Re: [Amel Yacht Owners] Battery Compartment Explosion

James Alton

I had a customer that was leaving on a Circumnavigation and was concerned about the age (7+ years old at the time) of his perfectly performing Sonnechien Dry Fit German Gel batteries,  5- x 8D so a big bank.  He installed 5 x 8D Lifeline AGM’s and experienced numerous battery failures on the trip starting only 6 months out in the Pacific after departure requiring very expensive air shipments.  I am still using the 5 Sonneschien Dry Fit batteries removed from the boat, 0 failures so far.  We reinstalled the same upon his return to the US and had no further problems up until the time he sold the boat about 8 years later which puts my batteries over 20 years old.  Fort Lauderdale Battery used to sell the Sonneschien and still had some good specimens of this same type the last time that I talked to them which had lasted as long plus a lot more experience than I if you want to inquire. ( I have no connection with this firm other than battery purchases)   The dry fit batteries have been replaced by an Exide "Traction” Gel Battery which has the same case and supposed to be essentially the same battery.  No problems so far but my experience so far is limited to 3 years with these batteries as they are relatively new.   The Dry Fits were touted as being having very low gassing btw.  Despite some abuse, I have never seen any of these swell, crack or ever leak anything.

Glad to hear that the damage is less than you originally thought.  Best of luck in making a good decision with preventing future problems


SV Sueno Amel Maramu 220

On Jun 25, 2016, at 12:24 PM, James Wendell ms42phantom54@... [amelyachtowners] <amelyachtowners@...> wrote:

Thanks everyone for the support and suggestions. We are cleaning things up and it may not be as bad as I originally thought. Somehow one or two of the batteries failed and caused the explosion. I guess my lessons learned is to suspect batteries when they get close to the end of life. I did not know that.
s/v Phantom Amel 54 #044

On Friday, June 24, 2016 5:18 PM, "seafeverofcuan@... [amelyachtowners]" <amelyachtowners@...> wrote:

Dear Jamie,
                  I had thermal runaway on a set of Vetus wet cell batteries that were eighteen months old.
The incident happened at the top of the Sea of Cortez under sail, there was no explosion, I was alerted to it by the smell.
The battery box was hot to touch and I was terrified to open it. The inside was covered in battery acid, all the cables were destroyed, four batteries were cracked, eight batteries had buckled cases.
Four were serviceable which I hooked together to allow me to return to Mazatlan for repairs.
It was a harrowing experience as the temperatures of each battery kept rising for hours as they sat overnight on a dock.
I have met a number of people with variations of the same theme.
Good luck with your new engine.
Fair Winds
Trevor Lusty
Former owner of Seafever
SM 425
Ire land

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