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Author Topic: Modifying MC8 Battery compartment to hold house batteries too  (Read 3262 times)
lv2rescue
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« on: September 25, 2007, 06:25:42 PM »

Hey,
has anyone modified the existing MC8 engine battery compartment to house both engine batteries and house batteries? It appears by my measurements, if I remove the duct work from the factory air and heat that I will end up with a rectangular compartment that is just about perfect for 2- 8D's on an upper shelf with a slide out, and a lower shelf with 4 golf cart batteries also on a slide out. I don't think this sheet metal is structural, but I am not 100% sure what is behind the duct work. Anyone tried this? What do you think?
Thanks in advance.
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wvanative
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« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2007, 06:35:57 PM »

Boy I have not seen it done in any conversions but it sounds like a great idea, and would free up space that usually would be used to store house batteries.
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« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2007, 06:40:57 PM »

I don't have an 8, I have a 5C. And I moved my batteries but I took the roll out trays and cut them apart. I added 3or so inches and now each one will hold 3  group 31 batteries.  Tom Y
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Tom Yaegle
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« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2007, 06:44:27 PM »

Dallas is removing bus batteries from a MCI 8 and putting in engine compartment then trying to modify that area to hold an AC unit and genset. You can remove all panels in that bay you want to as they are not structural. The fuel tank also shares that bay.
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« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2007, 07:26:54 PM »

If you are not keeping the bus air. You do not need to keep the 2 8-d's. You can change over to group 31 batterys. Now as long as you are changeing over to group 31's you can move them to the engine compartment. This will give you a much shorter run from the batteries to the starter. Or put the 8D's in the battery compartment and have tons of room for the house battery's!
                                                  HTH Jim
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lv2rescue
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« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2007, 07:55:19 PM »

I have done some preliminary measurements of the compartment and it looks like it will work. I just need to find a new spot for the engine battery shut-off switch. I currently have the house batteries in the engine compartment and the engine heat is just killing them. I am also concerned about the long term effects of increased corrosion to the rear compartment area. I am hoping that keeping them cool will help their longevity and also save some space for something else. I like having the 8D's as starter batteries for those cold start morniings where I need as many cranking amps as I can get. If it sounds viable I will start working on measuring twice to cut once and take some photos to help someone else do the same thing.
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« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2007, 05:39:36 AM »

    We replaced our bus batteries with 2 group 31s and relocated them to the engine compartment (just inside the passenger side door of the engine compartment).  We removed the fiber glass duct that connects the blower compartment to the floor opening as well as the partition that separates the batteries from the rest of the compartment.  We added vents in the floor and made this our LP compartment. Looking into this compartment, to the right of the compartment is the fuel tank. Behind the compartment is the AC evaporator, heater core, and blower motor/fans. As was mentioned none of thsse walls are structural.  Jack
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« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2007, 05:47:06 AM »

I currently have the house batteries in the engine compartment and the engine heat is just killing them.

How do you determine something like this? For as many years as most of us can remember the automotive battery has lived in the engine compartment of the the automobile which should be in the same temperature range as the engine compartment of a bus and I have not seen any race to move them back under the floorboard like they were many years ago.
Richard
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« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2007, 07:46:58 AM »

lv2 - in most cases Group 31's will have more CCA's than 8D's - FWIW
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« Reply #9 on: September 26, 2007, 07:55:03 AM »

I took out all the sheet metal and made the battery compartment go all the way through to the plywood panel that is behind where the condenser was. I put in a slide out tray and moved the shut off switch to the first bay wall. I have a total of ten batteries in the space I created some for starting some for the house some for the genset starting. The only thing I might have changed is to get a heavier duty tray to hold all the weight. I had to be creative with the cables so the tray and battery (and battery monitor) connections work their way in and out with out needing to be disconnected.

Melbo
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« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2007, 06:07:39 PM »

Richard, you took the words out of my mouth.
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« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2007, 09:14:56 PM »

Richard, you took the words out of my mouth.
It must of been while you were kissing me. Grin
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« Reply #12 on: September 26, 2007, 09:35:25 PM »

Richard, you took the words out of my mouth.
It must of been while you were kissing me. Grin

I ain't even gonna ask who was kissing who or where they were kissing!
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« Reply #13 on: September 27, 2007, 12:18:57 AM »

Quote
For as many years as most of us can remember the automotive battery has lived in the engine compartment of the the automobile which should be in the same temperature range as the engine compartment of a bus and I have not seen any race to move them back under the floorboard like they were many years ago.

