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Thread: W-46 Equus burns and sinks

  1. #1
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    Default W-46 Equus burns and sinks

    Kind of stunning to hear of this!

    http://www.turnto10.com/story/256520...little-compton

  2. #2
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    Default Re: W-46 Equus burns and sinks

    the only sailing fires I know of on smaller yachts occur when a heavy electric consumer like a hydraulic winch, welds its relay closed. the powerpack then runs wild and catches fire.

    dont know if those W 46 boats carry hydraulic winches. if your boat has a hydraulic powerpack inspect and replace the main relay often.

    other fires can start in a paint locker. dont carry paint or solvents on a boat.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: W-46 Equus burns and sinks

    Quote Originally Posted by slug View Post
    the only sailing fires I know of on smaller yachts occur when a heavy electric consumer like a hydraulic winch, welds its relay closed. the powerpack then runs wild and catches fire.

    dont know if those W 46 boats carry hydraulic winches. if your boat has a hydraulic powerpack inspect and replace the main relay often.
    fuses?
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: W-46 Equus burns and sinks

    Never seen a fuse catch on fire.

    motors do.

    A hydraulic powerpack may be protected by a 150 amp fuse. When the motor runs wild its not drawing in excess of 150 amps, but it is generating tremendous heat. The motor will have a heat sensor. The problem is this heat sensor opens the relay and shuts down the motor. If the relay is welded shut the heat sensor cant open the relay..the motor will run until it bursts into flames.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: W-46 Equus burns and sinks

    We were having a boat yard barbecue last night when this news came in and the captain is a friend of the yard. After a bit of failed efforts to get full info from the internet the simple expedient of a phone call to the captain did the trick. Officially the cause of the fire remains under investigation. As I understand it second hand from a hasty conversation that was mostly "glad you're both safe", they were motor sailing when the captain thought something was wrong and shut down the engine to inspect. All looked fine, no gauge warnings or hot spots so turned it on and instantly the lithium-ion batteries burst into flame. That fire does not extinguish - they emptied everything at the fire to no avail. There were other boats around who heard the Mayday so the captain and crew were able to step off the boat. From the fire start to sinking was only about forty minutes. No human injuries.

    This is the same sort of battery that the new airliners have trouble with. They are a great battery but there's something about them that does not tolorate even a small departure from how they want to take a charge. As with the airliners, it may be a controler/regulater problem and it may not be properly understood yet. Battery fires can happen to any vehicle. Not exactly common but frequent enough to be no major surprise. But it appears that the lithium-ion battery fires are more difficult to control and thus more dangerous.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: W-46 Equus burns and sinks

    Friend of mine almost lost his house when a li-ion tool battery on charge decided to ignite. He wasn't home and fortunately is compulsive about putting his chargers on a non flammable surface so it did not ignite other stuff. Lesson learned.
    Ben Fuller
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: W-46 Equus burns and sinks

    #7 good to know, will have to heed that when charging my tool batteries.
    Gerard>
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: W-46 Equus burns and sinks

    Normally a heat sensor stops the charge when overheat is sensed

  9. #9
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    Default Re: W-46 Equus burns and sinks

    Actually, shut down seperators and other thermal and electrical protections are supposed to be built into the LI unit. But you still have heat at one end and oxygen at the other and very finikey tolorances for the cells being close to same voltage. The internal shuts are one time events that incapacitate the battery forever. From what I've read, it's the manufacturing tolerances as well as some material choises that are the major safety factors. It's just very easy to make one that will go wild and when they do it's very very fast. Outside the battery sensors and regulators do not get to the intra-cell issues.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: W-46 Equus burns and sinks

    Ive often asked how you fight a battery fire but have never gotten a good answer. How does Boeing do it on an aircraft ?

  11. #11
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    Default Re: W-46 Equus burns and sinks

    I think they use halon on aircraft.
    Steve

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  12. #12
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    Default Re: W-46 Equus burns and sinks

    Halon might work but since these batteries produce their own oxygen it won't work until that's used up. Which is why these are the hardest battery fires to fight. If I were to spend the thousands these things cost, I'd have an ejection system to hurl them overboard. By the way, LI batteries are fairly eco-friendly and are not classified as hazardous waste. They also don't lend them selves to recycling.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: W-46 Equus burns and sinks

    Boeing's solution (I almost wrote "solution" but I don't want to start a Boeing v Airbus spat) has been, as I understand it, to encase the lithium ion batteries aboard the B 787 in very strong containers.

