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91 of 91 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you have a bigger house, it's worth the bigger price
Pros: Peace of mind connecting basement sensors to attic bedroom, battery life, easy maintenance, easy setup, spoken alarm identifies threat and location and level of Carbon Monoxide at all networked units.

Cons: Price

We have a four-level home. All the carbon monoxide(CO) and fire sources are in the basement or on the first level: A gas furnace,...
Published on November 20, 2007 by K. Cuddeback

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89 of 91 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I really like these, feels safe, but BATTERIES run out quickly
I have 4 of these smoke detectors installed in my cape cod home and it makes me feel safe. When one goes off, they all go off and the deep male voice says whether there is smoke or CO2 in the house. ONCE they went off when there was smoke in the kitchen. The rest of the time they go off, mostly in the middle of the night for some mysterious reason, saying, in the loud...
Published on November 28, 2009 by Kathy


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91 of 91 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you have a bigger house, it's worth the bigger price, November 20, 2007
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: First Alert SCO501CN-3ST (Series SCO500) ONELINK Battery Operated Combination Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm with Voice Location (Tools & Home Improvement)
Pros: Peace of mind connecting basement sensors to attic bedroom, battery life, easy maintenance, easy setup, spoken alarm identifies threat and location and level of Carbon Monoxide at all networked units.

Cons: Price

We have a four-level home. All the carbon monoxide(CO) and fire sources are in the basement or on the first level: A gas furnace, hot water heater, and clothes dryer in the basement, a fireplace on the first floor. We keep the basement door closed and we sleep in bedrooms on the 2nd and 3rd floors, often with doors closed.

Conventional smoke detectors can be fairly hard to hear when that far away and it is also something of a guessing game which one is going off and why.

So two of these units (one for the basement and one for the 2nd floor hallway) address several unique challenges: First, would a detector in the basement ever awake us upper-floor sleepers in time? Second, with a total of 4 detectors in the house, how much time would you waste trying to identify the location and nature of any problem?

While expensive, their cost is the only downside I've experienced in a year and a half of ownership and two of these units are really the best way to install networked CO and fire detectors in a tall house.

These do require setup beyond just putting batteries and mounting, but it was easy considering that each unit must have a spoken location associated with it so that the spoken alarm can explain things like "Warning. Carbon Monoxied detected in Basement" or "Warning. Smoke detected in Hallway".

Note that when one unit detects trouble (or is being tested), the other speaks what the problem is too. Also during tests the unit reports the maximum CO level detected since the last test. This means that if something goes wrong in the basement, we'll get the message in right outside our bedrooms.

Replacing batteries is easy: they come in a little slide out tray and they seem to last longer than 9V batteries do in my older detectors.

I'm back today to order a 3rd unit to place in the Attic so that we can replace an un-networked smoke-only detector there also detect CO near the chimney (in case it ever leaks or drafts) as it passes through.
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89 of 91 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I really like these, feels safe, but BATTERIES run out quickly, November 28, 2009
This review is from: First Alert SCO501CN-3ST (Series SCO500) ONELINK Battery Operated Combination Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm with Voice Location (Tools & Home Improvement)
I have 4 of these smoke detectors installed in my cape cod home and it makes me feel safe. When one goes off, they all go off and the deep male voice says whether there is smoke or CO2 in the house. ONCE they went off when there was smoke in the kitchen. The rest of the time they go off, mostly in the middle of the night for some mysterious reason, saying, in the loud man's voice, "Change the batteries in the kitchen smoke detector" or "Change the batteries in the hallway smoke detector" etc etc. I currently have two of them lying on the floor with the battery drawers pulled out which stops the voice and the beep--beep--beep letting me know the batteries, which I had installed maybe 2 or 3 or 4 weeks before, are used up. The detectors are still lying on the floor days later because if I install new batteries then I will be woken up ever sooner by those batteries wearing out. Still I rate with 3 stars because these detectors make me feel safe. What's wrong with this picture? One is in sight laying on the floor as I type this. I use the brand and number of battery recommended by FirstAlert and I do not test the smoke detectors monthly because that would use up the batteries even more quickly.

