Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

"Somebody Set Up Us The Bomb"

From ICEX-2011, word comes that USS New Hampshire (SSN 778) is in need of Oxygen Generator repairs:
The machine that produces fresh air aboard the USS New Hampshire submarine failed during a mission under the vast ice cap of the Arctic Ocean last week, prompting the submarine to use an alternate oxygen candle system instead.
Hamilton Sundstrand... is sending a representative to a temporary ice camp to investigate the problem with the oxygen generator, said Navy Commander John McGunnigle, captain of the nuclear-powered Virginia-class submarine.
Daniel Coulom, a spokesman for Hamilton Sundstrand, confirmed late Monday that company staff would travel to the ship to help repair the oxygen generator, but said it was too early to speculate on what caused the problem.
We know about this because, even in the Arctic, submarines can't get away from VIP cruises and underway media availabilities. This is nice for those of us not there, however, because we get back cool pictures like this one of New Hampshire surfaced through the ice:

We also have this picture of my old boat USS Connecticut (SSN 22). I'm not that familiar with the O2 Generator on Virginia-class boats, but I assume they're like the ones on Seawolf-class boats that I know. I know the Navy has been backfitting the Los Angeles and Ohio fleets with the newer "bombs" that are much more advanced that the one I learned on USS Topeka (SSN 754) in the early '90s.

What's your favorite story about the O2 Generator crapping out?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joel, there is a rumor that there is a 20K$ startup requirement to get an EOG running.
We had a Sybil on the Floriduh like that. SO, we used lockwire, made a cross out of chicken leg bones and garlic, and hung it on the CB-1 breaker on the machine and sprayed it with "holy DI water". I didn't have any shutdowns until the engineer made me remove it. Damn he hated that machine. I had 500k$ patrols on that boat with one EOG.
Glad to see those fine machines being removed. I do not
agree with the O2 banks being cut and capped with the LP machine being installed. The ship's need a source of O2 for casualties.
The new line of PPS cells?
They make the matter worse.
Why do they give every thing to A'gang that leaks, stinks, or can injure you in a heartbeat?


3/23/2011 3:22 AM

Blogger Alexander said...

Nothing too exciting here. We were underway doing ASDS testing when the bomb decided to rapidly depressurize. Wouldn't have been too big of an issue except that ASDS was mated and had its hatches open to the host. All those high tech materials and diver certified systems are not a big fan of the other stuff that comes out of the O2 generator when it doesn't want to play anymore. Made life just a little bit more interesting.

3/23/2011 4:50 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought the boats had two O2 Generators installed. Perhaps that was just the old Polaris boats. Lord, it's been such a long time.

3/23/2011 5:36 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some comment as above - the first thing that crossed my mind while reading this story was WTF - simply shut down the faulty O2 generator and start up the second one...

There is only 1 O2 generator on the newer boats??

Who thought that was a good idea?

Also agree that A Gang has some interesting equipment to shepherd...

Old DCA from the dark ages...

3/23/2011 6:18 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

we used lockwire, made a cross out of chicken leg bones and garlic, and hung it on the CB-1 breaker on the machine

On the Cincinnati we named ours Lemon and taped an empty pack of lemonheads to it. The XO took it off one day and we had a fire in it the next day (by fire, I mean a tiny little puff of smoke). I guess those old bombs don't like it when someone messes with their talisman.

I "loved" fixing that one... miles and miles of tiny blue aluminum wires... Becoming a 6' electric tech was one of my poorer choices!

3/23/2011 6:22 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

One Bomb but lots of candles.

There's nothing like roasting marshmallows, gluten free of course, over an open chlorate candle with grey fluorescent lights overhead... so cozzy!

3/23/2011 6:38 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

USS Buffalo operationally tested the O2 Generator blast panels while on an EastPac during the early 1990s. The associated 4MC announcement "rapid depressurization of the oxygen generator", followed by the explosion, really got the crew moving.

3/23/2011 6:53 AM

Anonymous NHSparky said...

Concur with Anon's statement re: Buffy's EastPac (1990-91 timeframe). I HATED that underway from start to finish.

I thought for sure by the time we got back we were cursed. Then we hit the drydock and I KNEW we were.

