Battery Safety
Home Up Jumping

I'm sure you've seen the warnings on 12 volt batteries, and like me, ignored it.   

Let me relate what happened to me at work today (Jan 03, 2002).  

We have a 50 kW Katolight standby power generator.   It works very reliably and, up until today, was there for every power failure.   At about noon, when it usually does it's weekly automatic exercise, I heard a loud bang.   I thought it was something simple, like a garbage truck dropping a dumpster, something explainable.   So I didn't think much about it.   

A few minutes later we got a call from someone who works near the transfer switch.   A couple years before, I installed a visual and audible warning for the generator.   Its logic system gives a 12 volt output when any alarm is active, such as over-crank, when the generator tries to start, but times out.    This alarm was on, so I went up to the roof to investigate the cause.   

The gen set is located in an outdoor enclosure on the roof deck of a 2 story building.   The battery is in a battery case on the bottom of the enclosure.   It appears that when the generator went to start today, a spark in the battery ignited hydrogen gas which cause it to explode.   

The inside of the generator enclosure was covered with shrapnel from the battery, the battery box and of course, battery acid.  I ran to a hardware store to get baking soda.   5 small boxes later, most of the acid was neutralized.   

The generator maintenance company came in to replace the battery.   

Here are some close up shots of the battery after the explosion.

The battery and the case it was in.

A close up of the battery top

"Maintenance Free'?

Lessons learned:

bulletMaintenance free means:   When this thing goes bad, there's not going to be anything left to maintain.
bulletThe lack of refill covers makes the cells a nice pressure cooker.   
bulletJust because the battery is working doesn't mean it's healthy
bulletBatteries can explode when they're being used for starter current, not just when jumping them.
bulletIf you have standby batteries, have baking soda nearby
bulletIf you have to be near an exploding battery, be two floors down, in an office, in another building.   Worked for me.  

The new battery going in.  This one has caps and will need to be refilled, but maybe it won't explode as easily.   

The outside of the generator

1/7/2002

I just wanted to let you know that your warning didn't end up in a dead end here in cyberspace. It has made the first of many trips here at "Fire-L" at www.firefighting.com discussion board. As a good lesson, I will make mention to the lieutenants at our firehouse to inspect the batteries a little closer on our fire trucks and two generators. It just goes to reason that one can not leave anything to chance. Even though our trucks are inspected every Monday evening during house duty, the batteries , at the very least should be inspected monthly. Thank you for those powerful pictures. They say that pictures speak a thousand words. And its true. Seeing IS believing. 

Asst. Chief Mike Gibson, Amwell Valley Fire Co. Ringoes, NJ

1/8/2002

I experienced that same battery problem first hand in Breezy Point FD on a roof top electronic siren. I had just hooked up the leads on an older maintenance free battery turned away to grab a wrench to tighten up the terminals and it exploded all over me on the roof top. The front of the battery blew off and hit my right thigh so hard it felt and looked like I had been hit by a baseball bat, and my ears were ringing for about two days. I was totally covered in acid head to foot . The FD was toned out and it turned out the chief was downstairs in a store right under where I was working. I had run into the bathroom and was rinsing my face in the sink, he walked in ordered me to strip off my acid soaked cloths. Then he walked to the fridge pulls out the box of baking soda from the back of it and covered me in it. then I took a ride to the hospital to have myself checked out. That was an experience that taught me an awful lot of respect for old batteries. That web site sure hit home 

Thanks, Jeff Schneider

1/10/2002

My father served during WW II in Burma India. As an Engineer in the Army building roads and landing strips , he told this story many times.  A Jeep came in to Motor Pool where he was working that day with ignition problems and he proceeded to check the battery first . Simply hooking a tester to the battery caused an explosion.  The only thing that saved his eyes was the prescription glasses he was wearing , with fast action from some very well trained Medics his face survived too but , just because they were RIGHT THERE and knew what to do !!! Master Sgt. . Willett M. Bruner went on to fight many battles while preparing the way for many more G.I.'s to join him and many others in securing our freedom during this war. 

God rest the soul of Master Sgt. Willett M. Bruner and every other person who has made the ultimate sacrifice for our Freedom .

Col. James L. Bruner

1/11/2002

Hi Ray,

Thanks for the lesson photos... I learned of your page on Fire-L.

I work with batteries often as part of solar power systems and yes, the threat of hydrogen explosions is very real!

Be aware though, that a battery with vented caps is even more likely to explode than the "maintenance free" one was. The refillable batteries generally outgas more H2.

