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Old 05-22-2007, 12:23 AM   #1
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Default Batteries or Battery Charger Gone Bad?

Has anyone had an AGM battery bulge out the point the top pops off and leaks? Here is my story and question.

I got two Cabela's AGM Group 27 batteries two months ago. While in UPS's hands one of them lost its cardboard box and got lost for a day. I finally got both of them installed and they worked flawlessly one days fishing trip. Upon returning from the trip, I left the charge on all the time. I made one more trip the next week, no problems. This time I only left the charge on for three days and the light for "full Charge" on my Minn-Kota MK220 charger was on so I planed on not using it for a while so I left it unpluged for about 5 more weeks. This past saturday I pluged it in about midnight since I figured I would get a trickle charge till 4am when I was to leave. The light for "full charge" was lit immediately. So good to go I thought. I get to fishing and the trolling motor seems a little sluggish (not much power). I just got it back from repairs to the rheostat which is what makes it change speeds. So I figure this is the problem. It got worse as the morning went on, so I gave up on it. When I get back home, I am going to plug in the charger again, and also check the voltage on the batteries and I noticed one looks like it does in the photo.

Now keep in mind I did not notice the battery in the dark in the morning so I dont know if this was caused by the charger or just a damaged battery. The second battery seems fine.

Also the charger has lost some paint, has some oxidation on it, but is intact as far as I can tell.

1. Do you think the charger caused the battery to do this? If so how do you test the charger?
2. Do you think that the batteries being stored in the center console, with the rear door open, but under a boat cover can get hot enough to cause a problem? In the sun, all metal on the boat is really hot to the touch right after you take the cover off.
3. Do you think a battery being discharged could cause it to explode like this one did.












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Old 05-22-2007, 06:49 PM   #2
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Default Re: Batteries or Battery Charger Gone Bad?

looks like it was fried by the charger....
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Old 05-22-2007, 11:09 PM   #3
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Default Re: Batteries or Battery Charger Gone Bad?

Check your charger by hooking the charger up to a battery with a good charge. Plug it in and then put an Amp meter in series with the + wire coming from the charger. If using an inductance type meter put it around the wire and read the meter.

Check your battery hookup!!!!

Check the draw that your trolling motor is pulling from your batteries by using the first step except use the meter placed on the output + lead going to the trolling motor.

Milt
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Old 05-23-2007, 01:49 AM   #4
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Default Re: Batteries or Battery Charger Gone Bad?

That battery looks fine. Go fishing!
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Old 05-23-2007, 02:53 AM   #5
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Default RE: Batteries or Battery Charger Gone Bad?

Drunkensailor, good info given to let us help you.

1. Do you think the charger caused the battery to do this? If so how do you test the charger?

It is possible that the charger could do this but I would only think this would happen if there is a shorted diode or you a a dual voltage charger and the 24v selector is U/S. You can test the charger on a good battery. The voltage should be higher than that of the battery when connect as long as the test battery is fully charged. Also check the ammeter on the charger. The amps will go up say around 2-2.5A and drop off after a couple of hours to around 1.0 - 1.5 Amps. This is only a rough guide though.

2. Do you think that the batteries being stored in the center console, with the rear door open, but under a boat cover can get hot enough to cause a problem? In the sun, all metal on the boat is really hot to the touch right after you take the cover off.

Any thing that causes heat to the batteries after this result I would reduce to eliminate the possiblity. With the heat being generated inside the battery and the pie warmer you have it is very possible. The AGM batteries I believe have a venting valve in them that depressurise when the gasses inside the battery get to a certain pressure. Its possible that you may have a faulty pressure valve.

3. Do you think a battery being discharged could cause it to explode like this one did.

Again possible. Could be the pressure valve is U/S. Is the trolling motor fuse protected as the motor may have overloaded the batteries.

Hope this helps

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Old 05-23-2007, 07:21 AM   #6
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Default RE: Batteries or Battery Charger Gone Bad?

I would say that UPS shorted your battery, dropped it on the floor and the terminals hit the metal on their trucks, hence no box. Anyway, I would try the charger on another battery/batteries, just to see if its good. just stay close and see if the "new battery" starts boiling or heating up fast.

There's propably a big old weld mark on the bottom of one UPS truck.
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Old 05-23-2007, 08:19 AM   #7
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Default Re: Batteries or Battery Charger Gone Bad?

Well I spoke to Minn-Kota regarding their charger and they said it was not likely the charger that did this but to test it on a good battery.

