Propane Sensor going off... - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 07-18-2007
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Propane Sensor going off...

I put in a new propane control system - Trident - with solenoid, alarm/switch panel and two sensors. One sensor is in the cockpit locker and the other is in the cabin. When I turn the system switch on, the cabin sensor sets off the alarm.

This should indicate the presence of propane, but after doing a lot of checking and testing - there are no leaks anywhere. I am wondering if there are other gases that set these things off ??? Battery gas perhaps ???

Wiring is fine, as the alarm turns off after I blow some air over the sensor and stays off until the boat is closed up.

Ideas ??
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Old 07-19-2007
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This is the normal test sequence. When you first switch on,
the horn and warning light come on for about fifteen seconds to show you that it is operational, and then it goes of. At this point you push the button to turn the warning light off.
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Old 07-19-2007
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Depending on the actual sensor design/type, it's possible that any combustible vapour may set it off...

Can you swap the sensors around and see if the problem moves with it? If so then the detector itself may be faulty.

If the alarm goes off in the cabin again, it's possible something is actually there. Do you have any solvents or other volatile materials stored on board?
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I would turn off the propane at the tanks. Then air out the boat and see if it still goes off. Could be a defective detector. Could be a tiny leak.

Be very careful.

A couple of years ago in a neighboring county a house was completely destroyed by a propane leak. Nothing left but a debris field and a hole where the basement used to be. An elderly lady called a repair man saying she smelled propane. He came out and "fixed the problem". She called again the next day and said she still smelled propane. He came back out, went down in the basement, cell phone rang. No more repair man, elderly lady or house.
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Quote:
This is the normal test sequence. When you first switch on,
the horn and warning light come on for about fifteen seconds to show you that it is operational, and then it goes of. At this point you push the button to turn the warning light off.
Stays on - doesn't go off until I aerate the sensor.

Quote:
Can you swap the sensors around and see if the problem moves with it? If so then the detector itself may be faulty.
Good idea - I'll try this on the weekend. Thanks !

Quote:
If the alarm goes off in the cabin again, it's possible something is actually there. Do you have any solvents or other volatile materials stored on board?
Cleaning products, but I don't think that they would do it... Will have to look carefully I guess.

Quote:
I would turn off the propane at the tanks. Then air out the boat and see if it still goes off. Could be a defective detector. Could be a tiny leak.
Happens when the tank fitting is closed and solenoid is closed. Have checked everything for leaks pretty carefully as I was on the fence re propane vs alcohol.
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Old 07-19-2007
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Stop eating beans...

Actually, have you pressure tested the propane lines on your boat?? Since you tried shutting off the valve on the propane tank to see if that changes anything... it could be a different gas, a faulty sensor or some other gremlin. Also, where is the sensor located?? Propane sensors should be mounted fairly low, not high, since propane is heavier than air. If you've mounted it high, then it is more likely that some other gas is setting it off, if the sensor isn't flaky.
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Check for leak by:
1. Turn on propane at tank
2. Turn on solenoid
3. Turn off propane valve at tank.
4. Note pressure gauge.
5. Wait 5 minutes and note if pressure has changed.

That's the reason those gauges are there. Now that you're sure you don't have a serious leak, start eliminating the alarm issue.
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Check for leak by:
1. Turn on propane at tank (make sure stove is off)
2. Turn on solenoid
3. Turn off propane valve at tank
4. Note pressure gauge
5. Wait 5 minutes and note if pressure has changed

That's the reason those gauges are there. Now that you're sure you don't have a serious leak, start eliminating the alarm issue
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Do you have a gas engine? My sensor detects propane and gasoline (although I took it out of the old Atomic 4 boat and into the new diesel boat) and it went off every time I cleaned out the fuel sediment bowl (I never installed propane on the old boat).
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Old 07-19-2007
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easy item: Check the cables to make sure they are not damaged. A broken cable can cause the alarm to go off.
DD
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