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Old 08-31-2017, 07:59 PM   #1
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Batteries Leaking

I walked by our camper and noticed the frame paint below the batteries was corroding/bubbling so I removed the battery case lid and noticed the batteries were leaking at the battery lid seam, not at the battery caps. Battery water level was correct just above the lead cores and they continue to hold a charge. They are dual 2-1/2 year old Interstate 6v deep cycle batteries commonly used for RV's. I read the owners manuals for the converter and the GoPower solar controller and both appear to have circuitry to prevent overcharging. Interstate told me the batteries must have overheated because of intense use...? Hard to believe because all we run are the typical Escape 12-volt LED lights, water pump, etc. We've had our camper six months now and only dry camp - it's never been plugged into shore power - only charged by solar and when towing. I should add that we haven't used the camper in two months as some house projects became a priority, so it's been happily charging from the sun.

Does anyone know why this happened before I replace $300 worth of batteries?
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Old 08-31-2017, 08:07 PM   #2
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So you replaced the original batteries 2.5 years ago with the ones that are in the unit now? These are outside on the frame, no storage box? When you say leaking, can you post a picture?
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Old 08-31-2017, 08:07 PM   #3
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Sounds like defective batteries. The overheating theory from Interstate sounds funny to me. I might suspect the converter/charger but since you mentioned it's never been connected to shore power I seriously doubt it.
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Old 08-31-2017, 08:09 PM   #4
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May never know for sure- they only have a one year warranty, yet for something like you describe I would hope Interstate would want to know. Good news is you can buy them at Costco for about $80 each.
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Old 08-31-2017, 08:55 PM   #5
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If there leaking through the filler caps it known as boiling over . One reason is refilling the water level when the battery is not fully charged. They must be fully charged ... then check water level . Next would be over charging .. Charger malfunction . Next would be a short in one or more cells ( replace) if swelling is evident at a seam . It's not water but acid so rinse with baking soda and warm water before handling or removing. Be careful safety glasses and gloves .
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Old 09-03-2017, 05:23 PM   #6
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Batteries Leaking

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Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
So you replaced the original batteries 2.5 years ago with the ones that are in the unit now? These are outside on the frame, no storage box? When you say leaking, can you post a picture?
CPAHarley,

Attached are some battery photos. After looking at this closely, it is possible that the prior owner overfilled the batteries with water and they are leaking from the caps. I'll remove the batteries and clean up everything, paint, and clean the battery terminals and connections and will wait and see.

This winter we'll be storing the camper under cover behind our house and plug into a 120v house outlet so we can run a dehumidifier. Should I disconnect the batteries or leave them alone since the converter shouldn't overcharge them and dry them out?

Thanks!
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Old 09-03-2017, 05:46 PM   #7
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Is it the caps that leak now as opposed to the top seam? FWIW, I've noticed more then normal dampness on top of the batteries which contains battery acid by the feel of it, and I don't overfill. Makes me think the caps are not the best.

Clean em up and see if you get the leaking again, unless I missed something, from what you've written, they are still good.
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Old 09-03-2017, 05:47 PM   #8
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If there over filled , find a glass or plastic eye dropper form a medicine bottle and remove some ACID from each cell to the proper level . Use baking soda to dilute before disposal .
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Old 09-03-2017, 06:05 PM   #9
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Looks like the issue can be fixed and once you plug in your on board converter will maintain the batteries which should be connected.
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Old 10-20-2017, 04:04 PM   #10
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I've been slowly working on this battery issue and still believe the plastic battery case is leaking at the top seam. Took the two batteries into Interstate Batteries and they said the water level was fine and that some batteries just go bad and leak. Our Escape has been parked in the sun all summer and Interstate thought the constant solar charging (65 watt panel) may have contributed to the almost 3-year old batteries overheating and leaking or cracking or whatever. They recommended that I disconnect the charging circuit from the batteries when we are not using the camper. They "gave" me a slight price break and I'm pretty tired of dealing with the leaking acid, so I purchased two new batteries. Since the battery leads from the camper were corroded they were weak and one of them broke off and I accidentally cut another off ��. I was thinking of installing some cutoff switches on the battery terminals for the on/off capability and also because I'm going to have to do a splice because the wires are too short now to reach one battery.

Our Escape is now under a cover that I built so it won't be solar charging anymore so it seems like I should just be able to leave things alone and let the solar controller and converter do their job managing the correct level of battery charge.

Any thoughts from the forum's electrical and battery experts?
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Old 10-20-2017, 04:20 PM   #11
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The following is Reace's recommendation if your solar panel is covered over the winter.
If you can leave the trailer plugged in, that would be the easiest method. Having said that, plug the trailer in to shore power for a day or so to ensure the batteries are fully charged. Turn the battery isolator switch to 'OFF' and disconnect the shore power. Two or three times over the winter, plug the trailer in and turn the battery isolator switch on for a day to top the batteries back up then switch the isolator back off. The batteries will not freeze as long as they are fully charged
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Old 10-20-2017, 04:33 PM   #12
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Thanks Miguezc. Is the battery isolation switch under the dinette? I didn't know this switch was connected to the charging circuit. I thought the isolation switch just cut all 12 volt power to the camper?
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Old 10-20-2017, 04:48 PM   #13
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Hi,
Yes the battery isolation switch is under the dinette. Disconnecting it is mainly to prevent ghost power being used and drawing power from your battery.
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Old 10-20-2017, 05:10 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DMPortland View Post
Thanks Miguezc. Is the battery isolation switch under the dinette? I didn't know this switch was connected to the charging circuit. I thought the isolation switch just cut all 12 volt power to the camper?
It's connected to the charger, but not to the solar charge controller if you have the factory solar install. My batteries will charge via solar regardless of the isolator switch position.
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Old 10-20-2017, 07:49 PM   #15
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Et uses mild steel connectors on the batteries , they rot off after 2 years ( of course ) Try and get marine grade copper for a longer life span . even stainless is an upgrade . If a connection is failing the battery wont charge or discharge properly .
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Old 10-20-2017, 07:56 PM   #16
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Et uses mild steel connectors on the batteries , they rot off after 2 years ( of course )
Strange. Mine are in like new condition after almost 10 years. Have had to clean them a couple times.
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Old 10-20-2017, 08:03 PM   #17
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Hi,
Yes the battery isolation switch is under the dinette. Disconnecting it is mainly to prevent ghost power being used and drawing power from your battery.
I did this when my trailer was stored at my brothers house in Montana. I kept a light turned on all winter that way I was sure not to forget to turn the isolated switch off. The light was on while charging and went off with the isolator switch.
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Old 10-20-2017, 08:45 PM   #18
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Et uses mild steel connectors on the batteries , they rot off after 2 years ( of course ).
Of course?? The ones on our 6 year old 17 still looked like new when I sold it.
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Old 10-20-2017, 08:47 PM   #19
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Strange. Mine are in like new condition after almost 10 years. Have had to clean them a couple times.
Well your the lucky one , mine where rotten right off .
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Old 10-20-2017, 09:24 PM   #20
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Ours is stored in the open in AZ and just shut the battery switch off. You can’t put more solar charging in when stored than we do and our Interstate batteries look like new. Certainly not an expert but sounds like you just got some defective batteries.
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