Discussion in 'Reef Aquarium Discussion' started by 143MPCo, Jun 6, 2016.

Thermal Reckoning, a Fire in the making...

  1. Grey Guy

    Grey Guy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2016
    Messages:
    512
    Likes Received:
    386
    Eliminating 120 A.C. Power cords whenever possible is a good idea. Most low voltage transformers will burn out before they burn up. I've been wondering if anyone is working on a D.C. Tank heater, or some kind of power other than 120 A.C. Unfortunately household electgricity can start a fire without ever tripping the breaker. Ironically Thomas Edison said that A.C. Was too dangerous for the household and advocated D.C. Only. Then he has one of the largest A.C. Suppliers named after him. Of course A.C. Was chosen because it was cheaper. How much is a human life really worth?
     

  2. Brew12

    Brew12 Electrical Gru Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Partner Member 2019 Reef Tank 365 Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor North Alabama Reef Club

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2016
    Messages:
    15,186
    Likes Received:
    28,867
    Location:
    Decatur, AL
    Agree with the first part of that statement with trying to go with more low voltage equipment.

    AC wasn't chosen because it was cheaper, it was chosen because of transformers. To use DC would have required a power plant every few blocks in a city and rural residents would have needed their own generators or one for every few houses. Transformers allow AC to be sent long distances.
     
  3. Grey Guy

    Grey Guy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2016
    Messages:
    512
    Likes Received:
    386
    And you don't think that would have cost more?
     
  4. Brew12

    Brew12 Electrical Gru Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Partner Member 2019 Reef Tank 365 Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor North Alabama Reef Club

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2016
    Messages:
    15,186
    Likes Received:
    28,867
    Location:
    Decatur, AL
    At the time, not as much of a difference as you may think. The cities were built with without any infrastructure in place. The capability to build the massive turbines, generators, and transformers hadn't been well developed yet. They didn't have the modern equipment in place to perform miles long cable pulls. Most major cities already had some DC plants in place and sold power, mostly used for arc lighting. It was all about the transformer. In many ways, DC still is more cost effective and now that HVDC has been made reliable enough, it isn't impossible to think of a future where AC is phased out almost entirely.
     
    Floyd R Turbo likes this.
  5. Grey Guy

    Grey Guy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2016
    Messages:
    512
    Likes Received:
    386
    O.K. You win. How come you know all this stuff? Just curious, where did you learn it?
     
  6. Brew12

    Brew12 Electrical Gru Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Partner Member 2019 Reef Tank 365 Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor North Alabama Reef Club

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2016
    Messages:
    15,186
    Likes Received:
    28,867
    Location:
    Decatur, AL
    I used to teach electrical theory and we included lessons on the history of electrical power.
     
  7. Grey Guy

    Grey Guy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2016
    Messages:
    512
    Likes Received:
    386
    Awesome. Thanks. It is an honor to chat with you.
     
  8. Floyd R Turbo

    Floyd R Turbo Super Duper Member R2R Supporter Gold Sponsor Toys For Kids Sponsor Article Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2011
    Messages:
    2,172
    Likes Received:
    3,092
    Location:
    West Des Moines, IA
    @Brew12 I was happy to see you post that because I have to regularly correct people when they say "you can't do DC over long distances" and I'm like "hhhrrrump hrrrrump....here let me google that for you"
     
    Brew12 likes this.
  9. Brew12

    Brew12 Electrical Gru Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Partner Member 2019 Reef Tank 365 Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor North Alabama Reef Club

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2016
    Messages:
    15,186
    Likes Received:
    28,867
    Location:
    Decatur, AL
    I've had the privilege of working with some of the ABB power rectifier engineers on a project or two. I was doing large scale power factor correction but it isn't too dissimilar. HVDC is really an incredible advancement.
     
  10. Brew12

    Brew12 Electrical Gru Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Partner Member 2019 Reef Tank 365 Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor North Alabama Reef Club

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2016
    Messages:
    15,186
    Likes Received:
    28,867
    Location:
    Decatur, AL
    I always enjoy a good conversation and love to teach.
     
  11. Daddy-o

    Daddy-o Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2017
    Messages:
    166
    Likes Received:
    120
    Location:
    Northern California
    I ran 2 new dedicated gfci outlets and keep all wiring up on the wall. I do a lot of electrical repairs during the day and the two biggest issues I see are loose screws holding wires and when the wire was stripped, too small of a diameter cut was made on the insulation and the conductor is partially cut/crimped. This will slow down the electricity at this spot and create heat. Much the same as when you kink a hose.
    Cheers! Mark
     
  12. Brew12

    Brew12 Electrical Gru Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Partner Member 2019 Reef Tank 365 Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor North Alabama Reef Club

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2016
    Messages:
    15,186
    Likes Received:
    28,867
    Location:
    Decatur, AL
    Well, it doesn't actually slow it down, but it does increase the current density and create heat. Excellent advice on what to look for. All connections need to be tight and conductors are sized the way they are for a reason!
     