Many modern vehicles have shrouded batteries with air ducts feeding cool air from the front of the vehicle so obviously heat must be of some concern. The standard auto charging system tends to undercharge the starting batteries anyway so heat is less likely to be a problem than with house batteries.

Another factor is the risk of overcharging a hot battery from a non-temperature compensated battery charger. With some types of batteries, high battery temperatures combined with high charging currents can supposedly result in a runaway effect.
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« Reply #14 on: September 27, 2007, 01:53:33 AM »


 
Quote
Many modern vehicles have shrouded batteries with air ducts feeding cool air from the front of the vehicle so obviously heat must be of some concern.

 My bus may or may not be a modern vehicle, depending on your point of view. It does have a two great big blowers to force heat out of the injun compartment.
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« Reply #15 on: September 27, 2007, 03:16:32 PM »

In our mc9,in the battery comp., I have removed all duct work and unnessary things including the air cond. filter access door. My intention is to  build a rack to place the house batteries. there is ample room even though I still have the 8d batteries. I will replace the 8d's with smaller when they wear out.
   Removing the duct was not hard as I did it while the bus floor was out.
I installed the generator in the condensor/heat radiator compartment.
                                                   tomas
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« Reply #16 on: September 27, 2007, 07:08:35 PM »

I have had problems with my 4 golf cart batteries getting hot in the engine compartment and when I park and plug in for the night, the battery charger just boils the batteries and all I smell is rotten eggs. So I usually wait overnight before I turn the battery charger on. That compartment gets REAL hot! I had another MC8 that had a small ABS water tank where the house batteries are on this one and the ABS melted. I gotta figure that is hard on batteries for the long term. Plus I want to get the corrosive stuff out of the engine compartment. Not sure what kind of long term corrosion issues might crop up.

Thanks for all the feedback guys, I was hoping I wasn't the first to think of trying this. I started tearing out the panels yesterday. I'll also check into the group 31's.
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« Reply #17 on: September 28, 2007, 01:18:27 AM »

"the battery charger just boils the batteries "

and the opposite happens when the temperature is very low so the batteries are way undercharged.

Getting the (usually optional) remote battery temperature sensor solves this problem
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« Reply #18 on: September 28, 2007, 05:06:26 AM »

I have had problems with my 4 golf cart batteries getting hot in the engine compartment and when I park and plug in for the night, the battery charger just boils the batteries and all I smell is rotten eggs. So I usually wait overnight before I turn the battery charger on. That compartment gets REAL hot! I had another MC8 that had a small ABS water tank where the house batteries are on this one and the ABS melted. I gotta figure that is hard on batteries for the long term. Plus I want to get the corrosive stuff out of the engine compartment. Not sure what kind of long term corrosion issues might crop up.

Thanks for all the feedback guys, I was hoping I wasn't the first to think of trying this. I started tearing out the panels yesterday. I'll also check into the group 31's.

I very strongly recommend you get yourself a good digital voltmeter and clamp on ammeter if you do not already have them and check the output of your charger. . If your battery charger is boiling your batteries and you smell rotten eggs, then you have a defective battery charger or defective batteries. The heat is not causing the over charging, the overcharging is causing the heat.

I would also suggest you resolve this overcharging problem before you do anything else. It is extremely dangerous. The fumes you smell are very explosive and one small spark is all it would take to create a catastrophe.

Richard
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« Reply #19 on: September 28, 2007, 07:45:21 AM »

Richard, rather than alarm lv unnecessarily, perhaps your comments on the info at
http://www.amplepower.com/primer/temp/index.html on the subject of temperature and batteries might be relevant to the discussion.

I would agree that the writing style is a little sensationalist, but the basic information - that generally heat stuffs things up and cool extends life-span -- is correct and the cautions are certainly applicable to batteries in the near vicinity of a ton and a half of hot metal in an enclosure with practically zero ventilation when the engine is shut down.

Temperature compensation and overcharging may not be an issue with a starting battery and normal alternator charging system since it is designed to undercharge the battery anyway, but a large capacity battery being hammered by a high capacity mains charger is surely deserving of special consideration and precautions when the battery is excessively hot. In the absence of temperature monitoring, it would make perfect sense to be cautious and the fact that no problems were reported if charging was delayed for a while indicates that the charger is probably quite OK.
Certainly any battery installed in the engine compartment would greatly benefit from substantial shielding from heat directly radiated from the engine, as well as separate ventilation to prevent "soaking" by conduction and convection after engine shut-down.
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« Reply #20 on: September 28, 2007, 09:45:41 AM »

