Tuesday 3 May 2011

Shit Happens

Not normally would I post negative things, mainly because its mostly small stuff that happens all the time and it don't make good reading, but today is different.

Over the weekend we were away when we got home yesterday the weekend winds had destroyed my canopy. So this morning's first job was to get that back up.  Not so difficult until I slipped an whacked my knee so now that is all swollen up and very painful.

It gets worse.............

I was grinding on deck with deck boards down, all of a sudden a massive explosion, lots of misty smoke and a burning in my eyes nose and throat.  Immediately I realised the batteries that were under where I was working was the reason.  I grabbed the hose and went in with it running just in case there was a fire, but fortunately not.

So this is the result.

The list so far is 6 wrecked traction batteries, 1 destroyed shunt, battery box has been blown apart and on the lid was my almost new power drill.  When the lid blew off it must have hit the drill on the underside of the deck metalwork, because this is what it looks like now.

It looks like its been run over by a truck

So that was my seriously expensive day.


  1. Could have been worse, at least you were not hurt ... The batteries produce explosive fumes?

  2. Oh yes VERY explosive. Hydrogen!

  3. You might want to check how much ventilation you have or don't have. around your batteries.

    Just a thought

    Bill Kelleher

  4. Ahaa, another potential user for the good old CO detector methinks.
    The FireAngel CO detector does a wonderful job of detecting hydrogen as recently proved by nb.LilyPad where Traction Batteries produced enough gas to enter the cabin through the rear door vents and set off the alarm.
    Sorry to hear of the set back Kevin, hope the cells didn't split and dump acid on the steelwork.
    P'raps an intrinsically safe extractor fan for the future?

  5. You're very lucky Kev. The batteries & drill can be replaced, you can't.

    Sorry 'bout the knee. Been there too.

    I've witnessed a few battery explosions in my life and one near fatality. I've learned you can never be too careful around them. I had my incident with batteries last year, almost burnt the boat to the ground. I was putting the drain plug in the engine when I shorted the wrench to the pos terminal on the starter solenoid. As cautious as I am with them there's always the occasional brain fart.

    If you're going to go with traction batteries again it might be worth planning in some ventilation to the battery box. A low voltage fan from a computer will work. I think that's what I'm going to do and run the fan from a small solar panel.

    Be careful.


  6. Good to hear you are OK. Were the batteries gassing due to being on charge?

  7. Does this mean that you will have to consider an extraction fan to remove gasses left after the battery has gone through the charge and discharge cycle?
    best of luck.Robert

  8. Looks like you never stop learning. I need to find out more about venting the batteries thats for sure.

  9. I think I would use bilge blower fans as they are explosion proof.

    Bill Kelleher

  10. Pretty sure Hydrogen is lighter than air, hence you would just need a vent pipe running vertically to the deck.