carbon monoxide

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Moderator
Senior Moderator
how to ensure that c-o does not backdraft into the cabin
Is there some info missing for this query? What's the possible source?

Apropos of Whatever, I just replaced our five year old CO sensor/alarm. On an overnight cruise in October it false alarmed a couple times in the night, with no source of CO.
The sensors in these are date stamped at the point of manufacture, and according to the maker are only spec'd to last five years. Since the insurance industry likes them, it's quite an income stream for the alarm makers!
:rolleyes:
 

garryh

Well-Known Member
"how to ensure that c-o does not backdraft into the cabin "
When I had my first boat and after a long motor back down the narrow harbour, I found the boat full of heavy exhaust fumes once I got docked. I spent the entire next day looking for an exhaust leak (Atomic 4) and even had a buddy in a dinghy blocking the exhaust while I sniffed around.... could not find anything. It was not until much later that I realized what must have happened; there must have been a wind from astern (probably) slightly faster than my boat speed that was carrying the exhaust over the transom and into the cabin. It was a cheap lesson. There are horrible stories about kids put to bed in the forward berths for a long motor home and found succumbed to CO poisoning.
CO is a real and very dangerous threat.
 

Navman

Well-Known Member
I keep 2 regular homeowner type Co detectors in the boat relatively low in location. One in the engine compartment and one in the salon. Once a year I remove them, walk up to the truck, turn it on and hold them about 2 feet from the exhaust to test them. If they sound off, I am good. If not I change the batteries and if they still do not work, I go to the box store and but 2 more. Cost wise this is much more feasible that the "marine" grade ones which they sell for nearly $100.00 and most likely have the same life expectancy.
 

toddster

Curator of Broken Parts
That's probably a good testing protocol. My last one had a digital readout, that I didn't expect to be very accurate, but you could see it start registering (not into the danger level) when the stove or engine was on. The sensors detect reducing gases, so natural gas or propane could theoretically trip them, but they are most sensitive to CO and H2. Under some circumstances, venting H2 from charging batteries can set them off. The new unit is hard-wired to the boat's electrical system per ABYC, so it would be harder to take it off the boat to test. Hmm... I do have a lecture bottle of CO in the lab, for calibrating instruments - not too crazy about the idea of opening it in an uncontrolled location... Maybe better to set up a 12V power supply in the fume hood. :rolleyes:

BTW: The Atomic 4 always seems to release some blow-by fumes into the cabin, unless the blower is left on all the time. I've purchased the PCV add-on kit from Indigo Electronics, but haven't yet installed it. Fingers crossed. (Well... those engine compartment vent hoses probably need to be replaced also...).
 

Geoff W.

Makes Up For It With Enthusiasm
My two burner alcohol stove puts a friggin ton of CO into the cabin, apparently. The detector will go off with both a low amount over a long time, or a high amount over a short time. I've triggered both...

Never noticed any problems motoring or doing anything else, though. Now I just keep things open while cooking.
 

David Grimm

Squid!
Carbon monoxide detector sensor will accumulate CO particles that they cannot rid themselves of. This is why they only have a 5 year lifespan. It is not recommended to hold them up to an exhaust of an engine. This practice will bring them out of calibration and shorten their life.

I have a battery operated one with a read out that is centrally located in the boat. So far so good.

GeoffW. I think there is something wrong with your alchohol stove. You are getting an incomplete combustion. It shouldn't put off a registerd amount of co. In a short time.

Dave.
 

garryh

Well-Known Member
"GeoffW. I think there is something wrong with your alcohol stove."
Yes, or a faulty or corrupted sensor. Definitely not typical. Might try another detector to try to troubleshoot whether the stove or detector.
 

kapnkd

kapnkd
how to ensure that c-o does not backdraft into the cabin
In the early 70’s, Ericson’s with Atomic 4 engines had a vertical standpipe made of steel pipe/tubing that was wrapped (with of ALL THINGS) asbestos. In fact, there was an early on warranty issue on my 73 E-32 and EY had sent me a repair piece AND included a long strip of asbestos to re-wrap the repair section. …How times have changed!


Problem with those vertical stand pipes is they burned or rusted out in a few years. The cabin would soon smell of exhaust every time the engine ran at any length. The asbestos wrapping made it impossible to see the deterioration of the metal until after the fact of a failure. Of course – today – even the simple thought of using a heat proof wrap of asbestos is an absolute taboo!


When we re-powered to a Westerbeke diesel in ’91, the switch was made to an Aqua-Lift muffler system. There is no metal involved in their design and still to date today – no exhaust leaks.


Not sure exactly when Ericson stopped using this old stand-pipe design. It’d be interesting to hear if/how many EY owners still have the system in place.

E35_MkII_Exhaust.jpg

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Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Moderator
Senior Moderator
My two burner alcohol stove puts a friggin ton of CO into the cabin, apparently. The detector will go off with both a low amount over a long time, or a high amount over a short time. I've triggered both...

