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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I wound up inadvertently completely draining the battery on my boat a couple of weeks ago, so I took it home to charge. After charging the battery, I put the thing in the back of my car to reinstall the next time I was aboard. Turns out that "next time" was yesterday after work.

Anyway, I get to marina, roll up the hatchback privacy screen, and there is the battery, toppled over on its side in a pool of liquid. The liquid has clearly dissolved the carpet of the cargo mat, and has soaked a sweatshirt and an umbrella. My canvas boat bag is at the edge of this pool, as is the carryall I use to hold my "boat clothes". Ick, ick, ick.

Make a long story at least a little shorter, the battery acid had not dissolved the bottom of the cargo mat, so the car was fine. The sweatshirt and golf umbrella went in the dumpster immediately. I tried to save the cargo mat, but it was too far gone, so away that went too. I took the boat bag home and tried to wash it (twice), but it looks like a goner too. I thought the carryall had escaped unscathed, but upon closer look at home, it apparently got enough acid to make it goey on the inside, so off to the garbage.

After filling the battery with more distilled water, she charged right up again (gotta love the deep cycle).

Lesson learned: do not spill battery acid. Ick. You're welcome.
 

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I wound up inadvertently completely draining the battery on my boat a couple of weeks ago, so I took it home to charge. After charging the battery, I put the thing in the back of my car to reinstall the next time I was aboard. Turns out that "next time" was yesterday after work.

Anyway, I get to marina, roll up the hatchback privacy screen, and there is the battery, toppled over on its side in a pool of liquid. The liquid has clearly dissolved the carpet of the cargo mat, and has soaked a sweatshirt and an umbrella. My canvas boat bag is at the edge of this pool, as is the carryall I use to hold my "boat clothes". Ick, ick, ick.

Make a long story at least a little shorter, the battery acid had not dissolved the bottom of the cargo mat, so the car was fine. The sweatshirt and golf umbrella went in the dumpster immediately. I tried to save the cargo mat, but it was too far gone, so away that went too. I took the boat bag home and tried to wash it (twice), but it looks like a goner too. I thought the carryall had escaped unscathed, but upon closer look at home, it apparently got enough acid to make it goey on the inside, so off to the garbage.

After filling the battery with more distilled water, she charged right up again (gotta love the deep cycle).

Lesson learned: do not spill battery acid. Ick. You're welcome.
That sucks....

Unfortunately the battery will suffer shorter life, how much is impossible to say. When the water gasses off the acid concentration stays, and adding more water gets you back to pretty much where you were. With a spill you now have a diluted battery acid...
 

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There was a time when you could buy a little plastic bag of battery acid, but I do not know if it's still available (thank you EPA). If you have a real battery manufacturer (not a retail outlet, but someone who builds and sells custom batteries) in your area, I'd give them a call. If they have it, be sure to tell them what battery you have and ask how much you should add to the water, because over doing it is just as bad as not enough.
 
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You should still be able to buy battery acid. Sulfuric acid is not much of an environmental hazard by itself; it's the stuff that gets dissolved into the acid once it's been used that's the problem. Check your local auto parts store(s). They should sell acid in pint or quart containers for not too much $$.
 

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Don't call me a "senior"!
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There was a time when you could buy a little plastic bag of battery acid, but I do not know if it's still available (thank you EPA)...
Don't you just love how people assign blame before they even know that there is a "problem"?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks all. Maine, I was thinking that same thing about dilution, but I had no idea if I was right, nor what to do about it. Assuming I find battery acid, how do I know how much to put in? And now that I've filled up the cells with distilled water, how do fit the acid in there?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
fyi, in trying to answer my own questions, I came across this website that does not recommend trying to recreate the correct mix of acid and water after a partial spill:

BatteryStuff Articles | When Should You Add Extra Sulfuric Acid to Your Battery?

That brings to mind another question: how much liquid is in a group 24 battery? My spill didn't seem very big, but it seemed to me that the battery sucked up about a half a quart of distilled water when I refilled it. Any way of telling how much of the original fluid I lost?
 

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I wound up inadvertently completely draining the battery on my boat a couple of weeks ago, so I took it home to charge. After charging the battery, I put the thing in the back of my car to reinstall the next time I was aboard. Turns out that "next time" was yesterday after work.

Anyway, I get to marina, roll up the hatchback privacy screen, and there is the battery, toppled over on its side in a pool of liquid. The liquid has clearly dissolved the carpet of the cargo mat, and has soaked a sweatshirt and an umbrella. My canvas boat bag is at the edge of this pool, as is the carryall I use to hold my "boat clothes". Ick, ick, ick.

Make a long story at least a little shorter, the battery acid had not dissolved the bottom of the cargo mat, so the car was fine. The sweatshirt and golf umbrella went in the dumpster immediately. I tried to save the cargo mat, but it was too far gone, so away that went too. I took the boat bag home and tried to wash it (twice), but it looks like a goner too. I thought the carryall had escaped unscathed, but upon closer look at home, it apparently got enough acid to make it goey on the inside, so off to the garbage.

