Fire Alarm Maintenance
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...
!-- SCIfItAint -->
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?
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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.
Douglas Krantz | Describing How It Works
Nuts and Volts Magazine "Insulation Tester"