Deep Cycle Battery Mounting

Submitted: Monday, Jan 23, 2012 at 13:27
ThreadID: 91395 Views:7048 Replies:4 FollowUps:18
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I am wondering can I mount deep cycle batteries on their side and on top of each other, given there is a gap and mounting brackets in place? Or better to mount one above the other? Trying to save on space?

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Reply By: MEMBER - Darian, SA - Monday, Jan 23, 2012 at 14:45

Monday, Jan 23, 2012 at 14:45
Theer are various types of DC batteries - if you can ID the brand, model and type, you'll probably get accurate advice here. Also, the manufacturers' sites often have advice on mounting options too, seeing that users often have space problems in their hardware.
AnswerID: 475777

Reply By: The Bantam - Monday, Jan 23, 2012 at 14:48

Monday, Jan 23, 2012 at 14:48
Soory but regardless of what others may tell you and what the advertising spiel from some of the manufacturers may tend to indicate.

DO NOT mount any lead acid battery other than upright in a vehicle.

Yes many sealed batteries may "operate" other than upright, but when you start reading the whole story in manufacturers application notes technical information and safety information, things are different to how thay may seem.

Batteries are always more durable when mounted upright.
when some of these peopel say "operate" they do not mean charge.

even then you can push your luck and ya might get away with it, but if you chose the wrong battery and you have a charging malfunction, the battery will vent under an overcharge situation if mounted other than upright most batteries will vent either liquid or mist.....that liquid or mist being acid.

So.... don't do it.... mount your battery upright.

BTW..there is no such thing as a completly sealed battery, you must provide adequate ventilation for all batteries.

AnswerID: 475778

Follow Up By: Racey - Monday, Jan 23, 2012 at 17:42

Monday, Jan 23, 2012 at 17:42
I agree.
FollowupID: 750800

Follow Up By: Sand Man (SA) - Monday, Jan 23, 2012 at 18:32

Monday, Jan 23, 2012 at 18:32
I disagree.

VRLA batteries (Absorbed Glass Mat and Gel batteries) are perfectly safe to be mounted in any orientation. Due to their construction, they will not spill.
The valve regulated process occurs internally and there is no emission outside the battery case.

VRLA Battery facts


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FollowupID: 750806

Follow Up By: pop2jocem - Monday, Jan 23, 2012 at 19:36

Monday, Jan 23, 2012 at 19:36
We had this same query a while back. I was a dealer (since retired) for a certain brand of ATV, four wheeler or quad bike or whatever you want to call them. A couple of years ago a model that had AGM batteries fitted as standard came out with the battery mounted in a different position and laying on its side. We queried this with the makers and they sent us an MSDS (safety sheet) and other info from the battery manufacturer in question assuring us that these batteries could be mounted upright, end up or side up as required with no safety or operational issues. Up to the time of the sale of the business a few months ago no dramas were reported.
Also as has been pointed out this type of battery did not have to conform to any dangerous goods requirements for transport as they were considered spill proof.
Quite a few of our machines were sold to geological survey companies and if you think you give your vehicles a hard time you need to see what these guys do.

FollowupID: 750809

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Tuesday, Jan 24, 2012 at 00:20

Tuesday, Jan 24, 2012 at 00:20
Oh yeh that may be so... but most of the manufacturers of quad bikes say that there is no problem with the rolling over and do not recomend roll over protection.... but still people die.

Any manufacturer will go to great lengths to justify how its product is made.

We also do not know what engineering controlls that manufacturer has employed in the specifying and out of position mounting of batteries in their product.

FollowupID: 750855

Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Tuesday, Jan 24, 2012 at 11:33

Tuesday, Jan 24, 2012 at 11:33
Hi Sandman
Perhaps you missed this???
Quote " These batteries have a pressure relief valve which will activate when the battery is recharged at high voltage, typically greater than 2.30 volts per cell" end quote

They are not fully sealed
They do vent gas &/or electrolyte if over charged
The recombination process is done internally during NORMAL charging
If that charging exceed the rate of recombination they can vent to atmosphere
IF that is blocked they can /will explode
It has nothing to do with transport
It has everything to do with USE

FollowupID: 750889

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Tuesday, Jan 24, 2012 at 12:32

Tuesday, Jan 24, 2012 at 12:32
AMEN brother.

