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Old 22-03-2009, 04:50   #1
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Stinking Battery!

a disgusting foul odor of rotten eggs could be smelled when entering the boat, I immediately rushed to the heads flushed it five times and poured some desinfectant and freshener in the bowl,the smell persisted !
a couple of hours later and sniffing my way around, I discovered that the odor was coming from the batteries compartment, upon investigating further, I found out that one of my batteries supposedely maintenance free deep cycle and sealed,was overheating while charging and releasing this nasty smell. I disconnected the charger and it cooled off , the smell receaded but now I am facing another problem, the voltage began to drop reaching 10volts by the end of the day. when i hoohed up the shore power again and the charge cycle began, the battery re-heated and the rotten eggs smell reappeared . I will definitely replace the battery next week and this time I 'll purchase the automotive old 75 amp /h one even if I have to change it every year,
any one out there can explain this strange phenomenon ??
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Old 22-03-2009, 06:04   #2
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"Maintenance free" AGM or Gel cells need to be charged at a different rate than traditional wet cells. Unless you have a charger capable of the correct rate and have it set on the correct setting ....you probably fried your battery with an incorrect charging regimen. Are all your batteries of the same type ? you must never mix different types of batteries in the same bank.
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Old 22-03-2009, 07:56   #3
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The rotten egg smell is Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S), which is a product of overcharging and/or elevated temperatures.
The battery is permanently damaged, and must be replaced.
First, the Battery Charger must be checked for proper charging regimen (voltage & current), which is specific to the exact battery, to which it must be matched.

See the paper:
“NEW INSIGHTS INTO THERMAL RUNAWAY OF VRLA BATTERIES” http://www.battcon.com/PapersFinal20...sPaper2005.pdf
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Old 22-03-2009, 09:58   #4
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thanks Gordmay for the link
your advise would be then to purchase the same type of battery and not mix batteries even if each one is for a specific use unless I install a second charger!
one other thing, from where did this H2S gaz escape ??? the battery is sealed and no leakage whatsoever could be observed
my charger is a sterling that was professionally installed when I bought the boat in Turkey it has worked perfectly for over a year..as for the overcharging that occured why did it affect one battery and not the other ?? or both ?? should I consider coovering or disconnecting the 75 watts solar panel that is connected permanently as a back up while cruising under sail?
any feedback on the matter is welcome
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Old 22-03-2009, 10:34   #5
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Your present charger probably got well above 14 volts for a long period of time..which destroyed your battery.

What we are saying is that you want to have all gel cells, or all wet lead-acid batteries or whatever. You then get a marine grade, three stage charger which can be set to the type of batteries that you have. The type of battery charger you would get from an automotive store are inadequate for a boat for a number of reasons...don't go that route.

Because your current battery charger was professionally installed does not necessarily mean it still works correctly or was the correct charger in the first place. I have seen a number of professional installation screw ups.

Sealed batteries have the ability to bleed gas into the atmosphere if the internal pressure builds up.
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Old 22-03-2009, 10:48   #6
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hey David

are you by any chance familiar with the sterling charger ?? if yes I would very much like to have some instructions to follow, I know my batteries are the marine type sealed maintenance free with a visual color monitor to judge of their state and I know that my charger has to be calibrated to suit whatever type of battery I want to install but I don't know How to do it.. no users guide was to be found when I bought the boat so I would appreciate any help in this direction
cheers
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Old 22-03-2009, 12:23   #7
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I would be suspicious that their is a problem with your Sterling charger. No battery charger should have cooked a battery like that unless it was set for charging a 24 volt bank.

I found Sterling's website. Sterling Power Products: Battery Chargers Without knowing the model number of your charger I cannot be of much help. I would go into their site and see if they have a PDF for your battery charger and adjust the settings according to their instructions.

After doing that, start the charger while connected to a new battery and keep an eye on the voltage. Is it going a lot over 14.0 volts? If so, it has gone bad and needs to be replaced. You cant really repair battery chargers for less than what they cost new. If it needs to be replaced I would be inclined to get a different brand.
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Old 22-03-2009, 14:10   #8
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I'd suspect just the one overheated battery is bad, but the situation you describe is potentially dangerous. The battery can overheat to the point that it starts a fire. Do a google search on "Thermal runaway" and research it a little. Your charger is probably OK but there are charging circuits that include current limiting and or thermal sensors to prevent the fire scenario.
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Old 23-03-2009, 02:22   #9
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An old friend noticed this thread, and commented thus:

“... It sounds like one cell is shorted. Sadly a common fault condidtion. This can cause the battery to give a reading to the charger that suggest the battery is flat. The charger of course, continues to put in full charge and the battery thus boils. When several batteries are connected in a bank, there is a danger of all the batteries being over charged.
When the gentleman disconnected the bank and noticed the voltage dropping, this would be due to the internal short slowly pulling down the voltage state.
One issue he will have when replacing the battery is that if the bank is much over a year old, the differences between the originals and a new replacement will be too great and poor charging of the new battery can occur, meaning it will fail early due to never being properly charged. A bank over 12months of age needs to be completely changed out. Manufacturers that place warranties on the batteries of two or more years will often replace the entire bank even if only one battery has failed.
I hope this helps him.”
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Old 23-03-2009, 03:33   #10
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thanks for all the valuable info you kindly sent

I am going to play it safe and purchase 2 brand new batteries , I am thinking the acid cell ones and will try to get in touch with the sterling website and ask for their method of connecting the charger to this type of batteries accordingly.

you think that the back up solar panel I have and which is connected at all times to the bank had contributed somehow to this ?? maybe your friend can shed a light

regards
georges
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Old 23-03-2009, 07:31   #11
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Sounds like you have a battery charger that does NOT go into 'float' mode after the batteries get fully charged. either that or you had a bad battery, but two?

My guess would be that you need a three stage charger.

I did the exact same thing with the original charger that came with my Cape Dory. It states on a panel attached to the charger to NOT leave it on for long periods of time. Problem is, you can't read the panel while the charger is installed. I read after replacing it with a three stage unit.

good luck.
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