Is my battery about to explode? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 13 Old 07-31-2008 Thread Starter
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Is my battery about to explode?

So I have a severely neglected 4d interstate battery on my boat. It's been discharged for probably one year and depending on how the owner/broker treated it perhaps 3 years.

I plugged it into my brand new Xantrex Truecharge 40 and decided it was in need of an equalization charge. Started it last night at 10:00pm PDT. It ran like I would expect, slowly decreasing from 40 to 20 to 10 to 5A. This afternoon it went back up to 10, then to 20 the next hour and I noticed the battery is pretty hot. In fact you could feel the heat through the battery box. It's also making that nice sizzling noise.

I stopped the equalization charge (ran about 17hrs total), let it rest an hour and checked the voltage. 12.62 at the terminals. Seems low...

Does this seem normal? Abnormal? Anyone ever had an equalization charge go back up in amps before? Should it get hot or make sizzling noises? Do interstate batteries suck as much as I think they do?

I'm in a quandry because we're leaving for 3 weeks tomorrow and I don't know if this battery will hold a charge or not. We plan to spend most of the time at anchor and will be needing the battery.

Any suggestions on what I should do or how I should test it?

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post #2 of 13 Old 07-31-2008
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Interstate makes a pretty decent battery. The sizzling noise is probably the electrolyte boiling, which is pretty much normal when you're doing an equalization charge cycle. 12.62 VDC is pretty much 100% charge or so for a 12 VDC battery.

You need to get a load tester and test the battery. Or, alternatively, you can get a hydrometer and check each cell in the battery to see what the specific gravity is. Ideally, you should do both.

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post #3 of 13 Old 07-31-2008
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I have to ask the obvious: Did you check the electrolyte levels in the cells before and after you charged it? The sizzling sounds like you boiled it out.

If there is electrolyte (water/acid) in the battery, the next step is to go to your auto parts house and get a hydrometer. After leaving the battery charger off for about 3 or 4 hours, at least, check each cell with the hydrometer.

My first inclination is to say the battery is shot. If it's been dead for at least a year, and maybe as much as three years, then the battery is at the end of its useful life, anyway. I certainly wouldn't plan on cruising with it.

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post #4 of 13 Old 07-31-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MedSailor View Post
Any suggestions on what I should do or how I should test it?

MedSailor
You could spend a lot of time trying to revive this probably defunct battery, all the while worrying whether it will perform for your trip or leave you in a bind. Or blow up on you.

Or you could go out, buy a new one, install it, and charge it up. If you take good care of it (and with that charger you will) it will last you 5-8 years. That's 5-8 worry free years.

Hmmm.


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post #5 of 13 Old 07-31-2008 Thread Starter
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Quote:
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Interstate makes a pretty decent battery. The sizzling noise is probably the electrolyte boiling, which is pretty much normal when you're doing an equalization charge cycle. 12.62 VDC is pretty much 100% charge or so for a 12 VDC battery.
Interstate makes a decent battery eh? The reason I was suspicious was because there is not AH rating. It gives lots of cranking amps and reserve minutes (how do they calculate reserve minutes anyway) but no AH. I'm hoping that the P/O didn't buy a 4D starting battery.... Do they even make 4D starting batteries?

As for the voltage I thought 12.8 was full and 12.6 was only 2/3 or so.

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post #6 of 13 Old 07-31-2008
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Medsailor-

It could be a 4D starting battery... it would be stupid to do that, but it very well could be. From what I saw on the Interstate battery site, the only 4D marine battery they make is a dual use. The model is SRM-4D. Is that marked anywhere on the battery you have???

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post #7 of 13 Old 07-31-2008 Thread Starter
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Quote:
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Medsailor-

It could be a 4D starting battery... it would be stupid to do that, but it very well could be. From what I saw on the Interstate battery site, the only 4D marine battery they make is a dual use. The model is SRM-4D. Is that marked anywhere on the battery you have???
SRM-4D is my battery. 2005. I wasn't able to find AH on the site for it. "Dual use" sounds like code for cheap deep cycle to me.....

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post #8 of 13 Old 07-31-2008
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Interstate 4D's as I recall provide 155ah's at the 20hr. rate.

In any case...after sitting a year without a charge, this baby is toast IMO. Get a new one before leaving on a cruise. 12.63 volts is FULLY charged but to getthat reading immediately after an EQ charge is BAD since you should be reading over 13V with a surfsace charge. My guess is a load test will draw the battery down quickly. Get a new one as cheap trip insurance for a few years! Have fun!

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It isn't a deep cycle battery technically. The plates are thinner than a true deep cycle battery would have.

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post #10 of 13 Old 07-31-2008
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MY Guess would be that initially it was ok, but as the plates started excepting the charge they started shedding and now are basically shorting out the bat. internally by piling up on the bottom...part of the reason its getting so hot... doubt it would explode but you dont want it on yor boat..

I just through out 2 8D's as they sat for a year and a half in a machine we didnt use and I was lazy about removing them...sad thing is they were 2 weeks old when I parked the machine..dumb..real dumb
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