Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: First Alert CO614 Plug-in Carbon Monoxide Alarm with 9V Battery Backup and Digital Display
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I purchased this alarm to replace Kidde Nighthawk Plug-In Carbon Monoxide Alarm which died exactly 5 years after the initial purchase. This alarm provides audible and visual signals for carbon monoxide concentrations over 30 ppm. The display shows carbon monoxide concentration in 0/30/70/150 parts per million steps. It does NOT register any level lower than 30 ppm as they are not considered harmful.

In the few months I had this alarm I like it better than Kidde Nightwak. Both alarms are plug-ins with battery backup and digital display. In this review I will compare the key differences between the two alarms in my experience with them. I am attaching a collage of three photos under customer photos that I will be referencing in this review.

1. Both alarms use 9 volt battery as a backup to the plug-in. Replacing the battery in First Alert is much easier than in Kidde Nighthawk. Photo #2 shows battery compartment o First Alert. Inserting the battery was easy. The connections were easy to make and they felt firm. Kidde Nightwak was finicky and the alarm chirped as you tried to make the connections, so I always had to wear ear plugs as it was too unpleasant to have the noise so close.

2. First alert battery compartment door slides in better and stays in place. Nighthawk was always a bit loose.

3. The messages in the display window are abbreviations not numbers like Nighthawk, so it is easier to tell what it tells you without looking up what numbers mean in the manual.
In photo #3 I show the back of the alarm, which contains abbreviation for the messages that the alarm can display.

- ALARM when CO present: four beeps / red led flashes rapidly / display shows CO then PPN value
- Replace battery: one beep per minute / red led flashes once a minute / display shows bat
- Malfunction, replace alarm: three beep per minute / red led flashes three times a minute / display shows Err
- End of life, replace alarm: five beep per minute / red led flashes five times a minute / display shows End

4. The chirping can be silenced either for 8 hours (e.g. when it needs a new battery) or for several minutes (while you are working on it).

5. This unit seems less leaky than Nighthawk. Nighthawk even when it was plugged in seem to drain the battery every few months. So far I am still running with the original battery. I will post an update when it needs to be replaced.

6. This alarm is much lighter than the Nighthawk so it stays where I put it better (it is not mounted on the wall but using an extension cord).

7. ***UNDOCUMENTED FEATURE***: when the alarm runs on a battery without being plugged in it display "bat" in the window (see Photo #1). Since on the back of the alarm it says that "bat" indicates that the unit needs a replacement battery I thought they shipped me an alarm with a dead battery. However, when I plugged the unit into the wall the "bat" message cleared.

8. First Alert display uses black and white LCD display. Kidde Nighthawk display display the information in glowing red. Black and white LCD display is harder to see from a distance, especially because I have the alarm placed in a darkish corner. However, I predict that the battery usage of First Alert will be better because it uses LCD display.

From installation notes: CO alarms (unlike smoke alarms) should be installed low in the room. If the detector is placed in a long hallway (more than 40 feet or 12 meters) each end of the hall way should have a detector. They should not be placed near a fan as blowing air could interfere with detection of CO. Putting the detector in direct sun light will shorten its life. Humidity and dusty area also interferes with detection so the alarm should not placed in the bathroom, garages, unfinished attics.

Maintenance: The instructions recommend vacuuming the unit cover once a month using a soft brush attachment. Do NOT perform wet cleaning. It also recommends frequent tests test/silence button. The test is recommended to be performed once a week.

I could not find any warranty information for CO614B model. It is not mentioned on the packaging or on the First Alert web site. I did find a warranty and info page for CO614, which has a 7-Year Limited Warranty. Sounds like CO614B is a new version of it. The picture of CO614 looks the same as CO614B. If you are looking for the website it is www firstalert com and look for the model number CO614. This will bring up the product page with 2 tabs: Features and Specification.

So far so good! I will update this review when I will need a replacement backup battery.

Ali Julia review
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33 comments| 37 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
I purchased two of the First Alert CO614 Plug-in Carbon Monoxide Alarm from a major warehouse club about 6 years ago. The two units have been in service since then without problems. But of course, as with most safety devices, you can never tell whether they actually work unless something BAD happened. So they are used for the peace-of-mind more than anything else. For that purpose, I'm satisfied.

There is, however, one annoying 'feature' with this product. Every once in a while (something like six months), one of the two units may start to 'chirp' and the digital display shows 'bAt'. According to the product manual, that means the backup battery is low and needs to be replaced. At first I followed the instructions and replaced the 9V battery. But after this happened a few times, I got suspicious. So I tested the battery and found it to be still fresh (battery voltage over 9V). I then re-inserted the same battery into the unit, and ran TEST to make sure the unit is functioning correctly. Doing so seems to keep the unit happy for the next six months to a year, but then the 'chirp' returns and I have to repeat this process again.

