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Panel Mounting a Surge Suppressor or Small UPS within a Fire Alarm Enclosure

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    Panel Mounting a Surge Suppressor or Small UPS within a Fire Alarm Enclosure

    I've inspected a high mountain property with a Siemens Pyrotronics System 3 alarm installed in 1977, that's taken some lightning damage, but keeps on ticking. The manager reports that during storms the thing sometimes goes crazy. I'm aware the detector loops could be the cause, but here I'm talking just about the input power part of the equation:

    My first thought is to recommend surge suppression, a surge/filter unit, or perhaps an online double converting UPS. The panel already has a 24V DC battery backup that switches in via relay: the goal here is protection and power conditioning not backup.

    Are there any special concerns, or code concerns, with mounting units within the locked FACP cabinet?
    My sense is that an outlet in the cabinet or use a commodity ups won't fly... is this sense correct?

    Click image for larger version

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    In the photo blue is presumably ground. White is neutral. Black and red are labeled main and trouble power at 3A and 1A respectively. The feed is from a 20A two-pole breaker, dedicated. I failed to make note of the vendor of that panel and only have a photo of the inside of the door. Budget is a few hundred tops.

    The surge suppressor world seems filled with snake oil salespeople: what's solid tested and reliable?
    Last edited by brycenesbitt; 02-20-14, 09:26 PM.

    #2
    I don't think you can mount your conditioning/suppression components inside the Pyrotronics panel, as it voids the panel's listing(s).

    Are they able to get 5 minutes of alarm functioning after a 24 hour AC power failure with the 4 or 4.5 amp hour batteries they have installed?
    In battle, in forest, at the precipice in the mountains,
    On the dark great sea, in the midst of javelins and arrows,
    In sleep, in confusion, in the depths of shame,
    The good deeds a man has done before defend him.
    --Bhagavad-Gita

    Comment


      #3
      The building is on standby generator, so as I understand the 24 hour requirement does not apply.
      If I recommend a breaker mounted surge suppressor it's a bit less effective, due to the wire length to the panel.

      Does externally mounting the suppressor through a knockout avoid the panel certification problem?
      http://www.icmcontrols.com/ProdImages/ss_LIS122-3.pdf

      (Note: Install of the panel was voluntary, and would be voluntary even today in that area, though it seems once installed it apparently becomes mandatory to maintain it.)

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by brycenesbitt View Post
        The building is on standby generator, so as I understand the 24 hour requirement does not apply.
        If I recommend a breaker mounted surge suppressor it's a bit less effective, due to the wire length to the panel.

        Does externally mounting the suppressor through a knockout avoid the panel certification problem?
        http://www.icmcontrols.com/ProdImages/ss_LIS122-3.pdf

        (Note: Install of the panel was voluntary, and would be voluntary even today in that area, though it seems once installed it apparently becomes mandatory to maintain it.)
        Siemens owns the Pyrotronics brand now. They do market a surge suppressor listed with the panel, I don't recall the model off hand but I can check tomorrow. Otherwise, we've had success with the stuff Space Age Electronics carries. You can cover the 120VAC supply and the 24VDC outputs.

        You should up the batteries to 15Ah. They may not be needed to carry the load because of the back up generator, but the power supply charger needs to see a minimum load during a charging cycle, and it will just cook the small batteries.

        Comment


          #5
          Thanks for the battery tip.

          I could not find a listed accessory from [COLOR=#000000]Siemens, so recommended a panel mount suppressor.

          Anyone know the answer to this: when this panel has power restored, is it normal for it ring the trouble bell? I'd rather it stay silent.[/COLOR]

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by brycenesbitt View Post
            Thanks for the battery tip.

            I could not find a listed accessory from [COLOR=#000000]Siemens, so recommended a panel mount suppressor.

            Anyone know the answer to this: when this panel has power restored, is it normal for it ring the trouble bell? I'd rather it stay silent.[/COLOR]
            I checked the Siemens price sheet, and it looks like they don't offer the suppressors directly anymore. They do reccomend the following:

            for 120VAC, Transtector Systems CP2341
            for 24VDC, Transtector Systems CP2297

            We carry both; they are a little pricey.

            For the trouble bell on restore, when the power dropped out you had to hit the trouble silence switch in order to make it shut up. This disables the trouble bell completely, and new troubles won't annunciate at the panel. The feature is that once all the trouble conditions are clear, the bell sounds again so that you re-enable the trouble sounder.

