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Old 01-27-2015, 12:32 PM   #1
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Inside Batteries

My 2 6v batteries are under the rear dinette bench in the "U" configuration in the standard white PVC (?) vented battery box. During a charge cycle from Solar the voltage goes up to 15+ volts as it nears the end of the cycle, like it should. When it gets to this level I can smell the batteries. I've verified the single vent tube is clear and the seal looks okay. Has anyone else noticed this? I have not noticed it at the lower converter charge level.

As I type this I thought of the refrigerator seal dollar bill test, I'll give that a shot.
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Old 01-27-2015, 01:26 PM   #2
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Yes, I have noticed the same thing. Only when using solar and only at those high voltages. I am not an expert on the chemistry of high voltages but at 15+ volts we are approaching equalization.

Equalization is defined as 10% higher than recommended charge voltage. Battery University (batteryuniversity.com) states during equalization:
Quote:
The battery must be kept cool and under close observation for unusual heat rise and excessive venting. Some venting is normal and the hydrogen emitted is highly flammable. The battery room must have good ventilation.
My take on this is that it is normal, it occurs during the daytime only on a sunny day when the trailer is probably unoccupied and it quickly dissipates. Probably best not to do anything that might cause an open flame, such as: cooking or running the hot water heater. On the 21 that heater is pretty far away and probably not a good source of ignition.

The other thing is it is really hard for me to get to this stage with 120 watts of panel. I can say I have only achieved it twice and always late in the day,
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Old 01-27-2015, 01:34 PM   #3
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If its the same battery box as used on my previous 19 the problem is they are not sealed air tight, there is even a hole for the wires. If you add some closed cell insulation and caulk around the wire hole it should fix the problem.

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Old 01-27-2015, 01:38 PM   #4
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When I checked my battery electrolyte level I noticed the top of the box had a gray putty-like material used as sealant. Helps but certainly not airtight.

The 21 and 5.0TA are the first to have batteries installed inside aren't they? Haven't smelled hydrogen gas with the single 12V Group 29 yet.
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Old 01-27-2015, 01:59 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Rossue View Post
When I checked my battery electrolyte level I noticed the top of the box had a gray putty-like material used as sealant. Helps but certainly not airtight.

The 21 and 5.0TA are the first to have batteries installed inside aren't they? Haven't smelled hydrogen gas with the single 12V Group 29 yet.
No we had inside batteries on our 19, they were under the passengers side dinette bench.

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Old 01-27-2015, 02:02 PM   #6
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I have never smelled anything in my 19 either, but have not been inside it when doing an equalize charge, as I don't do that while camping.

Like Doug said though, not greatly sealed, and it would be easy to do so as he described. This would definitely lessen any chance of gases escaping.
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Old 01-27-2015, 02:07 PM   #7
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I find that the real pain in the a$$ is checking that the cells have water in them. Being stored under the rear seat, with a full time mattress over it makes checking for water in the cells is a total drag. I know, I know, I've got to get an access panel installed. Even with an access panel those sealed battery boxes somewhat troublesome to re-seal. Do you guys think that with an access panel I would be able to get enough clearance to view the cells without removing them from the sealed battery boxes?
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Old 01-27-2015, 02:20 PM   #8
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Like some of the previous posters, I also have the dual 6V batteries inside the front dinette in a plastic box vented to the outside. We also have the factory solar. As of yet, I have not smelled any odors that could be attributed to the batteries, even though our battery box is not entirely sealed. There have been occasions where the trailer has experienced some unpleasant odors that could be attributed to other things besides the batteries.
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Old 01-27-2015, 03:13 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J Mac View Post
I find that the real pain in the a$$ is checking that the cells have water in them. Being stored under the rear seat, with a full time mattress over it makes checking for water in the cells is a total drag. I know, I know, I've got to get an access panel installed. Even with an access panel those sealed battery boxes somewhat troublesome to re-seal. Do you guys think that with an access panel I would be able to get enough clearance to view the cells without removing them from the sealed battery boxes?
I have been using AGM batteries on both my boat and slide-in camper because on both, the battery box is difficult to get to. There is no water level to check and they also provide an extra level of protection for an inside battery because under normal conditions, they do not vent anything when charging. You may want to consider an AGM when it is time to replace the battery.
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Old 01-27-2015, 03:39 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J Mac View Post
I find that the real pain in the a$$ is checking that the cells have water in them. Being stored under the rear seat, with a full time mattress over it makes checking for water in the cells is a total drag. I know, I know, I've got to get an access panel installed. Even with an access panel those sealed battery boxes somewhat troublesome to re-seal. Do you guys think that with an access panel I would be able to get enough clearance to view the cells without removing them from the sealed battery boxes?
You could go this route. https://www.flow-rite.com/battery-watering
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