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Old 07-25-2011, 09:41 PM   #1
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Post Battery smoking!

One week ago today, after about 6 weeks of research, inspections, and deep thought, I drove home my new (to me) 1999 Fleetwood Pace Arrow. Since then I have started it once, and started the generator at least twice. On Saturday I tried to start it, and nothing happened. Neither main batteries or auxillary would start the engine or the generator. I tried using one of those battery jumpers and got 1/4 of a start, then nothing. (It wasn't quite "fully" charged I'll admit.) I then purchased a brand new set of jumper cables, and nothing. A friend came over and we noticed that the main batteries where bulging a bit, so we replaced those. Still nothing. In the meantime I had bought an adapter to plug into the house power, and was able to use air, radio etc, but generator still would not start. We tried jumping the auxillary battery again, the jumper cables actually melted! We decided to replace that battery, got it started and it quit right away and again the battery was smoking. I'm hoping someone will tell me, You idiot, you did such and such and so and so needs to be replaced! My friend and I are clueless, I would appreciate any comments anyone may have!
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Old 07-26-2011, 07:58 AM   #2
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A Volt Ohm Meter is your friend!
The care and feeding of deepcycle batteries is important for them to reach their full capacity potential and life expectancy. This means they must be fully charged and that is dependent on the output of the charging source and line loss… Bulk charging at the batteries should be at the manufacturers specification, typically 13.8V.

Check the voltage of the battery, check the voltage going to the battery with the engine running and on shore power. If the battery is smoking you have a VERY serious malfunction. Voltage regulator from the engine and from the converter (converts 120AC to 12VDC) both it sounds like. You should not get more than 14.5V from the converter when it is boosting a discharged battery.

Home work
Car and Deep Cycle Battery FAQ, Battery Manufacturers and Brand Names List, and
Deep Cycle Battery FAQ
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Old 07-26-2011, 08:39 AM   #3
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You didn't say where the smoke was coming from. If it is coming from the battery cable connections then it would indicate high resistance bewteen the cable and the battery post because one or the other is dirty or not tight. If it is coming from the battery cable connection point then I would buy a battery brushes and brush the inside of the cable connector and the battery post till they are bright and then hook them back up and tighten them down. Also check the other end of the cables that they are clean and tight.
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Old 07-26-2011, 04:17 PM   #4
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Make sure your connections are correct. Are your batteries connected in series or parallel? You could be pumping 24volts through the system or you may have some major short. Be very careful. A battery can blow up and throw acid all over the place! This sounds like a dead short on your positive cable from here.
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Old 07-26-2011, 06:09 PM   #5
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The smoking battery and melted cables suggests you hooked up a battery backwards.

Many people, epically those with electronic or automotive experience ONLY automaticlly assume red is positive and black is negative.. .RV's are wired by electricians, not electronics techs. and thus ... Do not follow the same color conventions.

NEVER assume that a wire of any specific color is either negative or positive, always check, when jumping a vehicle or engine remember this rule.

The last connection is made NOT to the battery, but to the frame of the vehicle or the engine itself, AWAY from the battery (the dead vehicle I might add) and when you break, the connections, break this one first.

This does two things.. If you have hooked up the cables backwards.. You find out quickly before additional damage is done to the "Target" (Dead) vehicle, and it means the spark will be away from the cloud of hydrogen gas (Very explosive) that may have formed around the battery.

Of course, nearly nobody does it that way.
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Old 07-27-2011, 01:48 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlieTwo View Post
Make sure your connections are correct. Are your batteries connected in series or parallel? You could be pumping 24volts through the system or you may have some major short. Be very careful. A battery can blow up and throw acid all over the place! This sounds like a dead short on your positive cable from here.

Ditto
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Old 07-27-2011, 06:36 PM   #7
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Did you ever find out what happened?
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Old 07-27-2011, 10:17 PM   #8
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Not yet. I am going to call roadside assistance, but wonder if I should try starting it first?
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Old 07-28-2011, 06:17 AM   #9
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I don't think I would do that. I would use a multi meter and see if the positive cable on the battery is shorting out or not. Disconnect the batteries (all cables) and use the OHM meter function to see if the positive cable shows very little resistance. It should not be like that. If you don't know how to use a multi meter, I suggest not starting it and get it checked out first. You don't want to melt a wiring harness. IMO this can be a dangerous situation. Fires and battery explosions can occur.
Oh ya. Make sure you are not plugged into shore power or running the generator when checking things out.
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Old 07-28-2011, 06:28 AM   #10
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<Boom!>

Quote:
Originally Posted by wa8yxm View Post
The last connection is made NOT to the battery, but to the frame of the vehicle or the engine itself, AWAY from the battery (the dead vehicle I might add) and when you break, the connections, break this one first.

This does two things.. If you have hooked up the cables backwards.. You find out quickly before additional damage is done to the "Target" (Dead) vehicle, and it means the spark will be away from the cloud of hydrogen gas (Very explosive) that may have formed around the battery.
I just learned about this firsthand: I was standing on my old scissor-lift (great RV maintenance/cleaning aid), welding some steel.

Well, some fool below discharged a shotgun, right as I was completing a bead!

'Turns out, a spark had fallen into the cloud of gas surrounding one of my batteries. It blew the top off the battery, sprayed acid. Were I at ground level, it could've been nasty!
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