UPDATE: 10/25/2011 I had tried the suggestion of someone to switch to lithium batteries. He said his batteries lasted several years that way. I got lithium betteries for my 5 detectors. One got used up in 2 days, another in 2 weeks! Today I called First Alert 800-323-9005. A nice man asked for the model # SCO500 and the manufacture date (9/2/2005). He said he knew what the problem was. Those smoke detectors drained the batteries too fast (uh, no kidding!) and they were recalled in 2006!! How was I supposed to know that? Anyway, he is sending 5 replacement new ones to me and a label to return the old ones. I had actually bought 7 originally but the 2 I threw away because I thought they were the problem cannot be replaced. sigh But I am ecstatic that I am getting 5 replacements and now I can have great smoke and CO2 detectors in my house that WORK and LAST. I am psyched. How is a person supposed to know when something gets recalled that they own unless they get a letter in the mail?

UPDATE: 1/9/12 I got the replacements and installed them. I used the batteries (not lithium, just regular) that came with the detectors. They have been installed, all 5 (bases had to be changed) and I have not have had any trouble with them!!! woo hoo
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85 of 94 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sleep Well Knowing Your Family Is Safe, August 4, 2008
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: First Alert SCO501CN-3ST (Series SCO500) ONELINK Battery Operated Combination Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm with Voice Location (Tools & Home Improvement)
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide detectors/alarms are extremely important for every home. People hate to spend the money on them, especially the higher quality (more expensive) detectors, and yet your very life can depend on them. There are many choices on the market today, ranging from cheap, basic models to extremely expensive, high-tech devices. There are two main types of smoke detectors: ionization detectors and photoelectric detectors. Most detectors utilize either one or the other of these technologies while some use both. Most detectors just use a beep-style audible alarm, while some talk, some have strobe lights, and some have a bright light to illuminate a dark area. Many detectors today are combining a smoke and carbon monoxide sensor, so you have dual protection in a single device. You can choose between AC and battery operated devices. Most (if not all) new homes are built with AC detectors in all of the vital areas, which usually contain a battery backup in case of a power outage. Many of these new detectors, installed in new homes, are linked together so that one detector will trigger all of them to sound their alarm. This is a very useful feature, since an alarm in the basement may not be heard by sleeping individuals in an upstairs bedroom. However, getting this protection in an existing, older home was almost impossible until a few years ago when manufacturers started utilizing wireless technology to allow communication between multiple detection devices.

My wife and I recently decided to move our bedroom into the basement level of our home. It allowed our three children to all have a room of their own, but we were very concerned about what would happen if there was a fire and we did not hear an alarm go off on the upper level of our home. We were also concerned about the potential of carbon monoxide poisoning. It is the first time that we were not sleeping close to our children, as we were now down a level and on the complete opposite end of our home. We had a home security system installed, which also gave us some protection from fire, but we could not afford to have an adequate number of smoke and carbon monoxide sensors installed with it, as they were extremely expensive. Our security system is made by First Alert Pro, and when I explained my concerns about better protection, to the person installing the system, he recommended that we look into the OneLink combination smoke and CO alarms by First Alert. He told us that when one alarm goes off it sends a signal to every other OneLink detector in the house, causing all of the alarms to go off at the same time. He also told us that the alarms have a talking voice module, which actually tells you where the smoke or carbon monoxide is being detected. Research also shows that young children are more likely to wake up and take action when they hear a voice, rather than just hearing a beeping sound. I don't know much about that but I have read this information in several places on the Internet.