3/23/2011 7:53 AM

Anonymous OldCOB said...

637's had 2 6L16 EOG's, 1 in AMR1 and a 2nd in AMR2 LL FWD. The 2nd EOG was removed on most - maybe all - in later overhauls and replaced with a candle furnace.

The model 6L16 originally had a hydraulically driven water pump which was replaced with an electric pump. We had a hydraulic rupture on #1EOG. Took forever to clean out the oil and I still don't think we got it all. Also had a seal give way on the same unit with the obligatory caustic spray all over the internals.

Running both EOG's at the same time was a pain and usually resulted in operators being port and stupid. The #2 unit had a mirror mounted so we could monitor the panel from further aft. I remember doing a lot of secondary water chemistry while running #2.

3/23/2011 8:25 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the LJ during Westpac awhile back our EOG never worked. We just burned 2 candles fwd and 2 aft 24/7. O2 stayed at the extra comfy level of 14.8% pretty much all mission.

3/23/2011 9:01 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once while on SpecOp, I repaired the O2 generator by scavenging a contactor from the #5 hot water heater controller in the ER. And I wasn't even an O2 tech!

3/23/2011 10:09 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Damn on the 608 class at least both were in middle level AMR1 and yes you could run both at the same time with only one operator.

This is progress?

3/23/2011 11:04 AM

Anonymous laughter in manslaughter said...

H2 discharge sprung a leak. 45% concentration in the same room that the smoke pit was. They called away the casualty and the cones couldn't understand why the nukes wouldn't muster in the crews mess.

3/23/2011 11:33 AM

Blogger Buck said...

I think there are two separate vendors. Treadwell has the older gear:

Hamilton Sundstrand has the new ones:,10401,CLI1_DIV25_ETI5338_PRD809,00.html

3/23/2011 12:19 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

02 gen operator school and then electrical tech of my only bonafide US Navy "good deals", since das boot was at sea the whole time. I sure hated that small boat ride to Ford Island...but as they say, it beat going to sea.

3/23/2011 2:03 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The newer O2 Gens are NOTHING like anything mentioned about earlier EOGs. The VA class has many totally new goodies that old salts would be very foreign to.

3/23/2011 2:43 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The newer O2 generators are a lot better than the old units.

3/23/2011 4:23 PM

Blogger 630-738 said...

OldCob, are you sure about that? I don't remember there being a second EOG in AMR2LL, there was a COH2 Burner down there and the candle furnace, but I sure don't remember an EOG. This was on 676.

3/23/2011 4:57 PM

Blogger nukerebel said...

Six years onboard the Connecticut and I never saw the OGP work reliably. Going on mission meant a healthy (ha ha!) load of O2 candles. I doubt Hamilton Sunstrand came up with a better design for the Virginia's.

3/23/2011 5:17 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

On a 688, we were avoiding ventilating and the O2 generator couldn't keep up with all the air-breathing riders. So, we were burning up candles at a good rate.

Us M-divers did a calculation and figured we would need many more candles than we had to stay on station. I guess it wasn't our job to do that because when we told O-gang about it they said, "Wat chu talkin bout?"

I think we started ventilation every few days after that.

3/23/2011 6:05 PM

Anonymous ssnret said...

Anon @6:22am
"On the Cincinnati we named ours Lemon and taped an empty pack of lemonheads to it. The XO took it off one day and we had a fire in it the next day"

Not sure when you were on 693 but about '89 I was told to go look at the Treadwell machine before I went on watch cause A gang thought it was running hot. The indications were that it was working fine so I told them to come get me when They could shut it down. It was still running 12 hours later so I went to bunk and went back before my next watch to find it had been shut down, opened and one of the uninsulated flex connections (400amp worth of woven wire) had desoldered itself and was about 1/4 inch away from contacting across phase. Wouldn't that have been exciting?

3/23/2011 8:26 PM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

Deleted a spamment.

3/24/2011 5:39 AM

Anonymous OldCOB said...

630-738 Yes, I'm sure. Our squadron was comprised of 637's for the most part. Most boats had the 2nd bomb or it had recently been removed. We lost ours during a min-overhaul in the mid 80's.

