1. #1
    C Shift
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Question CO Alarm from battery charger

    Does anyone know why a vehicle battery being charged gives off CO. We found it to be the cause of a CO detector activation. Any info would be helpfull. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Firehouse.com Guest


    That makes 2 of us. Had a similar call last week in a warehouse. Called for fumes, burning odor etc. Went to a room where forklift batteries are charged found a strong pungent odor. LEL of 8% and CO readings of 71 PPM. Found a forklift with a possible defective battery (smelled like it was "cooking")

  3. #3
    Firehouse.com Guest


    First I've heard of this happening, but it makes sense. Burning of any organic (carbon based) compound in air could produce CO. Carbon monoxide being a product of incomplete combustion.

    I have also experienced CO alarms from furniture strippers (methyl chloride.

    The alcohol causes a false positive reading.

    Maybe this happened with the acid vapors from the battery?

    Ken Hanks
    Captain Naugatuck FD,CT
    Instructor,CT Fire Academy

  4. #4
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Just took the NFPA 472 Haz Mat Tech

    We covered an excellent section on meters and monitoring. The CO monitors are basically dumb. The digital reading that is given is a conversion of an electrical signal produced by a chemical reaction within the unit. We assume because it is a "CO detector" we will only pick up CO. A number of gases (H2, SO2, CO2 etc)will cause readings. These gases are called interference gases. Some units try to filter out the unwanted gases but aren't perfect.

    As for the case with the battery charger you could very well have been picking up hydrogen produced in the recharging of the battery (this was mentioned in the course)

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