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Old 03-25-2019, 03:03 PM   #1
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Battery Boxes Required?

If I covered the terminals, strapped down the batteries properly, is there any reason to require a battery box?

Otherwise, how can you get the right size, truly make sure they are in some way water resistant (better than the battery itself) etc. etc. I feel that battery boxes are not really doing a lot for the trouble. Maybe they are a requirement?

I question the value of everything, if a battery is installed extremely well, does a battery box really offer any extra value?

I have seen very professionally strapped down batteries without boxes. So I don't think this is a dumb question....


Just a curiosity question for today.
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Old 03-25-2019, 03:15 PM   #2
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Think about one thing that could occur... What if your battery starts to leak its acid ( if a lead acid of course)? I think you would like all this creepy hungry liquid to be kept in a box instead starting to east what is around

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Old 03-25-2019, 03:32 PM   #3
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Ok, so a pan at least. I've never seen a battery leak a lot of liquid, but I have seen them leak some. I wonder what it'd do to fiberglass....
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Old 03-25-2019, 04:40 PM   #4
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ABYC requires them even for AGM batteries that don't leak. Noco makes good ones. Search on Amazon and find the one(s) that meet your Group # designation.


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Old 03-25-2019, 05:00 PM   #5
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ABYC requires them even for AGM batteries that don't leak. Noco makes good ones. Search on Amazon and find the one(s) that meet your Group # designation.


David

huh, I though ABYC didn't require them for AGMs since they are "non-spillable".
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Old 03-25-2019, 06:55 PM   #6
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Here is the ABYC wording (at least from a prior edition - not sure if there has been any mods?)
If I read this correct a "Box" is not a requirement as long as there is containment (Tray") and insulated terminals
It does state batty type e.g. sealed batty can be "considered" re; containment but doesn't elaborate as to what is / isn't acceptable ???


10.7 INSTALLATION

10.7.1 Battery mounting materials and surfaces shall withstand electrolyte attack.
10.7.2 Provision shall be made to contain incidental leakage and spillage of electrolyte.
NOTE: Consideration should be given to:
a. the type of battery installed (e.g. liquid electrolyte or immobilized electrolyte).

b. the boat in which the battery is installed (e.g. angles of heel for sailboats, and accelerations for powerboats).
10.7.3 Fasteners for the attachment of battery boxes or trays shall be isolated from areas intended to collect spilled electrolyte.
10.7.4 Each installed battery shall not move more than one inch (25mm) in any direction when a pulling force of 90 pounds (41kg) or twice the battery weight, whichever is less, is applied through the center of gravity of the battery as follows;
10.7.4.1 vertically for a duration of one minute, and
10.7.4.2 horizontally and parallel to the boat's centerline, for a duration of one minute fore and one minute aft, and
10.7.4.3 horizontally and perpendicular to the boat's centerline for a duration of one minute to starboard and one minute to port.
10.7.5 Batteries shall not be installed directly above or below a fuel tank, fuel filter, or fitting in a fuel line without an intervening sole, floor, or deck.
10.7.6 Batteries shall not be installed, without an intervening barrier, directly below electrical equipment susceptible to attack from corrosive gasses.
10.7.7 To prevent accidental contact of the ungrounded battery connection to ground, each battery shall be protected so that metallic objects cannot come into contact with the ungrounded battery terminal and uninsulated cell straps. This may be accomplished by means such as;
10.7.7.1 covering the ungrounded battery terminal with a boot or non- conductive shield, or
10.7.7.2 installing the battery in a covered battery box, or
10.7.7.3 installing the battery in a compartment specially designed only for the battery(s).

