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CO detector goes off, ?? false alarm


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Hi,

      I have a new Ollie, hull #1081.  Last night at 9pm, with no one inside the Ollie since about noon, I walk by and the CO detector is screaming, the red light is flashing, CO DETECTED!  

HUH?  That morning I had noted the green light on the detector..... I have not used the heater in about a week.  I am connected to shore power.  I am way off the road, no nearby cars, trucks or even lawn mower.  Have not used the AC in a couple days.  Have not even used the inside stove once yet.  It is new, and we haven't taken our first trip yet.   I have run water thru the sink, when de-winterizing, no fog, mist or excess moisture.  My indoor humidity ranges between 40 and 55.   Fridge is set to Auto, and we are on shore power.  Where did CO come from??

First thing I did was turn off propane tanks.  Went inside.... no smell (yes I know CO is oderless), no fog or mist or any smell other than the smell of a new Ollie (fiberglass smell).  Nothing running, furnace off, lights off.  I pushed the silence button and waited outside.  After a minute or two, it screamed again.  Went inside an got my home CO unit and pluged it  in and left Ollie door open.  Came back a few minutes later.  My home unit did not go off, and Ollie detector switched back to green.

Any thoughts?  False alarm?  We did have a two hour thunderstorm in the afternoon, but after storm passed, I walked by Ollie at least twice and never heard the scream.... No nearby combustion going on, no nothing.  Today, alarm is back to green.

Dave

TV 2020 Audi Q7, no weight distribution hitch.  Ollie E2, Hull #1081, born April 2022.

 

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You might want to  open a service ticket with Oliver. They may be helpful.

2018 Oliver Elite II, Hull #354 | 2018 RAM 1500 Rebel 4 x 4, 5.7 Hemi, 3.92 gear ratio

 

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I assume that you are talking about the CO/propane alarm located under the dinette?  

As a general comment there is not great air circulation under that area.  Sometimes this leads to "stale" air coming in contact with what has been know to be "sensitive" detectors.  All kinds of different situations can cause these things to go off - and usually at 3am too - so count yourself lucky.  Any combination of that t-storm, a new Ollie that is still "gassing off", a pet (methane) or perhaps simple stale air in general might set it off.  Leaving the Ollie door open is probably what did the trick but in the future if you have a small fan it might get the alarm to reset faster.  If the alarm continues to go off without reason then I'd document it and let Oliver Service know.

Bill

p.s.  I just saw another thread in which you report smelling propane.  Have you found the source of that odor yet - these two things could certainly be related.

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2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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There should be two CO detectors unless things have changed, a combination smoke/ CO round residential type one in back, and a propane/ CO detector down low under the dinette. Do you have two? If so, which is squawking?

I suspect a bad unit, Oliver will send you a replacement. The dinette one will require making two electrical splices since it is hard wired to 12 volts. The rear one comes off with a twist and takes batteries.

Please add a signature with your TV info and your model and Hull number.

John Davies

Spokane WA

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"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags, Safari snorkel.

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You said the propane was on and the fridge was set to auto and your Ollie was closed up tight for nine hours.  One possible cause for the alarm could be combustion air seeping into the trailer through the Norcold refrigerator front control panel.  I have evidence that Norcold has a design flaw that provides combustion air a clear path through the refrigerator control panel into the trailer.  I am not the only one that has noticed this, which is only evident when the wind is blowing hard into the curb side of the trailer (In my case, the air was coming in hard enough to blow out a small candle).  OTT has been great in trying to troubleshoot this with me, but Norcold claims it is not their problem and OTT has not been able to develop an aftermarket repair as Norcold claims that any modification would void the warranty.  (It is definitely not a problem with the installation of the refrigerator by OTT as a repair shop told me that OTT's installation was far better than what they typically see).

It is possible that there was a very slow seepage of combustion contaminated air (or propane) from the back of the refrigerator into the trailer over many hours.  The Ollie is very tight when closed up and it wouldn't dissipate easily.  You said you were on shore power so the refer may have been running on 120 volts and not propane.  If there were a very slow leak in the propane lines in the back of the refrigerator though, this could also explain how propane got into the trailer.  Propane is heavier than air and would immediately pool in the floor area under the dinette and even small amounts over many hours could have set off the detector.  I would check for propane leaks outside the trailer at the back of the refrigerator.

There have been numerous posts on this forum of the propane detector being too sensitive or going off for unexplained reasons.  It is possible that the combustion air path through the front control panel of the Norcold refrigerator has been the cause of some of these false alarms.  Maybe they are not all false.

You may want to open a repair ticket with OTT so they are aware of your issue.  In my opinion, Norcold should take this issue more seriously, because I believe Norcold may be selling a product with a safety related design defect. 