3/24/2011 5:59 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

uss pogy. 1982. One week into a 90+ day run, o2 gen quits and after many hours of troubleshooting, the problem was tracked to a circuit card. Onboard spare didn't work either. The fix- leave the a5 drawer open, modify the broken circuit card using a piece of string and a coffee stir stick. If a red light appeared, pulling the string would shut down the machine.

3/24/2011 8:15 AM

Blogger 634aganger said...

As yes, jury rigged in it finest hour. Never had any real problems with O2 on 634 I loved those machines. Until an Officer said he was going to make some adjustments. I sign the AM1 watch over to him and left the compartment for the crews mess. 5 minutes later was called to AM1 when Officer relized what I had done. He never touched those machines again. We did have one machine we had to overhaul 3 times till we found the short, that was fun.

3/24/2011 9:13 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Off topic: Virginia Class put on hold:

3/24/2011 9:15 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Va Class Program director video take on the report:

3/24/2011 9:46 AM

Blogger Harold said...

Had a fellow A-ganger once helping to troubleshoot another subs Treadwell EOG problem over the radio. The other sub had Treadwell techs aboard and everything, and they were running high H2 in the O2 (or vice versa; forget which). They'd calibrate the sensors, verify everything was working right, start it up, and Bam!, shutdown. He talked with them, walked them through some items, a startup and Bam!, shutdown. Out of the blue, an idea came to him. "Use a different bottle of calibration gas." He said later he had no idea where that came from, but it was the right solution. Sure enough, they had mislabeled or contaminated calibration gas. It threw everything on the sensors off. Calibrated it anew, and everything worked like a charm.

3/24/2011 11:17 AM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

As Eng the EOG was known as Christine. During workups for second WPAC, found a clean bird's skull partially blocking the sump drain. The skull was hung on the EOG for the duration of the WPAC, and it never gave us any trouble.

I'm sure it was the techs, not the skull, but we left it there just the same.

3/24/2011 11:32 AM

Blogger Vigilis said...

Chicken leg bones, garlic, a bird's skull and das boot? What are submarines coming to these days? Das Tub

3/24/2011 11:55 AM

Blogger Harold said...

Had lots of fun with 7L16 Treadwells on my 2nd ustafish in the early 80's. Most of the stories are longish to tell. A short one-

Had an assist team from squadron riding during shakedown. 15 or 20 people in AMR1. Heard the hissing of a stuck pneumatic valve, pressed all the buttons, and the hissing didn't stop. Felt around, and found a leak at the bottom of the generator. Said really loud and clear (and calm), "Got an oxygen leak from this 3000 pound oxygen union." Seconds later, there was me and the auxiliaryman aft left. Amazing how fast people can move when properly motivated. We handled it without any problem.

3/24/2011 12:01 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pogy, a few years later, we were pretty proficient burning candles back aft. LPO figured out a way (illegal, I'm sure) to burn two candles simultaneously to really blast out the O2. Open two candles, stage the second for quick insertion starter end down. Drop first candle in starter end up, reach in by hand to scratch ignited nail, drop second candle starter end down, and clamp the cover as fast as you could. Damn thing would really cook, failed to blow up the boat :).

3/24/2011 12:27 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Being a mechanic on virginia class boats, I would say that, from what I can guage from the reuters article is that the problem with the A/C is a pretty standard problem on this class, and that the O2 generator problem is one I have seen before. It just so happens that they had it happen in a sticky spot. Interesting that they are sending tech reps to the arctic ocean, but I guess the exercises they are doing are more important, and it costs a lot of money just to go back and fix it.

3/24/2011 8:14 PM

Anonymous dirty blueshirt said...

Hamilton-Sunstrand, isn't that the same company that manufactured the in-rack sound systems on the 41 for freedom boasts and 637's? Those things never worked, and just took up space in the AV locker in crews mess.

Verification word is "piershot"....gotta love it!

3/24/2011 11:22 PM

Anonymous analee said...

Oh.... you're always be great... you're always doing a great work.

3/25/2011 2:48 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

One Poseidon Detergent Patrol in the mid 70s, somewhere NE of Finland, both of our EOGs went down for the duration due to mechanical issues.

The AMR1 watches seemed much less stressed out that patrol.

