Exploding tractor battery!

DieselBound

Elite Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2016
Messages
3,164
Location
Arlington, WA
Tractor
Kubota B7800; Kioti NX5510HC
Is there any possibility of an internal short popping up and causing this?

I once popped off a radiator cap on a car and the contents blew straight into my face. It was luk warm! Never took that approach again!
 

coast40

New member
Joined
Sep 6, 2021
Messages
17
Location
Oregon Coast
Tractor
Bobcat 331, Mitsubishi BD2J, Case 580B
How long did it take Sears to run a check on that Diehard?

I miss Sears. I suppose their lifetime guarantees helped speed their demise along. (I claimed refunds on a computer that my daughter messed up entirely and also on a tire that was my fault. I felt guilty when they closed.)
No, Sears died from mismanagement.Not from tool or battery warranties. The Sears head made out like a bandit. One opinion> https://www.indigo9digital.com/blog/failureofsears
 

coast40

New member
Joined
Sep 6, 2021
Messages
17
Location
Oregon Coast
Tractor
Bobcat 331, Mitsubishi BD2J, Case 580B

Chukster

New member
Joined
Apr 16, 2013
Messages
1
Location
Coopers Mills, Maine
Tractor
8N Ford, NAA Ford
Gets your attention! It's been probably 60 years since my first blown up battery experience. Seen a number since then. The conditions offered in the comments could be contributing factors, but it's very simple. A battery that is charging gives off hydrogen, which combined with oxygen in the right proportions is very explosive. The simplest example I have witnessed was when I had a garage and we had a battery charging out in the open and an employee walking by brushed against the wire from the charger, apparently causing a spark. All the caps popped off and it cracked the case. After that, we always removed the caps when we were charging batteries to dilute the hydrogen concentration, and also made sure that the batteries weren't where they could be disturbed.
Jumper cable instructions caution that the last connection should always be made to a place away from the battery (just in case there is a pool of hydrogen/oxygen coming from the battery). SMT's battery cable, was probably a little corroded or not tight, so the heavy draw from the starter created a spark. Boom!
 

EdinLa

New member
Joined
Apr 25, 2009
Messages
21
Location
Louisiana
As mentioned above, charging lead/acid batteries develop Hydrogen in the air space above the wet cell. There are multitudes of reasons for the internal space to create a spark sufficient to ignite such an explosive mixture; including many surrounding energies that 'modern' science has no explanation for, and just pretends they don't exist.

The best advise I have had was to let a battery 'rest' for a period of time following charging. ....(or wear a hazmat suit while you ignore such advise!)
 

