Leasure Battery Safety

Aug 4, 2005
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Hi all, Please bare with me as I'm new to caravanning and to this forum.

I have recently bought a 1992 Sterling Sprite Finesse 3 birth caravan which myself and my young family are happy with. The only worry I have is the leasure batttery is under the front seat in one of thoses grey boxes with charger built into the box but there is no pipe or anything to expell the gasses. Also, when the battery is on charge I can here very slight bubbling noises if I put my ear to it. I've read on a few forums of gasses being highly explosive and dangerous. I do have a bugett to go and buy some new equipment but I don't realy know what I'm looking for and at what sort of cost. Can anyone help me with this.

Many thanks in advance

Gary
 
Aug 2, 2005
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Gary. I had the same set up on my first van. The battery box you mention with a built in charger. Has it got any makers name on it?. Has the battery got a small hole or plugs on the side near to the filling caps. If so you can fitt a small plastic anglke that slides in to the hole and has a length of plastic pipe (similar to windscreen washer pipe) attached to it this is then fed through a floor vent to let the gasses escape. Hope this is of help. Incidently most caraven dealers that I have seen which sell batteries have the plastic bits to go with the batteries. If you ask nicely they might give you one.
 
Aug 4, 2005
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Interesting. Thanks for your post Colin. The box does have a name but I can't remember it. I've just been to my local caravan dealer and in the shop were to two assistances. When I asked them about this I don't think they had any idea but they both said that their batteries in the shop (110amp for
 
Aug 2, 2005
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The one I used to have was a Labcraft TP2. they made alater model with lights up the side to show that stae of charge mine just had a voltmeter built into the charger. It worked OK. The gas given off are explosive so I personally prefer to vent them outside. Which dealer did you visit Gary (Just so I can avoid them) The only ones that I am aware of that dont need ventilation are the fully sealed non servicable batteries.
 
Aug 4, 2005
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Colin, The name of the place is "Wanda Home". It's a small turning off the M62/A1 roundabout.

Mike, The box in there at the moment is a propper battery box but yet again I have forgotton to get the name of the thing. I'll have a look tonight. I have though about moving the battery into the front caravan box though because then ventilation wouldn't be an issue. I would just have to extend the cables and drill a whole through the front bulk head and buy a rubber grommet to fit seal the whole but I've not heard of anyone else doing this so maybe it's not the done thing.

I have also thought about getting an external box from the brakers and hacking a whole in the side of my van to fit it but I don't really want to do this either.

I think the best way to go would be to buy a whole new box and battery to be on the safe side.

We are going away this weekend localy to try the van and set the awning up and what-not. I will charge the battery on the way but when we get on site I won't charge it this time as we are only staying for the night but the following week we are going to the blue dolphin for a week so I need to sort something out before then.

Gary
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Some of the modifications that are being mentioned here seem to be quite drastic just to overcome the gassing problem. How about a gel battery as an alternative? They are sealed to the atmosphere so you can put them wherever you like without the need for any vents and they can't leak fluid either.
 
Mar 28, 2005
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Been following this thread with interest, part of my job involves working in explosive atmospheres and part of the risk assessment procedure is to ensure that all tools are of the none spark type and all electrical apparatus is Ex rated (basically means they are sealed to atmosphere and are approved to a British standard)

To me even having a nominal amount of gas in a confined space with none Ex rated electrics is an accident waiting to happen.
 
Jul 15, 2005
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Lutz,

I don't believe a sealed GEL battery means what you think it means.

It's sealed in the context that you cannot add water or electrolyte, they should be spill proof, but it should still allow for out-gasing. Gasing should only happen when your try to further charge a fully charged battery, and the now unwanted charge goes into splittling the electrolyte into Hydrogen and Oxygen.

GEL batteries require a more sophisticated (compared to a car battery charger) 2 or 3 stage charger that monitors battery voltage and charge state. These charger / conditioners intelligently switch the charge down to a safe trickle rate that exactly matches the self-discharge rate of the battery.

Robert
 
Mar 28, 2005
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Hi Lutz, any battery being used in an explosive atmosphere must be enclosed in a Ex rated piece of kit for example an Ex rated torch, multimeter or mobile phone. This is an industry standard so I don't think it applies to domestic situation such as a caravan. However the fact that modern caravans now have their battery's on the outside albeit next to a 240v supply speaks volumes.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Lutz,

I don't believe a sealed GEL battery means what you think it means.

It's sealed in the context that you cannot add water or electrolyte, they should be spill proof, but it should still allow for out-gasing. Gasing should only happen when your try to further charge a fully charged battery, and the now unwanted charge goes into splittling the electrolyte into Hydrogen and Oxygen.

GEL batteries require a more sophisticated (compared to a car battery charger) 2 or 3 stage charger that monitors battery voltage and charge state. These charger / conditioners intelligently switch the charge down to a safe trickle rate that exactly matches the self-discharge rate of the battery.

Robert
The gel battery that I've got in my caravan is hermetically sealed, i.e. there are no provisions for gas to escape to the atmosphere
 
Mar 28, 2005
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Hi Lutz, any battery being used in an explosive atmosphere must be enclosed in a Ex rated piece of kit for example an Ex rated torch, multimeter or mobile phone. This is an industry standard so I don't think it applies to domestic situation such as a caravan. However the fact that modern caravans now have their battery's on the outside albeit next to a 240v supply speaks volumes.
should mention before anyone pulls me up Ex rated also known as I.S. rated
 
Jul 15, 2005
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The gel battery that I've got in my caravan is hermetically sealed, i.e. there are no provisions for gas to escape to the atmosphere
Even so, I thought they always had a pressure release valve somewhere on the topof the case.

Robert
 
Mar 28, 2005
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Lutz,

I don't believe a sealed GEL battery means what you think it means.

It's sealed in the context that you cannot add water or electrolyte, they should be spill proof, but it should still allow for out-gasing. Gasing should only happen when your try to further charge a fully charged battery, and the now unwanted charge goes into splittling the electrolyte into Hydrogen and Oxygen.

GEL batteries require a more sophisticated (compared to a car battery charger) 2 or 3 stage charger that monitors battery voltage and charge state. These charger / conditioners intelligently switch the charge down to a safe trickle rate that exactly matches the self-discharge rate of the battery.

Robert
Lutz, gel cells have pressure regulated safety vent valves
 
Aug 4, 2005
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Just been back to Wanda Home to exchange some 13" wheel trims for 14" ones (silly me) and there was a , let's say, more mature looking gent behind the counter. While I was there I told him I was asking his young YTS assistants about the batteries that Wanda Home sell that don't need any gas outlet and he stopped me in mid conversation and told me that all leasure batteries that they sell require a gas exit tube that you get when you buy the battery. He then proceeded out back and brought a massive bundle of tubes.

Anyway, I bought one of the 110amp batteries for
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Couple of comments. Many leisure batteries do not have connections for gas discharge pipes, so not sure what you are supposed to do about them.

While I agree with Big Roy about Ex rules and accidents waiting to happen, no domestic gas cooker with spark ignition would ever be acceptable under these, not would ordinary electic fitting is any kitchen. I would not, however, put a battery into a front locker along with the gas bottles.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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I still use my TP2 battery box/charger, that I have had for many years, to keep my leisure battery charged when the caravan is in storage. In fact I have just been down to the shed to put it on charge again.

In previous 'vans without a built-in battery box, I used to secure the TP2 under one of the front bunks and run the plastic ventilation tube through a small hole that I drill in the caravan floor.
 

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