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Old 07-29-2016, 02:21 PM   #1
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Propane sensor alarm malfunction

We've had our Escape 21' since September of 2014, and the Safe-T-Alert propane sensor has been a silent companion on all our trips. Suddenly, it's not so silent.

A few weeks ago, the alarm started to beep continuously every time the temperature became warm. Opening up the trailer and turning on the Maxx fan would get it to stop. We've left the vents open since then. Now, instead of a full-on alarm, the sensor just beeps once every minute or so, which would certainly wake us up when we are sleeping in the trailer on our next trip.

The propane has been turned off at the tanks since May.

Has anyone had a similar propane sensor malfunction? Is there any way to repair this devices, or would it be better to just install a new one? I presume it is included in Escape's two-year warranty. Thanks for your thoughts.
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Old 07-29-2016, 02:32 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Catchlight View Post
We've had our Escape 21' since September of 2014, and the Safe-T-Alert propane sensor has been a silent companion on all our trips. Suddenly, it's not so silent.

A few weeks ago, the alarm started to beep continuously every time the temperature became warm. Opening up the trailer and turning on the Maxx fan would get it to stop. We've left the vents open since then. Now, instead of a full-on alarm, the sensor just beeps once every minute or so, which would certainly wake us up when we are sleeping in the trailer on our next trip.

The propane has been turned off at the tanks since May.

Has anyone had a similar propane sensor malfunction? Is there any way to repair this devices, or would it be better to just install a new one? I presume it is included in Escape's two-year warranty. Thanks for your thoughts.
These detectors do have a limited life span. It is suggested to replace them every 5 years. You've had it for about 2 years and who knows how long it sat on a shelf before that. I would just replace it. I think they are about $50 and easy to replace.
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Old 07-29-2016, 02:35 PM   #3
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Try vacuuming the face plate. You'll see a best before or due date on the unit somewhere. Amazon sells them. They're an easy swap out. 2 wires, 2 screws.
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Old 07-29-2016, 03:10 PM   #4
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You're not the first and won't be the last, J Mac's suggestion is a good one as the detector is down near the floor and the filter can get clogged with dust and hair.
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Old 07-29-2016, 03:28 PM   #5
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Vacuum first. The date sticker is on the back of the unit, but the distributor told my dealer that the five years life span starts when you hook it up, so the sticker means little.
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Old 07-29-2016, 04:48 PM   #6
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Having the same problem. My unit was picked up July 2014.
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Old 07-29-2016, 05:21 PM   #7
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Having issues with mine, not quite the same in that it goes off while charging with solar or after being plugged into shore power for some time. Appears to tied to charging the batteries. Tried the vacuuming to no avail. I picked up my trailer in May of 2014.

I have heard there were some issues with a batch of these units but no specific dates as to when.

Replacing the unit seemed like the best solution until I looked at how the wiring is routed and how little slack there is in the wiring. I could not get the unit out of the wall far enough to clip the wires and on the 21 the battery box is on the other side. The wire is nicely screwed in at frequent intervals but I think I am looking at having to remove the battery box to replace the detector.