ChasHM

New member
Joined
Jan 21, 2017
Messages
5
Location
Wingdale NY
Tractor
Cub Cadet 7305
where to start is right! 🤣
Thank you for all of that VERY helpful information!
•very interesting about the grime! (You are making me want to go out and start looking at all my batteries now!😅)
•ohhh my!!! How does one know if it’s been ‘overcharged’? (If the digital indicator goes above 12.6 (?)? So, you SHOULDN’T leave batteries charging overnight?
Overcharged?: No easy way to tell. The battery hygrometers will give you a rough idea that it's fully charged. Search the web for info on fully charged, but the rest voltage should be about 12.6 if fully charged after you let it sit a couple of hours. Don't obsess if it's 12.4 instead of 12.6.
What about trickle chargers? (I have a NOCO booster and my friend has a NOCO charger…but to be honest, I’ve never looked to see if there is a digital read out on the charger. Trickle chargers have lower volts/amps/whatever they are called, correct? It will say on the charger somewhere what the power is?
Is it possible to overcharge a battery using a trickle charger? (Like if you leave it on the charger for days at a time?
Battery Maintainers: They're SUPPOSED to be hooked up all the time. The relatively modern ones won't 'overcharge' the batteries. See some of the other posts about comments about older trickle chargers. I'm surprised there aren't 20 posts opining on the relative merits of various methods for keeping batteries charged.
Old-style trickle chargers are OK, but I wouldn't leave one hooked up indefinitely; overnight would be OK. (Old style ones are really stoopid, just send some current to the battery and will, eventually, fully charge the battery and, eventually overcharge it. Probably haven't been sold in 10-20 years.)
•your trickle charger is solar-powered? THAT would be a lot handier than running extension cords out of the barn!! But what happens if there’s lots of clouds & snow? How does it affect the functioning? That’s important - because I live in the snow belt, in a county that was apparently named so because of the weather- Grey County. That’s why I’ve been hesitant about getting a solar electric fence charger- I was concerned that in the winter there wouldn’t be enough sun to power it.) Where did you get the Solar charger? Any particular brand(s) you recommend? Are they more expensive than regular trickle chargers? I wonder if they make dual ones with solar and the option to plug in. Do you happen to know?
A solar trickle charger/battery minder (& a solar electric fence module) don't need sun every day, all day. They've got batteries. I'd go swipe the snow off after you've done your plowing but otherwise they work just fine when sunny or cloudy. If you're compulsive, you'll set the angle of the solar panel to "optimum" based on your latitude but in practice it probably doesn't make any difference.
I picked up my solar battery minder from Northern Tool a decade ago. Still sold by them, but the price has gone up and you have to buy the solar panel separately (which they also sell). The battery minder module is about 2x $ the wall-plug version; I have both, use the wall-plug in the garage for the lawn tractor in the non-winter and in the basement for both the real-tractor and lawn-tractor batteries in the basement in the winter. The solar charger is for the real-tractor when it's warm out.
I learned the hard way that my tractor won't start with a cold battery but starts just fine when the battery is 55+ (basement temp) degrees.
•okay! So it sounds like that is the problem- the alternator (or generator) is too small. So how does one fix that? Can you just put a bigger alternator on? (My dad the mechanic is likely rolling his eyes right now! 😂)
If you can’t put a bigger alternator on, what do you do? Is there a way to have enough power… or is it easier just to take the lights off? 🤷‍♀️
Yes, you could put a bigger alternator on, but will require jiggering or a lot of shopping to mount and maybe a change in belt length depending on the pully situation.
BUT first get it tested. A Steiner is a decent small tractor, it ought to have an alternator capable of driving all the electrics. You don't need to take the lights off, just not turn them on!
 

RalphVa

Super Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2003
Messages
7,368
Location
Charlottesville, VA, USA
Tractor
JD 2025R, previously Gravely 5650 & JD 4010 & JD 1025R
Had one explode once in an old pickup we had. Lead acid batteries give of hydrogen gas. If it cannot get released (very light; wants to rise quickly), it can stay and be ignited by a spark or too much heat.
 

Boss 302

Platinum Member
Joined
Aug 25, 2013
Messages
609
Location
lignum, va
Tractor
Kioti RX6010PS Mahindra 3510 Sold (Gonna miss that ole girl)
It's a nasty explosion and it effects your hearing short term for at least 3 days, long term it's hard to say cause that's all cumulative.
 

MotoDan

New member
Joined
May 16, 2019
Messages
3
Tractor
Kubota BX2350
Well that was bloody scary.

I charged the (not entirely flat) battery on my Fordson Super Major overnight and came to start it this morning. Big spark, huge bang, smell of battery acid and battery fluid dripping all over the barn floor.
Everything had been done properly. Correct polarity. It just seemed to happen out of the blue.

Any idea how best to clean the battery acid off the tractor and floor? Hose pipe?

What is is likely to have been destroyed? Alternator? Anything else?

Thanks for any advice
The so called “acid gas” that was mentioned is actually Hydrogen. Surprised no one has pointed this out. Hydrogen is always produced when charging (or discharging) a lead acid battery and is a very real and potentially dangerous situation - especially in confined and/or poorly ventilated areas.
 
 
Top