Electricity During Sinking


Rancor

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Most of the electricians were freed from their jobs down beneath the ship and many left. Though some may have stayed behind to keep the electricity on. But it's speculation, of course.

I would suggest to keep somewhat of an open mind regarding the 'Bright Shining Lie' article. Alfred White stated in his letter that the dynamo room was still fully staffed moments before the sinking. He only survived by climbing up the 4th funnel and somehow survived as it fell into the water as the ship broke.
 

Rennette Marston

Rennette Marston
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That probably explains why the survivors said the lights (dynamos) were still on after the break. Besides, I did say that "some may have stayed behind to keep the electricity on." But I believe most of the volt workers were still outside when the ship sank. I am interested as to where you found that Alfred White letter?
 
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Rennette Marston

Rennette Marston
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Thank you so much for the link! Here's an excerpt from that letter:
I knew Mr. Parr very well for the short time we were together. I was with him nearly till the last ... You are asking me if he was on the [upper] deck when the ship went down and I honestly say that he was not and all the rest of the engineers were below. That was the last I saw of them.
Perhaps he meant that the engineers in the dynamo room still stayed below as Rancor above pointed out while most of the electricians from the main lighting room were on the upper decks. From my understanding, he never put things into specific or correct detail in this correspondence. Of course, this was written two months after the disaster when the trauma and the confusion he underwent that night was still fresh in his mind - therefore it would've muddied his memory a bit. Maybe the engineers were still there early in the sinking but left at a later date when it became apparently obvious the danger awaiting them if they'd stayed after White saw them for the last time?
 
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Jaden Maxwell

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Thank you so much for the link! Here's an excerpt from that letter:

Perhaps he meant that the engineers in the dynamo room still stayed below as Rancor above pointed out while most of the electricians from the main lighting room were on the upper decks. From my understanding, he never put things into specific or correct detail in this correspondence. Of course, this was written two months after the disaster when the trauma and the confusion he underwent that night was still fresh in his mind - therefore it would've muddied his memory a bit. Maybe the engineers were still there early in the sinking but left at a later date when it became apparently obvious the danger awaiting them if they'd stayed after White saw them for the last time?
I searched google for anything I could find and Alfred White gave an account to a news reporter in New York which was published on April 20th 1912. The reporter might have mixed up some of the details with other survivors but there is a lot of information about half way down this page

Alfred White Newspaper Account
 
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Rancor

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Thank you so much for the link! Here's an excerpt from that letter:

Perhaps he meant that the engineers in the dynamo room still stayed below as Rancor above pointed out while most of the electricians from the main lighting room were on the upper decks. From my understanding, he never put things into specific or correct detail in this correspondence. Of course, this was written two months after the disaster when the trauma and the confusion he underwent that night was still fresh in his mind - therefore it would've muddied his memory a bit. Maybe the engineers were still there early in the sinking but left at a later date when it became apparently obvious the danger awaiting them if they'd stayed after White saw them for the last time?
The main dynamo room and main lighting room are the same place, the terms seems to be used interchangeably.

It will be hard to know for certain I guess, the testimony suggests that some of the engineers may have made a break for it at the end as a few report seeing the 2nd engineer on deck. However I would take with a grain of salt any article that states:

The ship’s lighting circuit worked off a generator which did not involve any direct input by engineers. If the main supply should fail, the electricity needed to maintain lights was provided by the immediate start-up of a stand-by battery. This secondary source of power was introduced by means of an automatic switch in the circuit. No human hands were needed in the process.
I have yet to read or hear of any evidence regarding an emergency battery on Titanic or an automated system to switch to it.

The fact remains that none of the engineers from Titanic survived the sinking.
 
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Rennette Marston

Rennette Marston
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The main dynamo room and main lighting room are the same place, the terms seems to be used interchangeably.

It will be hard to know for certain I guess, the testimony suggests that some of the engineers may have made a break for it at the end as a few report seeing the 2nd engineer on deck...
I thought the dynamo room and the main lighting room were two separate places located inside the Titanic's stern, but thank you for clarifying. While it is true that some did stay behind to power the doomed ship, many did leave and were seen by several survivors on deck. But, as you said:
The fact remains that none of the engineers from Titanic survived the sinking.
 

