Engine shutdown on extinguisher discharge (ESRS)

Discussion in 'Sport Boats' started by Arminius, Jan 10, 2020.

  1. Arminius

    Arminius Member

    204
    Oct 30, 2019
    Seattle
    Bowrider 200 Select, 2003
    5.0L MPI, 260 hp w/Alpha 1 Drive
    DSCN0135[1].JPG DSCN0131[1].JPG DSCN0125[1].JPG View attachment 78713 DSCN0118[1].JPG DSCN0123[1].JPG Just installed a ESRS box on my 20' Bowrider with the 305 cu. in. with Multi Point Injection. Many thanks to the kind folks at SeaRay who included a complete schematic in the owners' manual! Thanks also to the kind folks at Boatstore.com who provided the best prices, fast shipping and allowed me to return the display unit mentioned below. The injection fuel lines are charged by an electric fuel pump to 42 psi (might be more with a bypass back to the tank reducing to 42 psi) whenever the ignition is on and this is a fire concern. My boat had the factory halon bottle and a green light by the ignition showing the bottle was charged. http://www.clubsearay.com/index.php?threads/halon-auto-fire-extinguisher-replaced.95932/ The green LED is powered up by the purple ignition lead and grounded by a green/white wire going back to the bottle pressure switch in the engine compartment. When the bottle discharges at 170 degrees in a fire, the circuit is broken and the green light goes out. The ESRS box is mounted on the vertical partition by the driver's knee by four bolts whose heads are shown in the first thumbnail. Don't spin those stainless machine screws too fast with your drill/driver or they will gall and seize.

    I used the existing green/white wire to the pressure switch on the bottle for the ESRS box and incorporated the existing green light rather than installing a separate display requiring a 2" hole in the dash. The ESRS box is full of normally open relay switches all grounded by the green/white wire. The coils on the relays are energized by the ignition switch accessory (red) and ignition (purple) leads. When the bottle discharges. the ground through the pressure switch is lost and all the relay switches open shutting the engine and the blower down. To ground the ESRS box, I used a black wire provided in the dash for the radio and panel illumination.

    The idea is that the engine, including the 42 psi electric fuel pump, should turn off when you have a fire. The blower should also turn off as it would otherwise evacuate the $300 worth of fire suppressing gas your system has dumped on the fire. Ignition input (relay coil +) is the purple lead, also jumped to the switching lead on the relay (the arrow). While my SeaFire box depicts the circuits as normally closed, they are normally open.

    The blower circuits designated by the ESRS box are also controlled by the ignition input lead. Instead, I controlled the blower with the auxiliary control circuit using the red accessory lead as input. We should run the blower before starting the engine and I think it would be better to do so with the key in the Accessory position so as to avoid charging the fuel lines to 42 psi with fuel pump actuation. I interrupted the yellow blower leads at the fuse box as the dash control switch sends digital 5 volt signals to the mux module which can't be controlled with a simple relay.

    All connections were soldered. Used ring terminals throughout. My procedure is to dip the bared wire end in rosin flux, insert it in the terminal, crimp, and then solder. I believe the solder gets sucked into the terminal just like sweat soldering pipes. Crimping alone is inadequate for boats in my opinion.

    For an override switch to continue boating if I am still afloat after a fire, I used a SPDT toggle switch behind the dash. Center terminal is grounded to the ESRS box while one side (normal) is connected to the existing green light and the other (override) is attached to the pressure switch-green/white wire terminal on the ESRS box. I used the marked ground and pressure switch terminals for the benefit of any future techs performing repairs. Two of the YRB terminals are jumped internally to those connections but I did not use them as there is no standard wiring format for displays and I hope to avoid future confusion. My SeaFire box has a Viking Yachts parts number and differs from the Seafire Mark V schematic I downloaded which differs from the FireBoy display I considered using. For commercial use, only the designated display would pass C.G. inspection. Maybe that's why my unused Viking box only cost $55 on Ebay w/o a display.

    If there is a fire, the FM-200 I have substituted for halon will be discharged by the melting of the thermal fusible link in the sprinkler head. The extinguisher's pressure switch will open and the engine and blower will shut down. The green light will go off. The photo shows the factory legend from the original halon option: "Light off-Unit discharged." I will call the Law and/or towing and ask them to stand by. After 15 minutes and making sure the sides of the engine compartment are cool I will cautiously peer in and try to figure out why I would not be an idiot to turn it back on. Opening the hatch dissipates the suppression gas, admits oxygen, and risks an explosive rekindle. Assuming I find a broken wire or something innocuous, I will reach behind the dash and throw the override switch (I will put a neat Dymo label on the front to remind me of the hidden switch). The boat will then start but the green light will be out.

