Top positive review
184 of 191 people found this helpful
Definitely an upgrade -- and a simple swap, too!
on July 16, 2008
Our house was wired for smoke detectors -- specifically the rather cheesy BRK 4120SB, which delights in false "low power" chirping. My goal was to replace the ones in the bedrooms with combination alarms that would alert us not only to smoke but to the presence of carbon monoxide. (Not to scare you but harm and even death from carbon monoxide poisoning are definite risks, especially in a home with deep-sleeping teenagers.)
I needed units that would be compatible with the wiring of our current system, and ideally ones that would accept the power leads, as wired. After some research here and elsewhere, I called the BRK help line and got definite information about the unit that would be compatible, as well as locations within the home where I both should and should not install units.
I ordered two units to start with, still being a bit leery of my previous experience, and can say that installation took less than 5 minutes per device.
1. Follow the instructions for removing the plastic tab in the battery door of your new unit and pushing the button to test your new unit. If all's well, proceed. Disregard the "locking pin" stuff unless you are in a shared dwelling and are concerned with someone walking off with your 9-volt battery. (This was the weirdest part of the instructions, frankly, and this is my guess on why it's there.) **Important: you are listening for 3 tones, pause, 3 tones, pause, 4 tones, pause, 4 tones. There is a typo at the bottom of page 3 of the instructions, so I've just verified with BRK that the tone pattern I'm mentioning is the correct one.
2. Twist off and unplug your current unit.
3. Back the two screws holding your collar to the ceiling so you have enough clearance to remove the collar.
4. Install the new collar.
5. Install your new unit. (A wired plug is included in case you need to swap your existing plug for the new plug.)
Fellow owners of the 4120SB will find that the upgraded unit sets and locks into place in the ceiling *much* easier and more reliably. Ditto with the battery door. Note that on the SC9120B, if you're having problems with the battery door not shutting (a) there is a little trigger tab that you should be able to push down with a fingernail and/or (b) hold the unit upside-down.
***A word, please, about longevity, since the primary purpose of an alarm is your safety.
1. Replace your batteries at least once a year.
2. Combo smoke/carbon monoxide units have a 5-year life span, per BRK staff. Regular smoke alarms have a 10-year lifespan. Not replacing them within these timespans is, in my opinion, the most dangerous kind of false economizing. (Note also that if you need help, the BRK customer service apparently has improved greatly since the experience of earlier reviewers of the product line. The call I made in June could not have been more thorough and professional, even to dealing with the phantom beeps of my 5-year-old alarms.)
3. Whether or not you buy this or any smoke alarm product, please do yourself and your family two favors. First, label the plug (hidden) side of your units with the install and replace dates. Second, change your batteries at least once a year.
BTW, I gave the unit a 4 rather than a 5 because while the battery door and twist-on/twist-off issues are less irritating than on the earlier generation, they still do exist.