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Old 05-18-2013, 10:51 PM   #241
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Originally Posted by Paul E Henning View Post
What I hope is that companies who are not following best practices with batteries will catch this message, and learn.
I too hope that companies learn from this.
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Don't forget that most of the people who design and manufacture trailers are not licensed chemical engineers -- they are hands-on nuts-and-bolts people who hear the call of the open road and the song of the forest. We can help them learn the intricacies, or we can be critical of them for not knowing what we didn't know, either.
To NOT make these kind of mistakes you don't have to be a chemical engineer. But good engineering practices or lack of engineering is not an excuse for putting people in danger.
One of the basic principles and gather and store a few documents for each and every component that goes into a product. These include data sheets, MSDs, and any other component specific documents. It also means that those documents are read and understood.
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.

I hope they learned lesson number 2 after making sure you have all the records store a copy off site. Basis Manufacturing 101. Garage shops are no exception.
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Old 05-18-2013, 11:08 PM   #242
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Years ago I was working on a customer's BMW and knocked a wrench off the fender cover onto the battery. It immediately exploded with a loud bam covering me and everything in the engine compartment with acid. It really got my attention! Luckily I had safety glasses on and the car had the front end outside the shop door. I immediately hosed everything down to prevent damage to me and the car. What is interesting is the battery was in working condition and not run down, and it was sitting in a well ventilated area. The engine in the car was running, therefore charging at some unknown rate. The battery was not an AGM type, but conventional plate lead acid.
It makes me wonder how much hydrogen it takes to ignite like that. I would think a battery in a box could have a much higher concentration of hydrogen and oxygen than the area above the battery I exploded. Just having an electronic device in the same box scares me, as the electronics could produce open sparks. I would want to make sure the battery compartment is "gas" proof if I were to be sleeping on top of it while it was being charged. A temp sensor would also be a good safety addition. Perhaps it could trigger a relay that would disconnect the charger above a certain pre-set temp. I know very little about electronics, so this idea may be crude, but you get the drift of what the function would be. I guess the converter could have the safety circuitry built in with a remote stick on temp sensor for the battery. Any rig that has the battery mounted inside the living space should have monitoring to prevent thermal runaway as well as the proper battery separation and venting I think.
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Old 05-18-2013, 11:17 PM   #243
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Thom, I marvel at your enthusiasm for undertaking these fixes.
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Old 05-18-2013, 11:42 PM   #244
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Years ago I was working on a customer's BMW and knocked a wrench off the fender cover onto the battery. It immediately exploded with a loud bam covering me and everything in the engine compartment with acid. It really got my attention! Luckily I had safety glasses on and the car had the front end outside the shop door. I immediately hosed everything down to prevent damage to me and the car. What is interesting is the battery was in working condition and not run down, and it was sitting in a well ventilated area. The engine in the car was running, therefore charging at some unknown rate. The battery was not an AGM type, but conventional plate lead acid.
It makes me wonder how much hydrogen it takes to ignite like that. I would think a battery in a box could have a much higher concentration of hydrogen and oxygen than the area above the battery I exploded. Just having an electronic device in the same box scares me, as the electronics could produce open sparks. I would want to make sure the battery compartment is "gas" proof if I were to be sleeping on top of it while it was being charged. A temp sensor would also be a good safety addition. Perhaps it could trigger a relay that would disconnect the charger above a certain pre-set temp. I know very little about electronics, so this idea may be crude, but you get the drift of what the function would be. I guess the converter could have the safety circuitry built in with a remote stick on temp sensor for the battery. Any rig that has the battery mounted inside the living space should have monitoring to prevent thermal runaway as well as the proper battery separation and venting I think.
Russ

I'm sure glad you had safety glasses on when you blew up that battery. FYI the dead short created by the wrench drew maximum current from the battery, overheated the battery causing the explosion. It wasn't caused by hydrogen. If you look at newer vehicles there's a red cover over the positiver battery terminal. Hopefully this prevents accidents like you had.

