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Magnetic Fuel Devices......

Discussion in 'Technical Discussion' started by oceaneer, Oct 26, 2013.

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  1. oceaneer

    oceaneer Member

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    Ok so I did a bad one and posted a comment on some Algae X devices that are being sold here on the forums.
    I was rightly told that the classifieds were not the place for discussion.

    My Post was
    Hmmmm
    so what does this actually do to your fuel...
    Im sorry that you have then and want to sell them but I have never found any proof that these work or any scientific based argument for Algae X.

    Oceaneer

    So Some background.. I have had these devices fitted to some of the boats that I have worked on and have never seen any improvement at all when fitted or removed. One boat I worked on had them fitted everywhere and that was the boat with the biggest Algae problem I have ever had.

    So is there any scientific tests showing the magnets pulling apart the cells of the algae? And if so why does a MRI not kill every human that has had one?

    Thanks Oceaneer
  2. Johngb24560

    Johngb24560 New Member

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    Algex System

    I inherited a major fuel algae problem when I took over the running of a 66 princess from the previous captain a few years ago. On our first trip of around 2000 nautical miles I went through 44 Separ filters. As the fuel tanks were sealed with no access hatches I elected to install Algex filters on the main engines and generators in an attempt to resolve the problem. It made little if any difference to eliminating the algae issue. In the end the only way we could overcome it was to cut the tanks open and install access hatches in every baffled section, something I should have done as a first measure. My advise to reducing algae growth is to keep tanks full fueled as algae grows in the moisture layer between fuel and water. Fuel tanks that are not full of fuel draw in condensation when breathing and provides the perfect conditions for the algae to thrive. Adding a biocides to the fuel is also a good preventative measure.
  3. Capt Bill11

    Capt Bill11 Senior Member

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    Algae X type devices are snake oil as far as I'm concerned. One of the claims for these systems is that the magnetic field they create can break apart the bacteria's cell walls. If that was true, how come people aren't exploding apart in MRI machines? The only remotely scientific study I've seen do on them was by Practical Sailor and it showed no beneficial results to them.

    Plus the display set up they used at boats shows is/was very misleading to the point of perhaps being out right fraudulent IMO. It showed dirty colored fuel being pumped into an Algae X and clean, clear fuel coming out. A very good trick for a product that is not a filter.
  4. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Hi,

    Would that be the boat you were on after me?

    I have heard arguments to support both sides of this debate but have no evidence they actually do anything like they claim.

    I have seen quite some argument as to the benefits including lab results and smoke analysis so everyone cant be either crooked or wrong.
  5. wdrzal

    wdrzal Senior Member

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    Algae needs to be KILLED where it lives, in the fuel tanks. Find a HVAC shop that has algaecide for No-2 fuel oil and dump it into all the tanks in correct proportions. Keep a lot of filters on hand for the dead algae.

    Magnets are a hoax.
  6. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    I had them on a Sunseeker I managed that had relatively clean fuel with a little algae in it. Here's what they did. The primary filters after a 100 hours (10 micron) would look crystal clean the paper element still looked like it came out of the new package. The secondaries were plastered with black algae and totally trashed with algae. It would macerate the algae so it slipped through the primaries and plugged the more expensive and harder to change secondaries......I yanked them off.
  7. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Hi,

    What you saw with the filters could easily be explained by the differing sizes of the filters.

    The primary was of a size large enough to pass the black stuff through and the secondaries being finer caught it all.

    This is not an uncommon result with any system.
  8. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    I have never, and I mean ever, seen the primaries look like brand new (10 micron), the paper is not even discolored, and the secondaries completely plugged looking in all my years.....usually even 30 micron racors look much worse than the 2 micron primaries......
  9. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    Algae does not live in diesel fuel. Algae is a plant. Plants require light to survive. If you want to keep algae out of your fuel tanks, don't install grow lights in them.

    There are many types of bacteria that live in petroleum products, and the "black stuff" is likely to be asphaltenes that have absolutely nothing to do with bacteria or the algae that magnets are supposed to eliminate.
  10. oceaneer

    oceaneer Member

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    Hi Kiwi

    Nope 655 never had fuel problems.. it was the christensen that we had big fuel problems with. THe boat has a really small separator as well so we ended up pumping off about 1000 gallons back to shore for disposal.
    The magnetics.. did not seem to help much.
    Oceaneer
  11. Capt Bill11

    Capt Bill11 Senior Member

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    I don't doubt you saw what you claim. But I find it very hard to believe they can or did macerated anything.

    From Practical Sailor: "Our Algae-X test article (April 15, 1997) pre-dates our electronic archive, so it is not available online. The results of the test were not convincing. This summary of the findings can be found in our recent test of diesel fuel biocides -- some of which do work. Diesel Biocides Take On Contaminated Boat Fuel - Practical Sailor Article "Magnetic bug killers receive considerable anecdotal press. Practical Sailor tested two widely available units--De-bug and Algae-X--in the April 15, 1997 issue and concluded they had no observed effect on microbial growth. As a part of the 1997 trial, a biocide was also tested for comparison, and this was found to be very effective."
  12. oceaneer

    oceaneer Member

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    Microscope

    I have a cheap old microscope at home, and think next time I am at sea I will bring it on the ship and have a look at the bugs.. then put the slide over a magnet and see what happens..
    I have a feeling that unless I get near the power of a very strong electro magnet, nothing will happen.
    Has anybody else done this test?
    Oceaneer
  13. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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  14. Chapstick

    Chapstick Member

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    Here's a study that may be of interest: the effect of magnetic fields on three types of bacteria http://is.muni.cz/th/16561/prif_d/priloha_1.pdf

    The best result was a 35% reduction after 25 minutes of continual exposure, so it seems hard to believe this product is of any significant benefit.

    Just the very idea of it sounds like a scam to me.

    EDIT: Actually, I take it back. After checking Algae X's website I can find no mention of their filters killing anything - it seems that the commonplace use of the word "algae" to describe something that isn't algae at all in diesel is the cause of confusion and misconceptions.
  15. wdrzal

    wdrzal Senior Member

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    Your edit is true ,Marmot is correct, they are organisms feeding on the diesel. But still commonly refered to as Algae. Can't get away with anything when the whole world is watching, (thats what make forums great). But in any case unmistakable when they get to a filter. The filter is "Black and Slimy feeling".
    .
    Two weeks ago I spent one hour and thirty minutes in a 3 tesla high resolution MRI ( that's the main magnet) getting a lumbar & thoracic spine scan done. One week later I spent another 45 minutes for a cervical scan. That's two hours and fifteen minutes in that MRI within a week and there are no effects except that the radio waves & gradient magnets switching on and off raises your body temperature very slightly while being scanned.

    So if someone can find a number of how strong these fuel line magnets are, (I would like to see that number) it will probably be on the order of ten to the forth power weaker than a MRI magnet. So no possible way it could do anything to the fuel as it flowed by in the line.

    The same magnets are marketed to home owners ,just clip one to your water line and you'll have soft water at a fraction of the cost of operating a water softener. Marketers like that should be made to walk the Plank !!!