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Old 08-17-2016, 09:39 PM   #1
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Cooked batteries... IN STORAGE?!?

Went to pick up our rig today to bring her home for a tire appointment early in the morning. Open the rig, flip on the house battery switch and... nothing - not even enough juice left to light the LED.

So I fired up the generator just to see. It started right up so there's nothing wrong with the chassis batts, but even then the entire 12v house system was completely dead.

I go outside, open the battery compartment, pull out the tray and ALL FOUR Trojan T105's were bone dry and swollen like they'd been overcooked. I'm not sure how it's even possible to cook all four batts while it's sitting in storage. I always disconnect both the chassis and house the batteries when storing it - but I suppose since anything is possible I might have forgotten last time. Not likely, but possible.

They had water in them prior to our last short trip in June, but I haven't checked the batteries since we got back because it's been sitting in storage and it has been extremely hot here in Las Vegas this summer. There's a tiny chance I left the basement freezer on, but again... that's only a small chance, and it'd have to be coupled with the even smaller chance I didn't shut off the house batteries when I parked it. Forget one or the other? Maybe. Forget both? Hmmmm... in a weird was I almost hope that's what happened since it would explain the mystery and I wouldn't have to keep looking for the answer.

Since we almost never use our house batteries to power the coach, I'm going to find the cheapest brand I can and replace all four just to see if the batteries themselves were the problem. If it's a charging issue of some kind I don't wanna burn up a thousand dollar's worth of new batteries.

Any thoughts?
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Old 08-17-2016, 09:59 PM   #2
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Were they on a charger in storage? If so what kind? You mentioned freezer possibly being left on. It's powered by your inverter and if so was your inverter left on? I'm not sure you provided enough information to determine possible causes. I'll go back and reread...maybe I missed something. Bone dry and swollen does seem to be cooked and not just drained by being left on.
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Old 08-17-2016, 10:11 PM   #3
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Has to be the charger over charging I would think. Nothing else could cook the batteries, even with the inverter on. The freezer would drain the batteries. I assume you had it plugged into 110. Do you have a load controller that limits your charger?


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Old 08-17-2016, 10:21 PM   #4
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If you don't boon dock, you wouldn't have to put 4 batteries in there.


You could get by with one 12v
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Old 08-17-2016, 11:12 PM   #5
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Quote:
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Were they on a charger in storage? If so what kind? You mentioned freezer possibly being left on. It's powered by your inverter and if so was your inverter left on? I'm not sure you provided enough information to determine possible causes. I'll go back and reread...maybe I missed something. Bone dry and swollen does seem to be cooked and not just drained by being left on.
Nope, no charger of any kind. The batts were completely disconnected via the Store switch.

The freezer is a 12v/120v unit, powered by either, and I almost never use the inverter in our rig and never for the basement freezer. I can't even remember the last time the inverter was on.

I know, it's not much to go on, but that's all I got. It seemed weird to me too that the batts got cooked by simply being drained - assuming that's what happened - but that's the only symptom I have so far. I might know more when I replace the batts tomorrow.
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Old 08-17-2016, 11:14 PM   #6
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Has to be the charger over charging I would think. Nothing else could cook the batteries, even with the inverter on. The freezer would drain the batteries. I assume you had it plugged into 110. Do you have a load controller that limits your charger?
Nope, no charger. No 110v, no solar, no nothing.
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Old 08-17-2016, 11:17 PM   #7
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If you don't boon dock, you wouldn't have to put 4 batteries in there.


You could get by with one 12v
We do boondock, extensively, just not off the batteries. But you raise a good point... I could just put two 6v's in there instead of replacing all four. The only thing we ever use the batts for is lights, water pump, stuff like that, and once in a while we'll turn on the inverter to charge a phone or something if we're not hooked up and don't have the genny running.

