Fire extiguisher

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  • Daddy M
    Frequent Contributor
    • Dec 2009
    • 8

    Fire extiguisher

    Tartan 30
    There is a fire extinguisher mounted on the outboard side of the battery compartment. It has an automatic sprinkler head on it, no way to discharge it manually. Seems to be a cutout in the compartment that leads into the engine well. (engine housing on this boat snugs up against the port berth)
    2 questions:
    1) where do I find one of these (never seen one before)
    2) would it make more sense to have this on the inboard side of the batteries? This would place it right up against the carb side of the engine housing.
    Seems to me if there is going to be a fire onboard, it's more likely to be in the engine compartment that the battery one. Of course I don't plan on any, but this arrangement seems to worry about battery fire. If there were a problem in the engine compartment, dry chem would have to work its way past the batts into engine housing. If I moved it closer to the engine side, I'd feel better.
    Any comments?
    Thanks
  • ndutton
    Afourian MVP
    • May 2009
    • 9777

    #2
    What you have is an automatic Halon extinguishing system designed to smother a fire within a particular compartment. As you suggest, I've usually seen them in engine compartments. Some of these systems have the bilge blower wired through them to kill the blower in the event of a fire to preserve the Halon in the compartment rather than ventilate it overboard.

    I should add that this is not a dry chem, purely gaseous.
    Neil
    1977 Catalina 30
    San Pedro, California
    prior boats 1987 Westsail 32, 1970 Catalina 22
    Had my hands in a few others

    Comment

    • ILikeRust
      Afourian MVP
      • Sep 2010
      • 2212

      #3
      Original question was asked many months ago, but what the heck, I'll toss in my 2 cents.

      I have a similar Halon automatic extinguisher in the engine compartment. Mine is dated 1979 on it. I took it to the local fire extinguisher outfit, and they refused to have anything to do with it.

      Here is the manufacturer of mine: http://www.fireboy-xintex.com/

      You can buy them through West Marine, but they are EXPENSIVE!

      I contacted the manufacturer, and they told me all I had to do was weigh the cylinder on a reasonably accurate scale (I used my mail scale, which goes up to 10 lbs). As long as it showed the weight stated on the label, they told me to go ahead and put it back.

      One issue: Halon is not for occupied spaces - it is an asphyxiant, heavier than air, and will kill you. They make another line that uses a different chemical that is approved for occupied spaces. And of course, they're even more expensive.

      My little bitty 2-3/4 pound bottle would cost over $300 to replace.

      I weighed it; it weighed exactly what the label says it should; so I put it back!
      - Bill T.
      - Richmond, VA

      Relentless pursuer of lost causes

      Comment

      • hanleyclifford
        Afourian MVP
        • Mar 2010
        • 7020

        #4
        I have an automatic Halon cylinder in my engine room, too. It takes the place of one of two B-5 units required for my size boat. Halon is now obsolete and has been replaced by a more environmentally friendly product. The old units cannot be recharged but as long as they hold their charge the Coast Guard accepts them. BTW, in addition to the dry chemical for the other B-5, I carry at least one CO 2 (B-5) to be used first. Once at the drags I had a guy in front of me with a fire in his engine. I ran up with my CO 2 just as some one was about to blast away with dry chemical. I put the fire out instead - the engine restarted and the car made a fine run!

        Comment

        • keelcooler
          Senior Member
          • Oct 2008
          • 282

          #5
          An auto haylon should be mounted high within the motor box. They activate between 225 and 250 degrees, so you want it up w/ the heat. I also mounted mine above the carb side. Unless the heat tab is gone on the sprinkler head they are most likely fully charged and will remain so. Just check the weight per the label spec.

          The old ozone depleting haylon gas is no longer in use. Haylon was the most efficient and was used in the m1 tanks. The new green gas used is no longer in small compact bottles and costs big bucks.

          If you find one used at a second hand marine store you may want to pick it up. Your insurance company will give you a discount if installed because statistically they have proven the most effective when it comes to engine compartment fires.

