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Old 05-19-2016, 06:13 AM   #1
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Fire - Gone in 180 seconds

Here is an article describing the loss of a trawler due to an electrical fire. It really makes you think about how unprepared many of us are.

Gone in 180 seconds!
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Old 05-19-2016, 06:49 AM   #2
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That is nightmare material!
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Old 05-19-2016, 06:55 AM   #3
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Damn, Those pictures bring back some memories. I've read a couple of articles that point to the source of the fire in the battery banks. The rose fire started in the batteries. Makes since. Good find AC
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Old 05-19-2016, 07:18 AM   #4
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The last close call I had was also battery started to cook at 3 AM. It was almost to hot to touch.


Thankfully my cheapo, household CO alarm woke me up 3 times before I could locate the smell of the gasses from the battery....so I pulled it to the dock and saw that it was starting to cool from disconnecting it and getting it out in the wind..


8D battery...so I wasn't too enthused at 3 AM but it beat the alternative....
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Old 05-19-2016, 08:24 AM   #5
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Ouch, Ouch, Ouch... I'll find time to read full article. TY for posting
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Old 05-19-2016, 08:35 AM   #6
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Reminds me of a few quick lessons/comments

Automatic ER extinguishing systems are good. The guy in the story had to open it up and expose himself to the flames and smoke. Would an AER have stopped his fire? Most of them, probably not from the sounds of it but would have bought him some more time for sure, and lessened his exposure and risk. I was lucky to have two systems on my Hatt, one for the main ERs and one for the generator and utility room which also had a bunch of batteries in it. Each equipped with internal and external alarms as well.

Batteries and attendant electrical connections.. remind me of the lyric from "Tommy" : "See me, feel me, touch me.." how often do you take warmth tests (by hand and/or thermometer) of these, especially when under load? Most chargers have a temperature sensor with ability to have readout on a remote... ever look at that on a regular basis?. Issues like the one in the article are not often sudden, but develop over time.

How fast can you abandon ship? We tried to make a habit of having the Whaler tied off to the swim platform as much as possible, even in port. When anchoring or mooring, launching it was part of the process. Admittedly, the main reason was because we liked to use it as much as possible, but the abandon ship aspect was always there. Fire or sinking prevents access to dinghy? Up to the flying bridge and the life raft, if possible.

Regardless, how quick can you get to your PFDs and ditch bag in the middle of the night? Can you get out of the boat from your stateroom? Our Hatt had two large portlights/escape hatches in the transom directly to the swim platform. Even we could fit through them. The dinghy was kept preloaded with safety and some survival gear.
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Old 05-19-2016, 08:47 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caltexflanc View Post
Reminds me of a few quick lessons/comments

Automatic ER extinguishing systems are good. The guy in the story had to open it up and expose himself to the flames and smoke. Would an AER have stopped his fire? Most of them, probably not from the sounds of it but would have bought him some more time for sure, and lessened his exposure and risk. I was lucky to have two systems on my Hatt, one for the main ERs and one for the generator and utility room which also had a bunch of batteries in it. Each equipped with internal and external alarms as well.

Batteries and attendant electrical connections.. remind me of the lyric from "Tommy" : "See me, feel me, touch me.." how often do you take warmth tests (by hand and/or thermometer) of these, especially when under load? Most chargers have a temperature sensor with ability to have readout on a remote... ever look at that on a regular basis?. Issues like the one in the article are not often sudden, but develop over time.

How fast can you abandon ship? We tried to make a habit of having the Whaler tied off to the swim platform as much as possible, even in port. When anchoring or mooring, launching it was part of the process. Admittedly, the main reason was because we liked to use it as much as possible, but the abandon ship aspect was always there. Fire or sinking prevents access to dinghy? Up to the flying bridge and the life raft, if possible.

Regardless, how quick can you get to your PFDs and ditch bag in the middle of the night? Can you get out of the boat from your stateroom? Our Hatt had two large portlights/escape hatches in the transom directly to the swim platform. Even we could fit through them. The dinghy was kept preloaded with safety and some survival gear.
Interesting point...I keep my PFDs on the bridge. In a fire that's not good enough. How many of you keep a set in your state room? Particularly those of us with aft cabin escape hatches
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Old 05-19-2016, 08:55 AM   #8
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. Indeed, what had happened was that major short circuit had occurred when a cell in one of the deep cycle batteries had collapsed and instantaneously, the whole system was on drain.

