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Old 08-10-2014, 04:03 PM   #1
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CO detector went off -- can't figure out why

Yesterday morning, I came out of the house and heard the SMB's Carbon Monoxide detector beeping. Have no idea how long it had been going off, but it wasn't beeping before 9 pm the night before.

I installed a new one in February of last year, so it's about 19 months old. They are supposed to last 5 years.

I reset the alarm, and it hasn't gone off again...yet.

I can't figure out why the CO detector went off. I hadn't driven it for about 4 days, so if the exhaust was leaking, why didn't it go off earlier? It has been warm here, and the mid-day temps inside the van have been around 100F.

The only volatile things I can think of inside the van are a little can of WD-40, some batteries for the Coleman lantern, the underbody propane tank, and the two old Group 27s that are under constant charge of the solar panels. I took my DieselKleen and OptiLube bottles out of the van days ago. I can't smell or see anything burned.

I have a Danhard A/C. Would leaking A/C refrigerant set off a CO detector?

Any other ideas?
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Old 08-10-2014, 04:09 PM   #2
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Re: CO detector went off -- can't figure out why

I think the CO detector is very sensitive to voltage, so you may want to check that.


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Old 08-10-2014, 08:33 PM   #3
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Re: CO detector went off -- can't figure out why

I have had several rvs and I too would have to tell you that indeed they are very sensitive to low voltage. In fact, I remember a boat I had in the driveway whenever the batteries and boat sat too long I started hearing the co detector going off. Test the house battery - probably looking at replacement.
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Old 08-10-2014, 10:32 PM   #4
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Re: CO detector went off -- can't figure out why

Thanks for the input. I'll check the water in the batts tomorrow.

I just looked at the solar controller meter and it's at 12.5V.
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Old 08-10-2014, 11:47 PM   #5
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Re: CO detector went off -- can't figure out why

Still a super-newb here, but the SMB I just bought had some pretty old house batts and the previous owner yanked the fuse for the CO detector so it would stop making noise. I think my batts were testing around 12.5 too. I put in new batts a couple of days ago and all is well. Monitor was old too so I installed a new CO/Propane unit.
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Old 08-11-2014, 07:44 AM   #6
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Re: CO detector went off -- can't figure out why

I installed a small rocker switch next to my CO detector. I turn the detector off when we're not actively using the van, since it's a (small) draw on the batteries. Some people pull the fuse to have the same effect. That's kind of a pain, so I installed the switch.

Maybe it's a bad idea, maybe not. Don't know. But I figure even if the detector was going off, I wouldn't hear it with the van sitting out in my driveway (not a daily driver). And I'm sure the current draw is small, but it adds up. I don't have solar and don't leave the van plugged in all the time (house setup is not conducive to this), so try to keep the vampire draws down as much as possible.
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Old 08-11-2014, 08:33 AM   #7
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Re: CO detector went off -- can't figure out why

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianW
I installed a small rocker switch next to my CO detector. I turn the detector off when we're not actively using the van, since it's a (small) draw on the batteries. Some people pull the fuse to have the same effect. That's kind of a pain, so I installed the switch.

Maybe it's a bad idea, maybe not. Don't know. But I figure even if the detector was going off, I wouldn't hear it with the van sitting out in my driveway (not a daily driver). And I'm sure the current draw is small, but it adds up. I don't have solar and don't leave the van plugged in all the time (house setup is not conducive to this), so try to keep the vampire draws down as much as possible.
I did that too. Same reason. I rarely turn it off and I do usually keep mine plugged in, but I wanted the option. I've had one malfunction and drive us crazy with the loud beeping, and I've heard of many other stories of the same.

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Old 08-11-2014, 09:20 AM   #8
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Re: CO detector went off -- can't figure out why

Our CO2/propane detector started alarming frequently. It was about 18 months old. We took the van back to Van Specialties to check for propane leaks. They couldn't find any leaks and the detector continued to alarm. So they put a new detector in, and so far the problem has not recurred.

So maybe these units can suddenly go bad?
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Old 08-11-2014, 12:28 PM   #9
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Re: CO detector went off -- can't figure out why

I wonder about these detectors. The packaging says that they are good for 5 years after installing, but how much of a shelf life do they have? Maybe they sit in a warehouse for 2 years before being sold.

Until I put the solar in, I pulled the fuse also. Does unpowered time count toward the 5 years?
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Old 08-11-2014, 01:27 PM   #10
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Re: CO detector went off -- can't figure out why

All the ones I've seen have a "manufactured on" date stamped somewhere on the unit.

For why they expire: http://www.mouseprint.org/2012/10/29/ca ... n-7-years/
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