Lights in the Stern after the Breakup


Jim Currie

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Could this be due to lowering steam pressure resulting in the dynamos turning slower and producing less voltage?
I would suggest that unless an emergency lighting system was used, then if the bulbs dimmed, there were not enough voltage to serve the total demand of the lighting circuits in use. The lighting circuit lengths were considerable. A bit like an old fashioned Rheostat perhaps?
 
Mar 22, 2003
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if the bulbs dimmed, there were not enough voltage to serve the total demand of the lighting circuits in use
That's correct. Near the end the gang below were released from their duties. The boilers were no longer being fed and the steam pressure started to drop. It is also why Bride said that they were no longer generating a spark later on, and they never switched to the battery back-up driven set.
 
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Are you sure about that Sam?
Yes,

In addition to main dynamo system, there was a separate steam pipe leading to a pair of emergency dynamo engines situated on a platform 20 feet above the ship’s waterline on D deck on the aft side of the turbine engine room casing. These emergency dynamos produced 30 kilowatts of electric power each at 100 volts DC. These sets supplied power to 500 incandescent lamps fitted throughout all passenger, crew and machinery compartments, at the end of passages, near stairways, and on the Boat deck. There were also change-over switches that enabled 5 arc lamps, 7 cargo and gangway lamps, the ship’s navigation lights, the lights on the navigating bridge (including the wheelhouse and chart rooms), the Marconi apparatus, and 4 electrically-driven boat winches all to be connected up to this emergency circuit if needed. It was the practice to run these emergency dynamos every night after sunset in case of an accident to the main electrical supply during the night.[1]



[1] Testimony of Edward Wilding, BI 19827.
 
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Mike Spooner

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It was the practice to run these emergency dynamos every night after sunset in case of an accident to the main electrical supply during the night?
Do we know if that practice was carried out?
 

Jim Currie

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Yes,

In addition to main dynamo system, there was a separate steam pipe leading to a pair of emergency dynamo engines situated on a platform 20 feet above the ship’s waterline on D deck on the aft side of the turbine engine room casing. These emergency dynamos produced 30 kilowatts of electric power each at 100 volts DC. These sets supplied power to 500 incandescent lamps fitted throughout all passenger, crew and machinery compartments, at the end of passages, near stairways, and on the Boat deck. There were also change-over switches that enabled 5 arc lamps, 7 cargo and gangway lamps, the ship’s navigation lights, the lights on the navigating bridge (including the wheelhouse and chart rooms), the Marconi apparatus, and 4 electrically-driven boat winches all to be connected up to this emergency circuit if needed. It was the practice to run these emergency dynamos every night after sunset in case of an accident to the main electrical supply during the night.[1]



[1] Testimony of Edward Wilding, BI 19827.
I see what you mean. it was your use of "They went onto emergency generator lighting every evening at dust. Off at dawn" that threw me.
No, they would not "go onto - rely on - emergency genny power every evening. It was standard on all passenger ships back then to fire up the emergency genny at dusk. The idea of a power failure sensing and automatic emergency genny kick-in system was a wish.
However, the emergency generators would only be put online...kick-in... when the main generator or generators failed, or in this case, ran out of mains steam.
 
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Jim Currie

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It was the practice to run these emergency dynamos every night after sunset in case of an accident to the main electrical supply during the night?
Do we know if that practice was carried out?
Yes, there is Mike. I quote again:
"
Day 10 US Inquiry:
"Let us go down onto A deck again." And we went down again, but there was nobody there that time at all. It was perfectly empty the whole length. It was absolutely deserted, and the electric lights along the ceiling of A deck were beginning to turn red, just a glow, a red sort of glow."
I suggest you read in conjunction with the foregoing, Brad's excellent post No.54 on this thread
 
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Yes, there is Mike. I quote again:
"
Day 10 US Inquiry:
"Let us go down onto A deck again." And we went down again, but there was nobody there that time at all. It was perfectly empty the whole length. It was absolutely deserted, and the electric lights along the ceiling of A deck were beginning to turn red, just a glow, a red sort of glow."
I suggest you read in conjunction with the foregoing, Brad's excellent post No.54 on this thread
Thanks for pointing that prior post out. I had missed it before. Good info.
 
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I would suggest that unless an emergency lighting system was used, then if the bulbs dimmed, there were not enough voltage to serve the total demand of the lighting circuits in use. The lighting circuit lengths were considerable. A bit like an old fashioned Rheostat perhaps?
If steam pressure dropped it wouldn't have mattered if it was the main or emergency dynamo's. They both would have spun down after a certain point causing reduced voltage/current. And yes some of those circuits were pretty long for a low voltage system like Titanic's. Some of of those circuits had to be in excess of over 700' long...so in other words a lot of resistance. I have power tools that don't like running on a 100' extension cord...just enough voltage drop to make them go buggy sometimes.
 
