*The Dangers of Complacencies*
By: Landwire
26 June 2013

I made a stupid mistake. This time, it is costing me financially. From the board, this was a serious situation that could have been so much worse. While the issue deals with alt-energy, it's applicable to any prep area and serves as a warning.

Due to a variety of issues, I store a pop-up tent trailer off-site. The battery, however, I store at home so I can take care of it. I modified a Rubbermaid tote with a vent for any gas buildup and a pvc elbow setup, so I can run the cables from the panels or other items and keep the lid on. This tote lives outside and has proven itself overtime against the elements... till recently...

I'm getting ready for an annual camping trip and I start the process of getting the battery ready for the trip. I go out to the battery box and I find the following:

I am wondering why the propane tanks are on top of the lid. They are supposed to be in front or maybe to the sides, but not on. With the lid deforming under the weight, I'm getting a little apprehensive.

Inside I find this:

I started to pull out the cables but it is starting to look like a lost cause. Battery charger, while nothing fancy, is completely rusted over. The extension cord is rusted really good. The charge controller seems like it can be salvaged with some new connectors. The hydrometer in the top right is shot. The battery is reading at 12.09 volts. Two of the 6 wells are a little low with 3 wells having some type of substance floating on top.

I could have sworn I checked everything last month but, with juggling several projects, I obviously dropped the ball. In the past, it's always been a nice smooth process getting every ready to go. Not now. I'm hoping I can get everything fixed or replaced in time.

From the board:

Spitfire - "Consider what might have happened if the tote lid had failed completely and the metal propane tanks had shorted the battery terminals. The battery has enough energy to weld with so it sure has enough energy to burn a hole through a propane tank and ignite the fuel inside. A few years ago a 100 gallon propane tank that sprung a leak was ignited by the owner who had gone outside to smoke. The resulting explosion flattened everything within 100 yards. A grill tank only holds 4 gallons but you get the idea."

Life happens, we get busy and things get pushed back and out of mind. We start to get comfortable. When we start to get comfortable, that's when the mistakes start to happen. That is when we are most vulnerable.


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