Alarm Panel Ground Fault Troubleshooting.
Alarm panel ground fault – If batteries in a traditional alarm panel keep discharging for no apparent reason then the chances are that you have a ground fault.
Ground faults are an Earth flowing current from the positive side of a circuit that will discharge batteries quickly, leading to low battery signals at the keypad and the monitoring station. Fortunately, the presence of a ground fault is usually easy to detect.
Turn off AC power to the transformer, disconnect the cable on the positive side of the battery then measure between the battery’s positive terminal and the positive cable. Put negative to the cable end and positive to the terminal after setting your DMM to volts.
If the meter reads 0, then there’s no ground fault problem and chances are the panel has a fault. If the meter measures any voltage at all then there’s a ground fault issue. Ground faults are caused by things like torn conduits, loose terminations, stray wire stands, bad terminations, failed switches, failed capacitors, or surge suppressors, or by moisture sneaking into places it should not be.
Alarm Panel Ground Fault Troubleshooting
Something to note is that ground faults can combine in a circuit – multiple small ground faults may be responsible for a reduction in ground resistance that impacts on panel operation, including fuses. Combined ground faults are typically caused by the ingress of moisture but that need not be the case.
If you want to further evaluate the ground fault, connect your ohmmeter between the disconnected positive battery terminal and the negative connection of the battery. What you’re looking for here is the resistance of the fault. The lower the reading the more serious the leak is likely to be. You’ll need to switch to ammeter settings to trace the exact location of the trouble.
It’s best to test all possible points of leakage, rather than finding one leak and assuming it’s the only one. Be sure to measure between battery positive and the positive cable when you think you’ve solved the issue. Any voltage reading here and you’ll need to continue troubleshooting.
“Alarm Panel Ground Fault Troubleshooting.”