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Fire suppression systems
#1
Has anyone used any of the fire suppression systems that look like tubes filled with gas that kills a fire in a compartment like the Blazecut or similar? I would like to add some to my engine/generator/aquahot and battery compartments.
Karen & Adrian Abshire 
1998 2 slide 45' Newell towing a 2012 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited and a 2006 Mercedes SLK320 for wifey. 
Prior: 1985 Foretravel ORED 35, 1988 38' Foretravel U280, 2000 Foretravel 42' U320, 1990 Bluebird Wanderlodge WB40
#2
I was looking at those fireball things that people with Skoolies use. Once heat is detected the ball explodes a fire retardant and knocks out the oxygen to the fire. Forgot what they were called.
--Simon
1993 8v92TA #312
#3
Simon, you are correct, they are called Fire Balls. Exide and AFO both make them, probably others also.
Michael Day
1992 Newell 43.5' #281
NewellOwner.com
#4
Sounds like a great idea especially in a closed compartment like the Aquahot and generator compartments. Not sure how effective it would be in an open engine compartment especially while still rolling. But definitely better than nothing!
Forest & Cindy Olivier
1987 log cabin
former 1999 Foretravel 36' U320
former 1998 Newell 45' 2 slide #486 

former 1993 Newell 39' #337 
2011 Chevy Tahoe
#5
Would something like this kill a fire inside the aquahot bay (or inside the AH itself)? I would think these are set to melt at a high temp (like over 400F)… ???
Karen & Adrian Abshire 
1998 2 slide 45' Newell towing a 2012 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited and a 2006 Mercedes SLK320 for wifey. 
Prior: 1985 Foretravel ORED 35, 1988 38' Foretravel U280, 2000 Foretravel 42' U320, 1990 Bluebird Wanderlodge WB40
#6
At the risk of starting what has been a bit of a "ruffling of neck hackles" on 'another forum' where this topic was beat up...allow me to offer my opinions.

My opinion is based on my 30 year firefighting career, which comes with education, experience, and real-live scenarios, drills, etc. In other words...WE played with a lot of fire and blew stuff up! LOL

The PROTENG fire extinguishing weenie, as I call it, was the item of contention among the group. While I would admit that something "MAY BE" better than nothing, to rely and trust upon something that you EXPECT to extinguish any and every fire, is just not smart. In fact, it can lead you to a false sense of security, and here's why:

Agents such as what is contained in the PROTENG or similar device have to do 2 things; one, they must be activated by heat of the fire, and two, their agent must reach the SEAT of the fire.

Here lay the argument: individuals were paying quite a bit of money to have these "strung" along engine compartments, bays, inverters, etc. without regard to the above factors.

The "demonstrations" that were originally done in Europe, showed these things exploding when placed in a CONFINED SPACE, WITH DIRECT FLAME CONTACT. So, sure...without a doubt...they are extremely effective. Heck, they were SO close, that they practically BLEW the fire out from the popping of the tube; the agent probably had little to with the extinguishment.

So, to recap, extinguishing agents (whatever they may be), must reach the base of the flame or the point of combustion. In a confined space, the old Halon systems were MAGIC for computer fires. Only problem was the toxicity. But, point is, if the extinguishing system can be located WITHIN the confined space, PLUS be activated EARLY by direct flame, then you've got a very effective system.

So, to spend hundreds of dollars draping tubes OUTSIDE of an enclosure, where not only are they NOWHERE NEAR THE HEAT/FLAME TO ACTIVATE, let alone be close enough for the agent to REACH THE SEAT OF THE FIRE, is something that I cannot assure will be effective at all.

Finally, even if you WERE to place any auto-extinguisher into an enclosed space, the heat AND fuel need to be separated. Hence, on any fuel-based fire, such as a gas engine, shutting off the fuel will be just as important as extinguishing the flame and reducing the heat.

Sorry, this reply turned into Fire Tech 101...and that wasn't my intention. I hope you can understand my concern that people, I feel, are being taken advantage of due to fear and lack of knowledge. And, I'd hate that to happen on my watch.

Here is a video I made just to help address some these concerns with KNOWLEDGE:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4d1tICZZss
Steve & Janice Vance
2015 Newell #1524
Glendora, CA
#7
Steve, in your experience, what would be a good way to protect from an "unsolicited" engine bay fire? My fear is driving down the road and a fuel or hydraulic line spray onto a hot surface while I am unaware. Do they even sell Halon systems anymore? I too am a believer in the Halon suppression systems however due to the "refrigerant" they use have been put on the blacklist. Either way, once a raging fire has begun it is nearly impossible for someone to get near an access door to stick a handheld extinguisher from the severe heat. Like you said, once fuel fed, it will end up being a total loss.
--Simon
1993 8v92TA #312
#8
I think the biggest problem with an engine compartment fire is the amount of air moving through the compartment. As Steve mentioned above. Halon causes a chemical reaction to bind up the oxygen so the fire stops. That's what makes it so dangerous to us humans. CO2 is heavier than air and blankets a fire thus cutting off oxygen. Dry chemical may be the most effective but does make a mess that is hard to clean.
But again the problem is if driving the amount of air moving through the engine compartment would tend to wash out whatever you're using to put out the fire. Driving with your rear camera on may give you an early indication of a fire.
Maybe adding a temperature sensor would help? If the alarm goes off you got a problem!
Forest & Cindy Olivier
1987 log cabin
former 1999 Foretravel 36' U320
former 1998 Newell 45' 2 slide #486 

former 1993 Newell 39' #337 
2011 Chevy Tahoe
#9
Simon,

Without question, I would make a carefully designed fire suppression system based on the following criteria:

1. Automatic, via heat-fuse at proper temp rating for engine compartments.
2. Strategically placed discharge heads; either extinguisher mounted or remote nozzles, as opposed to the new and untried versions of plastic tubing.
3. Either dry chem or AFFF with enough capacity to blanket compartment.
4. AUTOMATIC FUEL SHUTOFF!!
5. Remote monitor at dash to indicate "ARMED" as well as "FIRE/SYS ACTIVATED!"

This type of system is not unlike a marine system; tried and proven.  But, leave any one of these criteria out, and you have a less than effective system that I personally would not trust.

Also, this is a system that MUST BE MAINTAINED with routine checks on pressure as well as appropriate servicing.  This is why I wouldn't suggest an integrated extinguisher with head stuffed deep in an engine bay where you can't see it, let alone take it out to service. 

Forest mentions air movement while driving.  Yes, this is a big factor with any vehicle's engine fire. That's why a monitor is critically important for an RV, in which it's hard to see your engine bay...although I guarantee you'll see the cloud from your dry-chem system discharging; hopefully before you see looms of black smoke!

HTH
Steve & Janice Vance
2015 Newell #1524
Glendora, CA


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