In your automobile there so air and air movement around the battery that in engine compartment hydrogen can't accumulate. In an unvented box hydrogen can accumulate. The proper precaution is to make sure the batteries are vented to the outside so that hydrogen can't accumulate. As for the temperature monitor, it wouldn't hurt, but probably not necessary provided everything that produces heat is properly ventilated including the converter.
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Old 05-19-2013, 07:36 AM   #245
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Looks so nice that I would guess it would be about a $500 repair job at most RV shops...
THX.
Other than the fancy fuse box i found at a local car stereo shop ($40 and way overkill, but cool looking), i think i have about $60 in parts. Total time was maybe 2 hours? For me, as mentioned, it was an enjoyable doodle.
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Old 05-19-2013, 08:07 AM   #246
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Originally Posted by Byron Kinnaman View Post
I too hope that companies learn from this.


To NOT make these kind of mistakes you don't have to be a chemical engineer. But good engineering practices or lack of engineering is not an excuse for putting people in danger.
One of the basic principles and gather and store a few documents for each and every component that goes into a product. These include data sheets, MSDs, and any other component specific documents. It also means that those documents are read and understood.
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.

I hope they learned lesson number 2 after making sure you have all the records store a copy off site. Basis Manufacturing 101. Garage shops are no exception.
Good points Byron, and lets take this a step further. You can read/have all the data and have the best engineers/designers , and still make mistakes. Just ask some of the big car manufactures.
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Old 05-19-2013, 08:17 AM   #247
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....Just ask some of the big car manufactures.
Or Boeing.

The resolution of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner battery crisis
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Old 05-19-2013, 08:23 AM   #248
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Checkout the Bailey (British trailer) power connector and battery storage compartment. In the first min. of the video.
Eddie
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Old 05-19-2013, 10:49 AM   #249
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This weekend I did a "test" of sorts related to this matter, that I didn't even intend to do.

Let me first state I am using Parkliner #37.

My trailer is in storage during the week, and when I arrived to get it for a weekend camping trip, the batteries were DEAD. I have the same setup that started this whole thread. Same batteries, same Progressive Dynamics.

Why were they dead? Well, TOTALLY my mistake and it was so boneheaded I am just going to skip over that part. Let's just pick up the story with me, at the trailer, with dead batteries. Let's just say lesson learned.

They would have been drained for something in the timeframe of 1-2 weeks.

The trailer is stored at a state park, so my total time plugged in to my vehicles charging system was probably about 5 minutes before arriving at the campsite.

Now given this thread, I was a bit concerned about plugging in. What I gathered from the thread (thanks to Optima Jim...great info!) was that while we won't know exactly what happened unless someone puts the OP's batteries through some analysis, is that the most likely cause was dead batteries that sat idle for at least three months AFTER they were drained by the propane detector (assuming no other draw and fully charged batteries to start, otherwise even longer)...and when they were attached to power again the batteries were already damaged and thus, the venting.

I hooked up a voltage meter, hooked up 30 AMP service, and proceded to monitor the situation very closely.

The batteries did get what I would label as good and warm, but never hot.

The volts did go over 14...to about 14.2 at the highest I saw (I didn't watch every second of the charging).

Once they were fully charged, the temp of the batteries returned to more of a room temperature.

I had no issues during the charging or the remainder of the weekend.

While I plan to make some modifications to the battery setup in my unit to increase the safety factor, I just wanted to pass on my experience in the above matter. At least in my case, charging the batteries using the existing setup did not result in venting, which perhaps gives a little more support to the damaged battery theory.

As for the modifications, I am still researching but here seem to be the options:

1. Relocated to front triangle. That would put them right next to the dual propane tanks. Hmm....

2. Relocated to the rear bumper. Earlier posts talk about the weight and since I carry mountain bikes on a rear carrier, that won't work for me.

3. Change to Optima D27M or D31M batteries. The area I have to work with is only about 21" long...the Group 34 batteries are 10" long so they just barely fit (obviously, since this is what is currently in there). D27M batteries are 12" long...so they won't fit. D31M are even bigger.

