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Old 15-10-2014, 14:26   #1
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Did It Yet Again :Banghead:

How many times have you started a diesel engine with the sea cock off? Come on, 'fess up.

Once -- ok, anyone can do it. Twice -- mistakes were made. But three times? Four times????

I have only once in my life started a propulsion engine with the sea cocks closed. There was no damage (the seawater pump on my Yanmar is curiously robust).

God knows how many times I've done it with my genset . The problem is that -- first of all, I'm terribly absent minded, let's just get that on the table at the outset. And secondly, I have a rule of never leaving the boat overnight with the seacocks open. But then I have been living aboard since April and almost never spending a night off the boat, so the sea cocks didn't get closed much.

I just got back from a short business trip, drove down from Heathrow, arrived after midnight, dinghied out to my mooring, and oh joy -- home. The first thing I did was flip on the generator. And only when the awful squeal of the impeller exploding rang out, did I realize what an idiot I had been

And the 30 minute job of changing it naturally drags into an hour, an hour and a half . . . . Because you lose the woodruff key, or you can't find a tool, or you stupidly ingest seawater into your vacuum cleaner while sucking up the impeller debris, etc., etc., ad nauseum . . . .

Bleh!

I monitor what's going on with my genset with temperature senders at the thermostat and the seawater pump (the temp of the seawater pump being a good proxy for seawater flow). I have alarms set up, but somehow I did not hear them (maybe they're silent? ).

Now I think the only thing to do is hang some kind of sign on the genset start switch -- I can't keep going on like this.

*******

By the way, I tried the cable tie trick for putting a new impeller in -- it works extremely well. With a cable tie around it, the impeller goes straight in. Then you have to somehow wangle the cable tie back out again, but this is better than the alternative by a long shot. With the vanes retracted, you can with vastly more ease manipulate the impeller to line up with the woodruff key. Highly recommended.
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Old 15-10-2014, 14:29   #2
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Re: Did It Yet Again :Banghead:

Just put a label by the switch - simple as that. One thing I know we will have with us when we live aboard is our p-touch label maker. Perfect for this kind of thing.
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Old 15-10-2014, 14:52   #3
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Re: Did It Yet Again :Banghead:

Simple solution, install a micro switch that only engages when the cock is closed, wire it to the ignition side power, then to an led at the panel.

Problem solved.

Lloyd

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
How many times have you started a diesel engine with the sea cock off? Come on, 'fess up.

Once -- ok, anyone can do it. Twice -- mistakes were made. But three times? Four times????

I have only once in my life started a propulsion engine with the sea cocks closed. There was no damage (the seawater pump on my Yanmar is curiously robust).

God knows how many times I've done it with my genset . The problem is that -- first of all, I'm terribly absent minded, let's just get that on the table at the outset. And secondly, I have a rule of never leaving the boat overnight with the seacocks open. But then I have been living aboard since April and almost never spending a night off the boat, so the sea cocks didn't get closed much.

I just got back from a short business trip, drove down from Heathrow, arrived after midnight, dinghied out to my mooring, and oh joy -- home. The first thing I did was flip on the generator. And only when the awful squeal of the impeller exploding rang out, did I realize what an idiot I had been

And the 30 minute job of changing it naturally drags into an hour, an hour and a half . . . . Because you lose the woodruff key, or you can't find a tool, or you stupidly ingest seawater into your vacuum cleaner while sucking up the impeller debris, etc., etc., ad nauseum . . . .

Bleh!

I monitor what's going on with my genset with temperature senders at the thermostat and the seawater pump (the temp of the seawater pump being a good proxy for seawater flow). I have alarms set up, but somehow I did not hear them (maybe they're silent? ).

Now I think the only thing to do is hang some kind of sign on the genset start switch -- I can't keep going on like this.

*******

By the way, I tried the cable tie trick for putting a new impeller in -- it works extremely well. With a cable tie around it, the impeller goes straight in. Then you have to somehow wangle the cable tie back out again, but this is better than the alternative by a long shot. With the vanes retracted, you can with vastly more ease manipulate the impeller to line up with the woodruff key. Highly recommended.
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Old 15-10-2014, 14:57   #4
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Re: Did It Yet Again :Banghead:

a cheap solution would be to replace your gen start switch with a keyed ignition. When the seacock gets closed hang the key on the seacock. When it is time to start the gen set you have to go get the key off the handle of the seacock. If you forget to open the seacock at that point then I can't help you.
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Old 15-10-2014, 15:00   #5
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Re: Did It Yet Again :Banghead:

get an air cooled generator..................
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Old 15-10-2014, 15:08   #6
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Re: Did It Yet Again :Banghead:

Quote:
Originally Posted by atoll View Post
get an air cooled generator..................
Maybe an air-cooled brain would be more effective?

Actually, none of the solutions suggested sounds like a winner for me. Labels on the switch? I never look at the switch; I can operate everything on my electrical board with my eyes closed. Microswitch on the sea cock? Say whut? I can just imagine fabricating the brackets for that, pulling the wire into the bilge, then having it inevitably go wrong before the first year is over. Hang the key on the sea cock? That's actually the best of them. Maybe even really worth thinking about.

But misery loves company, and none of you guys have confessed to doing anything similar. So I am the dunce of the group?
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Old 15-10-2014, 15:09   #7
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Re: Did It Yet Again :Banghead:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Now I think the only thing to do is hang some kind of sign on the genset start switch -- I can't keep going on like this.

