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Old 01-23-2017, 06:30 PM   #1
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Seneca House Battery Explosion

Had just returned from work, opened RV to put away supplies, closed it up and walked away. Heard loud explosion, returned to RV and saw water dripping from battery compartment. I de-energized the circuit (50 amp breaker on my home RV connection) and carefully opened battery door to find number one battery had exploded. Too dark for pictures, but will take some upon day light.

2014 Seneca 37FS with Oct 2014 Interstate SRM 27 green top batteries. I do leave it on AC power most all of the time while in the driveway.

Questions:

1. Does the battery charger analyze and trickle?
2. Was this just a result of old batteries?

I plan on replacing all four.

Thoughts, tips, advice?

Thanks....
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Old 01-23-2017, 06:36 PM   #2
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Yes, it has the "smart charger" built into the converter. With that said, it could have malfunctioned. Are the other batteries dry or very low?

When we had our SENECA I rarely had to even top off the batteries and we had it for 6 years, plugged in 24/7.
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Old 01-23-2017, 06:38 PM   #3
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I routinely check the batteries, clean contacts, and add distilled water. I will check the other tomorrow.

I'll also check that controller.

Thanks.
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Old 01-23-2017, 06:41 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by tjbroussard View Post
I routinely check the batteries, clean contacts, and add distilled water. I will check the other tomorrow.

I'll also check that controller.

Thanks.
If you are adding water regularly it may be overcharging.
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Old 01-23-2017, 06:41 PM   #5
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First advice would be to go back out and carefully and thoroughly wash the entire compartment out with a gentle stream from a hose. Wear eye and skin protection please! Sulfuric acid just got sprayed everywhere and corrosion has already begun. I fear anything that got sprayed may be damaged, problems likely will occur sooner or later.

The battery likely had a hydrogen buildup and somehow an ignition source caused it to explode.
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Old 01-23-2017, 06:44 PM   #6
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First advice would be to go back out and carefully and thoroughly wash the entire compartment out with a gentle stream from a hose. Wear eye and skin protection please! Sulfuric acid just got sprayed everywhere and corrosion has already begun. I fear anything that got sprayed may be damaged, problems likely will occur sooner or later.

The battery likely had a hydrogen buildup and somehow an ignition source caused it to explode.
Did that right after I de-energized the system. Surprised that the compartment door held. It was towards the middle of the four pack of batteries. Probably would have had guests jumping had they been on the couch.

Thanks!
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Old 01-23-2017, 06:52 PM   #7
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Did that right after I de-energized the system. Surprised that the compartment door held. It was towards the middle of the four pack of batteries. Probably would have had guests jumping had they been on the couch.

Thanks!

Did you put a volt meter on your other batteries yet to see where they are at?

Is your battery box / area vented? I've always heard about batteries being able to explode, but this is really really rare unless something failed (like your converter).

Baking soda solution may be in order too if you have any doubts on the cleanup side. Curious to hear what you find out.
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Old 01-23-2017, 06:52 PM   #8
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We had one of the two in our first generation Seneca explode last year shortly after buying the RV used from a previous owner.
We asked the same questions here and also searched and read lots of other sources. It seems to be a rare occurrence and there's not much solid, reliable, information as to why it happened in our configuration.

We have the exact same Progressive Dynamics (PD) 80 amp converter/charger in the Seneca that we had in the previous two motorhomes, never a problem. We call PD support and they said as long as it was outputting 13.1 volts it was working correctly and they couldn't explain it either.

We took the exploded battery to many battery stores and they claimed they'd never seen anything like it.

So we bought a new battery, installed and connected as you normally would, run the charger as needed and have not had another problem since (fingers crossed).

This picture doesn't say it all but essentially the entire top cover exploded into several pieces.
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Old 01-23-2017, 06:59 PM   #9
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You might consider washing out the area with a solution of water and baking soda to neutralize the acid spray. Do this after you have removed the batteries, you would not want to get the solution into the open (damaged) battery. A violent reaction could take place!

Might be a good time to consider a switch to four 6-volt true deep-cycle batteries. I agree a check of the converter/charger is in order, our units do have a 3-stage charger that should prevent overcharging, but like many things mechanical or electronic they can fail.

I have 4 Trojan T-105s in my Seneca, I also installed a single-point watering system so topping off the batteries is super easy and it prevents them from being overfilled. My Harris dual-purpose batteries did not even make it a year but I think they may have gone dead and froze before I bought my unit.

Best of luck.
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Old 01-23-2017, 07:09 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Robbbyr View Post
You might consider washing out the area with a solution of water and baking soda to neutralize the acid spray. Do this after you have removed the batteries, you would not want to get the solution into the open (damaged) battery. A violent reaction could take place!

Might be a good time to consider a switch to four 6-volt true deep-cycle batteries. I agree a check of the converter/charger is in order, our units do have a 3-stage charger that should prevent overcharging, but like many things mechanical or electronic they can fail.

I have 4 Trojan T-105s in my Seneca, I also installed a single-point watering system so topping off the batteries is super easy and it prevents them from being overfilled. My Harris dual-purpose batteries did not even make it a year but I think they may have gone dead and froze before I bought my unit.

Best of luck.
Can you tell me the model of the T-105s? I see a few varieties. No local dealer, so this may be a challenge.

Thanks....
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