Gas(?) smell in cabin with Alde on AND the gas failure message

jules2gojules2go Member Posts: 148
Ran the heat last night when in my driveway (not feeling 100% reassured with blow-out winterize method I'm trying so trying to add a little warmth on a cold night, will be a different thread's topic) and forgot to crack a window for ventilation. This morning opened the door to a weird smell that I can only guess is propane. I slept inside my house last night so have no idea if the alarm went off, but there was no alarm sounding when I opened the door. The tank should be pretty full since I topped it off on my last trip didn't run much -- I'll stop by tractor supply on my trip today and have them weigh it to be sure. I have to hit the road in an hour and will be trouble shooting this on my trip this week "from the field". I never sleep with my heat on without cracking a window, but am afraid to run the heat on this trip at all which stinks because it's going to be cold. Please let me know your thoughts. Thanks in advance. SORRY forgot a key detail in my haste this morning -- gas failure message was on screen. 
2020 Tab 320S BE "Moonbeam"
2019 Toyota Tacoma 

Asheville, NC

"Don't postpone joy!"

Comments

  • ScottGScottG Administrator Posts: 4,802
    Propane (or more precisely the odiferous chemical they put in propane) is pretty distinctive smell--if you've experienced it you should not need to guess as to whether you have a propane leak or not.

    Heating systems--particularly when they haven't been run in a while--can emit a variety of odors. I commonly smell what I can best describe as "toasted dust" when my baseboard heaters kick on for the first time in the fall. Such smells usually dissipate with time.

    That said, I am NOT suggesting you should ignore this. If it is propane (or something else dangerous like a blocked exhaust) you are rightfully concerned. However, I would take steps to get to the bottom of it before guessing or assuming it is something it may not be. 

    Good luck and please let us know what you figure out.    
  • jules2gojules2go Member Posts: 148
    @ScottG forgot key piece of info, the gas failure message was on the screen. I added that to my op. Thanks. 
    2020 Tab 320S BE "Moonbeam"
    2019 Toyota Tacoma 

    Asheville, NC

    "Don't postpone joy!"
  • Sharon_is_SAMSharon_is_SAM Administrator Posts: 7,920
    edited November 24
    @jules2go - did the Alde heat the cabin or did it turn off at some point?  What was the battery voltage?  We’re you plugged in, heating with propane only?
    Sharon / 2017 [email protected] CSS / 2015 Toyota Sienna Minivan / Westlake, Ohio
  • jules2gojules2go Member Posts: 148
    Propane only. It turned off at some point. I ran the heat overnight only for the past 3-4 nights no issues, warm inside in the morning. I'm using my brand new interstate AGM 31 battery, some solar overnight charging but limited due to facing wrong way from sun (roof factory solar). I know the red battery indicator by sink isn't a real indicator, but it's dropped to one red light before I went to bed, then in the morning when rechecked like 9am was up to 3 or so red lights. No other battery checking -- haven't updated my victron yet with the new battery specs. 
    2020 Tab 320S BE "Moonbeam"
    2019 Toyota Tacoma 

    Asheville, NC

    "Don't postpone joy!"
  • Sharon_is_SAMSharon_is_SAM Administrator Posts: 7,920
    It is possible the voltage is low.  I would charge the battery, and reset the panel by turning off the battery switch, then turning back on when your battery is charged.
    Sharon / 2017 [email protected] CSS / 2015 Toyota Sienna Minivan / Westlake, Ohio
  • ScottGScottG Administrator Posts: 4,802
    Yes, the Alde kicking off and indicating a gas failure is likely an important clue. The Alde will shut down from low battery or low propane, but I'm not sure exactly when that kicks in or how it would be reflected on the digital control panel.

    If the Alde kicked out and tried to unsuccessfully to restart, it could have vented a little propane into the cabin that you might smell (it doesn't take much, and that's intentional).

    Start--as you suggested--by getting the propane tank checked. Then make sure your battery is fully charged. If the problem traces back to one of those issues, I would cautiously try again and see if everything looks and smells ok. 
  • pthomas745pthomas745 Moderator Posts: 2,289
    @jules2go Don't know what Victron you have, but the voltage will the voltage of what it is attached to.  The Victron settings would have to be set for different batteries for size and type on the Victron shunts and the amp hour measuring.  But, voltage is just...voltage. So, use the Victron.
    Alde has jumped around on what exactly causes a low voltage error.  In general, the thought was 11 volts, but that number has changed by decimal points over the years.  My Alde 3010 manual, downloaded in 2017, says the "low voltage" is 10.5.  Here is what the Alde FAQ says today:

    If the vehicle’s battery voltage to the boiler is lower than 10.8 V the boiler will stop. This automatically resets when the voltage reaches 11 V. If the voltage drops further other error messages may appear.

    What Alde does not explain is: if the low voltage stops the flow of propane, does this produce the "Gas Error?"  The gas error usually always clears with the "12V reset" procedure. 

    2017 Outback
    Towed by 2014 Touareg TDi
  • jules2gojules2go Member Posts: 148
    I'm finally camped for the night thankfully in a site with electricity so I've got heat tonight yay, so far so good, it's working. I've got a little time to sort this out in the morning before heading to my boondocking site for 2 nights. Thank you guys, my nuCamp family, for helping me with this today. I will try all of your suggestions in the morning. Tomorrow if worse comes to worse, I'll be in my sleeping bag with my dogs and having a two dog night! 
    2020 Tab 320S BE "Moonbeam"
    2019 Toyota Tacoma 

    Asheville, NC

    "Don't postpone joy!"
  • jules2gojules2go Member Posts: 148
    One other thing -- my son suggested that the smell could have come from my new egg crate mattress topper that I just added 2 nights ago. It could be an off-gas odor. I had forgotten to leave a window or the fan cracked last night. So maybe that was it, but I'm erring on the side of caution and will just assume it was propane for now. 
    2020 Tab 320S BE "Moonbeam"
    2019 Toyota Tacoma 

    Asheville, NC

    "Don't postpone joy!"
  • jules2gojules2go Member Posts: 148
    Propane was totally empty. Hopefully all is well now. Thanks again. 
    2020 Tab 320S BE "Moonbeam"
    2019 Toyota Tacoma 

    Asheville, NC

    "Don't postpone joy!"
  • Denny16Denny16 Member Posts: 3,565
    edited November 28
    That splains it, when the propane tank runs down, the added sulphur sulphate (or odor causing agent) added to the propane does not burn, and becomes more concentrated as the tank beomes empty, allowing the added gas into the burner (which does not combust) so it escapes into the air, causing the bad smell. 

    Out house and Studio is heated by propane from large outside storage tanks, one for the house and a smaller tank for the studio.  When the small tank ran out, I also smelled a a strong (gas) odor.  Thought I had a leak, as I didn’t realize the tank was that low, and called the propane company, after shutting down the propane tank main valve.  

    Gas service person arrived,to,pressure check and evaluate for a leak, and explained to me how the string smell occurred (described above).  Gas leak check proved negative, and had the tank refilled, which he said was basically empty.  Problem solved.  :)
    cheers
    2018 TaB400 Custom BoonDock, Jeep Gladiator truck, Northern California Coast.
  • jules2gojules2go Member Posts: 148
    @Denny16 Interesting. For the record, lol, I have read through the threads about the gas failure message and did consider that the tank could be empty, but could have sworn it wasn't! When I smelled that odor the other day, I was in a mild panic because I had to hit the road. I try not to start threads about topics already discussed. 
    2020 Tab 320S BE "Moonbeam"
    2019 Toyota Tacoma 

    Asheville, NC

    "Don't postpone joy!"
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