Cabela's sent a replacement battery and has agreed to let me take this one to a battery disposal place and have them sign a letter in a prepaid envelope to send back to them. I suggested to them once again that they pack their batteries better, lets see if they listen.

Hopefully I will get a chance today to test the charger, I will report back.

I have eliminated the idea that the current draw from the batteries caused the problem. I think it would have affected both batteries not just one.

So far my number one choice is damn UPS.
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Old 06-01-2007, 10:38 PM   #8
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Default Re: Batteries or Battery Charger Gone Bad?

I received my replacement battery. The box was damaged on every corner. I could see inside the box and see that the case was cracked. I called them and they sent UPS to pick it back up and shipped me another one. Hopefully this one will come undamaged. We shall see.
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Old 06-01-2007, 10:55 PM   #9
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Default Re: Batteries or Battery Charger Gone Bad?

3rd time charm?

I've noticed that lately a lot of stuff that comes with UPS is damaged and the drivers really don't give a rats a$$
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Old 06-02-2007, 12:24 AM   #10
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Default Re: Batteries or Battery Charger Gone Bad?

AGM batteries are valve-regulated lead-acid (VRLA) batteries. When they are charged the voltage applied to them has to be regulated. If the charging voltage is too high, the chemistry of the lead-acid cell will cause the cell to emit gas. Normally the VRLA remains sealed, and its design tries to contain the gas produced. Some VRLA batteries use a recombinant technique to try to change the gas back to its original liquid form and return to the electrolyte. If the pressure becomes too high, there is a relief valve which should operate and vent the gas to the atmosphere.

From the appearance of the battery and the charger in your boat, it seems that a reasonable hypothesis of what happened might be that the charging voltage was high enough to cause the cell to produce gas, the gas accumulated enough pressure to distort the case of the battery, eventually venting in the vicinity of the battery and producing the corrosion seen on the charger exterior case.
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Old 06-02-2007, 11:16 PM   #11
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Default Re: Batteries or Battery Charger Gone Bad?

Well the battery I received yesterday was damaged...The corner had been broken off and electrolyte was soaked into the cardboard box. I guess that means another call to Cabela's to have UPS come back and pick this one up too. They have been good about dealing with this so far, except for their shipping department. I wonder how many batteries they are going to send before they change the packaging.

To reply to above post:

The corrosion on the charger was there long before I got these batteries. The live well forward of the console splashes some water into the console every so often when in rough water. The charger worked fine on my previous flooded batteries and is designed to work with AGM batteries according to the manufacturer.
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Old 07-15-2007, 04:45 PM   #12
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Default Re: Batteries or Battery Charger Gone Bad?

I finally got the problems resolved but not solved.

Cabela's finally sent me a battery undamaged. They packaged it in another box with some paper padding. That worked fine.

I got the new battery installed and monitored it being charged. After charging for about 6 hours the voltage was up to 16+ volts so I unpluged it right away.

I called Minn-Kota regarding the charger and let them know what it was doing. They sent me a new one since the existing one was under 3 year warranty and I sent them the bad one. The new one works fine. I still don't know what caused the problem with the charger but I think a damaged battery may have damaged the charger. Either way I am good to go now.

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Old 07-15-2007, 06:23 PM   #13
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Default Re: Batteries or Battery Charger Gone Bad?

Looking at your photos, there appeared to be corrosion on the charger. With this environment, I would suggest a shorted diode or damaged circuit, which caused the over charging--16 volts is enough to damage the AGM. I have heard about this problem with UPS and Cabela. You would think that Cabela would come to a better way of packing--and that UPS has responsibility for the damaged battery also.

I would investigate into putting the battery charger into an area where there is less spray or corrosion??? I also see what appears to be a cored hull--and some cracks of the inner glass--am I wrong about this?
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Old 07-15-2007, 06:40 PM   #14
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Default Re: Batteries or Battery Charger Gone Bad?

I agree with Bob and probably will not buy my next batt set from Cabellas due to their shipping fiasco....but I will buy that battery. Drifter found the original mfr and the "Adventure Power Marine AGM" can be had locally. Drifter has more info - and it comes with real terminals! Mfr is upgi.com
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Old 07-28-2007, 03:04 PM   #15
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Default Re: Batteries or Battery Charger Gone Bad?

You're charging voltage was >16V?? I think thats the problem. Thats way to high, especially for a sealed up AGM. Except for periodic battery equalizing, there's really no need to have a charging voltage >15V.

Hope this helps..
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