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Old 05-18-2011, 09:23 PM   #1
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Battery box full of water and dead battery

Went to check on the trailer this weekend and the battery box was full of rain water and the 12v battery was dead. Used the trailer 4 weeks ago and all was fine. The reason I noticed was I tested the toggle switch I mopunted to the battery box to turn on back up lights under the trailer frame and they did not come on. I opened the lid and saw the water and the fuse for the back up lights was under the water. Could the water have caused the battery to drain? The fuse being under water caused the battery to drain?

I brought the battery home and stuck it on the battery tender hoping it will charge it back to normal by Memorial Day weekend. Opinions on what drained the battery? I have drilled several holes in the bottom of the box to allow rain to drain.

Thanks for any assistance. HC
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Old 05-18-2011, 09:38 PM   #2
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Did the same to mine after I found the same problem. There are systems in the trailer that are on all the time that will drain the battery over time. Propane leak detector, antenna booster (if you forget to turn it off) etc. I disconnect the positive cable when I store it for any length of time. I replaced the nuts on the battery studs with wing nuts to make that easier.
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Old 05-18-2011, 09:44 PM   #3
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Thanks for the advice.

Did you get your battery to take a charge?
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Old 05-18-2011, 09:53 PM   #4
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did the water inside the battery expose any of the plates?

If it did not expose the plate - charge the battery back up and see if it will hold a charge - from experiance with deep cycle marine batteries it will come back to life and hold a charge - just need to top the water off with distilled water.

you can also install a battery disconnect (switches the + or positive side of the battery on and off) as well and it will keep whatever is draining the battery from draining it instead of disconecting the + or positive side of the battery all the time

as a matter of fact - here is a link to my battery disconnect install
http://www.forestriverforums.com/for...6-a-12368.html
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Old 05-18-2011, 11:36 PM   #5
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IF the battery box was indeed FULL of water, to me that indicates that it was over the pos and neg posts, and therefore TOTALLY discharge that battery, which would most likely mean a no good battery. I was under the impression that it will fuse the plates together if totally discharged like that one could have been. My factory battery box has drain holes in it, and a watertight cover, as well. I thought they all did. Good luck with the battery, Randy
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Old 05-19-2011, 05:29 AM   #6
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A few days after we picked up our V-Lite,in the winter, I removed the Battery cover to find the battery box solid ICE on the inside! After turning the ice back into water,I removed the Battery. It still had a charge. I removed the box and drilled holes in the bottom. I am (Today) still using the same Battery! The biggist problem with (Battery Run Down) is every time you take it to a dealer for repair(The trailer) is on pick up day the Battery is (Dead) because they dont plug in the units before ,during, and after they have them on there lots for repair. Our battery has been flat dead every time we have picked it up after repair. I even disconnect it,they hook it back up and (forget) to unhook. Not the same dealer each time. So frozen,complete discharge,many times,floating in water,my (Battery) has survived! Youroo!!
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Old 05-19-2011, 06:25 AM   #7
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water in battery box

I will have to take a look at my battery box after reading this...never even thought that could happen...
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Old 05-19-2011, 06:39 AM   #8
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Many of us have drilled drain holes in our battery box(es)
so they won't hold water. I'm talking about those of us
with the batteries out in the weather on the tongue of
our trailer.
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Old 05-19-2011, 06:48 AM   #9
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My concerns with the submerged battery (SB) and the ice bound battery (IB).

1) SB - If water covered the vents you may have a real problem. You have no idea what the electrolyte status is. Since the sulphuric acid(H3SO4) is in solution with water, when there is a path to a larger vessel with water in it the sulfuric acid will migrate to evenly distribute itself in the entire volume of liquid. Like dropping a shot glass full of salt water into a larger container of fresh water will make everything salty. Less sulfuric acid in the battery will reduce the potential capacity in Amp Hours by the amount of sulfuric acid lost.

