Battery acid and salt water

Discussion in 'OnBoard Electronics & Controls' started by chabrenas, Jan 15, 2009.

  1. chabrenas
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    chabrenas Mike K-H

    Mafeking/Mafikeng, Bhophutatswana. On my way from Gaborone to Vaalie-land and the Cape. Where are you? KZN?
     
  2. robherc
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    robherc Designer/Hobbyist

    Hmm, being that I'm one of the rare people who've had a bit of experience with pure Cl2 gas (from compressed cylinders, in Iraq, don't ask), I can tell you that before the chlorine does major damage to your lungs, you'll be screaming in pain! The stuff smells stronger than anything you'd stay near, and burns like fire once it gets in your nose. And I found (through involuntary exposure) that it actually takes quite a lot of it, or a lot of time exposed to it, to do any major damage to you (or at least to me). So I would count chlorine as dangerous the same as I count fire as dangerous...not like chloramine gas, which is something that's actually scary.

    To sum all that jibberish up: Even if it DOES release significant amounts of Cl2 gas, nobody's likely to be injured by it unless they're incapacitated, inebriated, or incredibly stupid. Otherwise, you'll get outta the engine room & run the vents if it smells like chlorine so badly that you can't stand it, and it's making your nose, eyes, throat, and ches tburn.


    chabrenas, I hope that helps for your blogs ;)
     
  3. chabrenas
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    chabrenas Mike K-H

    Thanks, robherc. I've seen and smelled chlorine gas (thick enough to be visibly green) in school chemistry labs, and in extracurricular chemistry at home. It is reckoned to be lethal over a period of several minutes at a concentration of 400 parts per million (versus carbon monoxide 1000ppm, phosgene 50ppm and arsine 10ppm. However, as you point out, the tiniest whiff of it has you choking and running for the exit.

    I have now found a couple of articles saying that two poisonous gases are sometimes evolved from battery charging (in a normal environment, not with added salt water) - arsine (according to the list above, the most toxic of poison gases) and 'stabine'.

    Arsine is arsenic trihydride, and can be odourless at its lethal concentration, but I have not been able to find out what stabine is, in spite of searching a couple of general and chemical dictionaries online. Can anyone here tell me? Presumably another hydride of an impurity or additive found in lead-acid batteries.
     
  4. chabrenas
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    chabrenas Mike K-H

    OK. Found it by inspired guess, knowing that antimony is used to stiffen some lead plates. It's STIBINE, not stabine, and it is antimony trihydride. It's about as toxic as arsine, but it smells like H2S (rotten eggs) so probably easier to notice. I've also worked out where the arsine comes from - impure zinc contains arsenic, and some plates and connectors contain zinc.

    Batteries are nasty things, methinks. Pity we tend to keep them low down because they're heavy.
     
  5. mydauphin
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    mydauphin Senior Member

    I think the goal for a boat builder professional or amateur besides all the functions and form , is safety. Simply put a boat has to be design to take being flipped over and it should return back straight. Batteries, fuel tanks, water tanks, heater, stoves, microwaves, generators and even your personal stuff should be firmly attached. That said propane, gasoline, solvents, acids should not be in the compartment with the people. or bilge. Improper ventilation, spark or accident can be a disaster in the making.
     
  6. chabrenas
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    chabrenas Mike K-H

    mydauphin: I agree strongly. Now would followers of this thread like to tell me what percentage of boats, that are used in conditions where even something as trivial as a sudden squall is likely, actually do have safe battery installations?
     
  7. Fanie
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    Fanie Fanie

    I think many boats actually have safe battery installations. The use of sealed batteries enhance safety some. Again, I presonally think the battery acid itself has a far greater risk if it can leak out and mix with water in a hull. It can even cause blindness and severe skin burn, but will depend on how much water it mixes with and the circumstances.

    I'm not from KZN. Do I look like a Zulu to you ? Butch is from KZN but it's not his fault :D

    I'm from Gauteng-eleng-eleng, the crime capital of SA, Africa and the world.
    The area we live in (Centurion) has THE highest crime rates because the ANC put up 5 squatter camps around us to vote us out here, regardless of the consequences.
     
  8. chabrenas
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    chabrenas Mike K-H

    Gauteng car plates - GP - stand for Gangsters' Paradise, I believe... You're a long way from your fishing grounds, aren't you, Fanie? I believe there may be some little ones in Centurion Lake, but...

