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 Battery issues
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dalelargent
Navigator

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USA
163 Posts

Initially Posted - 04/04/2019 :  14:42:26  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi all,

My daughter owns an old C27 in Oakland. She was on board at the dock yesterday and heard a "pop" and then smelled some smoke. It was from the battery compartment, and she discovered the battery had blown off one of the caps and a bit of smoke rolled out of the compartment upon opening. She immediately unplugged the charger. (I am so glad she did so!)

I asked her to inspect the water in the battery and she reports that it seemed low (but not dry) and the water was a rusty orange color.

The charger is one week old. I installed it a week ago (while I was visiting) after the original one seemed to have failed charging.

Do you suppose the charger over-charged for some reason? Do you think the battery fluid levels were low? The battery is old..should we just get a new one? What should we do next? I am a bit scared having her just plug the charger back in...

Neither of us is that experienced with battery maintenance (my batteries are AGM and are maintenance free).


Dale

1989 c25 WK/TR #5838
1983 Vagabond 14

Steve Milby
Past Commodore

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USA
5269 Posts

Response Posted - 04/04/2019 :  15:31:28  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Lead-aid batteries produce hydrogen gas, especially when you crank the starter and when you charge them. The plates in an old battery can become warped and spark between them, and when the spark ignites hydrogen gas, the battery explodes. Old batteries are especially susceptible to it and low water in the cells makes it more likely. It also happens more frequently in a warm environment.

From your description, the old battery with low water was probably the cause. It's possible, of course, that the charger is defective, but the percentages suggest it's the battery.

Steve Milby C&C 35 Landfall ("Captiva Wind"); Cal 25 ("Fahrvergnügen")
Past Commodore
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islander
Master Marine Consultant

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USA
3543 Posts

Response Posted - 04/04/2019 :  16:04:31  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
You don't say what kind of charger you just installed. Is it a smart charger? Many smart chargers can be set to do different kinds of charging from trickle, fast, smart etc. You definitely want it set on smart charge or you will overcharge the battery boiling off the water Which would account for the low water. Yes it could have been a bad cell but since you just installed the charger I would be inclined to think something wasn't set right. Buy a new battery and try to discharge it some. Hook up the charger and turn it on then with a voltmeter check the amps going into the battery. A few hours later check the amps again. It should be a lower reading. A few hours later the amps will be even lower. If this is what happens then the charger is working properly and the problem was the battery.

Scott-"IMPULSE"87'C25/SR/WK/Din.#5688
Sailing out of Glen Cove,L.I Sound



Edited by - islander on 04/04/2019 16:55:43
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Russ.Johnson
Commodore

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USA
712 Posts

Response Posted - 04/04/2019 :  16:43:17  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Dale,

If it were me, I would remove the battery and have it checked out.
Check the acid is still strong.
Check water level. Tap water or bottled water has minerals which cause build-up.
Use distilled water. It's about $2 per gallon and found in most retail or hardware stores.
If you don't feel comfortable, West Marine, etc could check it out, or just get another one.

Russ

Russ Johnson
2005 C250WB Hull 793
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islander
Master Marine Consultant

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USA
3543 Posts

Response Posted - 04/04/2019 :  17:28:10  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Keep in mind that a 12 volt battery has 6 cells at 2 volt each. If one of the cells went bad the battery would be 10 volts. The charger will read this as an undercharge and will constantly try to charge the battery back up to 12 volts at full amps. Something it can never achieve so eventually the battery will overheat and boil off water untill boom. Most likely this is what happened and you just need a new battery but there is a chance you have a defective charger.

Edited by - islander on 04/04/2019 17:55:37
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glivs
Admiral

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USA
691 Posts

Response Posted - 04/04/2019 :  18:44:54  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Don't risk a potential accident or the '89 WK/TR C27. Replace the battery, verify the settings on the charger as was suggested, and you should be good to go for the next 5-6 yrs.

Gerry & Leslie; Malletts Bay, VT
"Great Escape" 1989 C-25 SR/WK #5972

Edited by - glivs on 04/05/2019 05:12:21
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islander
Master Marine Consultant

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USA
3543 Posts

Response Posted - 04/05/2019 :  17:09:31  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thinking about this and it's a possibility that you replaced a perfectly good charger. If the battery went bad the charger couldn't possibly charge it up. This made you think the charger wasn't working. You replaced the charger and hooked it up to the bad battery. Over the week the bad battery was cooking and eventually blew the cap off.

Scott-"IMPULSE"87'C25/SR/WK/Din.#5688
Sailing out of Glen Cove,L.I Sound


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dalelargent
Navigator

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USA
163 Posts

Response Posted - 04/12/2019 :  15:52:02  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi all,

Thanks for the input. I do believe we will simply replace the battery. It is old anyway, as mentioned earlier.

FWIW, the charger we installed is a ProSport 6 Heavy-Duty Marine Battery Charger from WM. I don't believe there were buttons to select different battery types on the charger. I had hoped it identified that automatically. (Ignorance!?!)

And, Scott, it is possible you are correct. We may have wasted a good charger. However, I will add the indicator lights on the unit no longer illuminated. And there was not an obvious external fuse to check.

Any additional thoughts before I recommend she purchases a new battery in a few days?

1989 c25 WK/TR #5838
1983 Vagabond 14
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islander
Master Marine Consultant

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USA
3543 Posts

Response Posted - 04/12/2019 :  17:06:32  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
With a new charger and a new battery you should be fine. The only recommendation would be a deep cycle battery.
PS. I just read the instructions for the Pro Sport Hd 6 and it's default setting is for a standard flooded or an AGM battery so no need to set the type of battery as long as your going to use one of those types of batteries.

