Emergercy lighting fixtures listed CE US, but seem to be unsafe junk!!

nicknorth

Senior Member
So we are installing these Isolite http://www.isolite.com/products/product.php?id=28 fixtures that are certified by CSA to UL924 standard, but I have never seen emergency lights that are such junk! Here's a list of issues: they have 277 volts crossing 12VDC and the housing is large and could of easily been made to have some kind of separation, the wiring for the lights have no markings and these leads go right into the porcelain base which again from my experience these conductors should be rated for the heat of the lamps but I can't tell because there's no markings and typically they would also have a peice of extra heat shield over the conductors, there's a ton of knock outs on the can that I have no idea what they are for (it looks like they are made in some dudes garage that got a good deal on some scrap boxes), 70% of these lights failed the 1st NFPA 90 min test, the batteries are four batteries glued together again with no labels or listing that get screwed in with a rough metal bracket which just seems odd, the factory battery wiring harness is not really long enough to reach but it does its just pulled hard to make it which just shows that these things are junk!,

We have called Isolite and they have told us that these are listed and okay to be installed in the USA, but the people we have spoken with seem not to know much. We did not supply these lights and the people we work with say just don't bring anything up to your inspector. We don't want to be the company that puts in crappy lights and something happens down the road and someone dies because of this product. I know most of you will say refuse to install them, but things don't always work like that and we can't afford to quit our jobs. I'm looking for some others thoughts on how to approach this without looking like a crybaby. Yes we can bring it up to our inspector, but is there anything else we can do to ensure they are truly safe? I have never seen 14 out of 20 lights fail let alone emergency lights and Isolite is saying that they have not had any failures of these lights and was asking if we wired them up correctly --well they did put a sticker telling us 'green' was ground, 'white' is neutral, orange = 277v, black = 120v, red = 387v thank God because I had no idea green was ground.

Thanks guys maybe this is more of a rant, but I would like to hear if anyone has used these before and all your thoughts.
 

mgookin

Senior Member
Location
Fort Myers, FL
While reading their litterature it just smells Chinese to me. I don't think any technical person proficient in English would write like that.

Anyway, ETL logo appears on the spec sheet. I'd call them and raise your concerns.

Let us know how it goes.
 

xformer

Senior Member
Location
Dallas, Tx
So we are installing these Isolite http://www.isolite.com/products/product.php?id=28 fixtures that are certified by CSA to UL924 standard, but I have never seen emergency lights that are such junk! Here's a list of issues: they have 277 volts crossing 12VDC and the housing is large and could of easily been made to have some kind of separation, the wiring for the lights have no markings and these leads go right into the porcelain base which again from my experience these conductors should be rated for the heat of the lamps but I can't tell because there's no markings and typically they would also have a peice of extra heat shield over the conductors, there's a ton of knock outs on the can that I have no idea what they are for (it looks like they are made in some dudes garage that got a good deal on some scrap boxes), 70% of these lights failed the 1st NFPA 90 min test, the batteries are four batteries glued together again with no labels or listing that get screwed in with a rough metal bracket which just seems odd, the factory battery wiring harness is not really long enough to reach but it does its just pulled hard to make it which just shows that these things are junk!,

We have called Isolite and they have told us that these are listed and okay to be installed in the USA, but the people we have spoken with seem not to know much. We did not supply these lights and the people we work with say just don't bring anything up to your inspector. We don't want to be the company that puts in crappy lights and something happens down the road and someone dies because of this product. I know most of you will say refuse to install them, but things don't always work like that and we can't afford to quit our jobs. I'm looking for some others thoughts on how to approach this without looking like a crybaby. Yes we can bring it up to our inspector, but is there anything else we can do to ensure they are truly safe? I have never seen 14 out of 20 lights fail let alone emergency lights and Isolite is saying that they have not had any failures of these lights and was asking if we wired them up correctly --well they did put a sticker telling us 'green' was ground, 'white' is neutral, orange = 277v, black = 120v, red = 387v thank God because I had no idea green was ground.

