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Old 23-04-2018, 14:18   #1
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Batteries really do explode.

A couple of weeks ago, while pulling anchor in Bahia Elena, Costa Rica, one of our batteries exploded. It was fairly impressive, sounding like an M80 going off in the cabin. Since the batteries are in a strong box with a lid there was no real harm done, except to our nerves. I quickly rewired the battery bank, excluding the topless one and we carried on.

This occurred late in the morning after motoring for several hours with the sun high, so the batteries were well charged and there was likely a lot of H2 and O2 in the top space. We had just pulled anchor and my wife had me drop the anchor back in the water to rinse off a clot of mud. When I lifted it back up...Blam! I still don't know exactly how the explosion occurred, but it was internal, so I suspect the plates had become warped due to abuse and were able to create a spark, igniting all that hydrogen and oxygen in the top space although I checked the fluid level afterwards and it was well above the plates, so who knows? For the fun of it I checked the voltage as well on the 4 golf cart batteries that make up our bank. The highest reading was on the exploded one, making me think that out of 4 damaged batteries, this was the highest performing and thus the more "stressed".

Anyhow, just a reminder to all to make sure batteries are in a proper box or reinforced area because, just like the sticker on the top says, they can explode.
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Old 23-04-2018, 14:59   #2
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Re: Batteries really do explode.

We just had a local man killed yesterday when the battery in his BMW caught fire in his garage after a short drive. Batteries can certainly be dangerous...

https://www.pressherald.com/2018/04/...re-identified/
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Old 23-04-2018, 15:49   #3
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Re: Batteries really do explode.

Poor guy. Just because his battery caught fire, you had him killed? That's pretty extreme !
<sarcasm>
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Old 23-04-2018, 16:19   #4
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Re: Batteries really do explode.

One should choose their words very carefully with this crowd. No slack with this bunch.


As a 6 GC2 bank sort of guy, be interested in any further info you might uncvover.
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Old 23-04-2018, 18:30   #5
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Re: Batteries really do explode.

Were they AGMs?
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Old 23-04-2018, 18:40   #6
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Re: Batteries really do explode.

Mikereed posted he checked the water level afterward, so likely FLA.
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Old 23-04-2018, 20:08   #7
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Re: Batteries really do explode.

Quote:
Originally Posted by senormechanico View Post
Poor guy. Just because his battery caught fire, you had him killed? That's pretty extreme !
<sarcasm>
Maybe just a little too soon. I've been there before........

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Old 23-04-2018, 20:50   #8
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Re: Batteries really do explode.

Yeah, we made batteries in 7th grade physics class and I was standing next to the bench when a whole row of them blew up. First permanent hearing loss - one of those Halmark Moments.
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Old 23-04-2018, 20:54   #9
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Re: Batteries really do explode.

Quote:
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Mikereed posted he checked the water level afterward, so likely FLA.
gotta learn to read someday
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Old 24-04-2018, 08:48   #10
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Re: Batteries really do explode.

@ #4:

Pronouns should always agree in number with their antecedents ;-0)!

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Old 24-04-2018, 09:09   #11
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Re: Batteries really do explode.

Mike, what batteries and how old?
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Old 24-04-2018, 09:31   #12
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Re: Batteries really do explode.

Good post Mike!
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Old 24-04-2018, 09:44   #13
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Re: Batteries really do explode.

Ive never had one explode on a boat, but I have had one nearly catch fire...to the point of smoking, presumably due to an internal short...while recommissioning a boat that had been laid up for a long time...turns out it had a minor lightening strike...probably what created the internal short.

Worked in a body shop as a kid and did have a car start batt explode there once at very close range (practically in my face)...lots of plastic shapnel and battery acid.
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Old 24-04-2018, 09:46   #14
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Re: Batteries really do explode.

Last week a 12V 120 Ah GEL battery was boiling and gasing, awful scent! If I was not near, it would have exploded too I guess. What a mess!

She was wired parallel in a bank with 3 others of the same type and age
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Old 24-04-2018, 18:46   #15
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Re: Batteries really do explode.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikereed100 View Post
A couple of weeks ago, while pulling anchor in Bahia Elena, Costa Rica, one of our batteries exploded.

[...]

Anyhow, just a reminder to all to make sure batteries are in a proper box or reinforced area because, just like the sticker on the top says, they can explode.

Thanks for sharing that, Mike. Is there a "Lesson learned" here?

Having the batts in a "proper box" obviously contained the explosion. So how about ventilating that box with a fan? Maybe that would've prevented the explosion in the first place?

On top of that, a temperature sensor with an audible alarm might be a useful addition, too?

I guess you already know that with FLA's, off-gassing is normal when charging them at a fairly high rate.
Recombination caps help reduce the water loss and would reduce the amount of combustible gasses.
The only precaution left then is to provide ample ventilation during those relatively brief times of high current charging. The fan doesn't have to run 24/7.
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