I use a old Ezgo golf cart to get around the place here since I dont get around to good walking.The batterys have been trying to give up the ghost for a while now I just keep chargeing them.
Today I decided to go to the Interstate battery dealer and get a set of "refurbished" batterys for 35 a peice.They cleaned them up and made sure the water was right and such.they unloaded the cores,loaded the good 1's and I paid and left.I instaled them in the cart,hooked everything up as my chart I drew up showed,put the seat back on,and got on the cart and hit the pedal.A gentle lurch,and then a violent "BOOM!"I was lifted and bumped my head on the roof of the cart and my ears rung.
I lifted the seat and found this.
I am thanking God and anything else that could be why I decided to wait and try it with the seat in place instead of the way i normaly do just bump the pedal before all is reassembled.I doubt I would be typeing this,I would be in Cabarrus Memorail hospital.
I called the folkes I got the batterys from,of course they said I hooked it up wrong.I said no.they said they want to see it and find out what happened.
I checked and still had the full 36 volts even with this battery blowed all to ####.
So I knew my seris circut was correct.
I removed this battery and installed another in it's place and the cart works fine.
But I wanted to show you all this,and let you know,be carefull.
Nasty, nasty. I would have taken lots of pix before touching anything, or better yet, hauled the cart to them and make them fix it.
If you had hooked one of the 12v batteries up backwards, there would be 24 - 12v, or only 12v to power the cart. That would not blow up a battery.
Here's one I posted on the MTFCI Forum a few years ago, based on inputs from lots of others. It was published in the HCCA Orange Empire Group newsletter, and recently in "Skinned Knuckles."
Beware the Lowly Car Battery
Extracted from the MTFCI Forum, Nov. '03, with some editing and additions.
Rev. 1, 31 Mar '04
Tim M: He went to un-hook the new 12v battery from the charger .... KA-BOOM! It sounded like a pistol went off in the shop. When he unhooked the charger, a spark set off the hydrogen fumes from the battery and blew the caps off and the side out. I was hollering, "Is it in your eyes?" but he couldn't hear me because he was deaf from the explosion. Got him out to the hose and washed his head (told him to get the baking soda but he wouldn't); just burned his forehead a little. He was happy today that his hat is OK.
Doogie: we set the battery on the charger, and forgot about it for about a week. Boiled it dry almost. I never bothered to check. Turned the key and KA-BOOM! Battery exploded.
Alan P: While working on my riding mower, I leaned over to crank it and BANG !! Blew the entire top off the battery, showering me with plastic and acid, The force of the explosion ruptured my left eardrum and cancelled a much anticipated dive trip to the Keys. Gave me a healthy respect for lead-acid batteries, and the explosive properties of hydrogen.
Marvin: Yes it can and will happen. I am a slow learner as I have blown up 5 of them: 6 volt, 12 volt, and one 24. I am still in one piece but lucky. I was leaning over the 24 and all that saved me was it blew the bottom and sides out and not the top. My hearing isn't too good anymore.
Bove: I learned that lesson when I was 15. I charged batteries with a Nash generator driven by an electric motor. All I did was remove the wire from the battery after charging and BANG! The battery side was blown completely off and I ran to the cellar sink. I survived just fine and never did that again. One should learn something every day.
Jackie Z: Took the three mile drive down to Wally World one hot summer afternoon in my '77 Granada. Was in the store about an hour. When I got into the car and hit the switch, I heard the starter pull in and then there was one loud THUD and the right hand front corner of the hood jumped up. I then had no further electric power. I found that the battery case top was now separated from the body of the battery on two sides.
