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Old 14-06-2013, 10:31   #1
VVD
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AGM Battery - Very Hot and Sulfur Smell

Hello,

We have 3 AGM 6 cells house batteries which are 2 years old, 200Amps each. Until recently they all worked very well. They are connected parallel.
The other day, we noticed one of the batteries being less charged than others and not accepting the charge well. When touched it felt much warmer than the others and we could smell something like sulfur. We've taken this battery out of our electrical circuit but would like to understand what happened to prevent it from happening again.

We do not think our batteries were ever overcharged. Our voltage has never been above 14.10V and suspect this battery had developed some internal resistance. How can we make sure that this is the case and that our alternator or generator is indeed not overcharging?

Also, before the battery started smelling, our voltage seemed to dip unusually fast and we suspect this one battery was draining the other ones.

Any help is appreciated.

Thanks
Vincent
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Old 14-06-2013, 10:48   #2
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Re: AGM battery - Very hot and sulfur smell

faulty cell,

dave
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Old 14-06-2013, 10:50   #3
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Re: AGM battery - Very hot and sulfur smell

Not sure what brand of battery you have, but it sounds like they have been undercharged. A Lifeline AGM charges at 14.4 at 70*F. My Rolls AGM need closer to 14.7v. So sulphation is real likelihood.
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Old 14-06-2013, 10:55   #4
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Re: AGM battery - Very hot and sulfur smell

get an inexpensive Harbor Freight volt meter. the digital red one is good and you can find a coupon for a free one.
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Old 14-06-2013, 12:05   #5
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Re: AGM battery - Very hot and sulfur smell

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Also, before the battery started smelling, our voltage seemed to dip unusually fast and we suspect this one battery was draining the other ones.
I had the same thing happen with a gel battery. It was a bad cell.
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Old 14-06-2013, 12:49   #6
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Re: AGM battery - Very hot and sulfur smell

I agree with the undercharging and sulfating comment....14.1VDC is way too low for charging an AGM or flooded lead acid battery.

However, sulfation by itself is unlikely to cause a shorted cell, and this sounds like a bad one.

More likely to be some sort of internal physical anomaly, maybe with the rods connecting the plates or other plate-related problem???

Anyway, there's really no way to protect batteries 100% from such failures. Charge 'em at the correct voltages, keep them fully charged as often as possible, don't cycle them too low, don't mistreat them, and that's about all you can do. But, nothing is 100%!

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Old 14-06-2013, 12:55   #7
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Re: AGM battery - Very hot and sulfur smell

AGMs really have no place on a boat, see the many posts on them elsewhere IMHO

dave
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Old 14-06-2013, 13:30   #8
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Re: AGM battery - Very hot and sulfur smell

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AGMs really have no place on a boat, see the many posts on them elsewhere IMHO

dave
Could you live with a vented battery inside the cabin?
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Old 14-06-2013, 13:30   #9
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Re: AGM battery - Very hot and sulfur smell

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Could you live with a vented battery inside the cabin?
I live with 8 of them!
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Old 14-06-2013, 13:39   #10
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Re: AGM battery - Very hot and sulfur smell

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I live with 8 of them!
Well I only have six at the moment.

Have used standard FLA vented batteries on every boat I've every owned and same for almost every boater I know. Haven't had a hydrogen explosion yet at least on a boat. I did have a sealed dive light with a bad battery vent hydrogen and make a pretty loud pop when I opened it and the leads sparked but I don't know of any battery boxes that are sealed that tight.
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Old 14-06-2013, 13:42   #11
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Re: AGM battery - Very hot and sulfur smell

hydrogen rises, and vents in typical boat, where most are not using sealed battery cases. I dont see it as a problem,

Anyway, you can easily get VRLAs that are not AGM, is you wanted sealed,but in my opinion backed upo by people like Sterling Power, Open , flooded LA is best for boats.

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Old 14-06-2013, 14:04   #12
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Re: AGM battery - Very hot and sulfur smell

I would truly like to save some money. I have 7 dead batteries 3 of which are inside the cabin and 4 outside. Till now I felt that because of the 3 inside I was forced to use non vented batteries, like the AGM's. I imagined the gas and smell from charging batteries would be unpleasant and a danger. I can easly seal up the battery boxes that are inside so whatever gas was present would stay there but is that wise?
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Old 14-06-2013, 14:46   #13
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Re: AGM battery - Very hot and sulfur smell

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AGMs really have no place on a boat, see the many posts on them elsewhere IMHO
Huh. There's a real nice place for them on my boat.
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Old 15-06-2013, 06:01   #14
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Huh. There's a real nice place for them on my boat.
They contain advantageous that can't be utilised and disadvantageous that unfortunately materialise

Dave
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Old 15-06-2013, 06:03   #15
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I would truly like to save some money. I have 7 dead batteries 3 of which are inside the cabin and 4 outside. Till now I felt that because of the 3 inside I was forced to use non vented batteries, like the AGM's. I imagined the gas and smell from charging batteries would be unpleasant and a danger. I can easly seal up the battery boxes that are inside so whatever gas was present would stay there but is that wise?
I charge 8 LA s there is no noticeable smell in the boat from the batteries at any time. You're worrying about a problem that doesn't exist. Don't seal the boxes as the has collects in the smaller spaces

Dave
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