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Generac Air Cooled Generators Troubleshooting Questions, Answers, and Information About Air Cooled Guardian Generators

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Old April 10th, 2010   #1
SteveInMD
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Default Another battery explosion

I've got acid everywhere from the battery explosion! Add me to the list of unhappy Guardian customers. This has happened to way too many people. There should be a safety recall. I have a model 43902 (serial number 3811214).

I'm trying to clean it up as best I can, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if the corrosion ends up destroying the whole unit. I don't know if the generator was running or not when the battery exploded. I can't tell how far the acid went inside the unit.

Do I need to do anything besides pull the 5 amp fuse to shut down the battery charger on this unit? Which model Optima (or other AGM battery) fits the unit without having to modify the battery compartment? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
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Model 43903, Serial number 4316354, Propane, Motor from my 43902

RIP - Model 43902, Serial number 3811214
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Old April 10th, 2010   #2
ceb58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveInMD View Post
I've got acid everywhere from the battery explosion! Add me to the list of unhappy Guardian customers. This has happened to way too many people. There should be a safety recall. I have a model 43902 (serial number 3811214).

I'm trying to clean it up as best I can, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if the corrosion ends up destroying the whole unit. I don't know if the generator was running or not when the battery exploded. I can't tell how far the acid went inside the unit.

Do I need to do anything besides pull the 5 amp fuse to shut down the battery charger on this unit? Which model Optima (or other AGM battery) fits the unit without having to modify the battery compartment? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
I dont know what is happening with them ether. We have had several explode in our liqu. cooled units. We go in and wash every thing down with baking soda water and then rinse them good and replace the battery's with the gel cell type.
The chargers could be over charging or the battery could have become low on water. The plates then could have shorted causing the hyd. sulfide gas to explode
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Old April 11th, 2010   #3
SteveInMD
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It could be, but I was using a sealed maintenance free battery. It says, Do Not Open on top of it. It has to be a problem with the charging system since people no longer have problems after switching to a Battery Minder or similar charger.
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Model 43903, Serial number 4316354, Propane, Motor from my 43902

RIP - Model 43902, Serial number 3811214
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Old April 11th, 2010   #4
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One of my techs had a battery explode last week. He had removed it from the generator and placed it on the ground behind him. as he was installing the new battery, the old one exploded directly behind him. It was, and had been out of the machine and disconnected for a few minutes. It was so loud that the homeowners came out of the house as well as the neighbors. There is a reason for the explosion warning on the top of your battery...batteries are explosive. Please be careful when handling them.
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Old April 11th, 2010   #5
SteveInMD
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Batteries explode when they are mistreated. They don't just blow up for no reason at random times.

The mistreatment came while the battery was in the unit. Probably handling the battery caused gas bubbles to come to the surface, but the problem has to be the charging circuit. If batteries exploded in cars at the rate they are going up in these systems, there would be recalls.
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Model 43903, Serial number 4316354, Propane, Motor from my 43902

RIP - Model 43902, Serial number 3811214
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Old April 12th, 2010   #6
ceb58
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Originally Posted by SteveInMD View Post
Batteries explode when they are mistreated. They don't just blow up for no reason at random times.

The mistreatment came while the battery was in the unit. Probably handling the battery caused gas bubbles to come to the surface, but the problem has to be the charging circuit. If batteries exploded in cars at the rate they are going up in these systems, there would be recalls.
Could be but not always. Even though you have a "maintenance free" battery it still can become low on water due to evaporation. The batteries have vent hole to let the pressure out. If the water level is low the cells can short to each other causing a spark and then boom
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Old April 12th, 2010   #7
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I have been a generac tech for 12 years. I have been a drag racer/dune buggy/jeep/boat/motorcycle rider for twice that. I have seen as many batteries blow up those vehicles as I have generators. We REALLY maintain our batteries in our generators. At every service (twice a year) the terminals are removed, cleaned with a battery terminal tool, and reinstalled. We then replace them every two years. We have very few battery issues. That being said, we had three batteries blow up in one unit. It was a late model (new style) 17 KW. That was about a year ago and we've had no issues in that machine since. Since the third one was after a new charger, and the fourth one is a year old, I have no explanation. I would suspect that batteries are actually produced by very few manufacturers and resold under different names. I know when we bought Exide batts we had very good luck. When Exide raised their prices, we went with another vendor, I can't remember their name, but the battery had very sharp edges, and lots of issues. Mostly dead or weak, not exploding. We now buy from yet another vendor and the batteries look like the Exides. I can't confirm they are the same but we are happy with their performance. I wish we could nail this down to either the generator or the battery so that a fix could be found. I am certain that Generac has sought the same answers we are looking for, and they are smarter than I am. I see several generators a day and have other techs that do the same. We buy, sell, and install about 500 or so batteries a year. We just don't see very many batteries exploded. Maybe 15 or 20 over 12 years. I don't know how that number compares to other dealers, but I'd be interested. On the battery that blew up while sitting on the ground, I truly have no explanation. I have never seen or even heard of one blowing up after it was disconnected. It would be great to have a battery expert show up on here to explain what happens. I will ask our battery supplier if he can provide some literature on what happens and if he can help, I'll post it up.
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Old April 13th, 2010   #8
ohmslaw
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Does the employee smoke?
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Old April 13th, 2010   #9
SteveInMD
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Default This is not rocket science

It's obvious why mine exploded. The charger is charging the battery at 14.15 volts. A wide variety of publications say a wet cell lead acid battery should be float charged (continuous charge) at 13.2 to 13.4 volts. (Some list an absolute max. of 13.6 volts). We are way off the scale here.

Even switching to an AGM battery doesn't solve the problem. The maximum float charge for an AGM battery is 13.8 volts.

I'll be pulling the charge fuse until I can wire in a decent charger that float charges at the correct voltage.



As for the battery that exploded after it was removed. Perhaps handling the battery cause enough gas bubbles to come the surface - then when the battery was removed it was set in the sun? which provided the heat to set the explosion off.
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Model 43903, Serial number 4316354, Propane, Motor from my 43902

RIP - Model 43902, Serial number 3811214
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Old April 13th, 2010   #10
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SteveInMD: I believe that you hit it bang on. I have a great deal of experience with telecommunications systems and have over a hundred sites that we have back-up batteries floating for years on end. The key is always the proper float voltage. For a wet cell battery, I would suggest 13.2 volts is a good voltage to float a wet cell at.

When checking batteries in these generators, I would suggest that you test the battery float voltage first (before test running). If you are seeing much over 13.2 volts, you will start to see fluid loss and with that comes the increased possibility of batteries going boom.
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