    A SeaFire or Fireboy display/override could have been used as the YRB wiring is easy enough to trace. However, the displays just seem awfully busy and prone to confuse with their 2 bottle depictions, a horn, green/red lights, and a relay type override rather than a simple toggle as in earlier iterations. I really don't want the subject of fire to be brought up by a goofy display while pleasure boating and I am happy with my concealed toggle and the factory green light.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jan 21, 2020
  2. Stee6043

    Stee6043 Well-Known Member

    Jun 1, 2015
    West Michigan
    1997 Sundancer 400
    7.4L Gassers
    There's a lot of content here. Did you not already have an automatic suppression system on your boat? You mentioned you already had the indicator light at the helm...I would have assumed this would mean you already had the engine shut down capability from the factory?

    I'd guess having a bypass switch on your ESRS box likely renders it a "non-compliant" installation? If your extinguisher discharges you and your passengers should be in the water, immediately. Not planning your cleanup and return to the marina :)
     
    Express 390 and Captn TJ like this.
  3. Lazy Daze

    Lazy Daze Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor

    Apr 21, 2009
    PA
    Various
    Various
    I commend the idea of trying to make a better mousetrap, however there are a few things you overlooked - and in some ways, may have made things worse.

    -- I don't think the engine will "automatically/electrically" turn off if suppression system is activated (but I'm not 100% sure on that... Stee do you happen to know for sure?). But possibly the halon (or whatever) would shut down the engine. Either way, if you have an issue, the first thing you should be doing is turning the engine off (which takes care of many of the issues you presented) and as mentioned above, putting life jackets on and getting off the boat. There are more important things to take care of than trying to save the boat.

    -- The blower... you are incorrect with your line of thinking regarding blower operation. You do not need to turn the key switch AT ALL to turn the blower on.

    -- Soldering... you are half correct with your line of thinking here, but incorrect in the way you accomplished it. Generally speaking, crimped connections are PREFERRED in boating. However, soldering is OK - but care must be taken to not use too much solder since you will create a weak point (pivot point) where the solder stops and the vibration of a boat could cause that spotto fail/spark. The way you soldered it, there would be no way of knowing how much solder you used. Also, soldered joints MUST be supported on BOTH sides of the joint, which you do not currently have.

    -- Although I think it's best to rethink this venture and either eliminate it (for safety sake) or revamp it, the switch you used to disable the system could be accidentally flipped one way or the other. That should be a "guarded" switch to prevent that.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2020
  4. markrsimon

    markrsimon Member

    75
    Sep 1, 2018
    Cleveland, OH
    92 Sea Ray 400 Express
    454 Mercruiser
    +1 on the crimp solder technique, with the additional of waterproof heatshrink - the kind that has a glue on the inside that melts/seals when you heat shrink it. I either buy solderless connectors without the plastic, or twist/pull the plastic piece off before using.

    Curious regarding the concerns expressed. Connections require both a mechanical and electrical attachment. The solder definitely wicks up the wire into the connector and provides an excellent connection.

    The pivot point, or anyplace the wire/connector can flex is always a concern. Given the wire does the flexing, its either going to flex via stranded wires as it enters the crimp, or flexes as it transitions to a soldered joint. Not sure either method has benefit - thus my inquiry.

    Given its a boat, I do everything I can to ensure the best electrical and mechanical connection I can - and make it weatherproof as feasibility permits.
     
  5. Lazy Daze

    Lazy Daze Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor

    Apr 21, 2009
    PA
    Various
    Various
    Mark - I agree with your comments about quality connectors (such as tinned connectors and wires) - and that adhesive lined stuff is the cat's meow.

    What I was referring to about soldering connectors doesn't come just from me - it comes from USCG regulations (or maybe ABYC?). Regardless, the solder creates a very finite/concentrated area where the flexing happens, whereas a non-soldered connector spreads the "flex area" over a greater distance, creating a more natural flex.

    Think of if this way (and forgive me if this isn't the best example)... hold a wire in your hands with your hands about 1' apart and flex the wire up and down an inch. The wire will bend gracefully. Now, slide your hands fully together and pinch the wire between your forefingers and thumbs (actually, using two pliers right against each other may be more accurate). Flex it the same way and you'll see that the wire will soon break because you are concentrating the flex in one, specific spot over and over and over. That's the jist of it, anyways.
     
  6. scoflaw

    scoflaw Well-Known Member

    Aug 10, 2011
    cape cod mass, cape coral fl
    1999 Powerquest legend 260 sx
    502 mpi Bravo 1
    What wires flex to a point of concern?
     
