Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 04-25-2017, 08:07 PM   #1
Veteran Member
 
City: Blacksburg
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Sea Fever
Vessel Model: Grand Banks 49 Classic
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 37
Battery Explosion

I've got twin Cummins 555's in my "new" GB 49.
My mechanic has been working on changing fluids, filters, etc. since we just bought the boat.

He went into the engine compartment yesterday to find the starboard 8D battery bubbling battery acid after it had exploded. No other damage, and fortunately no fire.

He cleaned things up well.

Any ideas on cause? The battery was probably over ten years old.

Capt. Sea Fever
__________________
Advertisement

Capt. Sea Fever is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-25-2017, 08:12 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
dw8928's Avatar
 
City: Seattle
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Silver
Vessel Model: Helmsman 31
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 163
Send a message via Skype™ to dw8928
Hydrogen gas build up
__________________

dw8928 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-25-2017, 08:15 PM   #3
Guru
 
Ski in NC's Avatar
 
City: Wilmington, NC
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Louisa
Vessel Model: Custom Built 38
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 5,327
If one cell shorts, the remaining cells overcharge and boil dry. Then at the tail end when bone dry, there is an arc and it ignites the hydrogen. Boom.

Check your batts. If one cell is way different with regards to electrolyte level, it is about to do the above.
Ski in NC is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-25-2017, 10:10 PM   #4
Wannabe
 
Britannia's Avatar
 
City: SF Bay Area
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Stillwater
Vessel Model: Kadey-Krogen 54
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 764
A neighbor of mine had a battery explode - I heard it from inside my boat. It was a sealed lead acid battery. He said the acid went everywhere. They used a special indicator spray to find areas of acid spill/spray. It took quite a bit of work to find and clean up every spot. You might want to check for yourself to be sure there's no more remaining.

Richard
Britannia is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-25-2017, 10:45 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
Aft Deck Capt's Avatar
 
City: Tri-Cities WA
Country: US
Vessel Name: Long Shot
Vessel Model: 1978 Californian 42' LRC
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 170
+1. Battery stores sell a yellow foaming spray that turns red when acid is present. I'm not sure but the foam may have a neutralizing component as well.
__________________
Eric

Please throw me the bowline Fraulein!
Aft Deck Capt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2017, 12:04 AM   #6
TF Site Team
 
FlyWright's Avatar
 
City: California Delta and SF Bay
Country: Sacramento, CA, USA (boat in Vallejo)
Vessel Name: FlyWright
Vessel Model: Marshall Californian 34 LRC
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 12,301
If you mix up a concentrated baking soda solution, you can spray it in the area and watch for bubbling where the acid remains. In the process, it will neutralize the acid. Use liberally on detected spots.
__________________
My boat is my ark. It's my mobile treehouse and my floating fishing cabin. It's my retreat and my respite. Everyday I thank God I have a boat! -Al

@DeltaBridges - 25 Delta Bridges in 25 Days
FlyWright is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2017, 12:07 AM   #7
Wannabe
 
Britannia's Avatar
 
City: SF Bay Area
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Stillwater
Vessel Model: Kadey-Krogen 54
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 764
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aft Deck Capt View Post
+1. Battery stores sell a yellow foaming spray that turns red when acid is present. I'm not sure but the foam may have a neutralizing component as well.
Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyWright View Post
If you mix up a concentrated baking soda solution, you can spray it in the area and watch for bubbling where the acid remains. In the process, it will neutralize the acid. Use liberally on detected spots.
Yes - I think that's pretty much the regimen that my neighbor followed.
Britannia is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2017, 12:31 AM   #8
Guru
 
