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Old 04-20-2016, 12:02 AM   #1
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Low voltage - CO detector error

Bought a pop-up truck camper last year and have been having an issue with the CO detector issuing a low voltage warning. The warning usually starts on the second day of a trip (no driving on the second day so no recharging) and not being plugged in at campsite. The confusing thing is that the lights are still strong and can raise/lower roof (which runs off the battery) so a bit suspicious of how accurate the reading is. The battery is less than one year old and this never happens when plugged in at a campsite.

How "low" would the voltage be for this error...I was expecting to only hear when battery was almost dead but that doesn't seem to be happening? Could the low voltage sensor be too sensitive or not working properly?

Any advice or suggestion appreciated!
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Old 04-21-2016, 01:53 PM   #2
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Is your CO 12v? Or are you talking about your propane detector? By the floor?
I would look at specs-manufacturers website, and swap batteries for a day or two. See what happens.
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Old 04-21-2016, 08:43 PM   #3
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It is a wired CO/LP detector and close to the floor. No batteries and only a positive and negative connection wiring from what I can see in the manual. So my only option is to disconnect the entire unit but that means no CO detector.
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Old 04-21-2016, 09:33 PM   #4
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Is your fridge close to it? Or your water heater? Any of these appliances running on LP when this happens? Whats the voltage reading of the battery when this happens? I would swap batteries first, see what happens. Any other CO detectors going off?
Might want to purchase a small portable LP detector/sniffer.
Also see if same thing happens when you are not running any other stuff like lights/fans etc, to eliminate current draw on battery.
There was a thread here not too long ago with a similar scenario, and water heater on starup was causing it.
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Old 04-22-2016, 08:18 AM   #5
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The fridge is close by and running on LP but the alarm pattern of beeps and lights is definitely not warning me of a gas issue...the manual indicates the alarm is either a fault or low voltage as the cause.

You are right that after the second day or so (battery drained somewhat), a large load (heater) is usually what triggers the alarm even though last week it went off in the middle of the night when nothing was using the battery.

I am fairly certain it is a low voltage issue but am really wondering how "low" the trigger would be for the alarm as the other appliances all work even after the alarm has gone off so I don't think the battery is almost dead. If I have lots of battery life left even with the alarm sounding, I would probably then just disconnect the alarm and buy a backup CO alarm.
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Old 04-22-2016, 08:57 AM   #6
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The next thing I would do is actually measure the battery voltage. The CO detector has a built in safety alarm for low voltage. It is set a a predefined voltage. That does not mean that other non-voltage critical things ( lights etc) will not operate. It is possible that when some appliance comes on it draws the battery voltage down below the CO alarm threshold on that line ( taking into account the line drop under load) and sets off the alarm. Get an accurate volt meter and measure the voltage at the CO detector when the alarm goes off. Here is a chart of battery levels vs voltage.
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Old 04-22-2016, 12:39 PM   #7
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CO Detector/Low Voltage Issue

We had our maiden voyage with our PUP last weekend and on our second night the CO alarm started going off in the middle of the night. We were dry camping and it had been overcast during the day so our solar panel didn't do much good. The voltage reading on the battery was roughly 12.4- I didn't think it would be going off at such a reading but it was. Our lights were still working fine and such.

We hooked it up to the TV and charged for a bit and we were good to go until we could get some solar power the next day. Now I know. I was all over measuring the voltage the remainder of the trip- didn't want another long night!
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Old 04-22-2016, 01:13 PM   #8
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Low voltage CO2 detector

The co2 detector in our Grey Wolf 25RB went out after one year. When I removed it I found that it was really over 3 years old. They do have a life span. It also gave us an alarm every time my wife used her hair spray.
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Old 04-22-2016, 02:04 PM   #9
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The life span mainly effects the sensitivity of the detector although some models will continually beep once the lifespan is exceeded by some amount. Most all spray products will set off the alarm as the detector will sense the presence of the propellant. Hair spray, lysol or pressurized cleaning products will set it off. To reduce costs RV manufacturers buy items like CO/Propane detectors and tires in volume so it is not unlikely to see new units with components that are a year or more old when installed.
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Old 04-23-2016, 03:10 PM   #10
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Don't forget that when the furnace comes on, the blower motor is a significant load on the battery and its output voltage will drop. In my 2011 Georgetown 327DS with its two 12V dual purpose lead acid batteries in a non-enclosed (cold) basement compartment, a full night's use of the furnace was enough to drop the battery voltage, under load, low enough to activate the detector's low voltage alarm. Low voltage doesn't effect my lights because they're all LEDs.

Phil
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