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Old 03-18-2010, 12:17 PM   #1
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LP Gas Dector

I'm probably going to take a lot of heat for this question, but I have to ask it.

Is there a way to disconnect the LPG detector from the 12V battery in the trailer and just run it on a 9 volt battery or other power source?

From 1996 to 2009, we had 3 different Coleman Tent Trailers, all had the LPG detector installed. Every spring I had to buy a new battery for the trailer as the detector ran the battery down to a point where it wouldn't recharge. I finally bought a solar panel in 2002 to trickle charge the battery and a 2000 watt Honda generator in 2003. I used to hook up my truck to the 7 pin plug on the trailer and run it for 4 -6 hours using the truck to charge the battery. The detector would run down a new battery within 48 hours. I ended up disconnecting the detector from the battery.

I figured that with canvas walls, and the fact that the bunks were completely enclosed with canvas that there would be no problems with a leak. The air circulating inside with the window flaps left open over night would remove any gas leak out of the camper. The screen door opened at the bottom of the door and that was left up as well. The frig was vented outside the camper and on occasion the pilot flame would blow out if the wind was right. But the frig had an automatic shut-off feature with the propane if it did.

On May 1, 2010 we takedelivery of a 2010 Rockwood 5th wheel. I have been told that the LPG detector is wired to the 12 volt batteries. I dry camp up to 6 weeks every summer and rely heavily on my battery. I use the solar panel to trickle charge the battery and the 2000 watt generator when the solar panel can't keep up with the charge.

And yes, I am well aware of the dangers in not having the LPG detector not connected in my trailer. I am looking for an alternative.

Does anyone on this board know of an RV LPG detector that runs on a 9 volt battery, and I don't mean as a backup?

Has anyone done a mod that has the LPG detector on a separate line to either a 9 volt battery or a separate battery dedicated to just the detector?

I am open to suggestions, but not flames. I am sure that other members have had thoughts on this as well. Lets hear them.
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Old 03-18-2010, 12:57 PM   #2
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Congrats on the new trailer, and get ready for one H@#ll of a learning curve about battery drain. The LP detector is nothing of a drain in a new trailer. Lights, and there are plenty, are heavy usage. Water pump, FURNACE FAN if needed. Don't forget the stereo, even when off. Also if you have a flat screen TV that works off 12 volts. I used to recharge my battery once/month during winter because of current drains. Just putting a switch on the radio, not concertone, allowed me to go as long as 8 weeks before needing a recharge. This is in storage, with only the LP detector drawing current. It is also an Interstate 12 volt battery. Sounds like you better swap for a pair of 6 volts, and a get prepared for a lot more work.
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Old 03-18-2010, 02:14 PM   #3
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You are correct the LP detector will run your battery all the way
down eventually.
So will many other things like the onboard converter/charger.

Solution is to add a battery disconnect switch and shut it off
when the trailer is in storage.
This prevents anything in the trailer from killing your battery.
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Old 03-18-2010, 02:16 PM   #4
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My LP detector is hard wired into the trailer.
There is an in line fuse, but I have to remove 4 screws and pull the the unit out of the wall to get to it.
The only reason I know this is because I thought my unit was freaking out. It was squawking but had no indicator lights on.
Cause was a low battery (trailer was not plugged in and ran down).

I do not recommend doing this.

Are you sure it's the LP detector that's draining your battery and not something else?
make sure your antenna booster (if you have one) is not on.
That will drain your battery quickly, or maybe the defrost switch on the fridge?

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Old 03-18-2010, 03:13 PM   #5
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If you dry camp a lot and have the solar then I highly suggest you install a battery monitor system so that you can see where the power is going. I found that the LPG detector in our rig although connected all the time is only worth about .2 amps draw. Ours has a switch on it to turn it off. Of course when you do so it closes the solenoid and thus no LP flow.

I wouldn't have another rig without a battery monitor system, very eye opening.
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Old 03-19-2010, 07:46 AM   #6
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Coming from the world of PUP's to the world of 5er's you'll find a lot of things different. Even the fridge in the 5er uses battery power for the control board. The propane detector will be the least of your worries. Since you have solar and a genny, and dry camp as much as you say you do, I agree with getting a battery monitor. That way you can keep the battery(s) charged as needed. A battery disconnect switch is a good thing too when the unit isn't being used.
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Old 03-19-2010, 11:17 AM   #7
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Thank you for those replies, I have a new learning curve for the 5th.

Bama Rambler, you mention a 12V control panel on the frig, does this also allow the frig to operate in 12V mode when traveling between camps. I travel usually 450 miles between 3 overnight camps to get to the camp I stay at for the dry camping. I have wondered if the frig is 3 way? How do you keep the items in the frig cold when traveling? I know that the 7 pin connector on my truck will keep my battery charged when traveling, but does the frig keep cold as well or does it shut down. I have heard that some people keep the LPG on while traveling for the frig, but I consider that to be very dangerous.

Thanks again for your reply
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Old 03-19-2010, 12:00 PM   #8
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Most travel with fridge in LP mode. Few have a 12 volt fridge. Traveling with LP on is not dangerous, refueling with it on may be. I always turn mine off if I stop for fuel. Some places have tunnels that won't let you pass through with it on. If you have the fridge cold, and only travel a few hours, leave it off, and don't open it. Won't hurt for a few hours. 4 or more, I would leave it on LP.

Let the learning curve begin, and again congrats and hope you enjoy the upgrade.
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