Bay Bridge Sue: One of our electricians at work leaned over a stack of batteries (part of our power backup at work) and the wrench in his top coverall pocket (a little one, think like 5/16" OE) shorted out one of the cells on one of the batteries, and the explosion took out 3 1/2 batteries and sent him to the hospital to have sulphuric-acid-impregnated battery case chunks removed, and have all the holes neutralized. The sound was akin to a 10 gauge shotgun going off right next to you - from across the building. The electrician retired following this. His comment at the time was it was like a bomb going off under him. He was lucky he had safety glasses *and* a face shield on; looking at his coveralls and the shield, he would have probably lost an eye and part of his face in the explosion. The batteries were industrial 6 volt units with separate removable cells. And it only took shorting one cell of one battery to take out a few batteries. I was told he was lucky the whole stack of 96 didn't go up and take out the building (and all 6 of us inside!)
Ed, MI: For you tough folks out there, these batteries aren't filled with hydrochloric acid, the stuff in your stomach, but SULFURIC acid, which is much, much, stronger stuff. You play and you WILL pay.
BG: I left a "no maintenance" battery on my Sears 6-amp charger for several days, and it blew while I was away. Made quite a mess. Does anybody have an idea why this happened?
Ricks: Fixed rate chargers are bad news. Once a battery is fully charged, it takes only a few milliamps to keep it up. . It will absorb additional current, but that all goes into heat, and into breaking down the water into hydrogen and oxygen - in the perfect ratio to explode. 2.3 volts per cell is the magic number not to exceed if you want to keep your battery a long time, and not boil out the water. That's 6.9 volts for a 6 volt battery, and 13.8 for a 12 volt battery. Automatic chargers are the only good ones. Schauer had the first good patents, having bought them from my late neighbor nearly 40 years ago. . Chargers are like comparing a third brush generator to a modern one. If a charger doesn't say "Automatic," use it only for metal plating and de-rusting.
As you know, a fire or explosion requires fuel and ignition. Hydrogen and oxygen in or above a battery are the fuel, and a spark is the ignition. A spark can occur inside a defective or damaged battery, as well as at the post when an active charger is removed. The hydrogen and oxygen that explode batteries are released only when a battery is charged at too high a rate, or overcharged. Otherwise, you would be adding water all the time.
For safety sake, and for the life of your battery, use only Automatic chargers. . Don't even use a trickle charger or "Battery Maintainer" unless it says Automatic - and its detailed description specifies "float charge" or less than 100 milliamps final current. They get ridiculous prices for those battery maintainers, and for less money you can get a 6 or 10 amp Schauer Automatic that will safely maintain a battery indefinitely.
* Polarity: be sure to get positive to positive. Color coding cable ends or terminals is a good idea. Black or brown is standard for ground, and Red for positive if hot. If your old car has a positive ground system, then yellow would be a good idea for the hot negative. It should alert the unwary and the color-blind of the difference.
* Make sure all hot battery connections in your car are covered by insulators at all times. This will protect from the wayward wrench.
* Charger: always connect to hot side of battery, then frame or cold side, then apply charger power. Again, always unplug the charger from the wall before disconnecting from battery.
* Disconnecting battery: Don't touch hot side - just disconnect cold side, preferably away from the battery. Once the cold side is ungrounded, no current can flow. If your car has a battery disconnect switch, it should be on the cold side.
*Disconnecting battery for removal: Be sure hot terminal is covered. Remove cold cable and stow the cable so it won't spring back to the terminal. Cover the cold terminal with tape or other electrical insulation. Uncover the hot terminal and disconnect the cable. Re-cover the hot terminal, which is no longer hot, because the cold terminal is isolated.
* Jump-starting: always connect the hot side cables first, then connect each cold side cable to the bumper or engine - away from the battery.
* Inspect your battery for signs of leakage - liquid splatters or corroded terminals. Those are sure signs of overcharging.
*Except when cold, a generator or alternator should not put out more than 2.3 volts per cell (6.9 or 13.8). When first disconnected from a charge source, a good, fully charged battery will reflect that voltage, then drift lower as its surface charge dissipates over several minutes or hours. Then its voltage should be 2.1 per cell (6.3 or 12.6). Fun Projects http://www.funprojects.com/ makes an electronic voltage regulator that replaces the cutout on a Ford third brush generator, improving safety, optimizing charging, and extending battery life.