Scott-"IMPULSE"87'C25/SR/WK/Din.#5688
Sailing out of Glen Cove,L.I Sound



Edited by - islander on 04/12/2019 17:36:16
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Russ.Johnson
Commodore

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USA
712 Posts

Response Posted - 04/12/2019 :  22:58:37  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Dale,

I have the same battery charger and I still have the instructions.
Next to the AC power cable there is a removable selector cap.
There are three caps and they use a slotted screwdriver.

The Black one is installed the other two were in the box.
Black cap (14.6 DC) Standard Flooded and AGM battery.
Red cap (14.7 DC) AGM High Performance battery.
Gray cap (14.1 DC) Gel Cell battery.

There is no mention of a fuse, so I don’t think there is one.

Russ



Russ Johnson
2005 C250WB Hull 793

Edited by - Russ.Johnson on 04/12/2019 23:00:51
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islander
Master Marine Consultant

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USA
3543 Posts

Response Posted - 04/13/2019 :  07:19:39  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
As Russ pointed out there is no switch to flip for different types of batteries. To change the setting you change colored caps that came in the box. It comes with the Black cap installed as the default for standard Flooded (lead-acid) / AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat)

From the manual
Selecting a Charging Profile & Understanding Battery Types
Your battery charger is equipped with a user programmable battery type selector that is factory
set for standard Flooded (lead-acid) / AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) batteries.
To set your charger for Gel batteries simply remove the black programming cap and replace
it with the Gel programming gray cap. If you own a ProSport 20 Dual Bank Charger you also
have the option to use the High Performance AGM profile recommended for OPTIMA BlueTop
Deep Cycle and Odyssey AGM marine batteries by installing the blue AGM HP programming
cap. Any time you reprogram or change the cap, apply marine silicone to the threads of the
cap being installed.
NOTE: AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) batteries are not Gel (Gelled Electrolyte Lead-acid) batteries and
require a completely different charge profile that must be selected versus the out of the box factory
setting. AGM batteries can accept the same charging profile as Flooded (lead-acid) batteries



Scott-"IMPULSE"87'C25/SR/WK/Din.#5688
Sailing out of Glen Cove,L.I Sound


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Stinkpotter
Master Marine Consultant

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Djibouti
8191 Posts

Response Posted - 04/13/2019 :  10:58:27  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by islander

NOTE: AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) batteries are not Gel (Gelled Electrolyte Lead-acid) batteries and require a completely different charge profile that must be selected versus the out of the box factory setting. AGM batteries can accept the same charging profile as Flooded (lead-acid) batteries
Does anyone else have trouble following that statement??

Dave Bristle
Association "Port Captain" for Mystic, CT
PO of 1985 C-25 SR/FK #5032 Passage, ex-OUPV
Now on Eastern 27 Sarge (but still sailing when I can).

Passage, Mystic, and Sarge--click to enlarge.
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islander
Master Marine Consultant

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USA
3543 Posts

Response Posted - 04/13/2019 :  13:15:49  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Many people think they are the same but in reality they are two different technology's that are better explained here. https://northeastbattery.com/agm-vs-gel-technology/
They just don't want you to assume that if you have a gel battery it's the same as an AGM.

Scott-"IMPULSE"87'C25/SR/WK/Din.#5688
Sailing out of Glen Cove,L.I Sound



Edited by - islander on 04/13/2019 13:20:09
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Stinkpotter
Master Marine Consultant

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Djibouti
8191 Posts

Response Posted - 04/13/2019 :  19:25:45  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Yes, so that statement (that I quoted) is screwed up. But my new boat (in 2007) was delivered with AGM batteries that the new Honda 225 outboard, with a standard charging system, promptly FRIED. Rather than figure out the "new world", I installed standard sealed, flooded batteries and all was well. Lesson: Pay attention to the differences! (A 9.9hp can overcharge a battery as easily as a 225.)

Dave Bristle
Association "Port Captain" for Mystic, CT
PO of 1985 C-25 SR/FK #5032 Passage, ex-OUPV
Now on Eastern 27 Sarge (but still sailing when I can).

Passage, Mystic, and Sarge--click to enlarge.
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islander
Master Marine Consultant

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USA
3543 Posts

Response Posted - 04/14/2019 :  04:36:00  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Fried the battery's, Wow. Something to be said about using the tried and true flooded batteries that I use. They are very forgiving to over/under charging. I just looked at my Deka battery yesterday. I bought it in May 2011 and it still has 13.73 volts on the meter. Not bad for going on 8yrs.

Scott-"IMPULSE"87'C25/SR/WK/Din.#5688
Sailing out of Glen Cove,L.I Sound


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JB
1st Mate

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65 Posts

Response Posted - 04/15/2019 :  05:10:14  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
All I have is my personal anecdotal experience. I like AGM batteries in my boat because they can't spill and have a low self discharge. They cost about twice as much per amp hour as flooded cell. The boat has a primitive two battery charger that was designed for flooded cell batteries. I'm on nine years with the same set of batteries unknown number of charge discharge cycles. I would be surprised at this point to learn that AGM batteries needed a different type of charging profile.
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dalelargent
Navigator

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USA
163 Posts

Response Posted - 04/19/2019 :  09:50:47  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks for all of the guidance everyone! I, too, prefer AGM’s and have them on Molly Jim, but my daughter’s boat has the wet style battery. She is taking advantage of a WM battery sale and installing a new one.

1989 c25 WK/TR #5838
1983 Vagabond 14
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