Richard,

I agree with Tony about you caution on overcharging.  When I was in Vocational school the teacher put a battery on the shop charger in the back of the room.  That "room" was 80 feet long and had 25 foot ceilings.  With 30 of at our work benches he began his daily academic lessons.  20 min in there was a roaring boom from the back of the room followed a split second later by a loud BAM.  The battery had exploded and the entire top had been blown off.  The to went straight up and hit the 4 foot square heating/ventalation duct that was fied to the ceiling.  The top bent the duct in a good 6 inches.  Had any of us been bent over that batery we would have been killed.  Close and we would have easily lost hearing or sight due to the acid being sprayed everywhere within many feet.  It was luck that this happened when we were all gathered at the far end of the shop.  That battery was uncovered, sitting in the open and was on a stool next to the charger.  It was a freak accident....a fluke...an anomaly and it could have killed.  A crummy 6 volt battery!  I shudder at the thought of this kind of thing happening in an enclosed space from gas generated by a huge 8D bat. being charged at the rate to be expected.  The 8D being located next to the main fuel tank...well!  What sticks in my craw is when I hear the old salts say thibgs like "don't do that, it might spoil your day" and they are cautioning someone on using a proceedure that is potentially life threatening.  I was a supervisor for many years and it was my responsibility to make sure that none of my airmen came to harm.  That Brit stuff about understatement is funny but there is a hidden danger in not creating the appropriate emphasis.  Danger signs are RED for a reason.  In the statement the "he was killed in a feak accident"  the operative word there is "killed".  If you are over a battery compartment in the coach or standing outside the compartment or are 40 feet away when you are hit by the compartment door....you may likely be killed.  That would be my caution on boiling a battery in a compartment.  Thanks, Richard.

John
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« Reply #21 on: September 28, 2007, 10:51:06 AM »

Well, I are cornfused!! I can not decide whether JohnED and tonylee are agreeing with me or not.  You'all have to underestand that I am just a dumb ole' redneck hillbilly and sometimes it is hard to get something thru this ole thick noggin. 

I tried to read the Ample Power writeup, but it was just a little too complicated for me to understand what the point they were trying to make is, so I will will tell you about my specific experience and is the reason I wrote the cautionary note to  lv2rescue. In hindsight, it appears that maybe I should have made it even stronger.

Anyhow, back in the early days of RV'ing I had a pickup truck with a slide in 12 ft. camper. I had installed a battery in the sink area to provide auxiliary (house) battery power.
I ignored the rotten egg smell I noticed occasionally as I was just a young squirt and had never experienced that before.

Sad to say, I should have not ignored the smell. I was on a trip, and fortunately the kids were not in the camper. A spark from somewhere (maybe the propane refrig) ignited the gases and it blew the top off the battery as well as blowing the sink out of the counter and up to the ceiling and blowing the doors off the sink cabinet. A tremendous amount of damage and I am sure if the kids had been in there at the time they would have been seriously injured or killed.

So, my post was to warn of the danger of overcharging, regardless of the compartment temperature.  I hope this clears everything up.
Richard

PS My opinion is that the temperature of a battery compartment will not cause the battery to overcharge and vent explosive fumes. A higher temperature may change the voltage at which a battery starts to boil somewhat, but my opinion is that the charging voltage must be in the 14 volt or higher range to cause this problem, regardless of the compartment temperature. 
« Last Edit: September 28, 2007, 12:07:58 PM by DrivingMissLazy » Logged

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« Reply #22 on: September 28, 2007, 01:24:18 PM »

I copied Jack's setup and put my propane cylinders in the old battery comapatment and moved my start batts to the engine compartment.
  I have had my batteries in this location for 4 years w/o any ill effects.    Photo below shows my relocated main power switch. The link below has more bus pics:
http://groups.msn.com/July2004Busphotos/shoebox.msnw?Page=1
« Last Edit: September 28, 2007, 01:26:51 PM by ChuckMC8 » Logged

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« Reply #23 on: September 28, 2007, 10:23:28 PM »

Richard,

I typed in "Tony" when i meant to type "you", meaning you Richard.  What I wrote was confusing in that regard.  You seem to have first hand experience similar to my highschool incedent.  Yes, I was agreeing with you completely.  Get a meter, do the battery boiling problem FIRST.

Sorry!  My vision blurs in the evening so you don't quite get your money's worth.  That won't be my last typo for sure.

John
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« Reply #24 on: September 29, 2007, 04:53:36 AM »

Richard,

I typed in "Tony" when i meant to type "you", meaning you Richard.  What I wrote was confusing in that regard.  You seem to have first hand experience similar to my highschool incedent.  Yes, I was agreeing with you completely.  Get a meter, do the battery boiling problem FIRST.