Thanks guys maybe this is more of a rant, but I would like to hear if anyone has used these before and all your thoughts.
I would document any discrepancies you have with the fixtures and leave them with the customer.. It would be the customers responsibility to get what they pay for... I would further attempt to sell them a maintenance contract at a T & M rate of course:)... As long as they have passed safety standards, have no NEC violations, and the inspector approves... How long stuff lasts is not my concern. The customer is receiving what they are paying for.
 

petersonra

Senior Member
Location
Northern illinois
Occupation
engineer
None of what you are complaining about seems to me to be a legitimate safety concern. Just a different design than you are used to.

As far as the failure rate, that is a concern, but you indicated you are being paid to install them. That implies you will get paid to replace them as well.

It is a win-win for you. Get paid to put them in and get paid to replace them as they fail.

Someone else apparently decided what part to buy. If you have a gripe about the quality of the part perhaps it would be best to let that person know. However, it is a good bet few are going to care all that much about the internal design of the thing or how many knockouts it has. It just is not relevant.
 

fmtjfw

Senior Member
70% of these lights failed the 1st NFPA 90 min test

I have never seen 14 out of 20 lights fail let alone emergency lights and Isolite is saying that they have not had any failures of these lights and was asking if we wired them up correctly
iwire:
I would install them as is and feel fine about it.

You can't apply NEC rules to listed products.
Sounds like a problem to me. Life Safety NFPA101 7.9.2.1 not NEC but a problem non-the-less.
 

augie47

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Tennessee
It appears to be a classic situation where the contractor and inspector can work together toward a common goal. Fairly often I receive an "anonymous" phone call in such situations.
With that failure rate, if your inspectors do their job attention should be brought to the fixtures. It's the inspectors job to confirm the listing and to assure the electrical and life safety codes are satisfied.
As others have mentioned, you are paid to install (and possibly replace) the product but a discreet phone call should give you wanted assurance that you have done all you can do while at the same time assuring the inspector that a safe job is a common goal for each of you.
 

roger

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Fl
Occupation
Electrician
We have just finished a job using similar fixtures branded as EELP (I think re-branded would be the correct term) and had the same problems. At least one third of the 50+ did not work out of the box, then they balked on replacing them. To make them more undesirable was the price tag of $175.00.

While we were waiting for the replacements we installed $44.00 temps and everyone worked, the customer even liked the appearance better.

To sum things up, I made my feelings known to those supplying these that they should get rid of the product line and they agreed.

Roger
 

fmtjfw

Senior Member
A possible testing problem.

A possible testing problem.

What specifically do you mean?

The mixing of normal and emergency power in listed fixture from even the major manafactuers is very common.
I was commenting on the 90 minute test.

Go look at the referenced code. A brand new fixture that fails the 90 minute test is a problem.

Oh -- wait -- did the OP let the fixture charge for 24 hours before testing, inquiring minds want to know. Maybe that is the problem.

If they failed after 24 hours charging I would be inclined to stop installing them until I'd talked to the fire marshal and perhaps got a notarized waiver from the owner.
 

petersonra

Senior Member
Location
Northern illinois
Occupation
engineer
If they failed after 24 hours charging I would be inclined to stop installing them until I'd talked to the fire marshal and perhaps got a notarized waiver from the owner.
The EC has no more liability for product failure here than in any other circumstance, and if he did, there is no waiver that would serve any useful purpose.

It us not the EC's job to talk to the fire marshal about this issue in most cases. It would seem to be an issue that whomever is in charge needs to deal with, and the EC should just stay out of it.
 

fmtjfw

Senior Member
The EC has no more liability for product failure here than in any other circumstance, and if he did, there is no waiver that would serve any useful purpose.

It us not the EC's job to talk to the fire marshal about this issue in most cases. It would seem to be an issue that whomever is in charge needs to deal with, and the EC should just stay out of it.
You are right I worked under circumstances where there was no EC, there were no inspections, and the Fire Marshal was effectively the AHJ and the issuer of my license.
I also intended never to be in court explaining why Johnny didn't get out of the burning school.

The purpose of the waiver was not to protect me, rather to scare the pants off the person requested to sign it.
My daughter-in-law is a litigation attorney. I always want waivers that are printed on one side only -- so they will have some value -- as scratch paper:)
 
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petersonra

Senior Member
Location
Northern illinois
Occupation
engineer
The purpose of the waiver was not to protect me, rather to scare the pants off the person requested to sign it.
What if you request them to sign a waiver and they tell you to go pound sand as any smart person would?

