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Old 09-15-2020, 11:47 AM   #1
ProfessorLongArms
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Battery PSA

Maybe I just have a penchant for outing myself as a putz

In case it benefits someone else... I was headed north on a camping trip with my kayak, and had my SLA 12v batteries (main plus spare) in a milk crate with all of my kayak repair stuff and other odds and ends.

As we got to the camp site, I was sorting stuff in back of my truck, and pushed a mesh bag with a chain stringer in it down into the crate... Almost immediately smelled smoke, and had a flame flare up in front of me. In a matter of seconds, the chain had shorted out the battery terminals, and turned itself into a soldering iron, setting my mesh bag on fire. I'm just lucky it hadn't happened while I was driving and not right in front of me.

Was a nice harmless lesson in keeping my terminals covered.
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Old 09-15-2020, 06:32 PM   #2
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Whoa glad you caught it. Been putting off epoxying my SLA battery terminals. Might have to bump that up the to-do list.
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Old 09-15-2020, 07:35 PM   #3
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That's just unfortunate. Not even putzy. Also, really more of an arc welder than a soldering iron!

I've never had this problem because my batteries live permanently in watertight boxes with their terminals attached to two-prong connectors that mate with the 6v and 12v chargers. Everything uses the same two-prong, and the battery never leaves the box. Less chance to bust a flimsy little terminal that way...or accidentally weld your stringer together lol.
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Old 09-15-2020, 07:59 PM   #4
Harry Hill
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if you switch to LiPo you have to be even more careful, they can go off in a white hot fire. I had a damaged battery that I had cut the connector off but didn't tape the ends of the wires and it shorted out in my truck bed. It was right next to a can of gas but luckily nothing bad happened but it could have been a very bad situation, every year one of my fellow radio control airplane fliers has a LiPo battery burn down their house or burn up their car because the put it away damaged unaware of the chemical reaction going off inside the battery. This was a 3 cell, 12 volt battery. I posted a picture of it in the Ryobi FF battery post
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Old 09-16-2020, 09:18 AM   #5
TJones
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Thanks for sharing your experience

Sucks starting a trip off that way, or even ending one under those conditions for that matter. Fortunately, no real loss of life or limb other than the battery and your mesh bag. If you need a loaner battery, let me know.
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Old 09-16-2020, 01:32 PM   #6
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One of the benefits of the sealed LiFePo4 batteries is they come with smart circuit boards that shut them down in the case of over discharge (among lots of other things).
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Old 09-16-2020, 02:15 PM   #7
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Short circuit

Quote:
Originally Posted by GregAndrew View Post
One of the benefits of the sealed LiFePo4 batteries is they come with smart circuit boards that shut them down in the case of over discharge (among lots of other things).
Does this make them any less dangerous if the above situation had occurred? What about if the hull of the kayak was flooded with water and shorted the terminals? Would you have multiple problems to contend with such as a battery fire?
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Old 09-16-2020, 02:31 PM   #8
Harry Hill
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Quote:
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Does this make them any less dangerous if the above situation had occurred? What about if the hull of the kayak was flooded with water and shorted the terminals? Would you have multiple problems to contend with such as a battery fire?
Yes, with the new technology that probably wouldn't have happened. The battery manufacturers are doing a lot to prevent battery accidents. My shorted batttery was earlier technology so it didn't have the protection but the newer batteries should short out and render themselves safe from fire and explosion. Of course subjecting the battery to an outside heat source or fire will bring other problems. As far as submerging the LiFePo and LiPo batteries are neutralized by submerging in salt water so I don't think you have to worry about that.
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Old 09-18-2020, 01:07 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TJones View Post
Does this make them any less dangerous if the above situation had occurred? What about if the hull of the kayak was flooded with water and shorted the terminals? Would you have multiple problems to contend with such as a battery fire?
The circuit board is inside the sealed battery compartment and cuts off the power before the terminals. So flooded kayak would not be an issue either. It is the same principle for both though, a short between the terminals (one with water and the other with metal).
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