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Domestic Surge Protectors-Not So Good

Posted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 3:04 pm
by JK
You find these power bars in everyone's house with the PC plugged into it. Good for there, not so good onboard. I know of two fires caused by these onboard, luckily the fire detection system alarmed and it was dealt with immediately.


Common domestic type, plastic enclosed, power bars, intended for shore based power distribution systems, are not compatible with ungrounded power distribution systems found on the majority of vessels. This type of power bar typically includes metal oxide varistor suppression devices and when used onboard vessels creates a potential fire hazard.
The suppression devices cannot withstand sustained voltages, which occur on ungrounded distribution systems, when a ground fault is present. The devices overheat, melt the plastic housing, create noxious fumes and can potentially lead to fire.
Under no circumstances should domestic power bars be used onboard on vessels. If additional 120-volt outlets are required, use a metal enclosed power strip without suppression components, such as a Hammond Manufacturing Co. model 1584 or an equivalent, refer to the Web site, http://www.hammondmfg.com.
If surge protection is preferred, use Transtector SL-V power bars or an equivalent, which utilize silicon avalanche suppression diodes in a marine compatible connection. Refer to the Web site http://www.transtector.com.

Re: Domestic Surge Protectors-Not So Good

Posted: Tue Oct 06, 2009 4:26 am
by offshoresnipe
Eh, my lap top is plugged into on right now. Boy I bet this will go over big on my ship if I bring it up, I can hear it now, " We have been using them for the last 20 years on here".

Re: Domestic Surge Protectors-Not So Good

Posted: Tue Oct 06, 2009 11:05 am
by JK
I was Senior/2nd when one of those fires occurred. The electrician and I are at the board tracing a ground when the phone rings....the old man. We have a fire in the radio room, I'll get back to you. I am left holding the phone and wondering what the hell was going on.
What was going on was our ground fried the surge protector, melted it and caught it and the desk on fire. Very Uncool. The ground was on a 440v light with a 120V control circuit.
We swapped out all of the surge protectors on our ships then and about 5 years ago had to do it again when the corporate memory failed and they started to sneak back onboard and we had our next incident.

Re: Domestic Surge Protectors-Not So Good

Posted: Tue Oct 06, 2009 1:35 pm
by offshoresnipe
Just the call I do not like to get in the MCR!

Re: Domestic Surge Protectors-Not So Good

Posted: Tue Oct 06, 2009 5:22 pm
by JK
yes, rather a sinking feeling considering the fact, right until I got on the plane on crewchange, I was going as a watchkeeper

Re: Domestic Surge Protectors-Not So Good

Posted: Tue Oct 06, 2009 8:36 pm
by offshoresnipe
Great, I go on watch in two hours for my last one till I get on the plane. I hope this is not some kind of a sign of things to come tonight.

Re: Domestic Surge Protectors-Not So Good

Posted: Mon Oct 19, 2009 2:17 pm
by S├ębastien
Whenever a ground fault occurs at the main switchboard low voltage section of our ship, before we go on an extensive troubleshooting bonanza we do a mental check: 'Has a new crew member joined the ship within the last week?' If the answer to this question is yes, then there is a 95% chance that the new guy brought along with him a power bar from home to protect his laptop.

Re: Domestic Surge Protectors-Not So Good

Posted: Sat May 22, 2010 6:58 am
by SkyHawk
Just something to add to this topic...
One of Atlantic Towing Ltd. vessels just had an Incident involving a domestic powerbar onboard which the powerbar was found smouldering. The situation was brought under control before it could escalate into something more serious.


Just a Reminder for all you Safety Officers.

Re: Domestic Surge Protectors-Not So Good

Posted: Sun Dec 20, 2015 5:21 am
by JK
6 years, time to put this to the top for a reminder

Re: Domestic Surge Protectors-Not So Good

Posted: Fri Aug 03, 2018 2:33 am
by JK
Refreshing this as a reminder

Re: Domestic Surge Protectors-Not So Good

Posted: Fri Aug 03, 2018 7:49 am
by Revolver
Happened on my ship last year, Capt went ashore and bought one, plugged it up in the W/H. The counter top was stainless because there was a sink built in. Grounded out and was shooting lightning bolts in the sink :lol:

I informed him exactly this reason why, bye bye it went haha.