Sorry!  My vision blurs in the evening so you don't quite get your money's worth.  That won't be my last typo for sure.

John

I understand now. Thanks. I suspected that was what you meant, but I was not really sure, just as I am sure that I will have typo's also. LOL

Richard
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« Reply #25 on: October 06, 2007, 07:31:50 PM »

I thought I'd resurrect this thread again with the project I've been working on for Mike Hill and his MC9.

This is the battery box with sliding trays I put together to go in his engine compartment where the old A/C compressor had been.
The box will go in sideways and when the slides are pulled out the batteries will be able to be pulled out through the side door.
I made the slides a little more than 3/4 extension because of space constraints.
The sealed roller bearings are part #R8-ZZ from KML
They are about 1 1/4" tall and 5/16" wide.
The tubing is 1" square 14g and the slide rails are 1 1/4" X 3/16"
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« Reply #26 on: October 06, 2007, 07:36:03 PM »

Here's a shot of the slides closed.

By the way, I made this tray so that it could hold 2 8D's, 6 T-105's or 6 Group 31's. To put 31's in it, the front and rear batteries will have to hang over by a couple of inches.
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« Reply #27 on: October 06, 2007, 07:42:33 PM »

lv,

I really doubt that the abient temps in the engine compartment are causing your batteries to boil over while charging.

that is a charging issue and nothing else.

I suspect you will boil your batteries wherever you put them if using that charger.
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« Reply #28 on: October 07, 2007, 06:18:54 AM »

I really doubt that the abient temps in the engine compartment are causing your batteries to boil over while charging.

    We have a thermistor in the engine compartment of our MC-8 to monitor the engine compartment temperature.  It is installed above the engine behind the blower openings.  With ambient temps in the 90s, engine compartment runs about 140-145.   Since water boils at 212 degrees (at sea level) the temp should not cause the batteries to boil.  Jack
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« Reply #29 on: October 07, 2007, 07:49:42 AM »

I copied Jack's setup and put my propane cylinders in the old battery comapatment and moved my start batts to the engine compartment.
  I have had my batteries in this location for 4 years w/o any ill effects.    Photo below shows my relocated main power switch. The link below has more bus pics:
http://http://groups.msn.com/July2004Busphotos/shoebox.msnw?Page=1


Iteresting Chuck,

Are you coming to the to Kyles- Non Rally ?  would love to see/borow some of your ideas.
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« Reply #30 on: October 11, 2007, 09:29:30 AM »

The off gasing occurs after a day of driving and then hooking up and automatically having the charger energized with shore power. If I wait overnight, and then turn the charger on, everything is fine. So is temperature compensation the issue?

I also did some battery research based on some of the responses I have received.
One mentioned 2 group 31's would have more cold cranking amps than 2 8D's. According to the manufacturer I spoke with I currently have 1400 CCA with 2 8D's, and 2 group 31's would have 950  CCA. So the myth is busted. Now if you want to put 4 group 31's then you would have 1900 CCA, but I thought the idea was to reduce weight, space, expense. I have had some tough starts in really cold (5 degrees F.)weather, so I sure like having the extra amps in the 8D's. I am also planning on putting in a block heater at some point.

I have all the ducting torn out and I am currently cleaning up the surfaces before I install some 20 gauge stainless to the back, top, and bottom of the compartment. I am looking at slimslider trays for the battery trays, just trying to verify my measurements to make sure it all fits.
Thanks again everyone for all your feedback on all this stuff.
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« Reply #31 on: October 11, 2007, 11:13:40 AM »

NewbieMC9- I'm in the process of bus shop construction-so I wont make it this year. You'd be welcome to stop by here- 30 miles west of Atlanta on I-20-  Chuck
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« Reply #32 on: October 11, 2007, 11:34:26 AM »

Lv2 - Although when I posted it I was not clear - I meant that the Group 31's CCA's Vs. the 8D's was on a pound per pound basis - sorry if I misled you
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« Reply #33 on: October 12, 2007, 05:52:59 PM »

"Since water boils at 212 degrees (at sea level) the temp should not cause the batteries to boil."

Yes, you are right Jack, but the term "boiling" is used to describe vigorous bubbling due to excessive gas production caused by overcharging.
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Battery temperature is an important factor in whether a battery is being overcharged at a particular voltage and the charging voltage needs to be reduced if the battery temperature is high. A charger that works correctly at ambient temperature MUST overcharge a battery at a high temperature unless it monitors the battery temperature and incorporates temperature compensation. Many chargers don't have this facility and even those that do, need to have the temperature probe mounted on the battery post to sense correctly.
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