Never noticed any problems motoring or doing anything else, though. Now I just keep things open while cooking.
Very interesting, but seems possible. In our case, the Origo alcohol range has never set off that alarm in over five years. We always have the hatch open part way, even on cold mornings.
'Tis a mystery.
 

toddster

Curator of Broken Parts
In the early 70’s, Ericson’s with Atomic 4 engines had a vertical standpipe made of steel pipe/tubing that was wrapped (with of ALL THINGS) asbestos. In fact, there was an early on warranty issue on my 73 E-32 and EY had sent me a repair piece AND included a long strip of asbestos to re-wrap the repair section. …How times have changed!


Problem with those vertical stand pipes is they burned or rusted out in a few years. The cabin would soon smell of exhaust every time the engine ran at any length. The asbestos wrapping made it impossible to see the deterioration of the metal until after the fact of a failure. Of course – today – even the simple thought of using a heat proof wrap of asbestos is an absolute taboo!


When we re-powered to a Westerbeke diesel in ’91, the switch was made to an Aqua-Lift muffler system. There is no metal involved in their design and still to date today – no exhaust leaks.


Not sure exactly when Ericson stopped using this old stand-pipe design. It’d be interesting to hear if/how many EY owners still have the system in place.



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There are a lot of threads on this. Some people replace the standpipe with a waterlift, others have a new standpipe built for a few bucks at a machine shop. Moyer Marine offers a stainless steel unit that is configured a little differently, but basically a drop-in replacement. (If you add some iron pipe for the hot section.) Muffler-wrap may have once had asbestos in it, but the current stuff does not. I think it's glass fiber or similar. Believe me, when that pipe rusts through, and exhaust starts pumping into the boat, there is no question what is going on!
 

Tin Kicker

Well-Known Member
My two burner alcohol stove puts a friggin ton of CO into the cabin, apparently. The detector will go off with both a low amount over a long time, or a high amount over a short time. I've triggered both...

Never noticed any problems motoring or doing anything else, though. Now I just keep things open while cooking.
Geoff -

Is yours a pressurized alcohol stove, or does it have the pots like an unpressurized Origo?

We'd use an Origo to cook in a work boat cabin that was not well ventilated when it was cold and never had an issue.
 

Teranodon

Well-Known Member
I installed a Xintex CO detector, powered from the 12 VDC house circuit. It cost about $80, and had been recently manufactured. After a couple of years, it started giving false positives. I called the company and they gave me a big shrug. So I replaced it with a $20 battery-powered unit that I got at Home Depot. I test it once in a while with the button, but I think I'll try the car exhaust trick next spring.
 

tenders

Innocent Bystander
I have the standpipe in my ‘69 installation if the Atomic Four, but I don’t know if it’s original. It wasn’t made by Ericson, it has a “J and B” manufacturer’s sticker on it, and it’s stainless, not wrapped in asbestos. In fact in operation it doesn’t even get hot, just warm. Nice piece of kit, and it’s design avoids the back flooding issue that is common to many waterlift installations.
 

Geoff W.

Makes Up For It With Enthusiasm
Geoff -

Is yours a pressurized alcohol stove, or does it have the pots like an unpressurized Origo?

We'd use an Origo to cook in a work boat cabin that was not well ventilated when it was cold and never had an issue.
It has pots, or sternos, or however you'd say. Maybe my sternos are old and dirty and not burning cleanly anymore. But at $100 a pop for a replacement, I'm not keen to do it...
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Moderator
Senior Moderator
It has pots, or sternos, or however you'd say. Maybe my sternos are old and dirty and not burning cleanly anymore. But at $100 a pop for a replacement, I'm not keen to do it...
Our Origo 6000 model has three of these, and from the look of the sturdy SS construction they should last a century.....
Unless you put some sort of contaminated fuel into them, they should stay pretty clean, I would imagine.
 

Attachments

Geoff W.

Makes Up For It With Enthusiasm
Our Origo 6000 model has three of these, and from the look of the sturdy SS construction they should last a century.....
Unless you put some sort of contaminated fuel into them, they should stay pretty clean, I would imagine.
Well, I have a replacement CO detector coming in so we'll start with the cheap(er) option. Those burners are the same kind I have, and I only burn denatured alcohol... can't speak for the rest of their history, however. :)
 

Kevin A Wright

Well-Known Member
Evidently the First Alert home CO detectors have a lifespan warning built into them. At the end of the sensor lifespan they start chirping. It's a different coded chirp than the low battery alert so you know that its time to replace the unit. Just had one go off at home (at 3am of course).

Kevin Wright
E35 Hydro Therapy
 

Glenn McCarthy

Glenn McCarthy
I wanted a CO detector on the boat, bought one. Got to the boat and the engine mechanic 2 years ago was working the engine over. I didn't want to get in his way, removed the detector from its package, pulled the little tab out that now connects the battery and set it on the nav table. A few minutes later, he fires up the engine and the detector starts wailing. He shuts off the engine and I was surprised how short of a time it took for the CO levels to get low enough to shut off.

The mechanic was surprised by the alarm, didn't expect a problem and had to find the leak and repaired it.

Yup, get one on your boats folks!
 

u079721

Well-Known Member
We never installed a CO detector on our boat, but we did have an annoying problem with blow by and engine fumes in the cabin. I eventually figured out that the fumes were coming from the crankcase ventilation tube, and solved the problem by routing that tube back into the side of the air intake. But all this discussion does have me wondering if those crankcase fumes might also be high in CO.
 
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