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OT Battery Connections That Corrode

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  • OT Battery Connections That Corrode

    Speaking of regular 12 volt auto or deep cycle batteries here. Why do some connections corrode real bad with all the scale, and some don't? On my RV battery, the positive connection (threaded stud) will corrode and then not conduct power. The negative doesn't do this. I clean and tighten well, still happens.

    Also, how do you stop it? My Dad used to smear grease all over the post and clamps back years ago, big mess. Isn't there something less nasty that will stop all the scaling and corrosion?

  • #2
    vaseline...101 uses

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    • #3
      Put a disconnect switch on the positive battery lead. That will stop any tiny leakage currents from flowing. It is those leakage currents that produce corrosion since the materials of the terminals are usually of mixed metallic composition.

      My Land Rover has no leakage currents because it has no electronics. It is entirely electromechanical and when the power is switched off at the ignition switch there are no parasitic paths for current to flow. The battery terminals never develop corrosion at all.
      Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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      • #4
        There will be some seepage of acid fumes around the post or stud that will migrate into the threads or between the post and cable. Why it mostly happens on the positive post I don't know but I have seen the same thing.

        I still use a lot of grease on the posts to block the corrosion from getting to the cable connection. Most the time it works fine. I don't think you will ever stop the corrosion, just control it.

        When I worked on trucks we had a spray can of red stuff we sprayed on the posts and cables and that did a real good job but the grease is cheaper and worked just as good.
        It's only ink and paper

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        • #5
          I disagree with a disconnect, depending on application. You don't want to disconnect anything with an electronic loads, corrosion or not. Auto ECM's, RV converters, and so on keep cards warm and moisture away by that parasitic drain. They also maintain their "brain" with a constant tiny power supply.

          I use Penetrox electrical connection anti-oxidant on all my terminals. Get it at any electrical supply house. Works quite well.

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          • #6
            I was thinking of an RV such as a fifth wheel trailer where the battery serves only for lighting, water pumping etc. If it is the "start and run" battery then disconnect will cause some issues although not serious.
            Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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            • #7
              The converter on my fifth wheel keeps the batteries topped up with a float charge. I do not take the batteries out for storage in the winter. I suppose that is more long term than maybe a few days at a time. It would not hurt to disconnect the batteries for a short time in an RV.

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              • #8
                Yes, a question that I have wanted to ask for some time!

                I have used the grease option for some time and it seems to work amazingly well, much better than the red and green felt washers from Schucks. I just smear it all over the lug and battery case.

                My question is, why does it work.

                Is it a chemical reaction thing?

                Is it excluding oxygen or something else?

                Is it just a mechanical thing, providing a better seal around the post to contain acid seepage or seepage of fumes??

                The reason I ask is so I would know how to apply the grease to greatest advantage.

                Thanks, Dave

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                • #9
                  This is an easy fix- just get one of the "Orbital" or "Optima" style gelled-electrolyte batteries.

                  While you'll always have some degree of corrosion simply from dissimilar-metal galvanic action, it's accelerated by either high local humidity, or the acid vapors given off by the battery.

                  As the battery charges, the liquid electrolyte can heat up or even boil, depending on the load and charging rate. That gives off both hydrogen and sulfuric acid vapor- the latter of which is why you see the battery tray itself start to rot.

                  The gelled-electrolyte batteries give off considerably less vapor- I'm told virtually none. That alone cuts down on terminal corrosion by a large factor.

                  I switched to an Optima battery back in the mid-90s, and terminal corrosion virtually stopped. Optima had some QC issues back in the early 2000's, so I switched over to Orbitals, which I've found to be a better battery.

                  I ran an Orbital in an old Explorer from 2004 'til I just sold it this past summer, and the side-terminal bolts hadn't even tarnished.

                  The drawback is they cost more- roughly twice what a normal liquid-electrolyte battery costs. In my opinion it's worth it.

                  Doc.
                  Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by becksmachine
                    Yes, a question that I have wanted to ask for some time!

                    I have used the grease option for some time and it seems to work amazingly well, much better than the red and green felt washers from Schucks. I just smear it all over the lug and battery case.

                    My question is, why does it work.

                    Is it a chemical reaction thing?

                    Is it excluding oxygen or something else?

                    Is it just a mechanical thing, providing a better seal around the post to contain acid seepage or seepage of fumes??

                    The reason I ask is so I would know how to apply the grease to greatest advantage.

                    Thanks, Dave
                    When the battery is charged by the alternator, it gives off hydrogen gas, which is mixed with sulfuric acid, and then it seeps around the lead battery post from the pressure of the expanding gases. This mixture, and moisture in the air, combine to create a corrosive condition for the battery connections. (In extreme conditions, this mixture can collect and coat the top of the battery and short circuit across the terminals, thus killing the battery)

                    Wash off the top of the battery, dry with some paper towels, then coat the base of the battery terminal with grease. Reconnect the terminals, and this should last for a year or so.

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                    • #11
                      The disconnect is a good idea for equipment that sits for periods of time.

                      For terminals I prefer to use anti-seize compound (Never Seize). Depending on the brand it contains either graphite or copper particles that seem to help reduce electrical resistance and sure cuts down on corrosion.

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                      • #12
                        Good covering of wheel grease always worked for me. Acid works wonders for cleaning everything off terminals btw.
                        Andy

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                        • #13
                          battery terminals i have for years, cleaned them scrupously first with a short dip in water and baking soda,,then a good wash and scrub in hot water, dried completely, then a careful liberal coating of vaseline.
                          For me this method has seemed to work fine for a few years.

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                          • #14
                            I have always used Kopr-Shield for battery terminals. Its somewhat pricey but a little goes a long way. Just brush it on and thats the end of corrosion and you will always have a good connection

                            http://www.tnb-canada.com/en/catalog...df/c3/35en.pdf
                            Ernie (VE7ERN)

                            May the wind be always at your back

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                            • #15
                              Ever since I started to get my truck Rust Checked annually, I haven't had any corrosion problems. My dealer always gives my battery a quick shot when doing in the engine compartment. You can buy it in aerosol cans too.
                              Location: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

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