Smoke detectors for the elderly

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wrote:

I believe that the frequencies used by current smokes are in the 3000Hz range. However, there seems to be quite a difference between battery and line-powered smokes and the tones they create.

The ones I have seen are a little larger than a quarter in diameter. And yes, judging from how much bigger my woofer is than my tweeter, I'd say larger usually means lower. (-:

Fortunately, a day's worth of on-line and in-store version got me what I needed. I probably would not feel comfortable handing him a used smoke. (-:

I thought of that, but I also didn't want to get into any wrongful death suit or run afoul of some obscure federal regulation that makes it illegal to modify an alarm. There's no telling whether the extra current draw might somehow affect the unit's detection capabilities.

Thanks. I figure it's quid pro quo, and maybe I'll live to be an old person that someone can be nice to. Once I found out that he was falling asleep in the living room lounger with a lit pipe and couldn't hear it when the alarm went off, I knew it was time to act. Sort of a case of "ask not for whom the [smoke detector] tolls . . ."
BTW, God's already rewarded me. During the search for smoke detectors I found a hardly used box set of the original Outer Limits from the 60's for dirt cheap. Not only was my mission accomplished, I got a bonus.
-- Bobby G.
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On Sun, 4 Oct 2009 23:32:52 -0400, "Robert Green"

You have a point there.
My AC smoke alarm specifically says not to make changes to it, but I connected a relay coil across the buzzer, and I used the contacts as part of my burglar/fire alarm system, first to set off the alarm, steady instead of wailing, and soon it will notify a monitoring service.
If I have messed up the alarm and I die in a fire, I have in my will that my estate should sue me.
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Details on exactly how you did it, what kind of relay (serial number?), etc, crude schematic (via your website), etc?
Thanks!
David
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Robert Green wrote:

siren/voice speaker driver. Our system has a piercing siren sound then says *FIRE*, *FIRE*, *FIRE*---LEAVE IMMEDIATELY in a commanding male voice, then a lower frequency staccato siren sound then repeats. There is enough noise to get most anyones attention.    
It uses all standard off the shelf stuff.
The other advantage is that the smoke alarms are powered from the panel which provides supervision and also power during an AC power outage.
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Sounds REALLY good. (Maybe can also hook the computer UPS's output into it too.)
Specific details?
And maybe even crude (or not so crude) schematic and/or pictures, avail of course not here (ascii!) but via ptr to your website?
Or if no website, then reply to our emails to you with that stuff attached?
THANKS!
David
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Robert Green wrote:

There are two smoke alarms out there that allow the user to record an alert that sounds when the alarm goes off. Usually, it's a voice alert, to awaken children to the sound of their parent's voice. But there'd be nothing stopping you from recording a lower-frequency tone to use as an alarm sound. Look on the internet for a sound your friend can hear, and that sounds alarming enough to awaken him, and record that.
SignalONE Voice Safety Alarm http://www.safemart.com/Fire-Safety/Signal-One-Vocal-Smoke-Alarm-012504.htm
KidSmart Vocal Smoke Detector (Amazon.com product link shortened)
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Thanks. If I hadn't been able to find the FirstAlert unit, I might have looked into one of those.
-- Bobby G.
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Hell Toupee wrote:

Heck, I think this would work better:
http://tinyurl.com/y9z7643
TDD
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Robert Green wrote:

"smoke alarm" and "low frequency" together. I found this site - http://darrowproducts.com/index.html . I think their alarm was mentioned elsewhere in the thread, but two points on their own site that might help: one of the models is $159 with a $39 instant rebate and free shipping. (Of course, they may have changed that and not updated the page, who knows). That's the lowest price models; others are more.
The site also had another interesting angle - their section on veterans says "Attention, U.S. Veterans, you may qualify to receive a Loudenlow Hearing Impaired smoke alarm for free via your local Veterans Affairs office".
Good luck. And good for you for watching out for your friend!
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Wow! I just finished sending off an email to Kidde about a new smoke alarm I just installed for Mom, with the same concern!
This Loudenlow looks pretty good, but not cheap.
What is wrong with the major manufacturers, the low frequency signal might cost another dollar or two to implement, you would think it would be offered.
Still have to read most of the thread.
Thanks all.
Josh
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To Josh and anyone else reading here, I wanted to say I found something that fits my needs exactly after a few hours of searching the web and then my local brick and mortar big box stores because I wanted to buy one today. While I nearly got arrested at TarZhey for trying to listen to the alarms before I bought them, a nearby competitor had what I needed:
http://www.firstalert.com/carbon_monoxide_alarms_item.php?pid $
Mark's suggestion to Google on "talking smoke detectors" lead to the above URL, and although they had a lot of info, I couldn't tell what the sounder sounded like. (You'd think they could post a small MP3 or WAV of the sound or the voice on their website in this, the 21st century!)
I decided I wanted to try it because even if sounder was too high pitched, the talking part might wake him. I also thought that it might be louder since it used AA's and not 9V batteries. To my surprise, when I brought it to his house and tested it out, the sounder was very much lower in tone than his existing smokes and he could hear it with ease.
So, problem solved!!! I only bought the one, for a little over $40 with tax, but it also includes a CO monitor so mentally, it fits what *I* think a good smoke detector should cost: $20 each. I don't give it high marks for intelligibility, though. When it goes off, it's the tone, a little silence, and then a man mumbling in an urgent tone. "Warning . . . Warning . . . mo . . ected . . . in . . . ing . . . room." The alarm tells you which room the alert is coming from and what the danger is (smoke or CO), which I think is mostly a gimmick but may prove useful.
I am going to see if I can find a discount for the other two I need to purchase to cover his house completely. I think he needs one in the garage, the kitchen and the bedroom and maybe another one, but I feel incredibly relieved that he's got at least one unit he can hear. It's also got another issue I hope I can fix with a piece of black tape. It's got a feature that allows silencing or testing via any household IR remote and the unit has triggered twice accidentally as a result of a reflected IR beam. It's mainly an issue of selecting the proper location, but that may be trickier than it seems for some installations.
Thanks to everyone who chipped in! Nothing like actually accomplishing the day's mission.
-- Bobby G.
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I once helped a fellow firefighter rig up a home fire sprinkler system for his father in law who the entire family was sure would immolate himself by smoking a pipe in his favorite chair just prior to bed. Since we did all of the work ourselves the whole sprinkler system cost less then the final piece. That piece was a smoke detector that had a plunger to break the glass bulb that held the sprinkler over that chair closed. Twenty years on and his father in law had died of heart failure in his sleep so who did that detector save. It saved the alcoholic mother of the single mom with two children who had bought the small bungalow were his step father had lived. It also saved the home owner and her two children of course so I'd say that the work was worth our time. Grandma was transported to the hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation, a small burn to her hand, and a mild case of hypothermia from the forty gallons a minute of cold water that had flowed over her.
-- Tom Horne
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wrote:

Pretty amazing.

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<stuff snipped>
<<I once helped a fellow firefighter rig up a home fire sprinkler system for his father in law who the entire family was sure would immolate himself by smoking a pipe in his favorite chair just prior to bed. Since we did all of the work ourselves the whole sprinkler system cost less then the final piece.>>
Same sort of situation just not family so I can't quite force myself or a work crew on him for a problem that he doesn't see as serious although those around him do.
One of the tragedies of fire insurance is that if you took all the premiums paid, the money would pay for a lot of sprinkler systems. It's so typical, though, to spend a lot to replace but not a lot to prevent. We could have saved ourselves a lot of trauma as a nation had we just locked jetliner cabins like El Al has been doing for 20 plus years.
If I were building a new home, I would definitely install fire control sprinklers in it.
-- Bobby G.
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Excellent!
Lowes' web site lists it, I'll see if the local store has it.
Can this be installed battery-only, or does it need 120v install? I cannot tell from any online description I can find!
Thanks.
Josh
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It's amusing, in a sad sort of way, that it's so hard to find some simple information. I downloaded the PDF but couldn't find any specs for the sound frequency.
It's a battery only device with a door that swings out so that battery replacement doesn't required dismounting the unit from the ceiling. Practice using the door before mounting it because it takes a unique sort of pulling motion and I had to dismount it to make sure I wasn't going to break it off. I thought it pulled out like a drawer but it swings out like an orange wedge on a single pivot.
-- Bobby G.
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If it does voice, I'm going to assume it handles at least the classic telephonic range of about 300hz to 3000hz, plus or minus a couple of db.

Good. Wall mount also OK, I assume. Thanks.

The Kidde model I bought in part because it has a front-mounted door for the battery. Guess what - you have to take it off and fiddle a "lock" on the back, before you can use the front door!
Who designs these things, anyway??!??
Josh
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For those of us interested in such things (Fourier stuff, filters (at least buying of them, etc)), PLEASE say MUCH more about your setup, how you did it, where you got the parts, etc, etc.
Thanks!
David
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