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Mike Spooner

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I just find it rather strange why they would to used the two 30kW emergency generators ever night. After all that is the purpose of emergency generators to use if the main 400kW generators failed? The company who made the generators WH Allen of Bedford England was a well established company making generators for ships. No doubt had be well tested before leaving the factory and further tested by H&W shipyard to.
Question was there a problem with the electrical system on the ship?
 
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I just find it rather strange why they would to used the two 30kW emergency generators ever night. After all that is the purpose of emergency generators to use if the main 400kW generators failed? The company who made the generators WH Allen of Bedford England was a well established company making generators for ships. No doubt had be well tested before leaving the factory and further tested by H&W shipyard to.
Question was there a problem with the electrical system on the ship?
Mike, It was not the reliability of the dynamos that needed backup. They needed the emergency dynamos in case the dynamo room was flooded through some mishap. That's why the emergency dynamos were located on a platform 20 feet above the ship’s waterline on D deck. The 500 incandescent lamps that they serviced were separate from the main lighting supplied by the main dynamos.
 
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Actually it was a good maintenance/operations practice. Even today the number one trouble shooting call on back up generators is they didn't start/run when they are needed. People let them sit and don't test them often enough and the controls fail. I've put in many back up generators for people and always recommend going with a manual transfer switch because I've seen the auto transfer systems fail when you need them most many times. Generators are a lot like airplanes. You need to use them or they will start to degrade rapidly if they are just sitting. I haven't read there was a problem the Olympic class electrical systems. But like all systems of that nature you need to maintain them so running the emergency gens as often as they did was a good practice in my opinion. Cheers.
 
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Mike, It was not the reliability of the dynamos that needed backup. They needed the emergency dynamos in case the dynamo room was flooded through some mishap. That's why the emergency dynamos were located on a platform 20 feet above the ship’s waterline on D deck. The 500 incandescent lamps that they serviced were separate from the main lighting supplied by the main dynamos.
Yes it was a good set up in my opinion. I never calculated all the loads that the emergency gens could run at the same time. But I'm guessing there was some load management going on with them. I will have to look into that. Too bad that no detailed schematics of Titanics elect system seem to have survived. At least I have never seen any.
 
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I've seen the auto transfer systems fail when you need them most
Bear in mind that they didn't have automatic start and transfer switching on these ships. If they didn't run the emergency sets after dark, and if there was a mishap that knocked out the main dynamos after dark, the ship would be left in total darkness until someone could get the emergency dynamos started and get them switched on line.
 
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Bear in mind that they didn't have automatic start and transfer switching on these ships. If they didn't run the emergency sets after dark, and if there was a mishap that knocked out the main dynamos after dark, the ship would be left in total darkness until someone could get the emergency dynamos started and get them switched on line.
Yes I know they had to valve in the emergency generators manually. Not a bad thing in my opinion. For 2 reasons. 1. Automatic systems are sometimes not all that automatic when you need them most and 2...good experience for the crew operating the equipment. They wouldn't be guessing on how to start them up when they would need them.
 

Mike Spooner

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Mike, It was not the reliability of the dynamos that needed backup. They needed the emergency dynamos in case the dynamo room was flooded through some mishap. That's why the emergency dynamos were located on a platform 20 feet above the ship’s waterline on D deck. The 500 incandescent lamps that they serviced were separate from the main lighting supplied by the main dynamos.
Thanks for the information that the emergency generators where more than just a backup units. But had a use for the 500 incandescent lamps at night time.
Just a matter of interest was this a standard practice as used on other WSL ships to?
 

Rancor

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Actually it was a good maintenance/operations practice. Even today the number one trouble shooting call on back up generators is they didn't start/run when they are needed. People let them sit and don't test them often enough and the controls fail. I've put in many back up generators for people and always recommend going with a manual transfer switch because I've seen the auto transfer systems fail when you need them most many times. Generators are a lot like airplanes. You need to use them or they will start to degrade rapidly if they are just sitting. I haven't read there was a problem the Olympic class electrical systems. But like all systems of that nature you need to maintain them so running the emergency gens as often as they did was a good practice in my opinion. Cheers.
I was watching a doco on the Costa Concordia disaster yesterday, and there was just this problem! The main gensets were disabled due to the flooding, and the emergency generator had an issue with its cooling system so could only be run for short periods of time before it overheated. Oh dear!!
 
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I was watching a doco on the Costa Concordia disaster yesterday, and there was just this problem! The main gensets were disabled due to the flooding, and the emergency generator had an issue with it's cooling system so could only be run for short periods of time before it overheated. Oh dear!!
Thanks for the info. I hadn't heard of that. But it doesn't surprise me. Back up and or redundant systems often get overlooked for a variety of reasons. Or even if they don't get forgotten about there's the issue of people just gun-decking it. Was that docu on tv or the web?
 

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