It appears to me that the 'Low Battery' signal is actually triggered by a timer, rather than the actual battery status. Maybe this 'feature' is designed to make sure the user tests the battery at least once a year. But since most average users have no way to check the status of their batteries, they are just going to throw away perfectly good 9V batteries because of this 'feature'.

The power consumption of each unit, as reported by my Kill A Watt Electricity Usage Monitor, is less than 1 watt (the display actually shows '0 Watt'). This is much lower than the power rating printed on the back of the unit, which says 0.09A at 110V (10W).

As to the digital display featured on this product, it turns out to be less useful than I have hoped. The display can only show carbon monoxide concentration in discrete steps such as 0/30/70/150 ppm (parts per million). It does NOT register any level lower than 30 ppm. So every time I run the 'Memory' function (which is supposed to remember the last highest level detected), all I can see is '0'. On second thought, maybe I should be thankful that it never show anything lower than 30. Otherwise if I see a reading of '5', should I start to panic just a little?

Another important point to note: This product is covered by a limited 7-year warranty, so remember to keep your original receipt. Out of the two units I purchased initially, one started to 'chirp' for no reasons after just a few weeks. Luckily I was able to have it replaced at the store, and not have to deal with warranty service.
22 comments| 32 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
I purchased this alarm to replace Kidde Nighthawk Plug-In Carbon Monoxide Alarm which died exactly 5 years after the initial purchase. This alarm provides audible and visual signals for carbon monoxide concentrations over 30 ppm. The display shows carbon monoxide concentration in 0/30/70/150 parts per million steps. It does NOT register any level lower than 30 ppm as they are not considered harmful.

In the few months I had this alarm I like it better than Kidde Nightwak. Both alarms are plug-ins with battery backup and digital display. In this review I will compare the key differences between the two alarms in my experience with them. I am attaching a collage of three photos under customer photos that I will be referencing in this review.

1. Both alarms use 9 volt battery as a backup to the plug-in. Replacing the battery in First Alert is much easier than in Kidde Nighthawk. Photo #2 shows battery compartment o First Alert. Inserting the battery was easy. The connections were easy to make and they felt firm. Kidde Nightwak was finicky and the alarm chirped as you tried to make the connections, so I always had to wear ear plugs as it was too unpleasant to have the noise so close.

2. First alert battery compartment door slides in better and stays in place. Nighthawk was always a bit loose.

3. The messages in the display window are abbreviations not numbers like Nighthawk, so it is easier to tell what it tells you without looking up what numbers mean in the manual.
In photo #3 I show the back of the alarm, which contains abbreviation for the messages that the alarm can display.

- ALARM when CO present: four beeps / red led flashes rapidly / display shows CO then PPN value
- Replace battery: one beep per minute / red led flashes once a minute / display shows bat
- Malfunction, replace alarm: three beep per minute / red led flashes three times a minute / display shows Err
- End of life, replace alarm: five beep per minute / red led flashes five times a minute / display shows End

4. The chirping can be silenced either for 8 hours (e.g. when it needs a new battery) or for several minutes (while you are working on it).

5. This unit seems less leaky than Nighthawk. Nighthawk even when it was plugged in seem to drain the battery every few months. So far I am still running with the original battery. I will post an update when it needs to be replaced.

6. This alarm is much lighter than the Nighthawk so it stays where I put it better (it is not mounted on the wall but using an extension cord).

7. ***UNDOCUMENTED FEATURE***: when the alarm runs on a battery without being plugged in it display "bat" in the window (see Photo #1). Since on the back of the alarm it says that "bat" indicates that the unit needs a replacement battery I thought they shipped me an alarm with a dead battery. However, when I plugged the unit into the wall the "bat" message cleared.

8. First Alert display uses black and white LCD display. Kidde Nighthawk display display the information in glowing red. Black and white LCD display is harder to see from a distance, especially because I have the alarm placed in a darkish corner. However, I predict that the battery usage of First Alert will be better because it uses LCD display.

From installation notes: CO alarms (unlike smoke alarms) should be installed low in the room. If the detector is placed in a long hallway (more than 40 feet or 12 meters) each end of the hall way should have a detector. They should not be placed near a fan as blowing air could interfere with detection of CO. Putting the detector in direct sun light will shorten its life. Humidity and dusty area also interferes with detection so the alarm should not placed in the bathroom, garages, unfinished attics.

