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LP detector and dead battery?

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  #1  
Old 10-21-2008, 12:17 PM
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
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Default LP detector and dead battery?

We camped at Pickwick Dam from Thursday until Sunday. Early Saturday morning (barely daylight), the LP detector started going off. We shut the gas completely off (at the bottles) and opened windows. Nothing would get it to go off. I finally pulled the fuse. I could not smell gas but I did double check the stove knobs to make sure none of them had been turned on a tad. Everything appeared to be fine. We kept the gas off and the windows open the whole day while we were gone.

That evening, I put the fuse back in and the alarm was still going and would not stop so I took it out again and we kept the gas off. Packing up Sunday, the slide wouldn't budge. Put the fuse back in to check the monitor panel (alarm still on) and the battery was dead. Plugged it to the truck and the slide came in fine. When we got home, we put the fuse in and checked the battery and it was charged. The alarm was not going off then. We decided we would leave it and see if the battery would hold a charge and if the alarm would go off if the battery died.

Today, the alarm started going off. I went in and sure enough...the battery is dead. I pulled the fuse. So I am assuming that the alarm also sounds when the battery is dead. Is this right?

The battery being bad doesn't concern me. It won't hold a charge very long and we just put water in it less than a month ago so I am sure it needs replacing. I can easily replace the battery. The alarm is what worries me. Do they normally go off if the battery dies? Also, I had no idea that even though we were plugged up still that the slide would not go in with a dead battery.
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  #2  
Old 10-23-2008, 07:31 AM
mailfire99's Avatar
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First thing, does your LP detector have its own batteries, like AA, or does it just run from the main camper battery?

If it runs straight off the main camper battery, there is no way for it to sound when the main battery is dead. However, it may seem dead but could have just enough juice to sound the alarm, as they usually draw less current than one camper light.

Where is the location of your main camper batteries to the LP dectector. I have also heard that if the converter is overcharging a dead or weak battery this can cause the alarm to go off because is creates a sulphur odor.
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  #3  
Old 10-23-2008, 07:42 AM
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
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I cannot speak for all lp detectors, but I know some of them will also
detect low power. Its soul purpose in life is to detect lp fumes and if it doesn't have enough battery juice to run it sounds off, which is a warning signal/alarm, to let you know something isnt right.

Same thing happened with the carbon monoxide tester I had in the house, when the batteries were weak, it went off constantly until I replaced them.

You can reset it, and that will last for a few minutes, but then it would go off again. If you have added water to your batteries which would be my next suggestion, its probably time for a new battery(s). Hope this helps.
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  #4  
Old 10-23-2008, 08:14 AM
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
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Hubby didn't see batteries in the detector -- just another fuse inside it. (I didn't pull the fuse inside it, though. I pulled the one in the main panel.) I'm assuming that it runs off the main battery.

The main battery is underneath the front in the compartments below the hitch and the LP detector is in the rear living quarters. They are on separate ends. This does bring up another thing, though.

We just bought the camper a few months ago. A few weeks after we brought it home we checked over everything again and noticed acid on the battery and in the compartment. We took baking soda and covered the battery and removed it and then used baking soda to neutralize the acid in the compartment and cleaned it out. We assumed the battery had been overfilled and noticed the tops were on wrong. Hubby checked the water and turned the caps around the right way. We figured this might be it as it seemed to hold a charge okay. When he checked it the other day, he said there was more acid in the compartment and it will have to be cleaned out again. The battery shows dead on the panel right now and if I unplug it the lights that run on battery power will come on but they are very dim. The slide won't budge at all. So it is not completely dead but far from okay.

The alarm is still going off and the gas has been off since Saturday. We initially thought we would be able to get through the season with this battery and replace in spring but we plan on replacing it very soon. It only held a charge after we towed it home from Sunday night to Tuesday morning, so it's a bad battery.

Could this be what is causing the alarm to go off? I am keeping the gas off and the windows are all closed. There is no smell in the camper or around it and everything inside is off except for the fridge. (I have it plugged up here at home.) I intend on replacing the standard smoke alarm in the camper with a smoke alarm/ carbon monoxide detector as an extra precaution and backup for the LP detector.

We are hoping for a trip out over Thanksgiving if the weather permits, but need to figure out what is going on first. Thanks so much for helping me!
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  #5  
Old 10-23-2008, 08:18 AM
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
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Thanks, Harold! I just told hubby all of this and he will be replacing the battery and cleaning out the compartment again and seeing if that fixes the problem.
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  #6  
Old 10-23-2008, 09:03 AM
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I had this same problem, which was a bad battery. My LP detector only has 2 wires running to, as it runs from the main battery as well. What mine would do is when we returned from camping and the battery was charged, as much as it could be for a bad battery, after being home for a few hours the detector would start sounding. I started unhooking the battery after each trip now since its easy to get to, but once I just let it beep until it died. There was no leak, and to be absolutely sure of that, I took the propane tanks off the camper, so I know for sure it had no gas leak. So in short, I believe mine does the same thing, which is sound when there is a leak, as well as when there is a low battery.

On a whole nother note, back in the summer we were camping and really started smelling boiled eggs type smell. Finally dawned on me it was the propane. The smell was only outside, no smell inside.

The LP detector never alarmed, so I wasnt sure, but I did turn the tanks off at night when we were sleeping just to be sure. Next morning I got up and still smelled it, but only outside. So, I then actually unscrewed the hoses from the tanks so that it had no connection into the camper and the smell was still there hours later, but only outside. The actual tank itself had a leak in it, which I took back and swapped. Havent had a problem with either ever since using a good battery and good tank.



