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Author Topic: dodged a bullet today  (Read 1394 times)
white-eagle
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« on: August 08, 2011, 08:44:05 PM »

i just read brian's thread, and thought i'd help make him feel better. 

I've been smelling rotten eggs and not discovering the cause for a couple days.  i dumped the black tank 2 days ago, without enough grey water to fully rinse everything.  also, the sewer line runs right behind the bus about 10 ft, with a manhole.  so i thought the smell was just wind catching the sewer just right.  i checked for leaks, overflowing tanks.  Nothing.
Sunday, same thing.  started and got worse in the afternoon.  so finally, got my nose in gear and went seriously looking.  in the starting battery compartment, i smell something, then hear something.  Got a flashlight and i can see "steam"?  move stuff out of the way, and dismantle the batteries, take the center 12 v out.  Too hot to handle.
Got gloves, took the battery out, set it down and feel the rest.  Cool touch except where they were next to the other battery.

Checked the "hot" battery.  All the electrolyte gone.  11.3volts.  the other batteries seem to have 12.8.

seems this "bad" battery could have ignited something?  glad i finally found it.  oh, and its just a month out of warranty.  Go figure.

any suggestions?  Any explanations?
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Tom
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TedsBUSted
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« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2011, 08:56:50 PM »

. . .seems this "bad" battery could have ignited something?  

Yeah, namely you!
Good move not making any sparks.

That's hydrogen gas that boiled off and it will easily ignite with explosive force; enough force to blow battery cases apart and send acid flying.

Ted
« Last Edit: August 08, 2011, 08:58:42 PM by TedsBUSted » Logged

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Mex-Busnut
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« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2011, 09:42:19 PM »

Sometimes the battery going dry is from overcharging. How much current are you actually drawing, and how much are you charging?
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Dr. Steve, San Juan del Río, Querétaro, Mexico, North America, Planet Earth, Milky Way.
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« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2011, 10:35:57 PM »

  While overcharging would certainly boil all the water out of a battery, it would not only boil the water out of one in a bank, they would all boil out. Likely the battery is shorted internally or some other fault.

  That hydrogen gas could have done a lot more than blow the battery. If the cargo compartment was full of hydrogen gas, it could have literally blown the Bus in half. Good thing you caught it. Ideally the batteries should be a dedicated compartment that is well ventilated, just like the starting batteries.
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JackConrad
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« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2011, 04:42:18 AM »

Tom,
    Sure glad to hear everything worked out OK. Since it was only 1 battery, I would have to assume (Yeah, I know what @$#-u-me is) that it had to be a bad battey.
    Had a similar experience years ago in the 4106. Drove non stop from Springfield, IL to Englewood, FL. About 100 miles from home, Paula & the boys started complaining of smelling rotten eggs when in the bathroom (the batteries were under the bathroom in the bay). I was tired and not really thinking, I told them "look, it is just the holding tank and we are almost home". When I got out of the bus, I could see "steam" coming out of the battery compartment. Both 8d batteries were boiling.  When I checked out the charging circuit, i found the regulator had failed and stuck at full charge. Not sure when this actually happened but we had been driving for approx 20-22 hours (I was a lot younger then).  Jack
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« Last Edit: August 09, 2011, 04:48:50 AM by JackConrad » Logged

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boxcarOkie
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« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2011, 04:46:21 AM »

Tom,
    Sure glad to hear everything worked out OK. Since it was only 1 battery, I would have to assume (Yeah, I know what @$#-u-me is) that it had to be a bad battey.
    Had a similar experience years ago in the 4106. Drove non stop from Springfield, IL to Englewood, FL. About 100 miles from home, Paula & the boys started complaining of smelling rotten eggs when in the bathroom (the batteries were under the bathroom in the bay). I was tired and not really thinking, I told them "look, it is just the holding tank and we are almost home". When I got out of the bus, I could see "steam" coming out of the battery compartment. Both 8d batteries were boiling.  When I checked out the charging circuit, i found the regulator had failed and stuck at full charge. Not sure when this actually happened but we had been driving for approx 20-22 hours (I was a lot younger then).  Jack
PS: Give Sis a hug from us

Man, that is scary.  We had the same odor thing, only it was a propane hose leaking, and in a non-ventilated space too boot.  These old hoopies are often just time bombs waiting for the right spark eh?

BCO
« Last Edit: August 09, 2011, 04:49:21 AM by JackConrad » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2011, 05:00:27 AM »

When I was a kid we used to go to the old homeplace every weekend.  My dad was not very big on mechanic'in, at all.  He left a battery on the front porch charging thinking, a one day charge is good so a five day charge should be great.  Now mind you this is is built of 100% cypress wood shortly after the Civil war.  No way to replace it.  Well we came back that next Friday to find the bottom of the battery still on the floor but the rest of the battery was in small pieces scattered about the porch and the yard.  Batteries can and will explode with extremely violent power.  Glad you found it in time.
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« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2011, 05:54:58 AM »

I saw this and thought shots had been fired!!!!  Then I read the rest of it and went straight out and felt and smelt my batteries.  Thanks, they felt and smelt ok.  When you guys headed back this way?  We will be at Carl's hopefully this weekend. 
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John Vickrey   -   Dearing, GA
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« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2011, 07:33:36 AM »

My battery horror story..

About 10 years ago I had a little junk dodge shadow.  The wife and I stopped at a dollar general store and the car wouldnt start when we went to leave. I thought it was just a bad connection. I popped the hood and checked the connections. All seamed tight so I had the wife try to start it while I watched.  As soon as she tried it the battery blew up in my face. Everyone came running out of the surrounding stores at the strip mall because they thought a bomb had went off. I couldnt hear for a few and I was lucky that nothing got in my eyes. A lady at the dollar store had watched the whole thing. She came out and grabbed me and rushed me to there employee restroom and started spraying me with a hose.  A sink bath in front of the clerk, a new set of clothes from the dollar store, and a new battery from the K mart up the road and I was back on the road.  I had a "burns" on my face and hands but never went to the doctor.

Eric
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niles500
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« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2011, 08:21:41 PM »

WARNING: That rotten egg smell was hydrogen sulfide - If you ever smell that again stop immediately - turn off your remote disconnects - open the access panel (ventilate) and let it sit until the vapor dissipates before attempting to disconnect or remove the battery - thankfully you were lucky this time - HTH
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« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2011, 11:10:07 PM »

  We need to remind everyone to keep their batteries maintained and fused properly, as well as isolated in their own dedicated compartment and well ventilated. I also agree, if you smell that smell you need to remove sources of ignition and ventilate before going in.
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rv_safetyman
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« Reply #11 on: August 10, 2011, 07:33:02 AM »

This happened to me as well.  One of my golf cart batteries went bad and that caused an off-gassing.

Bus was in the shop and I could not smell it.  One of two carbon monoxide detectors kept going off.  I thought it was faulty since the other detector did not show an issue.  Turns out the non-reporting detector was defective.  That resulted in my article on detectors in BCM (emphasis on CO detectors).

As others have said, batteries do blow up pretty regularity under certain conditions. 

However my real reason for posting is to remind folks to have a functioning CO detector in their bus.  May not detect a battery problem, but you need it to protect you from CO issues.

Jim
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Jim Shepherd
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