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Old 09-06-2013, 10:27 AM   #1
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2009 30' Classic
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Battery smokin' hot

Need some expert advice, please. Woke up today to the odor of rotting eggs/sulfur. Went outside and saw a little smoke coming from one of my battery covers. Battery very hot! Disconnected it and put it in a safe place. Is a maintenance type, original to my 2009 Classic. Removed caps, dry, plates appear clean. I must admit I have never checked the fluid level, won't do that again. We. Full time, have always been plugged into 110, and have been connected for 4 weeks at daughters house in WA. Planned to head back to AZ tomorrow. Thinking about travelling w/o one battery and have my dealer check unit out when we get back. Okay idea? Also, should we leave the converter on for extended periods when hooked up to 110? We have no manuals and I appreciate all the help we have received from forum members.
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Old 09-06-2013, 10:46 AM   #2
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As far as towing home with 1 battery, no problem. Just make sure the battery is good so the break away switch etc. are powered. Everything else towing related is powered by the TV through the umbilical. As for why it happened I suggest you check what converter you have in place. If it is a single stage converter replace it with a 3 or 4 stage converter. These are designed to be plugged in and left on as much as you need without having to disconnect the batteries. Still a good idea to check the water level occasionally though
Be sure to cover/insulate the loose battery cables so they cannot move around and cause a short while travelling, that would be bad.
have a safe trip
tim
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Old 09-06-2013, 10:53 AM   #3
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Make sure the remaining battery fluid level is at the correct level and then check the voltage under no load (isolate the battery using the switch typically under the front sofa) by using a voltmeter. If the voltage is under 12.2, then you might be prudent to acquire at least one new battery to ensure enough battery capacity to energize the brakes properly with the break away switch in case of an emergency.
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Old 09-06-2013, 10:53 AM   #4
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Although you will be OK with a single battery, I would replace both before you return home. Six years is about the end of life for most batteries that I have had. As rumrunner mentioned, traveling with one battery disconnected could lead to some interesting times. Ever see what 12vdc can do to aluminum when there's a high amperage direct short??? My recommendation is two new batteries, now.

I agree that finding out what kind of converter you have is important, although I suspect that by not checking fluid levels, that was the ultimate cause of the issue.

BTW, have you considered a solar panel to keep things topped off? With a solar panel, you typically do not need to use the converter when connected to shore power.
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Old 09-06-2013, 10:57 AM   #5
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I suspect that was not smoke you saw but sulphuric acid gas.
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Old 09-06-2013, 10:57 AM   #6
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You can disconnect the positive terminal on the bad battery and run on the good one until you get home. However, you should conserve battery usage while on the road, as your refrigerator and electric brakes need 12-volts to operate. If your remaining battery goes dead, your refrigerator will not operate until you connect to shore power, are connected to your TV (with engine running), or you recharge your remaining battery. Also, your electric brakes won't operate when the breakaway switch is activated, should your Airstream accidentally separate from your TV.

If you haven't already checked and filled your good battery, you should do this immediately. Suggest checking battery level weekly, if you are connected 24/7.

Note: Do NOT overfill, and add only water -- Do NOT add acid.

Some may suggest replacing the converter with a new one that will not boil batteries dry. Alternately, you can install a marine battery isolator switch, which costs much less. See PM that I sent to you, today.

Good luck, and WELCOME to AirForums!
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Old 09-06-2013, 10:59 AM   #7
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All of the above, including the checking of water on maintenance free batteries, I found the same problem. One of my sealed maintenance free had labels over the covers and they had to be pried out to discover dry cells, caught one of 3 in time to be able to replace water and slowly get it back up to normal, but it is now only at home as backup spare for hurricane season.
If you have an volt meter better to check what the converter is doing for the holding level, mine is too high so I isolate the batteries when stored and use a trickle charger. When I see a good deal on a new converter/charger that gives readouts it will be time to change.
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Old 09-06-2013, 11:14 AM   #8
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Do not disconnect the positive battery terminal. If and when it touches anything metal, it will cause a dead short, doing all manner of damage. Disconnect the negative terminal, if and when it touches ground, it will do nothing.
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Old 09-06-2013, 11:16 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phoenix View Post
Alternately, you can install a marine battery isolator switch, which costs much less. See PM that I sent to you, today.
Is this just a manual switch or will it automatically cut the charge when a battery reaches full voltage?
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Old 09-06-2013, 11:18 AM   #10
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Do not disconnect the positive battery terminal. If and when it touches anything metal, it will cause a dead short, doing all manner of damage. Disconnect the negative terminal, if and when it touches ground, it will do nothing.
This is really important - says the guy who has sent sparks flying in the past.

Remove negative first, install last.
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Old 09-06-2013, 11:19 AM   #11
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AGM batteries

Jackcat,

You might want to consider AGM batteries as a upgrade. They are pricey, but are literally maintainance free.
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Old 09-06-2013, 11:19 AM   #12
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Quote:
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stuff clipped...

Alternately, you can install a marine battery isolator switch, which costs much less. See PM that I sent to you, today.

Good luck, and WELCOME to AirForums!
Phoenix, I would be interested in that information as well. Could you post to the group?

Disregard the request to post... I found what I was looking for with a google search. What am I missing here? This is basically just a diode that keeps one battery from discharging into an already discharged parallel battery.
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Old 09-06-2013, 11:20 AM   #13
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Overlander63 is correct. (Thanks for adding this statement.)

I forgot that the OEM battery installation has the two batteries connected in parallel, so the loose positive cable is still connected to the good battery and will short to ground if it touches anything.
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Old 09-06-2013, 11:38 AM   #14
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Your "good" battery is probably in the same shape as the one you smoked. Why not just replace both of them now. There is no good reason not to. Your other one is old and questionable, and if you have "never checked the fluid level" (original post) it is also shot. Batteries have the same cost everywhere. Do it right.

When you get home you can have the dealer change your converter/charger to a 3 stage one, and the problem will not happen again. BTW, check the battery level a few times a year. You should never see the plates, unless they are under liquid.
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