  7. Lazy Daze

    Lazy Daze Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor

    Apr 21, 2009
    PA
    Various
    Various
    All wires flex with vibration, of course, but the spot right after where the solder ends (especially if it's soldered too heavily) will see a concentrated area of flexing. Which is the reason for the USCG requirement to secure the soldered connection on both sides of the joint.

    Of course, none of this is to say that breakage is guaranteed to happen - but it increases the chances. It's a "best practice" type of thing.

    I gotta figure that there's a reason there's a USCG regulation about this. Reg's usually occur AFTER there's a problem!
     
  8. Justin1982

    Justin1982 Member

    55
    Dec 27, 2019
    Shelby Township, MI
    1984 unknown and will update when I can confirm
    305 228
    My extinguisher is the lake if she goes down, especially on a 20'. Good insurance and life jackets will take care of the rest.
    Even the smallest fire on a smaller boat would probably render it inoperable and a total loss anyway.
    I'm not a fireman or insurance adjuster but....let her burn.
    K.I.S.S.
     
  9. markrsimon

    markrsimon Member

    75
    Sep 1, 2018
    Cleveland, OH
    92 Sea Ray 400 Express
    454 Mercruiser
    Thanks for the added information and explanation -- always good to learn something new, and the codes/regs as they apply -- including the theory/reasons behind them.

    http://www.clubsearay.com/index.php?threads/abyc-soldering-question.27810/
    The commonly quoted ABYC quote is "11.14.5.7: Solder shall not be the sole means of mechanical connection in any circuit...." is fairly straightforward, but yet there is still room for interpretation. I wasn't able to locate the full text of that section. I also read a few comments that state that a crimp connector on a 14AWG wire should be able to withstand a pulling apart force of 30 lbs. That is the equivalent of hanging a large bag of dog food, or a bag and a half of cat litter from it. To me, that is pushing the limit of what a straight piece of 14AWG wire with no splice at all can handle.

    https://www.sailangle.com/articles/details/id/6
    Another common misconception dictates that the best of all connections is a soldered connection. However with stranded wire, the solder bonds the individual strands together, making a solid, inflexible wire. ABYC standards prohibit soldering as the sole means of making a connection because the newly solid wire is subject to cracking or breaking through vibration and flexing. A more practical solution is to use a crimp connector described above. Wires should never be joined simply by soldering and taping (or heat shrink); however, if solder is used, use only 60%/40% rosin core or solid solder, soldering after the butt connector is crimped. Acid core solder as used in plumbing may never be used in any electrical wiring.
     
  10. Arminius

    Arminius Member

    204
    Oct 30, 2019
    Seattle
    Bowrider 200 Select, 2003
    5.0L MPI, 260 hp w/Alpha 1 Drive
    The boat had the optional halon bottle but the needle was in the red so I replaced it with FM-200 as shown at the site reached by the hyperlink in the body of my narrative.
     
  11. Arminius

    Arminius Member

    204
    Oct 30, 2019
    Seattle
    Bowrider 200 Select, 2003
    5.0L MPI, 260 hp w/Alpha 1 Drive
    The function of the ESRS box I just installed is to turn off the engine and blower upon discharge. Normal wiring for the blower is to allow activation w/o turning the key but I had to alter this to allow the ESRS cut-off to function in the Accessory position. The display units that come with the ESRS box have an override position which I duplicated with the hidden toggle. I found several posts by owners who had discharges but did not know their system included an override and had to be towed. Yes, my system does not strictly comply with the installation instructions as required by Code and would not be suitable for a commercial vessel but the only deviation is my failure to install the 2" monitor/override switch, which I will do if good reasons arise. It is sad to see boats burn to the water line and sink and I hope my system will avoid this fate. My biggest motivator was the port injection system which, in a car, has a 60 psi fuel pump inside the gas tank pushing gasoline up to the engine compartment where a fuel regulator bypasses fuel back to the tank reducing line pressure to the injectors down to 42 psi. Typically gas lines are rubber covered by fabric and they would not last long in a fire. I think the marine adaptation called MPI works the same.
    I believe in solder and think all the criticism was created by the crimp industry. With solder and ring terminals my wiring is not going to fall off. I have never seen a fatigue induced failure but every system has a weakest point. I took the insulating tubes off the ring terminals before crimping and soldering then slid them back on (maybe that is relevant to the fatigue theory). Soldered butt splices were insulated with heat shrink tubing mainly because it looks neater than tape. Ultimately, we do the work that makes us confident in our own product. With due respect, this is because I accomplish the job personally.
    Also, as directed by the install instructions, I tested the unit by disconnecting the pressure switch lead while the blower and ignition were operating and both shut down immediately with a solid click of the relays in the ESRS box.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2020
  12. Stee6043

