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Unread 08-15-2012, 01:43 PM   #1
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Default What would cause a battery terminal to melt?

So, last week we took our last trip down to the campground and my son's buddy pulls up with a 10" subwoofer in a box and says he'll give it to him and help him hook it up. Against my better judgement, I let them go off and do it.

Now, my stereo gets power from a separate 12v battery I have mounted in the bagwell and wired into the 12v source connectors in the battery bay, which in turn is feeding the 12v source behind the dash where my lights and radio are connected.

This subwoofer just had the red and black speaker wire pinch connectors on it. It wasn't a powered woofer with RCA connectors. So, they went off and just found one of the 2 extra speaker outputs on the back of the radio and ran that directly to the subwoofer. Not a true subwoofer setup but they seemed to be pleased with the resulting sound.

Anyway, when the cart comes back, I noticed that the cable from battery 2 to battery 3 was now screwed into the metal piece on the side of the battery terminal on battery 3 and the post itself was basically gone - melted away. They claim they found it like that and had the buddy's dad do a quick fix on it. I'm betting it's more likely they crossed some wires up somewhere and it caused that post to get melted.

Are there only a few things that could have caused this with 1 or 2 of them being most likely given what was being done to the cart at the time?

I'm not super upset about it because everything seems to be still working and I'm getting new batteries soon away (as well as taking that half-assed subwoofer off the cart).
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Unread 08-15-2012, 01:56 PM   #2
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Default Re: What would cause a battery terminal to melt?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SaltLifeCC View Post
So, last week we took our last trip down to the campground and my son's buddy pulls up with a 10" subwoofer in a box and says he'll give it to him and help him hook it up. Against my better judgement, I let them go off and do it.

Now, my stereo gets power from a separate 12v battery I have mounted in the bagwell and wired into the 12v source connectors in the battery bay, which in turn is feeding the 12v source behind the dash where my lights and radio are connected.

This subwoofer just had the red and black speaker wire pinch connectors on it. It wasn't a powered woofer with RCA connectors. So, they went off and just found one of the 2 extra speaker outputs on the back of the radio and ran that directly to the subwoofer. Not a true subwoofer setup but they seemed to be pleased with the resulting sound.

Anyway, when the cart comes back, I noticed that the cable from battery 2 to battery 3 was now screwed into the metal piece on the side of the battery terminal on battery 3 and the post itself was basically gone - melted away. They claim they found it like that and had the buddy's dad do a quick fix on it. I'm betting it's more likely they crossed some wires up somewhere and it caused that post to get melted.

Are there only a few things that could have caused this with 1 or 2 of them being most likely given what was being done to the cart at the time?

I'm not super upset about it because everything seems to be still working and I'm getting new batteries soon away (as well as taking that half-assed subwoofer off the cart).
I wonder if the connection was loose which would cause that. If they found it like that then they must have been pushing the cart as I don't think it would have moved. I wonder if hot-dogging the cart would cause that as well?
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Unread 08-15-2012, 02:51 PM   #3
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Default Re: What would cause a battery terminal to melt?

in most cases its a loose and or loose dirty connection that melts the terminal end........but teenagers involved and it was fine until then and all of a sudden they found it that way......don,t know that i,d buy that but who knows......................who takes care of your battery maintence?? you?? if so i think you would be aware of any issues like that..........................
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Unread 08-15-2012, 04:15 PM   #4
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Default Re: What would cause a battery terminal to melt?

usually a loose connection causes arcing and then it melts the terminal. always make sure everything is tight.
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Unread 08-15-2012, 04:59 PM   #5
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Default Re: What would cause a battery terminal to melt?

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Originally Posted by shadowman View Post
in most cases its a loose and or loose dirty connection that melts the terminal end........but teenagers involved and it was fine until then and all of a sudden they found it that way......don,t know that i,d buy that but who knows......................who takes care of your battery maintence?? you?? if so i think you would be aware of any issues like that..........................
I take care of the cart and batteries, which is why I was hesitant to let 2 14 year olds go messing around with the stereo. I had just recently checked the water levels and connections. As a matter of fact, that particular cable broke at that connection point a few weeks prior and I went and had a new 4 gauge cable made to replace it and I put it on myself and made sure the connections were tight. Perhaps there was an issue before that caused the old cable to weaken and brake?

I don't know - maybe it's just coincidence. The cart gets used 10 times as much June - August at the campground, than it does the rest of the year. After I get my daughter settled at college this weekend, I'm going to pull the cart into the garage, clean it up, pull the old batteries and cables, disconnect the subwoofer, and get back into good shape.
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Unread 08-15-2012, 08:21 PM   #6
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Default Re: What would cause a battery terminal to melt?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SaltLifeCC View Post
I take care of the cart and batteries, which is why I was hesitant to let 2 14 year olds go messing around with the stereo. I had just recently checked the water levels and connections. As a matter of fact, that particular cable broke at that connection point a few weeks prior and I went and had a new 4 gauge cable made to replace it and I put it on myself and made sure the connections were tight. Perhaps there was an issue before that caused the old cable to weaken and brake?

