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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Electrical Systems
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  #1  
Old 01-01-2010
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battery exploded

One of my batteries appears to have exploded. The top of the case is cracked all around the middle third of the battery. The batteries are 9 months old. Last time I was at the boat I topped up the water. It was very low ( I added 1.5 liters of water).

Any idea what could have caused this? Does it indicate a problem with my charger? The other battery appears fine.
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Old 01-01-2010
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The battery has to boil a while to be down that much fluid. Charger is definitely one possible reason. A battery down that far could have buckled plates and a shorted cell which would cause heat if the charger fuse didn't blow. I had a shorted cell in one older battery but when I found it the fuse had gone (internal in the charger). What kind or charger do you have?
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Old 01-01-2010
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In my experience it is usually overcharging (severe) that causes a battery to explode. The amount of water it needed is also indicative of overcharging. I would check the whole system, including all battery connections, starting with the charger.
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Old 01-01-2010
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Maybe your charger is too smart

Some chargers go into equalization (desulfating) mode automatically - the Iota is one that claims to do this. In this mode a lot of hydrogen can be generated, with 2 effects:
  • a lot of liquid gets carried out of the cells with the hydrogen bubbles
  • possibility of explosion exists if the battery is in a closed space (closed locker) with ignition source nearby
I don't know whether this is relevant to your charger.

My B&D charger specifies that the battery should be removed from the "vehicle" and should be in a space with good air circulation while equalization is going on. When I put it in equalization mode I pry loose the caps to allow any pressurized gases to escape.
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Old 01-01-2010
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When it gets that low on water the plates short out and can ARC internally setting off any Explosive gases made during charging


Your LUCKY you were NOT around as it can get pretty nasty
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Old 01-02-2010
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It could be either that the charger voltage is too high, or one of the cells in the battery shorted. Check your charger voltage, and don't leave it plugged in all the time.
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Old 01-02-2010
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A good charger like the Xantrex Truecharge 2 is designed to be on all the time. Their outputs should be fused on installation as described in the manual. Some are also fused internally, in the case of the Truecharge 2 for reverse polarity.
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Old 01-02-2010
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Did it freeze? If it was dead, that is a risk.

That would explain the crack around the middle very well.
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Old 01-13-2010
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How cold has it been where you are? If the temps have been below freezing and the battery was not fully charged, it is more likely that the battery's electrolyte froze and cracked the case. Chances are that the battery was sulfated, since you had to add 1.5 liters of water to it.

Unless you have sealed AGM or Gel-type batteries—you have to check the water levels in the batteries regularly. If the battery's electrolyte level drops below the tops of the plates, the exposed sections of battery plate will be rendered useless and won't hold a charge. If the battery won't hold a charge, then the electrolyte will be far more likely to freeze.

Unless you see burn/char marks, chances are very unlikely that the battery exploded.
Quote:
Originally Posted by RainDog View Post
One of my batteries appears to have exploded. The top of the case is cracked all around the middle third of the battery. The batteries are 9 months old. Last time I was at the boat I topped up the water. It was very low ( I added 1.5 liters of water).

Any idea what could have caused this? Does it indicate a problem with my charger? The other battery appears fine.
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Old 01-14-2010
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Overcharged or low on water and frozen. Check all the usual suspects, voltages and stuff. High water consumption can be overcharging or undersized battery.

When they really explode you will know it. Heard one go off, I was on other side of the shop and was glad I wasn't around it. Shrapenel everywhere, lucky hood was open as holes were punch in all the sheet metal, inner fender buckled, mount broken, and only about half the battery left in place. Bench was showered in acid and parts, even holes in the wall. Low guy in the shop so I had to clean it up, quite the mess but good lesson.
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