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Old 25-03-2016, 16:22   #1
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Weighing Halon Fire Extinguishers

A good friend and former crewman just gave me three new powder fire extinguishers. I replaced 3 of my 4 with them and it feels good to have new ones. Even if the gauges on the old ones seem to indicate that they're still good.

But what about the automatic halon extinguisher in the engine room? I check the gauge regularly -- it has always been in the green. But the instructions say you should weigh it, too.

Does anyone do this? Is it really necessary?
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Old 25-03-2016, 16:56   #2
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Re: Weighing Halon Fire Extinguishers

Weighting would verify that the total halon amount is still there. Halon is a gas at atmospheric pressure. so in theory small amounts could leak out.

How big is the halon cylinder and what is the rough cubic feet (or cubic meters) of the engine bay.
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Old 25-03-2016, 17:26   #3
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Re: Weighing Halon Fire Extinguishers

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Weighting would verify that the total halon amount is still there. Halon is a gas at atmospheric pressure. so in theory small amounts could leak out.

How big is the halon cylinder and what is the rough cubic feet (or cubic meters) of the engine bay.
Yes, but if it's never a liquid, then the pressure is directly related to the mass of gas inside. So what's the point? The pressure gauge should tell all, no?


Concerning the size, I couldn't learn that. It's a Sea Fire automatic system which also shuts off fuel and blowers. It was part of my boat's original build, so I presume that it was correctly sized.

I did learn, however, to my surprise, that it's not halon after all. It's Heptaflouropropane, or FM 200. Which I guess is not as effective as halon, but appears to be less hazardous to humans. It also means I can refill this bottle if I need to, rather than converting to a different gas, as I expected.
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Old 25-03-2016, 17:37   #4
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Re: Weighing Halon Fire Extinguishers

If it is 100% gaseous then weighing is a "second opinion" in case the pressure gauge is wrong. If there is any liquid then pressure is not an accurate indicator of mass. Also, in all cases temperature affects pressure but not mass.
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Old 25-03-2016, 17:55   #5
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Re: Weighing Halon Fire Extinguishers

Halon and FM200 (HFC-227) its replacement are a liquid under pressure and a gas at atmospheric pressure. Both halon 1301 and fm200 are safe for humans under design concentrations. However, if too much percentage of either is in the space due to over size for example, they can be quite a human heath hazard and can stop the heart.

Weighting is required as like propane the gauge can read good pressure even if the tank is only half full. Though odds are it's fine.

Halon 1301 and 1211 was banned as they was a major ozone depleation chemical. It was banned at the same time R12 was.
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Old 25-03-2016, 17:57   #6
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Re: Weighing Halon Fire Extinguishers

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Halon and FM200 (HFC-227) its replacement are a liquid under pressure and a gas at atmospheric pressure. Both halon 1301 and fm200 are safe for humans under design concentrations. However, if too much percentage of either is in the space due to over size for example, they can be quite a human heath hazard and can stop the heart.

Weighting is required as like propane the gauge can read good pressure even if the tank is only half full. Though odds are it's fine.

Halon 1301 and 1211 was banned as they was a major ozone depleation chemical. It was banned at the same time R12 was.
Yes, if it's liquid, then the pressure is irrelevant. It will just be the vapor pressure of that substance at the temperature of the moment. There's my logic out the window.

So I guess it would be prudent to weigh it. As much as I hate to contemplate disconnecting it from all the Sea Fire carp to get it out.
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Old 25-03-2016, 19:19   #7
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Re: Weighing Halon Fire Extinguishers

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A good friend and former crewman just gave me three new powder fire extinguishers. I replaced 3 of my 4 with them and it feels good to have new ones. Even if the gauges on the old ones seem to indicate that they're still good.

But what about the automatic halon extinguisher in the engine room? I check the gauge regularly -- it has always been in the green. But the instructions say you should weigh it, too.

Does anyone do this? Is it really necessary?
I've got the same dilemma. Guage says good, but is it telling the truth? Dare I risk it or should I spend money on a tech to give it the thumbs up, which with a 99% probability will be wasted as the guage will be fine? Life is full of hard choices and I am full of no answers.
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Old 26-03-2016, 06:32   #8
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Re: Weighing Halon Fire Extinguishers

We have a local fire extinguisher company come to the boat every year or so to recertify our Halon system.


