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AuthorMessage
johnjo
johnjo

Posted: Tue Dec 16, 2008 11:09pm

Post Subject: Drowned Battery

Hi Tony, please don't laugh, but I fell in the canal whilst carrying my starter battery to the back of the boat along the outside. Everyone reckons it's now useless and not worth the bother of recovering because it will have shorted out. My opinion differs in that, had it had a dead short with say a spanner across the terminals I would agree, but as it's in the canal and assuming still upright it will just discharge without damage due to the amount of water surrounding it. Who is right and why. Many thanks John

Drowned Battery
Tony-B
Tony-B

Posted: Wed Dec 17, 2008 4:49pm

Post Subject: Drowned Battery

Dear John - it's easy to do, I've been in complete with large toolbox. I have never had a battery go in, but I think you are probably all wrong. At low voltage water is not a very good conductor of electricity so I think there will only have been a minor discharge if any at all. It might be different if it ended up terminals down in mud on a very polluted canal, but I still doubt any effect would be more than marginal. If it is an ordinary wet battery (with filler plugs) I expect the plugs would have restricted the water getting into the cells so apart from the possibility of long term damage caused by impurities in the water I can not see it being a major problem. If the cells did fill right up to the top I would suck a little of the liquid out of each cell and put it on charge with the caps off. Once the battery is nice and warm and gassing make sure the liquid level is below the bottom of the caps. You would have reduced the specific gravity (relative density) of the electrolyte but I would not expect you to notice the difference in battery performance. I very much doubt you will need to throw the battery away and if it was fine bore its bath I expect it will still give a good account of itself. This does assume that you rescued battery without much delay. Tony Brooks

johnjo
johnjo

Posted: Wed Dec 17, 2008 7:47pm

Post Subject: Drowned Battery

Thanks for not laughing [pubicly anyway!] Battery still in the marina unfortunately it's about 10 or 12ft down, hopefully it's the right way up as it was brand new and I had no intention, at first anyway, to let go so I held on till the bottom and nearly my end. The battery is a sealed type and still had the plastic caps on. We'll try and recover it next week and see how it behaves, I'll let you know. Kind regards John

Tony-B
Tony-B

Posted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 9:23am

Post Subject: Drowned Battery

I may laugh if I saw it happen but not afterwards. Sealed batteries should have a pressure relief valve in the vent and that should act as an pretty effective seal so given the caps are on I think the battery will be fine, but possibly just a little discharged. You need to guard against the faint possibility that water has got into the battery so when you fit it stand it on layers or newspaper with some polythene underneath the paper. Then start charging and keep and eye on it. If it eventually starts discharging acid from the vent keep changing the paper until no more is discharged then just use the battery. If nothing comes out it should be fine. Soak any acid contaminated paper in canal water before throwing it away and do not put it in paper recycling bins - in theory the paper could eventually spontaneously combust! Tony Brooks

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