The options are very limited for the installer. If the installer tries to pursue this they are actually likely to incur more liability than if they just did the work they were paid to do and moved on. The people who selected the parts are the ones liable for that selection.

IMO, either do the work, collect your money and move on; or refuse the work in the first place. Meddling in a decision long since made is not in the installer's best interest.
 

iwire

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Massachusetts
What if you request them to sign a waiver and they tell you to go pound sand as any smart person would?

The options are very limited for the installer. If the installer tries to pursue this they are actually likely to incur more liability than if they just did the work they were paid to do and moved on. The people who selected the parts are the ones liable for that selection.

IMO, either do the work, collect your money and move on; or refuse the work in the first place. Meddling in a decision long since made is not in the installer's best interest.
I agree 100%
 

nicknorth

Senior Member
I was commenting on the 90 minute test.

Go look at the referenced code. A brand new fixture that fails the 90 minute test is a problem.

Oh -- wait -- did the OP let the fixture charge for 24 hours before testing, inquiring minds want to know. Maybe that is the problem.

If they failed after 24 hours charging I would be inclined to stop installing them until I'd talked to the fire marshal and perhaps got a notarized waiver from the owner.
Yes we let them charge for days. Most of them had at least 48hrs of power before we did the test.
 

nicknorth

Senior Member
What if you request them to sign a waiver and they tell you to go pound sand as any smart person would?

The options are very limited for the installer. If the installer tries to pursue this they are actually likely to incur more liability than if they just did the work they were paid to do and moved on. The people who selected the parts are the ones liable for that selection.

IMO, either do the work, collect your money and move on; or refuse the work in the first place. Meddling in a decision long since made is not in the installer's best interest.
I wish it was that easy, but when you work with certain companies you don't get to pick and choice what jobs you do... you either do all of them or non of them. The same with them signing anything to do a waiver that would never happen. In large companies things get so difficult and has to go through so many people till it even gets back to us. The company will say we use a lighting company to purchase the product, the lighting company will say you use a vendor to make sure we get what we thought we bought, the vendor will say it was the manufacturer that did not perform to the standards that this should of been built to and so on.

We have actually done a little more digging into this and the 'fixture' is not properly labeled from CSA and they are investigating this fixture. Also with the huge failure rates somewhere deep in the NFPA and ANSI codes they basically cannot have this kind of failure.

All we are trying to do is protect the public just incase something does happen we do not want to see someone get hurt over someone else cutting corners. Yes ideally we would like to just install it and walkaway, but things don't always work that way. In this case its going to look like we are getting paid to install all these fixtures, and then 70% of the replacements, and then install once again 100% of new fixtures. I would rather do my job once, correctly, but sometimes we don't have a choice if we want to keep these customers.
 

mirawho

Senior Member
Location
Sun Valley, CA
Hi Nicknorth. I went to the website and looked around. This is the reason they don't want to help with issues with the equipment, quote:

Company History

Isolite was founded in 1982 to handle the worldwide marketing and distribution of Self-Luminous Safety Signs manufactured by Safety Light Corporation.


Marketing is the keyword here. It does carry, as has been mentioned CSA and ETL listings, but the thing about listings is that it means it has met a minimum requirement of specifications and fabrication means to get the listing, minimum being a keyword here. An inspector will look at the rating and review the documentation, and, if it appears to be in order, they will go no further than that unless it poses a safety hazard. If the device is junk or prone to internal failure that does not pose a safety hazard, they wont get involved.

Next, the company they are marketing for is another story. This is just one comment from the EPA concerning the manufacturing company:

In 2005, the EPA added the site to the National Priorities List (NPL) of most hazardous waste sites in the country, making the site eligible for federal cleanup


Yikes! So, I guess your summation that these are junk seem to be founded. Also, the people that would tell you not to bring up anything to the inspector are in the wrong. If there is something wrong with the installation, usually the liability is you. If there is something wrong with the device, usually it is the manufacturers liability and anyone that would tell you to go ahead and install them anyway. Anytime I have been involved in an installation and there was anything questionable about what we were installing or what we were installing to, if the questions couldn't be resolved in an intelligent manner, I always felt the grief was not worth the money and asked them to find someone else. It would be nice if we could say that equipment failure was not our problem as installers, but the end user does not know what you did and so it is your problem and I sympathize with your rant. It sounds like you have done what you could to make the best of this.
 
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