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Old 10-01-2015, 09:39 AM   #1
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replacing the CO detector

It is time for me to replace the CO detector. I see I can purchase a new now from SMB, but how much of a challenge is it for me to replace it myself? I CAN change a light bulb in my stick house, but suspect there is more to it than unscrewing, etc.

thanks, Jill
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Old 10-01-2015, 11:32 AM   #2
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Re: replacing the CO detector

Assuming the new one is the same size as the old one, it's probably a 1 on a difficulty scale of 1-5 if you have the right tools.

Check out: http://www.truckcampermagazine.com/camp ... -detectors
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Old 10-01-2015, 11:15 PM   #3
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Re: replacing the CO detector

CO detectors are an easy replacement if you have wire cutters and can use a crimp tool and butt connectors.

Take out the current CO detector (probably 2 or 4 screws), but don't cut the wires yet. Look for markings on the back as for model number and manufacturer. Write this down.

Go online and find a matching one. You will probably find them for much less than SMB sells them for. I think my last one 2 years ago was about $130 + shipping.

When you get the new one, read the instructions for wiring. There's probably only 2 wires. If you got the same model as the original, it should be no problem. Cut the old connectors off and strip the wires, connect with butt connectors to the new detector, and crimp.
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Old 10-01-2015, 11:29 PM   #4
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Re: replacing the CO detector

Quote:
Originally Posted by photographix
CO detectors are an easy replacement if you have wire cutters and can use a crimp tool and butt connectors.

Take out the current CO detector (probably 2 or 4 screws), but don't cut the wires yet. Look for markings on the back as for model number and manufacturer. Write this down.

Go online and find a matching one. You will probably find them for much less than SMB sells them for. I think my last one 2 years ago was about $130 + shipping.

When you get the new one, read the instructions for wiring. There's probably only 2 wires. If you got the same model as the original, it should be no problem. Cut the old connectors off and strip the wires, connect with butt connectors to the new detector, and crimp.
I was surprised to see how cheap SMB sells them for: http://www.sportsmobilestore.com/carbon ... -detector/

I replaced mine in July of last year from Amazon and paid $102. Now you can find combo CO/LP detectors for that price.
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Old 10-01-2015, 11:49 PM   #5
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Re: replacing the CO detector

Quote:
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...Now you can find combo CO/LP detectors for that price.
Where do you mount a combo unit?

Propane is heavier than air, so a propane detector should be mounted near the floor. CO is lighter than air, and a CO detector should be mounted near the ceiling. Do you put these combo units somewhere in the middle?
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Old 10-02-2015, 12:01 AM   #6
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Re: replacing the CO detector

Quote:
Originally Posted by photographix
Quote:
Originally Posted by gcvt
...Now you can find combo CO/LP detectors for that price.
How do these combo units work? And where do you mount them?

Propane is heavier than air, so the propane detector should be mounted near the floor. CO is lighter than air, and a CO detector should be mounted near the ceiling. Do you put these combo units somewhere in the middle?
Good question. I read all I could on here and that's why I didn't buy a combo unit when I was looking for a replacement last year. Was it Zeta that did a write-up this? Can't remember. Anyone got a combo unit and trust it?

We had our CO detector up high, a smoke alarm up high, and a Little Buddy heater gifted from rallypanam which had its own internal LP alarm. When we find a replacement van with a real furnace, I'll probably replace the CO detector just to be sure and would like to hear more about LP options.
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Old 10-02-2015, 05:54 AM   #7
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Re: replacing the CO detector

So before I cut the wires, (to show how elementary this is), don't I have to turn off the power?
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Old 10-02-2015, 06:06 AM   #8
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Re: replacing the CO detector

Most likely the wires will unplug from the back of the detector. Usually they have some sort of push-on connector. Don't cut them! You'll want the connectors for your replacement detector.
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Old 10-02-2015, 09:18 AM   #9
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Re: replacing the CO detector

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jill
So before I cut the wires, (to show how elementary this is), don't I have to turn off the power?

Yes, wouldn't hurt.....it's only 12V so no electrocution hazard. If you keep the power connected don't cut both wires at the same time......you'll short the circuit and pop the fuse. You can cut each individually without issue.

To disconnect power either remove the fuse for that circuit (best way) or disconnect the battery. Obviously disconnecting the battery will require resetting clocks, etc. Finding the fuse for that circuit may be a PITA.

My detector (not a factory SMB) has short red and black pigtail wires hanging out the back.....no connector.

FWIW I have a combo Propane/CO unit and it's mounted a little less than midway between the floor and the ceiling.
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Old 10-02-2015, 09:32 AM   #10
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Re: replacing the CO detector

A comment is that in the boats, many are moving toward battery powered CO detectors. And this is not to "avoid wiring," as many of the boats are complex and yard crew do plenty of electrical and maintenance work. Not saying a hard wired one is bad, but there are advantages to a battery one. One is that CO detectors have a finite life, and a battery one is easy to replace. Two, you can remove the batteries when the unit is in storage. Three is that many hard wired detectors were placed where it was convenient to wire them, not in the best location for functionality -- a battery powered one can go where its best performance will be.

CO is somewhat neutral in its habits (doesn't rise or fall dramatically), and if you only have one detector the recommendation is head height (consider head height when sitting or sleeping in an SMB, since that's mostly what you are doing).

BTW, I'm not a fan of combo detectors for the reason of placement. CO is somewhat neutral, as mentioned. Smoke rises (so detector on overhead), and propane sinks (so detector at floor level). I don't see how a combo can do this effectively (plus you then have to replace the whole thing when the relatively short-lived CO detector is done).

I like to have a digital readout on the CO detector. Normally it reads zero, and it alarms at, IIRC, 100. With the digital readout I can see if it's at, say, 75 (maybe when cooking), and then crack a window or etc. Without that you don't know a thing until suddenly the alarm goes off.

These are a couple of decent, moderately priced units, for example:

Kidde KN-COPP-LPM

Kidde KN-COPP-B-LS 900-0230
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