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Old 26-03-2016, 16:44   #9
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Re: Weighing Halon Fire Extinguishers

Late last year we had our mandatory school fire extinguishers checked. Apparently as it's a designated place (school) the contents have to be replaced every 4 years, which is in addition to twice yearly checks. When i got the bill, 16 had been replaced with new ones. I rang and queried it and was told it's cheaper for the school to replace with brand new ones rather than replacing the powder. Then they told me that 4 of the 16 when being disposed of failed to discharge 4 out of 16 and only 4 years old

I don't like those odds for the two i have on my boat.
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Old 26-03-2016, 17:36   #10
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Re: Weighing Halon Fire Extinguishers

Halon fire bottles in military aircraft have to be removed and weighed, it's like a propane or CO2 bottle, pressure will be the same as long as their is any liquid. I'm surprised Halon bottles have a pressure gauge.
Dry chemical fire extinguishers are of course pressure so the gauge is good, but also you want to take them and makes sure the powder moves around and hasn't packed to the bottom. I had ten year old dry chemical ones in the boat when I bought it, and they are cheap of course, so I tried them, and they all worked.
I have three automatic Halons as well, I weighed them and they still weigh OK, weight should be stamped on the bottle.


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Old 26-03-2016, 17:44   #11
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Re: Weighing Halon Fire Extinguishers

Halon has been banned in the UK and EU. Its replacement is FE36. That said I do have one on board like you guarding the engine room.

Chubb Fire Halon Extinguishers

If we go to France this year as planned I will change it out, can't be doing discussing this with foreign officials.

https://www.marinesuperstore.com/saf...e-extinguisher
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Old 26-03-2016, 18:30   #12
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Re: Weighing Halon Fire Extinguishers

There is still much confusion in regards to portable extinguishers. The Montreal Protocol scheduled the banning of all CFCs and since then we also have adjusted dates and included phase-out of all HCFCs (such as R22, a very common domestic a/c refrigerant).
To all intents and purposes, they are all banned nowadays, except in aircraft.

If you have a yellow cylinder, return it to an approved waste collection point and help save the planet, please!

For anyone with FM200, sadly the effects of it's use on a fire are the production of toxic by-products. Be very careful if one has gone-off in an engine compartment. Commercially, we vent the space before opening the door. Also commercially, we are removing FM200 to replace with an inert gas (IG55 being one of the best).

For those in Australia, we service all essential services systems (fire detection, alarms, suppression and so-forth) in accordance with Australian Standards 1851. This dictates the scheduled maintenance and replacement periods, repacking requirements (including for fire blankets). Schools are not exempt or separated in this regards, it is an AS requirement mandated under the NCC (or BCA if you prefer that title) and it applies to the system, not its application or location. Portables are serviced the same on a boat, school, factory or road tunnel and so forth.
OK, my hobby horse is fed and watered for the day!
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Old 26-03-2016, 18:55   #13
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Re: Weighing Halon Fire Extinguishers

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Schools are not exempt or separated in this regards, it is an AS requirement mandated under the NCC (or BCA if you prefer that title) and it applies to the system, not its application or location. Portables are serviced the same on a boat, school, factory or road tunnel and so forth.
OK, my hobby horse is fed and watered for the day!
Well actually, i wasnt commenting on the Australian Standard, just that places and buildings designated as 'public' are required by law to comply or we won't get our yearly certification. And every 'four' years apparently then the contents are required to be emptied and refilled, hense it's cheaper to replace the extinguisher with a new one.

I cant see private boat owners doing that regardless of the AS.
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Old 26-03-2016, 19:01   #14
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Re: Weighing Halon Fire Extinguishers

Rustic,
I just wonder at the response from an insurance company if you have not complied
OK, as a designer and certifier, I have my professional test line of "yes Mr Coroner", but then personally, I use the test line of "insurance Co."
Sadly, I often think the whats-its are all out to avoid their obligations somehow!
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Old 26-03-2016, 19:07   #15
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Re: Weighing Halon Fire Extinguishers

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Rustic,
I just wonder at the response from an insurance company if you have not complied
OK, as a designer and certifier, I have my professional test line of "yes Mr Coroner", but then personally, I use the test line of "insurance Co."
Sadly, I often think the whats-its are all out to avoid their obligations somehow!
Well, school wise, if we don't comply we simply don't get our license to operate as a school and we won't get our form 56 maintenance that all public buildings must have. Without that being issued each year, we can't open.

On my boat if my exinguisher is expired and I have a fire, i'd presume id not be covered.. Which is why i do comply

Not so certain of others on here though
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