Smoking Batteries (was: Battery problem in our Parkliner) - Page 13 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-14-2013, 07:47 AM   #169
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I'm not trying to be smart but it made me realize that I am going to spend just a few extra bucks and put a smoke/heat alarm in the battery compartment above the batteries.
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Old 05-14-2013, 09:25 AM   #170
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The National Electrical Code (NEC) has a section covering RVs & RV Parks - Article 551. You can read it at NEC's website with a difficult to use reader, including a number of back code releases, or, by going to the State of Minnesota, many different formats of the 2008 code, which Minnesota uses for their standard.

Makes for some interesting reading...
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Old 05-14-2013, 10:51 AM   #171
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Seems Parkliner has made some adjustments and addressed some of these issues- http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f...ari-56219.html post#248 where the batteries no longer have metal cables and are enclosed in a sealed box.
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Old 05-14-2013, 03:48 PM   #172
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Thanks for the link Byron. Fortunately, that was actually a summary of this blog post about Danny Popp qualifying for our Ultimate Street Car Invitational and a quote from another eCare Manager (turned redneck), Bill Howell. It's amazing all the SEO done on our website and eCare only shows up once. I guess I'm headed back to those salt mines.

Thom, our Group D27M & D31M BlueTops both have integrated vent ports, which allow users to connect hoses that run to the outside air-

Our Group 34 BlueTops do not have these ports and are designed to vent into their immediate atmosphere, which is why we would recommend mounting them in a sealed battery box vented to the outside air, when located in enclosed spaces.

Now that I can actually see the battery holddowns, I would say we would probably not recommend using metallic straps that could come in contact with terminals. Many aftermarket companies do offer aluminum battery trays that are CNC-machined to fit the exact dimensions of our batteries. Those trays are typically made entirely out of metal, but the fit is usually so precise, something catastrophic would probably have to happen in order for any part of those trays to come in contact with a terminal. At that point, arcing batteries would be the least of your concerns. If anyone does have any questions about our batteries, I'll do my best to answer them.

Jim McIlvaine
eCare Manager, OPTIMA Batteries, Inc.
OPTIMA® Batteries (optimabatteries) on Pinterest
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Old 05-14-2013, 04:55 PM   #173
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Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by OptimaJim View Post
...Thom, our Group D27M & D31M BlueTops both have integrated vent ports, which allow users to connect hoses that run to the outside air-

Our Group 34 BlueTops do not have these ports and are designed to vent into their immediate atmosphere, which is why we would recommend mounting them in a sealed battery box vented to the outside air, when located in enclosed spaces.
Jim, thank you so much for spending the time to converse with us here on this topic!

I called the Optima consumer support line (? or something like that!) about a couple hours ago before seeing your response here. The helpful fellow on the phone shared just what you did... Now i either (if i'm going by the book) create a vent to the outside world from the box, or purchase a couple of 27 batteries and make the box a couple inches bigger to fit'em in!

When i stopped by the RV shop & one of the two Optima dealers in my home town before coming home there was a fellow there that showed me his off-grid motorhome...and under the two bench seats in his dinette area were two banks of 4 optima 34 blue tops without venting that he's had like that for some time. What to do (yea i know what i should do

Cheers,
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Old 05-14-2013, 05:19 PM   #174
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Thanks Jim from Optina for sharing the information on your companies battery! Something for us all to learn from that info whether we use your batteries now or do so in the future.

Also thanks to Linda for connecting with Optima in order to give us all factual information and also for sharing her experiences with Parkliner and the OP of this post for doing so as well.

I sure dont see any of this as being trailer bashing as suggested on another thread but instead I see helpful information for all owners of a Parkliner to help keep them all safe, as well as anyone else here using an unvented AGM battery of any make.

Having been around back in the day when this forum was owned by Mike I would suggest he would agree this is a good example of what this forum is all about. Helping each other out with problems/issues with our trailers and putting forward information with the intent of helping each of us camp and travel safer.
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Old 05-14-2013, 05:20 PM   #175
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Glad you are now able to post here Jim

I was curious if the Group D27M & D31M BlueTops with integrated vent ports can be mounted laying in their side?
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Old 05-14-2013, 09:26 PM   #176
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Regarding RVIA:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed Harris View Post
I went directly to their website but as you say the standards are unknowable without paying up first.
Not too impressed with their motives.
Standards-issuing organizations routinely restrict access to the content of the standards, to protect their major source of income, which is the sale of those standards. While I like getting something for nothing as much as the next guy, I try not to expect it, demand it, or question others' motives when I don't get it.

When I wanted to see the contents of SAE standards - which are similarly controlled - I went to a university engineering library; I was able to read the standard there, although I am not even a student of the university.
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Old 05-14-2013, 09:28 PM   #177
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After the Optima post was found on another forum, I commented that it raised my opinion of Optima. Jim's helpful and professional participation here has boosted it another big step.
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Old 05-16-2013, 01:18 AM   #178
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Mimi, sorry that you and your family had a scare with your batteries. I know this was a frustrating event for you, but I am glad everyone is okay. Our Parkliner was in storage for two months this winter, then we camped for a week, then another two months, and we camped for a weekend. When I went to get the trailer last Thursday, I noticed that the batteries were low in ours. I brought it to the house and got it plugged in so I could get a good charge overnight before we left for our weekend trip. Everything went fine, but I was still curious about the low battery level prior to this trip.

