Sat Morning Pics... Update and FIRE!!!

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Sat Morning Pics... Update and FIRE!!!

Postby Canada » Sat Nov 04, 2017 4:35 pm

We have now lived on the boat for about 5 weeks and thought I would provide a little update as to how we are making out.

First, it has been a good experience living on the boat. We are still unpacking stuff but 95% there and it all seems to be fitting with the help of Kathy’s aunt and brother who live close by in Victoria (we are in Sidney) where we are storing a few things like golf clubs, bikes, snow tires, etc.

Here is a picture of the marina and the location of our slip. It is a quiet spot in terms of any wakes. I guess the only down sides are….a/ that we are in a corner with 90 degree corner dock at both the bow and starboard side and is a main walkway for boaters to pass going from the fuel dock area to the marina office and restaurant area(s).

Point is, as opposed to being bow in at a regular slip where you have a lot of privacy on the aft deck, we get to say hello to everyone walking by the boat. This can be a good thing and a bad thing all at the same time.
marina.jpg


And b/ it is like being docked at the Miami boat show with lots of big boats. Our neighbour beside us is maybe 80 feet and he blocks our morning sun!!! At this time of year the boat would heat up twice as fast without being in the shade 50% of the day.
leroy.jpg



The other thing is that we seemed to have brought the Eastern Canada weather with us. There is an artic cold front that came down and it is quite cool and in fact it is snowing right now. There is snow in the hills that surround us. Hopefully it will not last too long. We are running heaters in the boat as well as the diesel furnace from time to time. (More on that later).
snow.jpg


I am also going through the boat learning the systems and finding “stuff”. Some of it is going to the dump or giving away like this 30 AMP power cord that got fried at some point in time. Gave it to a chandlery to see if someone wants it for free if they care to repair and take on the liability.
cord.jpg




So there you go…. And now for the bad stuff.

Kathy and I were (luckily) inside the boat just relaxing when I happened to go up to the pilothouse to get something. I smelled what seemed like an electrical fire. Of course it could NOT be us so I went outside to walk around the boat to see if I would smell it outside (I couldn’t).

I came back on board and felt the receptacle on the starboard side of dash (which had nothing plugged into it) and it seemed be very warm. At that point I opened a draw beside it and saw smoke coming out and Kathy went down to the forward cabin to check and the stateroom was quickly filling up with smoke!!!!

Boat fires can get real bad, real fast so I elected not to investigate further and immediately called the marina on the VHF while Kathy called 911.

Over the next 2 minutes….
- we pulled out 3 fire extinguishers (which is on my to do list as to inventory all the extinguishers and exactly where they are given in times of crisis sometimes the brain doesn’t compute so good).
- Shut down all the power to batteries
- Disconnected shore power
- Turned off all systems on the panel (including inverter)
- Kathy got off boat with the dog and the PC and IPAD (which have our lives on them)

On or about the 3rd minute about 6 Marina staff showed up with additional extinguishers and by this time the smoke was pretty bad. They got the dock fire hoses ready as well as prepared to shut down the fuel lines to the gas dock (which run beside our boat under the dock). We started unscrewing the dash in preparation for the fire department.

On or about the 10th minute (maybe less) the fire department were at the boat which is pretty damn quick given it is a 5 minute walk down the dock to our slip at a leisurely walking pace.

I guess you can understand that I was not taking pics at this time given the emergency in progress.

Everything worked out - sort of…… The fire department brought a thermal imaging camera on board to determine if there were any other hot spots.

Turns out it was limited to the receptacle which apparently self-extinguished itself after I had cut all the power in the boat (thank goodness)

BUT….This is how close it came to getting very seriously out of control.
fire.jpg


After the fire marshal / inspector came on board for his reporting purposes, the fire department packed up and left.
firedept2.jpg


We still did not power the boat back up as I wanted this bad circuit taken right off line. I called the marina office to see if they knew an electrician to call and they called for us. In fact the electrician was on the dock anyways so he was on our boat within 10 minutes of calling.
He took the whole circuit off line and will return to effect repairs soon.
panel 2.jpg


lock out.jpg



Here is the culprit receptacle which arced and melted. Apparently when arcing it was not drawing enough current / amps to flip the circuit breaker.
recepticale.jpg


The next day after airing the boat out, I had to put the whole dash back together as well as the captain’s chair, etc.. To my amazement the GPS and VHF were still working as they were also scorched on the inside.
dash.jpg


So that was that. I basically consider ourselves very lucky (along with the boats around us).

BUT…. The day was not over yet. Later that night after the smoke cleared we were having a glass of wine (or two) and a full glass of red wine was spilled on the nice beige carpet in the main salon. Geez……
Didn’t bring any cleaners with us from Ontario. So went out and got them the next day and all cleaned up now like new.

BUT WAIT THERE IS MORE…

The next day I decided for something to do, we should test out the crane and launch the dinghy.
dinghy crane.jpg


The crane worked well after figuring out you had to lift the dinghy and turn it around to clear the dinghy bow under the crane itself.
Anyway, got the dinghy in the water (of course the battery was dead as it was likely not started over the past year or so – went out and bought a charger – all good now).

