Anyone that has had a RV or Travel Trailer, has at one point, probably dealt with a 12 volt Carbon Monoxide alarm/detector. They are available from various manufacturers. Mine happens to be a brand by “Safe-T-Alert.

If you are running your rig on battery power and allow your batteries to discharge way below safe battery levels, your Carbon Monoxide Alarm will most likely start going off. Though this indicator should not be a backup to monitoring your batteries. This is just a trouble shooting tip and a warning not to get to that point.

Once your battery voltage drops into the 7 volt range [which is critically low for batteries] your Carbon Monoxide Alarm will start beeping and flashing. In my experience over many years and many RV/Trailers, two things most likely will happen following a real low voltage event.

I have even had this occur when my batteries dropped to 11.0VDC.  Though the alarm typically won’t start at that point.  The sequence is most likely to occur on a cold night and you are running your LP forced air furnace.  That 12V blower is a pretty big consumer of battery power. 

When that LP Detector goes off in the middle of the night it is kind of UN-nerving.   Tough to go back to sleep.   Before I knew about this I shut off the LP at the tank, pulled the fuse on the detector, and slept with the windows open……in the cold.

Additionally, and nothing to do with the Alarm/Detector.   You most likely just wrecked your battery/batteries. Dropping your battery voltage to the 7 volt range normally causes permanent battery damage, or severely impacts the battery life span. Impacting the battery’s ability to be fully charged or hold a charge from that point on.

Click this link for Info on Safe Battery Voltage Levels

Also in my experience, if your detector has any age to it and you let your batteries get too low, your detector most likely will permanently conk out on you immediately, or in the very near future. Typically your Carbon Monoxide Detector, as well as your Propane Detector are designed to last 60 months, or 5 years. They then may signal their “End of Life” sequence. A audible beep every 30 seconds or so, and flashing a light sequence of Red Red Green Green.

Even without the “End of Life” sequence appearing, your detector should be replaced at the 5 year mark to keep yourself safe. It also helps prevent an “on the road” failure that makes obtaining a replacement more difficult or more expensive. They are dated on the back.

                               Video of “End Of Life” alarm sequence

If you disconnect the detector from power (pull fuse) and bring your batteries up to full charge. Then reapply the power to your detector…..and the “End of Life” signal does not return in the next 3 days, consider yourself lucky.

Be aware this might take 2 to 3 days to return. If the “End of Life” sequence returns in a short time, or immediately, test your battery voltage at your detector. Make sure your voltage is not low. [Normally 13.0-13.6V for a fully charged battery]. If your voltage is testing good, you need to replace the detector with a new one. Regardless of any date stamped on the detector.

Normally on the back of the new detector you purchase for a replacement, there should be a date stamp. If when you purchase a new detector, that date is more than a few months old.  I would be going back to your purchase source. You don’t want to be installing one that sat on the shelf in someones inventory and is already a year or so past its manufacturing date.  Remember these are only going to work for about 5 years.

Keep track of the date somewhere.  Before starting the season in the 5th year, simply replace it.  It will save you an “in camp” or “on the road” hassle.