          When it comes to fire aboard you fully implement all prevention steps and move on to sound proven extinguishing methods. A dry chem may put out a grill or stove fire but that’s about it. Fuel fire in the box you want an auto unit or co2 horn nozzle in a cockpit locker. The fact is if a box fire erupts you will not want to go below and open the engine hatch anyway. You will not see a dry chem. on a military vessel or air base because they don’t work worth a darn. By the time you learn how to aim it, its dead.

          A haylon when discharged will shut down a gas engine. Not so w/ a diesel. It will pass right through and mixed w/ diesel exhaust it becomes a form of mustard gas.

          Comment

          • smaarch
            Senior Member
            • Jul 2008
            • 47

            #6
            the adventures of s/v voyager.....

            oh yes dry ext. put out stove fires
            and leave a fine white powdery mess.

            Comment

            • hanleyclifford
              Afourian MVP
              • Mar 2010
              • 7020

              #7
              Speaking of military vessels, I seem to get boarded at least once every trip; for some reason my boat must look like a good prospect for some gigs. More than once I've had the USCG "AHA, fire extinguisher inspection not current (CO2)", to which I reply, "...no, son, that one is for putting out the fire, this one over here is for you guys to inspect (the dry chemical). The point is that the profliferation of dry chemical extinguishers is mainly related to the expense and difficulty of getting CO2 units weighed and recertified while on the road.

              Comment

              • 67c&ccorv
                Afourian MVP
                • Dec 2008
                • 1592

                #8
                Originally posted by keelcooler View Post
                An auto haylon should be mounted high within the motor box. They activate between 225 and 250 degrees, so you want it up w/ the heat. I also mounted mine above the carb side. Unless the heat tab is gone on the sprinkler head they are most likely fully charged and will remain so. Just check the weight per the label spec.

                The old ozone depleting haylon gas is no longer in use. Haylon was the most efficient and was used in the m1 tanks. The new green gas used is no longer in small compact bottles and costs big bucks.

                If you find one used at a second hand marine store you may want to pick it up. Your insurance company will give you a discount if installed because statistically they have proven the most effective when it comes to engine compartment fires.

                When it comes to fire aboard you fully implement all prevention steps and move on to sound proven extinguishing methods. A dry chem may put out a grill or stove fire but that’s about it. Fuel fire in the box you want an auto unit or co2 horn nozzle in a cockpit locker. The fact is if a box fire erupts you will not want to go below and open the engine hatch anyway. You will not see a dry chem. on a military vessel or air base because they don’t work worth a darn. By the time you learn how to aim it, its dead.

                A haylon when discharged will shut down a gas engine. Not so w/ a diesel. It will pass right through and mixed w/ diesel exhaust it becomes a form of mustard gas.
                When I was a crewman on the Rhodesian (Polish built) T55 tanks the Soviets used a similar auto/manual Halon fire suppression system. You had to arm it first in the automatic mode...crews would often disarm the system and use it manually because there had been incidents where the auto system was triggered inadvertantly and the crew sickened as a result.

                Comment

                • ArtJ
                  • Sep 2009
                  • 2183

                  #9
                  The Fire extinguisher is a good idea, I am not sure whether it could be
                  implemented on the Tartan 34C or not. The Tartan has its engine in
                  the main saloon under a very small box with little extra side or headroom.
                  Sometimes after a long run the box becomes very hot, including the
                  plywood cover hatch. I wonder if the Halon (sp?) or equivalent replacement
                  could be practically mounted since there is approximately 6 inches from
                  the head to the top of the engine box. That plus the ambient temperature
                  probably due to the use of the partially dry stack to the standpipe is a
                  potential problem. It would be a good safety idea because the gas tank sits
                  adjacent to the engine under the port settee much less than a foot
                  from the engine.

                  Comment

                  • gary gerber
                    Senior Member
                    • May 2008
                    • 96

                    #10
                    I have an automatic discharge halogen fire extinguisher mounted above my motor in the engine compartment. The discharge head has a similar appearance to the sprinkler heads we see in stores and offices. It is sort of the "first responder" on a boat. I know that the Beneteau's have an access hole under the companion way steps with a removable cap. The idea is if a fire starts in the engine compartment, one pulls the cap and aims a fire extinguisher directly into the hole. I am actually considering adding this easy to do feature in my 1970 Morgan 33.

                    Comment

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