CO detector goes off all the time when cruising very embarrassing - 2008 350 Cruiser - Merc 350

BriteEyesBriteEyes Posts: 7Member

It is very annoying and we can't figure out what would cause our CO detector to go off when we are cruising.

We do smell the gas and have ensured the blowers are working and the two intake holes in the hatch component are clear of any articles.

The CO detector has a green light on and does eventually go out after we dock.

Does anyone else have this issue or know how to resolve it?

Could I have too much stored in my aft area?

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Answers

  • BriteEyesBriteEyes Posts: 7Member
    Thanks - the captain agrees we are back drafting. We just had strataglass installed cross the front and since it doesn't role up so we didn't remove it.  We do have isinglass on the sides back sides/rear - we had the rear off but still had everything up EXCEPT for the small center part above the door/window to climb out on the bow.  The cabin hatch is always closed.   Next trip out we will remove the sides and backs and see if it helps - thanks for the suggestions - As it is very embarrassing and annoying to have to listen to the alarm for the entire ride. 
  • Black_DiamondBlack_Diamond Holland, MichiganPosts: 2,073Member ✭✭✭✭✭
    If it is going off, not just annoying, it means CO levels are dangerously high. Take it serious! Symptoms can be: dizzy, sleepy, sick, disoriented.

    2003 342FV "Black Diamond", PC BYC, Holland, MI
  • Michael TMichael T Posts: 1,491Member ✭✭✭✭
    I hate to admit that I did something completely moronic, but here goes. When we were putting the first 20 "break-in" hours on our new EC 310 we were keeping it on plane at 3300 rpm and above. I was well aware of the "backdrafting" phenominon so we had the front center canvass window open, the small side windows open and the back zip-out canvass clear plastic door open. The first day I felt worse as the day went on. We were out for about 3 hours. When we got back to the marina I did not feel well enough to go out to diinner so a lay down. About two hours later I felt a bit bertter. I did it again the second time out - what a genius! Again, I felt worse and worse. Finally the co detector in the cabin went off. I said to the Admiral, "I'm a moron, I've been gassing us". I could smell exhaust fumes and should have known that CO was accompanying it. I bought a very sensitive CO detector for the cockpit and placed it on the refreshment counter the next time out. Sure enough, the CO numbers on the digital read out started climbing. It was amazing how much canvass I had to remove from the front to counteract the backdraft and make the cockpit CO detector's reading go down. Maybe the EC 310 with its hardtop is more prone to "backdrafting" ? At any rate, I learned a valuable lesson befopre it was too late for anyone. I have bone marrow cancer so I was really mad at myself. Please take some advice and be careful! MT
  • Black_DiamondBlack_Diamond Holland, MichiganPosts: 2,073Member ✭✭✭✭✭
    I'd recommend using a CO detector at the helm too. I bought an extra a few years ago and use it as my early warning system.

    2003 342FV "Black Diamond", PC BYC, Holland, MI
  • cettialpha6cettialpha6 Posts: 7Member

    I have a bowrider but my detector was located in the head compartment. It went off when running also and I thought it was a low battery but it was wired to the main batteries of the boat. The engine when running sounded louder and it turned out to be a leaking exhaaust manifold which at the time was covered by mercruiser,   The dealer fixed it so I can't relay any fix for you, but I think it was just a new gasket. Hope this helps

    Art

  • craigswardmtbcraigswardmtb Posts: 169Member ✭✭
    I have had that issue as well when cold and the canvas is up. We find that opening the front, front sides, and leaving the rear panels completely closed helped keep the fumes out.
  • WeberWeber Posts: 123Member ✭✭✭
    Check out low level co monitors. Most detectors alert at high levels, 70 ppm or hiigher for extended periods of time. If you have children, health issues, or are older you should ave a monitor on your boat, not a detector.
    Sin or Swim - Rinker 312
  • Lifes GoodLifes Good Posts: 304Member ✭✭✭
    We run with one of the small bow hatches open slightly and the back glass zipper "bug screen" open half way when not warm enough to pull the top back.  Its enough to create a stream of fresh air while keeping us warm enough to enjoy the boat.  The no more alarms and a zero reading.  Another thing that has helped a lot is the dinghy.  It stopped the station wagon affect or at least pushed it away from entering the boat.