10.7.8 Each metallic fuel line and fuel system component within 12 inches (305mm) of the horizontal or vertical plane of the battery surface containing the terminals, as installed, shall be shielded with dielectric material to protect against accidental short-circuiting. See Figure 1.
NOTES:
1. Terminal insulation or battery covers do not provide compliance with this requirement since, during installation or removal of a battery, these protective devices are usually removed in order to connect the cables.
2. Any non-conductive material may be used for shielding as long as it is durable enough to withstand accidental contact by a tool or the battery terminals during servicing, installation or removal.
10.7.8.1 Batteries with a combination of side and top terminals shall comply with both the horizontal and vertical shielding requirements.
10.7.9 A vent system or other means shall be provided to permit the discharge from the boat of
hydrogen gas released by the battery.
10.7.10 Battery boxes, whose cover forms a pocket over the battery, shall be vented at the uppermost portion of the cover.
NOTE TO 10.7.9 and 10.7.10: These requirements also apply to installations of all batteries whether they employ removable vent caps, non-removable caps, are “sealed” or “maintenance free” batteries, or have pressure regulated valve vent systems with immobilized electrolyte (gel batteries).
10.7.11 Shall be charged by means that are appropriate to the type of battery being charged.
See ABYC A-31, Battery Chargers and Inverters.
NOTE: Where batteries are connected in parallel, differences in battery temperature will result in differences in charge acceptance rates. This can, in certain circumstances, create a risk of battery damage.
E-10 STORAGE BATTERIES Page 10 of 14


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Old 03-25-2019, 07:01 PM   #7
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Ok, so a pan at least. I've never seen a battery leak a lot of liquid, but I have seen them leak some. I wonder what it'd do to fiberglass....
When I was negotiating to purchase "Bacchus" the PO did little / no maint himself and relied on yard to do simple tasks like checking / filling batty water. It turned out frequent filling / overfilling? and charging caused acid "boil over" that not only filled the trays but flowed into the bilge and basically destroyed a sump pump & switch. Ended up being one of many "negotiated adjustments" to an accepted offer w/ contingencies. It can happen
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Old 03-25-2019, 07:47 PM   #8
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I installed battery boxes into my current boat. It didn't have anything securing or protecting the batteries or terminals before that, so it made sense to go all the way. But, it did take a bit longer than expected. I had to move the batteries all around to make room, because the boxes are much larger than the batteries, themselves.

My previous boat had battery trays, but nothing else. They worked really well, so I opted to strap the batteries down and add boots over the terminals. Those boots saved me a couple of times when I dropped tools or put them down in silly places.

When I went to look at the boat that I now own, the house batteries were nearly drained of water, hot, and warping at the top. The owner apparently knew about the problem and replaced the battery charger, thinking that it was the problem. Also, curiously enough, the photos showed three house batteries, not the two that were present when I saw the boat. Regardless, the salesperson watered the batteries that day.

I saw the new charger and the batteries boiling over and suspected the solar charger/regulator was bad and flipped it off (and told the salesperson) as I was leaving the boat.

Months later, we came to terms on the price, the boat was surveyed, engine inspected, and sea trialed. All good. I get to the boat and one of the house batteries had exploded, blowing the top off of it, and scattering plastic and what little fluid was left in it across the engine room. I'm glad I wasn't down there at the time!

What was the cause? The solar controller had settings for bulk and float charging voltages. Both were set to the very high bulk charging voltage.

What about me having switched it off months earlier? Did someone turn it back on? Nope. The breaker was a fake-out -- both wires were on the same rear screw terminal. Why would someone do that? The breaker wasn't mounted and was "floating" in line. When I tried to move the wire -- it pulled the breaker against the metal controller case and shorted. I adjusted the controller and moved and properly mounted the breaker (also added one as a cut-off panel-side).

Why would one set the float charge voltage so high? I can only guess. But, they'd pulled out one of the water tank gauges and replaced it with an amp gauge for the solar panel. I guess they wanted it show it working for the sale. But, when the batteries were charged, it showed no amps. So, I can only guess they "dialed it up" until that wasn't the case so no one would think it wasn't working. I put back the water gauge and moved that gauge near the breakers.

Regardless, I'm not sure if the battery boxes would be able to contain such a disaster -- or simply add more shrapnel. But, fortunately, adjusting the solar controller fixed the problem, so I haven't had to find out. Having said that -- I now wear safety googles when working in the engine room, not just safety glasses. And, I always use hearing protection down there. So, I'm learning. Maybe gloves will come next.
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Old 03-25-2019, 07:54 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gkesden View Post
I installed battery boxes into my current boat. It didn't have anything securing or protecting the batteries or terminals before that, so it made sense to go all the way.
But, it did take a bit longer than expected. I had to move the batteries all around to make room, because the boxes are much larger than the batteries, themselves.

