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oak_box 03-04-2019 07:14 PM

Fixed Fire Extinguisher for Engine Room?
I had an old Kidde Marininer FyreWatch fire extinguisher in my engine room. The gauge was on zero, so I pulled it out. The local company couldn't recharge it (zero weight and no pressure). So... time to go shopping.

What is the current wisdom on the best fixed fire extinguisher to get? and West Marine both have the Fireboy. I'm guessing I need a 200ft^3 unit:

Are there any other options?

FF 03-07-2019 05:20 AM

Its not just an extinguisher , good protection is a system.

The bilge blower must be secured , the engine stopped etc.

oak_box 03-07-2019 08:58 AM

Thanks for the response. The old extinguisher did have two wires that came off of it. I'm assuming the wires went up to a box at the helm that had an LED indicator (and maybe an alarm??). No idea if the wires would lead to circuitry that would shut down the engines (and generator?) and bilge blowers.

Does anyone know if it's safe to connect the two leads (without the extinguisher in place!) and see what happens?

I would HOPE that if the circuit shuts down the engines, it would do so in a safe and non-destructive way, and hopefully in a way that the engines would immediately be able to start back up once the short was cleared. But since it's a 20 year old boat with no documentation on that topic, I have no idea, and am just a little reluctant to say "hold my beer and let's see what happens when I do THIS..."


Codger2 03-07-2019 09:25 AM


Originally Posted by oak_box (Post 746158)
What is the current wisdom on the best fixed fire extinguisher to get?

This question got me to wonder how many TFers have an ER extinguisher? :blush:

angus99 03-07-2019 09:57 AM


Originally Posted by Codger2 (Post 746764)
This question got me to wonder how many TFers have an ER extinguisher? :blush:

We have a halon system, grandfathered under the regs that gets checked every year.

kchace 03-07-2019 10:08 AM


Originally Posted by Codger2 (Post 746764)
This question got me to wonder how many TFers have an ER extinguisher? :blush:

I have a Fireboy automatic system in the ER along with the shutdown controller to shut down both mains and the Gen.


FoxtrotCharlie 03-07-2019 10:27 AM

We have a FireBoy auto system in the ER that is outdated - hoping it can be recharged. I'm still learning the systems on this boat - there is a display on the Elec panel for the FireBoy - not sure if there is an auto cut off for engines - more exploring to do:thumb:

Larry M 03-07-2019 10:47 AM


Originally Posted by angus99 (Post 746778)
We have a halon system, grandfathered under the regs that gets checked every year.

Same here. :thumb:

timb 03-07-2019 01:19 PM


Originally Posted by angus99 (Post 746778)
We have a halon system, grandfathered under the regs that gets checked every year.

I have a fireboy halon .how do you check yours ? I don't have a shutdown system.

Larry M 03-07-2019 01:40 PM

This is part of a letter from Fireboy-Xintex regarding their Fireboy 1301 Halon systems. The letter is in the Forum’s Library in the Miscellaneous section. I’ve printed it out so I have a copy in case we’re ever asked. I get ours weighed at a UPS or FedX store.

“The only maintenance required on our units is periodic weighing (preferably every 6 months) on an accurate and certified scale. There is no expiration date on these units.”

timb 03-07-2019 01:53 PM

1 Attachment(s)
I got this when I click the link .

Codger2 03-07-2019 01:56 PM


Originally Posted by timb (Post 746825)
I got this when I click the link .

So did I!:facepalm:

Conrad 03-07-2019 02:04 PM

Blue Sky, because she started life in charter service in Alaska, has four Fireboy automatic extinguishers:

2 in the engine room
1 in the lazarette (Genset & furnace)
1 under the forward stateroom (Not sure why. Perhaps due to windlass and thruster batteries?)

They have charged/discharged indicator lights at the helm but no S/D capabilities.

I have them and the handhelds inspected annually.

Larry M 03-07-2019 02:41 PM

Sorry, try this link. If that doesn’t work, go to the Library and download it. :)

Trawler Forum - Library - Miscellaneous

oak_box 03-07-2019 03:56 PM

My unit had a pressure gauge on it. The first thing to check was whether there was any pressure (there was not...) indicated on the gauge. I then unbolted the bracket holding the cylinder in place. That allowed me to move it around enough to be able to loosen and remove the screws holding each of the two wires (wrap them in electrical tape until replaced...). Once I pulled the unit out of the Engine Room, it was obvious that there wasn't anything inside.