I started flying before I started sailing and this is basically the aviation approach.
Written checklists are widely used in aviation and for good reason they do work.
If nothing else if you close a seacock hang a big sign over the battery switch that says "open seacock".

If you think you will always remember you are wrong. Highly trained proffesional pilots forget and so will everyone else.
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Old 15-10-2014, 15:42   #8
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Re: Did It Yet Again :Banghead:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Maybe an air-cooled brain would be more effective?

Actually, none of the solutions suggested sounds like a winner for me. Labels on the switch? I never look at the switch; I can operate everything on my electrical board with my eyes closed. Microswitch on the sea cock? Say whut? I can just imagine fabricating the brackets for that, pulling the wire into the bilge, then having it inevitably go wrong before the first year is over. Hang the key on the sea cock? That's actually the best of them. Maybe even really worth thinking about.

But misery loves company, and none of you guys have confessed to doing anything similar. So I am the dunce of the group?
my brother if he needed to remember something first thing in the morning used to use a ball point to write on his willy so it was the first thing he saw when going for a pee in the morning

I suppose you could call that a variation on the "sea cock" method
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Old 15-10-2014, 16:06   #9
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Re: Did It Yet Again :Banghead:

Don't be so quick to dismiss my idea.



DSIR seacock interlock relay - Sealand

Key benefits

  • Integrated seacock relay alerts user and prevents discharge pump operation if seacock is closed
  • Conbraco 7014701 or Groco BV1500-compatible models available
  • Keyed control switch provides USCG-approved security; no mechanical preventive devices on discharge plumbing are required when key is removed
  • Green light indicates when discharge pump is operating
  • Available in black or white
  • 12 V DC or 24 V DC models


Lloyd




Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Maybe an air-cooled brain would be more effective?

Actually, none of the solutions suggested sounds like a winner for me. Labels on the switch? I never look at the switch; I can operate everything on my electrical board with my eyes closed. Microswitch on the sea cock? Say whut? I can just imagine fabricating the brackets for that, pulling the wire into the bilge, then having it inevitably go wrong before the first year is over. Hang the key on the sea cock? That's actually the best of them. Maybe even really worth thinking about.

But misery loves company, and none of you guys have confessed to doing anything similar. So I am the dunce of the group?
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Old 15-10-2014, 16:07   #10
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Re: Did It Yet Again :Banghead:

You ARE the dunce of the group. We have NEVER done anything like that!

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Old 15-10-2014, 16:08   #11
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Re: Did It Yet Again :Banghead:

Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyingCloud1937 View Post
Don't be so quick to dismiss my idea.



DSIR seacock interlock relay - Sealand

Key benefits

  • Integrated seacock relay alerts user and prevents discharge pump operation if seacock is closed
  • Conbraco 7014701 or Groco BV1500-compatible models available
  • Keyed control switch provides USCG-approved security; no mechanical preventive devices on discharge plumbing are required when key is removed
  • Green light indicates when discharge pump is operating
  • Available in black or white
  • 12 V DC or 24 V DC models


Lloyd
Hmm, that does look kind of good. But I have neither of two types of seacocks mention!
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Old 15-10-2014, 16:21   #12
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Re: Did It Yet Again :Banghead:

Engrained into my brain since childhood is the requirement to ALWAYS peek at the exhaust outlet (or outboard motor pee stream) for waterflow immediately after engine start.

I have forgotten to open the valve twice but with the above procedure, the problem was corrected within 15 seconds of engine start. Certainly enough water is leftover from the previous engine run to keep the impeller lubricated for a few moments.

Steve
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Old 15-10-2014, 16:25   #13
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Re: Did It Yet Again :Banghead:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Panope View Post
Engrained into my brain since childhood is the requirement to ALWAYS peek at the exhaust outlet (or outboard motor pee stream) for waterflow immediately after engine start.

I have forgotten to open the valve twice but with the above procedure, the problem was corrected within 15 seconds of engine start. Certainly enough water is leftover from the previous engine run to keep the impeller lubricated for a few moments.

Steve
I believe I do this as well. Comes with growing up with small boats.
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Old 15-10-2014, 16:26   #14
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Re: Did It Yet Again :Banghead:

As a professional, I have DIY'ed these to just about every type of sea cock. The time involved is less then it takes to replace most impellers one time.

Lloyd

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Hmm, that does look kind of good. But I have neither of two types of seacocks mention!
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Old 15-10-2014, 16:27   #15
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Re: Did It Yet Again :Banghead:

Can't say I ever left the sea cock off but can say I've done other dumb things

There only two conceptual solutions to your issue.

1. A completely mechanical / electrical interlock that just doesn't let one do dumb things regardless of one's thoughts.

2. A human solution that helps one's brain along and thus prevents the dumb action.

Most of us are happy with the second concept but it isn't foolproof (as there is always a better fool in the pipeline ).

You should first decide which approach suits you better - the engineered solution or the human solution.

As with Noelex 77 (and others), I started flying first and checklists were drummed into your head as basic standard practice. First mental ones and then with more complex systems, written ones.

In your instance, maybe you could get creative and have a iPad or similar app along the lines of

"touch here for coffee" which then prompts the right checklist to appear and so on

Although given the stress and inconvenience of fixing the stuff up, your brain may now be programmed enough never to make this mistake ever again; a sort of Darwinian approach.

This is the way that the human mind evolved
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