Cannot get at those wires easily.
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Old 07-29-2016, 05:50 PM   #8
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Mine started going off 6 months after I picked the trailer up. Couldn't get it to stop. ETI told me to call the company. It was replaced by the Saf-T-Alert folks under the warranty. 6 months later the new one started doing the same thing, even with propane tanks valved off. In my case, it always seemed to be sometime between 1:00 and 4:00 AM.......a real PITA. My propane alarm now has an inline switch mounted on the front of the passenger side dinette bench next to an electric outlet. Makes it very easy to silence it for the rest of the night.
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Old 07-29-2016, 09:05 PM   #9
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We had the same problem about six months after delivery. Called ETI. In the US had me call the manufacturer. They sent a new unit. I took out the old unit and replaced it with a new one and included an on/off toggle switch. It's kind of a tight fit as the detector backs up to the battery box and it was hard to get my big hands in there.
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Old 07-29-2016, 09:47 PM   #10
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What a coincidence - our alarm sounded for the first time today too! We picked up our trailer in January of this year. We've had 100+ degree weather for the last week and think that contributed to it. Also we had one of the propane tanks open just a bit - so maybe it was a valid alarm? Although I don't understand why it would leak and why it would leak into the trailer. We tightened up the tanks and let the trailer air a bit and it hasn't sounded again. If it doesn't sound again, I'm going to assume it was a valid alarm.
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Old 07-29-2016, 10:11 PM   #11
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Thanks Brent for bringing this to our attention. Ours started up last trip in May; sent an email requesting replacement unit to MTI Industries who makes this unit.
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Old 07-29-2016, 11:14 PM   #12
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Jill, I have to ask; have you seen your husband lately? Is he conscious? Alert? Groggy? Awake?
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Old 07-30-2016, 06:20 AM   #13
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What a coincidence - our alarm sounded for the first time today too! We picked up our trailer in January of this year. We've had 100+ degree weather for the last week and think that contributed to it. Also we had one of the propane tanks open just a bit - so maybe it was a valid alarm? Although I don't understand why it would leak and why it would leak into the trailer. We tightened up the tanks and let the trailer air a bit and it hasn't sounded again. If it doesn't sound again, I'm going to assume it was a valid alarm.
Jill, while I wouldn't make that assumption having dealt with this problem, it may very well have been a valud alert. While conversing with the manufacturer, I was told that if a dog lays next to the detector, it could go off. And many things (outgassing, paint odors, etc.) Mine is installed in the front of the dinette bench, somewhat near and in the same compartment as the supposedly sealed battery box. Since the detector has openings on its front and back side, I have often wondered if slight amounts of hydrogen gas are leaking into the compartment and not all are going out of the battery's vent tube. I have found that opening the outside hatch and placing a small fan in the storage compartment will sometimes clear the problem and stop the alarm. But you haven't lived until a propane alarm rattles you out of a deep sleep betwee 1:00 and 4:00 AM (when ours typically goes off). That is why ours is now controlled by a toggle switch; shut it off and deal with it in the morning unless I smell propane. Yes, I want to know if there is a propane leak, but any technology that produces unexplainable phantom alarms like the "boy who cried wolf" can create other issues. While it is better to be safe than sorry, being awakened three nights in a row in the middle of the night when the detector functioned "flawlessly" (no other alarms) for the rest of that 72 hour period was a bit much for us. After screwing around with it for 15 minutes in the middle of the night, it is often difficult to fall asleep again.
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Old 07-30-2016, 06:28 AM   #14
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My thoughts exactly on the batteries being the source. Haven't had mine go off during a trip as yet but I think a disconnect switch is going in the spares box.
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Old 07-30-2016, 11:01 AM   #15
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This seems to predominantly be affecting relatively new 21's and 5.0 TA's which have the batteries located inside. Maybe the detectors are not defective but picking up interior leaks from the battery boxes. Don't know how valid it is but I've read a couple of places that batteries off-gassing will set off the propane detectors.
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Old 07-30-2016, 11:21 AM   #16
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Ten Forward is two years old and my propane detector hasn't gone off once (knock wood). But then again, I don't have a pet that may leave hair on the floor and I vacuum the filter after every trip... because I'm vacuuming the floor anyway. Or maybe the propane detector in my trailer is an anomaly.
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Old 07-30-2016, 11:41 AM   #17
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Ten Forward is two years old and my propane detector hasn't gone off once (knock wood). But then again, I don't have a pet that may leave hair on the floor and I vacuum the filter after every trip... because I'm vacuuming the floor anyway. Or maybe the propane detector in my trailer is an anomaly.
2013 and never had the alarm go off . Have 3 Shih tzu's . Never cleaned alarm , maybe will do it now as a precaution . Pat
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Old 07-30-2016, 12:45 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Steve Clark View Post
Jill, I have to ask; have you seen your husband lately? Is he conscious? Alert? Groggy? Awake?
Hahaha! Unfortunately we've only been able to use our trailer 4 nights since pickup in January! It's been sitting closed up on our driveway. When I open it up it has a strong "new trailer" odor which could contribute to the problem? Not the odor itself, but the gasses from all those new materials?

Today it sounded again, coincidentally around the same time as yesterday, and that is with the propane tanks fully off this time. So I don't think it was a valid alarm. Timing wise, the sun is hitting the solar panels and probably recharging the battery so maybe it is related to recharging?

For now, I turned off the battery switch and left some windows open to air things out. Hmmm. If I plug in the trailer so the sensor gets power, and leave the battery switch off so I can be sure the battery isn't charging, and the alarm stops, can I assume battery charging is the cause
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Old 07-30-2016, 01:23 PM   #19
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Battery will charge whether the battery switch is on or off. Solar goes direct to battery and I'm not sure but shore power will probably continue to charge the battery with switch off, but someone else can confirm that one way or another.
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Old 07-30-2016, 01:42 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by C&G in FL View Post
Jill, while I wouldn't make that assumption having dealt with this problem, it may very well have been a valud alert. While conversing with the manufacturer, I was told that if a dog lays next to the detector, it could go off. And many things (outgassing, paint odors, etc.) Mine is installed in the front of the dinette bench, somewhat near and in the same compartment as the supposedly sealed battery box. Since the detector has openings on its front and back side, I have often wondered if slight amounts of hydrogen gas are leaking into the compartment and not all are going out of the battery's vent tube. I have found that opening the outside hatch and placing a small fan in the storage compartment will sometimes clear the problem and stop the alarm. But you haven't lived until a propane alarm rattles you out of a deep sleep betwee 1:00 and 4:00 AM (when ours typically goes off). That is why ours is now controlled by a toggle switch; shut it off and deal with it in the morning unless I smell propane. Yes, I want to know if there is a propane leak, but any technology that produces unexplainable phantom alarms like the "boy who cried wolf" can create other issues. While it is better to be safe than sorry, being awakened three nights in a row in the middle of the night when the detector functioned "flawlessly" (no other alarms) for the rest of that 72 hour period was a bit much for us. After screwing around with it for 15 minutes in the middle of the night, it is often difficult to fall asleep again.
Do you folks have the dual 6 volt or single 12 volt batteries? I ask because I wonder if the golf cart batteries don't produce a lot more gas than a single battery. Golf carts aren't sealed as well so hydrogen leaks aren't a problem. I just remember refilling a golf cart battery bank once and the caps just easily popped off. My car batteries caps need to be pried off with the help of a screwdriver.
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