I don't know - maybe it's just coincidence. The cart gets used 10 times as much June - August at the campground, than it does the rest of the year. After I get my daughter settled at college this weekend, I'm going to pull the cart into the garage, clean it up, pull the old batteries and cables, disconnect the subwoofer, and get back into good shape.
thats why i asked who took care of it i thought it was you and i,m sure from your posts on this board that you take purty good care of things..........so those darn teens huh........got to give them credit cause they will try ya...........i,m with you get that thing back off maybe even tell the kids just so you know i know just the way everything was and theres no way what your telling me happened.....and drop it might just give them something to think about the next time if they get one.........................................
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Unread 01-26-2013, 05:37 PM   #7
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Default Re: What would cause a battery terminal to melt?

I'm new here but check it occasionally. What a smart bunch there are here. Anyway, here's my first post. Thanks to anyone who may be able to help.

I had this happen more than once and my question is, what ELSE could it be other than a loose or corroded terminal?
I just coughed up for brand new batteries on my 2004 Precedent. There apparently was something else wrong as well because my golf cart shop ended up having to replace the controller also. So now, I'm down $1400 and a week later I find I've got a melted terminal on a brand new battery. It's the positive terminal.
I called the GC shop and they said it must have been a loose wire. After some talking they finally agreed to cover the new battery under warranty. (it looked iffy for a minute though)
Three weeks later my I see my daughter and her friends pushing the cart home. Now the negative terminal on a different battery not only melted, it also melted a hole in the plastic battery cover and a big hole into the battery it self; I can actually see liquid through the hole.
I can absolutely guarantee that all of the wires were tight because of the first one.

Any ideas what else could cause something like this? I haven't had a chance to call my GC shop yet. I'll try to post a picture as well.

BTW, I did check and all of the batteries are hooked up correctly (terminates +, +,_,+,_,+,-,+,-, terminates -).

Am I legit in being a bit upset with my shop that did the work?
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Unread 01-26-2013, 07:02 PM   #8
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Default Re: What would cause a battery terminal to melt?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zillionaire2 View Post
I'm new here but check it occasionally. What a smart bunch there are here. Anyway, here's my first post. Thanks to anyone who may be able to help.

I had this happen more than once and my question is, what ELSE could it be other than a loose or corroded terminal?
I just coughed up for brand new batteries on my 2004 Precedent. There apparently was something else wrong as well because my golf cart shop ended up having to replace the controller also. So now, I'm down $1400 and a week later I find I've got a melted terminal on a brand new battery. It's the positive terminal.
I called the GC shop and they said it must have been a loose wire. After some talking they finally agreed to cover the new battery under warranty. (it looked iffy for a minute though)
Three weeks later my I see my daughter and her friends pushing the cart home. Now the negative terminal on a different battery not only melted, it also melted a hole in the plastic battery cover and a big hole into the battery it self; I can actually see liquid through the hole.
I can absolutely guarantee that all of the wires were tight because of the first one.

Any ideas what else could cause something like this? I haven't had a chance to call my GC shop yet. I'll try to post a picture as well.

BTW, I did check and all of the batteries are hooked up correctly (terminates +, +,_,+,_,+,-,+,-, terminates -).

Am I legit in being a bit upset with my shop that did the work?
I bet the cart was stalled and that caused the meltdown. Be happy the motor wasn't fried! Perhaps a fuse on the pack would be great insurance for future mishaps?
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Unread 01-26-2013, 09:17 PM   #9
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Default Re: What would cause a battery terminal to melt?

Thanks for the quick reply.

What do you mean by "stalled"? If this is something you think may happen again how would I go about installing a fuse? I mean that'd be pretty cheap insurance. Are you meaning an inline fuse somewhere?

What I can't figure out is that I have had this cart for 2+ years with no problem then 'pow', I have to replace the brain, all the batteries and now it's heating up.
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Unread 01-27-2013, 08:55 AM   #10
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Default Re: What would cause a battery terminal to melt?

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Originally Posted by Zillionaire2 View Post
Thanks for the quick reply.

What do you mean by "stalled"? If this is something you think may happen again how would I go about installing a fuse? I mean that'd be pretty cheap insurance. Are you meaning an inline fuse somewhere?

What I can't figure out is that I have had this cart for 2+ years with no problem then 'pow', I have to replace the brain, all the batteries and now it's heating up.
"Stalled" That is when the gas pedal is pressed and power is sent to the motor, but the motor is not turning. Perhaps the cart was trying to go over a curb or up a steep incline, these can cause a stall. When a motor stalls it heats up quick and permanet damage will occur if the stall condition is not stopped. I can only imagine while a motor is stalled, the weakest link in the system will melt first. Just my .02...
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