November 2008 Tech Talk Online Q & A

Q: I have a commercial customer that lately has been very angry with me. He has had some construction work in which some of the alarm circuits have been disrupted. The only time he finds out that there is a problem with the alarm system is when he goes to arm the system at night. Then he has to call me and wait for me to come over and fix the faulty circuits. What can I do to minimize these last minute problems?

A: I would suggest that you make sure all the circuits have End-Of-Line (EOL) supervision and program the alarm panel so that a fault will be reported audibly at the panel during the day. This will not only give the customer a high level of security for daytime tampering such as trying to shunt an alarm contact, but it will help to give an early warning during the day if something is wrong with a circuit. Then both the customer and you can get home to dinner on time.

Q: I often get caught out on an installation and need a feeler bit that is small and not conspicuous when fishing between floors. Do you know a good source for such a bit?

A: Yes, you can try someone like Labor Saving Devices, but better yet, you can often make your own. Just get yourself some good old-fashioned coat hanger wire. Take a straight piece and cut the one end at an angle with your heavy wire cutters to make a crude bit. This homemade feeler bit will make nice, almost invisible, holes in most wood construction. Perfect for finding those tough blind spots in your installation.

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