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Review

REVIEW: GASEG-Ditronic 12V Gas Leak Sensor

Gas sensor ideal for trailers, motor homes and overland vehicles, as they do not require the use of an inverter, being connected all the time directly to 12V.

We tested the sensor 12V cooking gas GASEG of Ditronic especially for vehicles or places with use of solar energy. Promises with minimum consumption and eliminating the inverter, protection against gas leakage at all times. They sent us two models, one internal and one external, both with all the functions available: 12V power, visual alert by LED, audible by siren and with relay output that allows the connection with other complementary equipment.

Safety in a recreational vehicle is paramount. First because they are built mostly with flammable and more fragile materials, such as wood, laminates, insulating foams, fabrics, upholstery and much more. Also because they are equipped with cooking gas that touches the stove, oven and water heating and very close to these facilities, they also use 12V and 110V / 220V electricity to run the entire house. In a very small environment, although safe taking all precautions, a trailer or motor home becomes more susceptible to fire than an ordinary home and for this reason safety items are essential.

KITCHEN GAS: Cooking gas is a product that poses a danger to occupants of a home not only because of its explosive capabilities. Also, because it is a gas that can kill by asphyxiation without us realizing it, often, even with open windows and other breaths, the gas can reach the breath of someone who is sitting or lying down, as it is heavier than air and therefore is always concentrated at the bottom. If the person is sleeping, for example, the gas can choke them without waking them. Another imminent danger may be in the gas leaking while no one is inside the vehicle or the residence. With the high concentration of gas in the closed environment, when activating any light switch, a spark will already be generated there that will result in an explosion. Cooking gas is entirely odorless, that is, mercaptan whose smell is the characteristic that we know. It only serves to become perceptible to human smell as a form of warning.

Well, but the dangers outlined above do not mean that a recreational vehicle poses a significant risk of fire or explosion. Far from it. Taking the necessary precautions such as the seasonal overhaul of the facilities, replacement and renewal of hoses with an expiration date, closing the general register when going away for a long time or during the trip, and installing safety devices. Nothing will happen, and you will enjoy the facilities of warm food, baked goods in the oven, and warm water for bathing.

VISUAL WARNING FUNCTION: Whenever the gas concentration increases and triggers the sensor alarm, the LED on the device’s front panel will be activated. It will light up to alert you that something is wrong with the installation. This can mean a gas leak in the plumbing, hoses, connections, or even a defect in the stove or oven. Not even that may be the cause, but forgetting or hitting the stove knob or even a flame extinguished by the wind or boiling water has spilled. Whatever the case, the sensor will warn of the problem

SOUND WARNING FUNCTION: As well as the alarm and LED trigger, a siren sound (buzzer) on the device panel is also sounded to call the attention that gas is leaking.

RELAY ACTIVATION FUNCTION: In addition to the two warnings that indicate an abnormal concentration of gas inside the trailer, another fascinating function in the GASEG sensor is the relay control. There are three wires, one of which remains familiar to the remaining pair. While the sensor is only in standby, one wire remains disconnected from the common, and the other remains connected. When triggering the alarm, this combination is reversed, allowing you to choose the connection of devices that will act according to this event. It can be a switch to cut the electricity in the trailer. It can be an external alarm siren, an emergency dialer, and many other possibilities.

BUILT-IN (INTERNAL): Already mounted on a “mirror” with a finish identical to sockets and switches models, it already has a hole for fixing it in the four × two boxes on the wall. Similarly, it can be applied inlaid in joinery, since its edge gives a finish to the hole made in the wood. It already comes with the two screws with fine thread. There is no problem to be built-in, as the air intake grid for the measurement of the gas concentration is at the front and central part of the panel.

SURFACE (EXTERNAL): In a smaller box, it is configured to be fixed on vertical surfaces using a screw with a dowel that is already included in the product. Although the sides have ventilation of the circuit, the air intake for the measurement of the gas concentration is also located in front of the panel. In fact, the panels of both formats are identical and have the same elements and positions.

WHAT TO DO WHEN THE ALARM ACTIVATES: First, do not despair, as a gas leak is not an unusual thing in your life. Do not operate any switch or device or run to turn off any. Open the windows and skylights, remembering that the gas is concentrated closer to the floor than to the ceiling. So opening the door is the most important. Run to turn off the cylinder’s general register or even its total disconnection. Get out of the vehicle (or residence) and wait for the gas to dissipate on its own. Then safely, investigate where the leak occurred.

