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Old 05-08-2020, 09:16   #106
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Re: Electrical Fire - Seeking Help Please

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Originally Posted by Breeze Dreamer View Post
Ahoy to any Marina owners reading this. Do you actively audit the safety of the boats you allow in the Marina?

I find it extremely worrying and frightening that someone could have a boat that looks pretty on the outside, but below decks is a fire bomb, and that that fire bomb could quietly berth alongside my boat in the evening when I've gone to bed, or left my boat for the weekend.

Lets assume for a moment that neighbouring boats are shipshape and have had an Authorised Person certify the electrics / gas / engine so are are as safe as you can have a boat in the Marina. If the Fire bomb goes up and takes out two or three more boats in the Marina, who is liable for this?

I would have thought Marina owners would be very pro active in terms of the standards that boats must conform to before they allow them to berth, and certainly for a longer term agreement. But without a formal system, how can a Marina owner protect themselves and boat owners from this?

I guess as a Marina owner, you could have all unknown boats to moor up to buoy that's is a safe distance away from known boats.

Yeah I can't imagine that ever happening. The reality is in a large marina fire you may never know for certain what started it because the fire will also destroy evidence of the source. That is what insurance is for.

I would add that experts aren't foolproof. Due limitations on time and cost they aren't going to catch everything. It is likely this boat was surveyed. It may have been surveyed multiple times over its lifetime and yet the charging circuit had no OCP. I am going to assume it never had OCP meaning this incident could have happened at any point.

Nobody will ever care about your boat as much as you do. I am not saying don't get a survey but clean survey doesn't mean flawless perfectly by the code electrical system.
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Old 05-08-2020, 11:35   #107
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Re: Electrical Fire - Seeking Help Please

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Originally Posted by Breeze Dreamer View Post
Ahoy to any Marina owners reading this. Do you actively audit the safety of the boats you allow in the Marina?

As with just about modern risk, the answer is insurance. Marinas require boat-owners to have sufficient liability insurance, and it falls to the insurer to establish that the boat is an acceptable risk, which is why they require periodic surveys.
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Old 05-08-2020, 12:14   #108
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Re: Electrical Fire - Seeking Help Please

Quote:
Originally Posted by Breeze Dreamer View Post
I find it extremely worrying and frightening that someone could have a boat that looks pretty on the outside, but below decks is a fire bomb, and that that fire bomb could quietly berth alongside my boat in the evening when I've gone to bed, or left my boat for the weekend.
I hate to break it to you but the vast majority of boats out there, even brand new boats, are not safe electrically.

I will even go a step further and suggest that it you yourself are still plugging in with a twist-lock 30A shore cord your boat is not immune from a boat fire. These cord/plugs, and their lack of care, are perhaps the number 1 cause of marina fires.
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Old 05-08-2020, 12:57   #109
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Re: Electrical Fire - Seeking Help Please

I appreciate the insurance side, and I don't doubt it about the cord/plugs. But assuming the OP had the boat insured, this highlights how insurance does not remove risk, to the OP, his family or any unlucky sailor he berths alongside. Having an insured fire bomb berthed next to you is sub optimal.



In this instance, they were lucky. But if there was a fatality, on their boat or by fire moving to other boats on the marina...everyone takes things more seriously and insurance cash just ain't too useful when your dead!



Anyone dealing with an insurance claim knows it's not fun. I think a visible certification on a boat so you can glance over at your neighbour and tell they have up to date certificate for the electrics / gas / fuel etc would be useful. Of course some people will not keep it up-to-date but with modern databases etc... super easy to track.



OP - glad your all safe. I'm sure the local marine electrical expert will keep you that way if you get her or him to do the rewiring.



Maine Sail, is there an alternative to the twist-lock 30A shore cord or something to make it safer?
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Old 05-08-2020, 13:36   #110
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Re: Electrical Fire - Seeking Help Please

I just want to thank everyone for helping me understand and correct my boats shore power configuration. You may have saved lives here. !!!
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Old 07-08-2020, 12:25   #111
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Re: Electrical Fire - Seeking Help Please

I suspect, as others have, the shore charger is to blame and, sorry, as you have also heard lack of fuse protection.

The shore charger will have diode or thyristor reverse flow protection which may have broken down. It looks like the alternator had a wired connection, through the isolating switch to the shore charger. A semi conductor isolator between these two would be a good idea.
Having the shore charge and solar charge reverse flow protected and fused is a must. It is likely that the solar panel circuit is already protected, through the charge controller. Belt and braces?

Throw a cover over the solar panel and disconnect, have the shore charger also disconnected, check battery volts, start engine, check that the alternator charges the battery and that the regulator is regulating. Connect the solar panel, with the cover off, to an isolated battery and check the charge voltage is normal. Take the shore charger out of the circuit and have it bench tested.
Hope the above is of some use.
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Old 17-08-2020, 07:36   #112
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Re: Electrical Fire - Seeking Help Please

[sorry if the following has already been written - there is so much to read here]


I suggest to check if there was a contact between the left red wire (the burned one) and the metal housing of the charger, due to a harmed insulation. Newer chargers might have plastic housings, but old ones were metal.


A fuse inside the charger does not protect against such issue.
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Old 18-08-2020, 08:08   #113
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Re: Electrical Fire - Seeking Help Please

Quote:
Originally Posted by PiAn View Post
[sorry if the following has already been written - there is so much to read here]


I suggest to check if there was a contact between the left red wire (the burned one) and the metal housing of the charger, due to a harmed insulation. Newer chargers might have plastic housings, but old ones were metal.


A fuse inside the charger does not protect against such issue.
And it's exactly why the chassis ground needs to be the same size (or one size smaller) than the largest ungrounded (positive) conductor, so it can carry the fault current until the fuse blows.
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Old 19-08-2020, 12:40   #114
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Re: Electrical Fire - Seeking Help Please

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[sorry if the following has already been written - there is so much to read here]
Laziness like this with new speculation helps nobody. This thread effectively was finished almost 3 weeks ago when the original poster had the boat repaired and was back on the water. (Posts 72 and 76)

As for cause and how to prevent recurrence, I'm willing to wager that MaineSail, CharlieJ, and myself have seen more fires than the rest combined and we had it well defined by the time I wrote Post 52. Yet this thread is now up to Post #114.

Posts like yours are one reason I seldom respond in CF anymore.

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