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Old 08-04-2018, 06:59 AM   #1
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House battery boiling hot - EEK!

Last week our house batteries were completely dead after being parked unplugged in our driveway for a week. After charging overnight (we have a 50A outlet), they seemed fine. This morning we noticed a strong sulfur smell in the RV. We traced it to under the hood and found one of the two house batteries boiling hot and steaming (smoking?). The second house battery seems fine. We immediately unplugged from shore power to let it cool down. We are using a 50A Surge Guard protector, so it's not an issue with our shore power. I'm assuming one the cells was dry and so over-heated the battery? The batteries are about 3 years old - we purchased the RV new, off a dealer lot at the end of 2016. We have always had to add water to the one battery that is now boiling. We keep a pretty close eye on it and add water when it's low, but it's possible that it went dry. Can I try adding water once the battery cools or is it ruined?
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Old 08-04-2018, 07:07 AM   #2
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Bring back to a full charge and have them load tested.......the only way to know if there has been damage done to them. I am going to say one of them developed a internal short. I would just replace them both now after reading what happened, they are cheaper to do at home than on the road...........
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Old 08-04-2018, 07:20 AM   #3
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Likely they were not maintained very well on dealer lot and that affected the life.
You didn't mention what kind of batty they are.
One of the best and most economical house battys is a pair of 6V golf cart battys in series. About $85 each at Sams Club or Costco.
What ever you use make sure they are true deep cycle not marine /RV... they are a poor compromise when used as house battys.
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Old 08-04-2018, 07:22 AM   #4
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The boiling should not happen. It is indicative of a shorted cell...which becomes a toaster oven element within the battery. Or extremely wrong charge settings...but then both batteries would boil.

My last camper had this happen at the five year point. I didn't waste any time trying to resurrect the battery. Replaced it right away.

When you get new batteries...and I would replace them both as a pair...make sure your settings are correct, and add distilled water as needed monthly. You may also benefit from doing an equalization charge based on specific gravity reading, or time interval depending on use. This helps keep the plates desulphated.
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Old 08-04-2018, 07:32 AM   #5
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I am going to throw a dart at this one as the same thing happened to our coach last year. Different coaches but same problem. I will tell you what I found on our coach.

Ok same problem happened last year with one or maybe two year old batteries. We had 2 8d batteries. In getting coach ready for winter and heading down to fla I had serviced everything etc. While plugged in at our shop I noticed a stink I though maybe was a dead mouse or rat. No I opened the battery bay and same thing, one battery was boiling and steaming and other one seemed ok. Ok something is wrong here so this is what I found.

So if one battery is boiling and other one isn't you have an imbalance in the charging. In other words if you have two batteries connected together you have two bridge wires bridging them together. I am using two 12v batteries for example. On our coach it came wired with the charger/inverter positive wire on the same positive as the negative charger wire and ground. Now the ground is ground and you can ground both batteries separately let's not worry about this yet. Ok so picture this. Current flows like water. So if you have the charger or inverter positive wires on the same battery as the negative wire to the charger or inverter take the negative off the same and put it on the other battery. This allows the current to flow to both batteries. I will look for diagrams that I found on here to show examples.

The second problem I discovered was that the po of our coach had a new magnum inverter installed and had the charge rate too high. I will include a picture of battery wiring and two links to my two posts concerning this issue, both are a good read.


You also probably have a bad cell. This would lead to the batteries discharging as said above. I would verify charge rate and wiring connections then replace both batteries.

Sharing a battery bank wiring mistake, whoops.

Magnum charger settings question.



