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Poll Question : Fire Extinguisher in my model rail room/space
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Offline Minok  
#1 Posted : 13 May 2019 21:12:35(UTC)
Minok

United States   
Joined: 15/10/2006(UTC)
Posts: 1,993
Location: Washington, Pacific Northwest
In a facebook group I am a member of a fellow posted about a literal meltdown fire that just happened in a level of his model rail road.
He suspects its his non-controlled use of conductive paint used to convert a DC axel into a resistive conducting axel to support the use of detection (rather than his usual mounting of an SMD resistor between the two wheel contacts.

His thinking is, he put the paint on too thick such that the resistance across that joint at the wheel was too low, leading to very high current draw, which heated up the axel/wheel, melted the car plastic and catching it on fire. Whether that is the ultimate root cause I don't know. His thinking is he should have waited for the paint to fully cure (a day, rather than just be surface dry after a half hour) and then measured the resistance with an meter and ensure there was sufficiently high resistance, before putting the car on the track.

Its not an issue we 3 conductor folks face in this form, but it underscores the importance of having a fire extinguisher/sand handy, and being present when the trains are powered.

The sequence of events he indicated happend:
1) Painted axel with condutive paint and let it dry for 30 mins, where it appeared surface dry.
2) 2 hrs later during operation the CS2 reported a short and shut down power to all the power districts (the paint had dried an additional 90 mins by that point).
3) Not thinking of any particular issues existed, he checked for derailments around the layout, found none and re-enabled on the CS2, and trains continued to run as normal.
4) 2-3 minutes later he smelled the acrid smell of burning plastic, and hit the STOP button on the CS2, to investigate the source of the smell.
5) First glance then went straight to the just painted Donnerbüchse car, not believing what he was looking at. The wagon was in the middle of 3 stacked levels, on one side of it a train, other side a loco, and above it the servo of the top level turnout that was above it. The car was fully engulfed in flames, and the Silberling car on the next track over was also on fire, as was the servo and its cables directly above the burning cars. The loco he could save with a quick grab, as there is 20cm space between levels.
6) He threw sand on the fire (from his handy sand bucket he has due to the oil fired oven he also has), to put the fire out.
7) thanks to the accessibility to the fire area from the bigger level-to-level spacing the bottom of the upper level was only charred. Had the spacing been narrower, access would have been harder and the baseboard above might have caught fire before he was able to address the problem.
8) His analysis was he put the conductive paint on too thick, and as it fully dried (and the solved went away) the conductivity increase to the point of a very low resistance, which lead to the transition at the wheel where the paint was heating up greatly, and melting the plastic touching that then very hot metal as the axle conducted a lot of current.

Key takeaway for all style railroaders:

  1. Keep areas of the layout accessible.
  2. Keep a fire extinguisher (CO2 ideally to limit damage to other items) or sand or flour or something similar ON HAND in the room
  3. Do NOT run the railroad unattended. Ever.


There is risk to using powder like items like flour, don't blow it (vaporized dust can explode).
For fuller protection, a chemical extinguisher is really the best bet, as CO2, while leaving no residue, is not good at extinguishing burning plastic or wood (solid objects) as it doesn't provide enough cooling/smothering. If you are likely to see it early, a CO2 is great, but if there is risk of the benchwork/paper/losts of plastic catching fire, get an extinguisher rated for that fire.

Fire-1.jpg

Fire-2.jpg


Here is the original post content (German):
"Gestern, bestrich ich die Achsen testweise mit dem Widerstandslack und nach ca 30 min waren sie trocken, so glaubte ich, zumindest sah die Oberfläche so aus. Also stellte ich den Wagen auf die Bahn und die Rückmeldung funktionierte auch einwandfrei. Ca. 2 Stunden später, ich betrieb die Anlage die ganze Zeit, meldete meine CS2 plötzlich einen Kurzschluß und schaltete direkt ( Abschaltzeit ca. 250 ms ) alle Stromkreise ( je Ebene liegen 3 Ampere an ) ab. Auch in dem Moment dachte ich mir noch nichts böses, passiert schon mal wenn z.B. ein Fahrzeug entgleist. Ich schaute durch die Ebenen, konnte aber nichts feststellen, da die Züge zu dem Zeitpunkt alle ordnungsgemäß in den Abstellgleisen standen. Also, schaltete ich die CS nichts ahnend wieder ein. Sie meldete in dem Moment auch keinen Kurzschluß, die Züge fuhren auch wieder wie gewohnt.

2 bis 3 min später bemerkte ich aber einen beissenden Geruch von brennenden Plastik. Ich schaltete die Zentrale direkt mit der Stop Taste ab, um dem Geruch nach zu gehen. Erster Blick ging dann auch direkt zu der Donnerbüchse. Ich glaubte im ersten Moment nicht was ich da gerade sah!!! Der Wagen stand zu dem Zeitpunkt in der mittlersten Ebene, daneben noch ein Zug, eine Lok solo und darüber an der oberste Ebene das Weichenservo.