So, that leaves me with finding a sealed/vented battery box that is essentially custom made for Group 34 batteries or going with a different brand of battery that fits and does have a vent. I am able to find some very cool tailor made battery boxes for Group 34 batteries, but none that are sealed/vented and will fit into the available space.

Right now, I am still a little unsure as to how to proceed.
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Old 05-19-2013, 11:23 AM   #250
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This weekend I did a "test" of sorts related to this matter, that I didn't even intend to do.

Let me first state I am using Parkliner #37.

My trailer is in storage during the week, and when I arrived to get it for a weekend camping trip, the batteries were DEAD. I have the same setup that started this whole thread. Same batteries, same Progressive Dynamics.

Why were they dead? Well, TOTALLY my mistake and it was so boneheaded I am just going to skip over that part. Let's just pick up the story with me, at the trailer, with dead batteries. Let's just say lesson learned.

They would have been drained for something in the timeframe of 1-2 weeks.

The trailer is stored at a state park, so my total time plugged in to my vehicles charging system was probably about 5 minutes before arriving at the campsite.

Now given this thread, I was a bit concerned about plugging in. What I gathered from the thread (thanks to Optima Jim...great info!) was that while we won't know exactly what happened unless someone puts the OP's batteries through some analysis, is that the most likely cause was dead batteries that sat idle for at least three months AFTER they were drained by the propane detector (assuming no other draw and fully charged batteries to start, otherwise even longer)...and when they were attached to power again the batteries were already damaged and thus, the venting.

I hooked up a voltage meter, hooked up 30 AMP service, and proceded to monitor the situation very closely.

The batteries did get what I would label as good and warm, but never hot.

The volts did go over 14...to about 14.2 at the highest I saw (I didn't watch every second of the charging).

Once they were fully charged, the temp of the batteries returned to more of a room temperature.

I had no issues during the charging or the remainder of the weekend.

While I plan to make some modifications to the battery setup in my unit to increase the safety factor, I just wanted to pass on my experience in the above matter. At least in my case, charging the batteries using the existing setup did not result in venting, which perhaps gives a little more support to the damaged battery theory.

As for the modifications, I am still researching but here seem to be the options:

1. Relocated to front triangle. That would put them right next to the dual propane tanks. Hmm....

2. Relocated to the rear bumper. Earlier posts talk about the weight and since I carry mountain bikes on a rear carrier, that won't work for me.

3. Change to Optima D27M or D31M batteries. The area I have to work with is only about 21" long...the Group 34 batteries are 10" long so they just barely fit (obviously, since this is what is currently in there). D27M batteries are 12" long...so they won't fit. D31M are even bigger.

So, that leaves me with finding a sealed/vented battery box that is essentially custom made for Group 34 batteries or going with a different brand of battery that fits and does have a vent. I am able to find some very cool tailor made battery boxes for Group 34 batteries, but none that are sealed/vented and will fit into the available space.

Right now, I am still a little unsure as to how to proceed.
When you measured the temperature and the voltage of batteries did you open the compartment where the batteries are stored? Or did you simply keep thee compartment open during the test? Or as is the case with the OP was the compartment kept close tightly and battery instrumented in such a manner to keep the compartment from getting outside air?
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Old 05-19-2013, 11:38 AM   #251
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When you measured the temperature and the voltage of batteries did you open the compartment where the batteries are stored? Or did you simply keep thee compartment open during the test? Or as is the case with the OP was the compartment kept close tightly and battery instrumented in such a manner to keep the compartment from getting outside air?
A little of both. I figured I would hear the batteries vent, so I kept the compartment mostly closed to avoid creating a mess if that began to occur.

I checked on them at fairly regular intervals.