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Follow Up By: pop2jocem - Tuesday, Jan 24, 2012 at 16:06

Tuesday, Jan 24, 2012 at 16:06
Hey Mr Bantam,

Not sure what quad bikes being rolled over by misuse has to do with batteries but just on that point modern cars being misused kill people and they are fitted with multiple air bags, crumple zones, side intrusion bars, ABS, traction control, body structure that has to withstand rollovers, I could go on but I hope you get the point.

Also if you have another look at my follow up the mounting position info was provided by the battery manufacturer not the ATV manufacturer. The ATV maker merely forwarded on the data. If you want to question the battery maker as to how there product should be used so be it.


FollowupID: 750919

Follow Up By: pop2jocem - Tuesday, Jan 24, 2012 at 16:11

Tuesday, Jan 24, 2012 at 16:11
Just as an afterthought have a read of an article by Collyn Rivers regarding how AGM batteries came into being and what one of their first uses was. If I remember correctly it was something to do with aircraft use and their non spill nature and not having to be held upright.

FollowupID: 750920

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Tuesday, Jan 24, 2012 at 16:54

Tuesday, Jan 24, 2012 at 16:54
Well yes indeed, only too happy to question a battery manufacturer, and it would not be the first time, quite a few of them are prepared to play fast and lose with the information.

There is one australian branded importer that heavily pushes the idea that their batteries are "completely sealed" and one company is using their batteries in a product that houses them in a sealed enclosure, laying on their sides.

The batteries most certainly are not completly sealed, and the warranty on the product in question has specific exclusions regarding regulation of charging.

Other far more reputable, long standing companies, specificlay and vigorously council against such things as mounting batteries other than upright and fitting them in sealed boxes.

As for the whole "non-spilable" battery thing, that is probaly a better way of viewing "sealed batteries".

In fact in many areas "non-spillable battery" is the correct definition and far more discriptive.

NON-spillable batteries are required in marine and aircraft applications among other applications, not because they will be installed other than upright but because from time to time in operation and in crisis situations the battery may become inverted.....a leakage of acid would be a very bad thing.

It is important to understand that there are a very small number of manufacturers that make a battery that is reasonably well suited to, with care, operate other than upright....but this is far from true of all manufacturers of sealed batteries.

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Follow Up By: Sand Man (SA) - Tuesday, Jan 24, 2012 at 21:43

Tuesday, Jan 24, 2012 at 21:43

No I didn't miss this at all, but you are referring to an extreme situation.

In normal circumstances, where the battery is being charged by a vehicle alternator, or solar panel or a combination of both, This extreme situation you mention would not be realised.

The original poster wanted to know if he could mount a battery on its side to suit a particular mounting situation and battery manufacturers state that with VRLA batteries such as the AGM style can be safely used in this type of situation.

I am merely confirming this as a practical and intrinsically safe procedure based on manufacturers own statements.

What doomsday situation are you trying to project mate?


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Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Tuesday, Jan 24, 2012 at 23:44

Tuesday, Jan 24, 2012 at 23:44
Hi Sand man
As you say IF everything is NORMAL

Why does the maker make that point
Simply because things can & do go wrong, with regulators , chargers etc!

The OP should be made aware of THAT so he can make his own deciision
He should have full information to make that decision on!

FollowupID: 750954

Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Tuesday, Jan 24, 2012 at 23:59

Tuesday, Jan 24, 2012 at 23:59
Hi Sandman
one of those situations can arise even with all charging systems working correctly
A low capacity cell can/does tend to be overcharged & emitting acidic gas
A partly shorted cell can/will lead to the other cells being overcharged &
emiiting acid gas
Both are typical problems with any lead acid battery & is why the cells DO HAVE VALVE REGULATED VENTS
AS Bantam has said , they are spill proof simply because they have no FREE liquid
BUT they are not fully sealed

You did note that the voltage was specified per cell?, because that is the important point

FollowupID: 750957

Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Wednesday, Jan 25, 2012 at 00:10

Wednesday, Jan 25, 2012 at 00:10
Hi Darian
You will note If you read that link of Sandman's that the specified max SAFE charge voltage is :
2.3 V PER CELL=13.8V MAX for a 12v battery
[ unless the particular maker specifies otherwise.]
Very important, no matter what position.!!
Where ever you position them , you need to take into account the corrossive effect of any acidic gas venting
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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Wednesday, Jan 25, 2012 at 00:39

Wednesday, Jan 25, 2012 at 00:39
I have to keep saying it.

