Battery smell - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-16-2013, 10:53 PM   #1
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My burro is parked next to the house. We have electric running out to it and the battery recharger attached to the battery on the front. The last few days I've thought we either had a dead animal under the house (next to the burro) or a leak in the pipes to the street - after crawling under the house and searching the bushes, we've finally figured out that the dead animal/sewer smell was coming from the battery box. I've detached the charger. Does anyone know what I'm dealing with? You folks always know! Just tell me what to do please.
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Old 10-16-2013, 11:20 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Sue and Henry View Post
My burro is parked next to the house. We have electric running out to it and the battery recharger attached to the battery on the front. The last few days I've thought we either had a dead animal under the house (next to the burro) or a leak in the pipes to the street - after crawling under the house and searching the bushes, we've finally figured out that the dead animal/sewer smell was coming from the battery box. I've detached the charger. Does anyone know what I'm dealing with? You folks always know! Just tell me what to do please.
Look at the water level in the battery.
Is the battery charger a "smart charger", if not you need to be careful not to overcharge the battery. Overcharging simply means boiling out the liquid.
If the liquid is low fill it back up with distilled water, don't use tap water. If the liquid level is below the plates you could have damaged the battery.
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Old 10-16-2013, 11:25 PM   #3
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Thanks Byron. I thought it was a smart charger. It sounds like I may have been wrong. :-(
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Old 10-16-2013, 11:28 PM   #4
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If your charging system is overcharging the battery the battery will "boil" or bubble and produce hydrogen gas. This gas is HIGHLY EXPLOSIVE ! It's the same stuff hydrogen bombs were made of. The smell is usually described as "rotten egg" smell.

If this is in fact your problem, disconnect the power source as a spark could cause an explosion. Let everything cool down and ventilate the area. Next step, check voltage with a meter after things are cool. If your voltage is high you have a situation where your charger is overcharging and your battery may be ruined also.

Be carefull ! When a battery explodes it is every bit as loud as a gunshot and acid goes all over.

Again do not do any testing until you are sure any build up of hydrogen is eliminated.
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Old 10-16-2013, 11:49 PM   #5
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Thanks jack. The charger is unplugged and detached from the battery. I do see some dried liquid on the battery surface.


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The smell is gone but I am waiting until tomorrow morning to open it up. I think I'll need to replace since I've smelt the odor several days. I'm glad it didn't blow up!
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Old 10-17-2013, 12:24 AM   #6
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Go to your local Costco and buy a RV battery. They have one of the best warranties.
Chuck
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Old 10-17-2013, 12:26 AM   #7
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Okay. Thank you Chuck.
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Old 10-17-2013, 04:14 PM   #8
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Try topping off the battery with distilled water first.. clean the top nice, pop those covers off and pour it in.. Then try charging again but keep an eye on it and don't let it sit there charging for ever.
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Old 10-17-2013, 04:53 PM   #9
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Kinslayer is correct. If U buy a new battery make sure you get one that you can add water to.

Get a battery hydrometer and test each cell once the battery is full of water and charged.
Autocraft Hydrometer Battery Tester-AC108/A7062059 - Advance Auto Parts

The good chargers today have a De-sulfate function and will not over charge. Look for that on the box.
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Old 10-17-2013, 05:22 PM   #10
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I would measure the battery voltage and see if its above 12 volts. Then I would tie wrap the groups of wires on each pole and tag them pos and neg so they dont get crossed up in the process. Then I would remove the battery and leave the covers to the cells on and clean everything with hot water and baking soda. Everything inside and around that battery box may be covered with acid from the boiled battery. Then rince with clean water. then I would add water to the battery. Then I would charge the battery and disconnect the battery and let it sit unconnected for about an hour and record the voltage, then let it sit unconnected another 24 hours to check if it is holding the same voltage since you last checked it. If it shows significant voltage drop or under 12.5 volts suspect a bad cell. then its up to you to have the battery load tested or replace it. A bad cell will boil a battery when charging. I would find out what your system uses to charge your battery so you can do what is necessary to matain your battery.
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Old 10-17-2013, 05:57 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Jack L View Post
If your charging system is overcharging the battery the battery will "boil" or bubble and produce hydrogen gas. This gas is HIGHLY EXPLOSIVE ! It's the same stuff hydrogen bombs were made of. The smell is usually described as "rotten egg" smell.

If this is in fact your problem, disconnect the power source as a spark could cause an explosion. Let everything cool down and ventilate the area. Next step, check voltage with a meter after things are cool. If your voltage is high you have a situation where your charger is overcharging and your battery may be ruined also.

Be carefull ! When a battery explodes it is every bit as loud as a gunshot and acid goes all over.

Again do not do any testing until you are sure any build up of hydrogen is eliminated.
Lol, well technically it is close to the stuff hydrogen bombs are made of, minus the plutonium bomb used to start the fusion chain reaction. The 'hydrogen' is actually deuterium or 'heavy' hydrogen, and is itself a hydrogen isotope with an extra neutron.

Hydrogen is however exactly the same stuff that caused the hindenburg disaster. Two hydrogen atoms will join with one oxygen atom in a burning chemical reaction to create... Water. H2O. And yep, that reaction is an explosive one.
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Old 10-17-2013, 07:21 PM   #12
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Don't forget to wear rubber gloves and eye protection when working on batteries. It is way too easy to get splashed by acid when trying to add water. And that nasty white crusty stuff you'll be cleaning up around the terminals can be an issue, too.
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Old 10-24-2013, 01:58 PM   #13
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Just a quick update. I charged and let the battery rest then took it to a local napa for testing. It charged, but did not hold. On the up side, the gentleman gave me a quick in service on what my charger would and would not do. No automatic turn off :-( so, I'm off to Costco to purchase a new battery as suggested here. Thank you all for being so helpful!
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Old 10-24-2013, 02:51 PM   #14
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Just be careful that you don't destroy your new battery with a charger that doesn't do the right stuff. Batteries should last a long time so the old one being dead is a wake up call.
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