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Old 10-15-2017, 02:45 PM   #1
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New Marine Battery - Smoking off Positive Terminal

Hi, I thought this would be pretty easy swap, but now that it doesn't appear to be I'll ask.

Bought a replacement deep cycle battery for older Dodge Sportsmobile (96). Bought a Duralast here:

Murdoch's – Durastart - 27DC-5 - Marine Deep Cycle - 12 Volt Battery

Thought it would be as easy as taking the 3 connections off the positive side and the 4 connections off the negative side and putting everything back the way I found it.

Not so, upon adding the positive side connections I started to get some smoke and things went south from there so I bailed on the entire idea.
Looking for any advice. First time I've swapped out and figure better safe than sorry on this one.
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Old 10-15-2017, 03:04 PM   #2
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...need lots more details....

such as...smoke from where?

What prompted you to replace the old battery?
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Old 10-15-2017, 04:45 PM   #3
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...need lots more details....

such as...smoke from where?

What prompted you to replace the old battery?
Old Battery just wasn't juiced anymore. The fridge I have isn't 3-way, but rather a AC/DC and it used to last about 3 days. Recently, like half a day. It had never been replaced since I've owned it so figured it was time.

It was on the smoke (spark/flame) was positive terminal and it may have just been me being cavalier about the order of the connections. At least that's what I'm hoping since I did nothing more that remove connections/reconnect - and then promptly disconnect when things went south.

I didn't put a ton of research into the battery, but I'm thinking what I bought should work fine on a SMB. I'm not keeping the van forever and there aren't a ton of options where I live anyhow so just picked that battery up a local Murdochs to get me through an upcoming trip prior to winterizing. Thoughts?

I'll upload a picture, but damn this should simply be as easy as a swap/reconnect. Thanks.
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Old 10-15-2017, 08:30 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by SuperG View Post
...I'll upload a picture, but damn this should simply be as easy as a swap/reconnect. Thanks.
Swapping the battery should be easier than posting a pic on this forum, so if you can post a pic, you can swap a battery.

Was it actually smoke, or just some sparks?


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Old 10-18-2017, 02:26 PM   #5
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When first making a connection to the battery, some electronics will provide a bit of a load, which will cause a quick arc between the battery post and the cable as you make the connection. Once firmly connected, there should be no further issues. Were the sparks still happening after you connected the cables? If so, from where?
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Old 10-18-2017, 08:41 PM   #6
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Swapping the battery should be easier than posting a pic on this forum, so if you can post a pic, you can swap a battery.

Was it actually smoke, or just some sparks?


Herb
Yeah, so I got the nerve to do it again and figured it was just a fluke and I was just being a puss due to a few sparks. So attached positive first, then negative...spark show, a little smoke and then a pop. For real? Is my battery going to blow out the side of the van? Probably, so I pulled everything because I don't need a Darwin award even though it sounds like I do.

So as dumb as this all sounds I'm going to post a picture. Attached at bottom.

To double down on the dumbness I've always assumed that red is positive, black negative. I did some searching and on RVs, it seems, black is power (+) and white is neutral - like a house. To triple down on dumbness I didn't pay attention to any of this when pulling the battery because I assumed it was always red/black like a car. The fact that red cable (left part of pic) exists didn't help matters.

The config prior to pulling was 2 white and 1 red on left terminal. 4 black on right terminal.

So my question is -
1) Does this picture look familiar to any Sportsmobile (especially older 90s Dodge) user?
2) Do I totally have this thing reversed and, as predicted, am going burn my van to the ground?
3) Are these things equipped with a reverse polarity fuse and was that the pop I heard. If not, any other theories?

Good times with 12 volts.
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Old 10-18-2017, 09:08 PM   #7
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It sounds like you've got a pretty good idea of where all the wires are supposed to go.....

.....but did you by chance take a photo of it when the previous battery was still installed and hooked up?

