Battery Operated Propane Detector? - Fiberglass RV
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Old 05-05-2007, 05:51 PM   #1
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I just measured the current that our propane leak detector draws and found that it is 1/3A! That's 8AH for a day, 56AH for a week. A significant fraction of our 105AH Trojan battery. Maybe that's the reason the previous owners had disconnected it.

I want to be protected, so I am wondering if there aren't more economical ones (in terms of AH's) available? I did find one on the web that ties in to the "house" battery and consumes about 1/20A, or 1.2AH per day, or 8.4AH per week. But the following question seems very reasonable and has me puzzled: My wife asked, "Since there are 9V battery operated carbon monoxide detectors, aren't there 9V battery operated propane detectors?" So I am relaying her question to you.

Do you know of any?

Thanks.

Art
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Old 05-05-2007, 07:23 PM   #2
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I have a handheld battery operated one, but it is more designed as a "sniffer" for finding leaks, not a warning system that there is one.

I still need to redo this in my 17, but in my 13, I simply put a small one in that ran off the house battery, and a switch to cut the juice when not needed. It was never on when the trailer wasn't in use.

I did not find it a big draw on the battery, even when boon docking for a week or more.
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Old 05-05-2007, 07:57 PM   #3
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In underground coal mines where i work, we have gas detectors that work off of rechargable batteries.I would think a similar detector would be made for normal consumer.
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Old 05-05-2007, 08:04 PM   #4
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If the unit you have now is good but you don't want to hook up to your house battery, why not buy a small 12volt battery ie Motor bike/ATV battery.This might work.Put in switch and turn on and off as desired.
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Old 05-05-2007, 08:06 PM   #5
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Ours is a garden variety one of about 1/20Amps. My setup is just like Gina's, with a cutoff switch. Used only at night, and the little green LED works nicely as a night light for those bathroom visits. Negligible drain on the batteries.
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Old 05-05-2007, 08:10 PM   #6
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I think this one is battery operated.
http://www.acehardwareoutlet.com/(alrqccma...ge=5203351b.jpg
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Old 05-05-2007, 11:11 PM   #7
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Quote:
I just measured the current that our propane leak detector draws and found that it is 1/3A!
Art

Art,
.3 Amps (300 miliamps) seems like a lot of current for this type of device. I just checked the specifications my Safe-T-Alert 40 series LP gas Alarm. It's speced at 46 miliamps, thats .046 amps. Usually current specifications for this type of electronic devices are speced at the high side. Therefore 30 miliamps measured sounds about right. It's sometimes easy to misplace a decimal point, so you might want to recheck it.
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Old 05-05-2007, 11:18 PM   #8
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Quote:
I have a handheld battery operated one, but it is more designed as a "sniffer" for finding leaks, not a warning system that there is one.

I still need to redo this in my 17, but in my 13, I simply put a small one in that ran off the house battery, and a switch to cut the juice when not needed. It was never on when the trailer wasn't in use.

I did not find it a big draw on the battery, even when boon docking for a week or more.

A word of caution about adding a switch to turn off an LP gas detector. If there's a gas leak and you turn on the detector bad things could happen. If there's a leak you want the detector screaming before you open the door or do anything. With 46mA draw on your battery is not enough to notice and might even be a good thing.
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Old 05-06-2007, 04:44 PM   #9
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Byron,

Well, yes, ahem! I did have a problem, but it was converting from decimal to simple fractions! The draw is actually 133 mA. Still sizeable, though. I have ordered one of the units you recommended (at 46 mA) from Amazon.com.
Thanks for the infor.

Art
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Old 10-03-2020, 03:06 PM   #10
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That Dang-Nab CO Sensor!

When we bought our 2016 Casita SD 17, the prior owner had removed the CO sensor and replaced it (?) with a standard Casita lamp/shroud/switch. Since we rarely remove the bed, the light under there was a welcome addition, also serving as a non-blinding night light. I asked him why he removed it and he gave the same answer I've heard before: the pain of false alarms in the middle of the night as the result of a farting dog (sure, Dad - blame the dog) or the initial burst from the propane-powered heater.

