Draining Inverter Battery Compartment

Discussion in 'OnBoard Electronics & Controls' started by elyon67, Dec 20, 2016.

  1. elyon67
    Joined: Dec 2016
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    Location: Searchlight Nevada

    elyon67 New Member

    I have a new boat and have 12 inverter batteries located in a sealed compartment with an aluminum hatch in the front deck of the boat. On our first trip water was coming over the bow and flooded the compartment. There was no bilge installed and the compartment is sealed to prevent battery acid from entering the hull.

    I am worried that the flooding will cause problems down the road and looking for ideas on how I can allow water to flow through the compartment and be bilged in a secondary compartment to prevent the batteries from becoming submerged.

    Have any of you ever designed anything like this in the past?

  2. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    gonzo Senior Member

    Firstly, the compartment is not sealed or it wouldn't have gotten flooded. You can simply seal it to prevent water from entering.
  3. elyon67
    Joined: Dec 2016
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    Location: Searchlight Nevada

    elyon67 New Member

    you are correct the compartment is sealed at the sides and bottom, water and air are able to enter the compartment along the edges of the hatch at the top. There is also a penetration into one side of the compartment to allow all of the wiring to pass through to the inverter in a separate area.
  4. Ike
    Joined: Apr 2006
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    Location: Washington

    Ike Senior Member

    The compartment is required to be vented. Any compartment containing batteries, (even supposed sealed batteries) is required to be vented, because even sealed batteries can outgas under certain conditions. So if you seal it you are creating a danger of trapping hydrogen gas. However, there definitely should be a drain if water can get in. If they followed ABYC standards there should be some sort of tray to catch and contain any spilled acid. There should be ways to prevent water from getting in without sealing the compartment. Hatches usually have some sort of channel around the edges of the hatch to collect water and drain it away. Of course if you are taking a lot of water over the bow the channels may be overwhelmed.
  5. kapnD
    Joined: Jan 2003
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    Location: hawaii, usa

    kapnD Senior Member

    Elyon 67
    You have not said what size or type of boat this problem has occurred on, but I would venture to guess that it is possibly running a bit down in the bows with the addition of the dozen batteries in a location that is very sensitive to overloading.
    Therefore, the solution may have little to do with sealing the battery box, and everything to do with placing the batteries in an appropriate location.
    When adding a big slug of weight to a boat without actually calculating its location, my gut feeling says to place the load low and midships for starters.
  6. Ike
    Joined: Apr 2006
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    Location: Washington

    Ike Senior Member

    I am assuming this is a houseboat. His profile says his current boat is a houseboat. That would make sense considering the number of batteries he claims to have. However, I have looked at a lot of houseboats over the years and did not see that many batteries in the bow area. Usually they are aft in the engine room. But I am not familiar with a Trifecta Houseboat.

    I looked them up. Trifecta owns Sumerset, Stardust Cruisers, and Thoroughbred.
  7. Ike
    Joined: Apr 2006
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    Location: Washington

    Ike Senior Member

    I posted a question on the forum at Houseboat magazine re: this? They said that on some large houseboats the batteries for the inverter are up forward. Often they are 6 volt deep cycle batteries. So having 12 would be the same as having a 6 battery 12V bank. Anyway these boats tend to have a lot of electronics and appliances, and they need to keep the wires from the battery to the inverter as short as possible.

    But just the same he needs to find a way to keep the water out, and drain any water that does get in.
  8. BertKu
    Joined: May 2009
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    Location: South Africa Little Brak River

    BertKu Senior Member

    IKE that was a nice research you did. Very well done. Would it possible to do me a favour , real favour!! look at my question I have under " folding up keel" in the last quote with regards to the stringers. I am stuck and need to finish my boat as soon as possible. My apology to the OP for this interference.
  9. sdowney717
    Joined: Nov 2010
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    Location: Newport News VA

    sdowney717 Senior Member

    I think your going to have to drill a drain hole.
    Why not?

  10. Barry
    Joined: Mar 2002
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    Barry Senior Member

    A picture would help but if water is getting into the box from the sides of the lid, then I am assuming that the lid is flat and just rests on the sides of the box.
    Can you build a new lid where,
    1) the lid length and width exceeds the outside dimensions of the sides of the box so the water will clear the box? or
    2) make the lid larger than the box as explained above and if you can, put a 1 inch lip down along the sides of the box.

    If water is getting in by the cables, a quick trip to a performance shop can get you a cheap rubber manual transmission stick shift boot.
    Cut one side of the boot from the wide end to the small end and wrap around the cables. Leaving the cut on the bottom, and the bottom of the boot below the entry of the cables into the box, encircle the loom, silicone the boot to the box. Any water getting into the boot will go out the bottom crack and into the bilge. You can fasten the small end of the boot to the loom with a large hose clamp. There are also marine boots that you can pick up at a marine store that deals with cables going through a motor well on an outboard, and are as effective but a little more money

    If you put a drain in the box anything spilled could get into the bilge. Not ABYC compliant but...............
    Ike had all the correct points in #4 but I would add, the vent of a battery box has to be to outside the hull so any explosive gasses go overboard.

    I would also consider phoning the manufacturer to see if they have come up with a solution to the problem

    A picture would help??? as reading your initial post, you might have a flat aluminum lid on an aluminum deck???
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