Smoke detector interconnect question

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Old 11-18-19, 03:29 PM
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Smoke detector interconnect question

My house was built in 1983 and has been remodeled several different times during the years. I have two hard wired smoke detectors, but they used the ground wire in some 14/2 romex as the interconnection wire! Obviously this is not how it is supposed to be, but that is the wiring I have in the wall. (The other 2 wires power the detector)

I just replaced them with First Alert brand combination smoke/CO detectors. They each test OK on their own, but do not set off the other alarm when the test button is used. Is it supposed to do that? I don't know if the test button is supposed to set off both interconnected detectors or if the wire is just broken?
 
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Old 11-18-19, 03:45 PM
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They are supposed to set each other off. It sounds like this rigged up connection may not be working properly. The only way to be sure, is to check the continuity of the conductors between the two boxes, but that requires a little know-how, and disconnecting the from the power source.
 
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Old 11-18-19, 03:49 PM
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Yeah, I guess I will have to check the continuity of the re-purposed ground wire. I was thinking I could use an extension cord to finish the full loop so I can hook up a meter.

Either way I guess it doesn't matter, it would be prohibitively expensive to run a new wire. They will just have to work independently, but I'm glad I know now that's what will be happening.
 
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Old 11-18-19, 03:59 PM
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Since they are using the ground as the interconnect..... if it's connected to actual ground somewhere.... the interconnect would not work.
 
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Old 11-18-19, 05:09 PM
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I'll check to see if the wire is actually grounded. It goes off in some other direction after the second detector - like there used to be another one somewhere, I have no idea where it goes as there are only two now.

Honestly I was surprised to see the interconnect wire at all in this house. You gotta give them an A for effort. LOL
 
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Old 11-18-19, 08:24 PM
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In order for that romex to have intentionally been installed as an interconnect..... there would need to be two cables at every location except for the last one.
 
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Old 11-18-19, 08:44 PM
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Sorry, that's what I meant, both locations have an incoming and outgoing wire. Where the second outgoing wire goes is a mystery.
 
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