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Old 07-07-2006, 06:49 PM   #1
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Boiling Battery

I thought I'd share this experience, one just to share and two, to make sure no one else has any recommendations.

Yesterday I came into work. When I went into the shop I noticed a pungent sewer odor, or so I thought, coming from outside. I called the local fire department to see if anyone else had complained. The dispatcher said I was the first to complain so I said not to worry about it and I would call later if it got worse.

Later that day I started to realize it might be my black tank starting to stink. (my '05 safari is parked in the shop yard) I was thinking that with all the hot temps. we've been having, maybe all the water dried up and started smelling. So I filled my black up with approx 5 gals of water and one of those deoderzier packets.

The next morning I noticed it still stunk. For the heck of it I went to bathroom, turned the water pump off, opener the toilet valve and took a big wiff, nothing!

When walking around to front of the trailer I had the thought, maybe check the propane, maybe it's leaking. (Although now that I think about it, it really didn't smell like propane) When leaning over to smell the connection between the tank and hose my hand was resting on the plastic batter cover box. At which time I realized the box was excessively hot. I removed the cover to see that the two refill caps had popped off and acid/water was bubbling out of the battery and the sticker on the top of the battery was burnt. Needless to say, something was wrong.

I unplugged the trailer from shore power and called my dealer. He said to bring both batteries down and he'll replace them with new ones, which I've done and reinstalled without incident.
He said that every once and a while you get a deffective battery that shorts out. He also said with the current converters it's ok to leave the unit always plugged into shore power.

I guess my only questions are, do the two statements he said above sound right to everyone? Anything else I should watch out for?

Thanks
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Old 07-07-2006, 07:25 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Killo1
He said that every once and a while you get a deffective battery that shorts out. He also said with the current converters it's ok to leave the unit always plugged into shore power.

I guess my only questions are, do the two statements he said above sound right to everyone? Anything else I should watch out for?
I just replaced my original batteries about 2 months ago ... here's my story.

We took delivery of the trailer in January of '04 ... and started living in it full time in March. We don't boondock ... so the trailer is always hooked up to shore power.

Being the ignorant newbie that I was (now I'm just experienced and ignorant) ... I forgot about checking the water level in the batteries for quite a few months. In the beginning, I was checking every 2 weeks or so ... and the water level was just fine for several months ... so that part of maintenance faded from view over a period of time. Big mistake.

While wintering in Arizona, I decided I better check those batteries ... only to discover the water level was way down and the cells were exposed. Both batteries took a big drink. Two weeks later they were low again but the cells were at least covered ... but they drank quite a bit more water.

So for the next year and a half I was pouring water into the thirsty pair every 2 weeks. About 2 months ago we heard a loud bang at the front of the trailer late at night ... the next morning while checking the batteries I discovered both caps blown off one of them and an ominous bubbling sound. Things were certainly hot.

I've been checking the new Interstates every 2 weeks after installation ... so far I've added just a little bit of water one time ... but the cells have always been covered. So far ... so good.

I guess the moral of this story is ... if you are hooked up to shore power all the time ... check your batteries often ... and don't forget about them like this knucklehead did.
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Old 07-07-2006, 08:37 PM   #3
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Same story here, but it was a couple of years ago. I could have sworn that we had a sewer leak even though the tank was drained and cleaned. Residual somethingoranother? Nope, cooked battery. (It was ultimately that the charger went south.)

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Old 07-07-2006, 09:03 PM   #4
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cooked batteries

I share the exact same experiences as you all have recited. My 2001, batteries new in 2002, behaved as described. I thought that there might be a potential for a fire so I disconnected them while on shore power (which is how we are currently using the RV). Then I took the two batteries to an auto parts store and had them tested. One had a short, probably between plates, and the other gave suspiciously poor readings. I bought two new ones, deep cycle, and two battery disconnect switches, one for each battery. I wired the switches on the ground side and so now I periodically, especially when away from the unit, I disconnect. I wanted to be cautious and to know the batteries could not start a fire while I was gone.
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Old 07-07-2006, 10:35 PM   #5
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So is it a concensus that I just got a bad battery is there some good odds that my charger is bad. I leave for my first big trip next week and I'll change the converter/charger if I get a feel that it's bad.
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Old 07-08-2006, 01:29 AM   #6
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The Parrallax Converter/chargers that the factory installs in the newer trailers is NOT a 3 stage charger. It is really just a step or two better than the old Univolt system for battery charging with no sensor to vary the input voltage to the battery. This quite often leads to liquid evaporation, sulfation and boiling.

The first modification I did to my '06 CCD was to change the converter to a WFCO with integral 3 stage charging. I have not added water to the batteries since and I check them weekly while plugged in.
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Old 07-08-2006, 07:47 AM   #7
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I have 5 large UPS's under my care at work. There are hundreds of 12 and 6 volt batteries in them. Batteries have a life of about 5 years under IDEAL conditions. Heat is the main enemy of batteries.

We had both A/C units go out at a remote tower site last summer. Inside building temperature went up to 120 degrees F, for about 2 hours. That was enough to ruin 80 12 volt UPS batteries. They cost around $110 a piece to replace.
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Old 07-08-2006, 08:47 AM   #8
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No one has mentioned here that batteries can EXPLODE. I'd heard of this for years and had never seen it happen. Then several years ago when we were pulling into a RV park I noticed a man bending over a water facet. I got out to see if he need any help. What I discovered was his battery had exploded in his face while he was checking it out. He was extremely lucky that water was hear by. On inspection of his battery the whole top half of the battery was missing. A couple of years later I had a similar thing happen to me. I had a 76 Chevy 3/4 ton pickup. I had pulled into a road side stop. When I went to leave the truck would not start. I got out to check the battery. I wiggled the connections to see if the connections were loose. Boom, The whole top of the battery was blown off. I was lucky because my arm and jacket was in the path of the flying acid. My face was protected. After i settled down, I inspected the damage. What had happened was the connection inside the battery between the top connector and the plates inside the battery had separated. When I wiggled the connector a spark was made when the two parts reconnected inside the battery. The bottom line, boiling batteries are extremely dangerous. My suggestion to anyone who experiences this problem. Disconnect the trailer form power. Allow the battery to cool down completely. before you do anything. And wear protective gear. It may never happen. But when it does you will never forget the experience.
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Old 07-08-2006, 10:55 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lewster
The Parrallax Converter/chargers that the factory installs in the newer trailers is NOT a 3 stage charger. It is really just a step or two better than the old Univolt system for battery charging with no sensor to vary the input voltage to the battery. This quite often leads to liquid evaporation, sulfation and boiling.

The first modification I did to my '06 CCD was to change the converter to a WFCO with integral 3 stage charging. I have not added water to the batteries since and I check them weekly while plugged in.
Lew.

What amperage rating did you pick with your WFCO? Also, how much can I expect to pay for that?

Lastly, is it a pretty easy job for the do-it-yourselfer?

Thanks,
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Old 07-10-2006, 12:00 AM   #10
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Alan,

The WFCO that I used is a 55 amp model. I used a 'deck mount' unit and just wired in to the existing 12 VDC fuse panel and 120VAC breaker box, both of which are just above the converter in my CCD.

If you can strip a wire and turn a screwdriver........You're IN!!!

I don't remember the pricing, but IIRC, it was under $200. PM me if you want me to get an exact price for you.
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