I want to relieve my safety concerns and install a CO sensor, a propane sensor, and a fire sensor. Is there a battery-powered device made that performs all three functions? I strongly prefer that it be battery operated so that I can explore the best place to place the sensor(s) to assure they are effective but not prone to false alarms. I do NOT want to have to tie into the 12VDC circuit or run my inverter 24/7 to get 120VAC.

My initial web search was fruitless. What are you using? Brand/Model, features?
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Old 10-03-2020, 03:55 PM   #11
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Propane is heavier than air so a detector needs to be near the floor ( and not in a draft ). Smoke rises so a smoke detector needs to be nearer to the ceiling. Carbon Monoxide ( CO ) is evenly distributed so the detector is best placed about three feet off the floor ( where your head would be while asleep ).
Each device comes with instructions for placement and for maintenance. IE. you need to wipe the faceplate with a damp cloth and vacuum regularly to avoid false alarms.
I have Kidee smoke and CO alarms and Safe-T-Alert propane gas alarm.
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Old 10-03-2020, 04:13 PM   #12
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RV propane detectors / alarms do work on a battery.. the camper's 12 volt battery. They don't use small internal batteries because they use more power (than a CO alarm for example) and the battery would not last very long.
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Old 10-03-2020, 04:35 PM   #13
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I installed a Key Switch so I can turn it off when not camping. The key prevents accidental switching of the unit. The life of the unit is extended because it is not powered during camper non use.
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Old 10-04-2020, 04:33 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Darwin Maring View Post
I installed a Key Switch so I can turn it off when not camping. The key prevents accidental switching of the unit. The life of the unit is extended because it is not powered during camper non use.
I used a toggle switch, mounted in a “protected” location. It’s easy to get to yet not susceptible to accidental switching. The toggle switch eliminates the need for another key, and if the alarm goes off (I have had a few false alarms when the propane was valved off), I’m not fumbling around trying to find a key particularly if it goes off in the middle of the night. These alarms are prone to be set off by any number of things. And since most propane alarms have a clearly visible LED, a quick glance confirms it hasn’t accidentally been powered off. And I, too, power it off when it is in storage.
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Old 10-05-2020, 02:17 PM   #15
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I used the key due to grand children to make absolutely sure it does not accidently get switched. The unit is right next to the power distribution box with the key inside attached to a magnet.
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Old 10-05-2020, 06:14 PM   #16
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I used the key due to grand children to make absolutely sure it does not accidently get switched. The unit is right next to the power distribution box with the key inside attached to a magnet.
That makes sense. Children are curious and an exposed switch just begs them “play with me.” I would have done the same thing under those circumstances.
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Old 10-05-2020, 06:27 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by CPW View Post
That makes sense. Children are curious and an exposed switch just begs them “play with me.” ...
Which is why I did not like this homemade connector....

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I rigged a couple of adapters so I can use the 100' extension cord to deploy farther away from the trailer if needed:



.... Thought it might give others some ideas.
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Old 10-06-2020, 04:19 AM   #18
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Which is why I did not like this homemade connector....
Gordon, I have to ask. What was this homemade connector used for? If it were intended as a QD for the propane detector, why not just use the (I believe they are called) SAE connectors rather than the 120v plug/outlet fittings?
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Old 10-06-2020, 07:23 AM   #19
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Gordon, I have to ask. What was this homemade connector used for? If it were intended as a QD for the propane detector, why not just use the (I believe they are called) SAE connectors rather than the 120v plug/outlet fittings?
A solar panel extension cord. The link to the post and thread about it is in my post (The circle with the right facing arrow).

Perhaps it's not related to this thread but it does relate to the need to make things all things child-proof (and IMHO even if the only children are over 18 years old.)
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Old 10-06-2020, 12:07 PM   #20
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Hello,

A short while ago, a thread with similar topic, re propane detectors, appeared here. As I recall, there was discussion about low, and fluctuating, 12V power from the trailer's system being the cause of seemingly false, nuisance alarms.

There was also mention of why battery powered (9V, AA, AAA) don't seem to be available. In my own searches, some time ago, I found a reference from one manufacturer stating they don't offer that option because it is not reliable for that device and poses liability issues.

stay safe.
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