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Old 04-06-2016, 09:45 PM   #1
Rivet Master
 
1973 25' Tradewind
Beautiful , Oregon
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 548
Battery boiled over?

Hi Folks

I was hoping I could get your insights on a battery or charging system. I am at the end of a renovation on my 1973 Tradewind. One of the things I had done for me was a new Boondocker converter installed. It really has not been used besides while I am working inside it and to maintain the battery.

I went out there last night and saw liquid under the trailer I felt the side of the trailer and found the battery compartment was hot figuring what happened was the battery boiled over. The battery is not a high-end battery but was bought 6/12 so is relatively new. I will admit I have not checked it during this time.

My question is how can I find out if it was the battery that went bad and caused the problem or something with the new converter? If it was the converter how do I check it out?
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Old 04-06-2016, 11:55 PM   #2
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1974 Argosy 20
2014 20' Flying Cloud
Kooskia , Idaho
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Posts: 4,591
An internal short in at least one cell of your battery caused the problem. When that happens far more of the charge energy goes to that cell, causing it to overheat. Then whatever liquid is left in the cell may actually seem to boil and leak out.

The short may just be due to age, or it could be due to the liquid in the battery going down below the plates. When that happens, and the plates expand and touch, there is a progressive failure and destruction of the cell, heating, etc.

Since you have not paid much attention to the battery, probably it just needed water, and didn't get any, and failed.
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Old 04-06-2016, 11:58 PM   #3
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2015 30' Classic
Pleasanton , California
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Using a voltmeter, measure the voltage across the battery terminals while connected to shore power, converter enabled, with as many loads as possible disconnected. Depending on the state of your battery you should measure either 14.6 (boost mode), 13.6 (normal), or 13.2 (float). The tolerance for these settings is typically +/- 0.2 V.

Assuming you find the correct voltage, one of the best ways to verify the health of the battery is to measure the specific gravity of the electrolyte. For less than $20 at your local autoparts store you can buy a battery hydrometer for this purpose. This will allow you to confirm the health of each cell within the battery.
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Old 04-07-2016, 10:27 AM   #4
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2015 30' Classic
Pleasanton , California
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idroba's hypothesis is a good one! Also measure the battery terminal voltage with shore power disconnected. If an internal cell is shorted we should see a lower terminal voltage.
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Old 04-07-2016, 11:26 AM   #5
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1958 18' "Footer"
Idyllwild , California
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 516
Tips;
Those Red Shop Rags turn Blue when exposed to Acid.
Baking Soda (I use Arm & Hammer) neutralizes the Battery Acid. You should use the baking soda to help clean up the compartment.
You should have a Tray to collect the Battery Acid when this happens. Anything that isn't effected by the acid will work but Battery Boxes are typically used;
http://www.amazon.com/NOCO-HM318BKS-.../dp/B004W5SGBO
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Old 04-07-2016, 05:55 PM   #6
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1973 25' Tradewind
Beautiful , Oregon
Join Date: Sep 2009
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Thanks guys

I have written off the battery and will replace it with an AGM.

Should I be testing the converter itself in some way?

Is on AGM battery better than another? Any recommendations?
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Old 04-07-2016, 06:52 PM   #7
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2015 30' Classic
Pleasanton , California
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Check the converter operation with a voltmeter while connected to shore power.

Now that you have a three-stage battery charger, your converter will not overcharge your lead-acid batteries. At perhaps half the price I'd stay with the flooded type and save money. Just remember to check the water level every few months.
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