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Old 03-26-2020, 11:09 AM   #1
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Question Removing a Halon FE for Inspection

Not another Survey Item.

I have a Fireboy automatic fire extinguisher in my engine room. Being in the military (USAF) I have a very healthy respect for halon. No as of now, I have no plans to replace it unless it goes bad. The nearest inspection is in Vancouver WA and I don't want to pay travel (2 times) to just remove and re-install it. I can drive there a lot cheaper.

So how do you disconnect it without setting it off?
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Old 03-26-2020, 11:33 AM   #2
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And I am subscribing to this since I am going through the same thing.
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Old 03-26-2020, 11:52 AM   #3
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If the gauge shows it in the green, don’t touch it. Halo is unobtaineum now unless you are an airline. Or other silly rules somebody made up.
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Old 03-26-2020, 12:00 PM   #4
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I am learning nobody services these things except the manufacturer. You must ship it to them. Servicing and freight are about the same price as a new bottle. And a new bottle is not cheap. I have been boasting about my bigger engine room. Well the bigger the engine room, the bigger the bottle needed. I am looking at close to $3k for a new bottle.
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Old 03-26-2020, 01:42 PM   #5
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As I recall our annual Fireboy inspection involved:
1. Visual inspection for rust etc.
2. Check date of manufacture for tank pressure certification (I think 10 year expiration without hydro test)
3. Check linkage
4. Remove tank and check weight
5. Check auto control at helm (ability to override auto engine shutdown in emergency)
6. Reinstall tank and apply inspection tag.
Not sure about all details and might have missed a couple of things. If you are checking for insurance, a DIY probably will not suffice.
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Old 03-26-2020, 01:52 PM   #6
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I take mine to a fire protection business, not all certify them, so you may have to call a few to find one who will do it. The one I use is a 2.5 hour drive but close to my mother in laws so I link the trip to a visit with her. They check it and certify it for $10. I wait while they do it so it is only one trip. It takes them about 15 minutes. The absolutely only way to verify that it is full is to weigh it. There will be a weight range on the bottle. It should come inside the weight range. It can have a slow leak and the little ampule will not have broken and halon does not leave a residue so you canít tell if it has leaked or not, except by weight. Mine just has 2 wires that go to the helm gauge. It looks like yours has a manual release pull cable. So you will have to disconnect the pull cable but that should just be a nut and bolt connection. They can service it if it is low on halon IF the company has halon in stock from recovery from other systems, not all fire companies have recycled halon. The halon should not release if you donít pull on the manual release cable. Also donít drop it... although my dog knocked it over on the concrete floor, I was sweating it for a minute but it didnít get damaged.
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Old 03-26-2020, 06:54 PM   #7
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Thanks. But how do you take it out. It has an electrical and manual cable..
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Old 03-26-2020, 07:10 PM   #8
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We had a similar conversation over a couple of brown bottles a few weeks ago. I got this the next day. Post 28 may help but I accept no responsibility if it doesnít go as planned.

https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums...-207608-2.html
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Old 03-26-2020, 07:17 PM   #9
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Why not call the inspection company and ask them?

Are you in Portland? A quick web search seems to reveal there are a few marine halon servicers there.
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Old 03-26-2020, 08:19 PM   #10
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I am 40 miles north of Portland. If they come here I am charged travel twice. Easier if I could just take it in.
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Why not call the inspection company and ask them?

Are you in Portland? A quick web search seems to reveal there are a few marine halon servicers there.
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Old 03-26-2020, 09:10 PM   #11
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You will have to undo the manual release cable. The electrical plug should just pull off. It is probably 2 connectors inside the plug. Then unbolt or unscrew the brackets holding the bottle and remove it. It really isnít too hard. Your manual release cable makes it a bit more work but still should not be difficult.
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Old 03-26-2020, 09:37 PM   #12
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If I have deisel everything do I need it on my boat? Btw I just found it as I am installing a new generator I looked up and there it is in a crazy place.
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Old 03-26-2020, 09:39 PM   #13
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Yes, diesel boats can have fires too. Most boat fires are due to electrical problems not fuel related.
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Old 03-26-2020, 09:52 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Comodave View Post
You will have to undo the manual release cable. The electrical plug should just pull off. It is probably 2 connectors inside the plug. Then unbolt or unscrew the brackets holding the bottle and remove it. It really isnít too hard. Your manual release cable makes it a bit more work but still should not be difficult.
Thank you. I just don't want it blowing up in my face. Any chance of it blowing when the electrical connection is disconnected?
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Old 03-26-2020, 10:02 PM   #15
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No they are low voltage wiring. It is the sending wiring for the light on your helm that the halon has not released. When the halon releases, on most units, there is a small ampule filled with a liquid. When the E/R get too hot the liquid expands and the ampule explodes releasing the pin that opens the halon bottle. The plug on the bottle is probably just a push on plug with 2 contacts in it. Just pull on it gently and it should just slide off. As to the manual release, I have not undone one of them but it is just a mechanical connection to the pull cable. Look it over and just undo whatever mechanical connection there. That is the one to be careful with because that could release the halon if you pull on it wrong. The electrical connection is simple. Be careful with the manual release so you donít pull on it. Then undo the 2 metal straps and it is out. Mine is about 6 or 7Ē diameter and maybe 20Ē long. Not too bad to get out but it is horizontally mounted at the top of my E/R so it is hard to hold up there and start the screws on the metal straps. Good luck!
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Old 03-26-2020, 11:37 PM   #16
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Thank you. I just don't want it blowing up in my face. Any chance of it blowing when the electrical connection is disconnected?

