Is Thirsty Hippo Camera Safe?


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photobum

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#1
I admit I am never good in chemistry even in school. Therefore, this is a question for all chemistry geniuses.

You guys probably have heard, or have come across a product from Reckitt Benckiser called "Thirsty Hippo". Its main ingredient is calcium chloride (CaCl2).

The Thirsty Hippo is used as a desiccant to remove excessive moisture in the air. As you all know, moisture is water (H2O).

If we combine calcium chloride with water vapour (CaCl2 + 2 H2O → CaCl2·2H2O). Am I correct to say one of the by-products of these two chemicals is hydrochloric acid (HCl)? And many of us already learnt in school that hydrochloric acid is corrosive and harmful to metals.

Am I correct to say that it isn't safe to use Thirsty Hippo with our cameras and lenses?

Please verify this, as I (and I believe, many others too) are interested to know.

Thanks in advance.
 

adamadam

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From what I've read on previous posts here, someone mentioned that it makes it super super dry that even the lubrication on the lens dries out.... don't know how true this is though :)
 

zcf

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#4
:nono: no, it doesn't really produce HCl.
from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calcium_chloride
CaCO3(s) + 2 HCl → CaCl2(aq) + H2O(l) + CO2(g)
calcium carbnonate react with HCl to produce calcium chloride and water plus CO2, so Calcium chloride is a more stable product in the process after achieve equilibrium, so it won't move backward usually to form HCl.
Or
CaCl2 + 2 H2O → Ca(OH)2.2HCl
(form Ca(OH)2.2HCl as a salt compound?:dunno: )
 

photobum

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adamadam said:
From what I've read on previous posts here, someone mentioned that it makes it super super dry that even the lubrication on the lens dries out.... don't know how true this is though :)
When I put a 300ml container-sized Thirsty Hippo into my dry-cabi, the digital hygrometer reads 22% even with the dry-cabi set to 50% RH.
 

photobum

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zcf said:
calcium carbnonate react with HCl to produce calcium chloride and water plus CO2, so Calcium chloride is a more stable product in the process after achieve equilibrium, so it won't move backward usually to form HCl.
Or
CaCl2 + 2 H2O → Ca(OH)2.2HCl
Thanks for your clarification.:)
 

photobum

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A quote from Wikipedia distresses me. Here it is:

"It (calcium chloride) is used in concrete mixes to help speed up the initial setting and to strengthen the concrete. However chloride ion leads to corrosion of steel rebars, so it should not be used in reinforced concrete."

Does it still means that calcium chloride is corrosive and should not be placed near metals?
 

zcf

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#8
as long as the metal part is not in direct contact with CaCl2, I see no harm using it as a dessicant.
 

user111

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yes safe else why they manufacture it
 

photobum

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#10
user111 said:
yes safe else why they manufacture it
Bare in mind that the intended use for Thirsty Hippo isn't for photographic equipment.
 

lsisaxon

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#11
photobum said:
Bare in mind that the intended use for Thirsty Hippo isn't for photographic equipment.
Some hippos have weak bladder and been known to wet pants. At least I know it wet my pants in my cupboard before. Now I put the hippo in an disposable food container so that at least when it leaks there is still a container to hold the liquid. I don't and will never use it for photographic equipment.
 

lsisaxon

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#13
blive said:
forget it. Just get a dry cabinet, and keep your photographic equipment. Your camera and accessories are worth more than a thousand dollars.
Yeah.. and you need to keep changing the hippo, can cost you much more in the long run. A small dry cabinet only cost about $100 or so. That's about 70 or 80 3rd party hippos or about 50 bonafide hippos.
 

Artosoft

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#14
lsisaxon said:
Yeah.. and you need to keep changing the hippo, can cost you much more in the long run. A small dry cabinet only cost about $100 or so. That's about 70 or 80 3rd party hippos or about 50 bonafide hippos.
Don't forget, drycab also use electricity, which is 24 hours always on. In my case, 40 liters drycab use 4w.

But I prefer drycab than thirsty hippo for camera things.....

Regards,
Arto.
 

lsisaxon

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#15
Artosoft said:
Don't forget, drycab also use electricity, which is 24 hours always on. In my case, 40 liters drycab use 4w.

But I prefer drycab than thirsty hippo for camera things.....

Regards,
Arto.
That is not too expensive. 4w x 24h x 31 days is about 3kWh which is less than 60c.
 

lsisaxon

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#17
yanyewkay said:
sillica gel. $3/big bottle, reusable. :D
Cobalt Chloride used as the pink-blue indicator - carcinogenic.
 

photobum

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#18
lsisaxon said:
Some hippos have weak bladder and been known to wet pants. At least I know it wet my pants in my cupboard before.
Did you accidentally spill the container?
 

lsisaxon

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photobum said:
Did you accidentally spill the container?
No, the container cracked and sprang a leak. Happened 3 times, once on a bonafide hippo, the other 2 were some other brand ones.
 

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