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  #11  
Old 08-14-2013
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Re: Stow location for batteries on PSC 34

Dave,
That is a great point. Do you think your friends battery blew up from the high ambient temps or from some kind of charging fault or both?

I've installed battery temp sensors for my solar, alternator and 110v chargers. They are supposed to back off the charge if the batteries start to get hot, in theory preventing an explosion. However, as you point put, if your batteries are hot due to where they are installed then that same safety feature will make it impossible to efficiently charge the batteries as it would always be limiting the amount of amps it allows to the batteries.

On a previous boat, the batteries sat on either side of the engine just inches away in the engine compartment. Horrible place for batteries.
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  #12  
Old 08-15-2013
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Re: Stow location for batteries on PSC 34

Hi Brian,

At this point, the cause is not completely clear. My friend is in Canada at the moment and the boat, which was a recent purchase, is on the hard in Mexico, but 200 miles from my location. I've only had short email exchanges with him but I know he's trying to pin down the cause. The boat was in the water and cruising when it happened.

I am not saying his battery blew up due to thermal runaway at this point, only that it is not pretty when a battery does pop. Fortunately, in this case no one was hurt. I'll try to let you know when I find out.

Dave

Last edited by DaveMancini; 08-15-2013 at 01:41 AM. Reason: error
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Old 08-16-2013
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Re: Stow location for batteries on PSC 34

Brian,

Just got an email from my friend with details on the battery blow up. The batteries (wet cells) were stored in a poorly ventilated area. They were drawn down very deeply each night and charged back up again during the day by a solar array. They were a few years old. The casing on the battery that blew ruptured violently. There was no temperature sensor on the charge regulator.

I am no expert, but on the surface, it sounds like a thermal runaway to me, not an external hydrogen explosion. It certainly demonstrates the importance of having a temp sensor and good ventilation.

Dave

Last edited by DaveMancini; 08-16-2013 at 05:33 PM. Reason: correction
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Old 08-16-2013
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Re: Stow location for batteries on PSC 34

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveMancini View Post
It certainly demonstrates the importance of having a temp sensor and good ventilation.
Of course we have no ventilation. Has anyone added ventilation to the port locker? If so how? I cannot imagine venting to the interior, but I also hate to create a new leak source. I have thought about a hole with a computer fan in the coaming box with a threaded opening I could screw a plate over if I was worried about it.
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  #15  
Old 08-16-2013
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Re: Stow location for batteries on PSC 34

We have been okay so far with the fridge and sea water cooling the battery box from the inside and the two holes in the half lids venting the box. That's five years in the tropics including the 100º+ temps where we are at now.

Since heat rises, the hottest air in the port locker is going to layer at the top. Some can escape through the 1/2 gap between the locker's forward bulkhead and the deck into the galley sliding door locker and out. If the port locker hatch and surrounding areas are covered with a bimini or other cover, that helps. Heat from inside the locker can also better radiate off those surfaces. We also cover the space between our cockpit cover and the caprail on the sunny side of the boat. Then, we hang a cover from the caprail to about one foot off the water where the sun hits the hull covering the locker. Looks like hell.

We have never hung these last two covers until now, but we have never been in this kind of sustained heat before. As I said in a previous post, the inside of the battery box is typically staying below 80º with all of these things in play. And, we do have a temp sensor on our solar regulator and AC charger.

Having said all of this (whew!), I still think your idea, RD, is a good one, maybe even brilliant. If it accomplished the same or better cooling than the covers we've been hanging (pia), at least the boat would look better.

Dave

Last edited by DaveMancini; 08-16-2013 at 03:33 PM. Reason: addition
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Old 08-16-2013
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Re: Stow location for batteries on PSC 34

I was thinking as much of gas venting as cooling. All the original equipment in that locker (battery charger, hw heater, surge tank) are badly rusted. It is clear battery gasses are accumulating. I am not really that worried about an explosion, but the rust is kind of annoying. I am ripping all that out and putting the charger elsewhere, but I will still have metal objects in that locker.
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Old 08-16-2013
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Re: Stow location for batteries on PSC 34

Okay, I see. We've got AGM's so I wasn't thinking about hydrogen. Good point. I'm thinking any gas would probably still get out through the hatch cover (H2 is really thin) and the gap at the bulkhead which is at the highest point in the locker. But your idea would certainly clinch it.

Dave
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Old 08-16-2013
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Re: Stow location for batteries on PSC 34

Also, I predict you will be a much happier man with that water heater and all of its associated stuff out of there.
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Old 08-16-2013
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Re: Stow location for batteries on PSC 34

Dave,
Scary stuff. Thinking of electrical fires and explosions have kept me up at night. Maybe that's why I've oversized all of my electrical wiring and sometimes redundantly fused components. Probably overkill, but at least I sleep better.

RD,
I've been stewing over the ventilation thing as well, especially since I just weatherstripped the locker lid to keep out water. I initially thought of doing exactly as you suggested with a computer fan through the coaming box, but nothing elegant yet has come to mind. That still may be the best answer though.
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Re: Stow location for batteries on PSC 34

Brian,

My first cruising boat did not have an electrical wire on it. I was in bliss.

Dave
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