    Daddy-o likes this.
  13. Daddy-o

    Daddy-o Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2017
    Messages:
    166
    Likes Received:
    120
    Location:
    Northern California
    Okay - not slow down - but density - Thanks!
    Cheers! Mark
     
    Brew12 likes this.
  14. powers2001

    powers2001 started reefing 1999 R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

    Joined:
    May 2, 2013
    Messages:
    2,571
    Likes Received:
    577
    Location:
    MONTANA^^^Big Sky Country
    To avoid GFCIs from tripping and turning off your reef's whole electrical system, get GFCIs that have Automatic Reset. Once the ground fault no longer occurs the outlet resumes "on". I had some GFCIs that didn't have Auto Reset and once they tripped they stayed off. They protected my EB8 from my heaters from grounding out and the heaters would turn off and stay off. Spend the extra money and get decent GFCIs.
     
  15. VelocityTech

    VelocityTech Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2017
    Messages:
    403
    Likes Received:
    90
    Location:
    Pittsburgh
    Great write up. I have had this happen.

    I don't know why. But i woke up, randomly, 3 a.m Came upstairs to find my entire upstairs COVERED IS THICK SMOKE!

    I was previously working on a MP40, and never strapped the power supply back up! And the fitting on my Reactor broke, spraying water ALL UNDER the tank. And as we know salt water, extremely well conductor. The Power Transformer sitting on the floor, smelted, and melted, burning the plastics. Filling the house with smoke!
     
  16. Grey Guy

    Grey Guy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2016
    Messages:
    512
    Likes Received:
    386
    As far as I know, a GFCI may not prevent a fire unless it causes a ground fault. Also, GFCI’s are circuit interrupters and not circuit breakers. A fire can start way before either one trips. I just moved all my electrical above my tank so it won’t get wet.
     
    Brew12 and VelocityTech like this.
  17. Brew12

    Brew12 Electrical Gru Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Partner Member 2019 Reef Tank 365 Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor North Alabama Reef Club

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2016
    Messages:
    15,186
    Likes Received:
    28,867
    Location:
    Decatur, AL
    Very true. Odds are that most electrical faults resulting from saltwater will trip a GFCI due to it creating a ground fault. Many faults, such as internal shorting in a light fixture or pump will not and can generate as much heat as a space heater without tripping the branch supply breaker. GFCI is a tool, it will not save you from poor design and housekeeping.
     
    VelocityTech and Grey Guy like this.
  18. Jon McCutcheon

    Jon McCutcheon New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2018
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    hi everyone, i am new to site and am doing lots of research before going big into saltwater aquariums, happened upon this thread(is a bit old but is a point worth mentioning) i currently have a fluval 13.8 as mt starter (3 ,months running, has 2 snowflake clowns, fire shrimp, emerald crab, turbo snail and 5 blueleg hermits) a 120g freshwater and a 55g with condo on top red ear slider tank also a 15g fresh tank(wifes in her office)

    one thing i didn't see mentioned here was that in a lot of older homes(35+yrs) alot of the electricians ran multiple outlets and fixed lighting on one line, so if your aquarium is on the last outlet of the line and many things are running the voltage drops causing the items to work harder(use more energy) which also causes heat and deteriorates the wires, so when calculating the wattage consumed by the aquarium you maust also take into account everything else that may be on the same line, our house is 97 years old and was wired by someone not certified i am sure as there was only 5 breakers for the outlets and lights in our 2.5 story house

    when we bought our place we already had the 120g and 55g tanks and after tripping the breakers many times started investigating the wiring,(have since had house rewired) were the 2 tanks are i had them wire the top outlet and bottom outlet to seperate 20amp gfci breakers, i then but a 15 amp gfci power strip to each, i have the power strips screwed to wall 3" above bottom of tank with the drip cord clamped to floor, this causes all cords to have a drip loop, cords from above are ran thru a clamp on back of stand(below tank obviously) then back to power strip, cords from in stands i cut a hole at very bottom of back wall to run them up thru another clamp to cause a drip loop, i then have a peice of acrylic that is screwed to wall just above the power strips but wider than them(approx 2') that extends from wall approx 5" then goes down approx 5" to help protect against display tank splashing from excited fish or water changes also from unexpected future leaks

    sorry for long post but again is a very worth while topic for all to read
     
  19. jasonrusso

    jasonrusso Valuable Member Build Thread Contributor

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2014
    Messages:
    1,809
    Likes Received:
    1,193
    Location:
    Haverhill, MA
    Isn't that why the require arc fault breakers now?
     
  20. Brew12

    Brew12 Electrical Gru Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Partner Member 2019 Reef Tank 365 Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor North Alabama Reef Club

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2016
    Messages:
    15,186
    Likes Received:
    28,867
    Location:
    Decatur, AL
    AFCI breakers do help with this. If there is arcing involved it should detect it and clear the fault. Right now, a combination of GFCI/AFCI is the best we can do, but we still need to properly maintain and design everything.
     
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice
Loading...