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Old 01-08-2011, 09:50 AM   #21
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RE: NC Marina DESTROYED by fire!

I guess all the advice that water should never be used to fight an electrical fire is wrong:

http://www.fire-extinguisher101.com/

http://www.pge.com/microsite/safety_...ncy/fires.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fire_classes

Thank you for the suggestion.
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Old 01-08-2011, 09:54 AM   #22
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RE: NC Marina DESTROYED by fire!

According to the T&T post, the cause was a shore power connectionat the boat end. Those connectors are the most vulnerable in any marina. Ours has a permanent display set up to encourage people to check and replace their shore power connectors. The display has a couple of dozen in varying stages of burnout. They work themselves to the point where the current flow has to arc across a gap then melt some of the plastic, then start a fire. One actual fire in our Yacht club, at the boat end of the shore power cord, the insurance Co wrote the Sceptre 41 (sail) off, despite the owner getting the fire out quickly with little serious damage.
I have replaced mine, and I carry a spare, in case it shows signs of deterioration. My dock end has also showed burns, so has been replaced.

Fires like the Seattle fire have our harbour committee considering mandatory boat inspections, to be sure everyone has their electrical connections checked regularly, among other things. In a yacht club, that can be a condition of moorage.
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Old 01-08-2011, 02:01 PM   #23
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RE: NC Marina DESTROYED by fire!

The Vallejo Municipal Marina has both wooden and cement docks.* The cement ones rent for 20 percent more.* I'd expect the cement docks to be less suceptible to fires, so maybe I ought to opt for that.
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Old 01-08-2011, 02:24 PM   #24
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NC Marina DESTROYED by fire!

Quote:
HeadMistress wrote:I guess all the advice that water should never be used to fight an electrical fire is wrong:
If it is an electrical fire that is good advice. Just as correct as the old adage about not using water on an oil fire. But, they are both general warnings for people who have no fire training so they will not kill themselves or make the problem larger.

Most of what the news media calls "electrical fires" are fires that start because overheated wiring or an arc fault ignites surronding flammable material. In either case, if and when the electrical power is removed the fire will continue to burn.

A true electrical fire which is almost unheard of outside an industrial or high energy setting is one that is associated with continuous arcing and fire until the power is removed at which point it will cease to exist. A switchboard fire is an example of a true electrical fire.

That marina fire may well have been caused (probably was caused) by an overloaded circuit or arc fault that ignited some other part of the boat. If that marina had a deluge system with a head or detector located above the boat, the damage would probably have been limited to that boat with the possibility of light damage to the ones either side of it.

That is why ferries have deluge systems on the car deck. If any kind of fire starts, electrical or gasoline, the heat triggers the deluge of water spray that knocks the fire down to prevent it spreading. Water in the proper form works great on everything except burning metals, some chemicals, and arcing electricity.

Even electrical distribution sites use water to protect large high voltage transformers:

http://www.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca/obj/irc/do.../nrcc49485.pdf

http://www.usbr.gov/power/data/fist/...2/fist3-32.pdf

Water mist is becoming common in power distribution and electronics protection:

"The water mist proved to be less conductive than smoke encountered in the unsuppressed tests, and did not damage any electrical equipment within the switchgear module."

http://www.nafed.org/resources/library/wmist.cfm



-- Edited by RickB on Saturday 8th of January 2011 03:33:08 PM
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Old 01-08-2011, 07:42 PM   #25
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RE: NC Marina DESTROYED by fire!

Quote:
koliver wrote:

According to the T&T post, the cause was a shore power connectionat the boat end.
Being livaboards, we have seen more than our share of burnt electrical connectors on our boat. We have a washer and drier, and it's not unusual for us to be drawing 30 amps for several hours at a time.* The trouble with the current design of 30 amp twist lock cord connectors is that they rely on what I'll call spring loaded connections.* By that I mean that the tempered steel blades of the female part of the plug are designed to maintain contact with the male blades by spring force.* As the plugs age, corrode, get dropped in the water and in general get dirty, the electrical resistance is increased.* This resistance causes heat to develop in the plug.* As time goes on, they can get hot enough to take the temper out of the metal, causing the plug to loose it's spring force and contact with the male blades causing even more heat.* Eventually, the plug can begin to burn.* I'm sure most folks have seen a blackened, burnt out shore power cord before, and it's easy to imagine how this sets the boat on fire.* I have a multi pronged attack to the problem though.* First I inspect our plugs on a regular basis.* Almost every time I think of it, if there is a load on the system, I'll feel the plug for excessive heat.* I also will check it with my infrared thermometer that I use in the engine room.* In the rare occasion that the plug falls in the water, I immediately unplug it, rinse it with thoroughly with fresh water and dry it completely.* Despite all this, we have had our share of burnt plugs.* Here is a little known seceret, (don't tell anyone) Several times I have taken my burnt cord into West Marine and said "gosh, this doesn't look right, is this cord ok"? They have always replaced it under warranty.*

