So many great issues are being surfaced on the bulletin boards lately that I hope will be fully addressed and I hope this particular thread will run itís coarse so that all serious suggestions can be documented and resubmitted to everyone on this board after all information is processed.
Devin brought up his situation concerning the exploding of his batteries in his bus and again thank God he did not lose his sight or be seriously burned from the chemicals of the battery explosion.† I am volunteering (as If I need another job) to take this serious situation and others also such as towing hitches and mounting and inspecting them before every trip and many other subjects of safety that could save our lives or perhaps others on the road we meet.† I can only consume concentration on one subject at a time though so this particular thread will be for the safe set up of a battery compartment for a bus conversion for those just starting a bus conversion to consider and those wanting to re-modify their present sets ups after reading all our suggestions.
I must also inform you as I was taking photos of our buses at the Bussin 2007 Bus rally at Arcadia, Fl just recently that I did personally see some battery storages in bus bays with situations I felt were very disturbing.† I saw battery connections made I thought to be with undersized cables, lawn chairs laying on top of battery banks, waste tank dumping hoses on top of batteries, cooking grills set on top of batteries and materials like blankets laid over the batteries to keep them from having any arcing of battery connections I believe!!† I did not see everyoneísí of coarse but did observe some of the above on different rigs.† No, I did not photograph them, some people get upset as it is with my camera and me and I did not want to alienate anyone any further than what I probably already do.†
I will address this situation as I see it now and wait on all serious suggestions in this thread having to do only with Battery Compartment Safety & Set UP.† Please, do not submit comments pertaining to other things on this particular thread so that everything can be considered and a guide made up for submitting for everyone to consider in their conversions.† This would surely be appreciated.† One more request, letís keep all comments simple and not so high tech that they cannot be understood by the average bus converter and they would be discouraged in trying to understand.† Simplicity will surely be appreciated by me in particular.
My Suggestions as I see it now for this thread at this time but will be rearranged after submitting from all other experienced bus converters.† There is much to be learned from others mistakes and accidents and there is no better tool than this internet to assist in reaching absolutely everyone possible in the entire world.† Hopefully we can all help each other as is my big desire.
(1) The Battery Compartment Set UP, The battery compartment should be isolated for the storage of batteries only.† These suggestions are intended for all battery banks, (house and starting battery banks).†
(2) The battery compartment should be fully enclosed to keep any of our personal belongings from being near the batteries at any time, while bus is in storage or being used on a trip.
(3) The battery compartment should be lined inside on all surfaces including the overhead of the battery storage compartment with a not-metallic material to prevent the possibility of arcing with a wrench or any tool being used to assemble or disassemble a battery bank at any time.† Plywood is suggested by me at this time and can be disputed by others with their suggestions but should not be of material that will be decayed by drifting battery fumes or vapors if there is any.
(4) The battery compartment design should also consider venting in and out of the compartment to prevent build up of fumes and vapors caused from any kind of battery that may have a failure or natural exhaust of fumes from overcharging etc.† There are many reasons for a battery failure no matter what kind of battery is used but again this is my personal opinion. The use of (AGM) batteries is respected by many bus converters to be sufficient as it is believed they would never fail or have a fume / vapor leakage problem at any time.† I come from the old school, this is your personal choice of coarse but I love overkill in safety to eliminate the chance of anything ever happening especially if I have that opportunity to do at my design stage of making modifications especially.
(5) Design your Battery storage compartment to be raised somewhat to be able to be wash down with a water hose after any explosion if it happens and be washed to the outside of the bus and also allow the use of baking soda in large amounts to help neutralize the caustic chemicals used in batteries.† †NOTE:† Keep large amounts of baking soda in storage just in case it is ever needed when you are on the road.
(6) The battery bank should have a manual disconnect mounted on the outside of the battery bank storage compartment and should be labeled as such for anyone assisting in disconnecting the current flow of the batteries in an emergency. The battery bank disconnect should always be in the off position at all times when the battery compartment access door is opened for any reason.† The battery access door should also be lockable in a way that it cannot be opened or accidentally opened by a grandchild or anyone for any reason without use of a mechanical lock being used. The design of this disconnect will have to be considered in the safety protection of your inverter also and so feed back will have to be discussed by more experienced converters in this thread how to connect the disconnect switch to protect the expensive internal parts of the inverters we use.
(7) The inverter should be mounted within about (5 FT.) of the battery bank I am told for best performance but also that the inverters can be feed to a separate power panel before connection to a battery bank for added protection of the inverter.† †Again this is information that should be considered for security of the inverter after suggestions are made on this thread from experienced electrical converters.
Connecting cables from and to the battery bank should always be of the largest size recommended for safety of full battery power flow.
(9) Use of plastic battery pole protection hoods on both the Plus & Minus battery poles but particularly on the plus pole of your battery that is normally used on automobile batteries should be considered to be used if found at auto stores and adaptable to your battery banks to also be a safety item considered for added safety in your battery storage compartment.
(10) Use of safety glasses with side shields should always be worn, and also a plastic full face shield normally used for grinding worn also when servicing your batteries for water or just inspecting them for adjustment of battery connections etc.
(11) Wear full protection coverage of arms with heavy clothing, leather welding jacket or any old thick jacket will work for skin protection from severe battery acid burns should something happen like did to Devin.† Wearing a hat is also a must for head protection. There is no reaction time to a battery explosion for you to react safely, NONE!!† BOOM, Itís Done, just ask DEVIN!!.
This is only a beginning of the safety items we should consider for the designing and building of our Battery Storage Compartments and this information is intended for both the House Battery & Engine Starting battery bank.† Please submit suggestions for safety and proper design of our battery banks. After this is exhausted to suit us all we might help many make battery compartment decisions we can take another subject of importance and document all we can to make improvements and suggestions to present owners to consider for bus longevity.
Perhaps a simple, understandable schematic can be drawn by cad by someone that can be used for consideration as a guide only for us newbieís wanting to make our battery banks safe and controllable for intake and output of power of them.
Thanks ahead of time,