There are at least 2 things to be learned here... first, make sure the battery enclosure is well vented and that escaping H2 (which will rise) will not collect. Second, the main cause for outgassing is excessive charge current... check to make sure the trickle charger is set properly for this battery.

If proper venting is a problem, then sealed gel lead-acid batteries might be a good alternative. These are commonly available in sizes up to 8D. Note that they need a slightly different charge voltage than the wet cell batteries.

cheers,
-Mike Weihman
Rancho Adobe FPD
Penngrove CA
smokeymike@yahoo.com

1/16/2002

I have been a volunteer fire-fighter for over sixteen years and I too have had a vented battery mishap. About ten years ago I was working an auto accident when I was told to disconnect the battery. I was in full turnout gear and had my face plate down and gloves on. I loosened the ground cable and started to pull it off when it must have sparked. The battery exploded in my hands. My right hand was blown into the inner fender with such force that I thought it might have been broken. A huge bruise formed almost before I got the gloves off. This took a little longer than normal due to small pieces of the battery casing being blown through the palm of the heavy leather fire-fighting gloves. The pieces of battery casing needed to be removed in the emergency room. Since that time I have had a much greater respect for battery's and I make sure that battery safety is always stressed.

Thank you for sharing your story and photos. I hope that people become more aware of the dangers that go along with battery's and that this helps prevent future battery mishaps

James D. Walker
Mashantucket CT,

2/7/2002

My Dad is deaf as a result of a car battery exploding. The only warning was the battery post was loose in the case. He was fortunate to be standing beside the car not in front. The hood of the car deflected the debris and acid forward and away from him. This happened about four years ago, he has never regained his hearing.

Dale Painter
Friendswood, Texas

My thanks to those of you who have provided more information and stories about other battery explosions.   If you wouldn't mind, if you have something to share on this page, please e-mail me and specify that I can share your message here.  Your experiences could save injury to others.  Thanks.   

From: "Per-Erik Sundberg" <per-erik.sundberg@transit.se>
To: <ray@rayvaughan.com>
Subject: Battery safety
Date: Wed, 23 Oct 2002 19:52:06 +0200

Dear Mr. Vaughan,
Thank you for valuable information on http://www.rayvaughan.com/battery_safety.htm
Attached is a usenet thread that you are welcome to use.
Best,
Per-Erik Sundberg
---
All messages from thread
Message 1 in thread
From: Per-Erik Sundberg (per-erik.sundberg@transit.se)
Subject: Battery exploded, advice needed

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Newsgroups: alt.autos.saab
Date: 2002-10-19 02:13:38 PST

Could someone give some advice on a mishap that just happened to my 9-5 '00: 
Suddenly, attempting to start the engine, the battery exploded with a bang and white smoke. All cells ruptured. I cleaned up the mess and washed the space with water.  Now what? Can I just replace the battery or is this a symptom of a gross electrical failure (shortcut) in the start circuit? Will the new battery explode as well? Or is this a symptom of poor ventilation in the battery encapsulation (blown to pieces)?

Thanks in advance!

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Message 2 in thread
From: John Davies (johndaviesNOSPAM@att..net)
Subject: Re: Battery exploded, advice needed

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Newsgroups: alt.autos.saab
Date: 2002-10-19 09:03:39 PST

On 19 Oct 2002 02:13:37 -0700, per-erik.sundberg@transit.se (Per-Erik
Sundberg) wrote:

>Could someone give some advice on a mishap that just happened to my 9-5 '00: Suddenly, attempting to start the engine, the battery exploded with a bang and white smoke. All cells ruptured. I cleaned up the mess and washed the space with water. Now what? Can I just replace the battery or is this a symptom of a gross electrical failure (shortcut) in the start circuit? Will the new battery explode as well? Or is this a symptom of poor ventilation in the battery encapsulation (blown to pieces)?
>
>Thanks in advance!

Likely you suffered a hydrogen explosion by improperly hooking up the cables.Did you hook up the ground cable on the charging vehicle last? It is always prudent to make no final connections next to a battery - the last one should be to ground on the charging car's engine frame or engine, away from the battery. Otherwise you can get a spark and
explosion.....

Why was the battery flat? You need to have the system checked, even if it is merely to reassure you that the alternator is ok.