The air temp was in the 70's. I had the overhead fan going and the windows open.
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Old 05-19-2013, 11:42 AM   #252
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Mark, Thanks for taking the time for you report, good info. I don't have the same problem with everyone that has the duel battery setup. Having just the one battery will be somewhat easier to manage, having more room to get a sealed battery box into. I have also thought about moving the battery to the rear bumper, as I carry my bikes on a rack over my truck bed. And my battery is mostly located to the very rear, so going to the rear bumper seems logical. I only have 1 lp tank, but just don't like the idea of putting it out on the tongue because of the extra weight there. So for me it will be rear bumper or where it is but in a vented box.
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Old 05-19-2013, 12:02 PM   #253
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Mark, Thanks for taking the time for you report, good info. I don't have the same problem with everyone that has the duel battery setup. Having just the one battery will be somewhat easier to manage, having more room to get a sealed battery box into. I have also thought about moving the battery to the rear bumper, as I carry my bikes on a rack over my truck bed. And my battery is mostly located to the very rear, so going to the rear bumper seems logical. I only have 1 lp tank, but just don't like the idea of putting it out on the tongue because of the extra weight there. So for me it will be rear bumper or where it is but in a vented box.
You bring up something I thought about but didn't fully explore, which is going to a one-battery setup. In fact, that might be my best solution. Most of my trips are three days or less in duration, and I do have a Honda generator I could use on longer trips. That would give me an installed battery that I could put in a vented box. Ideally, I would go with a D31M and use it's built in vent and route to the outside...but that involves a purchase and finding a buyer for the current Group 34's.

Thanks for letting me know your plan...it got my wheels turning in a different direction!
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Old 05-19-2013, 12:51 PM   #254
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Mark, No problem I'm glad it got you thinking about another alternative. By the way I do camp for a week up in the Adirondack's with no hook ups, and have never had a dead battery. But I do run led lights and don't run the furnace much at all. And you can always top it off a bit during the day with a small solar panel if need be. I think you will be just fine with only one.
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Old 05-19-2013, 02:06 PM   #255
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Thanks for sharing Mark.
I can imagine running such an _experiment_ took a bit of the "Relaxation" out of the R & R !

My Xantrex LinkLITE battery monitor shows up this week and will be installed before we head out for 5 days off grid...it will be a nice test of things.
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Old 05-19-2013, 04:23 PM   #256
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Thanks for sharing Mark.
I can imagine running such an _experiment_ took a bit of the "Relaxation" out of the R & R !

My Xantrex LinkLITE battery monitor shows up this week and will be installed before we head out for 5 days off grid...it will be a nice test of things.
I call it "adventure!"

That looks like a very informative little device. Let me know how the install goes and if you like the information it provides. I may install one myself if your feedback is positive.
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Old 05-19-2013, 04:50 PM   #257
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A little of both. I figured I would hear the batteries vent, so I kept the compartment mostly closed to avoid creating a mess if that began to occur.

I checked on them at fairly regular intervals.

The air temp was in the 70's. I had the overhead fan going and the windows open.

Every time you opened that compartment you let cooler air in thus not duplicating the OP condition. But it's important to note that you did notice some battery heating. The influx of cooler air prevented thermal runaway, if thermal runaway was the cause of the OP failure.
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Old 05-19-2013, 05:23 PM   #258
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hmmm well for those of us with the streetside batteries and all, what about some kind of mesh door where the 30 amp cable is located. If that was open while the ParkLiner is plugged in it would allow some airflow into the battery/charging area.
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Old 05-19-2013, 05:38 PM   #259
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I was contemplating putting one of those black 2" drain thingies like i put on the lid of the battery bay...but then i saw all the gaps around the edges of the door and thought there might just be enough air-flow without it!
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Old 05-19-2013, 06:53 PM   #260
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Every time you opened that compartment you let cooler air in thus not duplicating the OP condition. But it's important to note that you did notice some battery heating. The influx of cooler air prevented thermal runaway, if thermal runaway was the cause of the OP failure.
Just for the record, MANY things about my "test" did not duplicate the situation of the OP. And trust me, I wasn't trying!
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