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Standby power ensures fire alarm system continuity. Allowable arrangements for secondary power are:
Storage batteries Batteries have to be located so that they do not adversely affect any fire alarm equipment. In most equipment, the batteries are sealed units and there is no problem with the batteries being in the fire alarm control unit. However, in some older, or extremely large systems, unsealed lead-acid batteries may be used. This is no longer common, but there may be some situations where this still exists. When the control unit is automatically charging lead-acid or unsealed batteries, gases may be discharged. If the charger and/or batteries are not in the control unit, their location must be noted at the fire alarm control unit. In addition, the date of the battery's manufacture has to be marked on the batteries. Typically, many installers mark the date of installation, but the batteries may have been on a shelf for a long period, lessening their serviceable life.
Generator and batteries The generator must be automatic starting. This arrangement must also have "float" batteries capable of carrying the system load for a period of four hours, in case the generator fails to start.
Multiple generators The first generator must start automatically. Subsequent generators can be either manual or automatic.
Transferring power from the primary to the backup supply has to be smooth, and system functions cannot be lost. The hand-off from primary to standby has to be automatic.
If signals can be lost during transfer, batteries capable of powering the system for 15 minutes are needed to automatically assume the load while the transfer is taking place. This is typically done by connecting to an uninterruptible power supply (UPS).
Where signals will not be lost, the transfer either has to be automatic or a smooth transfer has to be made, as previously stated, within 10 seconds.
© Hughes Associates,Inc. 2012