Right there is a demonstration of the danger of paralleled batteries. One cell shorts and all the other batteries see it as a load and dump current into it sometimes overheating it enough to start a fire .


Electrical fires can not be extinguished until the current can be turned off.
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Old 05-19-2016, 09:40 AM   #9
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Right there is a demonstration of the danger of paralleled batteries. One cell shorts and all the other batteries see it as a load and dump current into it sometimes overheating it enough to start a fire .

Electrical fires can not be extinguished until the current can be turned off.
If your suggesting that we eliminate parallel batteries please do tell us how.
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Old 05-19-2016, 09:57 AM   #10
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Ideally they would be independently switched outside the ER.
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Old 05-19-2016, 10:16 AM   #11
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So, since my battery switches are in the pilot house, if I ran there and turned them all off would I stop all the current? Or in a disaster like this would those switched become shorted somehow?
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Old 05-19-2016, 10:49 AM   #12
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If your suggesting that we eliminate parallel batteries please do tell us how.
Use large enough batteries to just series them together to make up a house bank.

I have parallel batteries as well, but might re-think that when my bank needs replacing.
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Old 05-19-2016, 04:45 PM   #13
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“...... the cut-offs were on the fuse board at the for’ard end of the engine room, which on all boats are pretty pokey by nature, and in a blaze you just cannot get to them!”

Exactly what I had. Installed remote disconnects operated from the FB helm. Otherwise, it was duckwalk through the ER and, over the battery banks, attempt tp operate the switches. While things are burning.

I can still conjure up scenarios where this won't help, but for many instances (I think) the remotes could help a lot.
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Old 05-19-2016, 05:44 PM   #14
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If your suggesting that we eliminate parallel batteries please do tell us how.
You could fuse each battery before connecting it to the bus ( the bus being the battery cables tying them in parallel).
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Old 05-19-2016, 05:45 PM   #15
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I just replaced 2 8D AGMs that service my inverter. I smelled the gas and they were too hot to touch for more than 15 seconds. My remote panel shows battery temperature and it was 115 degrees. I now check the temp morning and night. I also check temps on the start and gen batteries.
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Old 05-19-2016, 05:57 PM   #16
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So, since my battery switches are in the pilot house, if I ran there and turned them all off would I stop all the current? Or in a disaster like this would those switched become shorted somehow?
depends on how they are wired. if the switch does the paralling then yes. if they are wired together then switched to the load then no.
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Old 05-19-2016, 06:01 PM   #17
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You could fuse each battery before connecting it to the bus ( the bus being the battery cables tying them in parallel).
This is what I was thinking as well. We already have fuses at the battery bank to protect the wiring from the battery. There are some pretty simple ways of adding fuses at each battery to protect the interconnect cables. If you have the head room over the battery terminals, just use a terminal fuse.

Reminds me that I need to complete the diagramming of my electrical system.
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Old 05-19-2016, 06:12 PM   #18
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You could fuse each battery before connecting it to the bus ( the bus being the battery cables tying them in parallel).

the problem is that a quick guess yields the shorted cell drain of a bad battery in parallel with a good battery might be in the range of 160 amps. If that is much more than your loads then it might work.



Here is how I guessed the 160 amps. One shorted cell cuts the output voltage by 12/6cells or 2V
Now if we have one good 12V battery in parallel with one 10V bad battery we have a 2v imbalance.

If the battery has 1000 CCA rating that says its equivalent internal resistance is 12V/1000A=0.12Ohms

So now as a first approximation we have 2V imbalance loading 0.012 Ohms giving 2V/0.012=166 Amps.

Those 166 Amps are what dumps into the bad battery and causes heating.
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Old 05-19-2016, 08:09 PM   #19
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You could fuse each battery before connecting it to the bus ( the bus being the battery cables tying them in parallel).
This.
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Old 05-19-2016, 08:17 PM   #20
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This.
Really? I've never seen it done intra-bank. Besides, if a battery dead shorts, you got lots of trouble no matter what.
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