Tech Talk: Setting Your Sites for Tech Tips

Well here we are with another exciting year ahead of us in the security industry. I thought I would take some time this month to give our loyal readers a belated holiday treat. At the same time, I would like to reflect a little bit on some great tech resources from past “Tech Talk” columns. So I have decided to look at some Web sites that stand out as key source of valuable technical information.

Many sites, especially those of manufacturers, still lack what I consider to be good, usable technical content. It’s typically easy to find sales-oriented material preaching the virtues of their fine products. However, it is often hard to find meaningful technical content, the type that allows a technician to enrich his/her knowledge of various product applications.

I am talking about the kind of sites that not only talk about the product, but go that extra mile to provide a wealth of content that can make for a better and more knowledgeable security professional. One of the nice features of many such sites is that they often offer a list of links to take you to other similarly great resources. Following are some of the sites I have run across through the years that I recommend due to their uncommon depth and quality of technical material. So, sit back and enjoy the show! — Fire stops for cabling is a critical function when going through fire walls. It is a life-safety practice and a requirement of local building codes. There are many steps in properly applying a fire stop, such as determining the hourly rating of the wall or barrier, and selecting the UL listing to match or exceed the barrier, with special attention paid to cable loads and fill procedures for the UL listing.

The company behind this site, Unique Fire Stop Products, not only has a simple-to-use split-sleeve product but also has an extensive, free online certification training course to make sure technicians know how to properly install fire stops. I particularly like the extra little installation tips, such as using clear identification labels and taking digital photos of your finished fire stop install. The latter gives some protection if someone else in the future alters your fire stop installation. I also like the emphasis on getting preapproval from the AHJ or inspector just to make sure your installation will make the grade. — This next goodie, the LeapFrog Training Center, is an excellent resource from CCTV legend Charlie Pierce. If you have not experienced one of Pierce’s training sessions or trade show seminars, I highly recommend it. Earlier in my career I had the opportunity to sit through one of his weeklong CCTV seminars and it was an unforgettable experience. While there is an opportunity to purchase many great training courses at this site, there are also some really neat CCTV resource freebies. Be sure to check out the Technical Library section for some free tips. — Those of you who have been around for a few years may remember a company by the name of Moose. I can remember very early on in my career doing all sorts of techie wonders for my customers with devices such as the MPI-23 that accommodated a variety of selectable alarm options and configurations. In recent years, this company has reemerged as a similar animal called Elk Products. There are several things I like about this company, such as the variety of diversified tech products for security installation as well as the documentation and technical resources that go with their wares. Be sure to take a close look at the online installation manuals for products such as relays and sirens.

Another content-rich area is the Miscellaneous Hookup Examples and Application Notes section. Not only will you get the specifications of the product, but you will also get a variety of practical application diagrams showing some really cool tips. Take your time browsing through all of these manuals and I guarantee you will come up with some new security application ideas of your own.

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