I could not find the OneLink combination smoke and CO alarms at any local retailers, but I was able to find them at several sites on the Internet. Needless to say, they are not cheap! However, after researching this model online, I was impressed by the features and I read a lot of glowing reviews for them. Since you can add as many detectors as you want, whenever you want, I decided to start out with three of them and add more as I could afford them. The included instruction manual is pretty straightforward but setting up and installing the first detector was a little tricky. It's not that complicated but timing is a key element in programming this alarm. You start out by installing 2 AA batteries (included in the package), which will cause the alarm to say "Welcome, First Alert Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm. No location programmed. To select location, press and hold test button now." This is where the timing part comes in. As instructed, you press and hold the test button until the Alarm starts speaking again, at which time you release the button again. When you do this, the voice module will say "To save location, press and hold test button after desired location is heard." The voice will then begin listing off room names in a typical house. The choices are as follows: Basement, Living Room, Family Room, Office, Kitchen, Dining Room, Hallway, Child's Bedroom, Master Bedroom, Guest Bedroom, Utility Room. Once you hear the name of the room that you want to setup the detector for, you must quickly press and hold the button down. It will announce the room name you have chosen and will tell you that the location has been saved. If you mess up this step, you can remove the batteries, wait for a couple of minutes and reinstall the batteries again, to start the entire process over.

To add and link additional OneLink alarms, you must hold down the test button when you insert the batteries. Once you hear the unit chirp you release the button. At this point the green power LED should start to blink. You are then to hold down the test button on the first alarm you setup, until the second alarm chirps. You repeat these steps for each additional OneLink alarm you wish to integrate into your home. Once you have the main programming completed, mounting the devices is as easy as installing any other basic smoke detector, using the provided mounting screws.

My wife and I started by purchasing and installing three of the First Alert OneLink Battery Operated Combination Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms (SCO501NC-3ST). As all First Alert OneLink devices can be linked with each other, we will likely add a few smoke-only detectors in the near future. We have installed one of the OneLink detectors in the kitchen, one in the hallway (right outside our children's bedrooms), and one just outside our bedroom in the basement. So far they have been working flawlessly. We test them every couple of weeks or so, and pushing the test button on one detector causes them all to go off, as they are supposed to. The real test was when my wife recently had a "cooking accident," which caused a fair amount of smoke in the kitchen. The alarm in the kitchen went off first, which triggered the other two OneLink alarms in the house. I was in my office downstairs when the basement alarm sounded; saying "Warning, Evacuate, Smoke in Kitchen, Evacuate!" Shortly after I silenced the kitchen alarm, the hallway alarm went off, which set off the other two alarms as well. This time the spoken warning stated that smoke was detected in hallway. The alarms simply added to my wife's frustration in trying to get the burning dinner situation under control, but I was delighted that the alarms were working as promised.

The First Alert OneLink Combination Smoke Alarm and Carbon Monoxide Detector allows you to build a safety network of wireless, interconnected alarms in your home. You can wirelessly connect up to 16 OneLink alarms in your home. When one alarm sounds they will all begin to sound. This device features a talking alarm, with an actual voice that speaks the type and location of the danger in your home. It is a 2-in-1 device, giving your home protection from both smoke and carbon monoxide. The smoke detector uses photo-electric technology, which helps prevent false alarms like those caused by cooking and shower steam. An EZ access battery drawer provides the ability to change the batteries without removing the alarm from the ceiling. The CO sensor is an electrochemical type, which is the most accurate technology available for detecting carbon monoxide. The OneLink produces a loud, 85db alarm, plus a talking alarm for added safety. The package includes the OneLink combination smoke and CO detector/alarm, a pair of AA batteries, mounting hardware and instruction manual. First Alert claims that this device has a 6-year lifecycle. The OneLink alarm will give a special chirping pattern, to let you know once the device has reached end of life. The device is covered by a 5-year limited warranty.

