Electrical fire - 2765

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Electrical fire - 2765

Postby About Time II » Tue Sep 26, 2017 8:31 pm

We have recently purchased spring 2017 , 2002 - 2765 twin Volvo GL 4.3L with 300hrs. Sept. 10th we were at the marina and getting ready to leave. Before leaving , I plugged in the shore power and turned the battery dial to All, which we have plugged all summer with no issues.
Within just a few minutes an alarm in the engine compartment went off,opening the hatch I faced a flame on the alternator. After unplugging both the shore power and turning battery dial to off, it took 5 extinguishers to put out the fire.

Does anyone have any idea what would have caused this fire? Is this a common occurence?

So far have received 2 opinions for repairing, one being to change the burnt alternator, nothing else should be damaged and the second opinion is to change both alternators, wiring harness, check batteries, battery charger & inverter, change Shore power plug-in and check panels both ac & dc switches to make sure everything is still working properly.

Would truly appreciate input or advice with this issue!

Thanks
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Re: Electrical fire - 2765

Postby Rpontual » Sat Sep 30, 2017 8:39 am

About Time II wrote:We have recently purchased spring 2017 , 2002 - 2765 twin Volvo GL 4.3L with 300hrs. Sept. 10th we were at the marina and getting ready to leave. Before leaving , I plugged in the shore power and turned the battery dial to All, which we have plugged all summer with no issues.
Within just a few minutes an alarm in the engine compartment went off,opening the hatch I faced a flame on the alternator. After unplugging both the shore power and turning battery dial to off, it took 5 extinguishers to put out the fire


I am wondering why you “plugged in the shore power and turned battery dial to All” before leaving. Were you attempting to charge the batteries? Alternators can be damaged if disconnected while running. Did you have the engine running at that time?

The fact that it took 5 extinguishers to put out the fire gives the feeling that the fire was spread beyond the alternator. Another possibility is that the user was not aiming at the base of the fire. If the fire was beyond the alternator the repair has to require more than just an alternator replacement.

Anyway, the more information you provide the better assistance you will get from the guys in the forum. Adding photos will also help.
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Re: Electrical fire - 2765

Postby cbsmith » Sat Sep 30, 2017 9:22 am

I would suggest contacting your insurance agent and seeing what they advise. Something caused the fire and it was likely not he alternator that caused it but something else failed and sent high current or voltage to the alternator.

Your insurance may have a list of things they want done in order to confirm the issue has been repaired correctly and in order to keep providing coverage. As well, for your own safety this would be a good idea. If you had been out on the water by yourself when this happened it could have been a very different outcome, as there probably aren't five fire extinguishers on your boat.
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Re: Electrical fire - 2765

Postby About Time II » Sun Oct 01, 2017 9:33 am

As we were getting ready to leave the marina to go home, the shore power was plugged in to charge the batteries. Both engines were not running. After the 2nd or3rd fire extinguisher, one of the guys helping to put out the fire noticed the power cord was still plugged to the shore power and at the same time we turn off the battery switch to off. Everyone was concentrating on putting out the fire and calling 911 before the fire got out of control and cause major damage to the boat and marina.
Once the power was disconnected from both AC and DC power sources, 2 more exthinguishers were used to put out the fire.
The fire was contained to the starboard engine alternator area , my major concern is if this was some kind of power surge on AC or DC did it damage something else within the boat wiring. This was a very scary experience and don’t want to go through this again. The insurance has been contacted.
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Re: Electrical fire - 2765

Postby stitchsc » Tue Oct 03, 2017 5:33 am

Dumb Question all,

Could plugging a 120V shoreline into a 240V receptacle cause the fire? The plugs will fit....i know from experience :(
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Re: Electrical fire - 2765

Postby cbsmith » Tue Oct 03, 2017 5:56 am

It probably wasn’t related to the fire but you don’t need to turn your battery switch on to have shore power charge the batteries. And the All position on a battery switch should really only be used in cases where the starting battery doesn’t have enough charge to start the engine, it will parallel the House battery and give extra power to start the engine. The issue with using All regularly is that if one battery goes bad and the switch is in the All position it will drain the other battery, leaving you stuck with 2 dead batteries.
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Re: Electrical fire - 2765

Postby Chris_in_Texas » Tue Oct 03, 2017 7:18 pm

stitchsc wrote:Dumb Question all,

Could plugging a 120V shoreline into a 240V receptacle cause the fire? The plugs will fit....i know from experience :(



They should NOT fit. :mrgreen: NEMA designed them specifically not to interchange just for that reason. I verified here and the L5-30 (120V-30A plug) won't go into a L6-30 (240V-30A outlet) and vice versa. I have both, as one of my UPS' uses the L6-30 plugs and outlets on it. They have different size blades slightly offset between them. You would really have to "make" it fit to get them to go together but on a new outlet with new plug it would be very tough without really bending the blades.

Marina's don't normally use L6-30's as its not a marine outlet that is used. The largest reason is that 240V in a wet environment would require a ground wire and that plug only has two hots and a neutral and no safety ground, it is only used because the equipment is required to have a separate ground wire not in the plug/outlet.

From the 120V/30A service L5-30 they move to the 120V/50A service which uses the SS1-50 which has been deprecated somewhat I believe now. Normally they will move to the 120/240V 50A plug which is the SS2-50. Then off to the 120/240V 100A and from there three phase plugs.
Thanks, Chris

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Re: Electrical fire - 2765

Postby Rpontual » Tue Oct 03, 2017 9:31 pm

One hypothesis is that the alternator diodes shorted. I am wondering if connecting the boat to shore power with alternator diodes shorted could lead to a fire.
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Re: Electrical fire - 2765

Postby stitchsc » Wed Oct 04, 2017 3:39 pm

I learned the hard way, the receptacle was old and worn, my plug slipped right in. Went inside, checked my panel and the ac volts available were spiked right. Shut everything down immediately.

But if it were left alone could that start a fire?
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Re: Electrical fire - 2765

Postby Chris_in_Texas » Wed Oct 04, 2017 11:01 pm

Well maybe. Many of the items are rated for both 120vac and 240vac, however there would be items just rated at 120vac, like most motors and pumps. The battery charger for instance most likely would be a universal input.

However to affect the alternator would be odd. In that vintage boat most likely Regal used the battery isolator. Unless its been changed it should still be there and would have the two alt inputs and two or three battery bank outputs. This is traditionally where Regal wired the charger to as well on the battery side of the isolator. If the isolator has gone bad that might explain the backfeeding from one alternator to the other. Not sure on that, but would be a good place to start. Its very possible that the alternator itself just decided to go out and failed in a "shorted" way. Hard to tell without some testing.

However the odds of plugging into a L6-30 outlet randomly at the dock which shouldn't have been there is highly unlikely and in theory with modern equipment other than blowing out a few AC based items shouldn't have back fed into the alternators.
Thanks, Chris

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