H6 stopped working due to battery acid leakage, cleaned with vinegar, now gets stuck on loading screen when turning on

Discuss the Zoom H6, H5, H4, H4n, H2, H2n, and H1. Please don't "post and run". Participate in the discussion. Thanks.
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H6 stopped working due to battery acid leakage, cleaned with vinegar, now gets stuck on loading screen when turning on

Post by Barncore » Thu Sep 28, 2017 11:51 pm

I bought a Zoom H6 off a friend which had been collecting dust in his drawer at home for 4 years without regular use. He only ever used it twice, so it's basically like new. The only problem is that it had been sitting without use for so long that the batteries leaked some acid in the terminal, and it wouldn't turn on. Replacing the batteries with new batteries didn't work, it still wouldn't turn on (unless i plug it in via usb into a computer).

So i googled what i could do about it and there was overwhelming evidence that cleaning the acid off the battery terminal using white vinegar on a cotton tip can save electronics.

I followed the instructions of a video and cleaned the terminal metals with cotton and vinegar. I was very thorough and careful. After i was done i waited about 20-30 mins or so for it to dry, put new batteries in and tried again. Low and behold it turned on, showed the H6 logo screen, then it moved to a "loading wheel" screen and got stuck there. I waited a looong time but it just stayed stuck on the loading screen. I tried turning it off and on again multiple times but it's the same thing every time - it gets stuck on loading. I even tried it again the next day and same issue.

Since the H6 is perfectly operational when plugged in via usb, i'm pretty confident the the problem is something to do with the battery terminal or power somehow, and it should be fixable. However i don't know anything about electronics really and don't know what i'm doing. What can i do to save the H6 and get it working? Please help
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Re: H6 stopped working due to battery acid leakage, cleaned with vinegar, now gets stuck on loading screen when turning

Post by Wulfraed » Fri Sep 29, 2017 9:44 am

Depending on the orientation it was stored in, the corrosion may have gone further than the terminals... like along the wires to the main circuit board.

BTW: I've always used a paste of baking soda to clean battery leaks. After all, batteries leak acid, so using another acid to clean up seems strange vs using an alkali to neutralize the acidity... And the paste has enough undissolved powder to act as an abrasive (white typewriter erasers can also be used if to freshen up the actual contact points if they weren't gold plated, just clean the eraser dust out -- white vinyl erasers {Magic Rub -- NOT Magic Clean <G>} for light duty cleaning)
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Re: H6 stopped working due to battery acid leakage, cleaned with vinegar, now gets stuck on loading screen when turning

Post by Wulfraed » Fri Sep 29, 2017 2:21 pm

Okay... so my understanding of the leakage components is out-dated <G>
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Re: H6 stopped working due to battery acid leakage, cleaned with vinegar, now gets stuck on loading screen when turning

Post by Barncore » Fri Sep 29, 2017 9:53 pm

Is there anything i can do?
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Re: H6 stopped working due to battery acid leakage, cleaned with vinegar, now gets stuck on loading screen when turning

Post by still_fiddlin » Sat Sep 30, 2017 10:30 am

Well, I *never* run my H6 from AAs, but instead use an external battery pack like this Anker. I'd try something like that if USB power is working. Even one with half the capacity will let you record for 6 hours or more, depending on the number of tracks (IME).
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Re: H6 stopped working due to battery acid leakage, cleaned with vinegar, now gets stuck on loading screen when turning

Post by Barncore » Mon Oct 02, 2017 8:05 am

That is probably last resort, as it hampers the ease of portability.

Is there anything in the power settings i can edit or something?
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Re: H6 stopped working due to battery acid leakage, cleaned with vinegar, now gets stuck on loading screen when turning

Post by Wulfraed » Mon Oct 02, 2017 8:43 am

Barncore wrote:
Mon Oct 02, 2017 8:05 am
That is probably last resort, as it hampers the ease of portability.

Is there anything in the power settings i can edit or something?
Until you know where the problem is coming from, there isn't much that can be added...

Things like opening up the unit and measuring the voltage at:
The battery contacts...
The PC board end of the wires coming from the battery contacts... {If you had corrosion on the contacts, you may have corrosion on the PC board}
Input/Output sides of any voltage regulation -- under both USB and battery conditions...
Etc...

