Smoke Detector Battery Rage

We have 7 smoke detectors, 2 carbon monoxide detectors, in hallways.  The acoustics in the hallways are such that it is difficult to determine which smoke detector is beeping.  Standing on a ladder with your ear next to the detector can take up to 3 attempts before locating the ringing detector.  Not the world’s most pressing problem, but aggravating enough.  The common workaround is to replace all batteries once a year (daylight savings start is an oft suggested time).  I do not like to throw about stuff before it is used up, so I wait for the alarms to beep.

First, a little background.  If you want to skip to the idea for making this easier, scroll down past the horizontal line.

Why do smoke detectors beep so infrequently when their batteries are low, making the sound impossible to localize?

Here a take on solving the problem, in the case where you have a mix of hardwired and battery operated alarms:

Code in our area requires hard-wired smoke detectors with battery backup for multi unit dwellings.  You can’t just turn these off like the above article does for battery only alarms.

This article hints at another problem.

Alarm Battery Chirps Aren’t Pre-Programmed to Interrupt Sleep.  (Really??)

When one of the 7 starts beeping in the middle of the night, it is really annoying.

I could replace the 9 volt battery ones I have with a new one that has a sealed 10 year battery.  But, they are not cheap to replace.

Worry Free Hardwired Inter Connectable 120-Volt Smoke Alarm with 10-Year Lithium Battery Back Up (3-Pack) $79.99

In addition, to the cost of an electrician time to swap out the old with the new.

So I had the brilliant idea of using my android phones sound meter app to help me detect which one is going off .  Sound Meter (as well as a lot of other tools) by Android boy is available on Google Play.

There is a disclaimer about the accuracy of the meter:

If the measured value of a quiet room is between 35-45db, it should be accurate.  For more accuracy, you have to compare the value with a REAL sound meter. By the way, do you have a REAL one? 🙂  Just use this app as an auxiliary tool.

Nevertheless, for measuring relative loudness, it should work just fine.

The sound meter has a very convenient logging function that tracks the decibels it records over time.

You do have a problem with background noises, so you might need to track the external none beeping noises against the every 30 second or so beeps.

Of course, I thought of this, right after I spent 15 minutes sitting in the hallway determining which smoke detectors battery I had to replace.

I will use the sound meter to locate the one going off, next time.







Microwave Mucho Gusto Nachos

Zelo® unnecessary calories when combined with 6 hours of rigorous exercise per week

Preparation time: 5 minutes

≅ One 16-ounce can black beans
≅ 1/2 cup reduced-fat or regular sour cream
≅ 3/4 cup bottled salsa
≅ 1 cup shredded Cheddar or Mexican Blend cheese

Yellow corn tortilla chips (Abuelita, Tostitos Restaurant Style)

Optional – Mix minced jalapeno peppers into the beans
Optional – Mix some chili powder, cumin or garam masala into the beans

Optional – Mix 1 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro on top of the source cream

Optional – Garnish the dip with either or both 1 tablespoon cilantro and chopped scallions
Optional – Garnish the dip with hot red pepper flakes

A) With a large spoon spread out the beans in a microwave-safe 8″ x 8″ pan
Smear the sour cream and then the salsa over the beans.
Sprinkle about half of the cheese and then any of the optional garnishes above.

Microwave on high for ≅ 2 to 3 minutes.
Put a layer of chips on a plate, and sprinkle some cheese over the chip, repeat
Put the plate in the microwave and nuke on high for 1 minute, until the cheese has melted.

≅ Approximately
∝ Proportional

20 Chips == 150 Calories probably eat 40 chips with these amounts
1/2 Sour cream == 240 Calories

Playing mp3 files on a USB stick in a Honda CRV

UPDATE: Honda has a Help Line for phones and other electronic devices:

Handsfree Link


Our car is a 2012 Honda CRV, AWD LX 5 Speed Automatic

The short story is that I made a FAT32 stick with a couple of hundred songs that played fine. After that, I could not get a FAT32 disk to work. Honda was no help with specs. The following sounds like tremendous perception for the obvious; however, I want to pass this on to anyone else who may have problems.

If you want your usb stick to play in your Honda CRV,  use:

FAT disks
If you use the very popular LAME MP3 Open Source encoder
use -strict ISO Compliance
do not use -bit reservoir

MP3 Tags

Use only ID3V2 tags
ID3V2 tags in Ascii only

CBR or VBR at near 256 bit (high quality)

Rip to your hard drive first, then copy folders over to the stick.

If you do this, you may run into the following error from Windows 7 when pasting onto the stick.

x80070057: the parameter is incorrect

A google search shows that this happens with a number of different products and procedures, most notably, Windows Backup and Restore. When I say skip the copy for this file, the stick has been working fine.

MediaMonkey Link…&f=12&p=349934

This is the History of why I published the above snippet.  I tried a lot of options, I asked a lot of questions  and I did not get many good answers

We really liked the option to play mp3 files using a usb stick and the in dash controls. We think its a very safe option. You use a highly visible, bultin feature very similar to what we have been using for radio, cassette and CD players. Its hands free.

Continue reading