            Comment


              #7
              [COLOR=#000099]@gadfly56 you hit it right on. Turns out the manager routinely disables the trouble bell, so it reoccurs on power restore.
              I'm looking at the practicality of swapping the damaged CP-30 for a CP-35 if I can make the cables work out.[/COLOR]

              Comment


                #8
                Speaking to your assertion that the system does not require battery backup due to it being backed up by a standby generator, I would counter that while this is allowed by code, in practice it isn't that simple. It requires that the agency furnishing the fuel for the generator document in writing that they will be able to dispatch a tank truck within a certain time period after a power failure (within the 24 hours) regardless of blizzards, tornados, earthquakes, etc. Fuel providers don't want to assume the liability implied with such a guarantee, so fire alarm systems with standby generators usually have batteries furnished in accordance with system current draw, disregarding the generator.

                I've seen the battery charger module fail in 2 different ways on that panel without causing a system trouble. I would suggest that you verify that yours is operating properly before changing the common control & re-configuring the cable headers to get the newer CP-35 to work with the older modules.

                Having said that, with a system acting up as you describe, that particular System 3 may have exceeded it's useful service life.
                In battle, in forest, at the precipice in the mountains,
                On the dark great sea, in the midst of javelins and arrows,
                In sleep, in confusion, in the depths of shame,
                The good deeds a man has done before defend him.
                --Bhagavad-Gita

                Comment


                  #9
                  MichaelGP3 has a good eye, I didn't catch that this is a CP-30 board. If there is a problem with the battery charger then you'll need to replace the CP-30 with the CP-35, a new BC-35 charger module, and any zone modules as well. If fact, if there is any question regarding the panel's health is should be replaced. You can make things easy by using the Siemens SXL-EX; it's a conventional panel and will work with any devices on the System 3 and it's a lot cheaper.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Regarding fuel: this particular building is inaccessible for fuel deliveries during winter.

                    Other than the cable, the CP-35 appears compatible with the old ZN-30 zone modules, at least according to:
                    http://w3.usa.siemens.com/buildingte...s/2688_723.pdf
                    Connect the following modules only: AA-30U, AD-30S, AE-30U, HC-30U, HC-35, CSI-35, CT-35,
                    RC-30U, ZU Series, ZN Series, BC-35, BE-35, DC-35, DS-30, LP-30, MC-30, MT-30, PM-31,
                    PM-32, RM-30U, RM-30RU, SM-30, SR-30, SR-32, SR-35, TL-30U, ZB-35, ZC-30, and ZC-31

                    I'll look into the Siemens SXL-EX : but I suspect it won't happen because that's a new installation not a repair and would trigger all sorts of requirements everybody should have but nobody wants to pay for.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Well neither the BC-30 nor BC-31 appears on the list, so your kind of low budget will have to include a BC-35 if you're upgrading to a CP-35. There is also a battery retention system made for the System 3. I'm hoping that your surge suppressor costs are already covered

                      Regarding the newer Siemens SXL-EX panel, why would this be considered an installation? Could this not be handled as an emergency panel replacement? You have already indicated that the panel goes crazy during bad weather. How much more life do you figure is left on the several remaining 37 year old daughter cards anyway?
                      Last edited by MichaelGP3; 03-05-14, 01:15 AM.
                      In battle, in forest, at the precipice in the mountains,
                      On the dark great sea, in the midst of javelins and arrows,
                      In sleep, in confusion, in the depths of shame,
                      The good deeds a man has done before defend him.
                      --Bhagavad-Gita

                      Comment


                        #12
                        In followup:
                        Thanks for everyone's help. In this end the fire panel was repaired, with a surge protector added to the feeding distribution panel.

                        In California unlike other states, repair does not trigger a code upgrade requirement (reference: http://osfm.fire.ca.gov/informationb...L_20080910.pdf )

                        The 37 year old equipment issue is interesting, but as far as I could gather the equipment is not actually nearing effective end of life. There are still active repair companies such as http://hvfire.com/ , widely available spare parts, and the System 3 is regarded as not just bulletproof but standard equipment on Nuclear Submarines. All the zones are supervised and inspected monthly, so perhaps we can have this conversation again in a few more decades after the plastic parts start to degrade.

                        Comment

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