My previous boat had battery trays, but nothing else. They worked really well, so I opted to strap the batteries down and add boots over the terminals. Those boots saved me a couple of times when I dropped tools or put them down in silly places.

When I went to look at the boat that I now own, the house batteries were nearly drained of water, hot, and warping at the top. The owner apparently knew about the problem and replaced the battery charger, thinking that it was the problem. Also, curiously enough, the photos showed three house batteries, not the two that were present when I saw the boat. Regardless, the salesperson watered the batteries that day.

I saw the new charger and the batteries boiling over and suspected the solar charger/regulator was bad and flipped it off (and told the salesperson) as I was leaving the boat.

Months later, we came to terms on the price, the boat was surveyed, engine inspected, and sea trialed. All good. I get to the boat and one of the house batteries had exploded, blowing the top off of it, and scattering plastic and what little fluid was left in it across the engine room. I'm glad I wasn't down there at the time!

What was the cause? The solar controller had settings for bulk and float charging voltages. Both were set to the very high bulk charging voltage.

What about me having switched it off months earlier? Did someone turn it back on? Nope. The breaker was a fake-out -- both wires were on the same rear screw terminal. Why would someone do that? The breaker wasn't mounted and was "floating" in line. When I tried to move the wire -- it pulled the breaker against the metal controller case and shorted. I adjusted the controller and moved and properly mounted the breaker (also added one as a cut-off panel-side).

Why would one set the float charge voltage so high? I can only guess. But, they'd pulled out one of the water tank gauges and replaced it with an amp gauge for the solar panel. I guess they wanted it show it working for the sale. But, when the batteries were charged, it showed no amps. So, I can only guess they "dialed it up" until that wasn't the case so no one would think it wasn't working. I put back the water gauge and moved that gauge near the breakers.

Regardless, I'm not sure if the battery boxes would be able to contain such a disaster -- or simply add more shrapnel. But, fortunately, adjusting the solar controller fixed the problem, so I haven't had to find out. Having said that -- I now wear safety googles when working in the engine room, not just safety glasses. And, I always use hearing protection down there. So, I'm learning. Maybe gloves will come next.
You should ask this to Santa next Christmas:



or maybe even this:





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Old 03-25-2019, 08:00 PM   #10
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Hey Lou,

Do you think that second set of turn out gear will work with my safety glasses?

-- https://hitchhikers.fandom.com/wiki/...ive_Sunglasses

-Greg
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Old 03-25-2019, 08:06 PM   #11
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I like having boxes since my batteries are between the mains and the boxes I have allow me to walk (or crawl) over the top of them with no damage to me or the batteries.
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Old 03-26-2019, 09:32 PM   #12
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Coast Guard requires that the battery terminals are covered even when the batteries are in an isolated compartment (just big enough for two batteries), but not in boxes.
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Old 03-27-2019, 06:42 AM   #13
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The practice on Nordhavns is that AGMs are not in battery boxes. They are well secured, terminals are covered/protected, and they are fused. Sometimes they are in a battery compartment/cabinet, and sometimes more out in the open. It depends on what the battery is for.


I have never heard of this being flagged by anyone as a ABYC violation, so many pros are interpreting AGMs as non-spillable, hence no need for a box to contain leaking electrolyte.


None of this means you can't or shouldn't used battery boxes with AGMs if you want. I see the big advantage to having battery boxed with AGMs is the future option of using flooded batteries if you want. Without boxes, you are constrained to AGMs.
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Old 03-27-2019, 09:52 AM   #14
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On non-spillable type batteries boxes complicate installation and removal, restrict their visibility, complicate access for routine inspection, etc. All true for FLA type batteries too except boxes and lids might mitigate damage from a battery of that type exploding.