If you spill battery acid, a water flush probably is NOT enough to completely get rid of the acid. You need to mix up a BIG bucket of baking soda and water and apply it liberally wherever the acid could have splashed. If you see any fizzing, then there is still acid left. If you do not remove (neutralize) all the acid, you may have very serious corrosion problems later to body and engine parts.

I hope you were not hurt - were you wearing safety glasses?

Good luck, and take care of this very quickly!
John Davies
Monroe WA USA

2001 Saab 9-5 Aero Wagon
2000 Audi A4 quattro 1.8T
1991 Jeep Cherokee Laredo 4x4

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Message 3 in thread
From: Walt Kienzle (wkienzle@iwic.net)
Subject: Re: Battery exploded, advice needed

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Newsgroups: alt.autos.saab
Date: 2002-10-19 12:50:59 PST

What an interesting interpretation of the original posting. My interpretation was that he was turning the key to start the car, and the battery exploded; the only cables involved were the ones attached to the battery at the factory.

I had heard something about this happening to a lot of the batteries Saab has been using. Have you (Per-Erik Sundburg) contacted the dealer about this? There may be some program in place that would get you a free or discounted replacement battery. What is the warranty for the car in your country? The US warranty is for 4 years or 50K miles and they will perform maintenance work for free for 3 years or 36K miles. The battery might qualify for replacement somewhere in there.

In any case, the problem might be limited to a fault in the battery and there is a good chance that no other work is needed beyond replacing the battery.

Walt Kienzle
1991 9000T

"John Davies" <johndaviesNOSPAM@att..net> wrote in message
news:7603ru8b147p7urm340u0a7no9ol8r0cid@4ax.com...
> On 19 Oct 2002 02:13:37 -0700, per-erik.sundberg@transit.se (Per-Erik
> Sundberg) wrote:
>
> >Could someone give some advice on a mishap that just happened to my 9-5 '00: Suddenly, attempting to start the engine, the battery exploded with a bang and white smoke. All cells ruptured. I cleaned up the mess and washed the space with water. Now what? Can I just replace the battery or is this a symptom of a gross electrical failure (shortcut) in the start circuit? Will the new battery explode as well? Or is this a symptom of poor ventilation in the battery encapsulation (blown to pieces)? 
> >
> >Thanks in advance!
>
> Likely you suffered a hydrogen explosion by improperly hooking up the cables.Did you hook up the ground cable on the charging vehicle last?  It is always prudent to make no final connections next to a battery -  the last one should be to ground on the charging car's engine frame or  engine, away from the battery. Otherwise you can get a spark and > explosion.....
>
> Why was the battery flat? You need to have the system checked, even if  it is merely to reassure you that the alternator is ok.
>
> If you spill battery acid, a water flush probably is NOT enough to  completely get rid of the acid. You need to mix up a BIG bucket of  baking soda and water and apply it liberally wherever the acid could  have splashed. If you see any fizzing, then there is still acid left.  If you do not remove (neutralize) all the acid, you may have very  serious corrosion problems later to body and engine parts.
>
> I hope you were not hurt - were you wearing safety glasses?
>
> Good luck, and take care of this very quickly!
>>
> John Davies
> Monroe WA USA
>
> 2001 Saab 9-5 Aero Wagon
> 2000 Audi A4 quattro 1.8T
> 1991 Jeep Cherokee Laredo 4x4
>

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Message 4 in thread
From: J Dexter (webmann@noaddress.org)
Subject: Re: Battery exploded, advice needed

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Newsgroups: alt.autos.saab
Date: 2002-10-19 10:24:05 PST

Salutations:

Depending on what exactly caused the explosion and what happened when it went off - it might have been better to have not wash anything off and throw a road flare into the engine bay and run away.. 

Find a service center and have them hook up a electrical diagnotic before you go much further brother..

your pal
J Dexter

Per-Erik Sundberg wrote:
>
> Could someone give some advice on a mishap that just happened to my 9-5 '00:   Suddenly, attempting to start the engine, the battery exploded with a bang and white smoke. All cells ruptured.  I cleaned up the mess and washed the space with water. Now what? Can I just replace the battery or is this  a symptom of a gross electrical failure (shortcut) in the start circuit?  Will the new battery explode as well? Or is this a symptom  of poor ventilation in the battery encapsulation (blown to pieces)?
>
> Thanks in advance!