    LG
  • frodo13056frodo13056 Posts: 91Member ✭✭✭
    I've always had a CO detector in the cockpit (and cabin) - not only for when I'm running but also for when I'm rafted up and other boat are running their generators. CO is extremely dangerous and more often than not, by the time you realize something is wrong, it's too late.
  • TikiHut2TikiHut2 Sarasota, FlPosts: 1,260Member ✭✭✭✭
    Detector vs monitor....While I have two detectors on-board, I never considered the real need for a more sensitive monitor type nor the need for having one in the cockpit but it sure makes sense. Are monitors readily available in a battery operated version and how many others here even bother?

    The humble admissions of real life oversight here has me thinking. Thanks for sharing those stories.
    2004 FV270, 300hp 5.7 350mag MPI Merc 305hrs, 2:20 Bravo3 OD w.22p props, 12v Lenco tabs, Kohler 5kw genset, A/C, etc.etc...
    Regular weekender, Trailer stored indoors, M/V TikiHut, Sarasota, Fl
  • TonyWalkerTonyWalker Palmetto, FLPosts: 293Member ✭✭✭

    I have had my cabin alarm go off (with the cabin door closed or open) after cruising for maybe 4 hours at trawler speeds.

    If I removed the alarm from the cabin and placed it on the deck in front of the windshield it would continue sounding for a couple of minutes before shutting down.

    All of this while having plenty of fresh air coming in over the windshield and thru the open center section.

    So here is the question. Does the detector respond to a low level, lower than the trigger threshhold and trigger after a sufficiently long period of time?  In other words does it cumulate a low level that is in itself below the threshhold and integrate it over time (remember calculus?) into a total number above the threshhold?

    Maybe with my new engines, I will have fewer such issues since these engines are supposed to produce lower levels of CO than earlier versions.  These engines are 7 years newer than the ones they replaced.

    Just for fun I took the alarm into my garage and started the car.  Door was open of course.  It screemed at me within milliseconds.

     Tony

    Salt Shaker 342

  • Black_DiamondBlack_Diamond Holland, MichiganPosts: 2,073Member ✭✭✭✭✭
  • Black_DiamondBlack_Diamond Holland, MichiganPosts: 2,073Member ✭✭✭✭✭

    Cheap at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Ultra-Level-Carbon-Monoxide-Detector/dp/B00BTK3M46

    Cheap in BU currency (1 Boat Unit =$100)

    2003 342FV "Black Diamond", PC BYC, Holland, MI
  • BoatAwayBoatAway DCPosts: 169Member ✭✭✭

    Cheap in BU currency (1 Boat Unit =$100)

     

    hahaha! that's like boat inflation; just remove two zeros!!!

  • TikiHut2TikiHut2 Sarasota, FlPosts: 1,260Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited June 2013
    BU ;) 

    Nice link BD but there's too many beans in our diet for the Pocket Unit (lets call it the PU).

    Seriously, one of the issues back in the engine compartment on our 270 was a lack of fire resistant sealant in a number of spots at the bulkhead to prevent gases from moving into the fwd section of the boat. This could be catastrophic if you had a manifold leak ....or worse, gas fumes migrating forward
    Post edited by TikiHut2 on
    2004 FV270, 300hp 5.7 350mag MPI Merc 305hrs, 2:20 Bravo3 OD w.22p props, 12v Lenco tabs, Kohler 5kw genset, A/C, etc.etc...
    Regular weekender, Trailer stored indoors, M/V TikiHut, Sarasota, Fl
  • Black_DiamondBlack_Diamond Holland, MichiganPosts: 2,073Member ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Tony, good point and always something new to learn: alarm points on carbon monoxide detectors are not a simple alarm level (as in smoke detectors) but are a concentration-time function. At lower concentrations (e.g. 100 parts per million) the detector will not sound an alarm for many tens of minutes. At 400 parts per million (PPM), the alarm will sound within a few minutes. This concentration-time function is intended to mimic the uptake of carbon monoxide in the body while also preventing false alarms due to relatively common sources of carbon monoxide such as cigarette smoke.

