What is the purpose of internal battery connections? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-12-2011, 11:58 AM   #1
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What is the purpose of internal battery connections?

I recently purchased a 1988 Bigfoot 19' travel trailer and in the process of remodeling. Located under the forward left dinnette storage, is a place for a battery. There is a female electrical receptical ( I assume for shore power hook ups)with a power cord plugged in terminating at a positive and negative battery terminal. There is no power cable for shore power. I have a battery on the tongue.

I do not understand the need for another 12v battery. Is it beneficial?

what about the dangers of an unvented battery compartment inside the trailer?

I appreciate any insight and advice.
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Old 10-13-2011, 12:47 PM   #2
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I do not have a complete picture of what you describe, but here are a couple of comments.

1. Shore powere is 110v AC, and RV batteries are usually 12v DC. There should never be a direct connection between the two without a charger, converter, or inverter.

2. As I understand it, 12v DC batteries generate hydrogen gas when they are charging; the morwe the batteries are discharged, the more hydrogen. Do not be fooled by "no maintenance" batteries, they still must vent the gas generated!

A high school friend of mine was badly disfigured when he was boosting his car. The cable at the battery sparked on disconnect, and boom.

I have an internal battery compartment in my Fiber Stream, and have gone to great pains to make sure it vents outside, not inside. I have a battery disconnect switch on the + terminal that I engage before opening the battery compartment.

Vic
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Old 10-15-2011, 10:10 AM   #3
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I'm not sure of your setup from what you describe but there should be an inverter power panel located under the forward left dinette storage the same as my 1991 17 foot Bigfoot and yes I have room for a second battery as well.

As for H2 gas I spent my working life manufacturing H2 gas and can speak to all the fear that folks have. Yes battery manufactures must warn of H2 liability is everything.
Now for the facts.
I would not be concerned in the least storing a battery in that storage space.
H2 gas is lighter than air and dissipates quickly one would need to spark the vent directly or hold a match to it for it to ignite.
A 12 volt battery or 6 volt does not produce near enough H2 under normal conditions to be a problem. If the vent were plugged that would / could be an issue.
Most folks assume the moment there is a serious accident with batteries that it must be the H2 factor I would need to see facts to support this.

In reality most accidents involving batteries are the result of power shorts. I've seen a positive battery cable in a car glow hot due to a short connection, this is a much bigger issue with batteries. Even when jumping one battery from another always make sure the ground is good. When I boost a battery I always use the car body for ground never the battery terminal.

I've also seen 1200 volt breakers explode due to shorts circuits these were industrial alternating current no H2 issues. One should never assume it was H2 that caused the problem the moment a battery explodes in most cases it was a short not H2.

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Old 10-15-2011, 10:24 AM   #4
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Maybe it was set up to house another battery for boondocking? I don't believe you have out gassing issues just using a aux battery for discharge only, charging it elsewhere. I usually carry one of those jump starter/compressor/aux power gizmos and use it to power my 12v tv and fan. It gets charged elsewhere usually, but I think it's a sealed lead/acid gel cell. Maybe those have vents but I haven't seen them.
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Old 10-15-2011, 10:35 AM   #5
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Your description is a little unclear to me but could they have had a small charger in that location, like a battery minder?
Also AGM batteries can safely be installed in unvented compartments.
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Old 10-17-2011, 08:14 AM   #6
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I appreciate all the help...much needed. Looks as if it was standard on certain model Bigfoots to house another battery for boondocks as Matt in SV stated. thanks allot. I am sure I will have many more question after my first upcoming camping trip.
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Old 10-17-2011, 11:44 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jordo View Post
I recently purchased a 1988 Bigfoot 19' travel trailer and in the process of remodeling. Located under the forward left dinnette storage, is a place for a battery. There is a female electrical receptical ( I assume for shore power hook ups)with a power cord plugged in terminating at a positive and negative battery terminal. There is no power cable for shore power. I have a battery on the tongue.

I do not understand the need for another 12v battery. Is it beneficial?

what about the dangers of an unvented battery compartment inside the trailer?

