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Old 08-07-2016, 09:26   #1
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Batteries putting off hydrogen

Our CO monitor is going off periodically due to hydrogen. Yard tested with gas monitor - no CO issue but excessive hydrogen from large, wet cell house batteries. The fixes are three new AGM batteries and alternator regulator OR solar ventilation fans on an aft and forward hatch. Latter is less than 1/3 the cost. Any experience, comments on the issue would be appreciated. thanks
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Old 08-07-2016, 09:37   #2
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Re: Batteries putting off hydrogen

as hydrogen is somewhat explosive, eg, zeppelin catastrophes , ww1 and 2, perhaps this gas should be checked before cat ass trophy occurs.
as batteries are potentially gasers, where is your gas being routed? is it to overboard? hopefully not contained within the living quarters of boat???
is this a new thing?
i have never experienced this issue with my wet cells. these new fangled seals for the wet are a lot more effective at keeping gases at bay than were the old screw on caps.
is it time for a change?? is your fluid level correct? what is the reason for this change if it is new?? what is age of batteries?? are they holding charge?
figure out your battery condition and figure out why they are doing this and go from there...they could be sulfated and in need of equalization.
glad you found the answer to your issue.
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Old 08-07-2016, 09:37   #3
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Re: Batteries putting off hydrogen

Hydrogen is lighter than air so it rises AND it is inflammable so venting the batteries through the boat to the forward and aft hatches I do not think is a good or safe idea.

Our battery boxes are (pretty well) sealed with a plastic vent pipe coming out of the top of each box. The pipes lead out into the cockpit via on of the engine room ventilators. Very cheap and simple solution

I was told by my electrician that by law, in the UK, battery boxes have to be ventilated.

And another thought,

If the batteries are producing so much hydrogen, are the batteries being overcharged?

Damn Just seen Seahag beat me to it!!!!
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Old 08-07-2016, 09:48   #4
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Re: Batteries putting off hydrogen

When I am equalizing my 6 golf cart batteries the CO detector will alarm unless I really open up all the hatches and ports (which I do). Other than the equalization phase no alarm issues (this has happened with 3 different smoke/ CO detectors over 10 years).

I would check your charge profile. Maybe overcharging or overfloating your bank.
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Old 08-07-2016, 09:50   #5
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Re: Batteries putting off hydrogen

thanks. Yes, batteries are being overcharged but batteries still good. And yes, the hydrogen is coming into the cabin and aft quarters. I think it is flammable or at least explosive in the sense that a flame (propane stove) could be dangerous. Opening hatches takes care of it but real problem is leaving boat on shore power with inverter on to charge batteries. I do not think there is a venting tube going from batteries out of boat. what does your tube connect to on the battery - the caps?
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Old 08-07-2016, 09:58   #6
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Re: Batteries putting off hydrogen

Same here if the trojans are on several hours at 14.8v. Not overly worried, the Co alarm is very sensitive, a few minutes using a gas soldering iron will set it off.
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Old 08-07-2016, 10:14   #7
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Re: Batteries putting off hydrogen

Are the batteries enclosed at all? If so , A simple hose routed up a few feet will evacuate without a fan. (chimney effect) If it's a well sealed enclosure you'll need an inlet also. If it's a "leaky" enclosure like most you wont.
Many C) alarms are super sensitive too. Almost to the point of 'crying wolf" and making them useless.
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Old 08-07-2016, 10:33   #8
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Re: Batteries putting off hydrogen

it is an enclosed space under the aft berth. Batteries and 12 gallon hot water heater under there. So I am thinking there is not good ventilation going in either but you could drill holes in the sides of the centerline queen enclosure I think. Then use venting hose coming out - thru engine room and cockpit I guess. Thanks for these thoughts.
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Old 08-07-2016, 10:39   #9
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Re: Batteries putting off hydrogen

Yes, a hose 1.5-2" diameter anywhere in that space and then up into the coaming with an exit covered by a clam scoop will exhaust great. There are louvered vent covers you can use for an inlet hole to look nice.
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Old 08-07-2016, 10:53   #10
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Re: Batteries putting off hydrogen

Fix the overcharging issue, and I think you will fix the H2 issue, plus they will last a lot longer.
AGM's are not for everybody, they are sort of a specialized thing and have their own problems and require a different charging profile, if your overcharging LA batteries and put in AGM on the same charger, then your AGM's will die soon.
Do you have a three stage charger and can you set charge voltages?

I assume your batteries are going through water like a thirsty dog?
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Old 08-07-2016, 11:06   #11
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Re: Batteries putting off hydrogen

yes we already have the ventilation in on the sides of the berth - so its probably just a matter of venting it out to coaming. thanks
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Old 08-07-2016, 12:01   #12
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Re: Batteries putting off hydrogen

Quote:
Originally Posted by evbeck View Post

I do not think there is a venting tube going from batteries out of boat. what does your tube connect to on the battery - the caps?
My batteries are in plywood boxes secured to the boat and are lined in fibreglass. They have close fitting lids.

Each box has a plastic 1 inch skin fitting in the top (or in the side near the top) and the plastic pipe is fitted to the skin fitting. The pipe is lead out into the outside of the boat, in my case through the engine room vents.
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Old 08-07-2016, 12:03   #13
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Re: Batteries putting off hydrogen

Quote:
Originally Posted by evbeck View Post
....................but real problem is leaving boat on shore power with inverter on to charge batteries.
I don't understand this: inverter on to charge batteries

You mean charger?
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Old 08-07-2016, 12:05   #14
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Re: Batteries putting off hydrogen

Might have an inverter / charger.
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Old 08-07-2016, 12:59   #15
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Re: Batteries putting off hydrogen

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Fix the overcharging issue, and I think you will fix the H2 issue, plus they will last a lot longer.
The only solution! Using fans instead to just move the hydrogen around is right up there with disconnecting the CO monitor as a "fix".
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