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Old 04-03-2015, 03:05 PM   #1
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Frozen Batteries

Went out and opened the battery bay for the first time since November.
Was surprised by what I saw - these batteries were installed new last spring.

Never had this happen with any other batteries over the past three winters, all had occasional temps in the -40 range but not often. Only thing different, I left it plugged in all winter figuring the inverter would hold a charge in them.

Will be calling NAPA tomorrow to see if the warranty covers frozen batteries, though I doubt it.
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Old 04-03-2015, 03:18 PM   #2
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What kind of charger/converter do you have? Might it have boiled the batteries dry?
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Old 04-03-2015, 03:26 PM   #3
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Quote:
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What kind of charger/converter do you have? Might it have boiled the batteries dry?
I was wondering the same thing, but how can you tell? I believe the BIRD is supposed to prevent this?

It's a Trace 2000 Inverter.
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Old 04-03-2015, 03:39 PM   #4
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Fully charged batteries are very difficult to freeze. A totally discharged battery on the other hand is filled with water, not electrolyte. My guess is your batteries were discharged until the specific gravity was near 1.000 (water) and froze.
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Old 04-03-2015, 03:44 PM   #5
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Fully charged batteries are very difficult to freeze. A totally discharged battery on the other hand is filled with water, not electrolyte. My guess is your batteries were discharged until the specific gravity was near 1.000 (water) and froze.
Yep, was aware that discharged batteries could freeze, but the batteries have remained fully charged at all times before when I was plugged in. Suspect the inverter did not keep the batteries fully charged. The solar charger is almost useless at the best of times and certainly no good under two feet of snow!

Next year will be using a battery minder!

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Old 04-04-2015, 07:41 AM   #6
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I believe the BIRD is supposed to prevent this?
I don't believe so. I'm not an expert, but my understanding is the the BIRD just controls when the coach and chassis batteries are connected together to allow one charger to keep both sets charged. It does not serve any function to limit overcharging.

Any control over overcharging comes from the charger itself. I'm having trouble finding a manual or specs on your unit, but it seems like it's a three stage charger? If it's working properly, it should keep the batteries charged and not over charge them. I asked what kind you had, because if it was a simple converter it could easily boil the batteries dry over the winter.

From the looks of your batteries, and the way the sides are pushed out, I would guess the battery froze. I hear the plates can swell and short out when boiled dry, but I don't know if that causes enough expansion to crack the case open like that.

Whatever the mechanism for battery failure, I would suspect that something is up with your inverter. Either it has failed and did not charge the battery over the winter (the more likely scenario) or the control circuitry has filed and it was over charging it. Either way, I would thoroughly check out the charging function before spending money on new batteries.
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Old 04-04-2015, 10:09 AM   #7
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Been plenty of cases where circuit breakers have tripped, or someone switches off supply to the coach, or chargers fail and the bin lights were left on so unless you are prepared to check batteries at least every couple of weeks and make sure the charger was working and the batteries were at float voltage, you would be better off removing all batteries - including the starter battery - and storing them in a heated garage. Even then they will need a top-up occasionally.
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Old 04-04-2015, 10:20 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShapeShifter View Post
I don't believe so. I'm not an expert, but my understanding is the the BIRD just controls when the coach and chassis batteries are connected together to allow one charger to keep both sets charged. It does not serve any function to limit overcharging.

Any control over overcharging comes from the charger itself.
That is true ...no over-charging control on the BIRD. I too would suspect a problem with the 3 stage charger. It should have done the job.
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