Troubleshooting Alarm Systems Technical Tips.
Troubleshooting Alarm Systems – Here are some tips when trying to sort out hardwired alarm system failure suffering trouble events or repeated false alarms.
First check the battery – it could be low on power, or dead. Look at battery terminals and AC terminals and check everywhere for wire whiskers that could be shorting. All terminations need to be clean. Don’t take it for granted that the installer who put the system in and maintained it had the high standards you’re maintaining.
When checking cable runs look for broken or cut wires – it’s an awful job but proper measurements taken first at the panel and then at the sensor mean you only need to check 1 physical cable run, not all of them. Make sure wires aren’t grounded and check for simple things like doors or windows jammed open.
Note that there are areas of cable runs that are unlikely to be damaged, especially if they are safely tucked up in conduit. You should be focusing on corners and other points of friction or cable stress. There may also be portions of cable run that are exposed at the conduit ends which may have been exposed to moisture or nibbled by rats.
Troubleshooting Alarm Systems Technical Tips
Next check for corroded, burned out or broken door switches. Check reed magnets. They last forever, but you might have got the one that didn’t. It’s also possible for particles of iron to get caught in the armature gaps of relays so the relays won’t jam when they should. Again, it’s rare, but it happens. Reeds can fuse if hit by electrical spikes.
Now look for potential on the system that shouldn’t be there and search carefully for shoddy soldering or for shrink wrap that doesn’t quite cover a connection in a busy and hard to reach corner of the panel. Other trouble spots will be found in damp places where moisture causes current leakage. Pressure terminations can be an issue if there’s vibration or thermal expansion.
Cumulative voltage drop causes trouble in any wired solution. Voltage drop can be caused by a range of factors, including oxidation at connections and terminations, broken wires, zone loops that are too long and more.
Establishing voltage drop can be tricky. On a small site you can use a bridging wire with fresh terminations straight from the panel to the device in trouble, which allows you to establish whether voltage drop along the route may be having an impact. But it’s not so easy on a very large site.
Don’t be slack about your maintenance and repairs. It’s easy enough to blame a manufacturer but in most cases well designed alarm systems installed where and how they should be installed are robust and reliable. That said, there are some installations out there that are simply awful.
Solve problems, keep an eye out for system improvements that might enhance reliability, such as junction boxes, cabling support, panel ventilation, lack of EOL resisters, undersized backup batteries wireless reporting modules installed in challenging locations for wireless, a squirt of lanolin where you can see corrosion is inevitable.
Wherever you go, make sure the system is enhanced by your work. If a job is impossible to resuscitate explain the problem to your customer and suggest remediation.
“Troubleshooting Alarm Systems Technical Tips.”