LifeSafety Power makes a line of intelligent power panels, available in a bewildering array of configurations. This is not meant as a negative — in fact, it’s one of the company’s selling points. By making systems modular, they can be configured for a tremendous variety of applications, expanded rather than replaced, and ultimately reduce installation and support costs for many applications. Throw in some pretty robust monitoring and notification features and many integrators will start coming up with other applications for the product. In fact, we started out thinking that this would have to be a specified product for an integrator to bother with it but came around quickly after playing with it.
iScan models are remote-managed power supply/battery charger systems specifically designed for the access control segment of the life-safety industry. The panels provide eight to 24 managed activation inputs, each capable of voltage or dry contact activation and eight to 24 monitored and controlled relay outputs, programmable to either of two system voltages (in a dual voltage configuration), fail-safe, fail-secure, fire alarm override, and AC loss override for egress lock control. Additionally, each managed output may be individually activated or deactivated through an embedded browser interface and monitored for voltage and current values via network or Internet.
We tested the FlexPower iScan150B-8 managed intelligent power system, an eight-door model that supports dual voltage outputs, eight inputs, eight outputs, and the Web interface. For the purpose of this review, we will refer to the unit tested and the series as the iScan.
The iScan starts out as a well-designed, solidly built 20- X 16- X 4.5-inch UL/ULC/CSA listed steel enclosure that doesn’t appear to cut any corners. The hinged door was removable (after removing the ground strap), the top rear mounting holes had keyhole slots for ease in hanging, and the hole pattern allows for complete installation without removing any internal components. The extensive hole pattern on the back panel was clear evidence of the sheer variety of configurations available, and boards are mounted utilizing nylon standoffs, both screwdown and compression fit.
There are other installer-friendly touches throughout. The CR2032 coin cell battery used for clock back-up on the network module is vertically oriented, allowing for easy battery removal — and the top is marked with the polarity for easy battery orientation. Connectors are all removable, the customer interface connections are limited to three different types (all fairly common, although several colors are used) and the fuses are standard automotive type. There’s also a tamper switch, a sticker showing configuration information and well-written printed manuals, including checklists, application examples, and replacement part info. While Web sites and laptops are ubiquitous, we appreciate a printed manual for a product this complex, as a step-saver (no need to download and print).
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