Get that Monitoring Job! – Monitoring Assorted Fire Alarm Panels Via IP

You’ve probably used the UL-listed FireWatch series of IP communicators on existing and new Fire-Lite Alarms control panels, but what do you do when faced with a fire alarm control panel that’s not UL-listed with the Firewatch IP communicator?

If upgrading the panel is not an option, get your foot in the door by illustrating the savings you can provide that facility via IP monitoring. How can it be done? The answer is to put in an IP communicator that monitors the alarm relay contacts. This will save the customer the cost of two business telephone lines.

How it’s Done
So how do you do this? Simply obtain an HP300ULX power supply and install an IPDACT and a 411UD slave dialer inside. (Note: UL does not permit powering the devices off the competitive fire panel.)
1. Place the HP300ULX next to the competitive fire panel and provide a short section of conduit between the two panels.
2. Connect the 411UD inputs to the alarm, trouble and supervisory relay contacts on the competitive panel.
3. Use the bracket (PN: IPBRKT) to mount the IPDACT inside the HP300ULX.
4. Connect the two 411UD dialer outputs to the IPDACT. (Use PN:IPSPLIT)
5. Lastly, it is required to monitor and report the power supply trouble contacts. Connect the HP300ULX battery/trouble relay to the Input 1 on the IPDACT.

Make sure your central station has this programmed as a Contact-ID 311 battery missing/trouble instead of the default Fire Alarm 110.

This is a fully UL 864 compliant installation. For wiring instructions and complete directions, see Product Installation Document 53190.pdf.

Benefits to Building Owners
The average monthly cost of a business line can be $40, $50, $60 or more per month. Double this to meet the requirement for two lines and a building owner can pay $100+ per month, equaling $1,200+ per year that could be saved with IP fire alarm communication. The savings on the telephone lines in just one year could very well convince the customer to put in the new panel next year or at the least, pay for the installation of the new communicator and get you a new monitored account.

 

About the Author:
Nick Martello is the owner of Martello Consulting and currently serves as the USA Tier Three technical representative for the Teldat Corporation. Prior to forming Martello Consulting, Nick served as marketing director for both the NOTIFIER and Fire-Lite Alarms businesses.

 

Communicating from a Distance: Fire Alarm Upload/Download

Fire-Lite Alarms offers the capability to transfer data to and from most of its fire alarm control panels for convenient setup or troubleshooting. Typical applications include downloading configuration data to a panel for a new installation, and uploading data from an existing panel to view status, buffer history or capture existing panel configuration files.Honeywell

There are a few different ways to connect to a Fire-Lite panel for local programming as described below:

  • Local connection to the Fire Alarm panel using a serial communications port or a USB port
  • Remote connectivity to the Fire Alarm panel’s DACT over phone lines
  • Remote connectivity to the Fire Alarm panel over IP when using the IPDACT and the Teldat Visor Alarm Receiver

How To
When performing an upload or download to a fire alarm panel, Fire-Lite’s PS-Tools programming software automatically configures a computer’s serial or USB port settings so it can communicate to the fire panel. If a serial communication interface is required to make a connection to the panel and the installer has a laptop that is not equipped with a serial port, Fire-Lite tech support can provide a list of compatible serial-to-USB converters that can be used. Once the connection is made, the installer can begin communicating with the panel to start the programming or troubleshooting process as needed.

Having the capability to check the system status of a panel and read the buffer history remotely can help make troubleshooting faster and allow an installer to bring the right tools or equipment to the job. When connecting to a fire panel from an off-site location over phone lines, Fire-Lite’s Upload/Download software kit  (PK-CD) is required along with a computer running Windows® XP or greater. Fire-Lite Alarms specifically recommends using the US Robotics 56K USB Modem, Model Number USR5637 to successfully dial into the fire alarm panel and perform an upload or download as needed. Typical upload or download speeds vary based on baud rates and the type of fire alarm control panel that an installer is connecting to.

Connectivity Over IP

In addition to having the capability for remote upload/download over phone lines, Fire-Lite Alarms also offers connectivity over IP when using the IPDACT and Teldat’s VisorAlarm Plus receiver. A typical configuration for utilizing this feature is a local computer running PS-Tools that is connected to the serial ports of a VisorAlarm Plus receiver. The serial ports (VA-UD) on the receiver will emulate a modem that is being connected to the local computer and will allow the PS-Tools configuration software to capture data remotely through the IPDACT from the fire alarm control panel. This configuration helps provide the same remote connectivity to a fire alarm panel, but instead utilizes the internet to move data between the panel and the computer with the PS-Tools software.

One thing to keep in mind is that most codes require an Installer to be on site if there are any changes to the fire-alarm system programming. Be sure to check with your local AHJ to make sure that those requirements are met.

In a world that is becoming more connected, there are a few different options for transferring data to and from your fire panel locally or remotely. Deciding which technology to use is the first step in utilizing Fire-Lite’s advanced Upload/Download capabilities to help reduce installation and service time on a job.

 

About the Author:
Ken Gentile is a Product Manager for Fire-Lite Alarms and Honeywell Power. Using his more than 15 years of marketing and engineering experience, Ken’s primary focus lies in the development of new products.

 

Answers to 1500 Top Fire Alarm Technical Questions

The newly revamped FAQ section of the Fire-Lite website (http://www.firelite.com/en-US/support/faqs/Pages/frequently-asked-questions.aspx) has been updated and categorized from the 1,500 FAQs that have been present on our website for years. This will aide new and veteran installers with programming, troubleshooting and other questions that may arise when working with Fire-Lite products.

By breaking the FAQs down to category and subject, this will help pinpoint the exact nature of your question and prevent the display of FAQs not pertinent to your search.

For instance, if you are working with our new ECC 50/100 Emergency Communication System, by selecting Audio Evacuation Systems in the Category, and then selecting ECC-50/100 (see Pic 1), you will then see all the FAQ’s associated with the ECC system only. The caveat to this type of search is that you are strictly limiting the search capabilities of all the FAQs by selecting the specific category/subject.

Pic 1

If you are unaware of the exact product category or subject, leaving both of those untouched and doing a search will yield much better results.

For example, if you leave the category/subject fields default, but search ECC in the Search Word (see Pic 2), you will get the same exact FAQs as you would in the example above. This is to ensure you find answers more quickly.

Pic 2
To check out the new FAQs section, please visit http://www.firelite.com/en-US/support/faqs/Pages/frequently-asked-questions.aspx. If you need assistance, please call Fire-Lite Alarms’ Technical Support Team at 800-627-3473 M-F, 8-7 p.m. EST, or email  firelite.tech@honeywell.com.

 

About the Author:
Jason Knowlton is a NICET Level II Technical Support Team Leader for Honeywell Fire Systems. He has over 12 years of experience in technical support of fire alarm systems and is the technical lead for all IP based Honeywell fire products and solutions.