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Old 05-06-2014, 08:38 AM   #1
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Battery split on side

Hi,
One of my 6volt coach batteries developed a split on the side from the middle cell area. I had filled them up with water thinking I was topping them off but they seemed alot lower on water then I thought they were. I went ahead and replaced both batteries last night since I didn't know how old they were anyway. Do you think low water level over the cold winter may have caused that battery to split like that? Also, can you overfill the water level in the batteries? There's no real fill line, just always hear fill the water above the plates. How often does the water need topped off typically?
Thanks,
val
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Old 05-06-2014, 08:55 AM   #2
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Once they get that low on water they are pretty much done. I always fill ours so that the water level just touches the bottom of the little cylinders where the caps go on. IMO, overfilling is better than under filling. Just watch for overflow acid that will destroy your tray.

You could install a battery watering system and not have to worry about over filling. They are really nice, but we still haven't done it since we just have two batteries. We check ours every couple of months or so even during the winter. It also depends on your charger. We have the IntelliPower 9200 and it babysits our batteries really good. Other chargers may keep charging them at a higher rate causing the acid to gas up and the levels go down.
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Old 05-06-2014, 12:50 PM   #3
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Dead batteries will freeze in cold weather causing them to split. Very common problem. When storing for the winter either disconnect the batteries or if you can leave a trickle charger on them. Almost all rv's have some type of parasitic draws on the batteries that over time will draw them down if left connected.
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Old 05-06-2014, 01:06 PM   #4
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Best is to take them out before winter, top them up with dest. water, charge them and store in cool (not cold) area not directly on concrete.
It would also be a good idea to check the charge every two months or so. This applies to ordinary "deep cycle batteries", AGM and gel filled batteries are a little different.
Discharged batteries will freeze and split
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Old 05-06-2014, 01:21 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Cypressloser View Post
Best is to take them out before winter, top them up with dest. water, charge them and store in cool (not cold) area not directly on concrete.
It would also be a good idea to check the charge every two months or so. This applies to ordinary "deep cycle batteries", AGM and gel filled batteries are a little different.
Discharged batteries will freeze and split
snopes.com: Do Cement Floors Ruin Car Batteries?

Batteries should be filled about a quarter inch above the plates. You can fill it to the bottom of the opening ring IF there is a slot or other vent to allow gases to vent.
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Old 05-06-2014, 01:41 PM   #6
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While teaching I often had to convince kids that storing a battery on a concrete floor was not going to hurt the battery. Think about it this way.

The battery in your car/truck/coach often sets on a metal tray. In recent times that has been replaced with a plastic tray but for many, many years it was metal. The battery negative post was connected to the engine block so current could flow from the engine back into the battery. The positive connection was hooked to the starter and fuse block. For the life of me I can't think of a more friendly environment which would/could allow a battery to drain while installed in a vehicle. It's connected to and surrounded by metal and yet it does not.

The standard solution for a battery is 36% H2SO4 and 64% water. A charged battery won't freeze under even harsh freezing environments below zero unless the battery is discharged. When fully discharged it gets very close to being straight water which freezes. So your battery froze, expanded and leaked because it was discharged. The temperature at which is freezes is dependent on its state of discharge. Also batteries when they get below zero become very electronically not efficient.

TeJay
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Old 05-06-2014, 02:33 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simtec820 View Post
Hi,
One of my 6volt coach batteries developed a split on the side from the middle cell area.
Do you think low water level over the cold winter may have caused that battery to split like that?
Also, can you overfill the water level in the batteries? There's no real fill line, just always hear fill the water above the plates.
How often does the water need topped off typically?
Thanks,
val
simtec820
I don't think low water causes a battery to split.

However, if/when the charge in a flooded wet cell battery gets to low, (and the OS temp is low enough), the electolyte will freeze, (and can split the battery case).
See Table 1, on page 1, of this pdf: http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j...66111022,d.aWw

Also, if/when the charge settings of the inverter/charger are wrong, (and maybe when charging a battery that's low on water?), enough heat can be generated in a battery to split/melt the battery case.