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Old 08-04-2018, 10:41 AM   #6
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Hi,
Consider buying a battery load tester at your local auto parts store. These are not expensive and come in handy with batteries. Assume you have a multi meter. Get a load tester rated at 100 AMPS minimum. Mine is rated at 135 AMPS. The load test is not difficult to do. Your local auto parts store will do it for free, but one must remove the batteries and take them to the store.
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Old 08-08-2018, 07:25 PM   #7
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Boiling battery - the saga continues

Last week after charging dead house batteries overnight we took the RV to our dealer for an issue with the kitchen slide. While it was there we asked them to check the electrical system because we didn't think the batteries should have been dead after being unplugged for only a week. After 2 days at the dealer, the slide was fixed and they assured us they went over the entire electrical system and everything was fine. The next morning after being plugged in overnight we discovered the boiling battery. So back to the dealer. Now they are saying the inverter/charger is bad (covered by our extended warranty) and we need to replace the batteries, which will probably not be covered. The service manager is trying to convince me that it is some big coincidence that the inverter went bad and the battery boiled immediately after we brought it home, because everything was fine when they checked it. I don't think they checked it over very well, but I'm mostly upset that they don't take me seriously when I tell them there is a problem - I've mentioned my concerns about the inverter at least twice in the last year (the fan didn't seem to run properly and the box was sometimes too hot to touch). If the inverter/charger was overcharging the batteries and ruined them, could this have caused damage to other electrical devices (like the slide controller that went bad last week)?
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Old 08-09-2018, 04:50 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nseaver View Post
Last week after charging dead house batteries overnight we took the RV to our dealer for an issue with the kitchen slide. While it was there we asked them to check the electrical system because we didn't think the batteries should have been dead after being unplugged for only a week. After 2 days at the dealer, the slide was fixed and they assured us they went over the entire electrical system and everything was fine. The next morning after being plugged in overnight we discovered the boiling battery. So back to the dealer. Now they are saying the inverter/charger is bad (covered by our extended warranty) and we need to replace the batteries, which will probably not be covered. The service manager is trying to convince me that it is some big coincidence that the inverter went bad and the battery boiled immediately after we brought it home, because everything was fine when they checked it. I don't think they checked it over very well, but I'm mostly upset that they don't take me seriously when I tell them there is a problem - I've mentioned my concerns about the inverter at least twice in the last year (the fan didn't seem to run properly and the box was sometimes too hot to touch). If the inverter/charger was overcharging the batteries and ruined them, could this have caused damage to other electrical devices (like the slide controller that went bad last week)?
Ask him if you can "SEE" the voltage reading at the batteries when the inverter/charger is running on shore power..........should be around 13.5 vdc. If it were bad and over charging all the batteries would be hot and boiling! I still think you just have a internal shorted out battery.........
And by the sounds of things at that dealer, I would try and find a local repair shop that you know of to check it out...........did they ever disconnect the batteries and load test each of them???? that needs done, then check the charging voltage at the batteries with a voltage meter.......
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Old 08-09-2018, 06:27 AM   #9
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I would never go to that dealer. Like previously posted, before replacing anything have the batteries fully charged then load tested. Once you have good batteries installed (current batteries or new) then go to the inverter. This must be done in serial, one step at a time.
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Old 08-09-2018, 10:34 AM   #10
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Remove the batteries from the coach and have them load test them. Odds are you have a shorted cell in one of the batteries. If you have one battery bad you really need to replace both batteries as the other one will fail due to the charging imbalance. Also be very careful if you still are plugged in as the over charging battery could explode.
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Old 08-09-2018, 04:52 PM   #11
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Battery update

The dealer found the inverter/chareger was indeed overcharging the batteries. Both batteries ended up being bad. The good news is the inverter was covered under our extended warranty. The dealer waived the $50 warranty deductible and covered the cost of two new batteries. I am feeling much less frustrated with the service dept! Right now the RV is in the driveway unplugged. I'll plug it in tomorrow and start checking voltage. The new batteries are Harris 24D140 12V deep cycle (the original batteries were Interstate). I've never heard of Harris batteries, so I'm googling for info now. Does anyone have any experience with these? Is it possible the overcharging could have damaged other electronic devices? I am planning to check the TVs, fridge, microwave and all outlets tomorrow. Anything else I should check out?
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