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    Carbon monoxide alarm tripping from charging batteries

    I just added several new batteries to my inverter system. Now I am getting alarms on the CO detector in the master stateroom, even when nothing is on (engines, generator, grill,etc). A little bit of research has convinced me that the alarms are due to hydrogen produced when the batteries are charging. The question is what to do about it. When it is hot we like to run the gennie all night to power the AC, and even though it is a diesel and generates very little CO I really don't want to sleep with the alarm disabled. Likewise when we are in the marina I like the security of having it on. Has anybody found a solution to this problem?

    #2
    You're overcharging. You need to match the charger to the battery bank.
    1989 26' then 1994 32' now 2001 39'

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      #3
      Yes as others have said IF you're getting the CO alarm it very could be from the overcharging of the batteries. You are so correct NOT to disconnect if this happens while running your generator overnight. There are possibilities with the exhaust leaking that would also need to be corrected. You really need to determine the exact source of whats triggering the alarm. Then you can address the problem in the safest way possible. CO poisoning is nothing to take lightly. There are many sources of CO besides your generator or battery charger including other boats near by etc.

      Best for you and your family,

      RB Cooper

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        #4
        I am sure that the generator is not causing the problem because the generator has been off every time that we have gotten an alarm. In fact, every time the alarm has sounded there has been nothing on.

        The inverter/charger is brand new and I triple checked the settings today and they are correct.

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          #5
          On our boat when batteries are getting low, the CO detectors give a beep every once in a while. Griff

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            #6
            See this. https://chemistry.stackexchange.com/...her-than/81309
            Cheers, Hans
            2007 Carver 41 CMY
            Twin Volvo D6-370
            Montreal, Canada
            Midnight Sun I Photos

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              #7
              Batteries will always give off gases during charging. Most of the time, it is insufficient to be of concern. But if the battery charger is overcharging, set for the wrong type of batteries, batteries are getting old or if the batteries are low on fluid, they will produce more gases. If you have enough gas being generated to set off an alarm I would be concerned.
              If it is the charger, it could be an old one that doesn't have the ability to regulate the charge or has lost its ability to regulate. New chargers can be set for different types of batteries, Lead Acid, Gel, etc. Charging on the wrong setting can be detrimental to the batteries and produce excessive gases.
              Low battery acid will also produce excessive gasses and can set up a condition that could cause the batteries to explode. Check for this immediately.
              Old batteries that cannot hold or build a charge will also create excessive gas as they are constantly charging and overheating.
              Patrick and Patti
              4588 Pilothouse 1991
              12ft Endeavor RIB 2013
              M/V "Paloma"
              MMSI # 338142921

              Comment


              • Carmac
                Carmac commented
                Editing a comment
                Please see above post. This is a brand-new inverter/charger, and I have triple-checked the settings and even called the Trojan factory to be sure that the settings are correct. I have also triple-checked the fluid level of every battery.

              #8
              The CO detector that I have has a digital readout in addition to the alarm, so my plan is the next time I am at the boat I will take it into the engine room where the batteries are and see if the reading goes up. My wife reminded me that I went from 2 Type D batteries to 8 L6 batteries about the time we started getting alarms. That quadrupled our available amp hours, and I would assume that it quadrupled the hydrogen production as well. If that turns out to be the problem, how hard and how effective do you fine folks think it would be to put seal strips around the hatches from the salon to the engine room?

              Comment


                #9
                You may want to use a hydrometer to test each cell. I've had a couple of 8D's that would emit excessive gas when charging and it (the bad cell) only showed up when I did a hydrometer test on each cell. Presumably, you have used distilled water to top off the batteries...?
                1988 3888
                Twin Cummins 6BT's 210hp

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                  #10
                  Silly question where are batteries? are they in engine room or are they in your stateroom under a berth or something? If in stateroom I believe your issue lack of ventilation, so maybe add a small fan or two to force air in and out to keep the co2 level low....

                  If in the engineroom, it seems off for the gas to travel that far, again I think the issue is venting....by forcing airflow you can resolve that.
                  Mark
                  USCG OUPV
                  1990 4588
                  Carlsbad, CA

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                    #11
                    I've had my CO detector go off three times and each time it was the CO from a boat nearby that set it off. Each time it was easy to follow my nose into the wind and locate the boat that was the cause. In each case it was a gasser. One time it was a gas generator of a boat located 30 yards away. Something to consider.
                    Tony Bacon,
                    Washougal, WA
                    Caspian
                    1997 3788 Twin Cummins 250hp

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