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Old 08-04-2013, 10:16 PM   #1
Vince & Virginia
 
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Boiled Batteries: It's what's for dinner . . .

So I just cooked my second battery in so many months.

A little background, I installed an inteli-power 9160 about ten(?) years ago and it's been great. I installed 2 new type 27 batteries in early 2010 and leave the rig plugged in most of the time since I had the charge wizard attached.

We were getting ready for a trip a couple of weeks ago and found one of the batteries had boiled over a bit. My bad - I hadn't been checking the water level. Pulled both - topped off the "good" battery - which was not strictly necessary and reinstalled just the one. I checked the voltage output of the Intelli-power and it was reading 14.4. Seemed fine. Our trip included full-hookups, so I was not concerned about only having one battery.

During the trip, our new CO detector sounded - I thought it might be the fridge (nothing else was running), so we switched it to AC power and continued camping. When we got home, I plugged the trailer back in, and a few days later, the CO goes off again. That's when I realized that it was battery charging that set it off. I thought hubby unplugged the battery, he thought I did and now today (a week later) - we have a 2nd well boiled battery and a very stinky trailer.

My question is this: Can I assumed that both batteries were simply at the end of their lives, or could there be an issue with my converter? How do I test the converter again before I sacrifice anymore batteries to my bad cooking?

Virginia
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Old 08-04-2013, 10:36 PM   #2
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I've had similar results over the last 15 years. When one goes, they all go.

I bought a Trimetric and have managed to catch a single one that is boiling off before the others go. but before long, the other is dead and smellin like a rotten egg.

To heck with the 12 volts, I'm going with dual 6 volts, 1/2 the cells, 1/2 the trouble.
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Old 08-04-2013, 11:08 PM   #3
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60A converter in a 21' trailer, eh? What kind of 12v stuff are you running?

Do you have the extra "charge wizard" dongle for that 9160? If not, it's not as gentle to your batteries as it could be.

The Trimetric that HiHoAgRV will tell you what the Intellipower is doing, but so will a Fluke if you check regularly. If the batteries are charged to begin with, it should back down from 14.4v after a while (Progressive Dynamics docs should tell you how long) and if you have the ChargeWizard option it should eventually pull back to about a 13.2v "float charge".
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Old 08-05-2013, 02:41 PM   #4
Vince & Virginia
 
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Yes, I have the charge wizard. I may just have to install a new battery and watch it like a hawk to make sure it goes back down to a float charge.

In the meantime, I have fans going to blow the stink out. Any suggestions on good deodorizing methods?
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Old 08-05-2013, 03:04 PM   #5
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I have a extra charge wizard module for the 91XX series, make you a good deal on it, if you need one? If the wizard module LED never flashes then you do have a problem, it should not boil batteries if it's working correctly.

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Old 08-05-2013, 04:07 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Towster View Post
My question is this: Can I assumed that both batteries were simply at the end of their lives, or could there be an issue with my converter? How do I test the converter again before I sacrifice anymore batteries to my bad cooking?
It almost has to be the converter. A properly-functioning converter shouldn't cook a battery even if the battery is on its last legs.

On the other hand, did it cook the same battery both times, or a different battery each time (i.e one older battery then the other, or one older battery and then the new one)? If one battery is good and the other not, then even a properly-functioning converter can get confused.
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Old 08-05-2013, 06:51 PM   #7
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How did you determine the second battery was still good?

I have seen where the first battery died and the second battery boiled out not the bad battery.
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Old 08-05-2013, 09:00 PM   #8
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I took the first battery that had obviously low water levels and evidence of oozing out of the top out of the equation.

The remaining battery (#2) was fully charged. I disconnected it from the system and it was holding at 12.6v, so I "assumed" it was fine. Maybe it wasn't. Seeing that the CO detector went off twice, the battery had been off-gassing since the first died. (Good thing it didn't gas us.)

When it was discovered, my hubby smelled it from outside the trailer and when we opened the door, there was visible gas/smoke in the trailer. A significant amount. Looking at the battery, there was only a small amount of liquid pooling on top, like the first one. I just check it's voltage - it's now at 10.57v

We had been planning on just getting direct replacements, but sealed Optima's are looking like a safer option. Our bed is right over the batteries and it's not a sealed compartment.

Better safe than dead.
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Old 08-05-2013, 10:58 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Towster View Post
I took the first battery that had obviously low water levels and evidence of oozing out of the top out of the equation.

The remaining battery (#2) was fully charged. I disconnected it from the system and it was holding at 12.6v, so I "assumed" it was fine. Maybe it wasn't. Seeing that the CO detector went off twice, the battery had been off-gassing since the first died. (Good thing it didn't gas us.)

When it was discovered, my hubby smelled it from outside the trailer and when we opened the door, there was visible gas/smoke in the trailer. A significant amount. Looking at the battery, there was only a small amount of liquid pooling on top, like the first one. I just check it's voltage - it's now at 10.57v

We had been planning on just getting direct replacements, but sealed Optima's are looking like a safer option. Our bed is right over the batteries and it's not a sealed compartment.

Better safe than dead.
There are better AGM (sealed) options than Optima. Lifeline, etc. I'd even go for a Universal before an Optima. I certainly agree that you should have sealed batteries if they're not in a sealed compartment (and should STILL be very cautious, because SLA batteries still have "emergency" valves) I just think you get a better battery for your dollar with other brands than Optima.
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Old 08-06-2013, 12:01 AM   #10
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It's rather simple, Watson...

Your two 12 volt batteries are hooked in parallel...

If one cell in one of the batteries 'shorts' out (plates touching or crud in the bottom connect plates) you then have a '10 volt battery' in the circuit with the other 12 volt battery...

The converter/charger then senses a lower than full charge (voltage wise) and begins to do it's job to bring em' back up to snuff - full charge...!

The '10 volt' battery never gets fully charged, so the charger keeps pouring the coal to the circuit, eventually overcharging the good battery, and evaporates the water in the sulfuric acid solution - making things much worse...

As the plates dry out inside, and the hydrogen gas is being expelled at an increased rate into the local area...WATCH OUT, this not only smells bad, but the hydrogen can ignite with a LARGE bang, make a big mess, and toss sharp shrapnel battery parts around like an M80 exploding in a coffee can...

If this situation isn't corrected (turn off the charger, let things cool down and clear the air) the charger may become damaged from being overheated or overworked...also the one 'good battery' becomes another 'bad' battery if the plates begin to flake away during the drying process...!

If the good battery hasn't been 'dry' out long, you can refill it with distilled water (the acid doesn't evaporate), and try to bring it back to a full charge...

Happy sparks out there...
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