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Old 04-01-2019, 05:03 PM   #1
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Battery Explodes!

So I am in my shop trying to clean it up a bit. I have an 8kW Kubota gennie that is the hurricane gennie for the shop and nearby house. While in there I figure crank it up and let it churn its juices a bit. Last time I ran it was about a month ago.

Preheat it for 15sec, hit start and rrr-rrr-rrr-BANG!! Battery right next to it (and 3' from me) blew apart. Top in pieces all over, side blew out, acid all over the place. I got spattered a little bit, and went straight to the shower and laundry in the machine. I was not injured, none in my eyes, but could feel irritation on scalp (about half bald), face and hands. Had my glasses on, that was a good thing. Ears still ringing from the very sharp bang. As loud as firing a shotgun without ear muffs.

I knew the batt was a little weak as it was a grp 31 deep cycle that was becoming too weak in the boat. But it started the gennie ok (barely of late). Figure an arc between plates lit off hydrogen. It was on a battery tender.

So be careful with batteries!!

I am lucky, but still have a mess to clean up.

DJMarchand- Being our resident chem engr, any advice to clean this acid up? Figure I need a base. Figure a gallon of water with a pound of baking soda mixed in and then wipe everything down? Sprinkle the stuff all over then wipe up?

It got on the concrete, on the side of the genny and a nearby plasma cutter and tig welder.

Third battery explosion I have been involved with in last 15yrs. Not sure I like batteries any more.
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Old 04-01-2019, 05:12 PM   #2
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Had that happen to me as I opened the hood on an old ford wagon. The hood saved my eyes and who knows what else. Makes you want to make safety glasses a permanent part of the wardrobe.

Today was a lucky day. Glad you are alright.
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Old 04-01-2019, 05:18 PM   #3
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Water and baking soda should work. Better if you can wash the whole place down with a hose first to get most of it out and neutralize after with the soda/water solution. May take more than a pound of baking soda if you don't wash down first.

Had this happen almost 50 years ago while connecting jumper leads. The spark ignited H2 that had accumulated. That is a good reason why you want to connect the ground as far from the battery as possible.


Glad you are ok.



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Old 04-01-2019, 05:28 PM   #4
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Glad your OK.

Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) or soda ash (sodium carbonate) are good, easy to handle and control neutralizers. Cheap and easy to procure.

I had a battery blow in my engine hole a few years ago. Normal advice is 1# baking soda to 1 gallon water. For my cleanup, I used dry application for any standing liquid/damp areas, a fairly thick paste (about the consistency of 30w oil) applied with a paintbrush on exposed surfaces like exhaust headers and stringers, and the 1#/gal mix for general area cleanup. Followed by a detergent/water wash and freshwater rinse.

Let the neutralizer sit until it stops effervescing, then rinse off. I found that trying a spot of fresh neutralizer on already treated areas would sometimes reveal areas incompletely cleaned on the first round.
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Old 04-01-2019, 05:30 PM   #5
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Deep cycle, but was it a sealed LA type?
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Old 04-01-2019, 05:39 PM   #6
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When we were kids my cousin and I used to make hacksaw blades glow by connecting the battery terminals together on old batteries laying around the shop. No clue how lucky we were they didn’t explode.
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Old 04-01-2019, 05:50 PM   #7
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Today was a lucky day. Glad you are alright.

+1
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Old 04-01-2019, 06:11 PM   #8
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Yikes! Glad you’re OK Ski.

Mike

PS the Hatt is still running great.
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Old 04-01-2019, 06:15 PM   #9
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Dodged that bullet! I'm not sure if I'd've needed the laundry more for the acid or the shorts! Glad you escaped without injury.




??? for the new battery...
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Old 04-01-2019, 06:24 PM   #10
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Glad it wasn't worse. I've been fortunate to have never had one blow on me. I've seen the after effects of 4d and 8d explosions. Big damn mess and plastic and acid every where.



On gens that are on constant charge I always recommend they be replaced every three years. After that there reliability declines and especially when dealing with a none check able type.
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Old 04-01-2019, 06:28 PM   #11
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Ski,
Really glad to hear you are alright. Sounds like you were very lucky, especially as it pertains to your eyes!
Sounds like you have been given good advice for cleanup. We can all learn from this!!
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Old 04-01-2019, 06:46 PM   #12
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Ski you are a survivor! Glad you are fine.
Lesson learned:
1. Safety glasses are never a bad idea
2. There is a thread on battery boxes, useful or not, you may chime in

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Old 04-01-2019, 06:46 PM   #13
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Ski, that's definitely a pucker moment! Glad to hear you survived relatively unharmed. I saw a coworker one time use a braided metal ground strap instead of a battery strap to try to pick up a battery. It blew every cell cap off and he got it in the face. Had I not been close by and close to a shower, he would have been in real trouble.
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Old 04-01-2019, 06:50 PM   #14
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That's the thread I started. Guess I'll put the bomb in a box. Hate not being able to trust things. Now have to wrap everything cause it could get damaged or damage you.

Glad you weren't hurt.
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Old 04-01-2019, 07:17 PM   #15
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Ski glad to hear you are ok, besides perhaps some battery PST
Great informative conversation along these lines at thread topic
"Battery Boxes Required?"

When I used to work construction, all the guys would laugh at me when I would fill up the wet cell batteries in our scissor lift. I would ware safety glasses, a full face shield, long rubber gloves and a full length rubber smock.
they stop laughing about a year after when a truck battery in a old Ford pickup blew up overnight. It blew the hood open and throw pieces of the battery across the parking lot
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Old 04-01-2019, 07:20 PM   #16
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Wow! Glad you're ok.

Never seen that happen....and would prefer not to.

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Old 04-01-2019, 07:24 PM   #17
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Hand you're ok, Ski. Do you have any theories on the cause?
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Old 04-01-2019, 09:04 PM   #18
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Still all ok here. Will clean up the mess tomorrow. Went out there this evening and spread baking soda. It sizzled vigorously. Tomorrow I will move the genny and do a good clean up.

My theory is that the batt being in a degraded state had h2 over the plates and when I went to start something arc'd and that was the ticket. Probably worse that it had a batt maintainer on it causing a shorted cell to off-gas more than usual. plenty of h2.

When batts get weak, get rid of them. Today's lesson...
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Old 04-01-2019, 09:16 PM   #19
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Still all ok here. Will clean up the mess tomorrow. Went out there this evening and spread baking soda. It sizzled vigorously. Tomorrow I will move the genny and do a good clean up.

My theory is that the batt being in a degraded state had h2 over the plates and when I went to start something arc'd and that was the ticket. Probably worse that it had a batt maintainer on it causing a shorted cell to off-gas more than usual. plenty of h2.

When batts get weak, get rid of them. Today's lesson...

so was the water level in the batteries low and exposing the top of the plates to air?


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Old 04-01-2019, 09:24 PM   #20
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Probably. Me being a slacker, I did not check levels in batt. And last fall we ran the genny for three weeks after Florence. I had more important things to deal with. It started, and I was cool with that. Lesson learned.
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