Die Donnerbüchse stand bereits lichterloh in Flammen, ebenso fackelte der daneben stehende Silberling und auch das Weichenservo mitsamt Kabel brannte bereits. Die danebenstehende Lok konnte ich glücklicherweise schnell genug entfernen. Geistesgegenwertig, griff ich zu meinem Sand ( den hab ich immer Griffbereit, wegen meinen Ölöfen )und löschte den Brand. Hätte ich auch nicht 20cm lichte Höhe zwischen den beiden Ebenen hätte wahrscheinlich die oberste Ebene auch gebrannt, zumindest wäre es aber auch schon gealtig am kokeln gewesen. So aber hab ich bloß etwas Ruß auf der Unterseite ( ist bereits entfernt )

Anhand von meinem Meßgerät stellte ich fest, das eine der beiden Achsen, welche ich mit dem Widerstandslack behandelte, die Schichtstärke zu dick war und der Widerstand nahezu einen Kurzschlußwert nach dem völligen Austrocknen des Widerstandslack hatte. Dadurch wurde die Achse extrem heiß und löste den Brand aus. Zum Teil war auch der Radsatz schon geschmolzen. "

Edited by user 14 May 2019 00:59:27(UTC)  | Reason: ammended fire extinguisher recommendations

Toys of tin and wood rule!
---
My Layout Thread on marklin-users.net: InterCity 1-3-4
My YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/Minok1217/
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Offline Purellum  
#2 Posted : 13 May 2019 21:51:45(UTC)
Purellum

Denmark   
Joined: 08/11/2005(UTC)
Posts: 3,069
Location: Mullerup, 4200 Slagelse
Cool

Crazy; but things like that can happen.

I do have to correct you on this:

Originally Posted by: Minok Go to Quoted Post
Keep a fire extinguisher (CO2 ideally) or sand or flour or something similar ON HAND in the room


Do NOT use flour; if distributed in the air it can catch fire, and even create what is called a dust explosion.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dust_explosion

Please watch:



Per.

Cool
If you can dream it, you can do it!

I, the copyright holder of this work, hereby release it into the public domain. This applies worldwide.

In case this is not legally possible:
I grant anyone the right to use this work for any purpose, without any conditions, unless such conditions are required by law.

UserPostedImage
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Offline Minok  
#3 Posted : 13 May 2019 21:54:58(UTC)
Minok

United States   
Joined: 15/10/2006(UTC)
Posts: 1,993
Location: Washington, Pacific Northwest
Yes, flour isn't the ideal, the explosive issue with small particles and all, but if you have nothing else... its typically handy in the kitchen for grease fires. The risk comes when you have its small particles losse in the air, the dust. Grain elevators also explode for the same reason.

Toys of tin and wood rule!
---
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My YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/Minok1217/
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Offline kiwiAlan  
#4 Posted : 13 May 2019 22:00:31(UTC)
kiwiAlan

United Kingdom   
Joined: 23/07/2014(UTC)
Posts: 4,398
Location: ENGLAND, Didcot
Originally Posted by: Purellum Go to Quoted Post

I do have to correct you on this:

Originally Posted by: Minok Go to Quoted Post
Keep a fire extinguisher (CO2 ideally) or sand or flour or something similar ON HAND in the room


Do NOT use flour; if distributed in the air it can catch fire, and even create what is called a dust explosion.



And be very careful of many other powders as well, as a lot of powders that are not normally regarded as flammable can cause an explosion as an airbourne cloud. Sand is safe enough as it is basically silica, but any powder that contains hydrocarbons is very flammable.

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Offline Purellum  
#5 Posted : 13 May 2019 22:01:14(UTC)
Purellum

Denmark   
Joined: 08/11/2005(UTC)
Posts: 3,069
Location: Mullerup, 4200 Slagelse
Cool

Originally Posted by: Minok Go to Quoted Post
Grain elevators also explode for the same reason.


Yes, I used to work in a plasterboard factory, where corn flour was used in the plaster mix, to help gluing the cardboard to
the plaster, and we had it happen a few times. Nothing serious, our silos had an "explosion roof" which just popped up.

But if you throw a handful of flour into a fire, you're asking for trouble BigGrin

Pouring it so very little dust is getting into the air might work; but I wouldn't risk it.

Per.

Cool

If you can dream it, you can do it!

I, the copyright holder of this work, hereby release it into the public domain. This applies worldwide.

In case this is not legally possible:
I grant anyone the right to use this work for any purpose, without any conditions, unless such conditions are required by law.

