False Alarms. Business owner is having to pay large fines.

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We just finished wiring up a new building in Tampa, FL a few months ago and haven't had any call backs until recently. The alarm system (which was installed by an out of state company, that handles all of this businesses locations) has been emitting false alarms during non business hrs, which ends up being a pretty hefty fine when it happens quite often. The triggering point has been isolated to the gated access that allows entry to the warehouse section. The alarm company changed out the software after it was fried by lighting, but it didn't repair the problem like they said it would. I am very weak in this area and need to know a step by step process to isolating and solving this problem. Some have said that the gate (chain link fence) should be grounded.... The only conductor that is going out to the gate access key pad is a one-pair 18awg, ran inside some carflex tie wrapped to the fence. Help me out. This is my first time on this site. I am hoping it lives up to its reputation!
 

jumper

Senior Member
We just finished wiring up a new building in Tampa, FL a few months ago and haven't had any call backs until recently. The alarm system (which was installed by an out of state company, that handles all of this businesses locations) has been emitting false alarms during non business hrs, which ends up being a pretty hefty fine when it happens quite often. The triggering point has been isolated to the gated access that allows entry to the warehouse section. The alarm company changed out the software after it was fried by lighting, but it didn't repair the problem like they said it would. I am very weak in this area and need to know a step by step process to isolating and solving this problem. Some have said that the gate (chain link fence) should be grounded.... The only conductor that is going out to the gate access key pad is a one-pair 18awg, ran inside some carflex tie wrapped to the fence. Help me out. This is my first time on this site. I am hoping it lives up to its reputation!

LV alarm is not my strong point, I have a little experience, but when you say grounded: you do not mean rods or such in the dirt, correct?
 

hbiss

EC, Westchester, New York NEC: 2014
Location
Hawthorne, New York NEC: 2014
Occupation
EC
I am very weak in this area and need to know a step by step process to isolating and solving this problem.

Not to be rude but if the alarm company can't fix the problem what makes you think, with no knowledge you can do better? How can you expect anybody to give you a "step by step" process without knowing the installation, the system and equipment involved and exactly how it was installed? And software doesn't get fried by lightning. Sorry, but you are in way over your head and it shows.

The proper course of action is for the owner to make the national (that's what an "out of state company that handles all of this businesses locations" is called) fix the problem. That's what the home office is paying for. Most nationals though are pretty slimey and that may be where the problem is. They shop around for local people to do their work and usually get trunkers because they don't want to pay anything. Then they make them jump through hoops and stiff them when they submit their invoice.

Then too, if it even matters, if you touch the system you will probably void the warranty.


So if it were me I couldn't care less about his false alarms.


-Hal
 

nhfire77

Senior Member
Location
NH
We just finished wiring up a new building in Tampa, FL a few months ago and haven't had any call backs until recently. The alarm system (which was installed by an out of state company, that handles all of this businesses locations) has been emitting false alarms during non business hrs, which ends up being a pretty hefty fine when it happens quite often. The triggering point has been isolated to the gated access that allows entry to the warehouse section. The alarm company changed out the software after it was fried by lighting, but it didn't repair the problem like they said it would. I am very weak in this area and need to know a step by step process to isolating and solving this problem. Some have said that the gate (chain link fence) should be grounded.... The only conductor that is going out to the gate access key pad is a one-pair 18awg, ran inside some carflex tie wrapped to the fence. Help me out. This is my first time on this site. I am hoping it lives up to its reputation!

That is BS. I deal with gate set ups like that all the time, hundreds of them. The reason they false is either improper contact installation, bad contact, bad cable or bad input device, not a grounding issue. They need to ensure the contact make/break gaps are within tolerance, then test, possibly replace the input device, if it is not off the main board, since they already replaced the main board. The entire burg system is lifted off ground, with the exception of the ground terminal on the main board.



Which brand panel is it? do you know what they are using for the input, IE a Bosch POPIT, a V-plex input device or a zone expansion card?

What brand/model is the contact?

do you have a picture?
 

hurk27

Senior Member
I myself would not want anything near a chain link fence in a lightning prone area, because for some reason lightning just loves going to them through what ever pathway it can grab and alarm conductors are no exception, I don't know how many times I have seen vaporized phone wires around the outside of a building till it passes the post for a chain link fence then arcs to the fence.

I would have them mount the keypad on an isolated post away from this fence, and keep the wire run away from the fence.
 

hurk27

Senior Member
The reason for my post was this commit in the OP:
The alarm company changed out the software after it was fried by lighting,
My guess is the wiring also might have been damaged, and because central Florida is a high lightning risk area, I would say mounting to a chain link fence is not a good thing:eek:
 
That is BS. I deal with gate set ups like that all the time, hundreds of them. The reason they false is either improper contact installation, bad contact, bad cable or bad input device, not a grounding issue. They need to ensure the contact make/break gaps are within tolerance, then test, possibly replace the input device, if it is not off the main board, since they already replaced the main board. The entire burg system is lifted off ground, with the exception of the ground terminal on the main board.



