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Old 11-23-2013, 01:47 PM   #1
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Gas detector low-voltage warning

Our new-to-us 2011 Flying Cloud started chirping at us today. Looks like the low-voltage warning on the hard-wired LP gas detector. Currently plugged in to shore power, power switch is in "use" mode. I have a call in to the dealer service department. Any ideas on what could be causing this and/or how to rectify?

Meg
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Old 11-23-2013, 01:53 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by orange kayak View Post
Our new-to-us 2011 Flying Cloud started chirping at us today. Looks like the low-voltage warning on the hard-wired LP gas detector. Currently plugged in to shore power, power switch is in "use" mode. I have a call in to the dealer service department. Any ideas on what could be causing this and/or how to rectify?

Meg
How many fault codes are there for yours? Are you sure that "low voltage" is the alarm it's giving you, and not some other fault code?
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Old 11-23-2013, 02:08 PM   #3
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How many fault codes are there for yours? Are you sure that "low voltage" is the alarm it's giving you, and not some other fault code?
Upon further inspection, you are correct. It is indicating a component failure. Makes more sense! Thank you.
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Old 11-23-2013, 02:12 PM   #4
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I am not sure that the one on your 2011 is the same one used on the 2014, but if it is, there should be a green light on when normal, and a blinking light (not sure of the color right now) if not normal. Since the propane detector is a hard wired always on device, no matter what the position of the use/store switch you may have a bad unit. On mine, there are no codes, no service processes, it works or not. There is no "low voltage" indicator on mine. They also have a useful service life of 7 years, after which they go into an alarm mode, and will not shut up and cannot be repaired, only replaced. Yours is not 7 years old though.

Assuming you have normal 12 volt power in the coach, lights look good etc, I think your detector probably is just dead and will need to be replaced.
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Old 11-23-2013, 02:24 PM   #5
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Assuming you have normal 12 volt power in the coach, lights look good etc, I think your detector probably is just dead and will need to be replaced.
I think you're right. Hope I can get it replaced in time for our Thanksgiving camping trip! Safety first, tho.
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Old 11-23-2013, 02:34 PM   #6
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Well, LP gas detectors are a relatively recent item. Call me stupid, but I have traveled most of my Airstream miles (over 150,00) in trailers and motorhomes which did not have one, and don't think they are all that necessary. Your nose is a pretty good propane detector due to the odorant they put in the gas itself.

Remember this is just my opinion.
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Old 11-23-2013, 03:00 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by idroba View Post
Well, LP gas detectors are a relatively recent item. Call me stupid, but I have traveled most of my Airstream miles (over 150,00) in trailers and motorhomes which did not have one, and don't think they are all that necessary. Your nose is a pretty good propane detector due to the odorant they put in the gas itself.

Remember this is just my opinion.
Actually, for a lot of people, the nose is not a good propane detector. From usepropane.com's Homeowner Safety Information booklet:
Quote:
It may be hard for some people to smell propane for the following reasons:

They have a cold, allergies, sinus congestion, or another medical condition.
Their sense of smell is reduced due to use of tobacco, alcohol, or drugs.
Tobacco smoke, cooking odors, and other strong odors can mask the smell of propane.
As people age, their sense of smell can become less sensitive.

If the smell of propane is present in the air over a period of time, “odor fatigue” can occur. The nose “gets tired,” and a person no longer smells the propane odor.

The propane smell may not be strong enough to wake up someone who is sleeping.
I won't get into the health hazards of inhaling propane, since I've already beat that topic to death on other threads, except to remind you that propane is hazardous to breathe at concentrations over 0.1% propane in the air, but propane won't ignite at less than 2.1% propane in the air.

Please, don't rely on your nose. Anybody who travels with propane owes it to themselves, their kids, and their pets to get a propane detector.
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Old 11-23-2013, 03:29 PM   #8
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If the chirping occurs when you are using your furnace, it could indicate low pressure in your propane tanks (usually, caused by the tank approaching empty, especially in sub-freezing weather, and aggravated by high altitude).

When the propane pressure is low, the furnace sometimes fails to ignite; and raw propane in burner area can cause chirping.

If you have a second tank, try switching over to the full(er) one; and see if the chirping goes away.

When we were camped in Denver in subfreezing weather a couple of winters ago, we found that the tanks had to be refilled when the level dropped to approximately 1/3 full. Below 1/3, the furnace would not always ignite, and the alarm would start chirping. After a couple of failed attempts, the alarm would go off full-blast.

While this may not be your problem, it is a possibility.

Note: Our Airstream is a 2005, 19-foot Bambi, which is probably very similar to your model.
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Old 11-23-2013, 03:32 PM   #9
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I don't recall the brand on my BIL's LP gas sensor, but I do recall that it has only one 'alarm' for:
  1. No gas
  2. Low voltage
  3. I'm dead, please replace me

We found out last summer that his had the #3 issue. A new unit, and all was well.
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Old 11-23-2013, 08:11 PM   #10
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Thanks, everyone for your helpful suggestions/advice. I was finally able to get the chirping to stop by resetting (holding the test button in down position).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phoenix View Post
If the chirping occurs when you are using your furnace, it could indicate low pressure in your propane tanks (usually, caused by the tank approaching empty, especially in sub-freezing weather, and aggravated by high altitude).

When the propane pressure is low, the furnace sometimes fails to ignite; and raw propane in burner area can cause chirping.

If you have a second tank, try switching over to the full(er) one; and see if the chirping goes away.

When we were camped in Denver in subfreezing weather a couple of winters ago, we found that the tanks had to be refilled when the level dropped to approximately 1/3 full. Below 1/3, the furnace would not always ignite, and the alarm would start chirping. After a couple of failed attempts, the alarm would go off full-blast.

While this may not be your problem, it is a possibility.

Note: Our Airstream is a 2005, 19-foot Bambi, which is probably very similar to your model.
The temps have been in the upper 20s at night here so that is a possibility. I'll switch the tank tonight and check again in the morning. Thank you!
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Old 11-24-2013, 07:57 AM   #11
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I have also had my lp detector start chirping and giving me a low voltage fault code. As Murphy's law dictates this happened at 3am!

I reset mu unit and it has been working fine ever since.

I think that because these units are always on, they fault out internally every so often, and they need a "reboot" once in a while.

-J
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Old 11-24-2013, 11:11 AM   #12
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When in a low voltage mode, the detector will change from a flashing green light to a flashing orange light. There should be no audible sounds until it gets very low and then the light will flash red and you will get a chirping sound. This is from the user's manual for my '06 25 FB.

It also mentions that pressing the test button "must be carried out not less than once per week to ensure proper operation of the detector." I have had mine chirp at me twice, during the night, and once reset all things returned to normal. Since I have had my trailer since '09 I made it part of my spring de-winterizing. I test the CO detector to make sure everything is working. I failed to do that this year and it went off during a particularly cold night on my way home for the Balloon Festival.
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Old 12-03-2013, 07:13 PM   #13
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Our 2008 Classic 31' did this one night, when it was in the upper 20's. I was taking it apart as best I could, as the yellow blinking light and the chirp was bugging me, and the dog was flipping out. I thought maybe shaking the daylights out of it helped, but I did hit the test button, also. It resumed normal operation, and has not been trouble since. When Silver 'Rita comes out of storage in the Spring, I will make sure to punch the test button. But it is good to know the detector has a shelf life....
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