We came up every mid watch and ventilated with the diesel for a couple hours. (diesel boomer?) We would like to think that we remained undetected that patrol, but who knows.

ex-EM1(SS) and proud Treadwell 7L16 certified technician.

3/25/2011 7:20 AM

Blogger Nate said...

Never liked it when the EOG/AEOG/LPE craps out. As the tech, those machines have cost me many nights without sleep.

3/25/2011 8:01 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

We didn't run our bomb (and we only had one) unless we had to.

When I saw the word Sundstrand all I could think about was those crappy audio systems and damn if they are making bombs that would not give me confidence. I'd rather take my chance on O2 bottles. It was always a nice thought that the bomb was so close to the torpedo room.

3/25/2011 9:16 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

COMSUBFOR apparently decided they needed to clean up the CO's statement in the original story. Their clarification is linked here. Doesn't seem to be a good day when the 3-star comes out with a "what the commander meant to say..." On the other hand, maybe it was the reporter's fault.

3/25/2011 9:30 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Had an O2 gen explosion on the Nathan Hale in '64-'65. Killed an MM1 auxiliaryman. Airlifted his body off the boat near Malta.

3/25/2011 2:31 PM

Anonymous Fire Control Bitch said...

Did you really expect your crusty posters to pick up on that Urban Dictionary title?

3/26/2011 11:02 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some of us do!

(all your base are belong to us...)

3/27/2011 6:32 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the old NYC on NORPAC I was midwatch QMOW with WEPS staring sightlessly at the chart when we heard a muted boom below us. The WEPS and I both said "What The F**k was that?" Turned out the O2 Generator fried several cards and started a runaway reaction. Quick thinking from the AMR purging it with nitrogen stopped a bad situation from getting worse. So we went to the candles but CAMS kept calling out O2 LOOS. So the CO rigged for ultra-quiet. CAMS kept complaining anyway. Oddly enough the CO never secured the smoking lamp and the FTOW and I would try to drive O2 even lower out of spec. It was hell getting a Zippo lighter lit though....

3/28/2011 7:16 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Served on MSP SSN 708 in the '80s. I got qual'd pretty fast after school in Groton because my LPO SCPO was standing Port & Starboard watches while we were on station.
The EOG would leak all over the place, but once we got it running it kept going. Hated bringing it down unless we were going into port. Burnt my share of candles too. Good times.

4/06/2011 2:48 PM

Anonymous Chuck P. said...

About 10 years ago, I spent a WestPac as DCA on an I-boat.  Our EOG had a bum cell for which we had ordered a replacement.  The new cell followed us around the Western Pacific.  Every time we pulled in it was the same story, The new cell didn't show up until a few days after we got underway. It was the same story during one port visit to Guam, where we had to load nitrogen thanks to all the ups and downs the EOG had made.
Finally, we pulled into Yoko.  Shore power was still coming on when my leading 1st comes running up to me, "DCA, DCA!  The EOG cell is here!"  I went running topside and got there just in time to see 2 Japanese guys pull this long, square box (containing the new cell) out of the back of a little pick-up truck and drop it about three feet onto the pier.
We installed it anyway (it couldn't be any worse than the bad cell we had been nursing all WestPac).  Thankfully, it ran fine but I still remember how wide MM1's eyes got when we saw that box hit the pier.

5/04/2011 6:22 AM

Blogger Robert said...

I spent 4 years onboard the 642 Blue and we had 2 Treadwell 7L16s. I was senior AMR1 watch for my last 4 patrols and only ever had one problem underway. It was a high pressure hyrogen leak. I stayed when the Enegineering officer told me to evacuate the space. I knew If I did, we aere all screwed. Bottom line, I got a commendation out of it. Only time I was scared to death in my life.

10/06/2011 11:46 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What fond memories of running the O2 gen and listening to cassett tapes in both ARM1 and 2. Nothing like spending 12 hours a day in a three hour access zone in LL AMR2 on an early 637.

It's 40 years later with 4 grown children, only one was impacted by the radiation, my youngest. I knew it immediately when he joined the Navy and became an A ganger on the 688 boats and yes he runs the bomb too.

5/05/2012 12:41 PM


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