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EZ Gas Check

Seju, the company that brought you the Safe Drive personal alcohol detector and the Kiss Me bad-breath detector, also sells the EZ Gas Check portable gas detector. It detects propane gas at levels as low as 1/10 of the Lower Explosive Limit (LEL) and natural gas at 1/5 of the LEL.

Operating for over 40 hours on two AA batteries, the stick-shaped EZ Gas Check uses a MEMS sensor to detect the presence of natural gas and propane. To ensure proper operation, every time you turn on the EZ Gas Check it runs a self-calibration cycle. Green, yellow, and red LEDs display all clear, gas present, or get the hell out and call the fire department respectively. The alarm will also sound if the yellow or red LEDs light, alerting you audibly to the presence of gas.

A little warning: I see nothing about the device being intrinsically safe, and I wonder how wise it is to look for leaks with an electronic tool that doesn’t carry that rating. Also I’m not familiar with the quality of their products, but Seju’s website reads like it’s been translated into English, rather than written in English.

Pricing starts at $12 with free shipping at Amazon if your order is over $25. Otherwise you’ll pay $18 to $30.

EZ Gas Check [Seju]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
Via Amazon(B001713VCK) [What’s This?] [What’s This?]

 

10 Responses to Inexpensive Gas Detector

  1. Shopmonger says:

    What happend to my Ferleys way……………….Lighter

  2. Jim Nutt says:

    Given that it runs on 2 AA batteries, unless it has a dc to dc upconverter in it somewhere, it’s intrinsically safe. Basically (and someone correct me if this has changed since I was in the pipeline industry), anything that runs on less than 5v is considered intrinsically safe. It’s one of the reasons the whole “cell phone igniting a gas station” myth is so ridiculous; yes, a cell phone battery contains a lot of energy, but unless the battery itself bursts into flames (not impossible) it’s not a viable ignition source as it’s voltage is typically around 3v. And that’s just not high enough to get a good spark.

  3. Jim Nutt:

    While I myself haven’t designed any intrinsically safe products, the company I used to work for did. I was working on a VOC meter, but it was canned because marketing felt no-one would buy it without an intrinsically safe rating which would have added to much time and expense.

    As far as I understand just having a low voltage level isn’t sufficient. The total capacitance and inductance must fall below a certain threshold. There’s also different failure modes, like what happens when one component fails, multiple components fail, etc.

    I suspect that this device would pass, the company just didn’t go through the bother and expense of getting one. Would I trust it, eh, I think I’ll stick to soap solution and my sniffer.

    I found some information, but it’s a little technical:
    http://www.omega.com/techref/intrinsic.html

  4. rick says:

    Hey, its definitely safer than a match, which most of us use…. i have a little gas detector… havent found a use for it…. no gas service in the area. Its a good quick heck that the bbq tank is tight, but other than that, no need.

  5. Jim Nutt says:

    Benjamin,

    I had forgotten about the inductance and capacitance requirements, it’s been 10 years since I’ve done intrinsically safe design work and I didn’t have a reference handy (and was too lazy to go googling…). It’s been my experience though that most small consumer electronics fall below the threshold unless they need to do voltage boosting, etc.. Small digital electronics like mp3 players, etc are particularly unlikely to exceed the threshold.

    Having said that, I would have loved one of these when working on pipelines, I’ve seen what happens when unodorized natural gas escapes from a salt dome and is set off. It’s pretty scary.

  6. fred says:

    Having been involved with piping manufactured and natural gas, propane, hydrogen and other combustibles for many years I have some observations:
    Not all gas detectors are the same.
    You probably want to use a different technique to sense a leak from the one you use to pinpoint its source or sources.
    Match testing is not a good leak detection scheme.
    You need to use a very reliable and recently calibrated device to check – both for combustibles and breathing air – before entering confined spaces – You should have a confined space entry and rescue procedure – well taught and drilled for your workers.
    We use Inficon meters which seem to work fairly well for leak detection – but sensor elements have a shelf life and need to be checked and replaced as needed.
    You need to know what the explosive limits (LEL and HEL) are for the gases you are working with.

  7. James says:

    Note to self, do not carry EZ Gas Check-o-meter in back pocket after eating Mexican food.

  8. superbryant says:

    hmmm seems to take all the fun out of lighting gas burners. crappy propane stoves + pyromaniac Teenage Boy Scouts = lots of fun (hehe)

  9. Ray says:

    Fred has it right. The electro-chemical sensors used for gas detection have a limited service life which require regular calibration.

    I work in oil and gas production instrumentation, and we use various types of LEL detectors, both as personal monitors and also installed in facilities. The device described here would seem to fall under the category of consumer gadget. By self “calibrating”, I have to assume they mean it zeros itself. That’s not an actual calibration. Considering what’s at stake if the device is unreliable, do you really want to trust a $12 toy?

    I’d suggest this thing only serves to give a false sense of security, and you’d be better-off bubble-testing for leaks. There’s a reason they add mercaptans to consumer natural gas — so you can use the gas detector located in the middle of your face.

  10. Scott says:

    Well I used the soapy water trick and stuck my nose to what I’ve been working on. Thought I was all safe until I took the device to it. I’m getting red and yellow lights! Soooo?….

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