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Old 07-13-2017, 11:46 PM   #1
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1979 31' Excella 500
Charlevoix , Michigan
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 340
What's that smell? Battery edition

Had an interesting experience today that I wanted to share.

Our renovated '79 Airstream Excella has a built in crib for our daughter that she loves.

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The crib is directly across from the bathroom.

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One day my wife and I started to notice a smell coming from the area near the crib and bathroom. It smelled like maybe there was a dirty diaper nearby or someone had just used the bathroom. We cleaned both the crib and the bathroom but the smell remained. For 2 days we couldn't figure out why it smelled like poop.

The area under the crib houses the batteries and inverter. On a whim I stuck my nose near the exhaust fan of the inverter and low-and-behold smelled the smell! It seemed to be coming from the inverter! At this range, it sort of smelled like sulfur.

I contacted the manufacturer of the inverter to see if this was a known issue with the unit, to which they responded that it certainly could be a failed component in the inverter emitting the smell, but since the inverter seemed to be working fine I should check the batteries.

I took their advice and opened my battery box to find this:

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These flooded lead acid batteries had something coming out of the water/cell access holes and boy did it stink like sulfur when I opened the battery box! I had found the culprit.

Upon further inspection I found that the water was low in every single one of the batteries' cells.

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I got some distilled water, filled them such that the level in each cell was just above the lead plates, cleaned up the residue, and the smell seems to have dissipated. I guess the gassing from exposed cells was causing the smell?

So the lesson is: if you smell something stinky, it might be your batteries!
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