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Titanic's Electrical System

Discussion in 'Dynamos Generators & Electrical Systems' started by The_One_And_Only, Nov 15, 2018.

  1. Hello! I have read many an article on Titanic's electrical systems but i still have some questions.

    First question, if Titanics electrical system was the single-wire system, using the ships hull as a return path, is it safe to assume that all circuits, tapped off of the main switchgear end at the "ground" aka hull of the ship? as to complete the circuit.

    Second question, there were 2 busbars, "Power" and "Lighting" wires from the main switchboard are routed round the entire ship, but because of the single-wire system, are all circuits like a long string with multiple circuits connected to it? If that is true, is the marconi circuit (from the lighting busbar) connected at the end of the entire circuit or is it connected somewhere in the middle?

    Third question, I've heard (if you'd like me to, i will cite the source(s) that titanic had 2 busbars (Power and Lighting i guess) that radiate up the port and starboard sides of the ship, what does this mean? does anyone have a diagram of titanics busbars?

    Fourth question, stokehold fans, driven from power or lighting? and if so, where are the cabin fans powered from?

    I'm planning on making a circuit of Titanic for each deck, starting the Tank Top deck, it is not going to rushed, as there was a lot of electrical appliances onboard titanic that i can't miss out.

    A helpful discussion will be appreciated
  2. Harland Duzen

    Harland Duzen Member

    I'm afraid I don't know anything but I wish you luck! :)
  3. Update: I just created a simple test schematic of some of the Tank Top deck, its not finished yet and i can't guarantee accuracy but i would love your opinion!

    Tim Aldrich likes this.
  4. Penguin

    Penguin Member

    If the stokehold fans were used to pressurize the stokehold and provide a forced draft for the boilers, they would need a lot of power. Are you sure they were driven electrically, rather than directly by steam?
  5. Tbates

    Tbates Member

    Yes, from all the sources i have seen they were driven electrically. They drawing is very nice. Have you seen the information from "engineering"? I have alot of information on electrical systems both ship and land based from around titanic era. I would be happy to forwarded you some if you are interested.
    Rancor likes this.
  6. Rancor

    Rancor Member

    To have a go at answering your questions...

    1. This is correct. The hull acted as the 'negative' wire for the circuit, not dissimilar to the electrical system of a car.

    2. & 3. I'm under the impression that no schematics of the electrical system remain but there is this info from 'The Shipbuilder'
    "From the feeder switchboard radiate no fewer than 48 cables, ranging in area up to 61/12 S.W.G. The distribution of current is effected on the single-wire system, but the returns are carried back and bonded in such a way as to avoid stray currents. The power and heating supply can be run entirely independent of the lighting supply, there being power and light bus-bars on the switchboard which can be paralleled or otherwise, as may be required. The cables pass vertically up two steel trunkways, one on the starboard and one on the port side, and terminate in master fuse boxes at each deck, from whence branch the individual circuit cables. The latter ramify throughout the vessel along the main passages of the different decks, and feed in turn the distribution boxes.

    From the distribution boxes the current is taken by wiring to the individual lights, motors, heaters, etc. Local switches are, of course, provided for turning off individual lights or machines"

    Important to note though that everything is wired in parallel, not in a big long string.

    4. As Tbates said above, stoke hold fans were electric. I've had a quick hunt and can't find a rated power for them, but here is a picture from copperas.com


    They got switched off after the collision, either to reduce steam production or to save electricity, perhaps both.
  7. Tim Aldrich

    Tim Aldrich Member

    Titanic did not have forced draft boiler rooms.
  8. I will have to go read up on her boilers. Forced draft boilers can be very messy. They are pressurized and when you get leaks ash and coal dust blow everywhere. Induced draft is the way to go. Fans downstream of the boilers. That way if you get a leak they just suck in air and dont blow ash/dust everywhere. I worked on forced draft boilers for years...ash and coal dust was always a big problem.
    Tim Aldrich likes this.
  9. Rancor

    Rancor Member

    I think they called it 'Assisted Draft' - fans blowing into the stokehold but the stokehold wasn't airtight.