I'll have to think about that one. Thanks!
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Old 08-17-2016, 11:22 PM   #8
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I really appreciate everyone's replies, thank you

I've been going over it and over it in my head,and it doesn't make sense that just draining the batteries by leaving something on would cook 'em. They'd be damaged by draining the dry of juice and water, but they wouldn't be all swollen I don't think. Unless the summer heat had something to do with it.

When I think about it, the only thing that does make sense is that I cooked them when they were plugged into shore power on our last trip, or maybe on the way home with the genny running, and I just didn't notice it because I didn't check 'em before putting it in storage.

That's really the only thing that makes sense in my head, but I'm no battery expert so maybe someone else can chime in here.
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Old 08-17-2016, 11:27 PM   #9
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Just a thought...my T-105's are 6 volt.
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Old 08-18-2016, 12:25 AM   #10
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Just a thought...my T-105's are 6 volt.
So are mine: Two pair, wired in series / parallel.
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Old 08-18-2016, 12:48 AM   #11
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I really appreciate everyone's replies, thank you

I've been going over it and over it in my head,and it doesn't make sense that just draining the batteries by leaving something on would cook 'em. They'd be damaged by draining the dry of juice and water, but they wouldn't be all swollen I don't think. Unless the summer heat had something to do with it.

When I think about it, the only thing that does make sense is that I cooked them when they were plugged into shore power on our last trip, or maybe on the way home with the genny running, and I just didn't notice it because I didn't check 'em before putting it in storage.

That's really the only thing that makes sense in my head, but I'm no battery expert so maybe someone else can chime in here.

I'm with you on that conclusion, I've had the same thing happen and I know it was caused by me not checking the batteries at least every six months for electrolyte levels. I cooked them slowly and never knew it was happening, until the gen started failing to auto start.


It seems unlike the chassis batteries, the house batteries are subjected to more cycling and will use up the electrolyte faster.


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Old 08-18-2016, 01:02 AM   #12
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So are mine: Two pair, wired in series / parallel.
I don't think it was mentioned but how old are your batteries? You are sure the water level was over the plates in June? I definitely would not replace them until they were filled with distilled water, charged 100% and load tested. The swollen part is a big red flag I know but at $150 a pop it's worth a try to see if they can be brought back to life. I would also put a volt meter on them and see what the charge voltage is from shore power, alternator and also running the generator.
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Old 08-18-2016, 01:05 AM   #13
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QUOTE=Dtwallace;3213772]I'm with you on that conclusion, I've had the same thing happen and I know it was caused by me not checking the batteries at least every six months for electrolyte levels. I cooked them slowly and never knew it was happening, until the gen started failing to auto start.


It seems unlike the chassis batteries, the house batteries are subjected to more cycling and will use up the electrolyte faster.


DTW[/QUOTE]

Thanks Dan, I appreciate the sympathetic support. As much as I hate admitting how stupid and lazy I must've been, it's really the only answer that makes any sense.
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Old 08-18-2016, 01:24 AM   #14
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QUOTE=Dtwallace;3213772]I'm with you on that conclusion, I've had the same thing happen and I know it was caused by me not checking the batteries at least every six months for electrolyte levels. I cooked them slowly and never knew it was happening, until the gen started failing to auto start.


It seems unlike the chassis batteries, the house batteries are subjected to more cycling and will use up the electrolyte faster.


DTW
Thanks Dan, I appreciate the sympathetic support. As much as I hate admitting how stupid and lazy I must've been, it's really the only answer that makes any sense.[/QUOTE]

Hey, I picked up new batteries from a local Battery Plus store that were a little higher, not much on the (AH), and fit perfectly.

I took the opportunity to add two more batteries to my six pack and wow what a difference.

When I did get around to testing the setup to see how long I could run on battery alone a few months later, they lasted all day with all my interior lights on, and three (TV's).

I had to end the test because it was too hot out so we needed the (AC), on came the gen (autostart) right on time.

So if you have the room, now maybe the time to up your capacity if you think you need it.

I still have room for two more that I may add next time home for a total of ten.

DTW
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