Be careful around your batteries!!

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Be careful around your batteries!!

Postby WarPony » Thu Jul 20, 2006 11:05 pm

This happened to me at work today:

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It was a customer's truck battery. Nobody was around it when it blew, other than me and I was inside the cab. I don't know what the condition of the battery was but it blew like a cherry bomb as soon as I hit the starter!! I know a lot, if not all, use a battery box................ GREAT IDEA!! Keep on top of the condition of your battery.

This was the first time I've ever witnessed, in person, a battery explosion and I hope it is the last. I don't want to discourage anyone from using a 12V system at all because I have one and love it but just want to pass along a "note to self" to keep an eye out for leakage/corrosion/low water, etc.
Last edited by WarPony on Thu Jul 20, 2006 11:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby tonyj » Thu Jul 20, 2006 11:31 pm

Two words--HOLY CRAP!

You're extremely lucky you were in the cab. When I was a service manager, I had a mechanic blow a battery. He was also lucky--he had just turned away and bent down when the thing blew. But it didn't look anything as dramatic as yours.

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Postby Nitetimes » Thu Jul 20, 2006 11:33 pm

I had one on a forklift explode right at my knee in front of me. Scared the $hit out of me and covered me with acid. Never did figure out what caused it but we put it in a box after that. :thinking:
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Postby GeorgeTelford » Fri Jul 21, 2006 10:40 am

Hi all

Containers amplify explosions and basically just add shrapnel, you can see the effect on that battery, note that the vent covers have blown away and yet even with that escape route for some of the pressure it as still split the case......

You can several clues as to the neglect that this battery as suffered, note the terminals are partially corroded, this shows that the terminal clamps were not properly afixed and that the terminals were not greased.

Also note the brown mess where the vant cap was, this shows that the battery had been boiling (probably due to a buckled plate between cells 2+3 looking from the worst damaged end)

This was a totally avoidable explosion, with proper care and maintenance this would not have happened.
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Postby Miriam C. » Fri Jul 21, 2006 12:23 pm

:o Ok. Time to check the batteries.
Thanks for the post War Pony.
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Postby Chris C » Fri Jul 21, 2006 1:42 pm

That happened to me on a brand new 76' Ford Thunderbird. Scarey when it happens. Glad no-one was hurt.
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Postby Melvin » Fri Jul 21, 2006 3:54 pm

This is why you want to wear safety glasses when jumping a vehicle. Also always make the final connection to the engine block not the battery to cut down on sparks near the battery.

A battery box is a good idea mostly to contain the acid of battery that cracks and to keep a stray wrench from shorting the terminals.
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Postby KA » Fri Jul 21, 2006 7:59 pm

Glad you are ok War Pony. Eeegads! That must have been an awful experience.
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Postby Jiminsav » Fri Jul 21, 2006 8:43 pm

Well, what George said, but i'll put it in lay mans terms..I worked the battery lane at sears when i was a younger, poorer man, and I've witnessed 2 batterys explode, and in both cases, the batteries were boiling when brought in..you can tell by the rotten egg smell..so, if your in your tear, and you smell rotten eggs, get out and turn off all the current.
usually, the battery boils when being charged, so if you have a charger on all the time, watch it and smell it.
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Postby WarPony » Sat Jul 22, 2006 12:47 pm

GeorgeTelford wrote:Containers amplify explosions and basically just add shrapnel.....


I'll have to disagree on this one. I will consider a battery box as a tiny bomb container. It may not hold everything in but will keep the big pieces from flying around. The battery box I have has some big "vents" on the lid for battery cables to go under and a 2" wide strap that wraps all the way around the whole thing. Like I said, it won't hold everything but it's better than nothing. I just wanted to put a bug in everyone's ear about being safe and maintaining their battery. Yes, you are right, this battery was never maintained at all. Most people take care of batteries like they maintain air pressure in tires. They don't worry about it until it doesn't work.
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Postby asianflava » Sat Jul 22, 2006 7:18 pm

If these batteries are boiling over won't the vents prevent it from exploding? Were the vents bad? or were they just overcome by too much outgassing? I'm just wondering. :thinking:
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Postby Sonetpro » Sat Jul 22, 2006 7:29 pm

asianflava wrote:If these batteries are boiling over won't the vents prevent it from exploding? Were the vents bad? or were they just overcome by too much outgassing? I'm just wondering. :thinking:

When a lead acid battery is being charged, it releases a mixture of hydrogen and oxygen gases. Very explosive. They even off gas a little even when not being charged. Any spark sets off an explosion.

That's why I would not use these in my tear. AGM's do not Gas it recombines internally They are much safer. Battery techbology has come along way in the last 20 years.
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Postby asianflava » Sat Jul 22, 2006 7:48 pm

Sonetpro wrote:That's why I would not use these in my tear. AGM's do not Gas it recombines internally They are much safer. Battery techbology has come along way in the last 20 years.


Edit:
I'm using an Optima which I guess is an AGM.

BTW: I got my genset Fri just in the nick of time. I got the KGE2000Ti, I plugged the tear in and it ran my window shaker with the smart throttle off. Haven't fully broken it in since I just got it.
Last edited by asianflava on Sat Jul 22, 2006 8:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Sonetpro » Sat Jul 22, 2006 8:39 pm

asianflava wrote:BTW: I got my genset Fri just in the nick of time. I got the KGE2000Ti, I plugged the tear in and it ran my window shaker with the smart throttle off. Haven't fully broken it in since I just got it.

Great to hear it worked out.
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Postby GeorgeTelford » Sun Jul 23, 2006 6:33 am

Hi War pony

A battery goes off with the force of a stick of dynamite, a flimsy plastic box will not contain that amount of force (far thinner than the battery case and look what happened there!) You can you the vent caps flew off and yet there was still enough force to break the case.

In the above case there was no charging going on (vehicle just being started) and even with the minimal gas that was present, it still had enough force to blow the case apart.

A contained explosion generates a more devastating force.

Sonetpro, Asianflava

You have it the wrong way round...

The optima (and any AGM Battery) only reduces the chances of battery explosion, unfortunately because of its sealed nature if it does explode it is far worse than a normal battery.


I will try to explain this as simply as possible.

In free air an explosion can expand freely, it can dissapate without as much force, the amount of explosive in a grenade would not cause great injury, confine it in a metal case and the force builds up till there os enough to break apart the case, btw having laid the charge from a grenade on the floor and lit it, all it does is flare on a smaller scale consider a hose water runs out, but if you block the hose the force builds up (same principle but bigger scale)

If you want the physics of how thicker cases and confining it increases the violence of the explosion read here. Some of it goes pretty deep but you should be able to get the general picture

http://www.intdetsymp.org/detsymp2002/P ... rk-248.pdf
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