And as per my normal operating procedures, I tied the dinghy onto the back of the swim platform.
dinghy.jpg


All good now no more issues…and went to bed.

Not thinking things thru…. It was very cool the next morning so got up and turned the diesel furnace on to heat up the boat.
It is true. Things do happen in threes.

The dinghy had moved around beside the boat during the night and was resting right up against the furnace exhaust and yes you got it….. :o
dinghy burn.jpg



I guess the silver cloud here is that it did not burst the dinghy and sink.

Not having a good week with fire issues. $60.00 later got the dinghy patched up and good as new (kind of).

And that’s it. Our first month of adventures at our new dock. Can definitely say we have had our ups and downs.

Back to watching the sunsets. Cheers.
sunset.jpg
Greg & Kathy
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Re: Sat Morning Pics... Update and FIRE!!!

Postby ImRich » Sat Nov 04, 2017 5:26 pm

Wow, quite a story, and worthy of you sharing it.

Did you ever find out what caused the outlet to over heat and burn? Something must have been drawing power for heat to be generated. They shouldn't ever draw power if nothing is connected, unless moisture or something caused a short inside it.

It's good to hear no one was hurt nor major damage occurred.
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Re: Sat Morning Pics... Update and FIRE!!!

Postby Canada » Sat Nov 04, 2017 6:07 pm

There are only 3 receptacles on this circuit. 2 in the pilothouse and 1 in the main salon. Not quite sure but I believe a 1500W heater was plugged into the salon. Having said that, I used to have my PC plugged into the circuit in question as well as my PC monitor. A week ago about, the top plug of the receptacle stopped working which took the monitor off line but the bottom still worked. That should have maybe started the alarm bells but.....one of those things that I would look at later.

It was the top that burned.
Greg & Kathy
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Re: Sat Morning Pics... Update and FIRE!!!

Postby Chris_in_Texas » Sat Nov 04, 2017 9:51 pm

Greg,

Something you might consider as they don't exist normally on boats and that your living aboard:

http://www.kidde.com/home-safety/en/us/ ... ms/p3010b/

You can purchase the 10 year ones with built in lithium batteries. Put in areas around the boat behind a few of the panels etc. Also make sure that the CO detectors are current (in the last 5 or so years). I would also highly recommend replacing out the standard shore power cable connectors with the Smart Power connectors, with the live aboard status.

Glad it wasn't any worse, and you located them.

Also a good thing to know is that all the plastic top Kidde fire extinguishers made from 1973 through August 15, 2017 are being recalled as well.

https://www.cpsc.gov/Recalls/2017/kidde ... charge-and

or in Canada:

http://healthycanadians.gc.ca/recall-al ... 4r-eng.php

Most all that are on boats in portable configurations are subject to the recall, even if you went through the recall just a few years ago.
Thanks, Chris

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Re: Sat Morning Pics... Update and FIRE!!!

Postby Canada » Sun Nov 05, 2017 1:00 pm

Chris, you are absolutely right re: smoke detectors. They are on the list for sure as we did notice that no alarms went off (specifically in the forward cabin which really filled up with smoke). Never really noticed the absence on our other boats over all those years of boating. Our main concern was always Carbon Monoxide from other boats (or even ours) at anchor when running the geni's. A big miss.

Good advice for CO detectors as well and will do an inventory along with the extinguishers relative to current state. I am thinking they are likely at least 14 years old and likely never replaced. Although not as big a concern with diesels versus gas.

I guess I need to modify my thinking a little relative to living aboard full time versus being a weekender.

Oh, on another note, here is our new pet "George" a small harbour seal that comes around the boat at least twice a day. Sierra is still not quite sure what to think of him.

george.jpg


But she keeps a constant eye on him.

Seirra.jpg




Cheers
Greg & Kathy
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Re: Sat Morning Pics... Update and FIRE!!!

Postby gofast24 » Wed Nov 08, 2017 12:41 pm

Thanks for the detailed post with pictures! Still have to wonder why a receptacle would short out with nothing plugged into it or no load going thru it? I is possible that someone plugged in shore power but didnt fully rotate the plug to allow full contact and "lock" in with the terminals in the receptacle? Also interesting is your diesel fuel fired heater! Being in the air (and water) cooled diesel business for many years I did see a lot of those heaters on school buses, trucks, etc. but never on a boat. Dont you have HVAC units that operate as heat pumps to heat the cabin etc. ? I know that the efficiency of a heat pump with sea water cooled condenser/evaporator depends on the sea water temperature (less than 40F not capable of providing much heat). Seems like you are getting a fix on what everything on your vessel does (or doesnt do)/ Good luck and keep us informed.

Thanks
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Re: Sat Morning Pics... Update and FIRE!!!

Postby EpicWakeJump » Wed Nov 08, 2017 3:34 pm

Wow!