    They built a township on the edge of Franschhoek to try to rig the votes, too - and lots of other places.

    I've just looked at ISO10133, which says batteries should not spill at 30° heel, and box should contain spill at 45°. Sounds OK for normal sailing conditions, but not for what I've heard folks arriving in Richards Bay from Madagascar describe...

    Although they're still not in common, use, I reckon AGM batteries must be worth the money if you're doing serious ocean sailing. Even for the ordinary sailing boat, it would be nice to have the battery box in a cockpit locker rather than in the cabin, but I've never seen that done - but I'm out of touch with today's practices.
     
  9. Fanie
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    Fanie Fanie

    Actually GP stands for 'groot poepol', and don't start with me being far from the coast. I know even 'groter poepolle' who lives right there at the waterfront and don't put foot on it. Can you believe that :(

    I'm almost sure I've seen some boxes that is formed so that even if the battery rolls over the acid doesn't spill out. I use sealed batteries, so I have little concern with that. May be the way to go.

    These sealed batteries, if not abused (high charge and discharge currents) makes very little gas. I cannot say that I ever smelled or seen gassing since I started using these. The old LA batteries boiled and was smelly, and they don't last too well with the hammering we put them through for trolling motors, lights and the likes.

    I used to replace the trolling motor LA batteries every 6 months. I'm in the fourth year with these SLA's, and they just go.

    Probably the biggest concern with batteries is not to install them in a fuel tank hatch. I've seen it done.
     
  10. pkoken
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    pkoken S/V Samadhi V

    We run 100% AGM batteries. The only time you are going to get outgassing is if you are in the process of destroying them :)

    The valves are designed to remain closed in all "normal" conditions. The valves open in the battery case pressure is too high. Once you vent gas & electrolyte in an AGM battery it is GONE forever. You need precise charging an voltage regulation to prevent battery destruction.

    Our AGMs are by Lifeline and they are going on 5 years old....
     
  11. Fanie
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    Fanie Fanie

    Awww... that's nothing, weee had a battery... :D

    Batteries are too heavy. holds too little energy and has too short a lifespan.

    Can't we vote for the mini nuclear generator, half life 32 years, hot water on demand, full power 24/7, maintenance free, size and weight of one big battery. After 32 years you just add the second source and you have full power for the next 32 years and so on. Here is a power source your children can inherrit, and their children...
     
  12. chabrenas
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    chabrenas Mike K-H

    pkoken: Dead right. Anyway, they reckon most ordinary wet batteries die from poorly-controlled charging, so I guess the first thing is to install a properly-controlled battery charging system (now that the old ferro-resonant chargers are dead & buried and we can do proper 3-stage charging even with things you pick up in Wal-Mart or a car acessories chain).

    Fanie: Yeah. And the more expensive the boat, the more likely it will sit unused on an expensive marina berth all year. Should we feel sorry for the owners, or just sigh at their inability to get their priorities right? So where do you go to fish?
     
  13. chabrenas
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    chabrenas Mike K-H

    Where can I buy one? Street market near Pelindaba?
     
  14. marshmat
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    marshmat Senior Member

    Or under a fibreglass lid in the swim platform... saw that at a boat show once, decent looking boat but that battery setup was really sketchy.
    I've been hearing a few good things about Lifeline AGMs. How deep do you draw yours down, Phil, before recharging?
    Hyperion is working on getting one of these into production, see http://www.hyperionpowergeneration.com/ The lump of fuel is the size of a softball and, according to the folks at Los Alamos, can't be reprocessed into a weapon. At 25 MWe when running a steam turbine, it would be roughly equivalent to a 33,500 hp diesel. The effective life is only 5 years though. Cost: about $25M.
     

  15. robherc
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    robherc Designer/Hobbyist

    Hmmm, so can I get one with a lump of fuel roughly the size of a .25cal (6.3mm) BB, and run it at about 5KW for 15 years? ... I'm sure I could come up with about $15,000 for it...rofl!


    (if you want to hear something truly spookey, I just picked numbers out of the air there; then when I checked the Wattage X Years of the two, the ratio was 5000/3....when I checked the prices, the ratio was EXACTLY 5000/3! Wish I could guess things that well when it actually mattered!!! rofl :eek: )
     
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