Checking Battery's H20 Level

I apologize for the following elementary questions, but the last time I saw a non-maintenance-free battery was in the 1960s and they didn't look like the ones installed on the sump pump.
Each battery has two rectangular caps. I asume that both are to be pried-off and cell chambers are underneath?
The batteries are on a 24/7 charger which goes into trickle mode when battery is fully charged. Should the charger be temporarily unplugged when checking fluid level? In other words, is there additional risk when checking the fluid level while charger is connected and running? Thanx, Jack
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Yes, assuming this is a battery that can be opened.

There should be no risk. Why not take it off the charger anyway? I'd run the battery down a bet every few months anyway just to be sure it will cycle and charge, but it should not be necessary.
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YES the charger should be unplugged and you should wait an hour or so. Charging creates gas that is explosive!
All lead acid batteries contain sulfuric acid which, when charging, generates explosive gasses. Always charge a battery in a well-ventilated space. Always turn off the charger before connecting or disconnecting the charger's leads to the battery. The act of hooking up the charger can generate sparks that can trigger an explosion. Do not smoke or have an open flame in the charging area
Best if you are going to be putting your face near the battery to make sure there is no explosive gas there. If it is in awkward place you should wear safety glasses if there is any chance at all of getting splashed. Use Distilled water it is cheap and easier on the battery.
http://www.twcc.state.tx.us/information/videoresources/t5_battery_safety.pdf .
http://www.batterystuff.com/battery/battery_tutorial.htm
Wayne
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Another good site about batteries:
http://www.batteryfaq.org
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run
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Running the batteries partially down every few months is a sure way to shorten their life. Lead acid batteries have a limited number of cycles in them and each time you do this, you're one step closer to failure.
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wrote in message

run
cycle
Ample power recommends it:
http://www.amplepower.com/primer/break-in/index.html
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Ample power recommends what? The link you provided indicates they recommend partially cycling a battery by drawing it down 5% three or four times when new to increase the plate area and thereby the capacity. Three or four times is one thing, the recommendation posted here was to partially draw down the battery every few months continually, as a means of testing the battery. And to use that as a means of testing, one would have to draw the battery down a lot more than 5% to determine it's true capacity.
This is the first time I have seen this recommended or necessary and I find it dubious at best. If it really were necessary, I think it would be recommended by battery manufacturers and would be widely known. Also, in the same section, Ample says it also works to restore capacity to old batteries. With every lead acid battery I've ever seen, once they're old, sulfated and have lost recharge capacity, they are kaput.
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wrote in message

when
unplugged
risk
running?
I'd
will
Check again. Ample Power says to discharge at 5% of rated current capacity for about 20 hours until the battery voltage reaches 10.5 volts (that is totally dead). I too questioned it that should be done. I wrote William Darden at:
http://www.batteryfaq.org
to get his opinion. On his site he recommends against deep discharges. However, in this case he responded saying that the "break in" is correct. He said had not gone into it because most batteries, especially RV deep discharge types, will experience it in normal use.
Dardin also goes into great detail on restoring sulfated batteries.
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snipped-for-privacy@home.net (BroJack) wrote in 60.giganews.com:

There might be the risk of explosion.Opening the cells may release gaseous hydrogen,and then all that's needed is a spark. (or you or someone else might just trip over the wires and spill acid)
Why take a chance?
--
Jim Yanik
jyanik-at-kua.net
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There might be the risk of explosion.Opening SM: Well, there is always a risk with lead acid batteries. Oh, it's traditional when typing to put a space after a period.
the cells may release gaseous hydrogen,and SM: Hydrogen can be released during charging. Pumping electrical energy into a lead acid does one of several things. First, it charges the battery. Second, it can also warm the battery. Third, it can break the water into hydrogen and oxygen.
then all that's needed is a spark. SM: If the caps are off, the hydrogen has been released to the air. Hydrogen is lighter than air. It's a very low risk. However, it's important not to use any open flame. Also do not light a cigarette or any tobacco containing device for 10 years after working on a lead acid battery.
(or you or someone else might just trip over the wires and spill acid) SM: Yes, that's a chance.
Why take a chance? SM: cause home service will make the product last longer.
--
Jim Yanik
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Explain how LA car batteries explode while being jump-started then.

He was discussing DISCONNECTING the charger before servicing,or leaving it hooked up while servicing.I never implied he should not service,just that it would be safer to disconnect first.
Are you gonna be another UseNet spell corrector? IOW,another killfile candidate?
--
Jim Yanik
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Had my maintenance free car battery die one chilly morning here in floriduh. I was in a hurry to get to some work related appointment - AAA to the rescue. Jumper cables hooked up, guy leaning on radiator frame over battery says; `go ahead and crank it' BOOM one very loud boom.
AAA driver dashed ten meters or so before stopping and looking down at his soaked shirt - I offered to get the hose quick - he jumped in his truck and was gone in a heartbeat without saying a word.
Appeared one of the lead? buss bars in the battery inter-connecting cells had been cracked and erroding and on that morning with lots of amps it arced making that boom. Blew the top sort of pried up along with the guts and one corner off of the battery.
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BroJack wrote:

I suggest turning it off for say an hour before checking the batter. It is not very likely to cause a problem anyway, but why not.
I suggest using distilled (NOT SOFT) water. Soft water is no better than the same water before it when through the water softener.
Check it every month for a few months and if you are not finding any change, switch to twice a year.
--
Joseph E. Meehan

26 + 6 = 1 It's Irish Math
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yea distilled H20 only. trickle chargers are for charging and once charge you unhook them. float charger are for maintaining charge if its attached more than a day or so.

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BroJack wrote:

The risk with keeping the charger plugged in is that if you disturt the contacts to the battery terminals inadvertantly, you will draw a spark that could initiate and explosion. If you are trickle charging the battery, just unplug and disconnect the charger, pry off the caps, and add distilled water if neccessary. If the battery was under a heavy charge you might want to wait a few minutes for the excess hydrogen to disipate, but and hour is overkill. Just wear a pair of safety glasses to protect your eyes if something were to go horribly wrong.
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Yes I've seen a cell blow up due to an adjacent spark! And it ain't pretty. So ventilate! Glad you mentioned that the charger is smart enough to go into a trickle mode after recharging the battery. But the fact that you have to add distilled water makes one wonder why. Either the battery cells are in very warm spot and/or are being overcharged (i.e. the electrolyte could be boiling away?). Neither is good for any battery and can reduce its life drastically.
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I made a mistake. The charger is in float charge mode, (not trickle charge), after going through bulk and absorption charge modes. The waterproofers recommend keeping it on 24/7, but I pull it at bedtime.
Jack
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have a float charger connected 24/7 on a riding mower here that I bought used four years ago with its original ugly old looking battery - still starts easy enough and gets about one half of a baby food jar of distilled water per yr. Hardest part is keeping distilled water on hand, those plastic one gallon water bottles leak after a while.
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I did a simialr thing using an inexpensive appliance timer; Gave my aging NiCd pack 1 hour a day of charge.
Just make sure your charger doesn't draw any current out of the battery when the AC is off.
-beck
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The hydrogen risk from a trickle charger is very minimal.
Pry the caps off.
Look in with a flash light. You should see "split tubes" coming down the sides of the holes.
The fluid should be covering the grey metal plates, and should barely touch the bottom of the split tubes.
If it is not, slowly and gently add distilled water, not tap water.
--

Christopher A. Young
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