Logo -- Douglas Krantz Technicians Corner PDF of Make It Work - Conventional Fire Alarm Systems

Fire Alarm Maintenance


I have Mechanical Room PIV Error-- An addressable panel, like the Siemens panel you're working on, uses a Signaling Line Circuit (SLC) for communication. This is really a computer data and power buss. This circuit ...Read More

Quadruple Use of the Initiating Device Circuit (IDC)-- In a fire alarm system, the Initiating Device Circuit (IDC) is an input circuit or detection circuit: it carries the alarms detected by devices like flow switches, pull stations, heat detectors, tamper switches, etc. A second use of the Initiating Device Circuit is to monitor itself, it supervises its own wires... Read More

Do I Have to Go Off Line? -- Do I have to go offline to replace the batteries in the duct detector panel? Also, will I have to reset any equipment or systems? Read More

How do I troubleshoot a ground fault? -- Troubleshooting a ground fault is like troubleshooting anything else. The first thing to do is stop and think. Ask yourself, what are you looking at? Read More

How Can We Fix Intermittent Beeping Troubles? -- We have a fire alarm system installed ~ 2000, it started beeping trouble, runs through all the points as troubles, then restores to normal. Fire alarm technicians cannot figure it out. Read More

I'm Having Trouble With a Door Release -- While trying to trouble shoot why the door release for the front door is not working, one of the conductors grounded out against the fire alarm panel chases. This caused the door release to activate. Any thoughts? Read More

What Causes an Open NAC? -- I am going to a job site where on the service call ticket states that a NAC is reading open circuit. What can cause an open circuit on the NAC line? Read More

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

Area of Refuge, what should the upkeep and temporary usage be? -- What should be maintenance aspect of Refuge area in terms of Upkeep, Temporary Usage etc.? We often get request for temporary stowing and using Refuge area for minor works including welding. Read More

Standby Batteries - Is there a reason why I shouldn't change them myself? -- I am OK with the cost per battery but I am having a little heartburn over paying someone $115 to do a simple replacement of the batteries. UNLESS I am missing a step that I am unaware of? I believe I need to notify our alarm company that I am changing batteries and to put us in test mode. Read More

Where Can We Get Parts for our Unsupported System? -- Our fire alarm systems are no longer supported by the manufacturers, can you suggest how we can get the parts we may need in the future?... 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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