Maintenance: The instructions recommend vacuuming the unit cover once a month using a soft brush attachment. Do NOT perform wet cleaning. It also recommends frequent tests test/silence button. The test is recommended to be performed once a week.

I read a useful tip in NLee review for this alarm: it appears that the battery chirp is time based rather than based on the actual low battery charge. This forces the owner to replace the battery more often to make sure that the battery has a full charge when the power goes out. Reinstalling the same battery resets the alarm, whether it is prudent or not is your judgment call. You cannot tell if the battery is dead without unplugging the unit.

First Alert website has warranty info (7-Year Limited Warranty) for CO614 CO Monoxide Alarm. If you are looking for the website it is www firstalert com (insert dots where I have spaces between three words) and look for the model number CO614. This will bring up the product page.

So far so good! I will update this review when I will need a replacement backup battery.

Ali Julia review
0Comment| 19 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on March 20, 2013
Defective from the start. Install the battery, plug it in, and in 1 to 2 days it starts to chirp with a message that the battery is low. Replaced the original battery and the same thing happened. Purchased at Costco.
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on February 22, 2014
Unit chirps and goes into "Err" status after being exposed to moderate levels of RF at 3.9 Mhz. Ham radio operators should avoid this product. After repeated exposure to RF, the unit permanently went into low battery status, even though the battery was good (measured at 9.5v). AM radio broadcast stations should also be aware of this problem and monitor the status after installation.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon March 21, 2015
(This is an update to my original review of this CO detector)

I originally purchased this CO detector from the local box store back in 2008 where it has reliably worked until giving me its end of life error 7 years later in 2015. I didn’t realize until it gave me that error that these have a limited time period before they no longer function. In this case, this particular model, according to the manufacturer has a 6 year life based on the time it is plugged into a wall outlet. Once it reaches that lifespan it will show an ERR on the LED Display and chirp 3 times every few minutes. Each of these CO detectors have a manufacturer date on the back (mine was November 2007), so if you do purchase this model, even those these are still sold, be aware of the manufacturer date as this particular model is no longer made by First Alert and an old unit may not be reliable.

The alarm features an LED display that shows the CO concentration and an alarm that provides an alert in an emergency and lets you know when you need to change the battery. This plugs into a wall outlet and takes a battery (9V) as a backup. This is a pretty large detector (5.5 by 3.5 x 1.5 inches) and does take up a bit of real estate on the wall outlet. I use it in the bottom outlet but it does make it difficult for using a second outlet. I have had no battery issues with it using batteries up quickly. When the backup battery is low, it gives an alarm and shows BAT on the display. The unit is warrantied for 5 years from First Alert. This unit has worked reliably for me.

4 stars
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on July 12, 2015
I purchased two of these and only had them a year and one has stopped. It says a 7 year warranty so I called First Alert and they said 5 year and asked the dates on the back. One had 12-2009 and the other had 12-2010. Both still less than 7 years. I told the lady they must have been trying to get rid of some that had old dates on them or set on a shelf for several years since I only had it a year. She asked if I had my receipt showing a year and they would replace. Well, I don't really keep trivial receipts that long and figure they would work longer. I have another called a nighthawk I've had 10 years and it still works fine. I suggest stay away from these and if you do purchase, check the date on the back to see that it is not already 4-5 years old. They will not warranty their products. Be warned.
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on November 27, 2013
I was told by First Alert when I went to replace the battery (never heard a chirp) that my battery was too old dated 2016 I need one that is dated 2017 or 18 and this is Nov 2013. The voltage of the battery is 9.43 when I measure it. First Alert says, "yea but that is without a load". Additionally, it does not work without a battery, even though it is a plug in. So the battery is not back up it is necessary to run the damn thing.
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on May 1, 2014
I bought it because of a gas fireplace. As far as I know it worked fine until it started beeping. I finally figured out what was beeping and replaced the battery and it kept beeping, I cant tolerate that any more so I am without protection until I can replace it. with something else.
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on July 25, 2015
I bought this in early 2010 to replace an older alarm. It claims to be good for 7 years, but it failed yesterday with the display showing "End" which I found out is an end of life timer that is supposed to trigger 7 years after the first time power is applied. This unit is dated 2009 DEC 11 so it's not even 7 years from the date of manufacture.

On the bright side, it does contain a perfectly reusable PIC16F688 microcontroller and the code protection was not enabled, making it possible to extract the code and eeprom data in case you like to tinker.
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