Mine was also a Halon derivative of some sort. The only place I could find in town that would inspect / pressurize automatic systems - didn't handle the chemical my extinguisher used (FE241). So I get to buy a new extinguisher. As much as I hate shelling out another $600 or so, I wasn't overwhelmed with confidence about the place I had gone to... For something my life could potentially depend on, it seems prudent to get a good unit.

In addition to that, I've seen the FIREPORT advertised on Amazon.
This is a small plastic window you install into the engine room (in the upper deck?). In the event of fire - instead of opening the hatch and fanning the flames, you break out the small fire port, jam a hand held extinguisher nozzle in, and pull the trigger.

This seems like a good backup to the automatic system, and could potentially cover the forward part of the engine room that is the furthest from the installed system.

Does anyone have any of these?

Comodave 03-07-2019 04:58 PM

With halon systems the only positive way to check them is remove them from the boat and weigh them. There will be a weight on the label and it should be within the listed weight range. With a gas boat halon will cause the engin to stop. With diesels, they will suck it in and keep running which is why you need the auto shutdown for when the halon dumps. If you have bilge blowers thay also need to be auto shutdown.

twistedtree 03-07-2019 05:10 PM

I'm a big fan of automatic ER extinguishers, but keep in mind that they are almost useless unless you also have an automatic shutdown for any engines (including generators) and exhaust fans. The problem is that the engine(s) and fans will do a splendid job of removing all the extinguishing agent, rendering it useless.

When the fire bottle triggers, it fills the space (ER) with one agent or another to smother the fire. That agent needs to stay in the space until the fire is out completely, and ideally cooled enough so it doesn't reignite.

Without a shutdown system, then engines and fans pull the agent out before it can do it's job, so you are firing blanks.

Lots of people rely on themselves to shut everything down, but I think it's very unlikely that you will figure out what's going on, have the presence of mind to know what needs to be shut down, shut everything down without making a mistake and missing something, and do so before the agent has been reduced to an ineffective level. I ran the numbers once and you only have seconds to shut things down

Now with an automated shutdown also comes potential problems, but to me at least it's well worth it to have an effective fire extinguishing system rather than a placebo.

But I will also offer up one caution. Some years ago, perhaps 6 or 8, Sea Fire released a new automatic shutdown control. It's a gray box, where the previous incarnation was a black box. The gray box device is an utter piece of shirt, with an incredibly high failure rate. Mine failed, and I know many people first hand who have had similar failures. And the killer is that when it fails, it completely disables the boat. When mine failed I was lucky to be at the dock because it incapacitated my main engine, wing engine, generator, and thrusters. Had I been maneuvering or trying to dock, I would have simply lost all control of the boat and drifted into whatever happened to be in the way.

For those interested, the newer gray-box SeaFire control unit has an internal power supply that powers all the control relays. The relays are always active to enable the engines and fans. This is an appropriate dead-man design. The problem is that the power supply is poorly designed, runs hot, and fails pretty reliably within a few years. Mine failed at about 4 years, and i know others who have had failures earlier.

This has been brought to SeaFire's attention and they have basically done nothing to address, so on our next boat I've switched to FireBoy who have a much better product anyway.

The gray box SeaFire comes in three configurations of 8, 6, and 4 relays. Anecdotally it seems that the 6 and 4 relay boxes are less prone to failure, and that makes sense considering that the power supply only has to power 4 or 6 relays rather than 8. But if you have an 8 relay box, your days are numbered.

Arun52 03-07-2019 06:53 PM

Pyrogen aerosol systems are used on many commercial boats and rescue organizations. It's considered to be more efficient than Halon.

Conrad 03-07-2019 06:58 PM

1 Attachment(s)
This happened this morning. The fire apparently started in the engine room (the vessel was tied up at the dock and the engine was not running) and preliminary reports suggest the cause was electrical in nature. No idea yet what if any fire extinguisher system was in place.
The live aboard owner was on board with her dog but they both got off safely. One adjacent vessel suffered paint/glass blistering and cracked windows.

psneeld 03-07-2019 07:27 PM

A lot has to go just right with automatic or manual shutdown systems.

The better the trained crew, the less needs to be automatic.....especially with older boats retrofitted with less than perfect auto systems.

Also look up the actual recommended sizing, it is often way more than what many people calculate properly.

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