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Old 03-08-2019, 05:13 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Larry M View Post
Sorry, try this link. If that doesnít work, go to the Library and download it.

Trawler Forum - Library - Miscellaneous
Larry we have a new to us boat with a Fireboy. Thank you for making me aware of this letter. Lots to learn.

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Old 03-08-2019, 01:29 PM   #22
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Stella has:

> 2 automatic Fireboy halon extinguishers, a 7# and a 20#. They are wired to a Fireboy interlock panel which shuts down 2 engines, 2 generators and 3 blowers if triggered.
> 1 stand alone automatic Fireboy halon, 3#, under the pilothouse console.
> 10 hand-held extinguishers, a variety of dry chemical, halon and CO2, 2# to 9#, mounted in cabins and on deck.

Professionally inspected/tested last year. Visual inspection once a quarter.

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Old 03-11-2019, 01:38 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by oak_box View Post
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..."

Before you do anything you should educate yourself about this system. The type of system you have is called pre-engineered, there are several manufacturers, Fireboy, SeaFire and a handful of others. I must confess I don't ever recall encountering a Kidde system with an auto-shut down, they all appear to be engineered rather than pre-engineered, which means they are designed for larger vessels, mega-yachts, commercial applications. Therefore, my bet is your system does not have an auto-shutdown relay.

Every fixed bottle has a pressure switch with two wires, some go to an annunciator/light alone, others interface bottle discharge with engine, gen, ventilation shut down, via a relay box. For diesel powered vessels, the auto-shut down system is mandatory where ABYC (and in some cases insurer) compliance is the goal.

If the system has an auto-shut down relay, it will also have a small control panel that will include a toggle or buttons that say NORMAL and OVERRIDE or words to that effect. Hint for all users, if you have this system make certain the switch is not in the override position, if it is, it will not shut down automatically in the event of a discharge. Of the vessels I inspect, about 5% have switches set to OVERRIDE...because that's the only way the engines will run, because the bottle is empty or the relay is not working.

This video will give you a primer on the subject

Along with this article
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Old 03-11-2019, 10:55 PM   #24
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Agree with 90% of the above.
Other points of interest - not yet mentioned:
Cylinder needs a 10Yr Hydrostatic Test
In Phuket I can get the yearly re-certification done without taking out and weighing. The contractor uses an ultrasonic device to check the flooded volume (the level of liquid inside the cylinder). Used to have to take off and weigh but this is much easier!
At the 10 year cylinder re-cert the Halon was removed and refilled with HFC 227.
FE-227ô (HFC-227) is a fire extinguishing replacement for Halon 1301 in total flooding applications. Known as heptafluoropropane or HFC-227ea, FE-227ô (HFC-227) is the most widely used clean agent replacement for Halon 1301 globally.
My biggest concern is that the engine room has large inlet vents and exhaust fans vents that the FiFi Agent can escape through. On a ship these vents are closed automatically or manually. The fans and engines stop automatically in the Fireboy system we have but I also have a plan to use wet cloths to block the vents and contain the agent - but this would take some time!
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Old 03-12-2019, 10:15 AM   #25
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The hydrostatic test depends on the manufacturer and type of cylinder. This letter is from Fireboy-Xintex:

“December 14, 2016

To Whom It May Concern,

At your request, we are writing to inform all interested parties that Fireboy 1301 Halon fire extinguishing systems fall under the NFPA Standard 12A. This standard exempts our Halon units from any hydrostatic testing.

We used a DOT 39 class cylinder, which is a non-refillable cylinder and, therefore, cannot be emptied, tested or refilled.

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.”
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Old 03-12-2019, 11:36 AM   #26
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Good point on the hydrostatic testing. Requirements vary by jurisdiction, very few recreational small craft have their tanks hydro-tested. I'm not suggesting anyone not do it, just saying it isn't necessarily required (Sea-Fire outlines this in their owner's manuals).

An ultrasonic tester may be acceptable , however, it is necessary for the system cylinder to have an indication of the fill line during the manufacturing process, otherwise using ultrasonic test does not provide an acceptable method. This method is typically used in large fire suppression applications such as commercial or large super-yacht, where weighing is impractical.

HFC-227 (also known as FM200) and Halon are not interchangeable, in that you need more HFC/FM to cover the same volume as an equivalent quantity of Halon; i.e. pound for pound Halon is more effective (no service facility I've ever worked with will fill a tank that formerly held Halon with HFC or FM). Unless your existing bottle was over-sized, you may now be under protected. Not sure how you do the math unless you now know exactly how much HFC you have, as the coverage details on the bottle are for Halon, and thus not valid for HFC.

Halon systems are not banned per se by the Kyoto Protocol, there are many boats that are equipped with these, you simply can't make or sell new Halon systems. So, unless it had leaked and the weight/level was low, why was it removed? If the bottle had to be hydro-tested, the Halon can be recovered and replaced after the test. Halon is very valuable, it is routinely recycled from old systems and resold for aviation and other specialty application where where larger quantities of replacement gasses are impractical.

As an aside, over-sizing is not recommended because it can turn a non-lethal agent like FM 200 or HFC into a lethal agent. The concentration must be correct for the space volume to remain non-lethal.
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Old 03-14-2019, 06:27 AM   #27
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CO2 and Halon are much preferred to dry chemical.

On larger aircraft dry chemical is never fitted in the cockpit as it can get into gauges, switches and CB , making them unreliable.
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Old 03-14-2019, 08:59 AM   #28
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Twisted and Steve D provided a very accurate, comprehensive overview regarding fire protection systems on boats. Their posts should be permanently bookmarked by the Mods and referred to by others if the question comes up again.
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Old 03-15-2019, 08:50 AM   #29
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While on the subject of fire extinguishers, I'd add this, other than run abouts, every vessel benefits from having at least one and ideally two hand held gaseous fire extinguishers, for use on small electrical fires. These should be located at the helm area and adjacent to engine room entrance (not in the engine room) or engine compartment. As one member noted, dry chemical can wreak havoc on electrical and electronic systems, it can be corrosive and have long-term effects on this gear. If you have a fire it surely beats the alternative, however, for small electrical fires it's far better to use an extinguishing agent that will not harm surrounding components.

This article covers the subject of portable fire extinguishers, and it includes an embedded video, shared with me by a client, of an engine room electrical fire starting and being extinguished by him using a portable dry chemical fire extinguisher.
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Old 03-15-2019, 08:58 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by twistedtree View Post

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.

Just had another one of these failures within the last month. I've encountered enough of these failures that I now include a notation in my vessel inspection reports recommending preemptive replacement/upgrade of otherwise functional legacy gray box systems. All users of these "gray box" systems would do well to investigate this issue. Sea Fire will replace a failed box for $100.
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Old 03-15-2019, 09:19 AM   #31
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Fire Extinguishing Ball

Anyone ever tried on of these?


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I'm almost done with updating Sandpiper
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