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Message 5 in thread
From: Evans Park (evanspark@netzero.com)
Subject: Re: Battery exploded, advice needed

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Newsgroups: alt.autos.saab
Date: 2002-10-19 12:32:38 PST

This happened to my 97 900S a few years ago, it was still under warrenty at the time so I brought it to the dealer. They checked out the electrical system and did not find anything wrong, just replaced the battery. They told me it most often happens after the car is run for a while then you shut it off then on again withih a few minutes, which is what happened to me. Something with the battery nothing wrong with the car. I have not had a problem since.

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Message 6 in thread
From: Four Weis (mwei@rcn.com)
Subject: Re: Battery exploded, advice needed

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Newsgroups: alt.autos.saab
Date: 2002-10-19 19:07:01 PST

I have never had this happen once in the 20+ years I have been driving Classic 900s or older Volvo. Could it be the design of the electrical systems in the newer Saabs - too high a charge rate maybe? I have heard a Cadillac owner mention this happening once.

Evans Park wrote:

> This happened to my 97 900S a few years ago, it was still under warrenty at the time so I brought it to the dealer. They checked out  the electrical system and did not find anything wrong, just replaced  the battery. They told me it most often happens after the car is run for a while then you shut it off then on again withih a few minutes,  which is what happened to me. Something with the battery nothing wrong  with the car. I have not had a problem since.

Post a follow-up to this message
Message 7 in thread
From: Per-Erik Sundberg (per-erik.sundberg@transit.se)
Subject: Re: Battery exploded, advice needed

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Newsgroups: alt.autos.saab
Date: 2002-10-22 10:38:36 PST

First, thanks everyone for responding. The Internet is truly a wonderful thing... Second, some clarifying details; the car had run for 1h and was parked in a carport for another 1h. The battery was fine up to this point, when it flatly exploded (not in anyones face, luckily...). Third, it was a hydrogen gas explosion. A check-up at the Saab shop did not reveal anything wrong with the electrical system. Fourth, a thorough wash-out of the engine compartment and a fresh battery from another maker (!). End of story. Epilogue, this happens a few times a year (admitted by the Saab dealer). I find even this rate remarkable. More horror stories at http://www.rayvaughan.com/battery_safety.htm
Take care,
Per-Erik S

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2002 Google
---
Per-Erik Sundberg
per-erik.sundberg@transit.se
ICQ#54515080

Ray,

I have a 1986 BJ70 Toyota Landcruiser which uses two 12 volt batteries in series to provide the required 24 V DC needed. I've been having problems getting the truck started for the last week and was going to have a load test done. The engine would turn over very slowly then finally pick up enough speed to start. BTW, the truck had been parked for about 4 moths with out being started.

This morning though, I could hear the starting relay clicking away but could not see the glow plug light come on, so I turned it to the preheat position again and then, when not seeing the light come on again, I turned the ignition to the start position, there was a bang like a rifle shot and some smoke was coming out from under the hood. I opened the hood and one of the batteries was in pieces. The only thing left was the bottom part of the case with the plates and the neg. & pos. rods that go from the plates to the lead post on top. Everything else had blown apart and acid was covering everything.

I went into the house and got a box of baking soda from the fridge (used as a deodorizer) dumped three quarters of it into a jug and filled with hot water, stirred it up then went outside and dumped it all over the battery, engine, fender, etc. There was some baking soda left in the bottom of the jug that did not dissolve so I refilled it and dumped it all over like the first time. Hopefully this will neutralize any remaining acid. If not how would I know if it has?

Thanks,

Graham.

P.S. I know have two new batteries and hopefully this will fix the problem.

From: "Dawn Eshelman" 
Subject: exploding car battery...
Date: Thu, 1 Jul 2004 23:00:43 -1000

Just had it happen to me!

Spent the day cleaning my car, inside and out. Filled it with gas that evening, and turned the key...

BOOM!

Sounded like a gunshot went off. Walked around the car, expecting to see a blown tire, or some such.  Finally saw fluid leaking out from under the hood onto the ground.  Opened the hood to see my battery cover in a million pieces, and the battery cracked in half. Thank God, it didn't explode earlier in the day, when I had the hood up, cleaning!  Repairs? $400...$150 for battery, $150 for labor, and around $100 for parts.

I will be checking to see if this a common problem with the new VW Beetles.

