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Old 13-04-2007, 21:33   #1
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Kicking myself, but glad I can.

Because I did the most dumbest stupidist thing you could ever imagine today. It could have cost me my boat and my life. All becuase I broke the golden rule of not double checking and testing before connecting battery cables.
I am alittle embarresed sharing this, but I hope it will aid others to think clearly before hand as well.
I got my starter all bolted back up and electricaly connected. Threw the isolator switch and then climbed out of the engine room. I went to the start button to turn the engine over and was suprised to have nothing happen. I though, oh great, flat batteries. How I wasn't sure, but it must have been something to do with the fact that they were disconnected from the charge system and somehow a current draw must have flattened them. I went below to the DC control board and looked at the voltage and ensured the charger was on and charging. I was watching the charger put 30A into the bank and yet I was watching the voltage on the bank slowly drop away. I just couldn't get my head around what was going on, till I suddenly smelt smoke. I instantly new what was happening.
From this point on I broke all the rules. I had fire extinguishers in place and near by, so I instant lifted the engine room hatch. Smoke billowed out. I was expecting the room to explode with the rush of air, but I knew I had to get to that isolator switch. I managed to reach it and get out. I threw on the exhaust fan and opened all hatches and vents and evacuated the boat. The smoke disapated and after about 15min I went back down to take a look. There was still smoke but I could see the damage. All my battery leads had compleatly melted. But then I noticed something really strange and suddenly I was back to emergency stations. The main fuel line which is hydraulic line with steel braid in it was smoking. It was continuing to poor out smoke and I realised a cable must have melted through to it and it was using the fuel line to get to earth. Expecting the thing to explode at any minute, I had to climb down into the engine room and get to the batteries themselves and disconnect the cable from the bank itself. But in my hast to climb down, the hatch fell and hit my head. This thing doubles as the floor and is solid teak and weighs a lot. I can only figure that the adrenalin stopped me from being knocked out. In fact I didn't really feel anything. but as I was undoing the cvable and trying to hold my breath, as the smoke was burning my throat, my glasses filled with blood and I realised I was bleeding rather badly. I removed my glasses and continued to disconect everything and got out of there. The fuel line settled down and then my head started to hurt. I disconnected the house banks as well because I had no idea of the state of any wiring.
I didn't feel to good and so I came home and had a wee sit down. Now I have to start rewiring all the batteries.
The start banks are capable of delivering 1800CCA. They sure made quick work of the huge cable I used. I have seen wires melted before, but I have never seen anything quite like this.
So becareful when playing with these huge currents. They can be leathal.

Rick if you are reading this, do you think dead shorting Calcium/lead (AGM or Gell--not sure which one) will have damaged them ???


For God so loved the world..........He didn't send a committee.
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Old 13-04-2007, 22:00   #2
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Aloha Wheels,
Glad you are ok. That was scary. Can you sort out exactly what happened to cause the meltdown?
Kind Regards,

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Old 13-04-2007, 22:17   #3
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PHEW............l can see a bit of rearanging going on. Isnt it amazing how you look at your set up and think thats pretty good, ...and then ......POW ...right in the kisser....Would a bloody big fussable link have helped ? glad to here that it was just your head that took the blow ; ).....stay safe
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Old 13-04-2007, 22:23   #4
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Happy to hear your OK!

You do know it's still Friday the 13th over here on the other side?

Yeah! it's time to get rid of that metal fuel line and put in a CG approved line. I almost burned up my ole 47 Dodge once because of the insulation missing on the Battery cable.

Time to take a rest, clear that head and patch the wound.

Take care..........................._/)
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Old 13-04-2007, 22:30   #5
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Whoa! I'm glad to hear you survived what could have been a lot worse.
FWIW, I doubt your batteries were damaged.

Steve B.
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Old 13-04-2007, 22:54   #6
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Wheels, glad you are OK, and the damage is not more severe than it was.
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Old 13-04-2007, 22:56   #7
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aw s***, there go last years atta boys.

Glad you're okay dude, hope you heal up okay. Not to add more rain to the parade, or to dispute senormechanico, but if you truly dead shorted the batteries, i.e. pos. to neg. you can almost bet they are fried. If the current draw was sufficient to melt cables, it was almost certainly enough to weld your internal plates, or at the very least blow some good holes in them. You can always check them with a voltmeter, but my moneys on them being very dead......
ps. be more careful next time, okay.....

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Old 13-04-2007, 22:59   #8
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Be glad it wasn't worse. Sometime I'll tell you the story of how I welded a one and a half inch wrench between the electrical panel and the door hinge on a DC9...not a pretty sight..

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Old 13-04-2007, 23:22   #9
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Paula here. What the hell are you playing at????

At least you have a thick skull(just joking)
Dawn will have to be extra nice to you for a few days.

