CO detector caused concern - SailNet Community
 3Likes
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 15 Old 09-01-2016 Thread Starter
formerly: flyingwelshman
 
Saltwater Taffy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 27
Thanks: 3
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
 
CO detector caused concern

A couple of weeks ago I arrived back at my boat after an evening in town.

An irritating chirping was emanating from my cabin - could be heard from the parking lot.

My CO detector was going off. I opened all my hatches and reset the detector.

I was confused about what might have set off the alarm as I understand that carbon monoxide is produced by combustion. I had not been running the engine, cooking, using my paraffin lamp or doing anything that I thought should produce CO.

About half an hour later the alarm went off again. This led me to believe that there was a real issue.

I went over all my electronics, wiring etc. to ensure nothing was shorting out. Everything seemed fine.

The only thing that was going on that was not usual was that my battery charger was working hard to charge my batteries up from dead flat. This was a result of a switch being switched off inadvertently and the batteries being drained by the fridge.

I looked on-line to see if I could find a relationship between battery charging and carbon monoxide.

It turns out that there is a link. The batteries (it seems to be the 6-volt golf-cart batteries are the most affected) off-gas hydrogen at high levels when being charged. Although hydrogen isn't toxic it is recognized as CO by many CO detectors (at 10% of it's actual level).

Once the batteries were fully charged the CO detector did not activate.

I found information on this topic here: The Unexpected Golf Cart Hazard
seabeau likes this.

Formerly "flyingwelshman".
Saltwater Taffy is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 15 Old 09-01-2016
Senior Member
 
travlin-easy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Maryland - USA
Posts: 5,336
Thanks: 1
Thanked 34 Times in 32 Posts
Rep Power: 7
 
Re: CO detector caused concern

My CO detector is essentially an explosive gas detector, therefore, all explosive gasses will set it off. Battery acid fumes are explosive.

Gary
baywater and seabeau like this.
travlin-easy is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #3 of 15 Old 09-01-2016 Thread Starter
formerly: flyingwelshman
 
Saltwater Taffy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 27
Thanks: 3
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
 
Re: CO detector caused concern

Quote:
Originally Posted by travlin-easy View Post
My CO detector is essentially an explosive gas detector, therefore, all explosive gasses will set it off. Battery acid fumes are explosive.

Gary
It is specifically the hydrogen that activates the CO detectors. Although not toxic, hydrogen is very explosive. The CO detectors recognize H as CO at about 10% of its actual level i.e. 500 ppm H will appear as 50 ppm CO.

The flammabilty of CO - when mixed with oxygen and other gasses - is at a much higher level than its toxicity i.e. you will die from CO toxicity long before it blows you up.

Formerly "flyingwelshman".
Saltwater Taffy is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
 
post #4 of 15 Old 09-01-2016
Senior Member
 
travlin-easy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Maryland - USA
Posts: 5,336
Thanks: 1
Thanked 34 Times in 32 Posts
Rep Power: 7
 
Re: CO detector caused concern

Quote:
Originally Posted by Saltwater Taffy View Post
you will die from CO toxicity long before it blows you up.
No doubt about that. When I worked in medicine, we had several individuals brought into the Shock Trauma Unit of the University of Maryland Hospital whom had CO poisoning from relatively low levels. We managed to save 99 percent of them by placing them in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber breathing 100 percent O2 at 3 atmospheres pressure. It was amazing at how well that worked.

Gary
travlin-easy is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #5 of 15 Old 09-01-2016
Cruising at a snail pace
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 2,608
Thanks: 8
Thanked 59 Times in 55 Posts
Rep Power: 9
 
Re: CO detector caused concern

300 ppm of hydrogen gas in the volume of a boat seems like a lot of gas from a battery. How fast do you have to charge a battery to boil it that hard?

Don't blow air up my rear, be useful and blow it at the sails!
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Don0190 is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #6 of 15 Old 09-01-2016 Thread Starter
formerly: flyingwelshman
 
Saltwater Taffy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 27
Thanks: 3
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
 
Re: CO detector caused concern

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don0190 View Post
300 ppm of hydrogen gas in the volume of a boat seems like a lot of gas from a battery. How fast do you have to charge a battery to boil it that hard?
Dammit Don, I'm a cook not a physicist!