My wife and I are extremely happy with our purchase of the First Alert OneLink Combination Smoke and CO detectors. We no longer have to worry about an alarm going off upstairs, while we are asleep downstairs and therefore unaware of the danger to our children. We sleep much better at night knowing that our entire family is safe. I definitely plan to install more OneLink detectors throughout our home in the near future. Although the setup can be a little tricky, your first time, it gets easier as you program more of them. My only concern is the battery life, since they run on just two AA batteries. The instruction manual suggests that you test the alarms once every week, but to save battery power I test ours once every other week. The alarms do have a talking low battery alert, which is supposed to sound every 5 hours or so when the batteries are in need of replacement. We have had our OneLink detectors installed for about 3 months now and have had no problems with them. I cannot give the OneLink detectors 5 stars, due to their inflated cost, but I think they deserve 4 and ˝ stars for their quality and advanced technology. I definitely would not want to be without them in my home and I highly recommend them to everyone.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This product saved my family today, October 27, 2009
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This review is from: First Alert SCO501CN-3ST (Series SCO500) ONELINK Battery Operated Combination Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm with Voice Location (Tools & Home Improvement)
I bought three of these nine months ago. This morning the carbon monoxide detector went off and woke up my husband and I. We were able to get our four children out of the house. Our roof had just been redone and they had dislodged the pipe that vents out carbon monoxide, so it was dumping back into the house. When I bought these, I thought they were a bit expensive but I wanted the best. If I had to do it over again, there is no price I would not pay.
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51 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Changing batteries too often! Recalled alarms., February 21, 2008
This review is from: First Alert SCO501CN-3ST (Series SCO500) ONELINK Battery Operated Combination Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm with Voice Location (Tools & Home Improvement)
These smoke/carbon monoxide alarms had an issue back in 2006 and First Alert recalled like one million of them because the "replace battery" light or beep noise kept going off prematurely (the battery wasn't really low, but it told you it was). If you have one of these alarms and you're replacing battieries more than every 6 months (the batteries should last a year or so) you probably have one of the recalled units.

Check with First Alert and have them check your serial/part number.

The new alarms DON'T have this problem.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars CONSTANT false alarms - and always in the middle of the night!, May 23, 2011
By 
J. Abeles (Portland, OR USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: First Alert SCO501CN-3ST (Series SCO500) ONELINK Battery Operated Combination Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm with Voice Location (Tools & Home Improvement)
I bought 10 of these for my home, thinking I was "doing the right thing" and buying a complete, interconnected system.

The first comment is that the instructions are incorrect on how to "program" them to announce which room has a problem. I figured it out on my own but the instructions are inaccurate.

Second, and far more important, is that they randomly start beeping (not low battery beeps - but full, ear-piercing alarm beeps). Last nigth was the third time this has happened since recently buying and installing them. In this case, like others, a group of them went off for about 10 seconds. It's extremely disconcerting and I now have a very low level of confidence in this system. More than $600 later, I'm really disappointed.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Works great, but with limits, April 27, 2008
This review is from: First Alert SCO501CN-3ST (Series SCO500) ONELINK Battery Operated Combination Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm with Voice Location (Tools & Home Improvement)
These detectors are a great idea. They really do link together and communicate, making a whole house network of smoke detectors. They also use the latest photoelectric sensor type, which was recently recommended by our local news report on smoke detectors. They're supposed to be quicker to sense a fire, plus they have CO2 sensors for a double whammy. I bought four of them, two for the kids' bedrooms, one for the hallway outside the master bedroom, and one for the basement. I had originally thought maybe we could put one each in our unattached garage and horse barn, but after the in-house experiment, I doubt that will work.
The first thing I noticed is that, although the battery compartment is conveniently located and designed to allow access without removing the unit(which is nice), not all are assembled equally. Two of them opened really nicely, one a little stiff, and the third I broke two nails and almost my thumb trying to open the battery compartment to insert the AA's (Energizers included). Then I followed the activation instructions one at a time to make sure they communicate. At first they wouldn't work. The first unit said "error" or something like that, "Check owner's manual". Well I realized that I had them on the desk next to my wireless router, so I moved them to the bed in the master bedroom and that cured the problem. While laying side by side, they all communicated effectively. I installed them in two upstairs bedrooms on the walls. One at the foot of the upstairs stairway outside the master bedroom, and one in the basement next to the furnace. At first they all worked great. The test of any unit sounded on all of them. However, when I tested the basement one, it said it had an error. I ended up having to move the basement unit closer to the stairs going up (farther from the furnace) before they all communicated smoothly. Now they're located fairly over top of one another. I think if there's too many walls, and maybe in interfering wireless system, their sensitivity is impaired. It is really cool though to push the test button in the basement and have all units say (in a piercing, painfully loud voice) "EVACUATE! SMOKE DETECTED IN BASEMENT!" after the test announcement. Maybe they're better if a wireless router isn't present, but they're doing the job for now. I really doubt they would reach the garage or barn with the basement issue we had.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Idea! Makes me feel safer!, March 12, 2008
By 
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This review is from: First Alert SCO501CN-3ST (Series SCO500) ONELINK Battery Operated Combination Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm with Voice Location (Tools & Home Improvement)
I bought 6 of these for our 3 bedroom house when they were a Gold Box deal. One in each bedroom, one in the living room, one in the dining room near the kitchen, and another in the hallway.