Better yet, there is an easy solution to this problem.* I have no connection with this company except for being a customer.* I no longer worry about burning up any more cords.* See here:

http://www.smartplug.com/

This new design totaly eliminates the problem, and the boat you save may be yours and your neighbors.............Arctic Traveller
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Old 01-09-2011, 08:08 AM   #26
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RE: NC Marina DESTROYED by fire!

Heartbreaking story.* Here is one of the boats lost; she was the last yacht of her design afloat.

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Old 01-09-2011, 10:58 AM   #27
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RE: NC Marina DESTROYED by fire!

Quote:
Arctic Traveller wrote:


koliver wrote:

According to the T&T post, the cause was a shore power connectionat the boat end.
Being livaboards, we have seen more than our share of burnt electrical connectors on our boat. We have a washer and drier, and it's not unusual for us to be drawing 30 amps for several hours at a time.* The trouble with the current design of 30 amp twist lock cord connectors is that they rely on what I'll call spring loaded connections.* By that I mean that the tempered steel blades of the female part of the plug are designed to maintain contact with the male blades by spring force.* As the plugs age, corrode, get dropped in the water and in general get dirty, the electrical resistance is increased.* This resistance causes heat to develop in the plug.* As time goes on, they can get hot enough to take the temper out of the metal, causing the plug to loose it's spring force and contact with the male blades causing even more heat.* Eventually, the plug can begin to burn.* I'm sure most folks have seen a blackened, burnt out shore power cord before, and it's easy to imagine how this sets the boat on fire.* I have a multi pronged attack to the problem though.* First I inspect our plugs on a regular basis.* Almost every time I think of it, if there is a load on the system, I'll feel the plug for excessive heat.* I also will check it with my infrared thermometer that I use in the engine room.* In the rare occasion that the plug falls in the water, I immediately unplug it, rinse it with thoroughly with fresh water and dry it completely.* Despite all this, we have had our share of burnt plugs.* Here is a little known seceret, (don't tell anyone) Several times I have taken my burnt cord into West Marine and said "gosh, this doesn't look right, is this cord ok"? They have always replaced it under warranty.*

Better yet, there is an easy solution to this problem.* I have no connection with this company except for being a customer.* I no longer worry about burning up any more cords.* See here:

http://www.smartplug.com/

This new design totaly eliminates the problem, and the boat you save may be yours and your neighbors.............Arctic Traveller
Artic,

I saw the Smart Plug as an ad a couple of months ago and thought it was a great idea.* A little pricey but not unreasonable.

I presently and for the last several years have used Dielectric Grease on all of my shore power cords and it has done an outstanding job of keeping everything dry and connected.* I have several different types but it can be bought at any Radio Shack.

Several cords have gone bad in our marina and one of the reasons sighted by an electrician was there is a fair amount of stray current running through the ground system.* But the marina says it is not a problem and chooses to ignore it.

*
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Old 01-09-2011, 12:32 PM   #28
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NC Marina DESTROYED by fire!

My power cord, like many, is right next to the stbd door, and often was a "tripper" when moving forward.** I am now using a right-angle connector,* which keeps the cord out of the way and cuts down on* twisting or pulling and causing possible damage to the connection.

McCotter's is only 5 miles down river from us -- fortunately we don't know anyone who's* boat was inviolved.



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-- Edited by ARoss on Sunday 9th of January 2011 01:33:39 PM
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Old 01-09-2011, 01:28 PM   #29
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NC Marina DESTROYED by fire!

