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Old 02-27-2011, 07:54 AM   #1
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Can you vent a battery through the fridge vent?

Working on a 64' Safari and wondering if I can run the vent hose from my battery box up through the fridge vent? Trying to keep from putting more holes in my trailer.
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Old 02-27-2011, 07:56 AM   #2
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Uh, I don't think so. You are venting hydrogen out of the battery compartment. Hydrogen mixed with flame from the fridge makes a boom!
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Old 02-27-2011, 07:58 AM   #3
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Any such system would have to be designed to keep the explosive hydrogen gas from a charging battery well away from the flame driving a propane based refrigerator. A downdraught could blow the hydrogen back down the vent. Just a possibility to bear in mind.
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Old 02-27-2011, 08:08 AM   #4
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Makes sense. Thanks for the responses.
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Old 02-27-2011, 08:46 AM   #5
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Just get an AGM battery & be done with it..................no mods or fabrication required, just idiot proof dc power when you want it...................for years to come.
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Old 02-27-2011, 09:06 AM   #6
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Just to be clear, Colin are you saying a AGM battery would not produce any gas? Thanks!
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Old 02-27-2011, 09:21 AM   #7
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Agm

AGM batteries are safe for unvented areas. (Can be in any position ie. on their side)
They are expensive but for your situation it might be worth spending the extra.
Dave
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Old 02-27-2011, 10:13 AM   #8
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Just to be clear, Colin are you saying a AGM battery would not produce any gas? Thanks!
Correct. You will never regret the change................I haven't. I've been using mine for 9 years without a problem.
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Old 02-27-2011, 10:39 AM   #9
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**Disclaimer: you make your own decision on this.*****************

Going out on a limb here, but I don't believe venting to the outside is required. On the other hand, I do believe you want to be careful not to trap hydrogen in a small battery compartment. If there is reasonable air flow between your battery compartment and the open space inside the trailer you'll never get to an explosive concentration. And unless you've got the only airtight Airstream on the road, you'll never get a toxic level of hydrogen inside the living space, either.

I think you'll find that battery explosions happen when someone has a dead battery and you're jumping them. As soon as the engine gets started, there is a tremendous charge current and a dead battery will produce a significant amount of hydrogen. Right then the jumper removes one of the cables and creates a spark--boom. You will not find this cascading combination of doom in a trailer. Even if you've got a totally dead battery, your charge current will be lower and you won't be using jumper cables near the battery.

Dissenting opinions welcomed, especially if the dissenter can present a hydrogen moles/minute production curve, gas/air diffusion versus distance curves, spark source what-ifs, and technical data on explosion concentrations argument. "Everybody does it" won't fly.

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Old 02-27-2011, 10:42 AM   #10
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Quote:
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Just to be clear, Colin are you saying a AGM battery would not produce any gas? Thanks!
First, let me state that I am an unequivocal fan of AGM batteries and Lifeline AGM batteries are the only AGM that I will sell and install for my customers. They use the best materials and construction techniques and IMHO, are well worth their added expense!

That said, do not be mislead by a statement that AGMs will not outgas....THEY WILL!!!!!

Having said that, the only circumstances where they will outgas is if they are severely overcharged, which is very rare. Use a good quality converter or inverter/charger that is properly adjusted for your battery bank and type of battery and you should have no problems. Further, if you keep your AGMs properly charged and avoid prolonged periods of deep discharge (over 80% depth of discharge (DOD) repeatedly), there is usually no need for any conditioning charge being applied to them. Typical re-charge levels should be at 50% DOD, or about 12.2VDC.

A liquid acid battery will require an 'equalization' charge is the acid is allowed to stratify. This type of controlled overcharging will 're-mix' the battery acid and increase the performance of a liquid acid battery.

AGMs will benefit from a 'conditioning' charge (there is no free acid in an AGM that requires 'equalizing') when the battery is showing signs of capacity loss. There are specific tests to determine if this situation exists in your AGM battery and there are specific remedies to address it.
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Old 02-27-2011, 11:04 AM   #11
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Dissenting opinions welcomed, especially if the dissenter can present a hydrogen moles/minute production curve, gas/air diffusion versus distance curves, spark source what-ifs, and technical data on explosion concentrations argument. "Everybody does it" won't fly.
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i will absolute agree that given our low powered (relatively) charging circuits, and the oft-lamented permeability of Airstreams (e.g. they're not air or often water tight) , hydrogen build-up is not an issue.

However, a malfunctioning charging system can over time heat the batteries and boil the electrolyte - and if I'm sleeping nearby, I'd just as soon have the boiling sulfuric acid fumes vented elsewhere. Given sufficient heat, sulfur trioxide fumes eventually result.

Since sulfur trioxide (the gas that forms H2S04 when dissolved in water) is heavier than air, the battery vent I placed on our custom battery box will lead down through the floor. A nice bonus is that such vents are much less traumatic to put in, and don't need to look so spiffy.

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Old 02-27-2011, 12:31 PM   #12
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While we would all enjoy a thorough discussion of hydrogen diffusion rates and the safety of AGM vs wet cell batteries, I think we also need to consider that NEC requires all batteries to be vented directly to the outside, and has specific requirements for the size of the vents and their location.

Whether you decide to abide by the recommendations is a personal choice. If you decide to not vent your AGM batteries, I think the least you should do is placard the installation so some future owner doesn't replace your AGMs with a wet cell battery and create a hazard.
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Old 02-27-2011, 01:11 PM   #13
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I agree with barts...If you've got to vent a flooded cell battery, utilizing a sealed compartment and venting it through the floor is the easiest way to go...

One thought...Hydrogen being lighter than air, you'll need some way to get that gas hovering at the top of the chamber, vented to the outside...

Perhaps you could use two or more vent holes so you have the chance to allow for air flow through the compartment to hopefully 'flush' the hydrogen gas...

One of the vents could be a tube that extends inside the compartment up to the top area, so that any negative pressure outside would 'suck' the gas down through the tube and away...

OR - you could always use one of those real small pancake fans inline with one of the vents and turn it on when you're charging the batteries, or use a relay circuit so that it would turn on automatically when charging...

One additional note - flooded cell batteries also emit hydrogen gas when being discharged! Batteries being used under a heavy load (like an inverter) will emit greater amounts of H/gas...

Don't forget to provide a method to secure the batteries against movement in any new compartment you install - batteries that are allowed to slide or bounce around are an accident waiting to happen - especially with flooded cell batteries, constant rubbing against a bump or small rock will wear a hole in the bottom of the battery container, causing a real acid bath!

I'd look into completely epoxy coating any new battery box as well - if battery acid finds it's way onto your AS's wood flooring, it will RAPIDLY destroy the wood fibers - just like DRY ROT, but within days if left alone! If this were to happen, you have to immediately neutralize the acid flushing it away, drying the wood completely afterward...
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Old 02-27-2011, 05:41 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barts View Post
...a malfunctioning charging system can over time heat the batteries and boil the electrolyte - and if I'm sleeping nearby, I'd just as soon have the boiling sulfuric acid fumes vented elsewhere. ...

the battery vent I placed on our custom battery box will lead down through the floor. A nice bonus is that such vents are much less traumatic to put in, and don't need to look so spiffy...
Now THAT's what I was looking for. Thanks, Barts.

Zep
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