Smoking Batteries (was: Battery problem in our Parkliner) - Page 20 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-20-2013, 06:13 AM   #267
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[QUOTE=
Tim, Thanks for your comments as I was thinking along the same lines this weekend. On all our camping trips we've gone to state parks and plugged in, so culling down to one battery is a viable alternative to me, and your experience in terms of how long your one battery lasts, makes me feel we could definitely go this route. We have two propane tanks on the tongue so batteries can't go out there. I prefer to go down to one battery than to relocate the batteries in another interior space. And I feel more secure to have it in a sealed battery box.

We also will have a temp/smoke alarm to be installed in the space which could have alerted us to the problem as soon as the acid has started to char the wooden cover. And as many pointed out earlier a fuse switch to be installed at the battery, and a battery monitor, though that would not have prevented this specific incident. It's going to be a phased approach since off site storage means we have limited time window to access and work on the trailer.[/QUOTE]

Mimi, Just remember when your off grid for a few days, you may want to change your 12v bulbs to LED's like I did. And I really conserve on using 12v, but yes you can do it.
Thom, Thanks for sharing your mods/upgrades, nice to see what others are doing. Even though your setup is different from mine with the two batteries etc., it still gives us ideas to work on.
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Old 05-20-2013, 07:43 AM   #268
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Originally Posted by Byron Kinnaman View Post
Product documentation is very important in any manufacturing company. Example. Scamp can tell you exactly what's is every trailer they've built post fire. Pre-fire they could have done the same thing with every trailer they ever built. Unfortunately they lost all the records in the fire.
Actually, Scamp didn't start keeping detailed records until about 1990 or so. My 1987 Custom Deluxe was a unique build (it was the first one they attempted to put a bathroom into a 13' model), and they had some anecdotal recollections of doing it, but they had zero documentation. So, even when prototyping, they weren't documenting what they were doing. And, they had been in business...how long... by then?

Similarly, Scamp did then, and still does, install refrigerators with the upper vent right at the top of the refrigerator, vented out the sidewall. But, if you read the installation instructions from Dometic, they are very clear about stack height and dimension, and Scamp's installation is not to spec.

I'm not picking on Scamp, nor arguing the point about the importance of reading, understanding, following, and providing documentation. Just saying that the real world doesn't always work that way.
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Old 05-20-2013, 08:33 AM   #269
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Now the idea of dropping down to one 55amp hour battery isn't an option for me camping off the grid... I don't want to have to run my generator and the solar panel isn't coming towards later in the season(Ive been blowing enough money lately lol)

I have thought about the idea if the 2 battery boxes would fit longways against the back of the trailer (where the spare tire mounts through) between the 2 lazerettes of the large dinette. and vent it out the back side...It could be boxed in to look nicer if you plan on useing the rear dinette as a table.
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Old 05-20-2013, 08:58 AM   #270
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How long will a smoke / heat detector continue to function if exposed to battery fumes?.
Depending on a safety device that may not work when needed is false security . Even smoke / heat detectors installed in homes where they are not subject to corrosive atmospheres are supposed to be replaced on a scheduled basis . If you read the UL listing that comes with your smoke detector it tells you to change them out at a stated length of time and just pushing the test button is not a true test . When we tested smokes (Electrical inspection) we had to use a squeeze bottle of a manufacturers approved substance that simulated smoke. A sealed heat sensor (encased in plastic ) may be a better choice IMHO
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Old 05-20-2013, 02:47 PM   #271
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Originally Posted by Mimi Lee View Post
...It's just hopefully we make it as clean cut as how you did yours. And any tips on how to control or contain the fiberglass dust (ouchies!) from the drilling?
1) i always wear a mask around fiberglass (sanding/drilling/painting)
2) on "clean cut" ? i used the properly sized drill bit and went really, really slow and careful...with a blue-painters-masking tape over the area being worked on. It was a perfect cut with no burs or sanding needed. (<wipes sweat from brow).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mimi Lee View Post
... Question: Do your batteries sit on spacers or something to allow for the circulation within the box or do you have vents at the bottom?
After reading through things, i felt that having the batteries off a solid surface and allowing for some air flow under the batteries might be a good thing. So i purchased eight (used 4 each battery) of those 2"x2" rubber square pads that go under table legs. I think they will pull double duty; 1) help with air flow, and 2) give some dampening against the road vibrations.