2) SB - Pure water is not a very good conductor of heat or electricity. Water with impurities certainly is and could easily have discharged your battery. The more impurities, the better the conduction of heat and electric.

(Easy Example - Microwave a cup of tap water and it boils due to the impurities (minerals) in the water. WARNING - DANGER Microwave a cup of DISTILLED WATER and IT WILL NOT BOIL. It will become super heated well above 212 degrees F. As soon as it disturbed with ANYTHING that will allow bubbles to form, it will boil explosively. Myth busters used a sugar cube behind Plexiglas shields. After the cube was dropped into the cup there was NO water in the cup. It had all exploded outwards and burst into high temperature steam.)

2) IB - a fully charged battery has all of its sulfuric acid in solution (not deposited on the plates) and has a freezing temperature MUCH lower than water alone. A fully charged battery will not freeze in our world (Arctic Circle excluded).

3) IB - In a battery box surrounded by water that freezes, the danger is that the battery box will not flex enough to prevent the ice from crushing the battery.
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Old 05-19-2011, 07:35 AM   #10
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Mine was also filled with water once but not up to the terminals or anything. I drilled a few drain holes in the bottom of the battery box. I also installed a battery disconnect switch (from harbor freight), to avoid draining the battery capacity to dangerous levels from parasitic drain. You could also just disconnect the + side when storing camper.
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Old 05-19-2011, 09:20 AM   #11
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I had a previous camper with that problem, it ended up leaking on my driveway and stained the concrete. I ended up putting a disconnect switch on it, and was one of the first things I did with the new camper.
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Old 05-19-2011, 06:04 PM   #12
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Thanks for the replys. Before I hooked up the battery tender I opened the caps expecting to see too much water....nope, the same as when I put it in the trailer in April, so the rain water did not mix with the acidic water. Where I think my problem was (besides holding water in the box) is the fuse holder (+ side) for the back up lights, it was tucked in the side between the box and the battery so it was submerged. I did not even think to check the fuse. The battery tender shows it is charging and a volt meter shows 13.05 volts (tender unplugged). Still hoping all is well and it will take and hold the charge.
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Old 05-19-2011, 10:22 PM   #13
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A question, I was told by the dealer to always disconnect the neg. cable from the battery when not in use or disconnect the neg. first than the positive. is this true or does it matter ?
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Old 05-19-2011, 10:40 PM   #14
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It is much safer to disconnect the negative first.

When you disconnect the negative you only need to worry about hitting the positive terminal with the wrench. Hitting anything else metal will do nothing.

When you then disconnect the positive, you only need to watch out for the negative terminal because the chassis is no longer "ground"

If you reverse and do the positive first, any slip that hits a metal part of the camper will cause a dead short and a shower of sparks. Worse yet it can weld the wrench to the frame and cause a fire.
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Old 05-23-2011, 12:03 PM   #15
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Update: The trickle charger light has turned green so that is a positive sign. We are going tonight to get the trailer out of storage and get ready for a trip this weekend. I have made the decision to disconnect the ground wires when not in use for more than a couple of days and to remove the battery when winterizing.

THANKS to everyone for their advice and responses. HC
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Old 05-23-2011, 12:24 PM   #16
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why don't you just install a battery disconnect switch?
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Old 05-23-2011, 12:32 PM   #17
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Can you recommend one that will work/mount easily? Looking at Amazon for one now.
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Old 05-23-2011, 01:57 PM   #18
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Blue Sea, Perko, BEP, just Google "marine battery disconnect switch". CW carries them too.
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Old 06-14-2011, 05:25 PM   #19
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OK I added the disconnect switch (Blue Sea 6006 M - front of battery box) yesterday and while I was at it I added a solar charger (top of propane cover) to maintain.

Thanks for the advice and guidance.

HC
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Old 06-14-2011, 05:27 PM   #20
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Nice job!

Now you need to put a sheet of clear box tape over that solar cell. The clear plastic they use is highly susceptible to clouding due to acid rain. I ruined a set of solar powered yard lights due to lens fogging.
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