UserPostedImage
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Offline Purellum  
#6 Posted : 13 May 2019 22:03:21(UTC)
Purellum

Denmark   
Joined: 08/11/2005(UTC)
Posts: 3,069
Location: Mullerup, 4200 Slagelse
Cool

Originally Posted by: kiwiAlan Go to Quoted Post
And be very careful of many other powders as well


YES, sawdust blown into a fire looks fantastic Laugh

Per.

Cool

If you can dream it, you can do it!

I, the copyright holder of this work, hereby release it into the public domain. This applies worldwide.

In case this is not legally possible:
I grant anyone the right to use this work for any purpose, without any conditions, unless such conditions are required by law.

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Offline lewistrain  
#7 Posted : 13 May 2019 22:21:30(UTC)
lewistrain

Australia   
Joined: 08/03/2016(UTC)
Posts: 68
Location: New South Wales, Sydney
Smoke alarms save lives, even in 1/87 scale.
LOLOLOL they are just toys, grow up and play with them.
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Offline dickinsonj  
#8 Posted : 14 May 2019 00:56:47(UTC)
dickinsonj

United States   
Joined: 05/12/2008(UTC)
Posts: 1,142
Location: United States
Originally Posted by: Purellum Go to Quoted Post


Do NOT use flour; if distributed in the air it can catch fire, and even create what is called a dust explosion.



Quite true - I have even seen this demonstrated by a wanna be pyro friend!

But excellent post Thomas - I have to admit that this is one aspect of the hobby that I had not considered.
Regards,
Jim

I have almost all Märklin and mostly HO, although I do have a small number of Z gauge trains!
I have models from Era I to Era VI, but I try to focus on Eras I & III. Whoops, that one got away from me. Let's just say I focus on cool trains, regardless of the particulars :-)
So many trains and so little time.
Offline TEEWolf  
#9 Posted : 14 May 2019 02:01:26(UTC)
TEEWolf

Germany   
Joined: 01/06/2016(UTC)
Posts: 1,765
Good and necessary thread.

But before create the need using a fire extinguisher, think about your safty requirments and regulations before, e.g. as Märklin is recommending.

https://www.maerklin.de/...e/technical-information/

https://www.maerklin.de/...rische_Sicherheit_en.pdf

CS 3 is a controller system from Märklin - not a central station.
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Offline dickinsonj  
#10 Posted : 14 May 2019 03:22:09(UTC)
dickinsonj

United States   
Joined: 05/12/2008(UTC)
Posts: 1,142
Location: United States
Originally Posted by: TEEWolf Go to Quoted Post
Good and necessary thread.

But before create the need using a fire extinguisher, think about your safety requirements and regulations before, e.g. as Märklin is recommending.


Interesting. These documents contain guidelines and cautions which I have never seen before. I am at the far end of category 2 or just entering category 3 and I am not following some of the recommended precautions, such as separate grounding circuits. I will need to give these more consideration and then hopefully I won't have to actually use a fire extinguisher on my layout.ThumpUp
Regards,
Jim

I have almost all Märklin and mostly HO, although I do have a small number of Z gauge trains!
I have models from Era I to Era VI, but I try to focus on Eras I & III. Whoops, that one got away from me. Let's just say I focus on cool trains, regardless of the particulars :-)
So many trains and so little time.
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Offline river6109  
#11 Posted : 14 May 2019 03:41:24(UTC)
river6109

Australia   
Joined: 22/01/2009(UTC)
Posts: 12,498
Location: On 1965 Märklin Boulevard just around from Roco Square
I don't need a fire extinguisher, when I have a short it extinguishes all functions.
https://www.youtube.com/river6109
https://www.youtube.com/6109river
5 years in Destruction mode
50 years in Repairing mode
Offline Bigdaddynz  
#12 Posted : 14 May 2019 04:41:22(UTC)
Bigdaddynz

New Zealand   
Joined: 17/09/2006(UTC)
Posts: 16,651
Location: New Zealand
I don't have an extinguisher in the layout room but there is one in the garage right outside the layout room door.

Need to fit the smoke detector I bought for the layout room.
Offline PJMärklin  
#13 Posted : 14 May 2019 07:23:17(UTC)
PJMärklin

Australia   
Joined: 04/12/2013(UTC)
Posts: 1,366
Location: Hobart, Australia
Originally Posted by: Minok Go to Quoted Post
Keep a fire extinguisher (CO2 ideally to limit damage to other items) or ...


Care using a CO2 extinguisher if your layout is in a smaller, enclosed room :

https://www.cheshirefire...rrect-fire-extinguisher/

... but then a small enclosed room is a concern with a number of types of fire extinguishers.

