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Posts: 18
Reply with quote  #1 
I've worked with foreign and domestic rechargeable batteries at various times for the past 60 plus years.  I can say one thing about batteries, they're useful and often essential, but also extremely dangerous if carelessly handled and used!  I can recall four fatalities from battery explosions and a number of injuries, some quite horrific.

Despite all the recent 'improvements' in battery technology, lithium and so on, when it comes to real capacity we are still pretty much stuck with the ancient lead/acid (LA) types.  They are readily available and (somewhat) reasonably priced.  However, the fatal and most other accidents I mentioned were all caused by one thing---overcharging!  LA batteries get warm when they're charging and hot to the point of internal boiling and violent explosions when grossly overcharged.  When they blow they spray fragments and potent acids over a large area.  Therefore, always use a quality charger or charge controller and don't jury rig or experiment.  You can't get more energy from a battery than what it was designed to provide.  Other LA battery potential problems:

-  A discharged battery can freeze while a charged battery won't.  Once frozen, the battery is scrap.

-  Never dead short (crowbar) a battery.  For example, span the terminals with a wrench or other metal tool.  If you do, the tool will almost instantly melt in your hand, you'll be horribly burned, and the battery will be internally damaged and could explode.  A word to the wise:  Always cover the terminal or terminals you.re not working on with cardboard or plastic just in case your hand or a tool slips.

-  A charging LA battery emits hydrogen gas which is flammable and could be explosive when concentrated as it might become in a basement or shed corner.  Keep your battery banks shielded away and well ventilated to the outside.  

Be careful and stay safe... 

Scott Davis

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Posts: 697
Reply with quote  #2 
Excellent, excellent safety tips Laurence.  Thanks for sharing!
Take care, Scott MD

Posts: 3
Reply with quote  #3 
For my first solar project I'm building a battery enclosure for a 8kW pv system; battery temperature is my 1st concern. I know batteries can't set right on a concrete slab but I think concrete would act as a temperature buffer.
I have aluminum panels with 3" of insulation bonded to 1 side that I'll use for the sides and lid but there will be no bottom in the battery box.
1" x 2" wood strips will set on the concrete slab inside the box and a single piece of EPDM rubber will cover the wood strips at the bottom & extend up the sides to protect against battery leaks or spills.
The concrete temperature should remain relatively cool in the summer and hopefully aid in moderating summer heat.
Does this sound like a workable plan to anyone?

all help would be appreciated


Posts: 6
Reply with quote  #4 
It's scary when I see a battery bank just sitting out in the garage with no protection.      Currently I'm running a 790 amp/hr 48v bank and it's in a box with a lid to protect it from shorting from a dropped tool.      In addition I added fuses to each bank and a vent fan that comes on when the batteries are charging.      I wrapped the most common tools I use around the batteries with friction tape and only use a plastic flashlight when working around the batteries.      Dropping a metal flashlight when watering the batteries could be bad.

safety thought,     what if your cat decides to just walk on your batteries and gets acid on it's feet?
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