There's 2 types of Air Force guys...
Ones who have blown the squibs on the halon bottles,
And the ones who are gunna.

(I always hated doing stray voltage checks and then hooking the squibs back up)Just joshin' Tom. Kinda.
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Old 03-27-2020, 06:20 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by WayneDana2 View Post
There's 2 types of Air Force guys...
Ones who have blown the squibs on the halon bottles,
And the ones who are gunna.

(I always hated doing stray voltage checks and then hooking the squibs back up)Just joshin' Tom. Kinda.

Aircraft bottles are electrically fired, however. This one isn't. The wiring on this bottle is only for sensing.
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Old 03-27-2020, 07:05 AM   #18
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We have a similar system on our boat, and like you I had no idea how to take it out safely and there was nothing on line describing the process. So for your own peace of mind bite the bullet have a tech come out show you how to safely take it out, and while they are there they can recertify your bottle for you. Basically they just weighed ours and visually inspected the system. The process for removal is actually very simple after you have seen it once you will be good to go.
We have to remove ours to get around to the outboard side of our port engine.
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Old 03-27-2020, 09:53 AM   #19
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Just curious, is there any requirement (USCG, ABYC, or NFPA) that states that a fire suppression system MUST be inspected, if it is not required?
We're still looking for our next boat, but I have an engine room Halon 1301 bottle that was taken out of my first boat. It was manufactured in the early '80's. It is well past hydro, but looks great and weighs within limits . . . . my intent was to install it in our next boat to augment whatever is there or whatever I put in. I'm a big 1301 fan.

Oh, and although I wasn't an Air Scout, I WAS involved in one deployment of an aircraft halon fire suppression system, well, actually TWO bottles, one right after the other, using the crossover line . . . but that was in flight . . . but that's another story, for another time.
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Old 03-27-2020, 10:57 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slowgoesit View Post
Just curious, is there any requirement (USCG, ABYC, or NFPA) that states that a fire suppression system MUST be inspected, if it is not required?
We're still looking for our next boat, but I have an engine room Halon 1301 bottle that was taken out of my first boat. It was manufactured in the early '80's. It is well past hydro, but looks great and weighs within limits . . . . my intent was to install it in our next boat to augment whatever is there or whatever I put in. I'm a big 1301 fan.
I have a fireboy 1301 bottle from the 80s too. My take on it is that it is like having expired flares on board. Will they work? Maybe. Am I depending on them? Nope.

But I meet the legal requirement for extinguishers and flares and anything else is outside of the scope. I take my expired flares off and bottle of the boat for surveys to avoid the hassle of, well, surveyors being surveyors.

For the record. At one time in my life I was certified to inspect and maintain fire extinguishers. It is not rocket science. I feel comfortable with the old fireboy in place. Halon is non corrosive, the bottle is excellent shape and it weighs perfect.

The fact that the military still uses 1301 tells you it is effective, even at it's exorbitant price. It is low toxic, doesn't displace oxygen and can be breathed in at fairly high concentrations 70000ppm (7%) with little effect. It is an ideal fire suppressant, with the exception that it depletes stratospheric ozone fantastically efficiently. If you get yours reclaimed, it will just end up being sold to Uncle Sam to be used on an airplane or ship.

Best case scenario, it helps prevent the spread of a fire. Worst case scenario, it discharges or leaks just sitting there in the engine room. Keep in mind that at normal room temperature Halon 1201 is at 250psig in the bottle.

Also for the record, I also used to be a refrigeration technician, developed curriculum and taught courses in the 90's so I am completely aware of the Montreal Protocol and it's implications.

And more recently, I maintain ASME pressure vessels in an industrial setting.

So I have a good idea of what I am doing and not doing correctly.

Code is there for a reason. I have up to date copies of a lot of code, and I have a higher than average understanding of them. I get that.

I am not recommending that you keep the bottle or not. I am advising that whichever route you choose, understand the risk by understanding the likelihood and consequences if something goes awry and how it may affect you personally.

I am not a P. Eng.
I do not take passengers for hire.
In fact, I rarely have passengers on board.
I inspect and maintain my own boat to a decent standard.
I also understand my insurance policy requirements.
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