I will give you a ring.
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Old 13-04-2007, 23:40   #10
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Thanks for the Call Paula. Nice to know your thinking of me. My skull isn't the only thing that was thick.

Well after a rest, I got Dawn to take me back out to the boat to ensure I had isolated everything. My head hurts so much I was worried I had not carried something through and I was also worried about the fuel lines leaking. What a mess I have made. Fuel lines seem OK, but I have heavey cables melted everywhere. Some have simply melted their way through plumbing and other cables. I so hope that the starter is OK. One cable going to the main power in to the starter has also fried. I can't quite understand that, as it should be isolated. Oh well, I'll figure it all out tomorrow. At least this gives me the oportunity to wire the damn system properly now. The way the PO had done it was simply rediculouse. Like the start bank is on the opposite side of the engine room than the starter. The isolating switch panel has cables running around the room to it and then back again. So tomorrow I am shifting the start bank and the isolating panel and rewiring them in more apropriate locations. Haveing better access to isolating switches is a priority. I could have saved a lot of time and had better safety if I could have accessed the switches from the Pilot house rather than go into the engine compartment.
I have enough battery cable at work to redo it all, so I am going to be a busy lad tomorrow.

For God so loved the world..........He didn't send a committee.
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Old 14-04-2007, 01:37   #11
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Sounds like you “let go of the rope*”.


* Bricklayer's Accident Report

Dear Sir:

I am writing in response to your request for additional information in Block #3 of the accident reporting form. I put "Poor Planning" as the cause of my accident. You asked for a fuller explanation, and I trust the following details will be sufficient.

I am a bricklayer by trade. On the day of the accident, I was working alone on the roof of a new six-story building. When I completed my work, I found I had some bricks left over which when weighed later were found to weigh 240 lbs.

Rather than carry the bricks down by hand, I decided to lower them in a barrel by using a pulley which was attached to the side of the building at the sixth floor.

Securing the rope at ground level, I went up to the roof, swung the barrel out and loaded the bricks into it. Then I went down and untied the rope, holding it tightly to insure a slow descent of the 240 lbs of bricks. You will note on the accident reporting form that my weight is 135 lbs.

Due to my surprise at being jerked off the ground so suddenly, I lost my presence of mind and forgot to let go of the rope. Needless to say, I proceeded at a rapid rate up the side of the building.

In the vicinity of the third floor, I met the barrel which was now proceeding downward at an equally impressive speed. This explains the fractured skull, minor abrasions and the broken collarbone, as listed in Section 3, accident reporting form.

Slowed only slightly, I continued my rapid ascent, not stopping until the fingers of my right hand were two knuckles deep into the pulley which I mentioned in Paragraph 2 of this correspondence. Fortunately, by this time, I had regained my presence of mind and was able to hold tightly to the rope, in spite of the excruciating pain I was now beginning to experience.

At approximately the same time, however, the barrel of bricks hit the ground, and the bottom fell out of the barrel. Now devoid of the weight of the bricks, the barrel weighed approximately 50 lbs. I refer you again to my weight.

As you might imagine, I began a rapid descent down the side of the building. In the vicinity of the third floor, I met the barrel coming up. This accounts for the two fractured ankles, broken tooth and severe lacerations of my legs and lower body.

Here my luck began to change slightly. The encounter with the barrel seemed to slow me enough to lessen my injuries when I fell into the pile of bricks and fortunately only three vertebrae were cracked.

I am sorry to report, however, as I lay there on the pile of bricks, in pain, unable to move and watching the empty barrel six stories above me, I again lost my composure and presence of mind and let go of the rope.
Gord May
"If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time/$ to fix it?"

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Old 14-04-2007, 01:51   #12
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Alan, glad to hear you are ok..........I am probably being a bit thick , but I am not sure what you did to start the problem?
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Old 14-04-2007, 05:10   #13
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Alan - good to hear you're ok and it's a good lesson for all of us to make sure our DC system is properly built, isolated and fused. I have a couple of circuits I know need re-wiring that I put off last year - guess what I'm doing first thing today? Hope the damage isn't too extensive.

BTW - after the hatch hit your head, have you checked it for damage also because if you are like me - your head is your least vulnerable spot?
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Old 14-04-2007, 05:30   #14

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Wheels... my GOD man.... it is not your week at all. Time to maybe take a good rest or something. Come back at it fresh. My heart broke reading your experience..... all I can say is:


Keep the chin up.
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Old 14-04-2007, 05:45   #15
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HOLY S**T!!!!!

If it happened to me I would be puckered so tight I wouldn't crap for a week.

Glad you're OK. Additionally, I am glad the Hartley Tahitian didn't burn to the water line leaving only your new mast showing above the surface.


She took my address and my name
Put my credit to shame
Sunspot Baby, sure had a real good time
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