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Old 12-04-2017, 06:04   #1
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Trident propane false alarms

I've got an older trident gas control panel (see pic) and the alarm keeps going off. I had the tanks serviced and they haven't been reconnected yet. They're definitely not leaking, it was sounding even when they weren't on the boat.

The alarm tends to go off at the coldest part of the day, like 5 or 6am. It's very hard to reset, sometimes I can stop it with a pin in the reset hole or by turning house power off and on but other times it just keeps blaring no matter what I do and I have to leave the power off to go back to sleep.

Any likely explanations or solutions here? Honestly I'm not even sure how the alarm works. I thought it was based on pressure changes which would make sense with the timing and would imply that when the tanks are reconnected it will work, but the more I search the more it seems likely to be a sniffer which would imply a faulty sensor. The alarm/sensor is located behind the stove.

And unless it was a lucky false alarm, the alarm did work correctly by alerting me that I had a leaky valve at the tank a couple months ago. Click image for larger version

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Old 12-04-2017, 06:09   #2
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Re: Trident propane false alarms

There is a sensor inside the boat. It should be somewhere low possibly in the bilge. Follow the wire from the control,panel to find the sensor.

It is not connected to your gas tanks and gas tank pressure is not used. The sensor "smells" the air around it and can detect when propane is present. When propane reaches a certain concentration it is supposed to sound the alarm. Often the sensor is placed low in a bilge and may become damaged from water or humidity. Also, the wiring might be corroded.
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Old 12-04-2017, 06:30   #3
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Re: Trident propane false alarms

There is a battery associated with the sensor, just like the smoke alarm in your house. Find it and change it. I had the same problem was you with false alarms. Changing the battery fixed the problem. Your comment about ambient temps indicates a near dead battery. Mine was a AA size.
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Old 12-04-2017, 06:37   #4
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Re: Trident propane false alarms

Interesting... Any idea which wire to follow? I can't find a manual for this panel. Click image for larger version

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Old 12-04-2017, 07:45   #5
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Re: Trident propane false alarms

From what I understand the sensors on these units don't last long , a year or two and go bad by giving false alarms .

Replace the sensor and you should be good to go .

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Old 12-04-2017, 07:46   #6
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Re: Trident propane false alarms

There should I believe be only four sets of wires going away from the panel
1. power
2. ground
3. wires for the solenoid
4. wires for the sensor

I'm betting on a bad sensor
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Old 12-04-2017, 08:09   #7
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Re: Trident propane false alarms

I found the sensor wires and followed them to the bilge and they seem to lead to a cylinder about the size of a can of spray paint, located right behind the bilge pump. This is not what I had envisioned but could this be it? It's gonna be very difficult to replace so I don't want to pull it out if I'm looking at the wrong thing.


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Old 12-04-2017, 08:13   #8
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Re: Trident propane false alarms

Should look like this

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Old 12-04-2017, 08:22   #9
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Re: Trident propane false alarms

Pictures might help but it doesn't sound like a propane sensor to me. Your sensor should be low and in line with the gas stove.

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Old 12-04-2017, 08:39   #10
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Re: Trident propane false alarms

A triplex wire coming off the control panel is labeled "gas detector in bilge". Although I can't trace its entire path, the same triplex wire does indeed lead into the bilge where it is bundled with other wires and I can no longer see which is which. The bundle splits again and leads to two things, one is the bilge pump and the other looks like a can of spray paint.

I'm still trying to figure out how to lift the board that both the bilge pump and this mystery cylinder is on. Whatever it is, it got soaked yesterday when I cleaned my bilge, but the false alarms started much earlier.


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Old 12-04-2017, 09:33   #11
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Re: Trident propane false alarms

I'd bet that whatever the wires labeled "gas detector in bilge" lead to is a high probability the gas detector in bilge

Can you contact the manufacturer, cause next step is to source a compatible sensor, and your likely calling them for that anyway
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Old 12-04-2017, 10:22   #12
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Re: Trident propane false alarms

My propane gas detector will sometimes alarm when the wet cell batteries are gassing a lot. Could that be what your experiencing?
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Old 12-04-2017, 10:22   #13
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Re: Trident propane false alarms

I believe that these sensors are "hot wire" thermal conductivity detectors. If so, there might be some cross-sensitivity to other reducing gases (e.g. methane or gasoline vapor). But also low battery voltage, loose wiring, or corrosion in the circuit can cause a false alarm.
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Old 12-04-2017, 10:30   #14
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Re: Trident propane false alarms

Quote:
Originally Posted by freshalaska View Post
My propane gas detector will sometimes alarm when the wet cell batteries are gassing a lot. Could that be what your experiencing?


Yes , mine use to do that when I had lead acid batteries on board . Stopped once I got the lead out .

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Old 12-04-2017, 10:48   #15
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Re: Trident propane false alarms

I heard from my boat's previous owner and got some clarity (he was actually following along here on the forum and got in touch). The spray can thing was just the float for the bilge pump and the only sensor is in the galley behind the stove, nothing in the bilge now. It seems they don't make detectors for my old panel anymore but the tech guy at Trident told me I can remove the Figaro TGS 813 screen and clean it or replace it and it might solve my false alarms. He also recommended not putting any sensors in the bilge because there are too many other fumes in there. Also you can test a sensor with the gas from a bic lighter, which did not set mine off so I might need a new one anyway.

So I'll clean the sensor and if that doesn't work I'll need a new panel. Thanks for the help, all.


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