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Old 10-26-2019, 03:50 PM   #1
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Taking control of the propane detector’s continuous battery drain

Just been through a thorough winterizing process once again, which in my case includes closing the propane tank valves and disconnecting the two regulator hoses.

Having a propane detector which will be continuously draining the batteries 24/7 during the cold, dark and snowy weeks of winter while the Airstream is stored in a secured storage compound where no one could even hear the alarm if for whatever reason it would go off, doesn’t make much sense.

For this purpose I installed a switch in a discrete location, in what we call the “bottle cabinet” situated at floor level right beside the propane detector, under the front L couch (see photos).

I simply removed the 4 screws holding the detector in place, cut the red wire to connect the two ends to the switch wires, and drilled a ˝” hole in the thin plywood panel of the bottle cabinet to insert the switch. Works just fine.

I plan to use the switch twice per year, once when winterizing, and once when de-winterinzing. No reason to use it at other times since the solar panels maintain the battery bank at full charge when they are free of snow (in addition to safety considerations when the propane tanks are connected to their hoses and the tank valves are open). In the very unlikely case that the detector was switched off while we were using the AS, we would quickly notice it since the green detector light is in our direct line of sight when we open the door to enter the AS.

Any other ideas about dealing with the propane detector’s continuous battery drain?
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Old 10-26-2019, 04:17 PM   #2
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Hi

Depending on just what options are built into your trailer, there may parasitic loads that are *much* larger than the drain of the propane detector.

Bob
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Old 10-26-2019, 04:31 PM   #3
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I did the same thing, just in a different location.
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Old 10-26-2019, 05:54 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post
Hi

Depending on just what options are built into your trailer, there may parasitic loads that are *much* larger than the drain of the propane detector.

Bob
Could you elaborate a bit?

Except for the propane detector, when in Store mode, wouldn't the batteries be disconnected from any 12V current draw, parasitic or otherwise?
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Old 10-26-2019, 06:21 PM   #5
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Not a fan of on/off switches on propane/CO detectors. Just replace mine and the install manual said this was "against code"

Consequences can be too high if you forget to turn on...like death

I would instead install a master cutoff on the battery bank. That removes power from the entire AS.
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Old 10-26-2019, 06:28 PM   #6
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Quoting from the MTI Install manual:

"Connect to wiring or circuit that CANNOT be turned off by a
switch or ground fault protector. Only use UL or recognized
permanent wire connectors. It is acceptable to connect the 70
Series CO / LP gas alarm to the main disconnect. The alarm will be
off along with all other 12 volt equipment when the main disconnect
is turned to the off position. The RV must not be occupied when the
main disconnect is in the off position."

Hence my recommendation of a battery cutoff switch.
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Old 10-26-2019, 06:55 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
Could you elaborate a bit?

Except for the propane detector, when in Store mode, wouldn't the batteries be disconnected from any 12V current draw, parasitic or otherwise?
Your subwoofer is always on. Depending on how Airstream decide to wire your trailer the day it was built, your DVD player, your inverter, maybe some other stuff, who knows? My trailer would drain the batteries from 12.9 volts to under 10 volts in less than ten days, with the batteries on store. So now I just disconnect the batteries at the posts, problem solved.

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Old 10-26-2019, 07:23 PM   #8
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Mine is wired to the trailer side of the battery disconnect switch. This switch is on whenever the trailer is in use so I don’t see a safety issue. With the battery disconnect switch off, nothing works.

Al
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Old 10-26-2019, 10:55 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Al and Missy View Post
Mine is wired to the trailer side of the battery disconnect switch. This switch is on whenever the trailer is in use so I don’t see a safety issue. With the battery disconnect switch off, nothing works.