Which brand panel is it? do you know what they are using for the input, IE a Bosch POPIT, a V-plex input device or a zone expansion card?

What brand/model is the contact?

do you have a picture?
Thanks man! Your response was pretty much the only helpful one. I am going out there today to find out what they are using for the input.
 
I am very weak in this area and need to know a step by step process to isolating and solving this problem.

Not to be rude but if the alarm company can't fix the problem what makes you think, with no knowledge you can do better? How can you expect anybody to give you a "step by step" process without knowing the installation, the system and equipment involved and exactly how it was installed? And software doesn't get fried by lightning. Sorry, but you are in way over your head and it shows.

The proper course of action is for the owner to make the national (that's what an "out of state company that handles all of this businesses locations" is called) fix the problem. That's what the home office is paying for. Most nationals though are pretty slimey and that may be where the problem is. They shop around for local people to do their work and usually get trunkers because they don't want to pay anything. Then they make them jump through hoops and stiff them when they submit their invoice.

Then too, if it even matters, if you touch the system you will probably void the warranty.



So if it were me I couldn't care less about his false alarms.


-Hal
Some of us have the ability to step beyond our usual circumstantial realm, and some of us do not.
 

petersonra

Senior Member
Location
Northern illinois
Occupation
engineer
As often as not an intermittant alarm like this indicates a contact that really is opening up.

Could be that the gate is moving in the wind or something just enough to open it up. You could play with it and see if that is the issue.
 

nhfire77

Senior Member
Location
NH
MichaelGP3......Why?


My point is all circuits are isolated from ground, the ground terminal is to bond the can and give the system to reference ground to detect ground faults.

And to clear allow an overvoltage/lightning strike to clear.

My comment about it being lifted from ground was to highlight the fact it's not a grounded circuit, he said LV wasn't his strong area. I was clarifying.

Maybe GF detection is turned off and the circuit is faulted. Unlikely but it's a potential issue. I would recommend checking for a high resistance GF the panel may not see
 
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nhfire77

Senior Member
Location
NH
As often as not an intermittant alarm like this indicates a contact that really is opening up.

Could be that the gate is moving in the wind or something just enough to open it up. You could play with it and see if that is the issue.
That is a big issue with gate contacts, the gate could have started to sag.

Most companies don't like to use these but, if you are careful to disengage prior to opening the gate, it's not a problem:

Sentrol Magnepull 2105a-g
 

MichaelGP3

Senior Member
nhfire77, I didn't answer right away because I didn't want to frustrate the OP with major thread drift.

MichaelGP3......Why?


My point is all circuits are isolated from ground, the ground terminal is to bond the can and give the system to reference ground to detect ground faults.

And to clear allow an overvoltage/lightning strike to clear.

My comment about it being lifted from ground was to highlight the fact it's not a grounded circuit, he said LV wasn't his strong area. I was clarifying.

Maybe GF detection is turned off and the circuit is faulted. Unlikely but it's a potential issue. I would recommend checking for a high resistance GF the panel may not see
While you can find security panels whose initiating loops float above ground reference, a lot of them don't. Take a look at the right hand side of page 1 of this pdf file:

www.homecontrols.com/homecontrols/pdf/ge8016.pdf
 

nhfire77

Senior Member
Location
NH
nhfire77, I didn't answer right away because I didn't want to frustrate the OP with major thread drift.



While you can find security panels whose initiating loops float above ground reference, a lot of them don't. Take a look at the right hand side of page 1 of this pdf file:

www.homecontrols.com/homecontrols/pdf/ge8016.pdf

Ok I've installed those, they are in a plastic case, grounding would be unnecessary.

Are we talking about the same thing?

"Ground" is not earth ground its the negative side of a 12 V DC circuit. GE manuals have referred to the negative side of power supplies and common terminals on zones as a ground. but there will be instructions on connecting to Earth Ground. There is no continuity between the 12 V DC negative and earth ground.

Not to hijack any further, but I cannot think of any currently manufactured panels that would have zones grounded to earth, in fact it would probably vioate the Current UL listing, but don't quote me. Bosch, DMP, Ademco, Napco, DSC aren't. What I'm getting at is, if an ITI loop bridge was just installed we have bigger issues.
 

renosteinke

Senior Member
Location
NE Arkansas
I wouldn't want to touch this job, period.
It's not just the mechanics of alarm operation, the question relates back to design of the system. There are various ways to protect the area, and perhaps a different method would have been a better choice.
It's also possible that the alarm is actually doing its' job. It might be prudent to place the area under camera surveilance to see exactly what else is happening when the system goes into alarm.

They brought in an out-of-state guy to do 'all their locations?' Let them cook in the stew they prepared - or, at least, deal with a local alarm contractor who is certified by the alarm system manufacturer. Let them ponder just how much they saved by importing thier 'cheap' guy. This is the only way to stop the silly practice of companies 'renting' licenses, trucking in substandard labor, and doing an end-run around the rules we all are supposed to follow.
 
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