Rob Lawes

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I have yet to read or hear of any evidence regarding an emergency battery on Titanic or an automated system to switch to it.
This may have been a misunderstanding based on a description of the electrical systems on the Olympics published in the Electrician magazine in 1911. The ships electrical telephone system was fitted with an automatic change over which, in the event of a power failure enabled the telephones to be operated from emergency batteries.

I can't find anything suggesting there was a similar system fitted to the lighting. We do however know that the emergecy lighting was powered from the emergency dynamos and that these were running after the collision.

One of the most power absorbing elements of the electrical system were the fan machinary for the generation of a draft in the boiler rooms and for the conditioning of public spaces and cabins. This would explain why Thomas Ranger was asked to attend the fan rooms on F Deck to switch the fans off. This would significantly reduce the demand on the ships electrical supply. What I don't quite understand however is why they weren't just shut down from the breaker panel in the engine room. I believe that all of the fans woud have been connected to one of the 50 circuit breakers on the panel there.

Another issue I have is the common belief that the stokeholds were plunged into darkness because of the need to change the iights over to the supply from the emergency dynamos.

It would seem that the emergency dynamos only supplied the emergency lighting system. Therefore, there would have been no need to turn the lights off and then turn them back on again. My feeling is that due to the way the DC distribution worked, a single wire system with the hull acting as the earth return, the flooding caused the breakers for the stokehold lighting to pop out. We know for example that there was lighting on E Deck at the time the stokeholds were in darkness and that passageways were covered by the emergency lighting system. It follows then that if they didn't turn the lights off throughout the ship to effect the changeover so they would't need to do it for just one area such as the stokeholds.
 
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Nov 14, 2005
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This may have been a misunderstanding based on a description of the electrical systems on the Olympics published in the Electrician magazine in 1911. The ships electrical telephone system was fitted with an automatic change over which, in the event of a power failure enabled the telephones to be operated from emergency batteries.

I can't find anything suggesting there was a similar system fitted to the lighting. We do however know that the emergecy lighting was powered from the emergency dynamos and that these were running after the collision.

One of the most power absorbing elements of the electrical system were the fan machinary for the generation of a draft in the boiler rooms and for the conditioning of public spaces and cabins. This would explain why Thomas Ranger was asked to attend the fan rooms on F Deck to switch the fans off. This would significantly reduce the demand on the ships electrical supply. What I don't quite understand however is why they weren't just shut down from the breaker panel in the engine room. I believe that all of the fans woud have been connected to one of the 50 circuit breakers on the panel there.

Another issue I have is the common belief that the stokeholds were plunged into darkness because of the need to change the iights over to the supply from the emergency dynamos.

It would seem that the emergency dynamos only supplied the emergency lighting system. Therefore, there would have been no need to turn the lights off and then turn them back on again. My feeling is that due to the way the DC distribution worked, a single wire system with the hull acting as the earth return, the flooding caused the breakers for the stokehold lighting to pop out. We know for example that there was lighting on E Deck at the time the stokeholds were in darkness and that passageways were covered by the emergency lighting system. It follows then that if they didn't turn the lights off throughout the ship to effect the changeover so they would't need to do it for just one area such as the stokeholds.
Nice info. I've read that article but didn't remember batteries for the phone system. Will have to re-read it. If anybody else wants to read it...link below.
 

Rancor

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This may have been a misunderstanding based on a description of the electrical systems on the Olympics published in the Electrician magazine in 1911. The ships electrical telephone system was fitted with an automatic change over which, in the event of a power failure enabled the telephones to be operated from emergency batteries.
Yeah quite possibly. I understand there was also a backup battery on the wireless system?

I can't find anything suggesting there was a similar system fitted to the lighting. We do however know that the emergecy lighting was powered from the emergency dynamos and that these were running after the collision.
Would be quite a large battery to power the entire lighting system especially with the technology available in 1912, it would certainly show up on the deck plans. They had pretty good redundancy with the emergency dynamos as you mention. It would take a total loss of steam pressure through the whole ship to cause a loss of all electrical power.

One of the most power absorbing elements of the electrical system were the fan machinary for the generation of a draft in the boiler rooms and for the conditioning of public spaces and cabins. This would explain why Thomas Ranger was asked to attend the fan rooms on F Deck to switch the fans off. This would significantly reduce the demand on the ships electrical supply. What I don't quite understand however is why they weren't just shut down from the breaker panel in the engine room. I believe that all of the fans woud have been connected to one of the 50 circuit breakers on the panel there.
Have always wondered the same thing. Would have been much easier to just open a few breakers on the main distribution board. Can only assume that the fans were not on their own circuit and therefore couldn't be turned off from a central location, but without wiring diagrams can never know for sure.

Another issue I have is the common belief that the stokeholds were plunged into darkness because of the need to change the iights over to the supply from the emergency dynamos.

It would seem that the emergency dynamos only supplied the emergency lighting system. Therefore, there would have been no need to turn the lights off and then turn them back on again. My feeling is that due to the way the DC distribution worked, a single wire system with the hull acting as the earth return, the flooding caused the breakers for the stokehold lighting to pop out. We know for example that there was lighting on E Deck at the time the stokeholds were in darkness and that passageways were covered by the emergency lighting system. It follows then that if they didn't turn the lights off throughout the ship to effect the changeover so they would't need to do it for just one area such as the stokeholds.
Agree with you 100% on this one. All my reading from the experts has the emergency dynamos powering their own separate lighting circuit. And there was no reason the initial impact would have upset the main generating plant. I would also guess that there was a short due to flooding the tripped some breakers and killed the lighting in the boiler rooms until the electricians managed to isolate the circuit. If it was the entire ship loosing power we would have heard about it from many of the survivors.
 
Nov 14, 2005
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Yes there was battery for the aux radio system. And as I learned from this thread batteries for the phone system. Interestingly though WS went with a clock system that eliminated the need for batteries on the Olympic class where a lot of the other liners had them. The only other batteries I know of were for the flashlights some had. But that wasn't part of any ship system.
 
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Rennette Marston

Rennette Marston
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So should i change anything?
I think the only things you should change are the barely lit stars, the black sea, and the lack of visibly glowing lights on the Titanic. I imagine the Titanic to have looked like a large silhouette on the horizon against a brightly-lit, star-specked night. Survivors were still able to see the outline of the Titanic even after all of her lights went out. This could only be possible if there was a great quantity of sharply bright stars and constellations illuminating the entire atmosphere. It should look more like this:

glare.png


It was a brilliant, starry night. There was no moon and I have never seen the stars shine brighter; they appeared to stand right out of the sky, sparkling like cut diamonds. A very light haze, hardly noticeable, hung low over the water. I have spent much time on the ocean, yet I have never seen the sea smoother than it was that night; it was like a mill pond, and just as innocent looking, as the great ship quietly rippled through it.

I went onto the boat deck — it was deserted and lonely. The wind whistled through the stays, and blackish smoke poured out of the three forward funnels; the fourth funnel was a dummy for ventilation purposes. It was the kind of a night that made one feel glad to be alive.

It was a marvelous sight all emphasized by a more than twilight and a heaven full of such stars as only an arctic cold can produce. They actually lighted the atmosphere. The sea with its glassy surface threw back star by star the dazzling array, and made of the universe a complete unity without the break of a sky-line. It was like the inside of an entire globe. We both gasped at such beauty .... An effulgence glowed like a halo over the ship and around it. Another range of lighted windows slipped under the water.

Edward Dorking wrote, "I had never seen phosphorus in the ocean until the night of the disaster ...." Lawrence Beesley wrote, "The sailor’s remark – 'It seemed like a bloomin' picnic' summed up the situation very well. The dead calm, the boat at rest on the quiet, phosphorescent sea, the brilliance of the stars all combined to create a peaceful atmosphere far removed from the imminent tragedy awaiting its culmination a few hundred yards away." Alfred Shiers said, "I saw the phosphorous that was coming up in the water." Richard Williams wrote: "The water was full of phosphorous sparkling like the reflection of a strong light through a prism; the little waves lapping the sides of the boat seemed to turn it momentarily into polished silver.
 
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