Mounting batteries other than upright is far from intrinsicaly safe.

While it may seem that way at first, once you read all the conditions, requirements and recomendations...particularly from a number of different manufacturers.

The real risks are
If the battery is over charged or over heated or charged at an elevated temperature,it will vent and may vent acid if other than upright....have I seen this first hand, yes I have many times.
I've done the service call, cleaned up the mess and charged the customer.

Mounting batteries other than upright should be considered a choice of last resort.

I was hoping not to have to quote chapter and verse but

From Panasonic

"DO not charge the battery in upside down position....."
"Keep the battery in an upright position as a general rule"

From Diamec

" when batteries are used in vibration conditions, they shall be mounted upright...."

" transport the batteries in upright position and avoid abnormally strong shock / vibration"

As for when batteries may vent.....they may actually vent during "normal charging'

consider that the recomended charge voltages quoted are mostly at 25C
And we mostly are not using temperature compensated chargers.

quote from Fullriver

Recomended temperature ranges
Charging 0c to 40C
Discharge -15C 50 50C
storage -15C to 40C

so what the temperature under your bonnet.
Some of the batteries may be operating outside of their recomended temperature range on a hot day sitting in the shade in some hot areas in this country.

Of course there is always the question, what happens when the battery fails, or when a malfunctioning charging system overcharges the battery.

Batteries all come to the end of their life at some seals, seals on vent valves and seals arround terminal all fail for one reason or another particularly in older batteries....I have seen all these different failures first hand.

If the battery is upright, there may be some leakage, if the battery is installed other than upright the leakage will be certain and far greater.
Particularly if it is one of the lesser manufacturers that has not imobilised their electrolite well.

play it safe and install batteries upright in vehicles.

FollowupID: 750960

Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Wednesday, Jan 25, 2012 at 10:33

Wednesday, Jan 25, 2012 at 10:33
Hi Bantam
An excellant sum up
Perhaps that very detailed info will convince the "experts" ? that their advice is not sound, that it should have further details as to limitations etc & is not based on long experience over a wide field ETC

It seems some cannot understand that "normal" conditions may not be so normal as some believe!
BUT, sadly from past experiences on forums ,I very much doubt you will get that through

FollowupID: 750978

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Wednesday, Jan 25, 2012 at 14:44

Wednesday, Jan 25, 2012 at 14:44
I am fortunate that I was trained in a time and in an industry that valued reliability and integrity in its products, and where reliability was paramount and any equipment failure was considered a crisis.

A time and a market when manufacturers data, recomendations and safety information could be relied upon.

These days however, we live in an environment where everything revolves arround sales and even technical documents are moderated and edited by the marketing departments...anything that might stand in the way of a sale is omitted or watered down.

As for Material Safety and Data Sheets......don't believe you will see anything on those that does not positivly have to be there.....they are written specificaly to protect intelectual property.......and to avoid liability where anything that amounts to a tacid admission of risk will be omotted where it conflicts with an existing recomendation or application.

In addition these days there are plenty of manufacturers out there who simply do not have a full understanding of the products they are making because they are not originators of the technology and they are working from second hand engineering, they have neither the will nor the resources to do comprehensive testing and have only a few years experience in the industry.

The battery industry is possibly one of the worst for reliable documentation. Conspicuous, is what is missing from the published data & recomendations of the majority.
The majority do not even publish full performance specifications for their products, they often hide behind obtuse marketing oriented performance indicators.
Every battery should have a simple Amp Hour capacity at the 10 hour rate specified, this is the bottom line and the common denominator, but try and find this simple straightforward figure for most automotive batteries.
God help us if we should be provided with a set of discharge curvves.

Having spoken to a couple of people more deeply immersed in the battery industry than me.....often the fully detailed data exists, but it is not openly published...and perhaps not even shared with the companies own sales staff.
AND for the most part it will be the sales staff that are answering your technical enquiries, not the true technical people.