Also.....
....that looks like an awful lot of connections for what seems like should be a pretty simple electrical system in your rig. (My 1995 Fresno-built SMB only has one fat black wire going to the negative terminal, and two red wires going to the positive terminal, for instance....)

At this point I'd put the effort into attempting to identify what each of those wires is connected to. What major electrical items does this van have? You already mentioned an AC/DC refrigerator. Is there also a generator? Any kind of solar? One wire might be related to powering your stereo when the van is parked, does your rig have the switch to run your stereo off of either the starter battery OR the RV battery?

While confirming the positive lines is trickier, you can fairly easily start at least tracing each of the "ground" wires to see if indeed they are ground wires. (Electrical meter is your buddy.....)
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Old 10-18-2017, 09:57 PM   #8
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It sounds like you've got a pretty good idea of where all the wires are supposed to go.....

.....but did you by chance take a photo of it when the previous battery was still installed and hooked up?

Also.....
....that looks like an awful lot of connections for what seems like should be a pretty simple electrical system in your rig. (My 1995 Fresno-built SMB only has one fat black wire going to the negative terminal, and two red wires going to the positive terminal, for instance....)

At this point I'd put the effort into attempting to identify what each of those wires is connected to. What major electrical items does this van have? You already mentioned an AC/DC refrigerator. Is there also a generator? Any kind of solar? One wire might be related to powering your stereo when the van is parked, does your rig have the switch to run your stereo off of either the starter battery OR the RV battery?

While confirming the positive lines is trickier, you can fairly easily start at least tracing each of the "ground" wires to see if indeed they are ground wires. (Electrical meter is your buddy.....)
Thanks, yes a bit of a chore to trace some of it as it is buried pretty solidly behind things, but I do have:

1) AC/DC fridge
2) Generator
3) There is a TV port as well, but not sure if that is riding off something else

*Stereo only runs off car battery. It is stock Dodge van stereo so not exactly a tunes factory.

Then a few things that run exclusively off AC
1) Microwave
2) A/C Unit

I think that's it for electrical components. I have a schematic as well with the user manual, but it is pretty damn generic. I'll probably look at it more later.

But to your question - "Did you take a photo of it when the previous battery was still installed and hooked up?"

No, that's the problem at this point and why I'm second guessing. I do it all the time with anything else I'm fiddling with, but with this I just figured red positive/black negative like every other car battery I've ever swapped. Obviously not that simple.

Was hoping somebody out there had similar year SMB and had a wire configuration white/black confirmation. That red wire (think it is to generator but got late) screwed the pooch for me on this (in theory) simple swap.

Any ideas on the fuse pop?
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Old 10-18-2017, 10:12 PM   #9
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My guess (and it's only a guess) at this point.....is that one of those white wires that you hooked up to the positive terminal is in fact a ground wire. And by connecting it to the positive terminal you "closed the loop" and created a runaway short. Again, only a guess! I've accidentally shorted a wire temporarily across battery terminals before, and there was indeed a ton of drama when it happened....

With the lack of a clear wiring diagram (and the lack of a "before" photo....)....again I think I'd start testing/tracing each of those wires and validating their identities. Continuity test with the ground wires to chassis or body. I'd check each of those white wires for any kind of continuity to ground as well.

I'm assuming you have some sort of isolator under the hood that keeps the starter and house batteries separate from each other when the van isn't running, but it still might be a good idea to unhook the starter battery as well while you're doing your sleuthing. (but....haha, take a picture of *that* one before you unhook its cables, eh??
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Old 10-19-2017, 12:15 AM   #10
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Pretty clearly, you have one or more wires reversed. Hopefully you didn't damage anything, but you need to identify each wire. Possibly, you could use an ohm meter and check for continuity to ground of each wire. If your lucky, only the ground, or negative wire will have continuity to a frame ground, but it's hard to tell. To know for sure, each wire should be traced hand over hand to what ever is supplies. You may want to have an electrician look at it cuz hooking stuff up backwards can cause all kinds of problems.
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