The "Vent" is located on the bottom rear edge of battery area and is ~1"x2". So getting the batteries off the marine grade ply i think will assist as noted above.


FYI; as Tim suggested, switching to LED lighting will really make a positive impact on your rig's use of 12 volts! Brian (PL#34) shared all the info on his swap and i followed his example. I have posted the info here; _Link to my post with my LED light swap_
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Old 05-20-2013, 05:16 PM   #272
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Originally Posted by deryk View Post
Now the idea of dropping down to one 55amp hour battery isn't an option for me camping off the grid... I don't want to have to run my generator and the solar panel isn't coming towards later in the season(Ive been blowing enough money lately lol)

I have thought about the idea if the 2 battery boxes would fit longways against the back of the trailer (where the spare tire mounts through) between the 2 lazerettes of the large dinette. and vent it out the back side...It could be boxed in to look nicer if you plan on useing the rear dinette as a table.
Deryk , Putting both batteries under the seat by rear dinette may be a good place. They will have a dedicated compartment, so that is a big plus. You might want to do a dry run, that is put the batteries in a secure box where you would be putting them. Then take the camper out for a drive to see how things handle. If your batteries are near the end of the trailer like mine, they will probably be alright. But it wouldn't hurt to make sure.
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Old 05-20-2013, 05:45 PM   #273
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Tim if they fit I'm sure it would be fine balance/weight wise...1 battery would be about 6-8" further back then it is now and the 2nd a foot out so further back. With my generator in the entry way and 7-8 gallons of water in the bathroom... and real soon a 5 gallon jug of gasoline on the tongue I'm not worried lol.
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Old 05-20-2013, 06:52 PM   #274
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Sounds like you have it worked out.
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Old 05-20-2013, 08:39 PM   #275
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Tim, Thanks for the suggestion on the LED lights. Chandler kindly accommodated our request for LED's when we ordered but had not found an LED replacement for the main/center light so this is a good reminder that we need to get that one switched out.

Thom, Appreciate your response and explanation on the battery box configuration. We are dry fitting our in-process version of custom battery box tonight and I like the idea of having the batteries sitting off the bottom. We're kinda nervous to be putting a hole in the shell but I know that is the approach I want to take. I'm glad to hear that your cut required no sanding and there there were no burs. Hopefully, we will have the same experience. And, again thank you for so generously sharing your ideas, examples, and thoughts. It is very helpful to see how you've done the mods and we are grateful to be able to benefit from your experience. Thanks also for the links.

Deryk, Yes, for your needs I see it would not be easy to step down to one battery. For now we could go down to one, but I like the option either way. We want to meet the challenge of building out a battery box within the compartment. But because we trying to avoid having to relocate the water pump adjacent to our batteries, we're getting a little creative with the battery configuration and fitting them in an 'L' shape instead of width to width/length the length. A dry fit of our in-process version of a custom battery box didn't have good results, it's just so tight, but we'll see if we can make adjustments. Having the batteries under the bench is another solution to explore, but since we are a foursome, it will eat into valuable leg room/living space should we have to stay indoors in inclimate weather, but it sounds workable for you.

Steve, thanks for your comments on the smoke detector. So true, it's all pointless if it doesn't actually work! With the battery box venting outside,and utilizing the sealed batteries, we "should" not be getting exposed to battery fumes - at last that was the theory. But I think we will be creating a checklist similar to the the pre-flight checklist pilots use that includes testing the alarms along with the batteries, gas shutoffs, etc. I bet someone has posted one here, and we could start there and add this to the list.

It is a little ironic. When I was looking at fiberglass trailers I loved the idea of getting an older one to work on as a project. I thought it would be fun and educational. But decided given how early we are in the family stage, we just didn't have the time for such an undertaking, and here we are making the time. And moving beyond the fear, it is fun and quite the learning opportunity thanks in large part to such helpful folks on the forum. Just rolling with it!
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Old 05-20-2013, 09:14 PM   #276
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Lightbulb

Mimi, as a heads up, the lights Brian turned me on to, and i used in #35 work on ALL lights in the PL. They have two adapters in each kit and you can choose which type you need for which type socket as you can see _in this picture_. I guess i need to send the link to Chandler!

