LifeSafety Power Flexes More Power Management Muscle

Find out if the FlexPower iScan150B-8 managed intelligent power system is the best product for your project in SSI’s Bench Test review.

Features

The model we tested was extremely feature rich, as befits this product line. It included the DC power supply (configurable for 12 or 24VDC), and an accessory board (B100) that provided a second supply voltage that was user configurable from 5-18VDC (5-9VDC if the main supply board was set to 12VDC). Both of these boards were battery backed up from the same battery (or array of batteries) and all boards “talk” to each other via a FlexIO connection, passing along any fault status information for the system to manage. On the input/output side, our test unit featured an unmanaged “simple distribution accessory” (D8), providing eight fused outputs that could be individually set (via jumpers) to one of two different DC voltages; the first coming from the main power supply and the second from the B100 board. Or you could configure one set of outputs to fail-safe and one set to fail-secure. Or you could use two main power supplies and double the available current. Or if you wanted to do a mix of these various functions, additional D8 boards can easily be added.

Lifesafety Power iScan 150B-8

SPECS

  • Flexible and configurable power management system with remote software control
  • Available preconfigured or field built as needed

PROS

  • Solid construction
  • The most flexible power system imaginable
  • Excellent documentation, diagnostics and videos setup
  • Limited lifetime warranty

CONS

  • Software isn’t as polished as the rest of the product

We also had a managed device control module (M8), and that’s where the fun begins. This module included eight programmable inputs, with a lot of flexibility. They could each individually be programmed to respond to the application of voltage, removal of voltage, normally open or normally closed dry contact transition, or activation or deactivation through software. The voltage range (9-33VDC) was comprehensive enough to allow this unit to monitor power supplies for other devices and react accordingly, if desired. As with the unmanaged D8, each of the eight outputs could be fed from power supply one or two, set for fail-safe or fail-secure, and respond to power loss or fire alarm overrides if desired. Tying this all together was a network communication module (NL4) that facilitated communication and simplified system programming. It was also capable of logging a number of events, and communicating them via E-mail using a fairly comprehensive (and configurable) CSV report readable by most spreadsheet software.

Setup

Our test unit came with all boards connected and set up, a tremendous time-saver. After reading through the manuals, I decided to take things apart and put them back together again, partly to gauge how simple that would be. Midway through I discovered an excellent series of professionally produced videos (“Power Pro TV”) hosted by LifeSafety’s Joe Holland, available on YouTube. These effectively step the viewer through the setup and configuration process for virtually all of the boards I had. Coupled with the printed manuals and an extremely helpful array of indicator lights on each board (including power line status and faults), the setup was as simple as reasonably expected for a product of this complexity and configurability.

About the Author

Contact:

Bob Grossman has held positions in all areas of the security industry — giving him plenty of opportunity to learn from his mistakes! Bob has authored articles for SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION and other publications and has spoken at numerous industry events both internationally and in the United States. Currently the founder and president of R. Grossman and Associates, a consulting firm, he divides his time between project-based work for large integrated systems and product consulting for a variety of cutting-edge manufacturers. For more information, visit www.tech-answers.com.

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