If anyone has exploded a gel/AGM type battery I am curious to know what scattered as a result. Just plastic or battery internals too?
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Old 03-27-2019, 10:23 AM   #15
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My trawler has the Blue Sea battery boxes (no longer sold but very similar to the Noco). They contain Lifeline AGM 4D batteries. The previous owner had the battery charger fail (a Xantrex 4 stage unit) which overcharged the house bank. It outgassed through the pressure vents, discoloring and corroding the terminals, cables, bolts, and everything inside the battery box. The damage stops right where the cables leave the box. Since the batteries are right next to the aluminum fuel tanks, I'm pretty happy the battery boxes were there, I have no doubt there would be significant corrosion on them if there had just been a tray or terminal covers.
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Old 03-27-2019, 10:40 AM   #16
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Battery boxes are often the easiest and least expensive way to get containment, hold down the batts and cover the terminals. If you can achieve those things another way, go to town.
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Old 03-27-2019, 01:54 PM   #17
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Battery boxes are often the easiest and least expensive way to get containment, hold down the batts and cover the terminals. If you can achieve those things another way, go to town.
Fair. But with AGM/Lithium:
  1. Is containment necessary?
  2. Are they really "held down"? In a real overturn, I feel the battery would come flying out if not strapped.
  3. Covering terminals: Valid
  4. Also, allowing some "climbing over", definitely a good reason.
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Old 03-27-2019, 03:42 PM   #18
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Fair. But with AGM/Lithium:
  1. Is containment necessary?
  2. Are they really "held down"? In a real overturn, I feel the battery would come flying out if not strapped.
  3. Covering terminals: Valid
  4. Also, allowing some "climbing over", definitely a good reason.

  1. probably not critical with AGMs. Failure of the AGM is unlikely but not unheard of, so its your call. Lithium might be its own topic.
  2. A box requires a strap or some other hold-down. I think most boxes come with the strap (I may be wrong) but the battery needs to be held down regardless
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Old 03-27-2019, 10:18 PM   #19
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it seems that half of what we do is controlled by anecdote. Here's mine.
I will NEVER have unprotected battteries, maybe other than under the hood of my car.

A year ago I was driving my motorhome and trailer back from a race in British Columbia back home to Washington. I was towing a trailer that had my top fuel harley in it, a street bike, about five gallons of gas and 10 gallons of nitro methane.

I have a box in the trailer with an uncovered car battery in it, that powers the hydraulic lift used to service the bike. When packing up to come home, someone dropped a piece of aluminum in the box. When we were driving down I-5, something shifted and the aluminum shorted the battery. The battery melted, boiled out the acid, the cables heated up, melting the insulation and allowing the glowing red cables to light some grease rags on fire. Those in turn caught my leathers and helmets on fire, which were hanging overhead. That in turn got everything hot enough to catch the wiring on fire, as well as some other items. it was hot enough in the trailer to melt the ceiling lighting fixtures, melted hydraulic lines, air lines and fuel lines (thankfully empty) By the grace of god, neither bike caught on fire, nor did the containers of gas or nitromethane.
I didn't find the fire until I got home and noticed that my trailer lights were not on.
Must have been quite a site going down the interstate belching smoke and glowing.

So, after dealing with about 18,000 in damage caused by an uncovered battery shorting out, I'm pretty sure battery boxes are on my "never forget" list. Each to their own.
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Old 03-28-2019, 05:59 AM   #20
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FWIW, I decided against boxes for our 1240-AH housebank since ABYC doesn’t require them for AGMs and I couldn’t find any to fit where I needed them anyway (an unused genset platform built to support heavy loads). I built a robust grid of oak strips glued and screwed on 4-inch centers. The batteries are held in place with over-kill strength tie-downs that are through-bolted. I’ve designed a cover to go over them, but haven’t built it yet. (The second photo looks kind of warped; it was taken in-progress and shows some clutter that wasn’t secured yet.)

I worked closely with a highly regarded ABYC-certified electrician who designs systems for the big boys. He inspected my work before we energized it. So far, not a bit of trouble with this configuration. Not suggesting you do it this way, but it’s worked for me.
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