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Old 10-04-2011, 05:44 PM   #1
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Repair Batteries

I had a house battery that was self discharging across the moist surface of the battery to the steel angle hold down bars. Worse yet the positive terminal was eaten away until it no longer attached to the positive cable.
I did two things to remedy the problem.
1. I took the battery to Service Battery, Inc. 210 W 16th Street, Vancouver WA 98660. Owner, Larry Ham, was able to completely replace the missing positive terminal with a new, totally functional terminal. ($25)
2. I purchased Pulltruded fiberglass angle stock (1/4" x 1.5") from Grainger and replaced the steel bars with insulating glass fiber bars.
I expect this to eliminate the fugitive discharge to chaises, and gives me solid terminal connections again.

The terminal rebuild took about 30 minutes.
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Old 10-04-2011, 06:07 PM   #2
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Hi Gary,
Check the setting of whatever is charging your batteries to be sure it's set for the proper size and type of your battery bank. A charge current to high for your bank will boil the electrolyte and cause moisture to be deposited on the tops of the batteries.
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Old 10-04-2011, 06:45 PM   #3
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Gary (or Judy?)- if the fiberglass is held down by threaded metal rod, you can still get wicking of the battery acid bubbling out across the fiberglass to the threaded rod. Should be less leakage than the metal strap, and the fiberglass should preclude erosion of terminals. But the surface leakage will continue if you don't get the battery charging to a level that doesn't continue to bubble water/acid solution out onto the battery tops.

You can detect that leakage w/a volt meter, and hence check periodically for this problem. Touch black lead to neg terminal & probe the battery case top, fiberglass angle, threaded rods, chassis frame, etc. I did this on a neighbor's coach at a rally and got 4.5V to the frame!! This is a fairly prevalent problem in battery compartments.
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Old 10-04-2011, 08:26 PM   #4
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Thanks guys:
I took this opportunity to check the settings on my Freedom 456 and I am indeed set for Wet cells and the volt meter indicates the appropriate voltage for the TSC charging considering the outside temperature.
I clean the tops of the batteries about monthly, but the battery compartment on the Alpine is open to road debris and rain spray from the rear tires. It is a never ending battle. I have even thought of closing in the bottom of the compartment. Then there would be a ventilation issue.
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Old 10-05-2011, 10:31 AM   #5
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One of the major causes of acid atop the battery is overfilling.. I know many say "fill to the bottom of the filler tube (or split ring, same thing) but first, ONLY if the battery is FULLY charged is that correct, I like to go 1/8 to 1/4 inch BELOW the ring.
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Old 10-05-2011, 07:33 PM   #6
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Well, this is a controversial topic to bring up, but here goes. Search the forums for mineral oil or thermoil. I read alot of threads about it and added mineral oil to my 6 year old interstate batteries about a year ago. The result? No loss in battery performance. NO wet battery tops. Nothing. I have only had to add distilled water 1 time since adding the oil.

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Old 10-06-2011, 12:26 AM   #7
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All -another remedy would be to take pieces of shrink tubing, put it over the metal rods holding down the batteries, and heat it up to fit. This would insulate the rod completely, and you can also take an old inner tube cut some + large enough to put a nice sized hole in the middle of the +, and then wrap the cross pieces over the posts so it cannot arc off. Overfilling is as mentioned the worst thing to be done, and many of us have done it. However, if one of the cells in a battery are toast, it will cause that battery to read low, the charger will try to continiously get it up, and will cause them all to boil over or "cook".

I have this issue, so I'm going with AGM's for replacements, costly, but I'm tired of cleaning this compartment every month.
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Old 10-06-2011, 12:55 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Refuse1 View Post
Well, this is a controversial topic to bring up, but here goes. Search the forums for mineral oil or thermoil. I read alot of threads about it and added mineral oil to my 6 year old interstate batteries about a year ago. The result? No loss in battery performance. NO wet battery tops. Nothing. I have only had to add distilled water 1 time since adding the oil.

Jeff
I did the mineral oil addition in '04 and am still using the original batteries and the battery tray shows less corrosion than my first DSDP did after one year. Some day I'll have to break down and clean the battery tops and terminals as I haven't done that for many years now.
I put 4 oz of plain old mineral oil from Wal*Mart in each cell of the Interstate U-2200's just after I put some liquid desulfation solution in (it came from Harbor Freight). The batteries still do just fine for us although they probably are not "as good as new"!
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