Tag Archives: Low Frequency

Spotlight on Software: Lite-Configurator Now Supports SWIFT™ Wireless

Lite-Configurator is an easy to use FREE program that allows you to configure a bill of materials for Fire-Lite’s addressable and conventional control panels. The Lite-Configurator tool Version 2.6.2 has been updated to include the new SWIFT™ Wireless addressable devices. In addition to SWIFT™ Wireless support, we have improved the support for low frequency by updating the B200SR-LF Low Frequency Sounder Base and the new ISO-6 Six Fault Isolator Module.

With the Lite-Configurator tool, you can:

  • Create a bill of material for addressable and conventional control panels
  • Select and edit parts from the parts catalog
  • Generate a formatted report with a customized header from your bill of materials
  • Export your bill of materials to MS Excel or MS Access
  • Create a full set of battery calculations based on your configuration
  • Print data sheets from the Bill of Materials screen.

To get started with the latest version of Lite-Configurator, click here to download the software.

Visit our website to learn more about Windows®-based software tools designed to assist Fire-Lite customers in the day-to-day business of selling and supporting fire alarm systems.


About the Author
George Goral is a NICET Level II Fire Products Application Specialist for Honeywell Fire Safety. He has 8 years of experience in technical support of fire alarm control panels including software support and the new SWIFT Wireless product line.

New Jersey: On the Leading Edge of Fire Safety

New Jersey is known for a wealth of assets—its regional diversity from forests to beautiful beaches, arts and music, its rich history, and you can add “a commitment to fire safety codes” to the list. We’ve been incredibly proactive with code adoption for a long, long time, and that continues this year, as we’re in the process of adopting the 2015 editions of the International Building Code and International Residential Code. Considering we’re implementing these 2015 codes as well as the 2013 edition of the NFPA standards (which are the most current), I can confidently say we’re on the leading edge of code compliance.

New Jersey has a mandate to uphold our fire protection standards, so we always look to past codes when employing new codes to ensure we’re not reducing requirements.  If we’ve set up an alarm and sprinkler system under the old codes, we ensure the new codes maintain that same level of protection. To this end, sometimes we intervene and don’t adopt a less-rigorous section of the code or we modify a specific section; that’s why it’s critical for end users to always make sure they’re applying our adopted New Jersey codes.

So what are the new 2015 standards we’re adopting?   Let’s take a look:

Low frequency: In occupancies where sleeping accommodations are provided, the pre-alert tone must include a low-frequency component of 520 Hz square wave range to accommodate the needs of the hearing impaired for fire voice messages and emergency communication messages. This will have a critical impact on life safety because the low-frequency signal is 6 to 10 times more effective at waking hearing-impaired children and young adults than the standard 3 KHz audible fire alarm signal.

Limits on SLCs: A new standard will limit how far a signaling line circuit (SLC) can be extended in a building. The policy says that a single fault on a pathway connected to addressable devices cannot cause the loss of more than 50 addressable devices. Instead of running a SLC through an entire building, end users now won’t lose a significant part of a building. There’s been a lot of discussion about whether 50 devices is the right number, are there alternative methods, so an amendment could be coming down the pike.

Point identification: For multistory buildings that exceed 22,500 square feet, point identification will be required.  It will now be easier for fire service personnel to locate a fire when they arrive at a building.  Instead of the fire system simply indicating that the incident is on the second floor, this code requires identification of the specific room.  Also, this will benefit the fire alarm industry; when users troubleshoot a problem, it’s a lot more convenient to know that it came from a specific detector or device.  It’s a win-win however you look at it.

Sensitivity testing for addressable systems: Currently, if you have a conventional system that requires sensitivity testing, you have to literally go to every device in the first year of installation, then again in the third and fifth years. Well, that’s a big back-end cost for property owners who have to manually administer sensitivity testing.  However, addressable systems automate that process, so it will be a massive savings for property owners as well as benefiting fire service with fewer nuisance alarms.

Voice Evacuation: The 2012 I Codes started the trend and the proposed 2015 codes carry forward the proliferation of Voice Evacuation Fire Alarm Systems in a multitude of uses, not just high rises. Voice provides building owners flexibility far beyond that found in conventional notification.  First and foremost is Mass Notification especially in sensitive locations such as schools and health care.  Coupled with Alternate Uses, the code section that allows non-emergency paging, Voice Systems eliminate the need for separate paging systems.

Despite being a leader in code adoption, we are still learning every day about fire safety in New Jersey.  Just consider the recent devastating fire at the Edgewater apartment complex and the aftermath from that tragedy.  We always continue to take a strong look at things; even though a standard is permitted, we question whether that should be allowed moving forward.

It’s a matter of public consensus—what risk tolerance does the public have?  We want every building sprinkled, alarmed and made out of concrete, but we all know that’s not going to happen.  We have to look at the will of the people, consensus, and that’s why code comment periods have been so helpful to us over the years.

So what standards has your state adopted this year?  Tell us your thoughts in the comment section below.

About the Author
John Drucker, CET, serves as the Assistant Construction Official and Fire Protection Subcode Official for the Borough of Red Bank, New Jersey. Prior to joining government service, Drucker spent 15 years with Siemens Fire Safety as a field technician and operations manager, culminating as project manager at the World Trade Center from 1993 to 2001—a role which involved the design, installation, maintenance and repair of one of the largest fire detection and voice evacuation systems covering approximately 10 million square feet of floor space.

How Do I Meet Low Frequency Requirements Using Voice Systems? (Part 4 of 4)

In my previous blog, we talked about the products offered by System Sensor for low frequency applications, but how can you incorporate the low frequency devices using a voice system?

Most high-rise lodging applications and R-2 occupancies, such as hotels and college dormitories, require the use of voice systems to manage the evacuation of occupants. For the majority of the low frequency discussion, the product solutions in mind have been stand alone notification appliances.

What do you do when you are required to put a voice system in the sleeping space?  Can you play an audio file that can comply with the low frequency requirement?   

The answer is yes, but you have to ensure it is UL listed as compatible system to the low frequency requirements defined in UL 464.

Why is this required for fire alarm or ECS control panels since they come with a wide variety of pre-programmed sound files that do not require compatibility?

The answer can be found in the details of the low frequency requirements as defined per UL 464. Speakers are just passive devices; they just turn on or off depending on the activation of the system and operate listed frequency ranges. A sound file goes through processing as it goes through the amplifier and out of the speaker. UL requires verification that the signal coming out of the speaker complies with the low frequency performance requirements just as a standalone low frequency device.

Fire-Lite’s ECC-50/100 is now UL listed with select System Sensor Speakers and Speaker Strobes to produce the low frequency tones for Voice Evacuation or Emergency Communications. These messages can easily be downloaded to the Control panel with our Audio programming utility.

Be sure to visit the Fire-Lite Blog for the entire 4 part series and MORE!


About the Author
Rebecca Peterson is a Sr. Product Marketing Manager for the AV business unit of System Sensor. Rebecca has been with System Sensor for 13 years and her primary focus on new product development and voice of the customer on products that customers need and want.


Low Frequency Product Solutions to Meet Your Needs (Part 3 of 4)

Did you know System Sensor offers a wide variety of product solutions to meet your low frequency applications?

Low Freq Family Accessories

Low Frequency Sounders and Sounder Strobes
Like the entire SpectrAlert Advance product line, the low frequency sounder and sounder strobe devices include a variety of features that increases their application versatility while simplifying installation. Enabled with our System Sensor synchronization protocol you can interconnect them with our non-low frequency sounders to provide synchronization throughout the notification zone.

These devices were designed to easily integrate into new or existing panel’s notification appliance circuit (NAC) line and provide the required audibility and square wave tone, low frequency requirements needed to awaken individuals. They are UL listed as low frequency (520Hz) notification appliances.

The low frequency (520Hz) sounders come with three field selectable tones (T3, continuous, coded) and are compatible with 12 and 24 VDC/FWR Systems. Model Numbers are HR-LF and HW-LF.

The low frequency (520Hz) sounder strobe features our high-candela range: 135, 150,177, and 185 cd, it comes with two field selectable tones (T3 and continuous) and is compatible with 24 VDC/FWR systems. Model Numbers are P2RH-LF and P2WH-LF.

Low Frequency Sounder Bases
The B200SR-LF low frequency sounder base, with its attractive aesthetics is ideal for applications where appearance is critical. For example, the sounder base employs a separate mounting plate that installs to various junction box sizes to eliminate unsightly surface-mount boxes. In addition the mounting plate is locked in position with two retaining screws, which is covered by installed sensor head for added tamper resistance.

The low frequency (520Hz) sounder base features with field selectable tones (T3 and continuous) and is compatible with 24 VDC/FWR systems.

To learn more about System Sensor low frequency (520Hz) product solutions visit our website.

Want more? Check out part one and part two of this series.

Stay tuned for part four!

About the Author
Rebecca Peterson is a Sr. Product Marketing Manager for the AV business unit of System Sensor. Rebecca has been with System Sensor for 13 years and her primary focus on new product development and voice of the customer on products that customers need and want.


How Will Low Frequency Requirements Impact Me? (Part 2 of 4)

In this next blog we want to review what the low frequency requirements impact the design of the system.  (If you missed part one, click here)

Keeping people and property safe are the primary reasons we are in the life safety industry. However, when new solutions are found to protect the greater good, the impact to the design Keep In Mindmay be forgotten.

Here are a few things that you should keep in mind about designing low frequency systems:

In order for manufacturers to meet low frequency requirements, they will use speaker elements in their design. Speakers, by nature, draw more energy and are less efficient than a traditional piezo element. Don’t be surprised when you look at the datasheets and find the current draw is 2X or 3X more than the non-low frequency products. New designs require more power supplies with fewer devices on each notification circuit line.

While the lower frequency tone is more effective at waking individuals, the produced audibility is not as high as traditional notification devices. If you have higher audibility requirements or larger spaces to cover, you may find that one device will not be enough for the same area as a traditional notification device.

To learn more about the low frequency design and installation considerations visit our archived System Sensor webinar.

Be sure to check back on the Fire-Lite Blog for the next part of this series!


About the Author
Rebecca Peterson is a Sr. Product Marketing Manager for the AV business unit of System Sensor. Rebecca has been with System Sensor for 13 years and her primary focus on new product development and voice of the customer on products that customers need and want.


Why is Low Frequency So Important? (Part 1 of 4)

We’ve been trained to evacuate a building when the alarm, horns, and strobes sound during a fire event. Ideally you would respond ahearing-restoreds soon as you hear the audible device, but what happens if you’re sleeping and unable to react right away? What if you’re hard-of-hearing?

Recent studies conducted by the NFPA 72 committee and the FPRF found that many high-risk groups exhibited a delayed response when audible devices went into alarm. Some high-risk groups also had a delayed response to the usual 3 Kilo-hertz tone found in many smoke alarms and audible devices. In some cases, high-risk groups, such as individuals with mild to severe hearing loss or those under the influence of sleeping aids or alcohol, had a delayed response with the higher frequency tones.

Research shows that audible devices with a lower frequency, 520 Hz, were more effective at waking impaired individuals. These impaired individuals are the aforementioned people with mild to severe hearing loss or those under the influence of sleeping aids or alcohol. Increasing the notification effectiveness in this application increases the chances of prompt evacuation during an emergency.

To learn more about the benefit of the low frequency sounders and hear the tone, visit the System Sensor Low Frequency webpage.

Be sure to check back on the Fire-Lite Blog for the next part of this series!


About the Author
Rebecca Peterson is a Sr. Product Marketing Manager for the AV business unit of System Sensor. Rebecca has been with System Sensor for 13 years and her primary focus on new product development and voice of the customer on products that customers need and want.

What Should You Know About Low Frequency?

There has been quite the buzz in the fire and life safety industry regarding low frequency and what it really means. Fire alarm and building codes and standards have changed in response to studies showing that low frequency audible devices are more effective in waking individuals in sleeping areas. The new sleeping space requirements require the alarm tone of audible appliances to be of a square wave tone centered around 520Hz. Let’s take a brief look at the codes, adoption, and solutions.

The significant changes in the sleeping space requirements occurred within NFPA 72 2010 edition and 2013 edition. Here are the NFPA 72 chapters impacted and placement requirements:

• Chapter 18 (Protected Premise Fire Alarm Systems) – Requires low frequency notification in every sleeping space
• Chapter 24 (Emergency Communication Systems) – Required for voice systems in sleeping spaces
• Chapter 29 (Household Fire Alarm Systems) – Required only in sleeping spaces for those classified as having mild-to-severe hearing loss, where governed by law or code, or volunteered to provide a means for such individuals.

The 2012 editions of the International Building Code (IBC) and International Fire Code (IFC) indirectly reference the 2010 or 2013 editions of NFPA 72, which requires a low frequency tone in certain newly constructed Group-R occupancies. Many jurisdictions in the U.S have adopted IBC and IFC 2012. These are the applications that may be impacted:

• Transient Lodging Spaces – Hotels/Motels
• College and University Dormitories
• Assisted Living Facilities
• Apartments and Condominiums

Fire-Lite Alarms offers a comprehensive product line-up that helps you meet the low frequency requirements in the aforementioned applications:
SpectrAlert Advance Low Frequency Sounders and Sounder Strobes
Intelligent Sounder Base with Low Frequency Capability
Emergency Command Center (ECC) Compatibility with System Sensor SpectrAlert Speakers for 520Hz

Keep Fire-Lite Alarms in mind as you design your next project with Low Frequency requirements. Visit our website for more information!

About the Author
Richard Conner is the Director of Marketing for Fire-Lite Alarms, Silent Knight and Honeywell Power. Richard joined Honeywell in 2002 and has over 15 years of experience in the fire alarm industry in Marketing, Engineering, and Product Support positions. Richard is responsible for developing brand strategy and marketing programs for all brands.