And so we have all sorts of people at a variety of levels that assert that these sealed batteries "can be operated in any position", but failing to understand or even care about the whole picture.

Unfortunately you have drag from manufacturer to manufacturer and draw on some industry background to get the whole picture.
Even then if you ask a "hard question" that should be reasonably straight forward, you may get a decent reply from 1 in 10 enquiries, mostly you will get no more than is in the sales documents.

Some people call me synical......Damn straight......

But this issue will continue, as it has to pop up its uggly head, everytime someone reads the marketing and takes it at face value.


FollowupID: 750994

Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Wednesday, Jan 25, 2012 at 16:49

Wednesday, Jan 25, 2012 at 16:49
Hi Bantam
It seems we both come the same age
When you had to find the problem & fix it, permanently!
To do THAT you needed to understand the product ,it's limitations , ability,
the technology & a lot of background theory , often combining many subjects[electrical ,mechanical, chemical & physical.
It was not a plug & see, as it is today
FollowupID: 751005

Reply By: Rockape - Monday, Jan 23, 2012 at 18:51

Monday, Jan 23, 2012 at 18:51

Optima batteries can be mounted side and here is a quote from their site.

An exciting advantage of Optima deep cycle batteries is that it doubles as an excellent start battery. Quite often they have more start power than the average Start battery. An Optima AGM battery is also a non hazardous product, as it has no leakage or terminal corrosion it can be mounted on its side. It can even be shipped by air.

And I know because we have these mounted on their sides in a machine that is far rougher than most 4wds will ever be and that statement comes from 14 years of use in that position. Not one failure.

They are not cheap but are good.

Have a rum,
AnswerID: 475801

Follow Up By: Ray - Monday, Jan 23, 2012 at 20:02

Monday, Jan 23, 2012 at 20:02
I would not mount ANY battery on its side irrespective of what the manufacturers say but then again I'm a cynic.
FollowupID: 750812

Reply By: The Bantam - Tuesday, Jan 24, 2012 at 00:15

Tuesday, Jan 24, 2012 at 00:15
Sorry fellas, I've been down this road before a dozen times.

I have read more of the information than most people are prepared to, from most of the major manufacturers, I have also seen the results when batteries are mounted other than upright.

many of the "sealed batteries may indeed be shipped and not considered dangerous goods......BUT..when they are being shipped they are not being charged or for that matter used.

As far as Material Safety and Data Sheets.......the attitude and content of MSDS may vary for the country that they are written countries lax in safety polocies the MSDS may be optomistic to say the least.

Remember MSDS are intended as a document detailing hazards of handling and not necessarily recomendations for the item in use.

Most of the "operate any position" claims are qualified as being "under normal conditions".

Read further in the application and technical notes and you will find lots of things that may place automotive applications outside "normal use"

Remember these sealed batteries have many applications other than automotive use....

things that may put those batteries outside of their "normal use" criterior include.

Vibration and G force
The type of charging system and the charging voltage.
Operating temperature

these 3 in particular are important in off road automotive applications.

without going into brand by brand detail.
I have read recomendations that

batteries be used only upright in high shock and vibration situations.

Strict requirements as to the charging regulation for other than upright operation.

And of course temperature........the spec no one wants to look at..temperature effects everything about a lead acid battery.

In particular maximum charging voltages and currents have to be reduced at high temperatures.

The temperatures that batteries may be operated at under bonnet in a hot climate may place the battery close to its specified operating range alone.

People ignore statements usually toward the bottom of the page like.

"All charge recomendations assume an average room temperature of 25C"

So, the bottom line is that ALL of these sealed batteries WILL vent at high temperatures or under over charge situations......under these situations most will vent some liquid of mist if installed other than upright.

AND, one big consideration is that not all batteries are made equal....some will tolerate ( the operative word being tolerate) being operated other than upright better than others.

The ability to imobilise electrolite and the effectivness of the gas liquid seperators in the vent valves is something only the better brands and only one or two have real handle on.

Optima are one of the few I would consider operating other than upright if I had no other choice.

And that is the operative thing.....only operate sealed lead acid batteries other than upright if you have no other choice...and then be very selective about the brand used and how the battery is treated.

AnswerID: 475839

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