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Fire Alarm -- Maintenance

Douglas Krantz -- Fire Alarm Engineering Technician, Electronic Designer, Electronic Technician, Writer








Talk to Management Before and After Servicing -- When a technician is doing something, anything, with the fire alarm system -- people are concerned; they don't like being surprised by seeing someone messing around with their life-safety fire alarm... Read More

If It Aint't on Paper - Did It Happen?-- Paperwork - when things go right, no one reads it - when things go wrong, is that when they read it? Read More

Can the Ground Fault Light be Used for Troubleshooting?-- A ground fault is an electrical leakage from the fire alarm system to building ground -- somewhere in the building. The ground fault light on... Read More

Who Really has Job Security?-- If you guard secrets to keep job security, you'll lose it. If you give away secrets to give away job security, you... Read More

When Talking to Customers, Shouldn't Their Language Be Used? -- You have been trained in the operation of fire alarm systems, your customers have not... Read More

How Does One Gain Experience? -- If every time one goes on site to fix the fire alarm system the problem is obvious, being a troubleshooter... Read More

Is the Sense of Time Important in Troubleshooting?-- Sometimes, when servicing fire alarm systems to find the troubles, one has to use all the common senses available to observe more than just... Read More

Can Stopping to Look at the Panel and Think Save Time? -- Sometimes, even after a lightning storm, what seems like a whole gaggle of troubles, is really only a few small troubles... Read More

What is a Friday Afternoon Repair? -- If the fire panel shows normal, you may never get back to fix a trouble; if the fire panel shows trouble, you'll always come back to...Read More

Why Use a Cheap Meter when and Expensive Meter is Better? -- Like a doctor always carrying a stethoscope, so should a technician always carry a... Read More

When Should Fire Alarm Batteries Be Replaced? -- The 2007 NFPA72 shows in Table 10.4.4, Item 6(d)(1), that the sealed lead-acid batteries used for battery backup in fire... Read More

Why are Battery Date Codes so Cryptic? -- For safety reasons, the NFPA Code requires the replacement of fire alarm batteries within 5 years of manufacture...Read More

Do You Have to Replace Fire Alarm Batteries in Pairs? -- The question is asked: In a fire alarm system, where backup batteries are wired in series, can the batteries be changed out one at a time, or do the batteries have to be changed out in pairs? Remember that the... Read More

Are As-Built Drawings Available When Needed? -- When available, as-built drawings are used by architects and engineers for remodeling or for designing new additions to... Read More

How Does One Remove Tarnish from Electronic Contacts? -- Has this ever this happen to you? The electronic circuit you're servicing isn't working. You take it apart, look at it, and... Read More

Can a Duct Detector That Dirty be Cleaned? -- Well, the contractor said the new air handling equipment wasn't even turned on until after the walls had been sanded and painted, but apparently... Read More

What is a Ground Fault? -- With the exception of the ground fault circuitry inside the fire alarm control panel (FACP) itself, the wiring for fire alarm systems has... Read More

How Does One Find a Soft Ground Fault? -- Normally, we think of resistance like that of a resistor. The amount of resistance is built-in; no matter what voltage is used to drive the electrical... Read More

Why Do Ground Faults Keep Happening in Some Buildings? -- Someone on a condominium board wrote about recurring ground fault issues with his building. Some of the other board members... Read More

Can Low Tech Follow-the-Wire Help Troubleshoot? -- Someone once said "Experience is something you gain when things go wrong." Well, wiring issues are things that have gone wrong, and a lot of experience... Read More

How Does One Keep Track of All Those Wires? -- Changing a circuit board, whether it's in a fire alarm panel, a security panel, a card access panel, or some other panel, can be a potential nightmare if a mistake is made and the wires are mixed up. Read More






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Douglas Krantz

Describing How It Works
writer@douglaskrantz.com
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Articles

How Does Class A Fire Alarm Wiring Work?-- Fire alarm systems save lives and protect property. Fire alarm systems also break down because... Read More

Just What Is a Signaling Line Circuit (SLC)? -- The SLC (Signaling Line Circuit) is another way of saying Data and Power Circuit. Along with added power to run the sub-computers and their input and output circuits, it's a computer data-buss ... Read More

How is a Buffer Relay Wired Into a Door Holder Circuit? -- Like a door stop, a door holder keeps a fire door open. When smoke is detected, the door holder releases, allowing the door to shut. The door holder looks simple and innocuous enough... Read More

How Does One Find a Soft Ground Fault? -- Normally, we think of resistance like that of a resistor. The amount of resistance is built-in; no matter what voltage is used to drive the electrical... Read More

Can a Magnet Really be Used to Test a Smoke Detector? -- Smoke detectors usually have two ways of being tested. Smoke (smoke particles in the air, or some sort of canned smoke), and magnets (the activation of an internal magnetic... Read More



Electrical Flow


On this website, most references to electrical flow are to the movement of electrons.

Here, electron movement is generally used because it is the electrons that are actually moving. To explain the effects of magnetic forces, the movement of electrons is best.

Conventional current flow, positive charges that appear to be moving in the circuit, will be specified when it is used. The positive electrical forces are not actually moving -- as the electrons are coming and going on an atom, the electrical forces are just loosing or gaining strength. The forces appear to be moving from one atom to the next, but the percieved movement is actually just a result of electron movement. This perceived movement is traveling at a consistent speed, usually around two-thirds the speed of light. To explain the effects of electrostatic forces, the movement of positive charges (conventional current) is best.

See the explanation on which way electricity flows at www.douglaskrantz.com/
ElecElectricalFlow.html
.