The Optima D34M batteries that we have (or had, in your case) in our trailers are rated at 55 Amp hours. With everything turned off in the trailer for storage, the only component that should be drawing power is the LP detector, since it is wired directly into the 12V system. The CO/smoke detector runs off its own 9V internal battery. According to the Safe-T-Alert data, their Series 40 LP detector draws 46 mA. In simple terms 2 batteries x 55 Amp hours of capacity / 0.046 Amp load / 24 hrs per day = about 100 days of standby time. It seems to me that we should be cutting power to the LP detector if we need to store the trailer off the grid for more than a month or two. I don't know how other trailers are set up, but I would be interested in hearing how others store theirs.

I did see that our PD Converter has an internal connection that allows you to add a 12VDC main disconnect switch. I am going to look into adding this to my setup so I can properly disconnect all loads from the batteries during winter storage. I was not a fan of the original hold down straps on my batteries, so I installed a pair of generic battery trays with a coated metal bracket, j-bolts, and nuts.

Click image for larger version

Name:	image-1566294596.jpg
Views:	15
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ID:	59123

I am still thinking about my battery venting approach, but I am not as concerned about airborne gases with our setup. Basically, we always run our fantastic fan in the In (supply) mode rather than the Out (exhaust) mode. Even on low speed, this fan achieves air change rates in the trailer that ensure fresh air everywhere. We crack a couple windows, but most of the air finds its way out through the few weep holes, the shore power cord door (which is in the battery compartment), and other places. Contrast this with the opposite mode where the fan exhausts air out of the trailer, and this air is replaced by what is drawn in through open windows, the bathroom window, and of course, the battery compartment. What I have not figured out yet is how to contain any liquids that may escape in the event of a catastrophic battery failure such as what you encountered. A full battery enclosure may be the only option to contain the acid release during this type of event. Although you had quite a mess of battery acid within the battery compartment, it appears from your photo that the acid was indeed contained within this compartment.

If I understand the behavior of the battery correctly, this type of event can be prevented by monitoring the temperature of the battery and adjusting the charge voltage and/or current as necessary (with a cutout at some maximum battery temperature).
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Old 05-16-2013, 01:38 AM   #179
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrscottyg View Post
Mimi, sorry that you and your family had a scare with your batteries. I know this was a frustrating event for you, but I am glad everyone is okay. Our Parkliner was in storage for two months this winter, then we camped for a week, then another two months, and we camped for a weekend. When I went to get the trailer last Thursday, I noticed that the batteries were low in ours. I brought it to the house and got it plugged in so I could get a good charge overnight before we left for our weekend trip. Everything went fine, but I was still curious about the low battery level prior to this trip.

The Optima D34M batteries that we have (or had, in your case) in our trailers are rated at 55 Amp hours. With everything turned off in the trailer for storage, the only component that should be drawing power is the LP detector, since it is wired directly into the 12V system. The CO/smoke detector runs off its own 9V internal battery. According to the Safe-T-Alert data, their Series 40 LP detector draws 46 mA. In simple terms 2 batteries x 55 Amp hours of capacity / 0.046 Amp load / 24 hrs per day = about 100 days of standby time. It seems to me that we should be cutting power to the LP detector if we need to store the trailer off the grid for more than a month or two. I don't know how other trailers are set up, but I would be interested in hearing how others store theirs.

I did see that our PD Converter has an internal connection that allows you to add a 12VDC main disconnect switch. I am going to look into adding this to my setup so I can properly disconnect all loads from the batteries during winter storage. I was not a fan of the original hold down straps on my batteries, so I installed a pair of generic battery trays with a coated metal bracket, j-bolts, and nuts.

Attachment 59123

I am still thinking about my battery venting approach, but I am not as concerned about airborne gases with our setup. Basically, we always run our fantastic fan in the In (supply) mode rather than the Out (exhaust) mode. Even on low speed, this fan achieves air change rates in the trailer that ensure fresh air everywhere. We crack a couple windows, but most of the air finds its way out through the few weep holes, the shore power cord door (which is in the battery compartment), and other places. Contrast this with the opposite mode where the fan exhausts air out of the trailer, and this air is replaced by what is drawn in through open windows, the bathroom window, and of course, the battery compartment. What I have not figured out yet is how to contain any liquids that may escape in the event of a catastrophic battery failure such as what you encountered. A full battery enclosure may be the only option to contain the acid release during this type of event. Although you had quite a mess of battery acid within the battery compartment, it appears from your photo that the acid was indeed contained within this compartment.

If I understand the behavior of the battery correctly, this type of event can be prevented by monitoring the temperature of the battery and adjusting the charge voltage and/or current as necessary (with a cutout at some maximum battery temperature).
I don't think that liquid coming from the battery is the reason people who write stuff like the National Electric Code(NEC) are concerned with venting. It's most likely to prevent hydrogen build up and then a loud noise.

If you put in a battery disconnect switch you want to make sure there's no propane leaking into the trailer when you turn it back on. A small hand held propane detector would do the job. Even when you turn off the tank or that batter remove the tank there's still propane in the lines. If a leak develops while in storage a small spark and cause a loud noise.

Putting the batteries in a battery box and vent I would think is necessary.

As for battery, a small 10 to 15 watt solar panel will keep the battery charged while in storage, thus a cutoff switch wouldn't be necessary and the propane detector could be on full time.
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Old 05-16-2013, 05:03 AM   #180
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I added an in line fuse to the positive lead going to my battery. Removing the fuse serves the same purpose as the disconnect switch. Raz
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Old 05-16-2013, 06:41 AM   #181
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I have a disconnect switch, and as I recall with the PD4045 there is a jumper that has to be removed when a disconnect switch is used.
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Old 05-16-2013, 07:20 AM   #182
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I installed a cut off switch and a 30 amp circuit breaker right at the terminal, outside the battery box.

Heavy Duty Battery Cutoff Switch


Bussmann BP/CBC-30HB Type I 30 Amp Circuit Breaker Two 10-32 Threaded Studs : Amazon.com : Automotive
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