They were easy to install, but you will need a cordless drill. You have to drill two holes in the ceiling and push drywall anchors in, then attach that mounting bracket with two screws. After that you install the batteries in the alarm, program in, and twist it into place. It took me about an hour to do all six, and test them.

THEY ARE LOUD! I like the fact that it announces where fire or CO is coming from so you can avoid that area as you evacuate. I have not had the battery issue that others have mentioned.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Worse than Chinese water torture !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!, September 25, 2012
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Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: First Alert SCO501CN-3ST (Series SCO500) ONELINK Battery Operated Combination Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm with Voice Location (Tools & Home Improvement)
Who would think that after shopping in the safety aisle and spending $500+ on a Carbon monoxide system that is supposed to help protect your home and add a measure of mental security would soon become one of the top ten worst decisions you ever made???? For over three years I have seriously TRIED to LOVE these detectors. The main feature I do love is that they will vocalize through all of the units what room the fire/ or carbon dioxide problem is located so that you are able to plan accordingly and act upon the information given. Everything else I hate about these detectors. They don't tell you when the batteries are low, they just start going off and ALWAYS in the middle of the night. When one false alarms, they all false alarm. Our three year old is so petrified of them due to the frequent false alarms, that she didn't sleep in her bed for almost an entire year because they scared her so much. If they go off now, she wakes up for the next 2-3 days screaming in her sleep. Yeah, Nice! Swapping out high quality batteries every 3 months has minimized the false alarms, but once the three month mark comes, I find myself becoming edgy at night. The last false alarm put me into a major panic attack as I heard the warning beep that the entire system was about to go off. I was in bed, AS USUAL, and raced down the stair nearly killing myself in order to prevent our daughter from waking. It's worse than Chinese water torture!!! I'm angered to think that I spend over $500 for these stupid things. I'd have my home wired for them but it's an older home with plaster walls... not too possible. Ohh and if you happen to not have air conditioning and have to use fans or leave your windows open in the Summer, FORGET IT! We had to use window air conditioners to prevent the dust from setting them off from the fans. I also have to regularly vacuum the vent to prevent dust particles form setting them off. Talk about a total nightmare! I mean there are more things in life to tend to than smoke/ carbon monoxide detectors? Half the time one or two of the units are sitting out with the battery box pulled out because they've false alarmed so much. I wonder really how safe my home is when half of them are sitting around the house with the battery compartment pulled out until I have time to vacuum out the vent or replace the batteries even though they should still be good. Anyway.... you roll the dice with this system, believe me!
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars UPDATED - Working perfectly now! Recalled and replaced, January 26, 2008
By 
This review is from: First Alert SCO501CN-3ST (Series SCO500) ONELINK Battery Operated Combination Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm with Voice Location (Tools & Home Improvement)
First Alert is known for great safety products and this certainly is innovative. Smoke detectors that wireless communicate throughout the home is a wonderful idea. Combine that with speech - telling you where the problem is and add in carbon monoxide detection on certain models and we thought we had a real winner.

Here's the problem: battery life is less than 30 days. We are spending $8 a month or $96 year just on batteries. This is totally abysmal. Add in the high cost to buy them and they just don't make sense. I wish I could return them and find something else.

UPDATE - First Alert recalled these! I contacted them as a last ditch effort prior to disposal of the units and recieved free replacements that work perfectly - combined with Lithium batteries - these last for months.
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