Re: Beware of old AntiStatic foam

Harvey White

I've had the same white fuzz on tools as well.  In fact, my first Xcelite tool kit was odorous out of the box and I've seen the fuzz on a lot of stuff (Craftsman screwdriver, for instance).

On the batteries, these were bought at BJ's, had "DURACELL" plastered everywhere.

When I mentioned the "perfect until" date to the phone droid, I got no argument, just a check in the mail for a meter that had been ruined.  I'd be very surprised if these were fakes.  I do think they had a bad run of AAA batteries, and the AA ones leak when run dow to nothing (I think).

In the cases I have, the blue foam is toast, the gray foam is toast, and the white polystyrene foam is as good as it was on the day it was created.


On 3/21/2021 2:49 PM, stevenhorii wrote:
I think polyethylene foam instead of the black polyurethane foam does not
have the “get goopy and stick to everything” problem. Has anyone had
polyethylene foam degrade like the black stuff? I have not - either black
or white polyethylene has stood the “test of time”. I have seen foam rubber
turn to dust, but at least it does not (in my experience) get sticky.

Apparently the polyurethane foams also outgas as they degrade and this can
leave deposits on stuff - think camera optics as many camera carrying cases
use polyurethane foam.

If I have some custom-fitted black foam in a transit case, I put the item
in a plastic bag and before putting it back in the case.

Another “plastic rot” question. I have a set of Xcelite tools. One of them,
a stubby Philips screwdriver, developed a white coating on it that was
impossible to remove without sanding it off. I could get some of it off,
but it kept re-developing this. None of the other tool handles has done
this. The handles, I believe, are a butyrate plastic that gives off butyric
acid as it oxidizes but they all are and this is the only one that
developed this white coating. The whole tool kit smells rather like vomit
(my wife refers to it as my “vomit tool case”) but this is common with
butyrate plastic-handled tools.

A comment on Duracell batteries. I am pretty sure there are counterfeits
out there - particularly the “bulk packs” with no Duracell label on the
outside. Here’s an article on fakes:

When I have had Duracell batteries (the AA ones in particular) leak, on
checking, they were the ones I bought in unlabeled bulk packs. I generally
remove batteries from equipment I am not going to use frequently.

Steve Horii

On Sun, Mar 21, 2021 at 12:01 Harvey White <> wrote:

As I've mentioned previously, the latest run of Duracell (guaranteed not
to leak before 10 years) does exactly that, and often in the package.

The good news is that they will often give you money to replace the
damaged item if you call them. Their warranty is "repair or replace",
but you do have to call.

I've had the foam in probe cases crumble, (both HP and Tek), anti static
foam corrode and crumble, etc...


On 3/21/2021 9:50 AM, David Slipper wrote:
Nasty!! I wonder what other time-bombs are awaiting us!?

I'll certainly be checking my stock of bits and spares.

I always assumed that a famous brand of NiMh batteries were supposed
to be leak proof - Hah! I nearly lost a pair of nice walky-talkies and
a multimeter that way, so now cells get removed from rarely used items
and I make a point of checking torches and the like regularly.

Sadly not surprised at anything these days,

On 21/03/2021 13:07, - wrote:
Well, this thread just showed up on EEVBlog. This is exactly the
kind of
damage that I used to see happen to IC and to TE accessories that were
stored in the old antistatic foam.


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