Earlier today .....
I noticed my electrical system in my my F350 CC 7.3 Dually was discharging - so I found an Autozone in North Carolina that had an alternator in stock.
I try to buy lifetime parts from Autozone or O'Reilly auto parts ...
I checked the alternator output - it was putting out nothing - replaced the alternator - no start due to dead batteries.
Pulled both & had Autozone charge them - 45 minutes in (1) exploded in the charging cabinet.
The other was bad.
The manufacture date on the battery was 11/15 so they were less than (18) months old - Duralast 65 month brand both purchased & installed by me together (16) months ago.
I have never had a battery explode - I had a friend lose his truck in a fire in his driveway when one blew up while charging in his truck.
I see an uptick in garage - vehicle - other fires from exploding batteries on many forums.
To be safe- in the future I am going to remove any battery from a vehicle before I charge it - then I am charging it outdoors away from anything that can burn.
Glad nobody was hurt. Hopefully the pro-rated warranties paid most of the cost of the replacements.
Very interesting. And a little frightening.
Batteries have always had the potential to explode, and explosions have occurred many thousands of times over a hundred years. But you are the second forum regular in two weeks to have an explosion, and Warren R lost his garage, two Ts and modern pickup to his.
We have had several discussions over the years here. I have many times told the tale of mine in my older modern pickup that exploded, and I believe I once showed photos of the remains of the battery (I know I have those somewhere?). What a mess I had to clean up.
It is not something new. But it is something to be very concerned about if a change has been made causing it to become a more common problem!
FJ, Thank you for the heads-up! Glad that you were not hurt, and truck is repaired and roadworthy again.
Drive carefully my friend! And enjoy. W2
Batteries explode while charging when two things happen simultaneously:
1. The battery is producing hydrogen ( which they do in increasing quantities as the battery charges).
2. A spark occurs that "ignites" the hydrogen (typically a spark between the battery post and the charger cable clamp).
I had one blow up about 40 years ago. I've been real careful ever since.
A little drift:
In 1972 while serving aboard the USS Trigger (SS-564), which was an old diesel-electric submarine, we had an engine room fire while charging batteries. (We had two lead/acidbatteries, 252 cells each, each cell was big enough for a man to get inside.) The fire occurred while we were on the "finishing rate", meaning the last 5% or so of the charge.
Typically we ventilated the boat by opening the forward hatch and drawing engine intake through the boat across both batteries. This sucked the hydrogen through the engines, burned it, and dumped it out through the engine exhaust.
When a fire occurs on a submarine (most ships for that matter) the first thing you do is shut off all ventilation, which we did. So, there we were out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, unaccompanied, with an oil fire in the engine room and two very large batteries bubbling copious amounts of hydrogen in a sealed up 18' diameter tube.
To this day I have no clue why we didn't blow up. We certainly had all the ingredients to be listed as "lost at sea with all hands, cause unknown".
I learned many years ago why most batteries blow up. You must put the + cable on first when installing or charging. Then the - cable. If you pull the + off first you run the risk of a spark and that ignites the hydrogen gas. A dying battery will give off lots of gas. So please remove the - ground cable first when charging. Scott
The 18 month old battery in my pickup blew up 4 years ago. I hit the key and the "shotgun" went off. Felt like I was on the receiving end of a movie hit. I'm still dumbfounded when my wife runs out to the detached garage to check on me. What happened!? she asks. I told her what I suspected. Ears still ringing, I gingerly opened the hood. I found one piece of that battery larger than a playing card. I'm now well away from any battery when I give 'em the current. Made a believer of me.
I work with hydrogen almost every day.
In my opinion it is a safe gas because it is lighter than air and goes up - dissipates quickly.
The problems happen when it is enclosed in any area that allowed it to accumulate. Once it is greater than 4% in air it can convert to water very quickly if there is an ignition source.
On the other hand gasoline scares me. It is heavier that air, the flammable gas settles near the ground, and stays there waiting for a reason to go boom.
Read my lips - I feel like being presidential tonight - it takes he correct amount of Hydrogen and a source to set if off for it to be dangerous. I suspect that Jim's Autozone guys were doing something wrong.
