Re: Important: Don't Ignore "Low Battery" Messages!!!

Postby Folderol » Fri Apr 21, 2017 5:29 pm

There are a number of problems with these batteries.

The first is that sometimes they are soldered in - which tends to discourage investigation. I've not seen that with audio kit, but have seen it on quite a few older motherboards, and all over the place on industrial stuff.

Next, it's not always obvious that they are batteries! Sometimes they wear cute little jackets, or are tucked, hidden, into holders with just a little ejector lever visible. Then again, there is a whole range of memory chips (thankfully disappearing) that have a battery sitting on top of them.

As if that's not enough, I've seen some that are completely and utterly dead, but look in pristine condition, conversely I've seen ones with half their guts spilled out and eating into the PCB while still delivering enough voltage to perfectly maintain the CMOS memory and clock.

These days, my attitude is to treat them like an enemy. Anything I've had for a few years gets a fairly regular look-over (good time to evict the dust bunnies too) If I get anything second-hand I'll replace batteries as a matter of course.
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