Sears smoke detector keeps alarming after replacing battery

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Old 05-08-09, 08:56 AM
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Question Sears smoke detector keeps alarming after replacing battery

Sears smoke detector 9.57071

I came home from vacation to discover my smoke alarm making a constant chirping noise. The manual said nothing about what this means, only an intermittant chirp every minute means the battery is low. I check my battery with a voltmeter. It's low so I replace it and the new battery checks out as full voltage. I install it and it alarms as if it detected smoke--and it keeps alarming even after a full minute until I pull the battery out.

I visibly inspected the target plate and I don't see any dust or cobwebs, so should I still try to clean it?

There's no reset button--no buttons or LED or anything on it. There's some test output socket that's black and round but not really a button, in fact it looks more like an oversized shirt button with a circle of little holes.

When I put the battery in it the thing works--and deafens you. It just won't turn off.

Should I press on this black test output socket?

If I clean the thing, it recommends alcohol. Should I use a vacuum cleaner? It looks clean. I'm afraid of the warning about the radiation. Is there some part I shouldn't touch with my bare fingers?

If you think you know how to get it to stop going off, please reply.
 
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Old 05-08-09, 09:04 AM
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Smoke detector sensors will go bad so if the unit is 4 or 5 years old or older you probably need to replace it.Oversensitivity of often a sign of this problem which will cause similar problems to yours.
 
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Old 05-11-09, 07:30 AM
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Arrow Cleaning didn't help, gold dot sensor shows little gold

I know this unit is old enough most people would recommend getting a new one. However, the reviews I've read on newer models tell me that the new ones are not nearly as good or sensitive as the older models. For instance, this is an ionization model, more than 10 years old, but whenever I'm cooking or even my toast gets a little too dark, it will go off long before there's a big problem. The new ones sound like there has to be a roaring blaze before they even sound--according to reviews. I like a sensitive smoke detector and the new ones apparently ignore anything minor and that's not good for me.

I've cleaned my Sears unit as the manual recommends using alcohol on the gold dot sensor and surrounding aluminum casing. I noticed the gold dot looks mostly a charcoal color with only some gold visible. I can't tell whether this is something that would scratch off (alcohol didn't cut it) or whether the gold is actually gone instead of covered up. I'm presuming there's more gold underneath instead of just gold-plated. It still alarms as soon as the battery goes in.

Anybody that knows if there's anything I can do to get it in working order, I'd still like to keep it. The alarm is in excellent condition as is the target plate. What would be best to clear what is probably oxidation to reveal gold underneath?

If you agree with above poster that this is a lost cause, please recommend a new smoke detector. Mine is actually a combustion detector (it detects particles before smoldering like a photoelectric even though it is an ionization). I doubt Sears makes anything like it now. Feel free to reply.
 
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Old 05-11-09, 02:42 PM
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Ion smokes use a teeny amount of americium (HowStuffWorks "How Smoke Detectors Work"), and the mechanism does break down with age, some faster than others, but realistically at 7-10 years, most ion smokes are done for. They either fail hypersensitive, or insensitive (flip a coin...).

Trust me, the current generation smokes are plenty sensitive, the difference in response time cannot really be measured in human scale. They are just better tuned for actual combustion products, because the underlying electronics is better.

Replace the smoke alarm. If you want a smoke that's better for the type of slow smoldering fire that is really the most likely beginning fire in a residence, spend a bit more and get a photo-electric model or even a dual mode.
 
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