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Thread: when does an inverter battery charger cabinet become a hazardous location

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    when does an inverter battery charger cabinet become a hazardous location

    Electricians and "solar" experts are installing huge battery banks and charging units above the batteries.

    A question to all you smart sparkies out there...if or when does the electrical installation become a hazardous location.

    For example i have seen houses with 20+ non sealed batteries below an inverter with a huge charge rates...fed from a roof full of solar panels...inside a closed cabnet or small roof with very little ventilation.

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    when does an inverter battery charger cabinet become a hazardous location

    Quote Originally Posted by ians View Post
    Electricians and "solar" experts are installing huge battery banks and charging units above the batteries.

    A question to all you smart sparkies out there...if or when does the electrical installation become a hazardous location.

    For example i have seen houses with 20+ non sealed batteries below an inverter with a huge charge rates...fed from a roof full of solar panels...inside a closed cabnet or small roof with very little ventilation.
    Google for photos of solar batteries that have exploded.
    Hydrogen is extremely flammable.
    It is wise to have separate ventilation to the outside for batteries that vent hydrogen. And keep sparks away from it.
    Scary...
    https://powerforum.co.za/topic/1740-...#comment-29818


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro

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    Hi

    Sans 10142 (7.14.3) informs us that battery charging locations could be a hazardous location and that we need to look at SANS 10108 to ensure that it is not .There are calculations and examples given in Sans 10108 ( pasted below )
    Under the OHSA it is our responsibility as installers to ensure that everything is above board and we cannot use the excuse that somebody told us to install like that and so when it went bang it was not my fault.

    We did work for a small casino type establishment and the architect was amazed when I refused to connect up a UPS with 60 batteries in a sealed room - We insisted on a separate room to be built with natural airflow.According to him at the time we were the only contractors in the country refusing to install 60 batteries in the sealed server room.At a later date he admitted to walking into a server room on another site and smelling the hydrogen build up.

    In answer to the question by IANS , when does the electrical installation become a hazardous location, - I would say that a battery charging area is a hazardous area until you do the calculation to show that it is not .
    Battery charging being UPS , Inverters etc



    SANS 10142-1:2017
    Edition 2
    256
    7.14.2 The installation shall comply with the appropriate of the following:
    a) SANS 10108 (which deals with the definitions for the terms used, the
    classification of hazardous locations, the selection of equipment for use in
    such locations and the methods of protection);
    b) SANS 10086-1 (which deals with the installation and maintenance of
    electrical equipment used in explosive atmospheres); and
    c) SANS 10089-2 (which deals with the classification of areas for the
    petroleum industry).
    7.14.3 The classification of the location and the selection of equipment
    permitted (such as flameproof, explosion proof and intrinsically safe
    equipment) shall be in accordance with SANS 10108. The installation of
    electrical equipment in explosive atmospheres and in the petroleum industry
    shall be in accordance with SANS 10086-1 and SANS 10089-2 respectively.
    NOTE Examples of hazardous locations are
    a) petrol pumps,
    b) spray painting booths,
    c) areas for the storage, mixing and use of flammable fuels, paints or solvents,
    d) grain silos and flour mills,
    e) coal storage facilities,
    f) wine cellars,
    g) areas for the storage and filling of LPG cylinders,
    h) battery charging locations, and
    I) sewage plant.



    SANS 10108
    D.1 Calculation of hydrogen emission rate
    D.1.1 To ensure that the hydrogen concentration in battery rooms and cabinets or cubicles is always
    within acceptable limits, it is necessary to calculate the minimum ventilation requirements
    , which are
    dependent on the rate of evolution of hydrogen from the cells, particularly in the event of overcharging.
    D.1.2 Hydrogen evolution under overcharge operation can be calculated, using the following equation:
    V = N I 0,00045
    where
    V is the volume, in cubic metres (m3), at standard atmospheric pressure of hydrogen,
    liberated per hour;
    N is the number of cells in the battery;
    I is the overcharge current, in amperes (A);
    0,00045 is the constant value, in cubic metres per ampere (m3A−1).
    NOTE 1 In the case of vented (flooded) cells, the current, I, should be that value declared by the manufacturer at
    the maximum boost voltage to be used across the battery.
    NOTE 2 In the case of valve-regulated cells, the current, I, should be that value declared by the manufacturer as
    IE, which is determined from an overcharge gas emission test at 2,4 V/cell.
    NOTE 3 If a valve-regulated cell has not been subjected to a gas emission test, the current, I, should be that value
    declared by the manufacturer at an overcharge voltage of 2,4 V/cell.

  4. Thank given for this post:

    ians (23-Jun-19), REAList (23-Jun-19)

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    What might seem like a silly question...why do installers always fit the battery bank directly below inverter battery charger ...sealed or not ?

    Batteries during the charge cycle...give off sulfuric acid (corrosive) and hydrogen (explosive) even if only in small quantities...dont you think it would be wiser to locate batteries away from the electrics and materials which can be affected by corrosion?

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    I wonder how many PV installers are aware of the dangers of the charging batteries or should i say even qualified to make the call.

    Something else i have noticed about inverter/charger/battery installations...cable protection/fuses and the location for the battery cabling...how many have a fuse on the pos. and neg.

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