Saturday, 30 May 2015

HMCS PRESERVER: Machinery Control Room

The Machinery Control Room (MCR) is the central brain of the engineering systems onboard PRESERVER. Although critical systems such as the boilers and turbines can be controlled locally in emergencies (and the crew practices this regularly), the MCR provides better controls and information for the operators, making their jobs easier. 

Unlike the MCR in the modern HALIFAX class, or even in the IROQUOIS class just a few years newer than PRESERVER herself, this MCR is not automated and retains a high level of manual control over the systems.

The MCR is located on No.2 deck, on the port side of the main engine room.  

Steam turbine control panel. The windows look into the engine room.
The main engine control panel is on the starboard side of the MCR, and looks to starboard out through windows over the engine room itself. The circle in the centre of the panel is the main engine telegraph repeater that allows personnel on the bridge to communicate the desired engine settings. As I recall, the knob in the centre is turned to indicate the desired throttle setting, then pushed in to transmit that setting from the bridge to the MCR. As noted in a previous post, there is a second telegraph repeater located in the engine room to a position on top of the HP turbine, where the auxiliary throttle controls are located. This panel also provides controls for other equipment, such as the steering motors. The throttles for both turbines (plus the reverse turbine) can be set from this station.

The auxiliary throttle position on top of the HP turbine, and can assume control if this position is not available.

Boiler control panel.
On the port side of the MCR (and facing port), and forward of the engine panel, is the boiler control panel. Near the top of this panel are 5 circular data tracers - I'm not sure what each records, but "Funnel Cover On" are written on the covers over the second and forth tracers. Below that are the controls for the port and starboard boiler burners, with three burners per boiler. Along the bottom of this panel are various other controls for blowers and feedwater pumps. The operator at this station would monitor water levels and temperatures in the boilers and associated equipment.

There is a local control panel in the boiler room between the boilers that can be used to operate the boilers if necessary.

To the right of this panel, on the forward bulkhead, is an electrical switchboard. To the left (aft) of this panel, is the electrical control panel.

Main electrical control panel.
The power generation panel controls the distribution of electrical power throughout the ship, including the ship's five electrical generators: #1 (starboard) and #2 (port) diesel generators in the boiler room, #3 and #4 turbo-alternators (the steam generators in the engine room) and #5 which is the Solar Saturn gas turbine generator in the deckhouse forward of the bridge. Home to the electrician of the watch, this panel also controls the ship's synchronizing equipment (required to sychronize the power provided by multiple AC generators), and unlike the electrician's position in the destroyers and frigates, all load balancing is performed manually. All the dials and readouts are monitored by eye, and nothing is automated.  

The turbo-alternators, and the diesel and the gas turbine generators, all have their own local control panels, located in close proximity to each generator. 

As noted elsewhere, basic equipment controls are duplicated in local control panels, to provide redundancy in the event the MCR needs to be evacuated, or controls are otherwise interrupted or lost. The MCR would be the more comfortable location to work, though, and would put all the operators in the same compartment to allow easier communication between them. Otherwise, the operators at the local control panels would have to be tied into the ship's communications systems (assuming they weren't disrupted) and immediate communication would be more challenging.

As always, comments, corrections, and clarifications are most welcome. 

1 comment:

  1. great job on the preserver pics and blog, spent many years on both ships.