 

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Steve and Lornie

LE II Standard  Hull #657  2004 4Runner 4.7 L V8

Oregon

COIDKSMOORTNUTWYmed.jpg

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Based on the description I suspect one of two possibilities: small propane leak or defective detector. The fact that the issue was resolved after shutting off the propane and venting the trailer makes me lean toward the propane leak.

Stephanie and Dudley from CT.  2022 LE2, Hull #1150: Eggcelsior.

Tow vehicle: 2016 GMC Sierra 6.0 gas dually 4x4.

Our Oliver journey: Steph and Dud B's RV Screed

Where we've been RVing since 1999:

ALAZCACOCTDEFLGAIDILINIAKYLAMDMAMIMNMSMOMTNENVNHNMNYNCNDOHOKORPASCSDTNTXUTVTVAWAWVWIWYmed.jpg.e6391b9064a3f8f0951751f985664135.jpg

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Thanks for all your thoughts above.

As far as I can see there is only one detector installed on this new OTT, it is a combined Propane/CO detector installed below the small dinette, similar or the same as the Unit John installed when his monitor expired....  The unit indicated CO was high, not propane.  

I did report to OTT, and they are sending me a new detector.  I have also ordered a hand held propane detector sensitive to 50 ppm, probably more sensitive than my nose, and also a new "home" plug in CO/propane detector that I will plug in toward rear of trailer.

I had been on shore power so I don't think the CO came from fridge, and it was not very windy the day/night it went off..... but will monitor that appliance as well.

When I first got the Ollie home, I thought I smelled a whiff of propane, outside toward rear, twice, for just a second.... and then it was gone.  At that time I was using the heater intermittently.  Did not detect again, and wondered if it may have been a random puff from heater having been used recently.  Have not noted since, but will turn the propane back on and monitor when I get my sniffer.

Thanks again!

Dave

 

 

TV 2020 Audi Q7, no weight distribution hitch.  Ollie E2, Hull #1081, born April 2022.

 

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50 minutes ago, Dave and Dana said:

John,

      I can not figure out on website how to add a "signature" for my TV and Ollie.

Dave

 

Go to the three bars/"hamburger" button. From the drop down, selrct account, then account settings, then settings area, then signature.

It's quite the treasure hunt to find it....

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12

 

 

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2 hours ago, Chukarhunter said:

There have been numerous posts on this forum of the propane detector being too sensitive or going off for unexplained reasons.  It is possible that the combustion air path through the front control panel of the Norcold refrigerator has been the cause of some of these false alarms.  Maybe they are not all false.

I have attached a PDF file from Norcold.  On page 7 it references a combustion seal that is designed to prevent this problem.  Either the seal is missing, damaged or the OTT cabinet is not cut properly to receive the refrigerator.  I have an appointment with OTT next month to take a look at this.  Hopefully the problem will be resolved.  There is no doubt air moves into the cabin around the control panel on a windy day.  Best of luck 🙂 

John  

911746810_Norcoldrefrigerator.pdf

Oliver II #996 "Bessie", 2019 Silverado LTZ 5.3, Veterans

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1 hour ago, Dave and Dana said:

As far as I can see there is only one detector installed on this new OTT, it is a combined Propane/CO detector installed below the small dinette

Check your "smoke alarm" at the rear street side ceiling.  In years past this unit also functions as another CO detector.

Bill

2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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So, correction.... I do have a CO/Smoke detector in rear by TV.  It is functioning.

The unit under the front dinette is the one which was indicating high CO.  It is an "RV Safe; CO and Propane" detector.

As CO is lighter than air, and as rear CO detector was not going off, I think it is a safe bet that the RV Safe unit was a false alarm or defective.

I guess it could have been some other gas or propane, but I think unlikely.  Will monitor with my sniffer when I need to turn gas back on..... getting cold again here.

Thanks everyone for your input.

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TV 2020 Audi Q7, no weight distribution hitch.  Ollie E2, Hull #1081, born April 2022.

 

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On 5/16/2022 at 10:27 AM, johnwen said:

There is no doubt air moves into the cabin around the control panel on a windy day.

With the help of Mike Sharp at OTT, I think we may have identified why the Norcold control panel leaks outside air into the trailer around the upper front control panel .  It is unlikely related to the combustion seal that seals the mounting fin of the refrigerator to the cabinet, nor is it due to an incorrectly sized cabinet opening.  Norcold appears to have engineered an approximately one square inch penetration (hole) between the back of the trailer and the inside front of the control panel.  Mike provided the following picture of what the backside of the control panel looks like before the refrigerator is installed. 

 

image.png.a780efb9663616ee80c6e33c6f9383ad.png

Note there is an approximate 1 inch square hole in the circuit board.  This allows a direct path for outside air to enter the Oliver, basically negating the effectiveness of the combustion seal.  Everyone's Ollie with this 3-way Norcold unit probably has this defect.  A simple fix (hack) would seem to be to tape over the 1 inch hole on the circuit board.  Unfortunately, there is no way to reach the back of the control panel to do so without pulling the refrigerator out.  Mike was going to take this up with the engineering committee to see what, if anything OTT could do without running afoul of the Norcold warranty.