    Stee6043 Well-Known Member

    Jun 1, 2015
    West Michigan
    1997 Sundancer 400
    7.4L Gassers
    I think you share the same mindset as most marine fire departments. :) I've heard this said around the docks but not directly from an official...but when the fire boats show up they will try to sink the boats with their water cannons. It's the quickest way to contain the fire. Maybe dockside folklore but I've heard it more than once...which, by online forum standards, makes this pure indisputable fact :)
     
  13. Arminius

    Arminius Member

    204
    Oct 30, 2019
    Seattle
    Bowrider 200 Select, 2003
    5.0L MPI, 260 hp w/Alpha 1 Drive
    Sinking the fire ship would be the best way to prevent propagation to nearby docked vessels and to minimize property damage and personal injury. The FM-200 halon substitute I just installed should extinguish any engine fire automatically, without the white powder mess, save the fire dept. the trouble of sinking your burning money pit, and avoid a rage induced heart attack when you open the bill from the EPA for fuel leakage and hulk removal.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2020
  14. Express 390

    Express 390 Active Member GOLD Sponsor

    474
    Sep 14, 2018
    South Shore of Long Island NY
    1986 SeaRay 390 EC
    1993 SeaRay 290 DA single 7.4 /Bravo 2
    1992 SeaRay 230 DA 4.3LX Alfa drive
    Twin 454 Crusaders inboards 4 blades
    The whole idea behind the suppression system such as halon, When discharged sucks all the air out of the engine compartment No air No fire and should stall the motor. Weather it does i hope i never have to find out !
     
  15. Stee6043

    Stee6043 Well-Known Member

    Jun 1, 2015
    West Michigan
    1997 Sundancer 400
    7.4L Gassers
    Unless you intentionally set fire to your vessel I'd have to imagine your insurance provider will cover the cost of cleanup and salvage. If not...perhaps it's time to review your yacht policy :):)
     
  16. Lazy Daze

    Lazy Daze Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor

    Apr 21, 2009
    PA
    Various
    Various
    No, removing then sliding the insulating tubes back on doesn't pose any issues - you're good there. In fact, they may actually help the situation.

    But because you have never seen a fatigue induced failure does not mean they don't/haven't happened. What we "feel" is not always the best way to make a decision. There's lot's of things in this world that I have never seen or experienced, yet I trust the organizations that have set guidelines for our safety as they have done the research and gathered data. Until I do better research and it turns out to disprove it, I'll err on the side of caution. As I mentioned, there's a reason why they recommend what they do regarding soldering technique.

    To be honest, with the intent of what you are doing/trying to accomplish, I'm surprised you don't want to make the connection the "best" way possible by securing the wire on both sides of the solder - one side is already secured, of course, by the ring terminal.

    But, obviously, in the end... it's your rig and your family so certainly do what you think is best.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2020
  17. Arminius

    Arminius Member

    204
    Oct 30, 2019
    Seattle
    Bowrider 200 Select, 2003
    5.0L MPI, 260 hp w/Alpha 1 Drive
    The blue insulating tubes, like heat shrink tubing, extend behind the solder joint and support the wire itself. I would defer to you as to whether the numerous tie-down points shown in the photos count as support under the reg. Next time I will use heat shrink tubing and appreciate your advice.
     
  18. Arminius

    Arminius Member

    204
    Oct 30, 2019
    Seattle
    Bowrider 200 Select, 2003
    5.0L MPI, 260 hp w/Alpha 1 Drive
     
  19. Arminius

    Arminius Member

    204
    Oct 30, 2019
    Seattle
    Bowrider 200 Select, 2003
    5.0L MPI, 260 hp w/Alpha 1 Drive
     
  20. Arminius

    Arminius Member

    204
    Oct 30, 2019
    Seattle
    Bowrider 200 Select, 2003
    5.0L MPI, 260 hp w/Alpha 1 Drive
    FireBoy.jpg
    How suppression gases work is complicated and I have not researched it. I have heard that bulky CO2 systems deprive a fire of O2 but Halon sucks the heat out of it. Originally thought to be safer for crew members, Halon had its own problems. A distinction is made between gas and diesel engines. I had a depleted factory option Halon bottle and found that the only replacement that would fit in the space available was FM-200. I don't know what effect the discharge of a standard powder extinguisher would have had but it would have been messy! The old Halon bottle is on the left with blue tape while the FM-200 is on the right with a new, sturdier bracket.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2020

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