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

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    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 R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    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

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    And you don't think that would have cost more?
     
  4. Brew12

    Brew12 Electrical Gru R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    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.
     
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  5. Grey Guy

    Grey Guy Well-Known Member

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    O.K. You win. How come you know all this stuff? Just curious, where did you learn it?
     
  6. Brew12

    Brew12 Electrical Gru R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    I used to teach electrical theory and we included lessons on the history of electrical power.
     
  7. Grey Guy

    Grey Guy Well-Known Member

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    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 2016 Article Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    @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"
     
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  9. Brew12

    Brew12 Electrical Gru R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    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 R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    I always enjoy a good conversation and love to teach.
     
  11. Daddy-o

    Daddy-o Well-Known Member R2R Supporter

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    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 R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    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!
     
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  13. Daddy-o

    Daddy-o Well-Known Member R2R Supporter

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    Okay - not slow down - but density - Thanks!
    Cheers! Mark
     
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  14. powers2001

    powers2001 started reefing 1999 Build Thread Contributor

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    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 Well-Known Member

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    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

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    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.
     
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  17. Brew12

    Brew12 Electrical Gru R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    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.
     
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