Battery Hiss

14 Jun

The other day the boat smelled like dead fish/sulfur/crappy blocked up head. Being as we’re in a marina amidst a fishing fleet we leaned towards dead fish. The next morning the smell was still there, and when I went up on deck it wasn’t. I had to admit the smell was coming from inside. I went below, checked the toilet hoses and checked the holding tank—thank you, thank you, thank you, this was not the source.

Eventually my nose led me to the couch, which doubles as our kitchen table seating, which means Lowe and Ouest drop three out of four bites of food there. I thought I’d find some putrefying scrambled eggs and we’d be done. But I didn’t find eggs, and when I got down on hands and knees I found the smell was coming from underneath the couch. I opened things up and continued letting my nose lead the way right up until I heard the fizzing/bubbling noise coming from one of our house batteries. One-hundred and five amp hours of West Marine gel cell technology was bulging and hissing. I put my hand on the battery and recoiled instantly—it was burning hot. I hid my face behind a cushion and blindly removed the battery cables. I covered the seat back up and let things cool down for a few hours before finally removing it. I carried it up—still hissing—next to the dumpster until I could ask the office where I should bring it or if they could take care of it for me. Twenty minutes later it was gone. Some local Mexican family probably repaired it somehow and are now running their entire home off of it.

I’ve no real idea why a battery does that, or if it was really toast because of it, but either way we’re now out 1/6th of our battery storage capacity. Not a big deal really. I’m not even sure that I’ll bother replacing it. Big battery banks are nice to have but ultimately unnecessary if the boat has a decent charging system—which ours doesn’t, but should have by the end of the summer.

Spent a hot day drinking aguas frescas and trying to stay in the shade.

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