Caravan battery

Submitted: Friday, Sep 13, 2013 at 19:20
ThreadID: 104308 Views:3173 Replies:3 FollowUps:2
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G, day all
I Came home from work and noticed a acrid smell coming from the caravan. On investigation I found the 120 amp hour battery in the van very hot to touch. It was boiling and and letting out a very acrid smell that went throughout the van.
I immediately disconnected it and removed it, before this I noticed that the solar controller was reading 25.8 volts.
The battery is probably stuffed as I put it on a battery charger after it cooled down for 12 hours and it is only reading 6.9 volts now.
I have just replaced it with a 100 amp hour battery and the solar controller is reading 12.9 volts.
My question is: should I let it go to see what happens? Should I disconnect the solar panel?
Should I disconnect the 240 volt battery charger?
Or will I leave it to see what happens?
At the moment the solar panel is in shade and should not be putting in any charge till tomorrow morning when the sun gets back on it.
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Reply By: Ozhumvee - Friday, Sep 13, 2013 at 19:45

Friday, Sep 13, 2013 at 19:45
If your ONLY charge source is the solar panel then I'd say the regulator has died and then cooked the battery.
I'd be disconnecting the solar for now and then when you can sit and watch the readout tomorrow in full sun reconnect it and watch to see what happens.
Depending on battery type the regulator could run the battery up as far as 14.5 -15 volts but if it goes past that then it is crook.
AnswerID: 518086

Follow Up By: exmouth1 - Friday, Sep 13, 2013 at 20:27

Friday, Sep 13, 2013 at 20:27
Thanks Peter, I HAVE disconnected the solar panel, I will do as you say and observe the solar regulator when I connect it back up. FYI the solar regulator is now reading 13.4 volts, obviously the inbuilt battery charger is working

Thanks john
FollowupID: 797825

Follow Up By: Ozhumvee - Friday, Sep 13, 2013 at 20:40

Friday, Sep 13, 2013 at 20:40
Disconnect the inbuilt charger now. It could be what is cooking the battery also.
Then tomorrow reconnect the inbuilt charger and see what it does, if the voltages exceed those I posted earlier then it is the culprit.
If it appears to shutdown at the correct voltage then you would be best to "use" some of the battery capacity and then connect the solar and see what it does, one of them is overcharging that is for sure.
FollowupID: 797826

Reply By: Dennis Ellery - Saturday, Sep 14, 2013 at 16:44

Saturday, Sep 14, 2013 at 16:44
I have a Solar panel controller that once got upset by having the battery and the panels disconnected at the same time. The panels were then inadvertently connected prior to the battery and it went haywire, passing the panel’s voltage straight through to the battery. This hasn’t occurred since, and I ensure that battery is first connected.
By the way don't bother with the cooked battery as it will never be the same again.
AnswerID: 518136

Reply By: The Bantam - Sunday, Sep 15, 2013 at 19:03

Sunday, Sep 15, 2013 at 19:03
Now this raises a couple of issues.

Firstly, people need to understand that batteries and chargers fail.

We have this failed battery...." and the smell went throughout the van"

HMMM so is this battery mounted inside the van...and is it vented to outside air....betya it isn't......if it was properly installed and vented the smell should not be in the van.

The smell is probably the least of ya worries.....good thing you are not a smoker or turned a light on.

There was very likley a high concentration of hydrogen in there...very real chance of an explosion.

If that battery was left longer continuing to be charged, getting hotter and hotter, there is a very real chance that it would have exploded all by its self.

then there is the slightly lesser problem of acid fumes.

I have had many arguments on line about proper installation and ventilation of batteries in 4wds and camper/caravans.

I don't care how well you think your battery is sealed or how good you think ya charger is.....batteries and chargers fail, when they do fail, all batteries will vent explosive gasses and corrosive fumes......if they did not vent those gasses they would explode very early on.

But still we all too often see batteries installed inside caravans, boats and vehicles and not properly vented to the outside air.

Secondly..batteries require supervision.
Leaving a battery continuously on charge day after day unattended is not a clever idea.

Yes in industry we do have batteries on charge 24/7/365, but they are in specific situations and using particular chargers...AND..they should be looked at regularly.

These digital chargers we are seeing are known to get confused, they are known to over charge batteries for no apparant reason.
If this is spotted early, there should be no problem.

But when we have a battery that has been chronicaly stewed like this can get very, very nasty.

Lots of people seem to think that their batteries need to be continuously on charge when they are not using them.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
If your battery is in good condition, it should sit there happily by its self and hold charge for 2 or 3 months.

so giving it an overnight charge once a month should be plenty.

Another issue that may or may not be a problem here.

There are lots of people running with mutiple chargers connected to a battery at the same time....sometimes this works...sometimes these multiple charges confuse each other.....unless you have a charging system specifically designed to run multiple sources of charge safer to run one charger at a time.

SO please.
think about how your battery is installed...if it is not clearly isolated from the interior of the vehicle and obviously well vented to outside air...plenty aren't....seriuolsy something about it.

If you are going to run some sort of battery attention to it.
When you are actively using the system check the battery least read the voltage.
When the system is not being used, don't just leave it there stewing.....ya not doing the battery any good.......

Best to give the system a days charge once a month.....if ya battery wont hold charge that long ya battery has had it.

Be very careful with these modern chargers.......nothing will stick charge to a battery better and look after a battery better than one of these modern chargers..when they are running well.....but they can and do get confused.


Only run one source of charge unless you have a system specifically designed otherwise.

OH and as a final shot.

If you have a battery that gets very very careful.....turnoff the charger or disconnect the charge somewhere away from the battery if you can...and walk away..and stay away for at least 20 minutes.

Batteries on the verge of distruction can blow up in your face with the slightest disturbance.

If you have a 12 volt battery reading in single figures...less than 10 volts.....its shot...forget it.
Don't try putting it on charge it may very well blow up

Sorry to be so upity about this......but I have seen the results and know the reasons all too well.

AnswerID: 518206

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