BruceK's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 9,918
I have the idea, rightly or wrongly, that explosion is more an issue of sealed than unsealed batts. For a start, sealed,so more risk of a good explosion if it happens. Plus, no method of adding water as it disappears, which I know is not supposed to happen, but they do have that wretched eye thing which is supposed to tell you the liquid is disappearing, even though it "doesn`t", because the batt is sealed, which it almost is, but not quite.
I `d rather have unsealed LA batts, even if they need top up, or because they can be topped up, and because I think they are less likely to explode. If they were inaccessible, AGMs.
__________________
BruceK
Island Gypsy 36 Europa "Doriana"
Sydney Australia
BruceK is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2017, 12:36 AM   #9
Wannabe
 
Britannia's Avatar
 
City: SF Bay Area
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Stillwater
Vessel Model: Kadey-Krogen 54
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 764
Quote:
Originally Posted by BruceK View Post
I have the idea, rightly or wrongly, that explosion is more an issue of sealed than unsealed batts. For a start, sealed,so more risk of a good explosion if it happens. Plus, no method of adding water as it disappears, which I know is not supposed to happen, but they do have that wretched eye thing which is supposed to tell you the liquid is disappearing, even though it "doesn`t", because the batt is sealed, which it almost is, but not quite.
I `d rather have unsealed LA batts, even if they need top up, or because they can be topped up, and because I think they are less likely to explode. If they were inaccessible, AGMs.
Yes indeed - my neighbor replaced his SLA with an AGM.
Britannia is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2017, 01:30 AM   #10
Guru
 
dhays's Avatar
 
City: Gig Harbor
Country: United States
Vessel Name: Kinship
Vessel Model: North Pacific 43
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 8,423
I had a 4D fail in my sailboat. It boiled over and I had battery acid 2 inches thick in the battery well. It was a pain to clean up but I used lots of baking soda to neutralize it. Fortunately, no explosion.
__________________
Regards,

Dave
SPOT page
dhays is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2017, 01:35 AM   #11
Guru
 
dhays's Avatar
 
City: Gig Harbor
Country: United States
Vessel Name: Kinship
Vessel Model: North Pacific 43
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 8,423
Quote:
Originally Posted by BruceK View Post
I `d rather have unsealed LA batts, even if they need top up, or because they can be topped up, and because I think they are less likely to explode. If they were inaccessible, AGMs.

I agree. My house bank and my thruster/windlass bank are both the original, Chinese, sealed LA 8D batteries. The boat is 7 years old, the batteries could be 8 years old. I don't expect they will last a lot longer, maybe a couple of years if I am fortunate. Sealed LA batteries in a boat always make be a bit nervous. When I replace them it will either be with AGM, or more likely LA GC batteries with a watering system.
__________________
Regards,

Dave
SPOT page
dhays is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2017, 05:26 AM   #12
Guru
 
City: Satsuma FL/Daytona Beach Shores
Country: United States
Vessel Name: No Mo Trawla
Vessel Model: Hurricane SS188
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 2,182
10 year old LA batts? If I bought a boat with 10 year old batteries, they would be the first thing to go. I am no battery expert but I have never had a LA battery last even 7 years.
__________________
Buffalo Bluff Light 28
Donsan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2017, 05:35 AM   #13
FF
Guru
 
FF's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 19,662
"Any ideas on cause? The battery was probably over ten years old."

You have answered your own question.
FF is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2017, 08:21 AM   #14
Guru
 
Pgitug's Avatar
 
City: Punta Gorda, fl
Country: Usa
Vessel Name: Escapade
Vessel Model: Nordic Tug 37 2002
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 1,147
If you are thinking of replacing your batteries you probably have waited too long already.
I just replaced my thruster battery. The performance was like I upsized the thruster motor. Wow. You don't notice the slow failure. But you do notice the improved performance of a new battery.
Pgitug is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2017, 08:37 AM   #15
Guru
 
