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Old 10-31-2006, 02:04 PM   #1
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High Voltage Power lines and batteries

I read this weekend in a local newspaper that some local transport companies are upset that they are required to park their trucks in a parking site that happens to be underneath the high voltage power lines that feed the Vancouver area. The reason is that they are going through very expensive batteries much quicker, typically in under a year, and they should last much longer. They attribute this directly to the high voltage power lines and mention that when it's wet they often get shocks when touching their trucks and the trailers. I back onto a green strip that has the high voltage power lines going down the middle of it and my shop is at the back of the property a lot closer to the power lines (almost underneath them) than the house. I have to replace the batteries in my Airstream, my cars that I park out in the shop and the riding mower once a year. We've had the charging circuits checked and confirmed that they are not overcharging by the folks who supply my batteries. A friend parked his hotrod here last winter and although his battery was disconnected, and trickle charged, it failed as soon as he started using the car in the spring. It was a fairly new battery. So now I'm wondering if this is the problem why all my batteries are dying an early death. The local battery shop are getting tired of warranty claims from me on at least a yearly basis and we know each other on a first name basis. I know some people who have come to visit us and camped out back have mentioned that they had a shock or two when touching their vehicles out back if it's wet. Has anyone else ever experienced something like this or are aware of this being a problem? Thanks, Barry
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Old 10-31-2006, 02:26 PM   #2
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Weird stuff. There are companies that can measure for stray voltages in equipment racks and such. I wonder if you can measure for this type of "stray" voltage? Somebody will know. Any EE's out there in the crowd?

Jim
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Old 10-31-2006, 02:44 PM   #3
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I'll forward this to john hd.

I know it's been said for cold climates that you should take the batteries out of the trailer and store them in the basement (or other non-freezing area, definitely not on concrete!), placing a Battery Minder type trickle charger on them about once a month through the winter. I have good luck with this. I'd suspect the monthly trickle charge would even be a good idea if stored for prolonged periods in warm climes.
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Old 10-31-2006, 03:32 PM   #4
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Hey Bob,
Another good idea for those batteries in winter is a slow trip south.!!!!

Regards,
Art Wilson
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Old 10-31-2006, 05:29 PM   #5
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barry

thats a new one on me, at the power company we park our vehicles in substations every night with no problems. if there was a problem caused by elctro magnetic fields we would be exposed to it more than a truck etc. parked under a power line.

as for getting a mild shock from the chassis parked under a power line, i have seen that before and it is explained by any metal object in a electric field will gererate a voltage. some you can detect by touch some you cannot.

try this for fun, go get a regular florescant light bulb, go stand under the line in question. report back if it lights up by it's self!

also, with the line in question see if you can count the insulator units in the string holding the wire up. that will give me a guess what voltage the line is. better yet snap a picture!

john
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Old 10-31-2006, 05:30 PM   #6
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After the first year (9 years ago), I started taking the batteries out of everything I owned and putting them in the warm shop and the first weekend of every month check fluid levels, put a trickle charger on them (bought from the battery guys at their insistence) and according to them I'm doing all the right things. I have not spoken to them since the piece in the paper. They may indicate that this is the problem - where I live - and kill my warranties which would be too bad. Thus the question if anyone knows if the high voltage lines could be the cause. I think this winter I'll put the batteries in the garage at the house and tend to them there and see if that makes a difference. It actually never gets very cold here in the winter as we are right on the ocean - at most a couple of degrees below zero celcius so in the high 20 degrees for you. The shop is quite warm and I'm out there a lot in just a T-shirt and jeans puttering so I don't think it's heat or cold related.

Now, the option of taking those poor batteries south for the winter is a very good one. I just wonder what the fine folks at US customs would say when I showed up with three extra car batteries, the lawn mower battery, the other trailer batteries, and told them I was taking them south for the winter . I suspect it might be the firt time I've experienced more than a casual search . I'm also wondering what my wife might have to say about me heading off with all my batteries for the winter. She may suspect I'm having an affair with another car or trailer that she doesn't know about

Barry
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Old 10-31-2006, 05:33 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by john hd
barry

thats a new one on me, at the power company we park our vehicles in substations every night with no problems. if there was a problem caused by elctro magnetic fields we would be exposed to it more than a truck etc. parked under a power line.

as for getting a mild shock from the chassis parked under a power line, i have seen that before and it is explained by any metal object in a electric field will gererate a voltage. some you can detect by touch some you cannot.

try this for fun, go get a regular florescant light bulb, go stand under the line in question. report back if it lights up by it's self!

also, with the line in question see if you can count the insulator units in the string holding the wire up. that will give me a guess what voltage the line is. better yet snap a picture!

john
Thanks John. Tonight being halloween I don't think I'll try the flourescent bulb but will wait till tomorrow. One never knows what people might think...... I'll also post the insulator units and let you know. My former neighbor, a retired HP engineer, got parkinsons and he was convinced it was because of the power lines out back and moved away - but I've not found anything anywhere that alludes to this.


Barry
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Old 10-31-2006, 08:49 PM   #8
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Have you thought about taking the batteries to a friends'/realtives' house outside the electric field for the winter? See if that helps? Just a thought.

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Old 10-31-2006, 09:11 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by safari57
Thanks John. Tonight being halloween I don't think I'll try the flourescent bulb but will wait till tomorrow. One never knows what people might think...... I'll also post the insulator units and let you know. My former neighbor, a retired HP engineer, got parkinsons and he was convinced it was because of the power lines out back and moved away - but I've not found anything anywhere that alludes to this.


Barry
About the flourescent tube, try the trick at night, it will be easier to see it glowing then.
You don't have to remove the batteries, just drive everything South for the winter. I wonder if anybody has tried to go through the border crossing driving a lawn mower...
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Old 10-31-2006, 11:31 PM   #10
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I used to park my aluminum twinkie in a space directly under high-tension lines. It ALWAYS had some current running through it. Not enough to hurt, but enough no make it tingle every time you touched it. The worst part, by far, was the belly pan. If my forearms touched the bellypan while lying on my back, working under it, I would jump and there would be a VISIBLE spark.

Mind you, I did NOT have power in this spot, and this was an older trailer without a battery.

-Chuck
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