Hopefully when Johnwen checks in with OTT next month, we will know more about what can be done about this, including whether Norcold will accept any accountability.  OTT has gone to extraordinary lengths to make the Oliver a true 4-season (and safe) trailer.  It is unfortunate that Norcold appears to have undercut OTT's best efforts.

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Steve and Lornie

LE II Standard  Hull #657  2004 4Runner 4.7 L V8

Oregon

COIDKSMOORTNUTWYmed.jpg

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Hi Chukarhunter,

My circuit board does have the hole you described but the board appears to be set away from the structure so there is a 1/2 in, or so, gap that would allow air behind the circuit board from any angle, not just through the square hole shown in the picture.  If I look 1 inch to the left of the board and 6 inches to the right, I see 1/2 inch wide, vertical mount/support, metal bars.  And to the outside of them there is a 1/2 gap that air could penetrate.  Since these is no way for me to see through that gap, I couldn't guess whether or not air can penetrate from behind there.  

John

Oliver II #996 "Bessie", 2019 Silverado LTZ 5.3, Veterans

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AHAAAAA!!!!  After lying around all night I came up with the idea of approaching this problem from another angle 🙂  I took a very bright light, at night, and shone it from the top of the control panel on the front of the refrigerator, inside the trailer, and there it was plain as day as I looked through the upper vent from the outside......it is an improper mating of the fridge and the cabinet, at the top of the unit.  My guess is that the fridge frame is not compressing the combustion seal and there is a gap between the two.  Anyway, at least I can identify the problem with the aid of my flashlight.  Now, to get it fixed will be next!

John

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Oliver II #996 "Bessie", 2019 Silverado LTZ 5.3, Veterans

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5 minutes ago, johnwen said:

AHAAAAA!!!!  After lying around all night I came up with the idea of approaching this problem from another angle 🙂  I took a very bright light, at night, and shone it from the top of the control panel on the front of the refrigerator, inside the trailer, and there it was plain as day as I looked through the upper vent from the outside......it is an improper mating of the fridge and the cabinet, at the top of the unit.  My guess is that the fridge frame is not compressing the combustion seal and there is a gap between the two.  Anyway, at least I can identify the problem with the aid of my flashlight.  Now, to get it fixed will be next!

John

I submitted this to OTT

Oliver II #996 "Bessie", 2019 Silverado LTZ 5.3, Veterans

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Definitely a safety issue if gases from the combustion chamber can reach the trailer interior. Would a bead of clear silicone around the interior control panel work?

Stephanie and Dudley from CT.  2022 LE2, Hull #1150: Eggcelsior.

Tow vehicle: 2016 GMC Sierra 6.0 gas dually 4x4.

Our Oliver journey: Steph and Dud B's RV Screed

Where we've been RVing since 1999:

ALAZCACOCTDEFLGAIDILINIAKYLAMDMAMIMNMSMOMTNENVNHNMNYNCNDOHOKORPASCSDTNTXUTVTVAWAWVWIWYmed.jpg.e6391b9064a3f8f0951751f985664135.jpg

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1 minute ago, Steph and Dud B said:

Definitely a safety issue if gases from the combustion chamber can reach the trailer interior. Would a bead of clear silicone around the interior control panel work?

Will try to corner Jason E. at the rally today and talk about this issue.

Oliver II #996 "Bessie", 2019 Silverado LTZ 5.3, Veterans

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Sorry to say this is not uncommon for travel trailer, or RV's in general. Ours has done this from time to time over the last 3 years of ownership, I would read all the replies and do what most suggest doing, but totally disconnect it is not an option. 

trainman

Elite II, Twin Bed, Hull #489, 2019 RAM 1500, 5.7 Hemi, 4X4, Crew Cab, 5'7" bed, Towing Package, 3.92 Gears.

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Thanks for the info on Fridge unit and combustion chamber seal.

Sounds like everyone here and OTT is on the problem.  I will monitor and look for a proposed fix/recall on this issue.

Dave

 

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TV 2020 Audi Q7, no weight distribution hitch.  Ollie E2, Hull #1081, born April 2022.

 

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To close my original post: 

The CO detector under the dinette just went off again today......

Ollie is on shore power, no one in or near camper today.  Propane off for more than 24 hours; no heater, fridge not on gas, no cars or engines nearby.  Detector by TV is not going off.

I put a new Kidde CO monitor in the Ollie the other day, it reads ZERO CO.  I think it is Safe to say original problem was a faulty sensor.

OTT has already sent out a new RV SAFE, CO and Propane detector.

 

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TV 2020 Audi Q7, no weight distribution hitch.  Ollie E2, Hull #1081, born April 2022.

 

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