After filling the battery with more distilled water, she charged right up again (gotta love the deep cycle).

Lesson learned: do not spill battery acid. Ick. You're welcome.
Considering that the battery was "fully" charged when you lost (most of) the electrolyte, in the same circumstances I would have taken the unit to a good battery shop, or even a "Batteries Plus" outlet, where they could have drained off the remaining electrolyte and refilled the battery with an appropriate solution. Perhaps that's still possible but likely more problematic at this point and it might be wiser to simply trade the unit in on a replacement (and drive more carefully, and conservatively, to the marina to avoid a similar problem, no?)
 

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What you should have done:
1. Test the gravity or refractive index (better) of what remained in the battery before adding water. This should confirm that the battery was charged.
2. Make up a solution of acid that matched the gravity of the spilled acid.

A starting point would be about 33% acid, but that depends on the exact state of charge.

We had a pallet jack tip and loose a lot of acid that way. Refilling with an acid mix, the batteries lasted many more years.

The problem with adding acid now is mixing. If the battery is not coming quite up to charge, I would try adding an acid solution (33%) next time it needs water; this should gradually bring it up. If you lost a pint (1/2 quart) you only need ~ 150 ml of acid mixed into 1 pint total.
 

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This brings another question to mind. Is the liquid that gasses off components of water only and is it perfectly replaced by adding water or is some of the electrolyte perminantly lost with off-gassing during charging?
 

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Lead sulphide eventually turns to sulphate so that explains the oxygen, the hydrogen gases off. I'd take the battery to a knowledgable shop and let them measure,refill and charge and remeasure sp. May recover it .
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
What you should have done:
1. Test the gravity or refractive index (better) of what remained in the battery before adding water. This should confirm that the battery was charged.
2. Make up a solution of acid that matched the gravity of the spilled acid.

A starting point would be about 33% acid, but that depends on the exact state of charge.

We had a pallet jack tip and loose a lot of acid that way. Refilling with an acid mix, the batteries lasted many more years.

The problem with adding acid now is mixing. If the battery is not coming quite up to charge, I would try adding an acid solution (33%) next time it needs water; this should gradually bring it up. If you lost a pint (1/2 quart) you only need ~ 150 ml of acid mixed into 1 pint total.
I had fully charged the battery about a week before it spilled; during that week, the battery had sat in my garage or in my car. And, according the gauge on my battery charger, the battery recharged fully after I filled it with water a couple of days ago. I guess the question now is how long it will hold that charge and/or discharge.

Live and learn.
 

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I had fully charged the battery about a week before it spilled; during that week, the battery had sat in my garage or in my car. And, according the gauge on my battery charger, the battery recharged fully after I filled it with water a couple of days ago. I guess the question now is how long it will hold that charge and/or discharge.

Live and learn.
One cannot measure the state of charge with a Voltage meter. The only true measure of the state of charge is the specific gravity of the electrolyte. N'any case, it's your battery/your choice. Good luck...
 
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This brings another question to mind. Is the liquid that gasses off components of water only and is it perfectly replaced by adding water or is some of the electrolyte perminantly lost with off-gassing during charging?
Hydrogen is the gas produced from the positive plates during re-charging. Hydrogen is non-odorous and extremely flammable. (a la' Hindenburg)
 

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If the battery is already 3-4 year old, it may just be simpler to write it off and replace it.

This is the one saving grace of AGMs, despite an other disadvantage. They don't spill and don't eat clothing$, trunk mat$, floor carpet$....or $kin.
 

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Hydrogen is the gas produced from the positive plates during re-charging. Hydrogen is non-odorous and extremely flammable. (a la' Hindenburg)
Thanks for the warning. I was aware of the Hydrogen off-gassing but that is seemingly replaced easily enough with H2O. I was wondering if the acid itself gasses off with time, though from an earlier post, it appears it doesn't off-gas but rather degrades as the plates react with it.

MedSailor
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
If the battery is already 3-4 year old, it may just be simpler to write it off and replace it.

This is the one saving grace of AGMs, despite an other disadvantage. They don't spill and don't eat clothing$, trunk mat$, floor carpet$....or $kin.
Unfortunately, the battery is about 3 months old. I reinstalled it last evening, and it worked fine. Provided plenty of juice to start the outboard and run the chartplotter. I'm going to see what happens.
 

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How to say this without being rude....

A required part of the battery fell out and has been replaced with water. Clearly they did not put the acid in for their good health; it cost $ and is needed. Replace it, next time the water is down, with the appropriate solution.

Unless you have a refractometer or hydrometer to test the fluid, and a voltage meter to test the loaded and unloaded battery, you will not know what you have.

Most likely you are going to see a 15-25% loss in capacity, since you did not loose that much volume.
 
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