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Old 09-08-2020, 06:28 PM   #1
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Smoke/CO detector madness

Hi All,

We were two nights into our 10 night cruise in the San Juans when we were awakened to the screaming of our smoke/CO alarm in the aft cabin (where we were). Of course there is no silencing of the beast as it was one of those no replaceable battery types. So I had to break off the tab and switch it off, now rendering it inoperative. No smoke to be found, nothing running, (kind of hard to have a CO event). This is the 3rd time this has happened on our boat. It's driving me crazy. I looked on line and it appears the marine industry CO detectors are quite expensive on their own. The smoke detectors are relatively inexpensive. I had purchased a combo smoke/CO detector from Lowes, i.e. home builder grade. Is there something I'm missing?

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Old 09-08-2020, 06:35 PM   #2
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Were you plugged into shore power with a battery charger on? The off gassing of a battery in trouble will set off CO detectors.

I have used big box store ones on 2 boats spanning 11 years of live aboard and they are fine, yet will trigger on battery issues and every once and awhile cold/ damp conditions.
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Old 09-08-2020, 06:47 PM   #3
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I have been using the home ones for twenty years with no issues. You would think that something designed to work on the 14 foot ceiling of an open plan house would be fine in the close quarters of a boat.

One thing though. When I bought the CO detector for my gas Silverton it was AC and had memory. AC since it was needed when the Genny was running at night when I had the AC. With memory as it memorized with DC back up any level of CO.
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Old 09-08-2020, 06:59 PM   #4
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There are unfortunately lots of things that trigger the CO detectors. I finally had enough, and now only have smoke detectors.

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Old 09-08-2020, 07:00 PM   #5
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Is it possible that the detector was over five years old?
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Old 09-08-2020, 07:04 PM   #6
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If you had one of the CO sensors with the replaceable gel sensor, those are easily false alarmed by a nearby used diaper... If you've changed a baby diaper, there are some wicked chemical combinations in there. I found that out after it false alarmed in the middle of the night, two nights running.
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Old 09-08-2020, 07:07 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by stubones99 View Post
If you had one of the CO sensors with the replaceable gel sensor, those are easily false alarmed by a nearby used diaper... If you've changed a baby diaper, there are some wicked chemical combinations in there. I found that out after it false alarmed in the middle of the night, two nights running.
I would have had words with the missus about not getting out of bed quick enough to deal with it before the alarm went off!
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Old 09-08-2020, 07:51 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psneeld View Post
Were you plugged into shore power with a battery charger on? The off gassing of a battery in trouble will set off CO detectors.

I have used big box store ones on 2 boats spanning 11 years of live aboard and they are fine, yet will trigger on battery issues and every once and awhile cold/ damp conditions.
I have also experienced this, but on my boat only with the smoke/CO detector directly above the house battery bank.
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Old 09-08-2020, 08:51 PM   #9
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Was there any smoke from the wildfires around? We had that happen on Lake Chelan many years ago on our SeaRay when there was a fire nearby and a breeze blew through the cabin.
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Old 09-09-2020, 06:12 AM   #10
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My CO detectors (hard wired marine & Kidde Battery op) all go off if the holding tank leaks/overflows. Batteries charging is the more usual culprit though.
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Old 09-09-2020, 11:09 AM   #11
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Iíll answer a couple of good thoughts. No smoke from wildfires. Batteries not charging (on the hook). Detector no where near the batteries or outside vent for holding tank.

We had one in our new home go bad last year... just would not stop until unplugged. Installed a new one, no issues. Bad luck? Itís the has happened 3 times on the boat that has us perplexed. I have 2 on the boat, one in the forward cabin and one in the aft cabin (where we sleep), itís alway the one in the aft cabin that goes off.
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Old 09-09-2020, 11:36 AM   #12
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Does methane set it off?
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Old 09-09-2020, 12:40 PM   #13
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Smoke here now hides the sun. Alarms are silent, however.
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Old 09-09-2020, 02:11 PM   #14
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I installed three new detectors a couple of months ago. One in the rear cabin, one in the salon and one in the front cabin. All three go off. Nothing running except air conditioner and solar charges the batts. Finally took out the batteries. Does a diesel boat really need a carbon monoxide detector?
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Old 09-09-2020, 02:21 PM   #15
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Spray cleanser, and air fresheners can cause they to go bad.
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Old 09-09-2020, 02:37 PM   #16
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I installed three new detectors a couple of months ago. One in the rear cabin, one in the salon and one in the front cabin. All three go off. Nothing running except air conditioner and solar charges the batts. Finally took out the batteries. Does a diesel boat really need a carbon monoxide detector?
What make/model detectors? Our previous boat had detectors that were VERY picky about battery voltage level. If the power dropped too low they'd go off. Which was fun discovering in the middle of the night, scrambling for reading glasses trying to read the tiny print on the info sheet for it.

On our current boat we've got Safe-T-Alert units. Never had them trip. Replaced them last year, as the ones in there were original. Went with the black plastic housing as it doesn't stand out as obvious-looking as the white.

https://www.mtiindustries.com/produc...surface-mount/
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Old 09-09-2020, 03:29 PM   #17
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What make/model detectors? Our previous boat had detectors that were VERY picky about battery voltage level. If the power dropped too low they'd go off. Which was fun discovering in the middle of the night, scrambling for reading glasses trying to read the tiny print on the info sheet for it.

On our current boat we've got Safe-T-Alert units. Never had them trip. Replaced them last year, as the ones in there were original. Went with the black plastic housing as it doesn't stand out as obvious-looking as the white.

https://www.mtiindustries.com/produc...surface-mount/

Got three of these...https://www.homedepot.com/p/Kidde-Ba...B&gclsrc=aw.ds

Swapped out the batteries first thing....
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Old 09-09-2020, 03:48 PM   #18
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Got three of these...https://www.homedepot.com/p/Kidde-Ba...B&gclsrc=aw.ds

Swapped out the batteries first thing....
A review there has a response from Kidde. Particulates causing problems with the sensor. Wonder if that might be a factor? Dusty kicked up from carpets or something?
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Old 09-09-2020, 03:50 PM   #19
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Smoke here now hides the sun. Alarms are silent, however.
That'd be a whole other set of hassles, having all that airborne smoke causing detectors to trip.
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Old 09-09-2020, 03:57 PM   #20
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I prefer to have separate smoke and CO detectors. Reason being that a smoke detector should be on the overhead (smoke rises), and it's recommended that CO detector be about head height when sleeping (CO is relatively inert in terms of rise or fall). I use good, battery powered domestic ones.

As to do you need one: I've read of incidents where a neighboring boat was running a generator and CO thus entered the subject boat. So it doesn't have to be your boat generating the CO. I don't think anyone will stop you in defeating the detectors though (insurance might want them but nothing is to stop you from de-activating them if you don't care to have them).
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