Sunday, August 18, 2019

Nikon SB-800 Battery Door Replacement

My last attempt to clean the contacts wasn't successful in removing all of the corrosion.

Rust Never Sleeps. Neither Does Battery Corrosion: Familiarity breeds contempt, and absence makes the heart go wander. Since my world has essentially been appropriated by all things Fuji, my Nikon speedlights have been getting less attention than they should. As a consequence, my speedlights are occasional stored with their batteries still in place, and if the gremlins have their way, the batteries contained therein will leak, causing the contacts to corrode. An explanation can be found at this Wikipedia link, a portion of which I have duplicated.

...Alkaline batteries are prone to leaking potassium hydroxide, a caustic agent that can cause respiratory, eye and skin irritation.[note 1] Risk of this can be reduced by not attempting to recharge disposable alkaline cells, not mixing different battery types in the same device, replacing all of the batteries at the same time, storing in a dry place and at room temperature, and removing batteries for storage of devices...

In many cases, the surface corrosion can be removed with some #0000 steel wool or a pencil eraser. In my last corrosion event, the damage was confined to the battery door, and this simple treatment worked, that is until the corrosion returned. But if this was to be a reoccurring event, I thought I should give some thought to replacing the battery door completely. It appears I'm not the first to confront this problem, as eBay had several vendors who would sell me a non-OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) replacement for about $10.00. Meh. Not Nikon.
For more information click here
SD-800 To The Rescue: If you purchased your SB-800 new, you also received an SD-800 Battery Holder along with the other boxed goodies. I never paid much attention to this add-on because of its bulk. I determined that if I needed an power boost, I would attach a Nikon SD-8a 6-AA battery pack, which would improve my flash recycling time  significantly. 

Incidentally, this add-on was created to bring the battery output of five rechargeable NiMH batteries to the same 6-volt output of four alkaline batteries. I never gave this much thought, as I found that four NiMH batteries were sufficient for my needs, and when I needed more, added an aforementioned SD-8a battery pack. Life is good enough. 

To install the SD-800, you can refer to pages 64 and 65 of the manual for installation instructions. I reproduced those two pages here. Once done, you'll have clean electrical contacts for your batteries, but you'll always need to take along that fifth.
Pages 64 and 65 from the Nikon SB-800 manual. To view the entire PDF, click here
What You Didn't Know: It turns out that the battery cover for the SD-800 is identical to the one covering the battery compartment of the SB-800. If all you want is a new, corrosion-free cover, just remove the cover from the SD-800 and install it on the SB-800. This gives you the OEM cover you desperately want. But don't throw the uncovered SD-800 body away. Some day you may want to add that fifth battery!