Quote:
JD wrote:

Several cords have gone bad in our marina and one of the reasons sighted by an electrician was there is a fair amount of stray current running through the ground system.* But the marina says it is not a problem and chooses to ignore it.
That explains a lot. When we left there and put Skinny Dippin' up for work before we journeyed to our new home, there was, what I would say, an accelerated amount of depletion on our zincs and spotty corrosion on most of the underwater metal.

*

**BTW** JD and I were in the same marina until recently.


-- Edited by GonzoF1 on Sunday 9th of January 2011 02:29:04 PM
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Old 01-09-2011, 01:48 PM   #30
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RE: NC Marina DESTROYED by fire!

Here is another of the vessels lost.* Sad, sad, sad.* Happy hour tonight is going to be double-shots.

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Old 01-09-2011, 03:17 PM   #31
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RE: NC Marina DESTROYED by fire!

Quote:
ColonyCove wrote:

*Happy hour tonight is going to be double-shots.

I only have "heavy-duty" eggnog in stock.* Not an appropriate drink for this occasion.* I'll need to pick up some bourbon.

*
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Old 01-10-2011, 06:52 AM   #32
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NC Marina DESTROYED by fire!

Quote:
GonzoF1 wrote:

*
JD wrote:Several cords have gone bad in our marina and one of the reasons sighted by an electrician was there is a fair amount of stray current running through the ground system.* But the marina says it is not a problem and chooses to ignore it.
That explains a lot. When we left there and put Skinny Dippin' up for work before we journeyed to our new home, there was, what I would say, an accelerated amount of depletion on our zincs and spotty corrosion on most of the underwater metal.

**BTW** JD and I were in the same marina until recently.
-- Edited by GonzoF1 on Sunday 9th of January 2011 02:29:04 PM

In fact a GB that was right down from Skinny was the one that destroyed two power cords in a short time.* The owner got*an electrician who identified the problem as in the box on the dock and not on the boat.* It took several weeks of discussions for the marina to pony up and fix the box and replace the two power cords.* That boat has since*left the marina.

It seems that the problem*is that when we get high water (NE sustained wind) the water sometime gets over the docks.* Mostly during a Hurricane or named storm.*The*electrical boxes are mounted to low so over the years they have been under water more than once.*Water gets up*over the boxes and crodes the breakers.*The repair plan has been to wait until the*breakers*fail and then replace them.* It is obvious that the problem is known by the marina*staff because when a dock that did not have electrical boxes was wired several years ago the new boxes were installed at least two feet higher than any of the old boxes.

So I just keep a close eye on mine but the problem is that everyone isn't so diligent.* So folks don't come down to their boat for months on end and even if they did they wouldn't have a clue as to what is wrong or what to look for. *As was the case last week so other boats suffer as well.

*


-- Edited by JD on Monday 10th of January 2011 08:02:34 AM
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Old 01-10-2011, 07:50 AM   #33
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Quote:
JD wrote:
I presently and for the last several years have used Dielectric Grease on all of my shore power cords and it has done an outstanding job of keeping everything dry and connected.* I have several different types but it can be bought at any Radio Shack.

Several cords have gone bad in our marina and one of the reasons sighted by an electrician was there is a fair amount of stray current running through the ground system.* But the marina says it is not a problem and chooses to ignore it.

*

You can buy dielectric grease at your favorite auto parts store.* Using it on shorepower connections is a very good idea.

"Stray current running through the ground system" should not cause electrical cords to fail.* The current carrying capability of the grounded conductor is the same as the other conductors.
Measuring the temperature of the connection with an IR thermometer after drawing* near maximum current for several minutes is a quick way to identify a potential problem.

*


-- Edited by rwidman on Monday 10th of January 2011 08:53:06 AM
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Old 01-10-2011, 08:02 AM   #34
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RE: NC Marina DESTROYED by fire!

Quote:
rwidman wrote:


JD wrote:
I presently and for the last several years have used Dielectric Grease on all of my shore power cords and it has done an outstanding job of keeping everything dry and connected.* I have several different types but it can be bought at any Radio Shack.

Several cords have gone bad in our marina and one of the reasons sighted by an electrician was there is a fair amount of stray current running through the ground system.* But the marina says it is not a problem and chooses to ignore it.You can buy dielectric grease at your favorite auto parts store.* Using it on shorepower connections is a very good idea.

