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Which Halon Extinguisher to use

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Old 07-09-2002, 08:30 PM
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PanteraInVentura
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Question Which Halon Extinguisher to use

Can anybody shed some light on which automatic halon extinguisher I should be using for my 24' Pantera. I figure the 150 cubic feet would work but which type of halon to use. I've seen 3 different number designations. I would like to use the powderless (are all halons powderless?).

Thanks for any info
 
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Old 07-09-2002, 10:24 PM
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Thankfully, I've never seen one discharge, but I was of the opinion that Halon is strictly a gas. Believe it functions as a "smothering" agent by molecularly gobbling up all available oxygen so that the fire can't use the oxygen and dies out. I've heard that if you have a Halon discharge because of fire, that you should NOT open the hatch until you are sure that the fire is out, or you are sure that the Halon did not do its job.

I've got automatic Halons on the Sea Ray, and one on the Formula. Be aware, though, because I think the Halon extinguishers do not count as your Type ABC handheld that the USCG requires.
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Old 07-10-2002, 01:44 AM
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Timely question. Just last week I took my old halon bottle to a fire extinguser (sp?) shop and talked with the owner, who is also a boater with a 27 Baja. This is what he told me:

1) Halon is no longer available because of the ozone damage it is said to cause. There is a new gas discharge to replace it, though it requires more pounds to cover the same cubic foot area. In my case it is a thicker cylinder, and may not fit in the same spot as the old halon bottle. Of course the new product is more expensive.

2) In looking for a new place to mount the larger cylinder, he suggested higher is better than lower, as the gas is heaver than air, and falls to the bottom of the engine compartment.

3) Don't use a dry powder system, because if it discharges accidently while the engines are running, it will be sucked into the engine, and is very corrosive(sp?). You wont be able to flush it out of the engine, and will incure a complete tear-down or engine replacement

4) This suprised me. He also said Halon-like systems that come on our boats are worthless. As the engine compartment is vented, and many of us (like myself) run the blower all the time, the halon will be exhausted and fresh air will be introduced, and the fire won't be extingished.

5) In spite of the above, he recommened I still put one back on my boat. Probably said that to satisfy his legal issues, but he was not very sincere in way he said it.

6) He agreed with mcollinstn about not opening the engine hatch if you suspect a fire. Just feeds the flames or causes them to reignite. Suggested a small hatch or port to dischage a manual fire extinguisher might be okay, but don't open the sunpad

7) He also said that if he sees smoke coming from his engine compartment, he's grabbing life jackets and making everyone go swimming. His boat can burn to the waterline and he'll settle with the insurance company after everyone is safe. He personally would not stand on top of his 90 gallon fuel tank trying to put out a fire in a compartment containing oil, gas, and hydrolic fluid. Personally, I've got a 150 gallon tank, and it is usually not full, therefore there is room for gas vaper in the tank, and that is explosive.

He boats on LOTO, and you can always see land. Great Lakes and coastal boaters may have more dangers jumping ship than he does, but his points are still valid.

Getting to your question about numbers, I THINK any number would work as well for a boat as the next, as no one is in the engine compartment. In computer rooms etc where there are people, one type is less toxic than the other.

One final note. In talking with my brother-in-law who is an airplane mechanic, he suggested a manual discharge system where a) kill the blower, b) pull a lever drawing a plate over the vents to the engine compartment, c) pull another lever discharging the extinguisher. Sounds like it might work, if there was some way to notify you that a fire was happening soon enough to do everything.

whoh, that was a lot of typing. hope it helped.
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