City: Carefree, Arizona
Country: usa
Vessel Name: sunchaser V
Vessel Model: DeFever 48
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 8,025
Quote:
Originally Posted by dhays View Post
I agree. My house bank and my thruster/windlass bank are both the original, Chinese, sealed LA 8D batteries. The boat is 7 years old, the batteries could be 8 years old. I don't expect they will last a lot longer, maybe a couple of years if I am fortunate. Sealed LA batteries in a boat always make be a bit nervous. When I replace them it will either be with AGM, or more likely LA GC batteries with a watering system.
You practice dentistry. You advise your patients to get regular checkups. Suggest you replace your batteries now rather than having the boat doctor tell you why your vessel needed a root canal.
sunchaser is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2017, 08:52 AM   #16
Scraping Paint
 
City: CT
Country: US
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 963
The battery industry considers a unit scrap when its AH capacity has dropped, to 80% of original.

If you monitor that metric, you can set your own threshold.

Otherwise use the calendar.

Worst option is just wait, until it fails "unexpectedly". The mode of failure may be catastrophic esp on a boat.

In my opinion a properly designed and managed electrical system will never surprise you.
john61ct is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2017, 09:59 AM   #17
Guru
 
dhays's Avatar
 
City: Gig Harbor
Country: United States
Vessel Name: Kinship
Vessel Model: North Pacific 43
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 8,423
All good points. So far, the batteries have been performing really well. However, they have lived a relatively pampered life. The engine start and genset start batteries have both been replaced. The genset start battery was replaced a year ago with a group 31 AGM. The engine start battery was replaced by the PO.

I think part of the reason the house and thruster batteries have performed for so long is that they have been pampered. Unlike the main and genset start batteries, they live in the aft lazaret instead of the hot ER. All charge sources are directed at the house bank, and then a Duo-charger is used to charge the thruster bank. There is a SOC meter that automatically cut out the house bank at 50% SOC. When I got the boat I changed that to 70%.

Even so, I can't imagine them lasting too much longer which is why I am starting to think about what I want to do next.
__________________
Regards,

Dave
SPOT page
dhays is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2017, 10:09 AM   #18
Guru
 
Donna's Avatar
 
City: Palm Coast
Country: United States
Vessel Name: Southerly
Vessel Model: 1986 Marine Trader 36' Sundeck
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 1,100
And I learned something new today! Geez! I have no idea how old my batteries are.
Donna is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2017, 11:29 AM   #19
Senior Member
 
wwestman's Avatar
 
City: Bellingham, WA
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Excellent Adventure
Vessel Model: 1995 Jefferson Ker Shine 45
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 328
Power boats and yachts have a tendency to ignore our batteries. We stay plugged in with a charger running so it appears that our batteries are fine. Engines start (because the charger is running). When not plugged in either our gen set or our mains are running (or both). So the batteries are rarely made to perform.

So in our idyllic world everything is ok. Mains started - battery is good. Stereo working - battery is good. Drinks cold - battery is good. Then something happens and nothing works because the battery is NOT good.

Sailboat(er)s as a general rule take better notice of their batteries because they use them more to their design capacity than most power boats. Learn from the sailors and take better care of your batteries and they will last longer and really work when you need them.
wwestman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-27-2017, 08:38 PM   #20
Veteran Member
 
City: Blacksburg
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Sea Fever
Vessel Model: Grand Banks 49 Classic
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by wwestman View Post
Power boats and yachts have a tendency to ignore our batteries. We stay plugged in with a charger running so it appears that our batteries are fine. Engines start (because the charger is running). When not plugged in either our gen set or our mains are running (or both). So the batteries are rarely made to perform.

So in our idyllic world everything is ok. Mains started - battery is good. Stereo working - battery is good. Drinks cold - battery is good. Then something happens and nothing works because the battery is NOT good.

Sailboat(er)s as a general rule take better notice of their batteries because they use them more to their design capacity than most power boats. Learn from the sailors and take better care of your batteries and they will last longer and really work when you need them.


Thanks for the advice wwestman and everyone!
I've replaced both batteries and have learned a lot from everyone's replies!!
__________________

Capt. Sea Fever is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off





All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:10 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0
Copyright 2006 - 2012
×