Gas/Smoke Detectors - Fiberglass RV


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Old 12-19-2008, 09:40 AM   #1
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After recently installing a Wave 3 heater in our 13' Scamp, I'm looking into installing detectors for propane, carbon monoxide, and of course, a smoke detector. I'm starting to realize I may invest as much in detectors as I did the heater!

What I think I know so far:

The propane detector needs to be within 6" of the floor. It's not obvious where that might be so that it doesn't get regularly kicked in our little Scamp. Maybe below the heater (mounted on the closet), or tucked under the overhang for the sink/stove/fridge unit. All that I've seen so far require wiring in to the 12V supply, so the sink side would be easier. No more current than they draw, if mounted on the closet side I could probably tap into the wiring for the outside light.

The CO detector can go at about any level, as long as I avoid drafts or sheltering it behind something. I see some that work on internal batteries, so this is a little easier. I assume that I need a CO detector with the cat heater, just in case things don't work as advertised. Agree?

Smoke detector somewhere up high, again out of the drafty areas (where is that in a 13' Scamp.....maybe up front somewhere?) Maybe right over the bed, since my biggest concern is bedding getting too close to the heater face, in spite of our precautions to prevent such an occurance.

Atwood is coming out with a new combination propane/CO detector, so maybe I can take advantage of that. And I think I've seen a CO/smoke combination detector somewhere....maybe Lowes. I don't recall seeing one in the RV catalogs.

Anything I'm missing? Any suggestions?

Parker
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Old 12-19-2008, 02:13 PM   #2
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You're right on.

Does your heater have an automatic low OX shut off. That is just as important as the other detectors.

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Old 12-19-2008, 03:33 PM   #3
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We bought a standard household smoke and carbon monoxide detector from Home Depot for our Scamp 5er. It seems to work well . . . generally knows when I'm cooking.
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Old 12-19-2008, 04:57 PM   #4
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One thing I have heard in the boating world is that the household detectors will not stand up to the motion and vibration of a boat.

I would think a trailer is much worse.

Bill K.
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Old 12-19-2008, 09:18 PM   #5
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Does your heater have an automatic low OX shut off. That is just as important as the other detectors.

I re-read the instructions, and it doesn't appear that the Wave heaters (at least the Wave 3) have low oxygen sensing. I know some heaters do (the non-cat ones, maybe?), but I don't see anything about it in the instructions nor online. Guess that strengthens the importance of the detectors.

Thanks, all, for your comments.

Parker
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Old 12-20-2008, 01:36 AM   #6
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Quote:
One thing I have heard in the boating world is that the household detectors will not stand up to the motion and vibration of a boat.

I would think a trailer is much worse.
The photo-detector-type smoke detectors might be more problematic. I could see how vibration might knock the photo detector or light source out of alignment, but these days most smoke detectors use a small radioactive source with a couple of charged plates (in a shielded container -- no radiation escapes) connected to a very simple integrated circuit. It's a brain-dead-simple design with nothing that's likely to shake loose in there.

(If you're curious how this works, radiation ("alpha particles," a type of radiation that can't make it through a thin piece of paper or your skin, so they pose no risk) from an Americium isotope knocks electrons off molecules of oxygen and nitrogen breezing through the ionization chamber in the smoke detector. Those loose electrons are attracted to one of the charged plates, creating a small current that the circuitry of the smoke detector can measure. When big, heavy smoke (or other) particles enters the ionization chamber they disrupt the flow of electrons, and the circuit sees the drop in current and screams "Fire!")
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Old 12-20-2008, 01:38 AM   #7
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I re-read the instructions, and it doesn't appear that the Wave heaters (at least the Wave 3) have low oxygen sensing. I know some heaters do (the non-cat ones, maybe?), but I don't see anything about it in the instructions nor online. Guess that strengthens the importance of the detectors.
Alas, you won't find an inexpensive oxygen (or carbon dioxide) detector circuit. The cheapest I've seen are well over a hundred dollars.
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