    OSHA will tell you 50ppm/8 hours, EPA limits at 35ppm/1 hour as some reference.Your furnace is set at ~9ppm at the register, max obviously.

    A CO alarm is also not good much past 5-7 years, means I need a new one I think at 10 years :p  Got my 'learned something new today' award on that one!

    2003 342FV "Black Diamond", PC BYC, Holland, MI
  • WeberWeber Posts: 123Member ✭✭✭
    TikiHut2 said:
    Detector vs monitor....While I have two detectors on-board, I never considered the real need for a more sensitive monitor type nor the need for having one in the cockpit but it sure makes sense. Are monitors readily available in a battery operated version and how many others here even bother?

    The humble admissions of real life oversight here has me thinking. Thanks for sharing those stories.

    The low level CO monitors that I sell are the NSI 3000 model. I will not boat without one.
    Sin or Swim - Rinker 312
  • Black_DiamondBlack_Diamond Holland, MichiganPosts: 2,073Member ✭✭✭✭✭
    Does that NSI-3000 work of 12vdc and a battery?

    2003 342FV "Black Diamond", PC BYC, Holland, MI
  • WeberWeber Posts: 123Member ✭✭✭
  • Black_DiamondBlack_Diamond Holland, MichiganPosts: 2,073Member ✭✭✭✭✭
    can you get them retail or only through HVAC guys?

    2003 342FV "Black Diamond", PC BYC, Holland, MI
  • TikiHut2TikiHut2 Sarasota, FlPosts: 1,260Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited June 2013
    Weber, Thanks for the insight.

    1. Are you using these on your boat?
    2. If so, are they truly almost too sensitive for boating?
    3. Who is the mfg?
    4. Where can I get 3?

    I'd think that there might be 2 in the cabin for redundancy and one at the helm if that sounds reasonable.

    After reading Tony and MTs stories I may/may not have an answer for a very weird illness that came upon the Admiral on the 1st day of a week long memorial holiday cruise. She was 100% fine the 1st day out running the boat about 25mi with no canvas up. That 1st evening she completely collasped into a weakness and nausea that halted our plans for 5days eventually causing us to simply remain docked at a marina while she slowly regained her strength. No typical CO headache but certainly a very slow recovery that ended a boating week trip. May be unrelated since I have a working CO detector in the cabin, no canvas up, no following wind and had no issues myself but better safe than sorry so here comes an easy upgrade. 
    Post edited by TikiHut2 on
    2004 FV270, 300hp 5.7 350mag MPI Merc 305hrs, 2:20 Bravo3 OD w.22p props, 12v Lenco tabs, Kohler 5kw genset, A/C, etc.etc...
    Regular weekender, Trailer stored indoors, M/V TikiHut, Sarasota, Fl
  • bat32bat32 Posts: 161Member ✭✭✭
    edited June 2013

    Ok maybe I can shed some light on the subject.  As a firefighter we deal with CO alarms a lot.  The alarm does not go of based on the length of the exposure; just the amount.  Most are set to 40ppm but have seen some as low as 10.  The typical household will have 4-6 ppm around your natural gas appliances when in use.  This is why you don't install CO detectors next to the oven, furnace and or garage (just the exhaust from starting the car will set them off).  

    As for the difference between an alarm or monitor/detector... Usually only the FD or the gas company needs a monitor/detector to find the source of the leak.  I would reccomend however a CO alarm with a digital read out.  They are pretty cheap and will tell you the exact amount of CO you are being exposed to.  By the way anything over 40ppm we are using airpacks for.  400 ppm is very lethal, very fast. 

    Now you have to know how to use your monitor once you install it.  We constantly receive calls for the CO alarm going off.  When we get there the alarm will read  87 or 97(depending on manufacturer).  When turned upsidown these numbers turn into the initials LB/Lb for Low Batttery.  Some will give a series of beeps every five minutes to notifiy of a low battery.  Either way, read the instructions and know your detector.

