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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Gear & Maintenance > Electrical Systems
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Old 01-24-2010
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Battery Boxes and Banks

I'm planning to install 2 Grp 27 flooded batts in the aft end of our lazarette and I'd like to use as little space as possible and still be able to climb into the locker when necessary (like when checking on the batts). Positioning the two batts side by side in the end of the lazarette accomplishes all this and they just fit in the 14" available while in their typical plastic batt box bottoms. But the tops on the boxes hang way wide to accomodate cables and probably won't fit with two next to each other.

If the batts are well secured in their box bottoms and to the boat, and the positive posts are covered with something like Blue Sea insulators have I got the regs covered? What do you all do with multiple batts in a bank?
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Old 01-25-2010
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Sounds good to me. The only other issue is acid spilling. If the boat heels severely or is knocked down, since you have flooded batteries, and no tops to the battery boxes, there is the chance that acid would mix with seawater, which releases poisonous gases. What can you do to prevent the acid spillage???
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Old 01-25-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
If the boat heels severely or is knocked down, since you have flooded batteries, and no tops to the battery boxes, there is the chance that acid would mix with seawater, which releases poisonous gases. What can you do to prevent the acid spillage???
Well, I figure the box bottoms will contain some spillage, like a battery tray with higher sides, but in a knockdown, acid could definitely be mixed with seawater. But are those typical black plastic boxes sealed to the point where they would contain the acid in that case? Not the ones I've seen, or the ones I currently have, anyway. They have large openings for cables, after all. The top seems to be mainly to protect the terminals.

I'm surprised ABYC doesn't just require sealed batteries on boats--seems like the only way to really control the acid factor, other than a sealed box with sealed cable ports.

How does everyone out there contain their flooded cell batts?
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Old 01-25-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arf145 View Post
They have large openings for cables, after all. The top seems to be mainly to protect the terminals.
I'm surprised ABYC doesn't just require sealed batteries on boats--seems like the only way to really control the acid factor, other than a sealed box with sealed cable ports.
How does everyone out there contain their flooded cell batts?
To double quote you - "sealed box with sealed cable ports" is what I'll be doing for the Windlass battery that will live on a shelf in my forward berth. I'll totally seal up the unused openings and as best I can and seal the forward cable exit and vent hose that will all go through the forward bulkhead into the anchor locker.
A few years ago I used what I think was called a 'cable clam' or something like that for a similar operation on my last boat. My homemade version, that I haven't even started on yet, will be a similar idea which is basically just a chunk of rubber with cutouts for the cables and vent hose.
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The battery boxes I use is pretty well sealed except for the two openings that the cables come through, and the cables pretty much seal them as well.
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Old 01-27-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
The battery boxes I use is pretty well sealed except for the two openings that the cables come through, and the cables pretty much seal them as well.
And the gas?
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Old 01-27-2010
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and what about the heat?
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You can fairly easily make a battery box out of 1/2" exterior or marine grade plywood, or have one fabbed up from 1/4 plexi. Easy enough to bolt down. Use a plexi top, bedded in silicone seal, so you can eyeball the battery and notch the top or side to carry out your cables and vent hose as needed.

Plexi is acid-proof, wood obviously benefits from a couple of coats of epoxy paint, and some baking soda on a felt bottom liner is good for holding and neutralizing small acid spills.

Plastic battery boxes that really are made for runabouts and pickup trucks, are just a wrong way to go on a boat.
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They're not well enough sealed to keep hydrogen gas from escaping. Very little can keep hydrogen gas trapped.
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And the gas?
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Old 01-28-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
Plastic battery boxes that really are made for runabouts and pickup trucks, are just a wrong way to go on a boat.
Looks like it to me too, but it sure is what's out there. The only retail tough boxes with nice tops that I have found are made only for 4D, 8D, and maybe 6volt batts.

I briefly considered making my own--didn't think of acrylic though!--but because of the space, they'd have to be thin, so would need to get into fiberglass/epoxy reinforced ply or something, and, well, the project train just can't go there right now.

I'm going to try a fit of the regular black plastic boxes and see how it goes.
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