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Quest smoke alarm randomly chirping

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by Passport1, Oct 20, 2011.

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  1. Passport1

    Passport1

    5
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    Oct 20, 2011
    Hi
    I got some work done on my house recently and got a Quest Ionization Smoke Alarm Model VST-IS598IH installed on my landing recently - this is the one that is wired into the mains electric - was wired in by a qualified electrician

    The green light on the alarm is appearing and every 40 seconds or so the red light flashes - which according to the user manual indicates that alarm is working correctly

    However a random intervals for no apparent reason the alarm is letting of about 2 chirps and then it stops

    This might happen several times during the course of the evening - just two short chirping noises and thats it - then it might happen 30 mins later or 2 hours later

    Ive noticed that it happens sometimes during the day

    When you press the test button on the alarm it sounds loud alarm sound

    We thought the alram was faulty first and changed it but same thing is happening

    The backup 9v battery is installed correctly and we even changed the battery thinking that the one that came with it might be a dud

    Thoughts regarding what could be wrong here or how to solve this or has anyone came across this before

    Thanks
     
  2. davelectronic

    davelectronic

    1,087
    12
    Dec 13, 2010
    Ive had the same problem in one of our previous property's, it annoying, in the end i was going to replace it with a battery one, but we moved house, oh your not in my old house are you ? no just joking.

    My first thought was its a battery low warning signal, i replaced the emergency battery back up and the chirping continued, i can only deduce that the circuit is to sensitive, i did look in our and saw a preset potentiometer, but i did not want to adjust it as the sencertivity could have been adversely affected, leaving it either not working correctly or it ability impaired.

    I dont have any easy answers, only thing i can think of is the way it functions ionizing detection, as ours, or one of the two we had was right outside the kitchen, even the slightest cooking would set it of chirping.
    Dont have a cure, sorry, and as there hard wired it makes it more of a pain.

    The alarms in our current property dont do it.
    So not sure how to cure this, if sencertivity is the problem calibration needs the correct procedure for safety and good working function.
    Dave. :)
     
  3. KJ6EAD

    KJ6EAD

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    Aug 13, 2011
    They do that when they're old (weak Americium slug), dirty (partially blocked optical sensor path), underpowered or defective; or maybe your house is only slightly on fire. :eek: :D

    I've seen that symptom on ones where a single strand of spiderweb was in the optics or a little dust or soot.
     
  4. davelectronic

    davelectronic

    1,087
    12
    Dec 13, 2010
    Plenty of soot when the misses burnt the food, haha.
    Dave. :)
    PS, yes that description makes sense.
    My dinner. :eek:
     
  5. shrtrnd

    shrtrnd

    3,808
    511
    Jan 15, 2010
    My experience if it's not the battery, is the detector itself.
    They have a limited life-span, as pointed-out by KJ6EAD.
    I bought a lot of them at the same time, they all died within 4 months of one another.
    Even though you replaced the alarm, if the replacement was as old as the original,
    it's probably dying because of it's 'shelf life'.
    You're probably going to have to invest in a new one, and the others you have in your
    system are probably going to die in the relatively near future.
     
  6. Passport1

    Passport1

    5
    0
    Oct 20, 2011
    Thanks for the replies guys

    I believe the 1st smoke alarm wasnt a Quest alarm i believe but was a different make and model - the name of which i cant remember now so surely it couldnt be that multiple manufacters lots are faulty ?

    Also, whose to say that i couldnt be invested indefinately in alarms that have passed their shelf life. Are there any checks that can be done by the trader to ensure alarms havent passed their shelf life

    Thanks
     
  7. shrtrnd

    shrtrnd

    3,808
    511
    Jan 15, 2010
    Just check the date of manufacture on the box when you buy them. Don't buy one that's
    been sitting on the store shelf for several years.
    Can you tie the chirping to some event?
    A motor, air conditioner or heater cycling-on (you said it's wired into your house wiring)
    Maybe a power bump causing the chirp?
     
  8. Passport1

    Passport1

    5
    0
    Oct 20, 2011
    Thanks
    There doesnt seem to be a date of manufacgture listed on the box - that i can see. Thanks though for the suggestion

    I cant link . the chirping to an event. It just seems to happen randomly on and off. Doesnt seem t happen at a particular time of day - just seems to happen randomly. I dont know if it happens during the night time - say from 12 midnight to 8 am - cant say i have heard it but guess that doesnt mean its not happening and i just not hearing it but over the wekend so far Ive heard it randonly on an off during the day time and the evening time and night time up to 12 midnight

    Any other thoughts or sugeestions or is it just a case of maybe disconnecting it and removing the battery and just leaviing it in sitiu

    The original non mains connected battery operated smoke alarm i had before this one was installed is still in place on the landing and battery is in it, so i still have a functioning one

    Thoughjts?
    THanks
     
  9. shrtrnd

    shrtrnd

    3,808
    511
    Jan 15, 2010
    Maybe somebody else has an idea for you, I'm out of them.
    If the mfgr date is not part of the lot code or serial number, the only people who'd know when
    your detector was made, would be the mfgr.
    If it was me, I'd try to return the detector for a replacement, citing defective unit.
    As davelectronic noted, you've probably got a sensitivity pot in there (that you shouldn't
    try to adjust for safety reasons), that's out of adjustment, but it could simply be a
    defective unit.
    If you can't tie the chirp to power-line disturbance, I can't think of another scenario that
    might help explain the problem because your original battery-powered unit didn't have
    a problem in the same location.
    Good luck, but I think it's a manufacturer problem that you won't be able to fix yourself.
     
  10. davenn

    davenn Moderator

    13,799
    1,940
    Sep 5, 2009
    This seems a lot of messing around for an easy fix.

    smoke alarms are cheap, just replace it. It isnt worth the risk of that one not working correctly and failing to do a proper alarm when really needed !.

    Tho you never responded to the suggestions of a blocked sensor path... Did you look closely into the unit ?? any spiders/webs, roaches, dust, other crap... that may be causing intermittant chirps

    cheers
    Dave
     
  11. Passport1

    Passport1

    5
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    Oct 20, 2011
    Thanks Davenn for the reply

    I didnt check for the blocked sensor path as to be honest i dont know what i looking for or at so - there are 3 lines/spaces on the surface of the alram and they look to be clear - no dust, insects. webs etc but not sure if i looking in the right place? Is this what i meant to be looking at - if so it looks clear and dirt and dust free to me

    Any other thoughts save buying another one ?

    The Electrician who fitted it is goin to call round to investigate too

    THanks
     
  12. jackorocko

    jackorocko

    1,284
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    Apr 4, 2010
    This is where the smoke enters the device, but what you are looking for is something that should resemble two plate looking things with a space in between. As the smoke fills this void it blocks the signal and sounds the alarm. Get a can of air and blast the whole inside out, exceptionally well.

    As others have said, at the end of the day it is your life you are messing with if the alarm is broke. Spend the $20 dollars or so and buy a new one. Sometimes you just have to except the fact that you bought a lemon.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2011
  13. Passport1

    Passport1

    5
    0
    Oct 20, 2011
    Thanks Jack for the reply

    I dont have issue with buying alarm. I guess im not convinced that the alarms are the fault as this is the 2nd one that is having this issue - and both of them were different makes and models.

    I find it hard to believe that 2 different brand of alarms both at different times could both be dodgy - hence my thinkin that it not the alarm unit itself but something else - but then again maybe not

    Thanks
     
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