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Offline hxmiesa  
#14 Posted : 14 May 2019 09:34:45(UTC)
hxmiesa

Spain   
Joined: 15/12/2005(UTC)
Posts: 2,694
Location: Spain
As a professionally trained "reserve-firefighter" I immidiatly wanted to warn against the flour-problem, but I´m happy to see that Purellum caught that one right away.

Industrial installations with dusty materials are classified as explosive areas (ATEX). -Even the ones for harmless food-production!

On the topic; As BigDaddy, I keep my exstinguisher (CO2) in the main garrage area, next to the layout room.
I have no smoke-detector... Crying Blushing Cursing
Best regards
Henrik Hoexbroe ("The Dane In Spain")
http://hoexbroe.tripod.com
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Offline danmarklinman  
#15 Posted : 14 May 2019 11:16:21(UTC)
danmarklinman

United Kingdom   
Joined: 18/10/2012(UTC)
Posts: 1,024
O buggerBlink good job it wasn’t a fuel tankerLOL
Marklin / ESU SNCF/SNCB , Marklin/Brawa wagons and some others
Wiking model car Fan
Faller fan including car system
Instagram: marklin1978
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Offline kiwiAlan  
#16 Posted : 14 May 2019 14:55:11(UTC)
kiwiAlan

United Kingdom   
Joined: 23/07/2014(UTC)
Posts: 4,398
Location: ENGLAND, Didcot
Originally Posted by: danmarklinman Go to Quoted Post
O buggerBlink good job it wasn’t a fuel tankerLOL


I have a Pocher track cleaning wagon which is a tanker which can be filled with a cleaning fluid such as Isopropyl Alcohol and has an adjustable valve so you can adjust the rate of IPA onto the cleaning pad. Just as well it wasn't that one Blink Blink Blink - at least the tank is metal ... Mellow
Offline bph  
#17 Posted : 14 May 2019 19:02:28(UTC)
bph

Norway   
Joined: 04/08/2018(UTC)
Posts: 67
Location: Sout East Norway.
I keep a 9L foam extinguisher in a nearby room, as I consider it better suited for plastic fire etc. Foam are usually fine on home electric. (read the label). And foam is easier to clean than powder.
I also have a few aerosol spray extinguishers, in addition, for fast response.
https://www.firstalert.com/product/tundra-fire-extinguishing-aerosol-spray/
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Offline Purellum  
#18 Posted : 14 May 2019 19:49:30(UTC)
Purellum

Denmark   
Joined: 08/11/2005(UTC)
Posts: 3,069
Location: Mullerup, 4200 Slagelse
Cool

Originally Posted by: bph Go to Quoted Post
And foam is easier to clean than powder.


Powder fire extinguishers is a no-go whenever electronics or fine mechanical items are involved,
it's very corrosive and destroys any kind of metal.

Of course you should use it if it's a matter of saving lives; but it's better to buy the correct one to have next to your layout.

Per.

Cool



If you can dream it, you can do it!

I, the copyright holder of this work, hereby release it into the public domain. This applies worldwide.

In case this is not legally possible:
I grant anyone the right to use this work for any purpose, without any conditions, unless such conditions are required by law.

UserPostedImage
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Offline DaleSchultz  
#19 Posted : 14 May 2019 22:04:52(UTC)
DaleSchultz


Joined: 10/02/2006(UTC)
Posts: 3,046
I have a small spray bottle of water in the layout room if I need to cool something fast! Also a fire extinguisher near the door and I keep them all low to the ground so I can find it when crawling under thick smoke.
Dale
Intellibox + own software, K-Track
My current layout: https://cabin-layout.mixmox.com
Arrival and Departure signs: https://remotesign.mixmox.com
Offline bph  
#20 Posted : 14 May 2019 23:19:33(UTC)
bph

Norway   
Joined: 04/08/2018(UTC)
Posts: 67
Location: Sout East Norway.
Originally Posted by: Purellum Go to Quoted Post
Cool

Originally Posted by: bph Go to Quoted Post
And foam is easier to clean than powder.


Powder fire extinguishers is a no-go whenever electronics or fine mechanical items are involved,
it's very corrosive and destroys any kind of metal.

Of course you should use it if it's a matter of saving lives; but it's better to buy the correct one to have next to your layout.

Per.

Cool


Agreed :)
thats why I have purchased foam, in addition to powder.
Offline MaerklinLife  
#21 Posted : 15 May 2019 05:38:36(UTC)
MaerklinLife


Joined: 03/02/2016(UTC)
Posts: 489
This happened to me too on the club's 2 rail layout. It was indeed a painted axle. I saw it happen and it literally looked like the car exploded before everything shut down.

I know I can check the resistance in the painted axles and everything should be fine, but I have to admit that the experience was so scary to me that I have stopped using resistance paint. I now solder small SMDs to the axle instead. Or buy resistor wheelsets.
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