Propane Detector - Fiberglass RV
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Old 07-26-2023, 10:08 PM   #1
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Name: Willy
Trailer: Bigfoot
Alberta
Posts: 141
Propane Detector

Hey all. I'm in the process of getting my propane finally setup in my trailer I bought last summer. It's a 1979 Bigfoot. Anyway I'm thinking I should have a propane detector. Originally I figured I would just get a battery operated one (like AA or something). However it seems as if most pretty much need to be wired 12v right in to the trailer. So my question is what's the best way to wire one in? As well any recommendations on a model is welcome, thanks in advance!! -willy
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Old 08-12-2023, 11:21 AM   #2
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Trailer: 1989 BIGFOOT 17' - FOR SALE
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Propane Detector

First, having a working propane detector is a must.
I am not sure which Bigfoot model trailer you have, if it is a 17B Gaucho model I installed mine in the end of the dinette next to the electrical panel. This location made it easy to connect into the 12 volt side of the panel with a dedicated fused circuit.
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Old 08-12-2023, 11:28 AM   #3
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Name: Willy
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Thanks BMack! What type/brand of detector did you use ?
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Old 08-12-2023, 01:49 PM   #4
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Name: Josh
Trailer: 74, 13' Boler
Alberta
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SafeTAlert are the gold standard in LP and CO detectors combined. They have a shelf life that is determined by the first time you power them up, and there is a tiny radioactive isotope in them that degrades in that time. At the end of life they die and have to be replaced. They are expensive, have to be hard wired to a 12v system, and only last I think 3 years, but they will wake you up if either liquid propane, or carbon monoxide are present if you mount them properly near the floor, away from a heat source.



Both LP and CO are heavier than air if they are at the same temperature of the air. CO can be lighter than air if it's a bi product of combustion, but it will settle at the floor as it cools.



I personally wired up a backup 12v battery and isolated it from the rest of the boler electrical system so that in a power failure while sleeping, the sensor is still powered, but a diode prevents the backup battery from also powering the maxxfan or lights. There's no off the shelf battery backup LP/CO detector on the market that I could find.
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Old 08-12-2023, 04:14 PM   #5
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Name: Ray
Trailer: scamp
Indiana
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WillyBigfoot View Post
Hey all. I'm in the process of getting my propane finally setup in my trailer I bought last summer. It's a 1979 Bigfoot. Anyway I'm thinking I should have a propane detector. Originally I figured I would just get a battery operated one (like AA or something). However it seems as if most pretty much need to be wired 12v right in to the trailer. So my question is what's the best way to wire one in? As well any recommendations on a model is welcome, thanks in advance!! -willy

Remember that propane is heavy so you will want it low. There are some smoke and propane detectors out there, but I really question that. A smoke detector should be high as smoke would likely be part of hot air from burning and so should be high and propane will be low. Sounds like a bad match to me.
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Old 08-12-2023, 05:31 PM   #6
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Trailer: Holidaire
British Columbia
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Propane Alarm

The most important item to have in any rig that uses propane. Like stated by others, the sniffer should be mounted low as propane falls. Smoke detectors need to be high. One propane detector I installed recommended that it be wired without a switch. I'm guessing that one couldforget to turn on the switch when using the RV. So I wired mine direct (with a fuse) and make sure the battery pack (300 amp lithium) is always charged. There is usually a recommendation with the instructions on when it should be replaced too.
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Old 08-12-2023, 06:13 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by matthfam View Post
The most important item to have in any rig that uses propane. Like stated by others, the sniffer should be mounted low as propane falls. Smoke detectors need to be high. One propane detector I installed recommended that it be wired without a switch. I'm guessing that one couldforget to turn on the switch when using the RV. So I wired mine direct (with a fuse) and make sure the battery pack (300 amp lithium) is always charged. There is usually a recommendation with the instructions on when it should be replaced too.

What I find interesting a worrying is how specific they are. Mostly if you check they only check for propane. Any other gas is ignored. Not that I directly worry about this. But I do have two tools that I take with me in my camper to job sites that use other gases, admittedly in small quantities. But I also have been at locations where campers were using other gases. I have seen several campers that used compressed natural gas. Not sure why and where you would get it. But they did and none of the units I have seen would detect this.
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Old 08-13-2023, 04:27 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Josh Robinson View Post
Both LP and CO are heavier than air if they are at the same temperature of the air. CO can be lighter than air if it's a bi product of combustion, but it will settle at the floor as it cools.
Don’t know where you got your information about CO, but I respectfully disagree with its accuracy. CO is actually slightly lighter than air but can diffuse almost equally within a given space. Even if “warm” CO rises, before it “settles” you may not get an alarm in time. If you breathe it in, it can make you sick, cause permanent physical disabilities, or even kill you. If using a combination CO/propane alarm close to the floor, it would be wise to also mount a combination CO/smoke detector a short distance below the ceiling. These typically run on an internal battery, so they can be mounted without regard to location of a power source.
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Old 08-13-2023, 03:04 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by C&G in FL View Post
Don’t know where you got your information about CO, but I respectfully disagree with its accuracy. CO is actually slightly lighter than air but can diffuse almost equally within a given space. Even if “warm” CO rises, before it “settles” you may not get an alarm in time. If you breathe it in, it can make you sick, cause permanent physical disabilities, or even kill you. If using a combination CO/propane alarm close to the floor, it would be wise to also mount a combination CO/smoke detector a short distance below the ceiling. These typically run on an internal battery, so they can be mounted without regard to location of a power source.



They say it won't work for natural gas, but I do know that it works for aerosol paints. So if you are going to use any inside the RV make sure it's well ventilated as the alarm won't go silent until every bit of odour is gone.
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Old 08-13-2023, 03:34 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by matthfam View Post
They say it won't work for natural gas, but I do know that it works for aerosol paints. So if you are going to use any inside the RV make sure it's well ventilated as the alarm won't go silent until every bit of odour is gone.

This is probably for me. And basically you hit on it. The instructions say they will not work for natural gas. I have no other information on this. But when it comes to safety I would not trust that they have been shown to work for methane (Natural gas), if they say they won't work for that, I would not trust that they do.



In my case I would be interested in butane. I have tools I carry with me at time and store in the camper that run on tanks of butane. Always worry more about them getting a leak than the camper itself getting a propane leak.


Of course I test at the start of every trip for a propane leak. I turn the tank on and pressurize. Then turn it off and make sure the next day that it is still fully pressurized.
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Old 08-13-2023, 08:58 PM   #11
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My LP detector is mounted in the exact same place in my 2008 21RB model as BMack's is located. It is in the rear face of the dinette adjacent to the power panel. I replaced it with a Saft-T-Alert combination LP/CO detector and used a flush mount model. The original was a surface mount and people found it was a good place to hook their heel and it was (judging from the holes in the dinette) ripped off the dinette several times. the flush model eliminated the issue of it sticking out, and also eliminated all of the extra holes.

The original smoke detector was also a combo with a CO detector and was a ceiling mount, battery powered unit, which I replaced with exactly the same unit.

First Alert Powered Alarm SCO5CN Combination Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector, Battery Operated, 1 Pack, White



Safe-T-Alert by MTI Industries 35-742-BR 35 Series Dual LP/CO Alarm - Flush Mount, Brown

This is available in Brown BR, Black BL, and White WH.

Charles
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new flush mount lp detector installation.jpg   original lp gas detector.jpg  

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Old 08-15-2023, 05:29 PM   #12
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Name: Willy
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Hey awesome thanks for all the replies !!
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