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Old 04-21-2013, 03:46 PM   #1
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Propane Leak Detector?

We're new to RV's and planning to take our 1992 Excella 25 footer out for the second time tomorrow. My friend happened by and mentioned that the trailer probably came equipped with an Propane Leak Detector. I don't find one anywhere.

1. Does anyone know if the 1992's were equipped with one?

2. If it is supposed to have a factory detector, where should I look?

3. How do you test one to make sure it works?

4. If the trailer didn't come with one, any suggestions as to which model to buy and where?

Thanks for the help.
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Old 04-21-2013, 04:50 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Doug C View Post
We're new to RV's and planning to take our 1992 Excella 25 footer out for the second time tomorrow. My friend happened by and mentioned that the trailer probably came equipped with an Propane Leak Detector. I don't find one anywhere.

1. Does anyone know if the 1992's were equipped with one?

2. If it is supposed to have a factory detector, where should I look?

3. How do you test one to make sure it works?

4. If the trailer didn't come with one, any suggestions as to which model to buy and where?

Thanks for the help.
I found some at Camping World. I had searched for "Propane Leak Detector" and wasn't coming up with much. Searching "Propane Detector" brought a lot more information. If the old ones looked like the new ones, i.e., like a smoke alarm, I think I'd see it if it were there. The new ones that Camping World shows are pretty obvious as far as testing, etc. I thought maybe the AS had some exotic detector built into the system somewhere. If it doesn't, the path forward is "duh now" clear. If I could edit out some of my original post, I would, because it sounds lame now that I searched using different wording.

Thanks again.
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Old 04-21-2013, 05:35 PM   #3
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If you have one, it will be on a bulkhead and mounted low to the floor as propane is heavier than air.

Mine is a Safe Alert brand. Any brand will be fine, just look for the U.L. Label.

Mike
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Old 04-21-2013, 09:34 PM   #4
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They drain your battery and detect dog farts, hair spray, and cleaning products at least as well as propane.

I removed mine. I don't believe that they provide a safety benefit in RVs. They were brought over from the yacht world where they do make a difference because propane leaks are so much more dangerous in a boat. I have tried to find an example of a fire or explosion caused by a propane leak inside an occupied RV, and have come up empty. Most RV fires are caused by electrical wiring faults, so your money would be better spent on an arc fault breaker.
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Old 04-22-2013, 11:44 AM   #5
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They drain your battery and detect dog farts, hair spray, and cleaning products at least as well as propane.

I removed mine. I don't believe that they provide a safety benefit in RVs. They were brought over from the yacht world where they do make a difference because propane leaks are so much more dangerous in a boat. I have tried to find an example of a fire or explosion caused by a propane leak inside an occupied RV, and have come up empty. Most RV fires are caused by electrical wiring faults, so your money would be better spent on an arc fault breaker.
Except that propane is also hazardous to your lungs, and an LPG detector will alert you to a propane leak before you can smell it. By the time you can smell a propane leak, you're already breathing the stuff.

Here's a link to a Material Safety Data Sheet for propane. http://www.airgas.com/documents/pdf/001045.pdf
Flammable limits for propane are 2.1% to 9.5% concentration. However, OSHA inhalation limits are 1000 parts per million, or 0.1% concentration. A concentration high enough to catch fire will have long since asphyxiated you, so you won't feel a thing.
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Old 06-16-2013, 09:12 AM   #6
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So now I'm curious...can the propane detector be disconnected when the RV is not in use? And should it be disconnected? From what I understand it drains the batter otherwise.

And how does one disconnect the propane detector in a 28' Flying Cloud.

Thanks.
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Old 06-16-2013, 09:29 AM   #7
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Short of pulling the battery cable or putting in some type of isolation switch that is about the best you can do. I did put an ammeter on my 2001 Safari when it was new to check out draw. If the master disconnect switch is left on, and all appliances were in the "off" position, I would see a draw of .1 amp. When the master disconnect is in the off position, I measured a draw of .01 amp (which I assume was the propane detector since it's power is not affected by the master disconnect).

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Old 06-16-2013, 10:28 AM   #8
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There definitely should be one. On our 87 it's to the left of the front door below the flip-up shelf and next to the oven/furnace. When I'm not using the AS I turn off the battery switches and there's no drain. They age out after about 10 (?) years, so if yours hasn't been replaced it should be. I searched on line until I found one that fits the same size hole.
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Old 06-16-2013, 11:46 AM   #9
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So now I'm curious...can the propane detector be disconnected when the RV is not in use? And should it be disconnected? From what I understand it drains the batter otherwise.

And how does one disconnect the propane detector in a 28' Flying Cloud.

Thanks.
You can simply trace down the wiring at the connection point in the trailer and move the hot wire to the buss that is shut down when the battery disconnect is engaged. That stops the residual battery drain when you are not using the trailer and when you are using the trailer power, it will be on. It's the wire with an inline fuse.
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Old 06-25-2013, 10:45 AM   #10
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Does the propane leak detector have tha ability to shut down the propane line?

Reason I ask is we have (I believe) a full propane tank, the knob at the tank is on, but there is no propane getting to the stovetop or refrigerator...

The leak detector went off the other day briefly when we were refueling (this is a B190), and either since that time or approximately that time we have not had propane. Maybe it is coincidental, don't know.
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Old 06-25-2013, 10:55 AM   #11
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Does the propane leak detector have tha ability to shut down the propane line?

Reason I ask is we have (I believe) a full propane tank, the knob at the tank is on, but there is no propane getting to the stovetop or refrigerator...

The leak detector went off the other day briefly when we were refueling (this is a B190), and either since that time or approximately that time we have not had propane. Maybe it is coincidental, don't know.
I've never seen one set up that way. The detector is just an a "sniffer" that sets off an alarm when it detects LPG. If there was one that shut off the propane, there would be an electrically-operated valve somewhere in the propane line. Which is not a good idea, mixing electricity with a flammable gas. One spark when the valve activated, and you'd create a bigger problem than you solve.
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Old 06-25-2013, 11:20 AM   #12
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Protagonist,

"If there was one that shut off the propane, there would be an electrically-operated valve somewhere in the propane line. Which is not a good idea, mixing electricity with a flammable gas. One spark when the valve activated, and you'd create a bigger problem than you solve."

What? That is exactly what is used on Interstates, the frequently discussed electrically operated valve which is used to shut off the flow of propane from the tank.
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Old 06-25-2013, 11:28 AM   #13
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What? That is exactly what is used on Interstates, the frequently discussed electrically operated valve which is used to shut off the flow of propane from the tank.
That is a built-in tank, built to ASME standards, not a protable tank built to DOT standards. Not the same thing. And even that one is not controlled by the LPG detector.

On edit— The electrically-operated valve on an Interstate closes when the power is shut off, and opens when it's turned on. If an LPG detector controlled it, then when the circuit is completed to turn on the alarm, it would have to turn on the valve to close it, the reverse of what happens on the Interstate.

But I take your point. I should have phrased my response better.
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Old 06-25-2013, 11:44 AM   #14
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Actually, I should have re-phrased my original question...

For a built-in propane tank system like we have on our B190, is there anything between the on/off valve at the tank that would interrupt the flow of propane to all the appliances (stovetop, frig, water heater)?

Every indication is that the tank is full, but that may be my next checkpoint in absence of other suggestions.
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