Hot Starting Battery...funny smell when charging?? - SailNet Community

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Old 04-12-2012
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Hot Starting Battery...funny smell when charging??

I have a 2 battery system...1 starting battery and 1 deep cycle. The starting battery was dead and I was not sure how...so when I motored to Catalina I thought I'd charge it...so I left the switch on Battery 1 to charge it. About 3 hours in, we noticed a smell, looked at the batteries and there was smoke coming from the terminals, and it was HOT...switched to the 2nd battery for the rest of the trip...no issues. I just moved to a slip, and I was charging the batteries from shore power to make sure it was indeed the battery and not something else. Same issue. I plan on replacing battery 1...battery 2 the deep cycle works perfectly...can I assume that Battery 1 is toast from just age? Its at least 8 years old...probably more like 10. I'd hate to buy a new battery and fry it for other reasons...
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Old 04-12-2012
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Re: Hot Starting Battery...funny smell when charging??

Batteries get hot when they have a cell shorted out internally - replace it. It sounds like it has served you well. Your charging system is fine as the deep cycle is not having any issues.
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Old 04-12-2012
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Re: Hot Starting Battery...funny smell when charging??

Also that funny smell is a combination of hydrogen and oxygen which is EXTREMLY explosive and ignites with the slightest spark.

I am pretty sure you have a dead cell so replacement is your only option.
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Hot Starting Battery...funny smell when charging??

I don't think oxygen or hydrogen have a smell. However the acid is sulphuric so it is probably a sulphur compound like hydrogen sulphide which smells like rotten eggs.

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Old 04-12-2012
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Re: Hot Starting Battery...funny smell when charging??

8 or 10 years is about double what most folks get from an SLI battery so I'd not worry a whole lot. Could be a bad cell, could just be it was allowed to dry out and it has cooked. But I sure would stop trying to charge a battery that might be getting ready to catch on fire or explode. I'd disconnect it and at 8-10 years, just replace it.

It wouldn't hurt at this point to check your whole charging system anyway, for good connections, proper voltages, etc. If the house bank is wet lead, do check the electrolyte level in them as well. Could be your regulator has been quietly trying to fry them all, which would leave the house bank next in line for problems.
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Old 04-13-2012
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Hot Starting Battery...funny smell when charging??

Thx guys. I'm buying a new battery tomorrow.
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Old 04-20-2012
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Hot Starting Battery...funny smell when charging??

Update. Replaced the starting batter and everything is perfect. No smells. No heat. Thx again.
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