I always place the charger below the battery when charging and let it sit for a few minutes with the charger off before removing the cables.
Since I am being presidential tonight - purchase American battery chargers, if you can find one, and make America great again!
My alternator and batteries were replaced at no cost under warranty.
The battery was being charged in a cabinet designed for that purpose when it exploded.
I believe a manufacturing defect caused premature plate failure inside the battery - I had checked the electrolyte level recently.
I have had a battery explode in my face 35 years ago and it's no phone. Acid in my face and a costly hospital visit.
Tim it happened to me once too. I was in a dark shed and as I bent over to hook up the jumper cable the battery exploded in my face. Found later I had the cables backwards.
As a further precaution when I charge my batteries they are in a box that I built and the bottom of the box contains baking soda to neutralize any acid spills. I know with the new AGM (Absorbent Glass Mat) batteries this is supposed to be reduced but with an explosion anything is possible! Jim, at least they had your battery in a charging cabinet so OSHA isn't all bad.
It doesn't have to be in an enclosed space to blow up.
This was on a tractor sitting outside.
When the battery manufacturers started putting the inter-cell jumper connections inside the battery, they created a hazard. Now if one is loose or has a bad connection it can produce a spark in hydrogen space.Brad.
When I charge a battery, I put the positive lead on the battery first. Then I put the negative lead on the frame or a spot that is a good ground. Always away from the battery. When taking the charger off O tale the ground off first followed by the positive lead on the battery. Same if I jump start somebodies car.
I blew up two batteries at different times back in the 70's. I blamed it on just being a stupid teenager.
You weren't stupid, Dean; I take the cake for being stupid!
My '31 Chevrolet has a 6V system. So, of course, I hooked jumper cables from it to a 12V battery to start the car. It started nicely.
When I disconnected the jumper cable from the '31 Chevrolet, the battery exploded in my face. I'm truly glad I wear glasses!
I went inside with my eyes closed, found a box of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda, mixed some of it with water the way I used to do for wasp stings, and slathered it all over my face. I could hear, and feel, the acid being neutralized.
After rinsing several times (I even filled the sink with water and submerged my face in it), I gained the courage to open my eyes.
I then went outside and turned off the '31 Chevrolet.
I dodged a bullet that day.
I went after dark to give a friend of mine a boost a couple months ago. He can't see which side is positive or negative so he lights a cigarette lighter right on top of the battery to see with. He's lucky I guess. If I'd have done that it would've blown up.
What about the cell covers/caps?
Ken in Texas
Jim, and a warning to ALL, batteries can blow up when they are not being charged and removed from a vehicle. After I retired from school teaching, I worked a few years at the local WalMart in the Automotive department. Late one afternoon, a mechanic brought a defective warranted Walmart battery into the cashier area, as was Walmart practice, so a customer could check out. We had two cash registers and I happened to be working the one the farthest away from the batteries on the floor. All of a sudden there was a noise as loud as a shotgun blast and pieces of battery and hot battery acid went flying. I must have been living right, because I didn't get burned and neither did any customers. Had I been at the other register, I would have been standing within three feet of the exploded battery. Moral to this story, If a battery is hot or even warm, and tests bad, treat it as a Bomb and store it at a safe distance until it cools.
In this thread we have read a lot of very dangerous problems with batteries. Now my question is : Did this ever happened with Optima batteries .
Cannot speak to the details, but a "Google search" shows these
And several other, older ones. Perhaps a manufacturing defect that has been fixed? Perhaps an ongoing issue - I do not know.
It is not a whimmpy explosion either, then the 6 volt 1 blew up in my golf cart,it lifted me up in the seat to the point my head hit the roof of the cart. There was a weak point between 1 of the connections in the plates.
I think there is a industry wide problem with the connection(s) between the plates and/or the construction of the plates that is part of the reason
there appears to be an increase in battery explosions ....
Regarding Optima batteries - from one of the links provided:
" Newer Optima batteries since they moved production to Mexico are absolute shit.
I've been selling them for 5+ years and before that I was a huge fan, have them in all my cars.
Now I don't even stock them and try my hardest to talk people out of them when they want one.
Look at batteries by Northstar and Odyssey instead. "
Where were all these time bombs batteries made?