is it necessary to take the top off the battery port when charging it? thanks, Bob
Only if you're charging it too fast. Use an automatic charger, which will keep the water from breaking down.
Yes. Gasses are formed when charging and if the vents are clogged the caps will blow off with results you wouldn't be interested in cleaning up. If they can't blow themselves the top of the battery will. Much less interesting. Pop the caps & leave them sitting on the fill holes you'll lose less water that way. Make sure the level is OK before charging & re-fill if necessary after charging. better safe than interesting.
When I used to use a cheap Sears charger to top off my batteries, I used to take the caps off and lay a rolled up, damp rag over the tops of the cells in case any electrolyte tried to splash out due to popping bubbles. Now that I have one of those electronic battery tenders I just hook it up and let it do its thing, no problems so far.
Here's a signal maintainer's best friend:
Those gasses are also explosive right? I never understood the point of venting a battery since you could end up with the same result you are trying to avoid with one spark.
They give off hydrogen gas while charging.
Does that bottle say "Battery Oil"?
I fear another oil war coming on.
So if go somewhere and I leave my lights on for an hour and the car still starts I should leave the caps off as I drive home?
The vents may be clogged with what? Water? Hydrogen gas?
All my cars charge more amps when I first start them after they sit for a while than my carry around battery charger does.
Your cars' chargers all have voltage regulators, as you know, Aaron. They don't overcharge a battery the way a manual charger does. Water breaks down into hydrogen and oxygen when the charge rate is too high for the charge in the battery. Anything over 50 ma. will cause water loss in a fully charged cell. Cheapo fixed rate chargers ruin many batteries.
Battery oil was used on large stationary primary battery banks, which were composed of multiple individual "cells". The idea was that the oil floated on top of the electrolyte and impeded evaporation. Most of them were a type of ni-cad. The oil level was usually about 1/8" and was checked with a pipette.
Forgot to mention that the stuff we used was called "cell oil".