Battery Acid leak in GPS Receiver

Submitted: Saturday, Jul 16, 2005 at 16:50
ThreadID: 24774 Views:2524 Replies:4 FollowUps:6
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Hi Folks,

Pulled out the trusty GPS today only to find that the screen is full of weird colours and has white powder around the edges. Uh Oh!

Pulled the back off and it appears that one of the AA batteries has crapped itself and spewed acid into the unit. It was an Energizer e2 Titanium.

This post is to do two things: warn people of the dangers of storing small electronic devices with batteries installed, and see if anyone can help me get my GPS going again!

The unit was lying face down in a soft bag. Has been there for several weeks. It is a Magellan Meridian Colour (about $1000 new but I got it for less on ebay as a US import). The acid appears to have run down into the casing and seeped into the side of the LCD screen. I can't belive one AA could leak that much and do that much damage. I could smell the acid once I took the unit apart.

The screen is basically rooted but rest of circuitry board looks untouched by acid corrosion with the white powder ending up in the plastic casing. I think I was just unlucky that the unit was lying face down!

The most likely repair will just be a new screen but being a colour model this is likely to be expensive! Anyone had to do a similar repair or have some idea? I will email Magellan for a quote on supply of a new screen but it may be uneconomic.

The other option is to ask if anyone has this model that has broken down for another reason. It may have an OK screen still and I can swap the screen over.

I put new batteries in and powered up the unit and it came on but the screen was unreadable. It may well be the case that a new screen is all that is required. I also wonder if I might get away with using a mono LCD in it.

If anyone has an old non-funtioning Magellan GPS (any model) they want to get rid of please drop me a line at

Not very Cheery today!

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Reply By: Mad Dog (Australia) - Saturday, Jul 16, 2005 at 16:57

Saturday, Jul 16, 2005 at 16:57
This usually happens when batteries are left in equipment that isn't used for a long time. The batteries go flat and eventually leak. How old were the batteries.
AnswerID: 120657

Follow Up By: Muddy 'doe (SA) - Saturday, Jul 16, 2005 at 17:02

Saturday, Jul 16, 2005 at 17:02
Yes it is a consequence of not taking batteries out if unit is not going to be used for a while. My own fault there!

Batteries were new in April when I last used it.

Let this be a reminder to others!
FollowupID: 375753

Follow Up By: Mad Dog (Australia) - Saturday, Jul 16, 2005 at 17:09

Saturday, Jul 16, 2005 at 17:09
Yes it's a welcome reminder. I must go check my backup GPS which rarely gets used. Thanks and sorry about your disaster.
FollowupID: 375755

Follow Up By: cokeaddict - Saturday, Jul 16, 2005 at 17:18

Saturday, Jul 16, 2005 at 17:18
Must be a more common happening than i thought,
I use a cordless keyboard and mouse setup and a few weeks ago I was in the other side of my house and to my amazement I heard this huge pop. had no idea where it came from at the time, eventually sitting back at my computer later that night I couldnt find my mouse. 1 of the AA batteries exploded and blew the mouse off the table and behind a filing cabinet. Was a hell of a mess i can tell you. Was wondering what might have happened if i had my hand on it at the time...(the mouse i mean) :-)
FollowupID: 375761

Reply By: hl - Saturday, Jul 16, 2005 at 17:49

Saturday, Jul 16, 2005 at 17:49
I would ring the battery manufacturer. I have heard that they may be able to help. A newish battery like that should not leak to that extend.

AnswerID: 120661

Follow Up By: Muddy 'doe (SA) - Saturday, Jul 16, 2005 at 18:00

Saturday, Jul 16, 2005 at 18:00
Thanks for that hl but I usually see a disclaimer on battery packaging about this sort of thing. "We will not be responsible for any loss/damage caused by use of our batteries in devices blah ...blah...blah"

Anyone ever had any success with those sort of claims?
FollowupID: 375765

Follow Up By: Mike Harding - Saturday, Jul 16, 2005 at 19:04

Saturday, Jul 16, 2005 at 19:04
I would be an amazingly unhappy Energizer Bunny if one of those cells had leaked and damaged an expensive device of mine. I totally agree: contact Energiser (in writing) and explain the situation.

Energizer quote a shelf life of seven years for these Titanium cells and when they are in a GPS in off mode they are, effectively, in their shelf life condition. Do you know what their state of charge was when the GPS was put into store?
(Full, half, almost empty?).

I would be most interested to know if Energizer are not prepared to support their product. Many of these cells are used in similar conditions and if they are going to leak then the professional users amongst us need to reassess our position (I've always preferred Duracell anyway).

Please contact them - I think there is a good chance they will play ball.

Mike Harding
FollowupID: 375771

Follow Up By: Bob of KAOS - Saturday, Jul 16, 2005 at 19:49

Saturday, Jul 16, 2005 at 19:49
Yep, I agree. That is not normal battery behaviour. I'd be seeking some sort of recompense. Otherwise you might mention the brand on a very frequently hit website.
FollowupID: 375774

Reply By: BenSpoon - Sunday, Jul 17, 2005 at 13:43

Sunday, Jul 17, 2005 at 13:43
Possibly a long shot, but try your home contents insurance policy. Most cover for damage arising from spilt liquids.
You may have to pay for the excess, but from past experiences, its a hell of a lot easier than trying to line up new LCD panel's pins which are often so small you cant see them.
AnswerID: 120772

Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Monday, Jul 18, 2005 at 21:10

Monday, Jul 18, 2005 at 21:10

I realise it is a bit late this time 'round but in future, I would recommend you forget all about "Energizer e2 Titanium" batteries, or other brand equivalents.
They are just not cost effective, beside of the leakage problem you describe.

IMHO the best batteries to use are NiMH rechargeables. I also have a Magellan Meridian (Marine) GPS and have never used anything else. I use the same type of batteries in the GPS unit, the digital camera, the portable UHF transceiver and an emergency torch. I just have a bunch of AA's (and 4 AAA's) which can be recharged via a small charger plugged directly into the cigarette lighter socket.
So I am never out of battery power.

My understanding is that due to the pricipal of construction and operation of the NiMH battery, there is very little chance of leakage, even if fully discharged.

I'm diagonally parked in a parallel Universe!

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AnswerID: 121018

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