You can overfill a battery, (if you do acid/electrolyte may leak out around the caps when the battery is charging).....BTW, never fill a battery when it is not fully charged, because the electrolyte expands when charging.
I fill my batteries up to the bottom of the "slotted plastic tube" under the cap of each cell.

I check the electrolyte level in my batteries every 3 months, but I only need to add distilled water every 6-9 months.
My original batteries lasted 11 years, (the 2nd set is 7 years old).
(Your watering frequency and battery life may be differ).

Mel
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Old 05-06-2014, 02:44 PM   #8
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While teaching I often had to convince kids that storing a battery on a concrete floor was not going to hurt the battery.
TeJay
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I always thought that was nothing more than an "Old Mechanics Tale".
It is strange how often a myth is believed and repeated.
(Thanks for the post, and prepare to be contradicted by the unknowing).
Mel
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Old 05-06-2014, 03:02 PM   #9
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BFlinn and TeJay, I have not heard about the concrete doing damage to the batteries, it is quite the opposite. A vented acid filled battery will sweat small amounts of acid which can react with the calcium in the concrete and therefor you should place a protective layer on the floor, especially during charging.
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Old 05-06-2014, 03:18 PM   #10
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Best is to take them out before winter, top them up with dest. water, charge them and store in cool (not cold) area not directly on concrete.
It would also be a good idea to check the charge every two months or so. This applies to ordinary "deep cycle batteries", AGM and gel filled batteries are a little different.
Discharged batteries will freeze and split
Cypressloser
I leave all six of my "ordinary flooded lead acid batteries" in my coach during 4-6 "below freezing" months of storage each WI winter, (and have for 14 years).

I simply keep the coach connected to a 15A receptacle, which powers the 3 stage charger in my inverter/charger, which in turn automatically maintains the charge of the batteries, and prevents freezing, (even in sub zero temps).

That, IMO, is "a way cool", (aka: very easy), battery storage method.

Mel
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Old 05-06-2014, 03:20 PM   #11
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Cypressloser
I leave all six of my "ordinary flooded lead acid batteries" in my coach during 4-6 "below freezing" months of storage each WI winter, (and have for 14 years).
I simply keep the coach connected to a 15A receptacle, which powers the 3 stage charger in my inverter/charger, which in turn automatically maintains the batteries, (even in sub zero temps).

BTW, that, IMO, is "way cool", (aka: easy), storage.

Mel
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Same here, it's all about your charger. The intelli power 9200 we have is awesome.
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Old 05-06-2014, 03:26 PM   #12
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Cypress,
That's not a bad idea to put some wood under the battery as it is charging to protect the concrete. You will still see in most shops that have a lot of battery sales wood down to protect the concrete floor. I would bet if you ask why they would come up with some sort of battery discharging theory. Or they might respond, "I don't know or It's always been there." I always heard things like, "It will suck the charge out of the battery overnight." and a variety of other similar claims.

This is the absolute best myth and I think it's funny and yet kind of stupid. What's the sense in continuing to do something just because that's what we've always done.

Go into any bike store and I don't care how expensive the bikes are. You will still see the center bar lowered on the girls version. Now the question is where did that idea come from???? Well back in the 1890's when the bicycle came into popular use girls skirts were down to the ground and it was not lady like to sling your leg over the bike. Soooo the bar was lowered. When is the last time you saw a girl wearing a skirt riding a bike???? How many of you remember the somewhat longer pants for girls called, "Pedal pushers?" Here we are 120 + years later still making bikes with the bar lowered.

Yes I realize that any high-end bike should be anatomically fitted for the person riding it but it does not have to have the bar lowered for the girls, unless they just want to make it easier to get on and off.

TeJay
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Old 05-06-2014, 03:37 PM   #13
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Here in Alberta, Canada any battery that is not properly maintained will freeze especially the ones in equipment not used in the winter months and smaller batteries found in ATV's and such, we can expect temperatures to drop in to the -40 deg. range (thankfully not every winter). I must admit that the quality of batteries has definitely improved over time. Not to long we could expect to get 2 - 3 years out of a battery where it is 5 - 7 years now.
B.t.w. it is snowing as we speak
I apologize if my previous comment was to generalized.
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Old 05-06-2014, 03:47 PM   #14
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Forgot to say, they electric blankets for batteries here.
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