Marine Diesel Engines are a high cost component in any vessel and their protection from sudden trouble is an important concern. The alarm systems on marine diesel engines are there to protect the engines from damage. At some point, you may get alarms for different troubles. The fault could be due to loss of oil pressure, overheating, high exhaust temperature, low fuel pressure; etc.
Most new alarm systems will alert you to the specific trouble and depending on the nature and severity of the fault, the engine alarm system will reduce engine output (speed). The speed reduction method is utilized to eliminate or limit damage to an engine, which is suffering from trouble. These “smart” alarm systems will reduce speed on both engines simultaneously so that the vessel does not suddenly veer to Port or Starboard. Alarm systems in pleasure crafts will not shut down a faulty engine. In that way, you still have engine power to control the vessel. Vessels with automatic fire suppression systems however will shut down the engines.
You may investigate (at your discretion) the nature of the fault by following some common sense rules.
1. If safe to do so, you should stop the affected engine or engines (as you stop the engine look at what fault is indicated) and perform an engine room inspection avoiding hot or moving engine parts.
2. You may identify excess engine fluids such as motor oil, engine coolant, seawater, or fuel in the bilge area.
3. If excess fluids are discovered you should seek service or advice before continuing your trip. NOTE: Never remove or loosen anything from the cooling system on a hot engine as there is a risk of personal injury from pressurized hot cooling water!!
4. If no fault is immediately apparent you may want to check for a loose or disconnected electrical connection. In some cases a sensor failure may be the trouble. If you suspect a bad sensor then you can usually disconnect the suspect sensor and do a static ignition on test, most alarm systems will immediately register an alarm when the ignition is turned on. The system alerts the operator if an alarm circuit/sensor has an open connection. Your service provider can often times help you troubleshoot a suspect “False Alarm”
Alarm systems usually have some type of resetting procedure. In some cases, the alarm system will reset after the engine’s ignition has been turned off for a short period of time. If you are not certain then you should consult with your engine operator’s manual for the correct procedure. If you need more information about alarms, contact your engine manufacturer or service dealer for more information.
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