USB power comes in at 5V; AA start at 1.5V (Alkaline) or 1.2V (NiMH) (and both are dead around 0.95V) or 3V/2.4V for the set. Since SD cards tend to be 3.3V devices, there is likely something like a buck converter chip boosting the battery voltage...
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Re: H6 stopped working due to battery acid leakage, cleaned with vinegar, now gets stuck on loading screen when turning

Post by Denis247 » Mon Oct 02, 2017 1:59 pm

USB power comes in at 5V; AA start at 1.5V (Alkaline) or 1.2V (NiMH) (and both are dead around 0.95V) or 3V/2.4V for the set. Since SD cards tend to be 3.3V devices, there is likely something like a buck converter chip boosting the battery voltage...
[/quote]

H6 takes 4 x AA
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Re: H6 stopped working due to battery acid leakage, cleaned with vinegar, now gets stuck on loading screen when turning

Post by Wulfraed » Mon Oct 02, 2017 6:39 pm

Denis247 wrote:
Mon Oct 02, 2017 1:59 pm
USB power comes in at 5V; AA start at 1.5V (Alkaline) or 1.2V (NiMH) (and both are dead around 0.95V) or 3V/2.4V for the set. Since SD cards tend to be 3.3V devices, there is likely something like a buck converter chip boosting the battery voltage...
H6 takes 4 x AA
[/quote]

May still be a buck converter, or at least down-regulator, since the totals for fresh batteries would be 6V (alkaline) and 4.8V (NiMH)... Near dead you'd be around 3.8V. Still a question of what the wiring is like, not just the contacts of the battery box (I've got one device where the /paint/ on the metal has been eaten away from battery leakage -- fortunately it was stored such that leakage was to the outside, not into the circuitry)
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Re: H6 stopped working due to battery acid leakage, cleaned with vinegar, now gets stuck on loading screen when turning

Post by still_fiddlin » Wed Oct 04, 2017 7:24 am

Barncore wrote:
Mon Oct 02, 2017 8:05 am
That is probably last resort, as it hampers the ease of portability.

Is there anything in the power settings i can edit or something?
Hmm, well, you asked if there was "anything" you could do, and I answered that question. Maybe itemize your constraints on possible solutions!

You do need to make sure the battery menu option is set to match the kind of AAs you are using, Alkaline or NiMh.

Failing all that I'd either go shopping or send it to a Zoom repair center and see what the repair will set you back.

(The H6 is not exactly something that fits in your shirt pocket, at least it doesn't fit in the pockets of any t-shirts I own. I can/do fit a smaller size 5400mAh USB charger and short cable all inside the plastic case the H6 came in, along with an EXH-6 XLR adapter and a couple spare SD cards, so an external USB power source has not hampered my portability - I use it all the time for over 5 years recording away from home.
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Re: H6 stopped working due to battery acid leakage, cleaned with vinegar, now gets stuck on loading screen when turning

Post by Barncore » Mon Oct 09, 2017 1:43 am

still_fiddlin wrote:
Wed Oct 04, 2017 7:24 am

You do need to make sure the battery menu option is set to match the kind of AAs you are using, Alkaline or NiMh.
How do i find out if they're Alkaline or NiMh?

On the packet it says Carbon
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Re: H6 stopped working due to battery acid leakage, cleaned with vinegar, now gets stuck on loading screen when turning

Post by still_fiddlin » Mon Oct 09, 2017 8:14 am

Barncore wrote:
Mon Oct 09, 2017 1:43 am
still_fiddlin wrote:
Wed Oct 04, 2017 7:24 am

You do need to make sure the battery menu option is set to match the kind of AAs you are using, Alkaline or NiMh.
How do i find out if they're Alkaline or NiMh?

On the packet it says Carbon
Assuming you aren't pulling our legs, it will be clearly on the battery what type it is. If it doesn't say ALKALINE or NiMh (or Ni-Mh or Nickel Metal-Hydride, something like that) you probably have the wrong AA type.
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Re: H6 stopped working due to battery acid leakage, cleaned with vinegar, now gets stuck on loading screen when turning

Post by Wulfraed » Mon Oct 09, 2017 9:04 am

Barncore wrote:
Mon Oct 09, 2017 1:43 am
still_fiddlin wrote:
Wed Oct 04, 2017 7:24 am

You do need to make sure the battery menu option is set to match the kind of AAs you are using, Alkaline or NiMh.
How do i find out if they're Alkaline or NiMh?