Dawn

From: "Linda A."
Subject: Another Exploding Car Battery
Date: Mon, 26 Jul 2004 21:05:50 -0700

I had never heard of an exploding car battery until it happened to me yesterday and today I read all the stories on your site!! I have a ’99 BMW 740 il and had just driven a short distance on the freeway. My mother and I parked the car in a market parking lot and went in for one item and came out. When I tried to start the car we heard a very loud bang and smoke started coming out of the dash and we jumped out. I looked at the back of the car and saw some liquid pouring out from underneath. I thought at first it was gas. As luck may have it, as I was on the phone with the AAA, a tow truck driver just happened to come by towing someone else’s car and asked if I needed assistance. I told him what happened and he said the battery probably exploded. What confused me was that I didn’t know the battery in my car was located in a compartment in the trunk! When he opened the trunk, a big cloud of smoke came out. He opened the battery compartment and what a mess. The battery was in pieces.

The car was towed to a service station near my home and the mechanic there said he had never seen such a badly exploded battery. We called BMW and they just said to clean out the area with a baking soda solution very carefully, put in a new battery, but check the alternator just to make sure it was okay. It did check out okay, however, I am still worried now about driving the car. I guess from what I read that it can happen to any car. Very scary!! Anybody else ever have this problem with a BMW?

Linda A.

From: Eric D.
Subject: Exploding Battery
Date: Wed, 24 Nov 2004 12:08:26 -0800

I had a car battery blow up on me. It was 1989, while cutting classes in High School (teacher strike...long story).

Anyhow, I decided to go to the local Tower Recorders to get some music, and hopped in my trusty 1978 Toyota Corolla Hatchback, and popped on the freeway. I probably was like 4 minutes into my trip when I heard a BANG, and then the car lost all power. I managed to get to the shoulder, and tried to restart the car. Nada. Opened the hood, and the battery's top had exploded, and acid was on parts of the engine.

All I remember is that I was doing the speed limit (for once), and that the battery was perhaps a year old......The Auto Mech. couldn't explain why it exploded, and it never did it again in the 3 years more I owned the car.......

Looks like I've been slashdot'ed!   No, really, that's a good thing.  Can anyone guess what date this site was mentioned at slashdot?   

Here's the link to the message that generated all that traffic.   I'm happy that the word is getting out.   

Another interesting thing I noticed... this page is ranked #1 on Google with the search term "Battery Safety".  Thanks to all of you who have provided valuable experiences to add to this page.

Date: Tue, 08 Mar 2005 09:29:20 -0800
From: "batterydirect@_____" 
Subject: battery safety

The battery in question was indeed a maintainable battery, despite the "maintenance free" sticker on the top. The cells are able to be topped up with distilled water via the six screw caps located at the top of the battery. A true maintenance free battery has no access what so ever, not just a sticker merely covering the flush screw caps.
FYI

From: <martinpiani...
Subject: Exploding Battery

Hi Ray,
I just had an exploding battery experience last weekend. This battery was (still is) in an 85 Lincoln that sits in my mom's garage. She is 91 and hasn't driven for years so I end up having to put the battery on a charger a few times a year when the car has sat for too long and the battery goes dead. This last time I charged it up, I left it on the charger for a shorter time than usual, just enough to charge up so it would crank. Disconnected the charger, closed up the hood, got in the car (glad I closed the door) turned the key and BOOM--immediately everything went dead. There was a little smoke and I could smell sulfur and figured this was related to the battery. After a few minutes of letting things settle down I opened the hood and found that the top had blown off the battery. After reading a few things on this site and others, I'm assuming the battery was overcharged even though the charger is supposed to go down to a trickle as the battery comes back up. There was no evidence of any acid anywhere so also have to assume this sealed battery was bone dry and probably this is the reason it exploded. I don't think this was caused by anything on the exterior of the battery after reading up on so-called maintenance free batteries. I'm planning to replace it, but you can bet I'll be wearing safety glasses and will be moving the car out to an open area from the garage first. And I don't think I'll ever go near a battery again without safety glasses. And this was all done because we've decided to sell the car and I wanted to start it, wash it and take pictures of it. I guess those plans will be on hold until I can get a new battery and see if that's all that went wrong. Thanks for posting all the great info here.
Ralph P.

We had a similar experience!

We drove about 30 miles to the next town. It was a warm humid night. the car sat for about three hours. We came back to start the car, and there was a very loud boom, like the car had backfired. We opened the hood, and one whole side of the battery was blown out.

We are glad the hood was closed, and we were all away from the front of the car.

We replace the battery a couple of hours later, and the car started fine.

