Battery charger dead?

Hi all,
Last week I posted the fact that our camper trailers toolbox had got some condensation in it over the winter. I now have some fixes for that, thank you. Now my problem is the Projecta 12v battery charger I keep in there, does not want to work. It is only around 12 months old. Do you think it is finished? Can I fix it? There was enough water in the toolbox to create some mould and make the cardboard box the charger sits in, a little damp. Any ideas?
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Reply By: cookie1 - Sunday, Sep 02, 2012 at 15:20

Sunday, Sep 02, 2012 at 15:20
Was there any signs of moisture in the charger? If so, your local friendly radio tradesman should be able to look at it if it is worth the money. If not, then I would suggest taking it back to where you bought it.

Unless you're qualified, and by the posting here I would suggest not, then do not try to repair it yourself as most employ switch mode power supplies not transformers and can be quite lethal.

Cheers

Colin
AnswerID: 494118

Reply By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Sunday, Sep 02, 2012 at 15:23

Sunday, Sep 02, 2012 at 15:23
It may well be that there is still enough moisture within the charger to cause it to malfunction. Try placing it in a warm place such as direct sunlight for at least several days to dry it out, then try using it again. Or you could place it in an enclosure with a 60w incandescent lamp. But keep the lamp away from the sides if using a cardboard box. Do not be tempted to place it in the kitchen oven.... you could not set the temperature low enough. 100c is maximum.

Or it could be fatally ruined. Sorry.

Cheers
Allan

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Reply By: Ross M - Sunday, Sep 02, 2012 at 15:34

Sunday, Sep 02, 2012 at 15:34
nootsa
If you have a compressor you can flow air from the compressor through the battery charger. This is safe to do and will dry out excessive moisture, which if present would stop it from switching and therefore charging. A warm dry place will also do this but will take longer and is ultimately better for the drying process.

It is possible if it was switched on with moisture on the circuit board then it may not have started to switch and this wii l=most likely cause the 240v fuse to blow and that is all is required to make it operational again.

AnswerID: 494121

Follow Up By: nootsa200873 - Sunday, Sep 02, 2012 at 18:15

Sunday, Sep 02, 2012 at 18:15
Ok, sounds like it. Mabye I should take it to someone who knows electronics? Or is a fuse easy to find inside? Thanks for your help!
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Reply By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Sunday, Sep 02, 2012 at 18:01

Sunday, Sep 02, 2012 at 18:01
Does it have a fuse ???.

Just might be that simple.

Cheers, Bruce.
At home and at ease on a track that I know not and
restless and lost on a track that I know. HL.

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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Sunday, Sep 02, 2012 at 18:22

Sunday, Sep 02, 2012 at 18:22
If it does have a fuse and that fuse is blown, then it is blown for a very good reason. It is not wise to simply replace any fuse until the fault has been identified and corrected or you may cause irreversible damage.

At the very least, thoroughly dry the charger out as I previously described before reapplying power.

Also I disagree with the suggestion of simply blowing air through the charger to dry it out. Moisture invariably gets into electrical components by capilliary effect and is not simply removed by air passing over the component. Gentle heat on the other hand vaporises the moisture and it is expelled. Placing the whole thing into a vacuum chamber is by far the best method but not everybody has a vacuum chamber readily available.

After it has been thoroughly dried you could consider replacing any fuses and restoring power.

This information has been gained from much experience with water damaged electrical and electronic equipment.

Cheers
Allan

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Reply By: Member - Ups and Downs - Monday, Sep 03, 2012 at 08:37

Monday, Sep 03, 2012 at 08:37
Moisture in a mobile phone saw the suggestion of placing the phone in a plastic bag with some rice.

Apparently the rice will 'suck up' the moisture.

Whether that is correct or not I don't know, but it sounds plausible.

Paul
AnswerID: 494152

Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Monday, Sep 03, 2012 at 09:03

Monday, Sep 03, 2012 at 09:03
Well if the rice is quite dry it might...... given enough time. But then any other dry substance would be as good.
I really wonder if the originator of such ideas has actually successfully tried them or just proposing a 'clever' idea.
"Apparently" and "sounds plausible" are certainly the right words here!

The only effective way is to use a desiccant such as silica-gel.

Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: wombat100 - Monday, Sep 03, 2012 at 12:14

Monday, Sep 03, 2012 at 12:14
Could be a job for 'Mythbusters' !!!
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Follow Up By: Member - Ups and Downs - Monday, Sep 03, 2012 at 18:24

Monday, Sep 03, 2012 at 18:24
You're probably right Allan however rice is probably easier to procure than silica-gel.

One day I might try it out. That's if Mythbusters don't do it first.

Paul
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Monday, Sep 03, 2012 at 23:24

Monday, Sep 03, 2012 at 23:24
After a search for "rice + phone" it appears that this myth is widely distributed.

Just give a little thought to it. Rice is hydroscopic, meaning it absorbs water vapour from the air around it and normally contains about 10-15g of water per 100g of rice. In its normal state it is fully saturated with water from the air around it and therefore at balance and will not absorb more water from the air.

Silica-gel on the other hand has a high affinity for water and can absorb water to 40-50% of its dry weight. Clearly this will be more likely to be effective in drying such as electronic equipment.

Cheers
Allan

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Reply By: The Bantam - Monday, Sep 03, 2012 at 13:33

Monday, Sep 03, 2012 at 13:33
It realy does not sound good.
People are so optimistic with these things.

If the box that the unit was in is wet....good chace the charger is wet too.

So a240 volt item that was and possibly still is wet, has been powered up....HMM not good.

You could try drying it out...simplest and best is to leave it in the back seat of the car parked in the sun, covered with a clean light coloured cloth for a week or so.
everything else is just fiddling.

then try it again.

otherwise.....these things are relativly cheap and very few technicians that are still in business ( no one wants to pay us to fix things these days) will probably have a minimum charge more than buying a new one.

Even then... the item will probably be undocumented and uneconomical to repair.

sorry but we live in a throw away society.

As for condensation........realy......that much water...I'd belooking for a leak.

cheers
AnswerID: 494169

Reply By: nootsa200873 - Tuesday, Sep 11, 2012 at 21:06

Tuesday, Sep 11, 2012 at 21:06
It works again!! I dried it out for a whole week, and now it works again! Just dried it inside the house, in front of the sunny window. Thanks all for your help, I am sure you lot saved me 100 bucks!! Cheers Chris.
AnswerID: 494732

Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Tuesday, Sep 11, 2012 at 22:02

Tuesday, Sep 11, 2012 at 22:02
Great news.
As my mother used to say, "A little warmth goes a long way". LOL

Cheers
Allan

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