Thank you for sharing and we are all happy that you all are fine!
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Re: Sat Morning Pics... Update and FIRE!!!

Postby must_dash » Thu Nov 09, 2017 2:46 pm

Lucky escape. Is it worth pulling all the power sockets (receptacles) and checking and/or replacing them?
Do you have fuses or CBs?

Tom
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Re: Sat Morning Pics... Update and FIRE!!!

Postby Canada » Thu Nov 09, 2017 4:06 pm

To reply to Gofast and must dash....

- as per pics above, the general AC /DC systems are on circuit breakers per se. Just heard from the electrician and he will be back on the boat next Wednesday to repair the circuit in question. I am sure he will check all receptacles both before and after on the same circuit which there are 3 in total.

I will likely get him to have a look at a few more around the boat just in case it might be a recommendation to update all receptacles going forward. There are GFI protected receptacles in both heads as well as the galley. There is one light switch in the pilothouse that only the bottom dimmer works for the main pilothouse lights but not the top dimmer for the pipe lighting in the pilothouse which is sort of the same symptom that the receptacle causing the fire showed. I will get him to look at this as well.

In terms of the shore cord, I am going to assume after 20 years of plugging in shore power I think I likely did it right as we had been plugged in for 2 weeks prior to incident but.... who knows.

As far as the diesel furnace, I have walked around the docks and in general with the exception of a few USA boats up from California who are running their heat pumps, everyone seems to rely upon diesel furnaces. I am use to the usual heat pump heat/cool systems from boating inland in Ontario back east as for us at the time during the summer, we relied upon it for air-conditioning purposes only and rarely for heating.

In fact, Spanish Angel does not even have an A/C unit installed which surprised me. However, thinking it thru, A/C is not really a concern here for the most part as during the winter, the average daily high and low temperatures are 8 and 4 °C (46.4 and 39.2 °F), respectively. The summer months are also relatively mild, with an average high temperature of 20 °C (68 °F) and low of 11 °C (51.8 °F), although inland areas often experience warmer daytime highs.

The current sea temperature in the Victoria BC area is 49 F but will likely go down into mid 40"s during winter months and only up to around low 50's in the summer. So I guess having a furnace is likely more efficient than a heat pump for boating 12 months a year. On the bright side, moving across the Straights of Georgia to the mainland up around Desolate Sound where a lot a recreation boating takes place the sea temperature gets above 75F during the summer.
Greg & Kathy
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Re: Sat Morning Pics... Update and FIRE!!!

Postby must_dash » Fri Nov 10, 2017 1:38 am

Sorry I should have been clearer, I'd seen the C/B s and they look like electronic fuses. High load and then trip. In your case the short wasn't enough to draw enough current to trip the fuse.
Can you upgrade them to earth leakage type, These monitor the current flow between earth, live and neutral. They react in something like 10ms to a short. If you touch the wires the circuit trips so quick that you don't get a real shock.
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Re: Sat Morning Pics... Update and FIRE!!!

Postby Canada » Tue Nov 14, 2017 1:38 pm

The electrician is coming back tomorrow to begin repairs / replacement. I have a few questions for him and will update the group with his findings.
Greg & Kathy
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Re: Sat Morning Pics... Update and FIRE!!!

Postby gofast24 » Wed Nov 15, 2017 11:55 am

Regarding your shore power cables the cable is most likely not at fault. If it were me I would just have the old plugs cut off and new 3 or 4 prong twist on NEMA plugs put on (dont know if you have a single 4 wire 240 VAC plug/cable or twin 3 wire 120 VAC plugs/cables as we have), will be a lot more economical than all new cables / connectors?
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Re: Sat Morning Pics... Update and FIRE!!!

Postby Canada » Fri Nov 17, 2017 4:31 pm

Electrician has come and gone. At the end of the day it was just a bad receptacle which caused the arcing.

I did have him check a few more and all ok but.... I originally had four shore cords of which the one in the picture which was fried I threw out. However, 2 of the remaining 3 where also a hazard according to the electrician who tested all the cords. Thru these 2 out as well and replacing today with new ones. Adds to piece of mind.

Cheers.
Greg & Kathy
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Re: Sat Morning Pics... Update and FIRE!!!

Postby Chris_in_Texas » Fri Nov 17, 2017 9:18 pm

Greg,

Most likely the cords themselves are good, just the ends. I would really look into the smart power connectors if I were you. Way better than the twist lock connectors. If that many cords were bad I am suprised that the inlets weren't bad as well. If you get arching on one end you will have it on the other mating end as well. For better piece of mind living aboard it would do a good thing to replace them.

Here is a blog post from James who owns a 62' Nordhavn and his experience with the smartplugs:

http://www.pendanablog.com/pendana-nord ... 17/F-I-R-E
Thanks, Chris

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Re: Sat Morning Pics... Update and FIRE!!!

Postby darrick » Wed Nov 22, 2017 2:19 am

Great pics Greg and good to hear you are doing good despite the fire. Keep safe there.
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