Al
Ditto
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Old 10-27-2019, 12:29 AM   #10
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I moved mine to the other side of the battery disconnect switch. It is relatively easy to do if you have access to the disconnect solenoid.
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Old 10-27-2019, 07:54 AM   #11
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Fire investigators are very good at what they do. I would not have a switch in line with that detector for any reason.
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Old 10-27-2019, 07:55 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
Could you elaborate a bit?

Except for the propane detector, when in Store mode, wouldn't the batteries be disconnected from any 12V current draw, parasitic or otherwise?
Hi

Without knowing what is on your trailer it's a bit tough to guess what the other loads are.

If you have the stock inverter, it wires straight to the battery. Reported parasitic currents vary more than a little ( like over a 3:1 range ) so even guessing the current (is it really 1/4 A?) is tough.

Some sub woofers pull current even when the sound system is turned off. Again we start with "do you have one?". Even more than the inverters they vary in terms of current pulled. There *are* multiple models and systems that AS puts into these trailers.

Those are the two "biggies" as reported on most trailers. They each can (and often do) pull more than the propane detector.

Bob
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Old 10-27-2019, 11:22 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post
Hi

Without knowing what is on your trailer it's a bit tough to guess what the other loads are.

If you have the stock inverter, it wires straight to the battery. Reported parasitic currents vary more than a little ( like over a 3:1 range ) so even guessing the current (is it really 1/4 A?) is tough.

Some sub woofers pull current even when the sound system is turned off. Again we start with "do you have one?". Even more than the inverters they vary in terms of current pulled. There *are* multiple models and systems that AS puts into these trailers.

Those are the two "biggies" as reported on most trailers. They each can (and often do) pull more than the propane detector.

Bob
I concur
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Old 10-27-2019, 12:02 PM   #14
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I believe the only residual parasitic drain I have is from a keep alive circuit in my hydraulic brake actuator. It is 150mA...but I really don't want to bypass that one. Someone could hitch up, not knowing the power is shut off and have no brakes.

My solar now is way more than keeping up in storage, so no worries.
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Old 10-27-2019, 12:04 PM   #15
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Battery disconnect

We have a Sport 16 with 2 solar panels. If we flip the battery disconnect switch, does this also disconnect the solar controller from topping off the batteries?
From looking at the wiring under the dinette, it appears the solar will still charge the batteries. Looking for confirmation. Thanks.
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Old 10-27-2019, 12:33 PM   #16
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How many years did trailers come without propane detectors, I don't know but it was a lot. I have never heard of it being a problem.
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Old 10-27-2019, 01:35 PM   #17
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30 plus years ago my parents were parked next to a rv camper van. The people entered The van, shut the van doors. Then all of the windows blew out. My parents were not hurt. The folks in the van were hurt but survived. They had a propane leak. Probably no propane detector that long ago.
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Old 10-27-2019, 02:28 PM   #18
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How many years did trailers come without propane detectors, I don't know but it was a lot. I have never heard of it being a problem.
Oh, they work very well and are very useful. Anytime my wife sprays hairspray, the propane alarm goes off....and I know she's just about 1/2 beer away from being ready to go.
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Old 10-27-2019, 02:50 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Al and Missy View Post
Mine is wired to the trailer side of the battery disconnect switch. This switch is on whenever the trailer is in use so I don’t see a safety issue. With the battery disconnect switch off, nothing works.
Al
Whenever we are connected to shore power, I put the Use/Store switch to Store (off) position, to prevent the converter/charger from charging the battery bank (which is maintained charged by the solar controller).

In this case, the trailer's 12V electrical circuit is fed from the converter. Would the propane detector still be On if it is connected to the trailer side of the Use/Store switch (which would be in the Store position)?
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Old 10-27-2019, 02:53 PM   #20
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Taking control of the propane detector’s continuous battery drain

With power to the convertor and the switch in store, the red LED on the use/store panel should be lighted.

This indicates you have 12 volt power on the system, and, on this case, the propane detector would have power and operate correctly.

The green LED on the propane detector should be lighted to indicate it is powered.
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