More than Measuring a Connected Battery; Take Precaution With Audio Recording

Q: A customer complained they are getting a local low battery indicator. I have measured the connected battery and it measures 13 volts. It appears that the battery is OK, so what could the problem be?

A: Just testing the voltage of a battery will not tell you much. You need to test the voltage level over a short period of time UNDER LOAD. See how fast the battery drops off and measure that against the battery specs. This means with the maximum load, which will typically be with the alarm siren going. If you don’t want to blast you and the customer out, I would recommend getting a battery load tester from your distributor.

Also, remember that many newer panels will periodically do a timed load test of the battery and indicate if it fails the test. This could be what is causing your local battery trouble indication. Other things you need to ask are how long the battery has been in the panel. If it is more than five years it is a good idea to replace it anyway.

Q: I was talking to a fellow installer the other day about a new covert CCTV camera system I installed. It is set up to record both 24-hour video and audio. He told me that I could be breaking the law by recording the audio. Is he correct?

A: Yes, he is correct. Covert video you should be fine with, but the audio you may have trouble with, and could get into legal trouble. In most situations federal and local laws state you cannot record the audio conversation of another without either first notifying them of the recording or at least having a public posting that audio surveillance is in progress. I would check with your lawyer on the particulars of your CCTV application.

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