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Old 05-20-2013, 09:48 PM   #277
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Can't thank you enough, Thom. That sure makes it super easy-peasy. The LEDs were not a standard option when I ordered. In fact, my trailer may have been the first one he installed them in because he had to look for them and a supplier. If he hasn't found the ones that fit the center one, I'm sure he'd appreciate the info.
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Old 05-20-2013, 10:12 PM   #278
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: ) I sent Cameron the info so he and Chandler can check them out as offering them as an option. Super simple.
Thanks for steering me in that direction Mimi!
Thom
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Old 05-21-2013, 06:40 PM   #279
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Mike, as I mentioned before (I think, this thread is getting kind of long), microprocessor-controlled chargers will generally do a better job of charging and maintaining all kinds of lead-acid batteries and many of those units will have desuflation modes as shown in that video.

Deryk, we do manufacture several different batteries that can be equipped with a vent hose, although for deep-cycle applications, they tend to be on the small side (Group 51 batteries) or the large side (Group 27 or Group 31 batteries), in relation to the more standard size Group 34 that has been shown previously in this thread. We cannot recommend homemade venting options that include hairdryer bonnets, PVC pipes or the use of tape or glue as sealants (as I have come across elsewhere).

I do this type of work all day long and I know that my lack of access to the OP's trailer and batteries, would prevent me from speculating as to the original cause of their issue. Perhaps others smarter and more daring than me will be willing to speculate? Generally speaking, it is not unheard of at all for mechanics, techs and other folks to make a quick diagnosis of a “bad battery,” install (sell) a new one and call it a day. Sometimes something as simple as a loose connection is corrected with the installation of a new battery, while other times, the problem that manifested itself originally will re-appear once the same scenario that caused the original issue is repeated.

If the OP's batteries do make it back to our Warranty Return Center, they will be tested and evaluated, although we don't always know which battery came from where, because some retailers don't identify the source. If the battery tests good (and many do), we will fully-recharge it and give it away to a competitor in the ChumpCar World Series.

I can't speak for other AGM manufacturers, but special care above and beyond what would be exercised with a standard flooded battery doesn't need to be taken when charging our batteries. We don't recommend charging at a rate that exceeds 10 amps and we do recommend a voltage range of about 13.8-15.0 volts for regular charging and about 13.2-13.8 volts for float charging. Most chargers on the market will fall within those ranges.

For those considering mounting their batteries outside their trailers, I feel compelled to point out that solving one problem sometimes creates another. We don't live in the most honest of worlds and when we were installing batteries on SEMA show vehicles at the staging area near the Las Vegas Convention Center last year, we encountered a gentleman who had one of our batteries installed on the frame of his rolling chassis, which was tied down on his open trailer. While his trailer was parked in the hotel parking lot the night before the show, someone decided to steal his battery. So, if you do mount it outside your trailer, make sure it is locked up securely.

It was suggested several pages ago that our Group D34M BlueTop batteries weigh about 60 pounds, which is not true at all. They have a minimum weight of 43.5 pounds. Since Russ was nice enough to share his battery welding story, I did want to let everyone know that all of our batteries should come with terminal covers for threaded, side and SAE terminals. If you do not have terminal covers and need them, please call our 800 number- 1-888-8-OPTIMA and request to have replacements sent to you.

Jim McIlvaine
eCare Manager, OPTIMA Batteries, Inc.
OPTIMA® Batteries (optimabatteries) on Pinterest
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Old 05-21-2013, 07:17 PM   #280
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OptimaJim View Post
...It was suggested several pages ago that our Group D34M BlueTop batteries weigh about 60 pounds, which is not true at all. They have a minimum weight of 43.5 pounds...
Thanks for the correction Jim. That was my post. I had been reading so much about the Optima line and when i looked at the pdf file i posted the 31's weight by accident ,(

Cheers,
Thom
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