On the packet it says Carbon
The last time I saw a carbon-zinc battery it was an off-shore (eg: Chinese) made look-alike for a major brand, and each battery weighed half of what a typical alkaline did. Back in the 70s, these were the original EverReady "9-Lives" cat cells, when "Energizer" was EverReady's name for alkaline cells "EverReady alkaline Energizer". Sometime in the 80s, EverReady changed name to just Energizer, and pretty much stopped making the 9-lives carbon-zinc (the aforesaid off-shore battery had the EverReady name on it -- in the 2010 time-frame).

https://michaelbluejay.com/batteries/disposable.html

Nominally, carbon-zinc should have the /starting/ voltage of an alkaline: 1.5V... But it may not hold it very long, nor be able to deliver long.

Recommendation: dump them and find a set of real alkaline -- Energizer, Ray-o-vac; or maybe even try the expensive Energizer Lithium (I believe these would be set as alkaline for voltage levels). Or... get a major brand of NiMH and a smart charger (Maha/PowerEx C401) {cheap chargers only work in pairs, the C401 can charge one cell, up to four cells, handling each one individually}

For the most part, the alkaline/NiMH setting on Zoom devices just sets the thresholds for the battery meter (NiMH start at 1.2V, which would be a third to half dead for 1.5V alkaline). I don't think it controls any sort of voltage regulation/buck converter.
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Re: H6 stopped working due to battery acid leakage, cleaned with vinegar, now gets stuck on loading screen when turning

Post by still_fiddlin » Mon Oct 09, 2017 12:27 pm

Wulfraed wrote:
Mon Oct 09, 2017 9:04 am
...
Recommendation: dump them and find a set of real alkaline -- Energizer, Ray-o-vac; or maybe even try the expensive Energizer Lithium (I believe these would be set as alkaline for voltage levels). Or... get a major brand of NiMH and a smart charger (Maha/PowerEx C401) {cheap chargers only work in pairs, the C401 can charge one cell, up to four cells, handling each one individually}

For the most part, the alkaline/NiMH setting on Zoom devices just sets the thresholds for the battery meter (NiMH start at 1.2V, which would be a third to half dead for 1.5V alkaline). I don't think it controls any sort of voltage regulation/buck converter.
Probably right about the setting, which is essentially what the manual says about it, but I've not actually tested it. (Generally, I've not been really happy with NiMh in the Zooms, which is why I switched to the Lithium, external USB devices for my H6 and Alkalines for the old H2.) However, the manual does list only those two types of batteries.
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Re: H6 stopped working due to battery acid leakage, cleaned with vinegar, now gets stuck on loading screen when turning

Post by Barncore » Mon Oct 09, 2017 9:42 pm

No leg pulling here...

Image

They look like the kind of brand like Wulfraed was explaining. Definitely some cheap asian knock-off brand. I was trying to save money haha, i didn't think it was a problem.
On the actual battery it doesn't say Alkaline, NiMH OR Carbon. It just says "Super battery" and "0% Mercurcy" and some other unrelated stuff. It does say 1.5V however.
No mention of Alkaline or NiMH on the front OR back of the packet. And trust me i looked thoroughly.
On the bottom of the front packet it mentions "zinc carbon".

Could the battery type be the cause of the problem?! Only one way to find out, i'll try some Energizer batteries like suggested. Thanks!
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Re: H6 stopped working due to battery acid leakage, cleaned with vinegar, now gets stuck on loading screen when turning

Post by Barncore » Mon Oct 09, 2017 9:55 pm

Ok i found these batteries lying around in my draw, which appear to be Alkaline (albeit another cheap brand)...

Image

I tried them in the H6 and the same problem occurred (stuck on loading screen). Dammit.
And after accessing the settings (when i plugged it in via usb) i saw that the battery settings was set to Alkaline.

I'll still try some Energizer batteries regardless but i can't say i'm super optimistic that it will fix the problem.

Would doing a factory reset help anything? Or is that risky?
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