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Old 10-11-2011, 19:13   #1
ato
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ACDelco Busted

Hi, my engine starter battery type ACDelco Voyager M24-750 SMF broke down last Sunday. The battery was getting too hot to touch, smelled like rotten eggs and spilt acid from the negative connection terminal. The sides of the battery housing are bulging out slightly more than on a new battery.
My question:
- Could this be a malfunction of the Xantrex Link 20 charger unit? Did it try to push charge into a malfunctioning battery, causing it to become hot and a potential fire hazard?
- There was no indication from the Link 20 that there is a battery problem. The settings for this battery were correct. Is there a way to determine from the Link 20 whether there is a battery problem?
- Anyone faced similar problems with ACDelco batteries, how do you use them (house bank or starter), and is there a way to get a warning sign from the Link 20 before the battery boils away?

cheers
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Old 10-11-2011, 19:49   #2
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Re: ACDelco busted

I have an AC Delco Voyager as a house battery that just went bad. It came with the boat so I don't know the age. However, there were no signs of damage or smells, it just would not take a charge. I don't have Xantrex Link 20 charger.
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Old 10-11-2011, 19:59   #3
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Re: ACDelco busted

Sounds like the battery was being overcharged, how old is the Delco?
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Old 10-11-2011, 20:07   #4
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Re: ACDelco busted

the plates inside could be your problem?
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Old 10-11-2011, 20:24   #5
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Re: ACDelco Busted

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Originally Posted by ato View Post
Hi, my engine starter battery type ACDelco Voyager M24-750 SMF broke down last Sunday. The battery was getting too hot to touch, smelled like rotten eggs and spilt acid from the negative connection terminal. The sides of the battery housing are bulging out slightly more than on a new battery.
My question:
- Could this be a malfunction of the Xantrex Link 20 charger unit? Did it try to push charge into a malfunctioning battery, causing it to become hot and a potential fire hazard?
- There was no indication from the Link 20 that there is a battery problem. The settings for this battery were correct. Is there a way to determine from the Link 20 whether there is a battery problem?
- Anyone faced similar problems with ACDelco batteries, how do you use them (house bank or starter), and is there a way to get a warning sign from the Link 20 before the battery boils away?

cheers
A bulging battery is almost always a sign of positive plate grid corrosion. Positive grid corrosion is a result of chronic overcharge.

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Old 11-11-2011, 02:07   #6
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Re: ACDelco Busted

The ACDelco battery is between 2-3 years old, can't be sure.

I need to investigate about "Chronic overcharging". After this incident I don't trust the Link 20 any more and will check it out.

There seems to be another problem with it, as it shows that a current is flowing from my starter battery when I switch on the lights, but when I switch off the house battery switch the lights go off... Maybe my house battery also starts the engine?
It's going to be a busy weekend tracing wires

I just put the boat on the hard today and found that there are four spots in the prop shaft where a stray current has eaten up the steel, down to a depth of 7-8 mm in each location. An isolation transformer for the incoming power supply should prevent this if the current comes from my boat. I'll also shift berths when the boats is back in the water.
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Old 11-11-2011, 09:43   #7
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Re: ACDelco Busted

When you fill batteries, use distilled deionized water. I once put in tap water and a battery swelled up and broke.

How about putting in a galvanic isolator on the ground wire?
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Old 11-11-2011, 09:48   #8
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Re: ACDelco Busted

be sure your Xantrex charger is set up for lead acid not AGM. A simple mistake that I made and boiled a few batts.
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Old 11-11-2011, 09:53   #9
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Re: ACDelco Busted

I agree with Antares. If the correct setting for the type of battery was not the problem then the only way to determine the problem would be to put the charger on a test battery and keep an eye on the voltage. You should not see it run much over 14 volts unless you put the charger on equalize. Over 15 volts?...it's definitely bad.

Use a good quality digital meter for measuring the voltage.
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Old 11-11-2011, 10:05   #10
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Re: ACDelco Busted

Its very possible that the battery has a shorted cell, which causes all the others to overcharge/heat. Isolate the battery and check to see if the resting voltage is on the order of 10, rather than 12 volts-if so, there is probably nothing wrong with your charging/monitoring systems.
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Old 11-11-2011, 10:20   #11
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Re: ACDelco Busted

Ditto above. It sounds like the galvanic corrrosion issue could be a clue to the wiring problem. If you have a battery that is somehow getting positive to the bilge, or something that stays on and trickles through it to a bad ground? Any of these could be the cause of draining and recharging battery that can cause it to fail.

I would check things 1 step at a time, check voltage regulation on alternator, charger, plate voltage on batts, (all of them).

check wiring, especially any circuts that can cross house and starter battery. Check for frayed, chaffed insulation in bilge, (if it gets wet it can conduct into bilge water or frame gound causing stray currents that eat up prop shaft,thru hulls, and oil pan).
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Old 11-11-2011, 10:31   #12
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Re: ACDelco Busted

I had an AC Delco 8D go bad a couple years ago. Shorted inside. Same symptoms as you except no leak. The bank wouldnt stay charged. Then I felt the batteries after charging overnight and the bad one was real hot, the others were not. Disconnected it and everything worked fine. Replaced with two smaller batteries! You've got a shorted cell. After disconnecting I confirmed by testing voltage on all batteries resting. The bad one was 10 volts and the good ones were 12.5+
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Old 11-11-2011, 13:01   #13
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Re: ACDelco Busted

Quote:
I just put the boat on the hard today and found that there are four spots in the prop shaft where a stray current has eaten up the steel, down to a depth of 7-8 mm in each location. An isolation transformer for the incoming power supply should prevent this if the current comes from my boat.
The worm holes you observed in the shaft were most likely caused by stray current corrosion generated on your boat. An isolation transformer will not correct this condition.

capn-bill
Quote:
Ditto above. It sounds like the galvanic corrrosion issue could be a clue to the wiring problem.
This is most likely not galvanic corrosion (mA, < 1VDC) which is characterized as a very slow process, but more than likely the result of stray current corrosion (A, full battery voltage) which is generally a very, very fast process.

This will be difficult to diagnosis via the forum. I recommend that you hire an ABYC qualified corrosion technician to help you find the root cause of your problem (s).

Charlie
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Old 11-11-2011, 13:43   #14
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Re: ACDelco Busted

I just put the boat on the hard today and found that there are four spots in the prop shaft where a stray current has eaten up the steel, down to a depth of 7-8 mm in each location. An isolation transformer for the incoming power supply should prevent this if the current comes from my boat. I'll also shift berths when the boats is back in the water.
That's pretty severe. I second the recomendation to get a marine electrolysis tech out to diagnose it. In the one similar case I observed (Valiant 32 that had completed a circumnavigation) the boat had a new bottom job and new prop shaft, cutlass etc done when it returned to seattle. A diver went down a few months later to clean the bottom and the bronze thru hulls were crumbling as he cleaned! The boat was removed from the water immediately and the prop shaft was nearly completely gone in a matter of a few months! The expert teaching the seminar I was at said the final diagnosis was the wiring in the marina, not his boat. (it had been fine for a 4 year circumnavigation)
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Old 12-11-2011, 20:13   #15
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Re: ACDelco Busted

I would like to thank everybody for the replies and suggestions!

Yesterday I traced all wiring of the Xantrex and it's ok now. The settings are correct as well. Managed to find and remove several unconnected wires, cleaned up and tidied up the whole wiring in the engine room and nav station... My boat yard is going to send me a quote for the prop shaft and cutlass bearing job. I will open another thread for this in the maintenance forum page.

Cheers!
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