"Stray current running through the ground system" should not cause electrical cords to fail.* The current carrying capability of the grounded conductor is the same as the other conductors.
Measuring the temperature of the connection with an IR thermometer after drawing* near maximum current for several minutes is a quick way to identify a potential problem.
-- Edited by rwidman on Monday 10th of January 2011 08:53:06 AMLet me clarify.* The stray current is on the White Common.* Not the Green Ground.

Here is a quote from someone who is a well respected electrician.

"The white wire should be grounded and at zero potential at all times. Such a high voltage on the white wire suggests the neutral to ground connection is NOT secure and should be fixed. Its probably due to corrosion of a connector. At some point it could rise to a lethal level and electrocute somebody. "

Sorry for the confusion.


*
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Old 01-10-2011, 08:44 AM   #35
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RE: NC Marina DESTROYED by fire!

I think that a major cause of electrical fires on boats are caused by the new cheap electric heaters imported by all the Major Home Stores like Home Depot, Lowes and Walmart.* Some are not UL Aprroved - They don't have 3 wire Ground Plug.* They also don't have tip over shut off protection.** Although I have purchased and used them I still am very weary of them.* I guess you get what you pay for.* It's difficult now a days to buy anything that has safety features and is American Made. Even the individual Electric Supply places can't order quaility equipment anymore.

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Old 01-10-2011, 09:04 AM   #36
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RE: NC Marina DESTROYED by fire!

Quote:
BornSailor2 wrote:

I think that a major cause of electrical fires on boats are caused by the new cheap electric heaters imported by all the Major Home Stores like Home Depot, Lowes and Walmart.* Some are not UL Aprroved - They don't have 3 wire Ground Plug.* They also don't have tip over shut off protection.** Although I have purchased and used them I still am very weary of them.* I guess you get what you pay for.* It's difficult now a days to buy anything that has safety features and is American Made. Even the individual Electric Supply places can't order quaility equipment anymore.

BS

What you say may be true but this fire, in the preliminary investigation,*was said to have been caused by a bad connector from the shore power cord.* So ground wires, tip over switches or*UL approved fixtures*would not have*prevented this fire.

*
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Old 01-10-2011, 09:05 AM   #37
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RE: NC Marina DESTROYED by fire!

Born Sailor - So why again do you buy a cheap electric heater for your boat and let it tip over? They do make good low profile ones and you can unplug it while you are underway. My favorite though is the tall oil filled type I park in my ER.
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Old 01-10-2011, 09:18 AM   #38
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RE: NC Marina DESTROYED by fire!

Quote:
JD wrote:Let me clarify.* The stray current is on the White Common.* Not the Green Ground.

Here is a quote from someone who is a well respected electrician.

"The white wire should be grounded and at zero potential at all times. Such a high voltage on the white wire suggests the neutral to ground connection is NOT secure and should be fixed. Its probably due to corrosion of a connector. At some point it could rise to a lethal level and electrocute somebody. "

Sorry for the confusion.

*



I'm not saying that's not a hazzard or that the marina should not repair it, but I don't believe it could damage shorepower cords.
*
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Old 01-10-2011, 11:49 PM   #39
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RE: NC Marina DESTROYED by fire!

Quote:

Here is a quote from someone who is a well respected electrician.

"The white wire should be grounded and at zero potential at all times. Such a high voltage on the white wire suggests the neutral to ground connection is NOT secure and should be fixed. Its probably due to corrosion of a connector. At some point it could rise to a lethal level and electrocute somebody. "

Sorry for the confusion.
----------------------------------------------------------------------
This is all true, but should not contribute to an overheated connector.* Heat is developed in connectors for several reasons, all of which go back to increased resistance.* Resistance can be due to corrosion,moisture loose connections, overloading etc.* Heaters are devices that draw considerable current for long periods of time, allowing the heat in the connection to build possibly to the point of fire.* Check your cords and replace any that show signs of overheating.* Better yet, switch to the Smart Plug and stop worrying..............Arctic Traveller*


*

*
*
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Old 01-11-2011, 04:42 AM   #40
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RE: NC Marina DESTROYED by fire!

"Has there been any determination of the cause yet? None was mentioned in the article."

I would guess the economy and minor resale value of so many boat "investments".

Should we have a normal hurricane season this year ,

I expect the number of boats "lost" to be at record highs.
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