    Incidentally, Malaysian Airlines flight 370 was carrying more than two tons of li-ion batteries as cargo.
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  14. #14
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    Default Re: W-46 Equus burns and sinks

    Quote Originally Posted by slug View Post
    Never seen a fuse catch on fire.
    .
    Back in the days of Strowger and crossbar exchanges there were gunpowder filled fuses (sometimes called "sand fuses") - not so much a fire more a small explosion.



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  15. #15
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    Default Re: W-46 Equus burns and sinks

    Quote Originally Posted by slug View Post
    Ive often asked how you fight a battery fire but have never gotten a good answer. How does Boeing do it on an aircraft ?
    Boeing's answer on the aircraft is as Andrew said - a box that vents outboard. For fighting a battery fire w/flame they recommend Halon.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: W-46 Equus burns and sinks

    Didn't know Li-ion batteries were in use on many boats. Ian has it right--they can ignite from the charging cycle, physical damage, overheating, etc., and the combustion of the electrolyte produces oxygen which makes the fires difficult to put out. The Tesla fires are a good example.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: W-46 Equus burns and sinks

    The captains of Equus and her sistership Zebra (maybe not the same captains) stopped here and took moorings on passage-in-tandem late fall deliveries south a couple of years ago.

    One of them had his own boat in a long-term, pay-as-you-go rebuild underway at a boatyard here. We had them to dinner and they invited us aboard the W-46s. Beautiful, pretty boats but 'wet and cold during a late fall delivery into the wind under power' is what they said.

    It was amusing to overhear them bitching about NE weather over the VHF the next morning as they motored off into a driving cold rain, aching to get to the sunny south, moaning about how long it would take. The radios signal faded out as they continued their kvetching non-stop. One of them sent a thank-you/Christmas card from the Bahamas somewhere iirc. Nice guys.

    Too bad to see Equus go. Glad no one was hurt and that sisterships remain.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: W-46 Equus burns and sinks

    Lithium ion batteris have been added to propane bottles on the list of things that will never go on my boat.
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  19. #19
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    Default Re: W-46 Equus burns and sinks

    Sorry to hear about this. Another example in a growing list of why Li Ion batteries are waaay too dangerous to have on boats, at least until they are better understood. I know the owner is really into trying to be green, so I'm sure the decision to go that route was based to some degree on that. Glad everyone is OK.

  20. #20

    Default Re: W-46 Equus burns and sinks

    I use lithiums for small tools, but I have no experience with them as larger power packs. I guess they can spontaneously ignite and then thermal runaway can take place..... and it's hard to put out the fire.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: W-46 Equus burns and sinks

    EQUUS belonged to the wife of Google's chairman.

    Re halon: It's a CFC and no longer produced (since 1994) so recycled is all you can get. A danger with it is that if your engine continues to run with a fire in the engine room, halon gas (while low in toxicity as a stable liquid) is ingested by the engine and emitted as a toxic gas. That might be the least of your problems though! http://www.passagemaker.com/articles...ssion-systems/
    Last edited by rbgarr; 06-21-2014 at 08:29 AM.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: W-46 Equus burns and sinks

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Malcolm Jardine View Post
    I use lithiums for small tools, but I have no experience with them as larger power packs. I guess they can spontaneously ignite and then thermal runaway can take place..... and it's hard to put out the fire.
    During the runaway process and the combustion process they continue to produce more oxygen than is necessary for them to support combustion. Lithium ion vapor auto ignites at approximately 600F in a normal atmosphere, but in an oxygen rich environment may auto ignite at as low a temp as 360F. Once ignited the only effective way to put out the fire is reduce the temperature of the mass to below auto ignition temp.

    Some military applications encase the battery in a cooling system, which even if the cell does reach a 'runaway' state it remains cool enough that it won't auto ignite.

    here's a relevant paper on lithium ion fires: http://www.prba.org/wp-content/uploa...PA_-_20111.pdf
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: W-46 Equus burns and sinks

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pless View Post
    During the runaway process and the combustion process they continue to produce more oxygen than is necessary for them to support combustion. Lithium ion vapor auto ignites at approximately 600F in a normal atmosphere, but in an oxygen rich environment may auto ignite at as low a temp as 360F. Once ignited the only effective way to put out the fire is reduce the temperature of the mass to below auto ignition temp.

    Some military applications encase the battery in a cooling system, which even if the cell does reach a 'runaway' state it remains cool enough that it won't auto ignite.

    here's a relevant paper on lithium ion fires: http://www.prba.org/wp-content/uploa...PA_-_20111.pdf
    I got to page 26 of the paper before they said anything about the different chemistries of Lithium ion types. Early on there is a disclaimer.

    I don't know much about these things and did not read the paper but it says Lithium Cobalt are the most common. Those are fires waiting to happen.

    On the other hand LiFePO4 are very difficult to start on fire. Or so the internet claims.

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