Martythed
Went to start my 5518 8kw unit running on LP Gas. Didn't start on the first crank cycle (not unusual in cold weather). It tried to turn over on the second crank cycle, then nothing. Checked with the volt meter and had 13 vdc going to the starting motor, so, thinking that was bad I called the dealer who installed the unit. He came out the next day and sure enough, the starting motor was gone. Anyway, he had a well stocked truck with a spare motor and had it changed out in about 20 minutes and the genny started right up. It didn't seem to be too difficult a job (of course, someone else was doing the work, not me).

While I have you here.......... I been reading about the "exploding battery" problem/issue/challenge and the possibility that it's caused by low battery water. Question: Does anyone use a maintenance free battery in their set? Would this eliminate or reduce the frequency of the "exploding battery"?

Before I let you go, here's something for your consideration. My set is located where I can run jumper cables from my car battery to the battery in the set if it died. Has anyone been in a position where they had to jump the generator battery? I was wondering if it would be worth the trouble to mount a plastic electrical box on the outside of the set, and then tap into the battery cables with two short conductors running to the outside box. The two conductors could be terminated on, say, two 1/2" or so brass studs located in the weather-proof box and the jumper cables from the car could be attached there. Thoughts?........ Comments?

Harry New Year to all........... Martythed
Quote
Skip Douglas SkipD
Martythed;8053 wrote:
While I have you here.......... I been reading about the "exploding battery" problem/issue/challenge and the possibility that it's caused by low battery water. Question: Does anyone use a maintenance free battery in their set? Would this eliminate or reduce the frequency of the "exploding battery"?
Marty, the exploding battery issue is not caused by low battery electrolyte level. The problem is, in my opinion, caused by the constant overcharging of the battery by Generac's charging circuit in some generators. The overcharging boils out the electrolyte and that allows a spark to potentially develop between the plates under load. The spark ignites the combustible atmosphere in the battery and BOOM.

A maintenance-free battery would not tolerate the overcharging well. I do believe I've heard of that battery type exploding as well.

The solution is to eliminate the Generac charger that is problematic and replace it with a battery maintainer type of charger which will not over-charge that battery. I've been running one by Schumacher for a couple of years now and have not had to add [U]any[/U] water to the battery in well over a year.
Skip Douglas
Quote
ceb58
SkipD;8054 wrote:
Marty, the exploding battery issue is not caused by low battery electrolyte level. The problem is, in my opinion, caused by the constant overcharging of the battery by Generac's charging circuit in some generators.

A maintenance-free battery would not tolerate the overcharging well. I do believe I've heard of that battery type exploding as well.


Skipp, I will agree and semi-disagree with your thoughts. The over charging can and will cause the electrolyte to "boil" out. When the liquid level gets below the cells they can and will arch to each other when put under a load such as cranking. This arch is what sets off the hyd. sulfide gas making it go boom. That is what happened to me when trying to start a 40kw. And it was a maint. free battery. Now before I even attempt to crank one I check the level. Between charging and hot summers I have found some that I needed to add up to 32oz of electrolyte too. We are now in the process of when a battery needs replacing we are going to gel cell batteries. But with about 180 generators it will take a while.
Quote
Skip Douglas SkipD
ceb58;8055 wrote:
Skipp, I will agree and semi-disagree with your thoughts. The over charging can and will cause the electrolyte to "boil" out. When the liquid level gets below the cells they can and will arch to each other when put under a load such as cranking. This arch is what sets off the hyd. sulfide gas making it go boom. That is what happened to me when trying to start a 40kw. And it was a maint. free battery. Now before I even attempt to crank one I check the level. Between charging and hot summers I have found some that I needed to add up to 32oz of electrolyte too. We are now in the process of when a battery needs replacing we are going to gel cell batteries. But with about 180 generators it will take a while.
I forgot a couple lines in my previous post which totally agrees with what you've said. I've edited my previous post.
Skip Douglas
Quote
Martythed
Thanks for the feedback, guys. I check the battery level every three months or so and had to add just a little water. One of these days I'll get in there with an amp meter and see how much current the charger is actually putting out. I'll also have to look into the battery maintainer. I don't know what it would be like to have to clean up after a battery explosion, but I have a strong suspicion I would rather be doing something else. Marty
Quote
johnc
The clean up is the easiest thing to do. Replacing all the generator's blown up electrical parts is the hardest. Most expensive too.
Quote
MacMan
Martythed;8053 wrote:

Before I let you go, here's something for your consideration. My set is located where I can run jumper cables from my car battery to the battery in the set if it died. Has anyone been in a position where they had to jump the generator battery?......


If the battery is just worn down from being old, maybe. But if the battery has a short, or has exploded, the only way to jump start is to remove one of the battery leads and then jump it.....don't ask me how I know this :mad:
Quote
ceb58
johnc;8058 wrote:
The clean up is the easiest thing to do. Replacing all the generator's blown up electrical parts is the hardest. Most expensive too.


Not to mention your pants:eek:

Quote
Canada_Guy
Martythed;8057 wrote:
One of these days I'll get in there with an amp meter and see how much current the charger is actually putting out.


The issue will not be evident with the amount of charge current going to the battery, it is evident by the charge voltage. Check the battery voltage. It should be in the 13.0 volt area (should never be above 13.2 VDC). If it is above 13.2 volts, you will start to see electrolyte loss which leads down the road to battery going boom.
Quote
Dave_eng
I have a 20 kw and after reading about the damage caused by exploding batteries decided to move my battery outside the generator enclosure.
I put it in a plastic marine battery box. The original cables were long enough to poke thru the screen and louvre and reach the new battery box. It took no more than 20 minutes. Should I ever need to boost the battery it will be simple and safe.
dave p
Quote
MacMan
Here's a re-post of my battery a few years ago. I couldn't figure out why the generator wouldn't start even with jumper cables from my car attached. Found out later about exploded battery, and the part you see in the pic was on the backside, so I didn't see it (in the dark, and with it pouring rain outside to boot!)
Quote