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smoke alarms

Discussion in 'Photovoltaics' started by Don Miller, Sep 24, 2004.

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  1. Don Miller

    Don Miller Guest

    We've just built an off-grid retirement home and are having problems with
    smoke alarms that are required by local building codes. Three out of seven
    of them 'chirp'. They are interconnected and mains powered with individual
    battery backups on each one. We've replaced all their backup batteries and
    they still chirp. I doubt that we have almost half of them bad right out of
    the box.

    Our inverter, etc is a brand new powercenter DR2424 from Trace/Xantrex. It
    runs lights just fine. As almost any inverter would. We don't have any
    other loads on the system. All appliances are propane so we don't mind the
    minor constant draw of the smoke alarms.

    No, I haven't tested the voltage and frequency the inverter puts out.
    Simple answer is that I don't have the meters to do so.

    Do smoke alarms need sign-wave power?
    Do smoke alarms need EXACT voltage.
    Do smoke alarms need EXACT frequency.


  2. philo

    philo Guest


    exchange batteries between a chirping unit and a non-chirping unit.
    if it's not the the process of elimination...that means the
    smoke detector is bad
  3. Perhaps there is too much RF noise on the line. You could try loading it
    harder and see if that helps. Alternatively you might need a better line
    filter. You might gang all the alarms to a filter to take off the high
    frequency stuff, spikes and the like.
  4. Steve Spence

    Steve Spence Guest

    Sucks to have such restrictive building codes. We have the simple first
    alert battery powered units. work fine. smoke detectors are a smart, but not
    required, investment in this part of the country.
  5. steve

    steve Guest

    The last time I replaced the batteries in my home's mains connected
    smoke alarms (the battery is there as a backup) a few of them kept
    chirping no matter what I did. It was driving me nuts. Only a few of
    them did it, but I have something like 10 alarms in various places of
    the house so the REAL fun was guessing which ones were chirping -- the
    sound can be difficult to localize.

    Well you know the old story -- when all else fails, read the
    instructions -- so I broke out the manuals and saw in fine print that:

    "After replacing the batteries you may need to cycle the AC mains power
    to reset the low battery alarm"

    Give it a try if you can find the breaker :)

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