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Closet Powerboater
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I came across this awesome video for making a cheap, home made high water alarm. If the sensor wires are placed down in the bilge, and the smoke alarm itself it installed in the upper engine compartment, it could pull double duty as a high water alarm and smoke alarm.

I haven't seen smoke detectors in engine spaces before on the boat's I've been around. Surveyors haven't dinged me for not having them. Any contraindication to putting one in the compartment or is it a good idea?

MedSailor
 

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Wonder if it would withstand the relative high temp in the engine area. I was required both temp and smoke hard wired to major alarms in all compartments. This looks so easy.
 

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I'm surprised. tap water has fairly high resistance, sticking two leads in it would not present a clean connection between the wires, it would be similar to a very dirty oxidized switch contact. But apparently that smoke detector will work that way.

All of those cheap ionization chamber detectors work the same way, there is a speck of radioactive material, an alpha emitter, in the metal chamber. Innocuous as long as it isn't inhaled, half-life something like 432 years, so if the heat of an engine space made it come loose...not something you'd want around.

And when used as a smoke detector, the Nooze never bothers to mention, they all fail from dust contamination, usually in 7-10 years, so they need to be replaced after no longer than 10 years. Which is why many of the new ones ship with a "10 year battery" and when that signals low battery, it is time to toss the entire thing and replace it.

On the bright side, if you install one of those in your dinghy and ever have to report the dink has been stolen, you can always add "And oh, by the way, there's a small amount of radioactive material on board, but you probably don't need to worry about that."

Lotsa men and machines will help find your dink. Although you might have some splainin' to do.
 

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I think a luminous watch probably has more radioactive material than today's smoke detectors. And, I don't know about your engine room, but mine never exceeds 100 degrees, even on a very hot day. Yes, I have a thermometer in the engine room. It came with the boat, and I never bothered to remove it because it was glued to the bulkhead of the engine room with epoxy. I have no idea why the prior owner installed it in there, but maybe he had some concerns because of the close proximity of the gas tank to the engine, which is just four feet away in the same compartment.

As for the tap water triggering the device, keep in mind that most of the circuitry utilizes micro-volts in their switching devices so it really doesn't take much of a pulse to trigger the device.


Cheers,

Gary :cool:
 

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Closet Powerboater
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
My watch is a Luminox watch and it'll glow in the coffin long after I'm dead. The good news is that it's emitting BETA particles which are completely blocked by the dead skin layer you forgot to wash off this morning.

Alpha particles and ionization radiation emitters are a whole different ball of wax.

Medsailor
 

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Funny thing about Luminox and all the other watches that use little tritium gas tubes to glow so brightly. They were being made overseas for a number of years and NOT ALLOWED to be imported into the US, because of restrictions on the import/shipping of radioactive materials. Even though the same materials were being used domestically in the US.

But when the old Radium Watch Co. plant in NYC was being torn down in the 90s, it was full hazmat with the building tented and the ground literally bulldozed away afterwards because some of "the good stuff" had penetrated every inch of the property. The folks who use the health club (!) that was built on the site have no idea it was a hot spot.
 

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There is plenty of resistance in tap water to transmit the electricity needed for an electric tone. I use electric sounders that operate on the same principles to measure water levels in wells. The sounders won't measure distilled water but just a dash of table salt or a pinch of soil in .5 ltr of d.i. water does the trick.

I'll be making two of these gadgets today. I have live aboard neighbors on both sides of me that I would trust to go aboard to investigate an alarm.
 

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I definitely will be making one for a high water alarm. That's something that has always concerned me, even when I'm sleeping on the boat. I'm a fairly light sleeper, and most of the time I wake up when the bilge pump comes on, but not always.

As for the radio activity potential, I sincerely believe it is so miniscule that I'm not at all concerned. Every day we are subjected to multiple sources of radiation, and for the most part, with no side effects. And, as we get older, a category that many of us are now included, the radiation level increases dramatically. Yep, dental X-rays, Chest X-rays, mammograms, cat-scans, bone-scans, lots of neat stuff that we're subjected to that sends far more radiation through our bodies than what is contained in that molecule encased within the smoke detector sensor. Think about it!

Cheers,

Gary :cool:
 

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There is plenty of resistance in tap water to transmit the electricity needed for an electric tone...
Uh, I think you mean "plenty of conductance." Really high resistance would cause an open circuit and no tone.
...I'll be making two of these gadgets today. I have live aboard neighbors on both sides of me that I would trust to go aboard to investigate an alarm.
OK, maybe I am the only one who is bothered by this, but I think it's very dangerous to have an alarm that makes the same tone for a FIRE as it does for a little water in the bilge. If your neighbors hear your fire alarm go off, would you really want them to get aboard your boat? What if it was actually a fire, and they perished because they got on your boat?

And if this alarm goes off a few times because of water, you would likely grow complacent about the potential for a fire alarm. Then if there's a fire and you take your time because you think it's just a water alarm, it could be a very bad ending.

No thanks, I'll just continue to use smoke alarms exclusively for fire and will continue to use my $10 water alarms for water:

 
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Closet Powerboater
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Your point is well taken but airplanes have master alarms. I'm okay with it, at least until i can rig up the demure female voice to say "captain there is water in the bilge." :)

Thanks for the link btw.better idea and no soldering required
 

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Uh, I think you mean "plenty of conductance." Really high resistance would cause an open circuit and no tone.

Yep, was thinking conductance when i typed resistance. Was just explaining the difference to my wife concerning an electrical problem with her car's charging system.

Not worried, when I said I trusted my neighbors I was implying that I would also trust them not to do something stupid like go into a burning boat. Besides, boats make one hell of a smoky fire, that would make it pretty obvious it wasn't just a little water.
 

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Thanks for the link to the high water alarm - just saved me a lot of work in making my own, and it cost the same as the smoke alarms I looked at. I just ordered one from Home Depot.

Gary :cool:
 

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I'm with TakeFive on these little units. I have been using these for 4 years now and think they are the bee's knees in water intrusion alarms. For around us$10.00 they do the job completely independently of your ship's systems and make more noise than a banshee's wail. Glentronics, Inc. BWD-HWA Basement Watchdog Water Sensor and Alarm. Just change the batteries once a year and you'll not sleep through one of these little babies. I put one near the rudder packing gland, the shaft packing gland, one near the top of the bilge pump switch and one in the shallow forward bilge. They seem to last forever?????
Available @ Basement Watchdog Battery-Operated Water Alarm-BWD-HWA at The Home Depot or Amazon.
 

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"I'm okay with it, at least until i can rig up the demure female voice to say"

Why would you want to rig up hardware for that, when you can buy a cheap mail-order bride, confine her to the bilge when she's not otherwise employed, and teach her to say "Most Kind Master, there is an excess of water in the bilge. It tastes of salt."

You know, H1B visas, all that good stuff...Who needs to solder?
 
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