I appreciate any insight and advice.
I'd be interested in seeing a picture. I have a '92 Bigfoot 19' and came across some wires. I think that a PO did some sort of a MOD in that area. We eventually pulled the wires out. But I would like to get some sort of a 12 volt Outlet and inverter installed in the dinette area.

There is a fuse for the battery in that area as well. We replaced it with an on/off switch after the fuse blew.

I don't know the advantage of have one battery in the cabin and the other on the tongue. I'd rather use the area for storage.

Once again, a picture would be helpful to me.
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Old 10-17-2011, 01:09 PM   #8
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2% hydrogen safety limit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel A. View Post
I'm not sure of your setup from what you describe but there should be an inverter power panel located under the forward left dinette storage the same as my 1991 17 foot Bigfoot and yes I have room for a second battery as well.

As for H2 gas I spent my working life manufacturing H2 gas and can speak to all the fear that folks have. Yes battery manufactures must warn of H2 liability is everything.
Now for the facts.
I would not be concerned in the least storing a battery in that storage space.
H2 gas is lighter than air and dissipates quickly one would need to spark the vent directly or hold a match to it for it to ignite.
A 12 volt battery or 6 volt does not produce near enough H2 under normal conditions to be a problem. If the vent were plugged that would / could be an issue.
Most folks assume the moment there is a serious accident with batteries that it must be the H2 factor I would need to see facts to support this.

In reality most accidents involving batteries are the result of power shorts. I've seen a positive battery cable in a car glow hot due to a short connection, this is a much bigger issue with batteries. Even when jumping one battery from another always make sure the ground is good. When I boost a battery I always use the car body for ground never the battery terminal.

I've also seen 1200 volt breakers explode due to shorts circuits these were industrial alternating current no H2 issues. One should never assume it was H2 that caused the problem the moment a battery explodes in most cases it was a short not H2.

I would be more careful regarding safety with gases generated during charging flooded lead acid batteries (AGM or VRLA batteries generate much less hydrogen). Chemical dissociation of water into hydrogen and oxygen gas, commonly called gassing, increases rapidly at 14.4V (H2O > H2 + 1/2 O2). This mixture of hydrogen and oxygen is stoichiometricly perfect explosive mixture. So, a spark in close vicinity of cell plugs can cause explosion of just produced oxygen and hydrogen.

4% hydrogen is considered explosive gas and it is possible to reach this concentration in not vented battery compartment. 2% hydrogen is considered the maximum safety limit and 1% is often used as design guideline. During overcharging, high voltage condition, hydrogen is produced at 0.16 cubic foot/hour at 10A current flow. At these conditions in the unvented 2x2x2 compartment the maximum safety limit of hydrogen is reached in 1 hour.

http://www.battcon.com/PapersFinal20...008PROOF_6.pdf
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Old 10-17-2011, 01:38 PM   #9
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The compartments are not sealed and do allow for more than enough air flow, if one does not feel comfortable with storage of the battery in that compartment don't put it in.

I speak from real life experience working with H2 for thirty years in a manufacturing setting. As the article you refer to states problems are rare.
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Old 10-17-2011, 05:28 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel A. View Post
The compartments are not sealed and do allow for more than enough air flow, if one does not feel comfortable with storage of the battery in that compartment don't put it in.

I speak from real life experience working with H2 for thirty years in a manufacturing setting. As the article you refer to states problems are rare.
My only experience with a battery inside was with my first vehicle, a 1968 Dodge van that had the battery mounted directly behind the driver seat, near the engine which was between the seats. The battery compartment was sealed and (I presume) vented to the outside, but if the battery box was slightly ajar the fumes would be enough to make me ill, very sore throat, burning eyes and retching. From that experience, I would not want a standard battery inside my trailer, although a sealed gel cell (which I later used in laboratory work) would be no problem.

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Old 10-17-2011, 05:57 PM   #11
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H2 is odorless, I've stood in buildings with H2 venting in the building and with an explosive meter reading off the chart.

What you describe sounds very much like the H2SO4 from the battery which would give all those symptoms. Acids such as H2SO4 are not very forgiving.
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