    CO is very real and very dangerous.  The traditional signs of "rosy cheeks, headache and nausea" are late signs and symptoms.  By then it is too late and you are exposed.  CO binds with the blood 70 more readily than O2.  It is also something that really never goes away out of your system.  So everytime you are over exposed the worse it is for you.  Eventually one day you just hit a breaking point.  So install and check those alarms in the house and the boat!!

    Hope this helps and I will try to answer any other questions the best I can.  Be Safe!!  

     

    Post edited by bat32 on

     

  • WeberWeber Posts: 123Member ✭✭✭
    There is a lot of bad and incorrect information on the web and in this thread.
    Sin or Swim - Rinker 312
  • WeberWeber Posts: 123Member ✭✭✭
    can you get them retail or only through HVAC guys?

    I'm sure you can find them on the web somewhere, but I believe they are supposed to be only sold through certified co specialists.
    Sin or Swim - Rinker 312
  • Black_DiamondBlack_Diamond Holland, MichiganPosts: 2,073Member ✭✭✭✭✭
    The truth is on the internet...lol  But not really seeing anything bad about wanting to monitor CO at the helm or below deck while underway, rafted up, etc.  I know personally I was out once when I was new to the boat and non of us felt good after the ride..looking back I'm sure it was CO with the canvas up and slow going due to weather, since then I always make sure air is moving through and if the CO alarm I have goes off people know to get out of the cabin ASAP.

    2003 342FV "Black Diamond", PC BYC, Holland, MI
  • WeberWeber Posts: 123Member ✭✭✭
    TikiHut2 said:
    Weber, Thanks for the insight.

    1. Are you using these on your boat?
    2. If so, are they truly almost too sensitive for boating?
    3. Who is the mfg?
    4. Where can I get 3?

    I'd think that there might be 2 in the cabin for redundancy and one at the helm if that sounds reasonable.

    After reading Tony and MTs stories I may/may not have an answer for a very weird illness that came upon the Admiral on the 1st day of a week long memorial holiday cruise. She was 100% fine the 1st day out running the boat about 25mi with no canvas up. That 1st evening she completely collasped into a weakness and nausea that halted our plans for 5days eventually causing us to simply remain docked at a marina while she slowly regained her strength. No typical CO headache but certainly a very slow recovery that ended a boating week trip. May be unrelated since I have a working CO detector in the cabin, no canvas up, no following wind and had no issues myself but better safe than sorry so here comes an easy upgrade. 

    Yes, I have them on my boat, and in my home on each floor. I would not trust my families safety to any other "alarm" or monitor. There is no such thing as to sensitive to me. If my kids are in an rea exposed to low levels, I want to know about it. I still have the detector model that the comes from the boat manufacture, as that one complies with the UL listing. The monitors exceed the UL listing as the the UL listing is concerned with high levels of CO. Here is a quote from the UL standard 2034: Carbon monoxide alarms covered by this standard are not intended to alarm when exposed to long term, low level carbon monoxide exposures or slightly higher short term transient carbon monoxide exposures, possibly caused by air pollution and/or properly installed/maintained fuel-fired appliances and fireplaces.
    Sin or Swim - Rinker 312
  • bat32bat32 Posts: 161Member ✭✭✭
    edited June 2013
    Wow. must be a CO specialist.  By the way there isn't an alarm/detector/monitor out there that waits till 70ppm to alarm.
    Post edited by bat32 on

     

  • TonyWalkerTonyWalker Palmetto, FLPosts: 293Member ✭✭✭
    Just a story about probable CO poisoning.  My folks had a 1938 model 38 foot Mathews double cabin boat from 1947 until 1952.  They entertained a lot.  Mostly by taking friends aboard this boat from our home near Detroit to Put-in-Bay for an overnight on the weekend.
     
    My folks would frequently have seasick guests on these trips.  They always believed it was just that their guests had no "sea legs."  But now that I know more, I think it was a result of these guests sitting in the stern cockpit which they almost always did, enjoying the ride across the lake but being exposed to CO from the "station wagon" effect.
     
    In those days the idea of CO poisoning was not on any list of things to think about.
     
    Tony
    Salt Shaker 342
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