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Old 03-11-2007, 04:55   #1
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BATTERY CHARGER ON FIRE

I bought a new Marine chager for my new atteries. I strated chaging 2 batteries , each 90 Amp. after 3 hours I smelt smoke , and I saw the charger -on-fire! has this happened to anyone before? were is my mistake? the chager was up to 225 amp -chaging capability, and brand new.
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Old 03-11-2007, 07:21   #2
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Is there a chance that you do not have the cables connected correctly. All positive leads from the charger should be fused and the power from the main panel to the charger should be through a suitable rated breaker switch.
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Old 03-11-2007, 07:22   #3
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I think you might have crossed leads somewhere.
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Old 03-11-2007, 08:24   #4
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it was a SMART Charger , 3 step regulated charging up to 225 Amp. a warning light on the panel. The alarm system of the boat was connected during the charging process...that could cause the over heating?? if I crossed the cables...would the alram light come on? could it be a fail from the manufacure ? if I was not at the boat at this time...I would have lost the boat

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Old 03-11-2007, 09:58   #5
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Mike,

Chargers and other high amperage drawing items should always be on their own isolated fully fused circuits. I don't know what alarm you are referring to however the fact that the charger was the device that burned more than likely you had a positive and negative wire crossed somewhere (reverse polarity). Had the charger been wired to a circuit breaker as required, usually these as well as most good chargers have a reverse polarity indicator light to indicate that something is amiss. Fusing the positive leads of the charger would prevent any burning of the charger.
As most modern chargers are solid state component the likelihood of the problem being the charger is remote. Good luck and I hope there was not to much damage to your vessel.

Cheers,

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Old 03-11-2007, 11:38   #6
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Mike, you would need a marine electrician to come out to the boat and inspect what remains, and confirm how you did the installation wiring, to really find out what happened.

Yes, it could have been a defective unit. There have been odd accidents where a loose screw (literally) or a large bug (again, literally) caused a fire in electronics that were brand new.

In theory a fuse will always be installed in such a way to protect and prevent these situations. But in practice? There is no way to tell without a post-mortem. The most objective way is to bring an electrician out to the boat. The second-best way would be to remove the unit after labelling each connection that you made to it, and bring it into a shop for examination. Or, to send it back to the manufacturer. Those labels will be important--because once you remove the unit from the boat, no one can really tell how you had it wired up.

Some manufacturers would admit "this was defective" and send you a replacement and their apologies. Others would never admit it. Your choice how to follow it up--but I would be very careful about installation and fusing on the next unit. It is a good thing you were onboard and able to control the damage!
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Old 03-11-2007, 19:08   #7
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I set fire to a brand new charger by mounting it directly over the batteries (which were a bit old). With all those lovely new "smart" volts pouring in, one of the cells collapsed causing boiling over the whole bank. The acidic fumes entered the charger and major meltdown. Fortunately nothing damaged except the batteries, charger and my ego.
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Old 03-11-2007, 22:29   #8
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Migot1, first question, are you sure it is 225A?? That is colossal.
Secondly, what size battery bank are you charging with that?? The smallest bank would have to be in the range of 800Ahr.
Thirdly, what wiring gauge are you using. It would have to be huge battery cable to handle 225A continouse.
and Fourthly, what make and model is the charger??
A good multi stage charger should have reverse polarity connection. But at 225A, it would have to have some really huge wiring going to the bank. If you don't, the wiring could easily overheat and melt the insulation and short. The batteries would then cause some major damage back through the cabling.
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Old 03-11-2007, 22:41   #9
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I have 3 90 AMP brand new Truck battries on board. I tried to charge 2 parrallel batteries together, but I did not disconnect the cables going to the instruments on the boat. The charger was manufactede in Norway , it had a reverse polarity unit, and a 3 stage Chrging profile, fullu Automatic Smart Chager--brand new . it was a 225 Amp charger. I have sent it back...waiting now for a reply. do you think my mistake was that I did not disconnect the cables before Charging?
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Old 04-11-2007, 20:27   #10
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Hmm..Norway...could it be a 225VOLT charger?? How about a link to the product so we can take a look for ourselves?
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Old 05-11-2007, 03:27   #11
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My Charger on fire

Quote:
Originally Posted by camaraderie View Post
Hmm..Norway...could it be a 225VOLT charger?? How about a link to the product so we can take a look for ourselves?
I want to thank all those who wrote to me. I am not alone in this stuation--it has happened to many other fellows.. the real conclussiion is as follows:
1. Never leave new equipment connected without a person watching.
2. dont leave a charger for too long unanteded
3. remove cables , alarms and electric equipment from the battery before you start charging.
4. have a automatic -fire-extinguisher fixed aboove the Charger-that might save you boat.
5. Fire is the no 1 danger in the marina. always.

Mike
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Old 05-11-2007, 08:19   #12
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Mike-
Along that list, you might want to treat the charger something like a stove. That is, make sure the bulkhead/overhead are lined with a sheet metal liner, or something else that is not combustible, so if a fire starts--it can't transfer to the hull right away.
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Old 05-11-2007, 08:25   #13
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You are quite right. the boat is made of wood, grp and plenty of FUEL on board. a sheet of metal liner , and a fire extinguisher auotmatically operated when above 110 Cellzius would do the job. Myself, I shall never leave a charger connected on my boat unattended in the future. I was LUCKY this time.

Mike
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Old 05-11-2007, 11:42   #14
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They can be left on all the time. They can be safe. ANY thing electrical could fail, but then, the boat could sink, it could be hit by lightening, it could have the keel drop off and so on and so on. It just happed was all. If you make sure that anything electrical like the charger, that produces heat, is installed in such away so as an heat or possible flame can not ignite anything, you will be OK.
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Old 05-11-2007, 11:49   #15
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You have to be able to walk away from your boat and trust that your charger is not going to catch on fire. The charger is what keeps your bilge pumps running should your boat start taking on water while you are not there. A properly built and installed battery charger will have enough intelligent circuitry and be fused properly to shut itself down before a fire starts. Nothing will prevent a fire 100%, but you can be assured that a good charger properly installed is going to have a next to zero chance of catching fire.

If your charger was installed properly, then it is probably a manufacturers defect. If that is the case then I would demand a full refund and purchase a different brand of a three stage charger. If it was not installed exactly to the manufacturers requirements then I don't think you have much of a case.

Sorry about all your troubles.

PS...never install a charger or any sort of device which creates heat or could arc above a battery. Batteries release hydrogen when charging. I had an 8-D battery blow up on me one time when the voltage sensing wire for the regulator on the alternator failed...fortunately, the battery was in a battery box which contained the mess.. you could see the individual cells blown out of the case.
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