I relied on my Xantrex TRUECHARGE 2 40Amp Battery Charger to regulate the charge.



(It took about 12 hours to bring the batteries up from dead flat to full.)

Formerly "flyingwelshman".
Saltwater Taffy is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #7 of 15 Old 09-01-2016
Cruising at a snail pace
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 2,608
Thanks: 8
Thanked 59 Times in 55 Posts
Rep Power: 9
 
Re: CO detector caused concern

Quote:
Originally Posted by Saltwater Taffy View Post
Dammit Don, I'm a cook not a physicist!

I relied on my Xantrex TRUECHARGE 2 40Amp Battery Charger to regulate the charge.



(It took about 12 hours to bring the batteries up from dead flat to full.)
Any idea what the voltage and amps being supplied to the batteries were? You don't have some automatic equalize feature going on that could have occurred early in the charge cycle do you?

Don't blow air up my rear, be useful and blow it at the sails!
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Don0190 is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #8 of 15 Old 09-01-2016
Senior Member
 
travlin-easy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Maryland - USA
Posts: 5,336
Thanks: 1
Thanked 34 Times in 32 Posts
Rep Power: 7
 
Re: CO detector caused concern

it really doesn't take a lot of amps to boil those batteries, and keep in mind that they bubble a bit when being discharged as well - not a big deal.

If you know your batteries are going to take a hot charge, it's a good idea to adequately vent the cabin with either a solar fan or shore powered fan during charging. I have a solar powered fan in the ceiling of the head, but it is still not sufficient to completely vent the entire cabin while charging the batteries at just 15 amps, which sometimes triggers the alarm. Consequently, I installed a computer fan in the battery compartment that exhausts the hydrogen gasses out of the boat via the engine compartment exhaust system hose. That fan only draws .04 amps, therefore, I let it run all the time.

When I'm not connected to shore power, my 100-watt solar panel keeps my house batteries and start battery fully charged, and still has plenty left over to run the fridge during the day.

All the best,

Gary
travlin-easy is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #9 of 15 Old 09-01-2016
Cruising at a snail pace
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 2,608
Thanks: 8
Thanked 59 Times in 55 Posts
Rep Power: 9
 
Re: CO detector caused concern

Quote:
Originally Posted by travlin-easy View Post
it really doesn't take a lot of amps to boil those batteries, and keep in mind that they bubble a bit when being discharged as well - not a big deal.
Yeah but boil them some much that the cabin gets to 300 ppm hydrogen, to me that's "impressive".

When I was in the Navy we had a massive battery and we discharged/charged the crap out of it lots of times. Yet were didn't set off the detector IN THE BATTERY ROOM let alone the boat.

Don't blow air up my rear, be useful and blow it at the sails!
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Don0190 is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #10 of 15 Old 09-01-2016 Thread Starter
formerly: flyingwelshman
 
Saltwater Taffy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 27
Thanks: 3
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
 
Re: CO detector caused concern

Quote:
Originally Posted by travlin-easy View Post
When I'm not connected to shore power, my 100-watt solar panel keeps my house batteries and start battery fully charged, and still has plenty left over to run the fridge during the day.

All the best,

Gary
I have 2 x 100 watt panels that provide power when unplugged. I was advised to disconnect the solar panels when the battery charger is on. I had switched off the panels and then, inadvertently switched off the AC main which allows shore power to the charger. I was off the boat for 3 days and the the batteries drained.
I'm pretty sure that the solar panels would stay ahead of the fridge, but the forecast was for overcast/rain for the time I was at the dock so I thought it best to plug in.

Formerly "flyingwelshman".
Saltwater Taffy is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

By choosing to post the reply above you agree to the rules you agreed to when joining Sailnet.
Click Here to view those rules.

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the SailNet Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
Please note: After entering 3 characters a list of Usernames already in use will appear and the list will disappear once a valid Username is entered.


User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in









Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.




Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
What caused this? FarCry Gear & Maintenance 14 10-15-2008 01:02 PM
To Whom It Might Concern USCGRET1990 General Discussion (sailing related) 34 07-28-2008 06:16 PM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome