Solution Addresses School’s Safety Needs

Moon Security Services equips a Washington high school with addressable fire alarm detection. During the extensive installation, the integrator overcame voltage challenges due to extreme distances, plus issues with synchronizing strobes and other devices. Included, an education market specialist tells how to cultivate that business.

[IMAGE]11944[/IMAGE]“We distributed these power supplies with the expanders in strategic locations throughout the school. Now instead of an 800-yard piece of wire when we go out to the end-of-line on a horn strobe, it’s only 200-300 feet or even less, like 100 feet,” Fleshman explains.

The same result is achieved with input devices since the SLC is talking to these addressable devices in the field. Because the devices are only a couple hundred feet or less away from its power source, voltage drop is nonexistent.

“That also speeds up your communications process so when a smoke detector goes off or a pull station is activated, whatever, that signal arrives at the fire alarm panel in 2 seconds at the most, and more like a half-second,” Fleshman says. “Whereas if you have a real long run with a whole bunch of stuff on it, you’re communications time can be 6 to 8 seconds.”

To further detail the installation, located in every other wing on each floor, the RPS-1000 intelligent power modules ensure distance limitations are mitigated and that devices do not exceed 50 percent of the voltage drop allowance.

“Because this system is scalable, we were able to connect additional power modules throughout the school and expand the number of devices without worrying about distance limitations,” explains Fleshman. “That makes for a more reliable system while also allowing us to scale back the power for energy efficiency.”

Synchronizing Is No Small Notion
Moon Security installed, programmed and tested the head-end equipment, all of which consumed about 200 man-hours. Electricians were subcontracted to install the conduit, wiring and assorted field parts, including strobes and horn strobes.

[IMAGE]11946[/IMAGE]While some FACPs require shielded wire for the SLC, Fleshman explains, the IFP-2000 installation only required using TFN control cable, a general purpose cable type. TFN or regular fire cable can be used with the IFP-2000, principally because communications from the S-bus module and SLC are not susceptible to interference from fluorescent lights, motors and the like.

Utilizing TFN cable also provided added convenience due to simpler device hook-ups, not to mention lessening the likelihood of post-installation headaches.

“Using shielded wire is fine except that at every splice box and every device, that shield has to be connected correctly and invariably that’s where you find ground faults with the shielded cable,” Fleshman says. “In this installation, the electricians ran the TFN and I instructed them which color wire to use and they followed my suggestions and did great job for us.&

For the most part they did anyway. Enter a vexing synchronizing issue.

Although the IFP-2000 has a selection to synch various types of strobes from differing manufacturers, Moon Security would learn the electricians had failed to set all of the hundreds of devices to use the same output.

“Each particular group of horn strobes needs to be on the same circuit and they need to be synchronized with all the other ones. That was a significant challenge,” Fleshman says.

Fleshman and his crew discovered the synchronization issue during pretesting.

“If the devices aren’t all set the same it will completely throw off the synchronization. One device would sound different and you’d take a look at it and it wasn’t matching up with the synchronizing,” Fleshman says. 

After meticulously correcting the output issue, Moon Security moved on to complete the project. Of course, no fire/life-safety installation is truly complete until the fire marshal says all code requirements have been satisfied.

Due to the project’s extensive size and breadth, a pair of fire marshals were brought in to confirm Moon Security’s labors and witness testing of the entire system. The fire marshals, along with representatives from the school district and the district’s architect firm, were onsite during the testing phase, which wended through the expanse of the whole school and adjoining buildings.

“It went very well, but it did take an entire week to complete the testing,” says Fleshman. “They were all pleased with the outcome.”

Read the “How to Tap Into the Education Market” sidebar.

About the Author


Although Bosch’s name is quite familiar to those in the security industry, his previous experience has been in daily newspaper journalism. Prior to joining SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION in 2006, he spent 15 years with the Los Angeles Times, where he performed a wide assortment of editorial responsibilities, including feature and metro department assignments as well as content producing for latimes.com. Bosch is a graduate of California State University, Fresno with a degree in Mass Communication & Journalism. In 2007, he successfully completed the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association’s National Training School coursework to become a Certified Level I Alarm Technician.

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