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Old 06-01-2007, 01:38 PM   #1
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Battery Exploded Yikes !!

Last night we were in our house and heard a large boom... We went out and looked around and did not see anything ... I was out in my yard this afternoon and noticed one of the Batteries on the Airstream exploded ! The top of the battery was split open and the battery box top blown open....

Any ideas as to what the cause could have been?
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Old 06-01-2007, 01:49 PM   #2
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Were you hooked-up to shore power charging the batteries? It shouldn't make any difference on the modern AS but if hooked-up, for how long? How recently did you check and fill the fluid level in the batteries? Are these the original batteries, stored in the typical little metal box on the tongue, lid closed?

Yikes is right, sez another owner of a 2005 25' Safari!
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Old 06-01-2007, 01:50 PM   #3
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What was the state of the trailer - was anything on? Was it plugged in?

A very scary event, indeed. I would rinse everything down that is in range - even the top of the trailer. Acid could have sprayed everywhere.

Pat
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Old 06-01-2007, 01:51 PM   #4
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Only one thing wouild cause the battery to explode, and that is a spark igniting the hydrogen gas that acumulated in the battery.
Batteries do generate hydrogen gas as a part of the charging process, which is running an electric current through water. Overcharging can make this worse. If a battery gets too low on electrolyte (fuid), and the tops of the plates are exposed, there is much more likelyhood of a spark from the exposed plates causing the accumulated hydrogen gas to explode (remember the Hindenburg?).
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Old 06-01-2007, 01:56 PM   #5
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A good way to neutralize the acid is to pour Coke on the affected area, the soda water will counteract the acid. In order to get the top of thebattery compartment, you will probably need to soak a cloth in Coke (or Diet Coke, less sugar to attract ants), or fill a spray bottle with it, and liberally spray the area. Rinse it down with clean water when you are done. The fancy battery acid neutralizers in spray cans contain nothing but baking soda, and are much more expensive than a can of coke. Plus, you can add rum to whatever you have left over from cleaning, and help relieve some of the stress of having the battery explode. If your trailer is still hooked to shore power, it would be a real good idea to unplug it, and if you have two batteries, unhook the damaged battery before doing anything else.
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Old 06-01-2007, 02:04 PM   #6
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Yikes is right. Disconnect everything and clean up with copius amounts of baking soda and water mixture. Don't quit until it quits bubbling.
When batteries charge they produce hydrogen gas, which as we know is highly combustible in the presence of oxygen. This is normal, and is not usually a problem unless they hydrogen is generated faster than it can dissipate into the atmosphere. This can come from too high a charge rate (defective univolt) or a lack of ventilation. In any case, the combustible mix needs an initiator, typically a spark. Internal defects in a battery can supply the spark, for example a loose connection under the termainal or at plate connector, or even a pice of conductive trash in the electrolyte. Thank goodness this is a relatively rare event and a good reminder that everyday things often carry unappreciated liabilities. Sorry it was your turn to supply the lesson!
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Old 06-01-2007, 02:08 PM   #7
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WHat type of battery was this? Flooded, gel, etc.

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Old 06-01-2007, 02:40 PM   #8
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Ok I have detached both batteries... I assume it is ok to keep shore power connected? My guess is that I did not fill the battery with water and this is what caused it to blow up... fortunately no one was near at the time and it appears only a little acid landed on the concrete pad the airstream is on. The battery has most of the top blown off of it and still has liquid in it... I was very careful with it but any suggestions on how to handle it? Will this thing catch on fire now? Thanks for your comments so far... I guess this is certainly a lesson learned and hopefully this will help others.
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Old 06-01-2007, 02:48 PM   #9
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At a minimum, I would disconnect the shore power to the camper until you can determine what caused the problem. I think somebody said this already, but it is possible that the Univolt overcharged the battery, and boiled the water away. At that point, all that was needed was a spark. The newer model Univolts aren't supposed to do that, but it could be defective.

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Old 06-01-2007, 03:10 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DEO
Ok I have detached both batteries... I assume it is ok to keep shore power connected? My guess is that I did not fill the battery with water and this is what caused it to blow up... fortunately no one was near at the time and it appears only a little acid landed on the concrete pad the airstream is on. The battery has most of the top blown off of it and still has liquid in it... I was very careful with it but any suggestions on how to handle it? Will this thing catch on fire now? Thanks for your comments so far... I guess this is certainly a lesson learned and hopefully this will help others.
For handling the damaged battery, wear rubber gloves to keep acid off your hands, and wash your hands when you are done handling it. It will not catch fire now that you have disconnected the battery. When you move the battery, put it on a rubber mat, inside a plastic garbage bag to minimize acid splashing around in your vehicle. You can rinse out the affected area with a hose and water after you have neutralized the acid with either baking soda or coke (the soda is what will neutralize the acid), don't hose it down until you neutralize the acid, as it can splash onto the aluminum, and sulphuric acid eats aluminum like crazy.
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Old 06-01-2007, 03:46 PM   #11
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If the battery was in the trailer when it went, you'll have acid vapor contamination in the area where the battery was. Mix up some water with a little baking soda in a spritzer bottle and spray anywhere and everywhere hot vapor might have gone. You need to neutralize any residual acid so the acid doesn't neutraliize (eat) your trailer. You can neutralize the remains of the battery the same way with plenty of water and baking soda. In general, if you need to replace water in the battery often, you are getting too much charge and should check the system.
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Old 06-01-2007, 03:54 PM   #12
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Eye protection is alway good to have on when working with batteries.

It might be wise after you conclude your charging system is OK to replace both batteries at the same time.

Sam
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Old 06-12-2007, 01:51 PM   #13
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Battery Explosion

WOW! That is terrible!
I hope you will not have any wood or aluminum damage to your trailer. I know the older univolts cook batteries but would have never expected a newer charging system to goof that bad. Maybe you can contact A/S to be sure the charging system was not at fault. That way you will not recieve damage to the new batteries. Good Luck!
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