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Old 11-28-2010, 06:12 PM   #1
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So There I Was, Just putting on my pants....

When I heard a loud THUD, like something really large had hit the trailer. Finished dressing and ran outside to check things out, and couldn't see anything, so we went on to breakfast with friends as was our plans.

When we returned, there was battery acid running down the front of the trailer, and a big puddle of it on the concrete. A battery had exploded. Later, we found out many others at the rally this weekend had been awakened by the explosion.

I've seen batteries explode before when jumper cables were being hooked up, but this is the first time I've experienced it when they were just on charge.
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Old 11-28-2010, 07:42 PM   #2
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Wow

Man, that sounds scary. What kind of battery was it? Have you had any trouble with your converter lately? This does sound strange, indeed.

My first thought was that your converter is overcharging a defective battery. Let us know what you find out.
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Old 11-28-2010, 08:02 PM   #3
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I work at a dealership and we had a clients car where the battery exploded. It happened while the technician started the car. It turns out in this case (best we could figure) the battery was very low on acid/water. This will leave the plates exposed where cross arching can occur and bam! Very exciting (mostly dangerous) and messy. Good thing your batteries were contained in their box and nobody got hurt.

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Old 11-28-2010, 08:29 PM   #4
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I just bought this trailer a few months ago, and the batteries were Interstate group 27's. I did check the water in them and they were good. I did find the remaining battery had a shorted cell because the voltage was only 10.7 after being on charge for a long time.

Don't know if this could have caused it or not. You would think the battery with the shorted cell would have been consuming all the charge current, but I don't know, and probably never will. The batteries were 3 yrs, 5 months old.

The charger, and Intellipower unit, had been working fine, continued to work fine with only the one battery even with the shorted cell, but now I can't do any more checking on it until I replace the batteries.
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Old 11-28-2010, 08:42 PM   #5
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you probbably already know this, but a very good baking soda wash down is a great idea for your battery compartment right now.
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Old 11-28-2010, 09:13 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nti06 View Post
you probbably already know this, but a very good baking soda wash down is a great idea for your battery compartment right now.
Yes, after I got the battery out, washed with fresh water, then baking soda, then water, then baking soda, then water, etc.

Don't find much damage yet, but time will tell.

The explosion bent the compartment latch, but that was easy to straighten.
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Old 11-29-2010, 05:16 AM   #7
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Might want to give all the aluminum that the acid touched a good spray with BoeShield T-9 or ACF-50.
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Old 11-29-2010, 06:53 AM   #8
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Glad to hear no one got hurt in that episode huh?!
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Old 11-29-2010, 09:47 AM   #9
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If one battery had a shorted cell the other one may have been completely discharged at some recent point.

Once a battery is completely discharged, it will freeze if temperatures are below 32 degrees.

Applying a charge to a frozen battery will usually cause it to explode.
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Old 11-29-2010, 10:52 AM   #10
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Most likely, the shorted cell battery caused the converter/charger to operate at it's full charging output...

This situation will cause 'overcharging' to both of the batteries, causing accelerated electrolyte loss...

Then as Airslide noted, the upper parts of the plates that became exposed to the gasses being generated at a high rate, ignited as spark jumped between plates - perhaps as a bit of the plates 'active' material broke away due to the drying process of the exposed plates...

There is usually a 'aroma' of rotten eggs near the batteries as the overcharging occurs...this is a warning that you could have the hydrogen ignite easily -

If this happens to you, turn off the charging source, and let the battery cool down completely before you attempt to check it out...the cool down will also allow the hydrogen to clear the area...

WEAR YOUR SAFETY GLASSES when you perform battery chores!!!!

Ray, A battery store operator...
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Old 11-29-2010, 11:45 AM   #11
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hi all
just thought i would set the record straight about batterys.
they will only explode if the is a spark out side of the batt its the fumes that are explosive not the acid.(unless the acid is low in the batt)
so there must have been a spark in the compartment maybe a loose terminal ?
your batt will not freeze unless it get down to -18c or it has no acid in it.
hence why cars have a blanket wraped around the batt if its in a cold country.
also a charger only charges it at the same rate as the alternator on a car so it should not go BANG unless it has a short.
the rotten egg smell is when a batt is faulty.

PS a batt exploded in front of my dads face years ago when he took it of charge as the charger went wrong.(was a main batt distrubtor for exide in north London). He lost hie eye brows

cheers
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Old 12-02-2010, 11:51 AM   #12
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OK, just to sort of put this one to bed....I've cleaned the area again, replaced both batteries, and monitored the charge voltage out of the converter for three days, and it is working normally. It's a three stage charger/converter.

Why the battery exploded is probably one of those questions that may never be absolutely answered, except we know there was hydrogen and a spark present. But, where the spark came from??????
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Old 12-02-2010, 12:11 PM   #13
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I had a battery explode in my 87 dodge ram pu in the middle of the night while parked in my driveway. Was a fairly new bat. Also was about 4 feet away when 4 batterys exploded in a semi that had been towed into a shop [it was -15F in Roanake.] It happened just as the cables from a charger were being attached. Sal.
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Old 12-02-2010, 12:16 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noreen View Post
I had a battery explode in my 87 dodge ram pu in the middle of the night while parked in my driveway. Was a fairly new bat. Also was about 4 feet away when 4 batterys exploded in a semi that had been towed into a shop [it was -15F in Roanake.] It happened just as the cables from a charger were being attached. Sal.
Yep, the ones on the semi is explainable....a spark (source of ignition) was generated when the charger lead was attached.

That is why the safe way to connect a charger, or jumper cables, is to first attach the positive lead to the batteries, then the ground cable to a ground point away from the batteries. Now the one in your truck in your driveway???? Good luck figuring that one out, and if you do, please let me know.
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