Ken 
Stratford, Ont. Canada

Interesting comments on your website. i looked into it because of an instance occurring with my wife and i. we were hunting high in the mountains. we have a 93 dodge 4x4 p/u. bought it brand new and it has been very good to us. i have dual batteries, the main battery goes to an isolator and charges the auxiliary battery. the system has been in place now about 5 years. the auxiliary battery powers the winch. it was close to dusk when we stopped on a mountain road to glass the mountain side for game. the engine was turned off and had been for several minutes. while glassing for game, we heard a loud bang liken to a magnum rifle having been fired. we thought that someone was nearby and had shot at us. i get out, look around and check for holes in the truck body. finding nothing, i get back into the truck and proceed to turn on the ignition to start it. nothing. i opened the hood to find the top of the battery blown away with pieces all over. my wife said, lets start walking. i said, no, we have another battery and we will trade places, the good one for the bad one. we did this and were on our way. next day, went into town and bought a new battery, everything is working fine. i have told many people of this experience, none have heard a story like it. they say, it always happens when jumping a vehicle, never when it is just sitting there. obviously, hydrogen gas caused the explosion, what sparked the hydrogen is the question. any thoughts on this?? 

Thanks, duane and diann halvorson

Mon, 3 Apr 2006

My battery exploded in my Citroen AX whilst driving. I’d been having a flat battery on occasion and ended up with a flat again and had to get someone out to jump start me. The mechanic said my battery was in a really bad way, it was giving off a smell like stink-bombs, which I’d smelled before but did not realise was coming from my own car. Got the battery going and he said I should get it seen to. As it was a battery with a 3 year guarantee from Halfords I said I’d take it back for a replacement. About 10 mins later before I’d even got home there was a loud bang and I thought I’d driven over an empty plastic bottle or something. When I got home, lifted the bonnet and say what remained of my battery.

Halfords refused to replace it saying it was the car’s fault, and I ended up getting a garage to check the car and it turned out the alternator was putting out too much power and cooking the battery. Ended up buying new alternator and battery.

They don’t tell you anywhere that your battery could explode, I feel damn lucky I was not blinded or anything.

Should I be making a mix of baking soda and water to wash the area? The garage don’t seem to have cleaned any of it, just put the new battery and alternator in, there’s mess everywhere.

Thanks.

Craig.

Date: Tue, 08 Aug 2006 18:05:51

Thanks Ray,

You descriptions and pictures helped me answer what happened to me yesterday (August 7, 2006). I am in my 35' Express Cruiser coming from Niagara-on-the-Lake to my home port 35 miles away. About 30 miles into my trip I shut down for lunch on the lake. When I went to re-start the twins when I heard a load bang from the engine room. To my surprise my cranking battery had exploded and rendered starting impossible and all onboard electrical was off-line. A quick call to *16 on my cell phone got us a Coast Guard tow into port. This could have been a great deal worse, yet I always keep my engine ventilation on while underway. Thanks for the pictures. My battery looks very similar.

Cheers,
Mike

Fri, 25 Aug 2006 22:33:27 

Came home and my wife said the 99 Lexus ES300 wouldn't start . I turned the key got one turn and battery was dead. I thought maybe something electrical had been left on and had trickled the battery dead. Boosted the Lexus went for a 40 kilometre run and come home. Shut it down and than turned the key to see if the battery had recharged BOOM some smoke, battery had blown out on two sides and melted some of the hood insulation. I'm hoping it's only the battery which had 75000 km on it. Sounded like a shotgun going off under the hood , the Lexus has the battery pretty well encased and shielded so not much acid got around.

Wed, 09/06/2006 11:19 AM

Wanted to add that the other day, I went out to start my 2000 Nissan Altima and heard a noise like a shotgun blast, and then the battery was completely dead.

Upon opening the hood, I observed that one of the cell covers was missing from the battery and nowhere to be found. The battery was cracked from top to bottom on one corner of the case. It had been raining, so there was water on top of the battery, which likely contributed to arcing upon starting. It seems as though the cell cover must have been missing already, so the hydrogen gas generated during starting (and I also switched my lights on right before turning the key) was exposed to the spark.

It was an explosion of enormous power. I have heard of stuff like this but have never witnessed it before.

Nevin

Thu, 25 Oct 2007 19:58:37

I had a 5yr. old/84month "maintenance free" battery in my car that exploded at 2am. FORTUNATELY I was in the car and it happened on startup. It was not good having no way to get any baking soda. I was not aware that a cycle on/off battery charger could deplete the acid level inside the battery. I will now use the charger on 2amp and very sparingly. 

-Jim

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