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Old 12-04-2014, 12:00 PM   #21
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Plain and simple, replace it. Best insurance you can buy for 55 dollars. These have a very high premature failure rate. Ours lasted less than a year. Manufacturer and Forest River and dealer could care less to help. Just do it, replace it.
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Old 12-04-2014, 12:01 PM   #22
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...You want a viable alternative. Send the unit to get calibrated, you know with a controlled environment and none of the variables.
Or better yet and much cheaper, just go buy a new unit. It's $20 and could save your families life.
I posted a much safer do-it-yourself test above. We can all agree using a car in a garage isn't safe.

As for getting your unit calibrated, what will that cost? $50? $100? Nobody will do that for a $20 piece of equipment.

So you go out and buy a new detector. You are back at square one because it is then UNTESTED. When I produce something new at work I then need to do unit testing on it, or I have no idea if it meets the requirements...
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Old 12-04-2014, 12:03 PM   #23
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Plain and simple, replace it. Best insurance you can buy for 55 dollars. These have a very high premature failure rate. Ours lasted less than a year. Manufacturer and Forest River and dealer could care less to help. Just do it, replace it.
As I just posted, then you still need to test it. Old or new, you need to verify the sensor works.
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Old 12-04-2014, 12:42 PM   #24
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Yes, you do need to test a new unit. That is why there is a test button. The test button sends a charge thru the sensor that in a manner that is above my head "simulates" the presence of CO. After the successful completion of this test (which takes mili seconds) the alarm will sound. If the test is not successful the alarm will not sound and the display should show an error code, this will vary from on brand to the next. I am comfortable with relying upon this test method as it is solely the purpose of the test button and the unit. It is the reason that the manufacture recommends the unit be "tested" weekly or monthly. In my trailer I hit the button as I am setting up shop as a force of habit, at home I do it with the kids once a month because it promotes good safety practices.
There is what is called calibration gas, which is typically a mixture of CO and nitrogen that you can test a unit with. However I have never seen it produced for a consumer level and I am fairly certain the cost would be prohibitive.
People can use what ever method they want, but IMO if you are going to conduct a test you should at least know what the pass/fail criteria is or you are just spinning your wheels.
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Old 12-04-2014, 02:42 PM   #25
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Yes, you do need to test a new unit. That is why there is a test button. The test button sends a charge thru the sensor that in a manner that is above my head "simulates" the presence of CO.....If the test is not successful the alarm will not sound and the display should show an error code, this will vary from on brand to the next. I am comfortable with relying upon this test method as it is solely the purpose of the test button and the unit. It is the reason that the manufacture recommends the unit be "tested" weekly or monthly. In my trailer I hit the button as I am setting up shop as a force of habit, at home I do it with the kids once a month because it promotes good safety practices.
There is what is called calibration gas, which is typically a mixture of CO and nitrogen that you can test a unit with. However I have never seen it produced for a consumer level and I am fairly certain the cost would be prohibitive.
People can use what ever method they want, but IMO if you are going to conduct a test you should at least know what the pass/fail criteria is or you are just spinning your wheels.
Both types of CO detectors in common use have a change in electrical current from the detector when the level of CO changes. The test button simulates this change in current through the alarm circuitry. It cannot test whether or not the detector is reacting (in part or at all) to the presence of CO.

Whether or not the detector/alarm produces time-averaged readings is a function of the electronics, not the detector element. The cheapest detector alarms do not time average or provide a CO concentration readout. They just alarm when the CO concentration crosses a pre-set threshold (assumes proper operation). Guess what type of CO/propane alarm my FR A-frame has. :-)

The only purpose of the CO detector/alarm is to provide early warning before CO levels reach dangerous concentrations. A false negative - rising CO levels are not detected/alarmed - can be fatal, especially with a known (assumed to be working) alarm present.

Given that CO detectors have inherently unknown but limited lifespans, and the number of electronic devices that don't work out of the box, you better believe that I'm going to verify my just-bought new detector will actually detect CO. Am I particularly concerned with whether or not the alarm set point is precisely 40ppm? No, nice to have, but not critical for the function. So long as the device responds promptly to dangerously elevated CO levels to give me early warning to get out of the house or RV, it's done its job.

I like the idea of an outside test much better than my garage test. I like even better using 2 detectors - one of which has a readout - to compare against each other when testing.

my thoughts, your choices
Fred W
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Old 12-05-2014, 04:40 PM   #26
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I installed a Kidde CO detector with a digital readout and a 10 year battery. The battery is for 10 years of use - not shelf life. The battery will last the life of the detector. By the time it needs to be replaced it's unlikely I will still own the coach.


Kidde Worry Free 10-Year Lithium Ion Battery Operated CO Alarm with Digital Display-21009720 at The Home Depot
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Old 12-05-2014, 04:57 PM   #27
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A CO detector is a great idea for a camper (if it is not working replace it) Our current camper is the first one to have one. It is only the second one to have a smoke alarm.........

Our house does not have one & here do not see the need......


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Old 12-05-2014, 05:06 PM   #28
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I installed a Kidde CO detector with a digital readout and a 10 year battery. The battery is for 10 years of use - not shelf life. The battery will last the life of the detector. By the time it needs to be replaced it's unlikely I will still own the coach.


Kidde Worry Free 10-Year Lithium Ion Battery Operated CO Alarm with Digital Display-21009720 at The Home Depot
That's great but what are you doing about a Propane gas detector.
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Old 12-05-2014, 07:14 PM   #29
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...
Our house does not have one & here do not see the need......
If you use a backup generator or have heating produced by a flame (gas/oil/wood), you should get a CO detector. I have 2.
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Old 12-05-2014, 10:49 PM   #30
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If you use a backup generator or have heating produced by a flame (gas/oil/wood), you should get a CO detector. I have 2.
Thanks, I know, we have none of those, so I have no need. The house is 100% electric.
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