UNBOXING: The sensors were sent by DITRONIC by post. They arrived in a box packed with postage, bubble wrap and the packages that already have all the visual communication. The devices also come packaged in plastic with a screw (s) and a small instruction manual.

LINK: We tested both sensors sent, knowing that nothing differs in operation, since they are only available to be embedded in-wall electrical boxes (or in the joinery) or externally. In both, the opening for the gas inlet is through the front panel. In our electrical system distributed by the trailer, we pulled two wires with positive and negative from 12V and connected. The moment it is energized, two LEDs are lit: “ON” and FL.” The ON button indicates that the device is switched on and the “FL” LED means “Fault / Stabilization.” EVERY time it is energized, the gas sensor will keep the “FL” LED on for 2 or 3 minutes until it stabilizes with the local atmosphere. If, after a few minutes, this LED remains on and does not go out, then the fault indicator will be displayed. From what we measure,

It is worth remembering that the sensors were not fixed during our tests since we intended to try them out in different positions. Also, only one of them will be permanently installed in our trailer.

OPERATION / TEST: Obviously, the first step after connecting and stabilizing the sensors, we started to cause a “leak” of gas over them. We did two things. The first was to support directly on the stove top and activate it without a spark, where at almost the same time the device already triggered the audible and visual alarm of the “AL” LED. The second was to activate the gas from a lighter right on the sensor grid, which after a few seconds has already fired again. At this time, we do not check relay outputs.

Not coincidentally, our cooktop already came from an old defect, which needs to be replaced, where there is a small leak inside it that leaves the cabinet under the sink with the smell of gas. We are used to always closing the register (right there in the closet) whenever the stove is not in use, until we change it definitively. So we tested exactly in this scenario, because sometimes we forget the open register and we always smell gas afterwards. We placed a sensor inside the closed cabinet and another one outside, leaving the register open. After about 10 minutes (the leak is minimal and takes too long to concentrate) the sensor inside the closed cabinet triggered. Not the outside, since even the smell of gas outside was very little.

RELAY TRIGGING: In separate tests with leaks caused, we then check the operation of the relays. There are 3 wires, one “C” (white) common and the other two with the following acronyms: “NA” (green) and “NF” (gray). They mean “Normally Open” and “Normally Closed”. Therefore, in the normal state of the sensor, that is, while the “C” terminal is not tripped, it is short-circuited with the “NF” terminal, and can function as a switch that keeps some device connected (For example, a contactor key that keeps on incoming electricity from the RV). At this point, the “NA” terminal has no contact with the “C”.

When the alarm is triggered, these positions are reversed. The common terminal “C” that was shorted with the “NC” is disconnected and connects to the “NO” terminal and can activate, for example, another external alarm system or siren or even an emergency dialer that will notify you by phone that your gas is leaking. The moment the alarm goes off, the initial situation returns. In time, it is advisable to inform that while the alarm sensor is de-energized or even in a “fault” state in the LED indicator, the situation described initially remains valid for the terminals. “NA” disconnected from the common “C” and “NC” connected to it. All situations were checked on both sensors and everything worked in the most perfect order according to the photos below. (Multimeter measuring “0, 00 ”means that the circuit is shorted and that the measured terminals are closed (connected). Result “1.” it means they are disconnected (open).

POLARITY INVERSION: As the version of our sensor is 12V DC, a possibility of wrong connection is not ruled out, but no malfunction occurs. We tested connecting with the positive and negative wires reversed, where the device showed no signs of functioning. However, when we reconnected correctly, the sensor returned to work without problems.

FEATURES: Made in plastic box and internal electronic devices applied in printed circuit. 12V power supply (there are 110V or 220V versions in alternating current or even in 24V dC); maximum consumption of 2W; Weight ± 180g; Response time: from 2s to 3s; Trigger point: 5% to 10% of the lower explosion limit; Gas type: LPG (there are GN models); Declared useful life of 5 years; Operating temperature range: -10ºC to + 40ºC; Humidity range: up to 85%; Detection method: by semiconductor; Format versions: Recessed (internal) or overlapped (external); Maximum power via relay: 10A; Audible alarm: 2,300 to 3000 Hz, 85 db (at 10 cm).