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  #7  
Old 10-23-2008, 09:44 AM
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Default RV 12 Volt DC Setup

Ok, I will throw my .02 in here on the slide. I had that happen a while back and just couldnt figure out why in the world the slide would not operate when plugged in to shore power. How much more power do you need?

Here is why.

RVs have two separate electrical systems, 12-volt direct current (DC) and 120-volt alternating current (AC).

The 12 volt system powers all the things that are needed to camp without campground hookups. Since you have rechargeable batteries, you can camp or "boondock" away from the major campgrounds or better yet away from electricity. It makes sense really now that I think about it. Think of everything you would want to work if you didnt have shore power but you found a beautiful spot to camp. The slide would definitely be in the list of things to work, right?

Some of the things the battery (12V) provides for:

. Lights
Water pump
Thermostat
Furnace fan
Bathroom fan
Slide-out motor
Stereo and CD player (if you have one)
TV (if you happen to have a 12-volt model)
LP gas detector
Inverter (if so equipped)

The good thing about this also is that you always have your car/truck battery to back you up. So if your packing up and your battery is not strong enough to pull that slide in, hook it up to your tow vehicle, and you should have no problems doing so.

120 Volt Items (The "luxuries" you may have to live without sometimes)

Air conditioner
Microwave oven
Refrigerator (if not using propane)
Any items plugged into a household style receptacle


Hope this helps explain it a little bit.
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  #8  
Old 10-23-2008, 01:33 PM
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Mikey,

When plugged into shore power, the 120 should be going through the inverter, not only charging your batteries but helping to supply 12 DC to everything. I don't have a slide, but when hooked up to 120, my lights are brighter, the fans run stronger, and the water pump runs better.
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  #9  
Old 10-23-2008, 02:32 PM
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by happiestcamper View Post
Mikey,

When plugged into shore power, the 120 should be going through the inverter, not only charging your batteries but helping to supply 12 DC to everything. I don't have a slide, but when hooked up to 120, my lights are brighter, the fans run stronger, and the water pump runs better.
Mine was the same way (lights brighter, etc.) before my battery went bad, but the slide does not operate on shore power at all. We had to plug the camper to the truck to get the slide to come in. I didn't know it ran only off the battery before then. There is a manual crank for the slide but I have heard from others that it takes a while to crank one in.

Ct, I checked my compartment where the tanks are. There is no smell in the compartment and the tanks are cut off and the alarm is still going off. I am guessing mine does the same thing since it didn't go off when the battery was charged but started sounding again as soon as it ran down again. The battery would only charge to 3/4 charge showing on the panel and that ran down with nothing running other than the panel and detector in just two days. It does bring up a good point about checking the tanks themselves. I need to have them refilled before we go out around Thanksgiving anyway in case we need to run the heat. I wonder if they can check my tanks there? I don't want to swap them out unless I have to. Mine are tall and thin and not short and fat like the ones they have. I'm not sure if it would fit in the compartment space.

I may just break down and call my uncle (the one who doesn't like me, lol) and ask him to check it out for me to be safe. He is head over the gas department here and I know they have one of the wands that detects gas leaks, but like I said...he doesn't much like me nor do I like him. I'm kinda holding out on that as a last resort.

Thanks for all of your help! I am leaning towards it is just a bad battery. I am going to replace it and as a precaution get my tanks and the regulator checked. If after all that it still goes off, I'll call my uncle and have him check the lines for me.
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  #10  
Old 10-23-2008, 03:05 PM
mikey's Avatar
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Agreed on that happiest. However, for the slide, its my belief the battery still has to be strong enough (not dead) to allow it to work, which is why they were able to put their slide in when hooked to the truck, it was a good battery.

There are three basic types of slide-out systems I know of: 12-volt DC electric-motor, high-pressure hydraulic and hybrid systems.

Someone correct me if I am wrong, but with the 12 volt electric slide, you have to have a good 12 volt battery to use it, even when connected to shore power. I believe a good/new battery will solve both problems your are seeing.


Quote:
Originally Posted by happiestcamper View Post
Mikey,

When plugged into shore power, the 120 should be going through the inverter, not only charging your batteries but helping to supply 12 DC to everything. I don't have a slide, but when hooked up to 120, my lights are brighter, the fans run stronger, and the water pump runs better.
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  #11  
Old 01-13-2009, 04:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikey View Post
Agreed on that happiest. However, for the slide, its my belief the battery still has to be strong enough (not dead) to allow it to work, which is why they were able to put their slide in when hooked to the truck, it was a good battery.

There are three basic types of slide-out systems I know of: 12-volt DC electric-motor, high-pressure hydraulic and hybrid systems.

Someone correct me if I am wrong, but with the 12 volt electric slide, you have to have a good 12 volt battery to use it, even when connected to shore power. I believe a good/new battery will solve both problems your are seeing.
Amy:

I won't reiterate any of the replies here as a number of solutions have been presented.

That said, the only thing I'll add is that for us, one of the many "required" things that has to travel with us is a 12V battery charger. We found this out when our 12V converter went belly up and I thought it was the battery but it kept testing fine at auto stores. Once out on a trip, a dear friend helped diagnose the converter so to make use of our 12V systems even though we were plugged into a hot pedestal, was to hook up the battery charger. That was the only way we were getting the slide out retracted and the only way we were able to operate and have any sort of a decent outing. There is nothing more so-not-fun than to have a dead trailer with no hydraulics.

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