*One final precaution: a battery can develop a short in a cell at any time. When that happens, The remaining cells get overcharged - even by most automatic chargers. You know there's a problem if the charge current never falls to near zero when full charge should have been reached.
I'm so sorry to hear this Mack. I'm am definitely glad you are o'k! I hope they pay for everything. Must have been a defective battery in the bunch. Sometimes a cell can go bad and short. It doesn't short until lots of current is required to go through a defective piece of metal. A short ensues and then bad news. I am glad you are o'k!
You didn't hook it up wrong. The battery that blew up likely had a weak cell to cell connection. When you demanded current, much of that 36 volts was across that connection. Sparks plus hydrogen and bang.
Don't mess with reconditioned batteries - at least from those folks.
Yes, a brand new battery could conceivably do this also.
Glad to hear you were not injured Mack. Had you not been lucky, you could have easily spent the evening picking plastic shards out of your posterior.
I was always told from way back, that, when connecting up a weak or dead battery with jumper cables for charging on the vehicle, it is always a good idea to hook up the positive cable first to the battery post, then clamp the negative cable, not to the negative post, but onto a ground point away from the battery, just in case explosive hydrogen gas has vented and is accumulated around the battery. Jim
Like on the Nazi Zeppelin, "Hindenberg", which exploded in a ball of fire over Lakehurst, New Jersey, while docking back in 1937, it takes a spark to ignite hydrogen gas. Have you isolated where the spark could have come from? Might be a good idea to do some investigation so there is not a repeat.
Is it possible that the clamp on the post was not tightened down securely? How close is the top of the battery to the underside of the seat? Since your seat was right over the battery, the seat could have pressed against the clamp causing it to rock on the post, causing the spark, which might be why it exploded as soon as you sat down. Jim
All this advice is well taken. Years ago, I blew all the glass out of a 62 VW beetle while unhooking a charger. (6V battery undet the back seat) It can be ugly. Mack, thank God you weren't hurt. I've learned to treat batteries as if they were blastic caps. Like Seth said, it may well have been caused by an arc from a faulty internal connection. Every time I see someone use a set of jumper cables, I cringe.
Thru-the-wall cell connectors are "riveted" and not soldered.
Look at lift truck batteries - bars of lead connecting the cells outside the battery. Soldered into place. Golf cart batteries used to be constructed this way and even automotive batteries. Too bad they no longer are.
I once disconnected a live charger on a Jet-Ski battery down inside the hull - with an open gas tank. The battery blew up but didn't catch the fuel on fire. I was in the fireball and the explosion was deafening. Hair was singed but that was all. I was extremely lucky. Darwin Award material for sure!
I have way more respect for batteries now, needless to say.
I think I mentioned this awhile back when this same subject came up. Back in the days of company cars and two way radios, I still remember the first battery that blew up on me while using the radio. When I keyed the microphone, it pulled the plates together and caused the spark that ignited the gas in the case, at least this is what the Director of Maintenance for our Company said. I think what happened was that the batteries would get low on water, and the case would be full of gas, and the demand put on the plates would cause them to pull together. This was when the first "maintenance free" batteries came out, and no one checked the water anymore. I found out it was easy to pry the cover off with a screwdriver and put water in one, may not have been kosher, but it worked for me. I will tell you one thing, it makes a mess under the hood of a car.
Fixen to load it up and haul it back to the place I got the batterys and see what is said and done.I will report results.
I always lay a damp rag over the battery before hooking up the jumper cables.
I carried the battery to Interstate.They are sending it off to be checked before they give me another 1.So far I drove a 70 mile round trip to get the batterys,drove another 70 miles to carry 1 back to them.And then find out this.Given the option when they call with the results,I think I will tell me to send me the 35 bucks and keep their regurgitated batterys.
As a youngster in the 40's at our country store I would strike an arc across the post to determine the correct polarity when jump starting for customers. Never had one to blow. Didn't know they would. Years later for no apparent reason the garden tractor blew the top off. No harm done just extra laundry for the wife.