Lightening flash, engine dead? - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 18 Old 12-29-2008
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I keep a handheld GPS and a bunch of batteries for it in a cookie tin in the bridgedeck of my boat usually... handheld VHF there too when I remember to to put it back....
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Originally Posted by Bene505 View Post
Agreed, it's a good reason to carry paper charts, and put the little x where you are periodically. I've heard of using a Faraday cage around equipment. I image that if you put a spare, handheld GPS in a metal box, it will still work after a lightening strike. But how many of us actually put a spare in such a box?
Most of the marine diesels I've worked with/on are using mechanical fuel injection pumps. Some of the fuel pumps are electric, and as such might be vulnerable to lightning, but none of sailboat marine diesels I've seen have electronic fuel injection. I've seen fuel injection on big rail diesels that are in some of the stinkpots I've worked on... but they're considerably more horsepower... like 700+ HP and the fuel injection requirements are considerably more precise, with far more cylinders to worry about.
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How about electronic fuel injection? Not exactly sure how it works but I believe that on some modern engines, there's a microcomputer that regulates fuel flow.

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post #12 of 18 Old 12-29-2008
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Can lightning strikes affect modern diesel engines?

Absolutely.

Here are two instances, gleaned from friends on the Waterway Net this morning.

1. While underway near Newport last year, the Spirit of South Carolina (South Carolina Maritime Foundation Spirit of South Carolina) lost both Cummins diesel engines due to a lightning strike; and

2. A former Commodore of the WaterWay Net, Bud, had his boat in a shed. The boat had a GM 8-71 diesel which was started by a nearby lightning strike, with him nowhere nearby!

Glad my 20-year old 4-108 doesn't have any microprocessors :-)

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post #13 of 18 Old 12-29-2008
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Bill-

The Cummins on the Spirit of South Carolina is a bit bigger than most of the boats on Sailnet would need...and probably requires EFI to run efficiently due to the sheer size of it.

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post #14 of 18 Old 12-29-2008
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dog,

Yeah, and the 8-71 ain't no small puppy, either :-)

But, the OP's general point is valid, i.e., that EMP from lightning can play havoc with just about anything having a microprocessor.

So, next time you're sailing in a severe lightning storm situation you can console yourself with the knowledge that that megayacht which waked you 10 minutes ago might just come to a screeching halt somewhere up ahead :-)

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post #15 of 18 Old 12-29-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bene505 View Post
Agreed, it's a good reason to carry paper charts, and put the little x where you are periodically. I've heard of using a Faraday cage around equipment. I image that if you put a spare, handheld GPS in a metal box, it will still work after a lightening strike. But how many of us actually put a spare in such a box?
I do...two handhelds in the microwave oven along with a 36 pack of AA batteries whenever we were on passage. It is one of those things you just have to do for safety's sake.
Standard oven works great too.

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post #16 of 18 Old 12-29-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bene505 View Post
Agreed, it's a good reason to carry paper charts, and put the little x where you are periodically. I've heard of using a Faraday cage around equipment. I image that if you put a spare, handheld GPS in a metal box, it will still work after a lightening strike. But how many of us actually put a spare in such a box?
You already have a spare metal box, mine is made by Hillerange. Put your gear in the stove when lightning is near. I've done it before but haven't been hit by lightning. In theory it will work.

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post #17 of 18 Old 12-29-2008
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I'm not sure if this relates at all, but driving towards the Miami Airport after a family vacation in the Keys last June, our rental car was struck by lightning. It was an '07 Subaru with plenty of electronics to be sure. The lightning struck right next to my head on the roof rack. It scared the everything out of me. I'm a trained race car driver and instructor and I take a lot of pride in staying calm in unexpected situations while driving, but I must admit that I flinched. I really flinched.
There was almost no damage to the rental car, a small pinhole burned through the paint on the roof rack and a 1/4" burn on the RF wheel. The car continued to operate normally.
The strangest part really was the sound. Obviously there was a large BANG, but immediately after that there was a crack! crack! crack! crack! crack! crack! crack! crack!
Exactly like the static electricity sound that you hear when you pull two sweaters apart after removing them from the dryer but 1000 times as loud.
I couldn't hear well out of my left ear for a couple of days and it's still not like it was before. That used to be my good ear!

Last edited by sww914; 12-29-2008 at 11:21 PM.
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post #18 of 18 Old 12-29-2008
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BTW, I heard a story about a small 20something foot centerboard sailboat gunkholing somewhere on the East Coast that was struck by lightning. The story goes like this, the keel stepped mast was struck and the lightning went straight down, burned a hole in the fiberglass, the mast sling shotted through the hole and down into the mud and the boat stopped dead in it's tracks, impaled on it's own stick.
Has anyone else heard this one or can anyone add any validity to the story?
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