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Propane detector going off


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#1 captainphx

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 02:09 PM

Anyone else have this problem? I can't figure it out. New Raven Camper, 3 months old. It's off the truck, on a dolly, in the garage, plugged into shore power. I have an IOTA IQ4 battery tender. One day I noticed that the carbon monoxide sensor was going off....light and chirping. Opened the camper door and light went out after a few minutes. Next day, propane light is on with the chirps (three every minute). Opened the door, a few minutes later light went out.

Then took it on a 4 day trip. All worked normally.

Back home, took camper back off, in garage, on shore power. Propane light and chirp back on. I wondered if it might be the rubber outdoor mat I bought, emitting some odor. So I removed it, and it still comes on. I've tried removing various things, and the propane warning still comes on. Always the propane, except for that first time. Every time I open the door, it goes off after a few minutes. I removed the propane tanks, and it comes on. The camper does have a fairly strong odor, you know .... new camper smell ....vinyl.

Now I have the camper removed from shore power overnight and so far it hasn't come on. Battery always shows full charge. Any clues? I called FWC and they said they will send me a new carbon monoxide/propane monitor. That's my next step, but I'm perplexed.
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#2 MarkBC

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 02:23 PM

When the propane detector goes off it's a brief "chirping" periodically? That doesn't sound like a full-on "propane leak" alarm.
Maybe your detector is different from mine, but the two times when my propane detector has gone off -- 1) when my 3-way fridge cooling system ruptured and 2) when a propane fitting on my Wave was loose -- the alarm was LOUD and continuous beeping, not just 3 chirps every minute.
But if opening the door makes it stop, then it does sound like your detector is detecting something. Do you have instructions -- or the model number so you could look up instructions -- that describe what 3 beeps per minute means? Seems like the full alarm would be a lot more insistent than that. Posted Image
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#3 Mark W. Ingalls

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 02:47 PM

Probably not batteries in this case... Try taking it out and leaving it in the fresh air to purge the detector/sniffer. After a day or so, put it back in the camper with the same ambient set up. Just spit-ballin' here...
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#4 captainphx

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 03:10 PM

When the propane detector goes off it's a brief "chirping" periodically? That doesn't sound like a full-on "propane leak" alarm.
Maybe your detector is different from mine, but the two times when my propane detector has gone off -- 1) when my 3-way fridge cooling system ruptured and 2) when a propane fitting on my Wave was loose -- the alarm was LOUD and continuous beeping, not just 3 chirps every minute.
But if opening the door makes it stop, then it does sound like your detector is detecting something. Do you have instructions -- or the model number so you could look up instructions -- that describe what 3 beeps per minute means? Seems like the full alarm would be a lot more insistent than that. Posted Image


Yes I did look this up in the detector manual. It comes on continuously for 1 minute, then 3 chirps every minute.



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#5 captainphx

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 03:28 PM

OK, after re-reading the Atwood detector manual, here is what it says

"In the Alarm function, the alarm will sound four beeps in 1 second followed by 5 secs of silence. After 4 minutes of alarming, each silence will last for 1 min"

This is what it's doing. The red propane light is on steady and I am hearing four beeps in one sec followed by one min of silence. The "four beeps in 1 sec followed by 5 secs of silence, for 4 mins" is happening at night when I am asleep apparently. In the AM the propane light/alarm is going four beeps every 1 min.

When the door is opened, after a few minutes, it goes out.

Kerry at FWC said this false warning could occur with low voltage, but I am hooked to shore power and the battery is showing full charge.
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Captainphx
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#6 BobM

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 03:26 PM

Is your water heater in the garage? That could cause your carbon monoxide to go off. Also, I wonder is a small natural gas leak in the garage could set off your propane detector?
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#7 captainphx

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 04:21 PM

Is your water heater in the garage? That could cause your carbon monoxide to go off. Also, I wonder is a small natural gas leak in the garage could set off your propane detector?


Yes, water heater in Garage, but it doesn't make sense, then, why the detector light/chirp goes out when I leave the camper door open for a few minutes.



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#8 Bajaahh

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 01:59 AM

Well, heres a stab in the dark...when you charge batteries, they release a gas(hydrogen sulfide I believe) that is heavier than air(sinks), and has a very distinct smell. Is it possible you are overcharging your batteries and releasing this gas into your camper? The C02 detecter my confuse HS as carbon monoxide???

"Excessive charging electrolyzes some of the water, emitting hydrogen and oxygen. This process is known as "gassing". Wet cells have open vents to release any gas produced, and VRLA batteries rely on valves fitted to each cell. Wet cells come with catalytic caps to recombine any emitted hydrogen. A VRLA cell normally recombines any hydrogen and oxygen produced inside the cell, but malfunction or overheating may cause gas to build up. If this happens (for example, on overcharging) the valve vents the gas and normalizes the pressure, producing a characteristic acid smell".

I'm not a rocket scientist(but I once shot a bottle rocket at my fire chief in the shower, mistaken identity) but is seems plausible...

-Scott



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#9 ski3pin

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 02:26 AM

To just make sure you are covering all the bases, check the date of the CO detector. Barking Spider was having a similar issue he could not figure out. The detector was more than 5 years old. He replaced it. No more problem.
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