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Old 11-25-2019, 07:34 PM   #1
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Sources of CO

Hey all,
After the big boat fire in So Cal, I decided to install 8 new smoke/CO detectors throughout my vessel. They are the wireless kind that talk to each other. If one goes off, they all go off.
My buddy was walking by my boat, called me and said my alarms were going off (I was 3 hours away and wasn’t going to be back on the boat for a week). He went inside and the alarms were sounding “carbon monoxide dectected” and were beeping like mad. I had him pull the batteries out of each one at a time. Couldn’t tell which one actually started the alarm.
Anyway, obviously nothing was running on boat. Everything shut down. Just the fridge circuit and battery chargers on. All windows closed.
Question: what can cause the CO to go off? What source?
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Old 11-25-2019, 07:39 PM   #2
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Greetings,
Mr. T. Battery charger most probably. Don't know the "chemistry" but I don't think it's that uncommon.
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Old 11-25-2019, 08:38 PM   #3
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Agreed, I have had at least 4 times over the last 20 years where the CO detectors early warned of batteries starting to over charge/or bad cells.


Maybe once for a gasser a few boats down idling forever on a calm day.
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Old 11-25-2019, 09:26 PM   #4
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Is is pretty likely that this was not carbon monoxide from your boat if there was no combustion occurring anwhere at the time so yours is a valid question.
If the batteries are LA, they will not emit CO when charging as there is no source of carbon in them. I am not familiar with other battery chemistry.
However, LA batteries can emit Hydrogen . CO monitors cannot generally distinguish between hydrogen gas and carbon monoxide and will alarm in the presence of either. So I agree with earlier posts, likely batteries, but not likely CO.
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Old 11-25-2019, 09:38 PM   #5
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Most likely the battery charger but maybe a gas powered boat idling nearby.
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Old 11-26-2019, 12:32 AM   #6
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Battery out gassing excessively can definitely set off a co2 alarm. Happened to me too.
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Old 11-26-2019, 12:45 AM   #7
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Can we agree the battery charger may be the originator but it was the batteries off gassing that triggered the alarm.
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Old 11-26-2019, 06:51 AM   #8
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Here's one more cause: my holding tank (full of urine only) leaked. Set the CO monitors off consistently until I pumped out & really paired it!
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Old 11-26-2019, 07:48 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soo-Valley View Post
Can we agree the battery charger may be the originator but it was the batteries off gassing that triggered the alarm.

Not really...have had both the charger and bad batteries be the source....the charger being fine sometimes.
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Old 11-26-2019, 08:55 AM   #10
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Quote:
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Not really...have had both the charger and bad batteries be the source....the charger being fine sometimes.
How does a charger put out CO?
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Old 11-26-2019, 09:04 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soo-Valley View Post
How does a charger put out CO?
It doesn't. But batteries off-gassing can be caused either by a bad charger or a failing battery (with a healthy charger).
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Old 11-26-2019, 09:11 AM   #12
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Greetings,
Mr. SV. Please re-read post #'s 4 & 8. CO detectors can trigger from sources other than CO.
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Old 11-26-2019, 09:21 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RT Firefly View Post
Greetings,
Mr. SV. Please re-read post #'s 4 & 8. CO detectors can trigger from sources other than CO.
Please re read 7 & 11.
Other sources introducing a gas which the sensor reads as CO. Just like a smoke detector will sound off when silverfish crawl over the sensor.
However a charger overheated and caused gas off from wire windings perhaps. Would that then be a failed charger, or a normal event.
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Old 11-26-2019, 09:35 AM   #14
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Greetings,
Mr. SV. I don't know what you're fishing for but several viable sources have been suggested regarding the OP's question any one of which may be the answer but since the OP mentioned that the only things that were on were his fridge and charger it seems to be the MOST likely source, to me, at least.


Might be his fridge sprung a leak and the escaping Freon caused the alarm or perhaps a Harrier jet hovering over his boat....


And, no, I wouldn't consider a failed or overheating charger to be a "normal" event.



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Old 11-26-2019, 09:46 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Comodave View Post
Most likely the battery charger but maybe a gas powered boat idling nearby.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Soo-Valley View Post
Can we agree the battery charger may be the originator but it was the batteries off gassing that triggered the alarm.
Quote:
Originally Posted by psneeld View Post
Not really...have had both the charger and bad batteries be the source....the charger being fine sometimes.
Mr. RT. Are we reading the same thread?
Yes the OP has had plenty of sound suggestions.
Can the charger emit a gas that the sensor reacts to?
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Old 11-26-2019, 09:51 AM   #16
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I've had CO alarms go off from outgassing FLA batteries, too.

But also be aware that there are "marine" CO alarms which work differently than home alarms. I'm no expert, but as I understand it, they marine ones are more tolerant of small, transient amounts of CO, like a passing outboard, while home units will continue to count accumulated amounts and then alarm when some threshold is reached.

If these are not marketed as marine detectors, you may end up replacing them all.
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Old 11-26-2019, 09:52 AM   #17
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Most of the newer home detectors work similarly to the marine units where they're time averaged. A low level for a long enough time will trigger the alarm, or a higher level for a shorter time will trigger them. So brief low level transients shouldn't do it.
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Old 11-26-2019, 10:13 AM   #18
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Greetings,
Mr. SV. As I stated, I don't know the chemistry or I suppose, perhaps, more accurately the electro-chemistry involved in the workings of the CO sensor nor what the trigger mechanism/threshold is for anything the sensor may detect.


Until such time that Mr. T returns to his boat and does an assessment of conditions aboard we can only speculate but from the initial evidence provided, baring silverfish, I still think batteries are the most likely cause.
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Old 11-26-2019, 10:22 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RT Firefly View Post
Greetings,
Mr. T. Battery charger most probably. Don't know the "chemistry" but I don't think it's that uncommon.
Quote:
Originally Posted by RT Firefly View Post
Greetings,
Mr. SV. As I stated, I don't know the chemistry or I suppose, perhaps, more accurately the electro-chemistry involved in the workings of the CO sensor nor what the trigger mechanism/threshold is for anything the sensor may detect.


Until such time that Mr. T returns to his boat and does an assessment of conditions aboard we can only speculate but from the initial evidence provided, baring silverfish, I still think batteries are the most likely cause.
I agree with bolded as probable cause. But not the charger itself without the battery. I was waiting to learn something new in that regard.
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Old 11-26-2019, 10:27 AM   #20
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Greetings,
Mr. SV. Ah. I see where the confusion arose. My apologies.


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