Using the Detector Status Feature

In my last blog, I described Detector Drift Compensation and how addressable detectors compensate for contaminates. In this edition, I would like to continue with this subject and touch upon Detector Status.

Detector Status is a snapshot of the internal values of the addressable detectors on the Silent Knight addressable fire alarm control panels. A popular feature, Detector Status can be uploaded via SKSS software or viewed through the annunciator(s) on the system.


The values shown in Detector Status provide indications of the current state of the detector, detector thresholds, and a history over time of its status. While each value has importance, there are a few specific values that I would like to mention:

  • CAV – Clear Air Value – The current value or state that the detector. This is first value that should be observed and provides the basis in relation to all of the other values
  • MT – Maintenance Threshold – The threshold value that determines when a detector is in a maintenance condition. When the CAV value reaches the MT value, the detector enters a Maintenance Alert condition. When a Maintenance Alert condition occurs on a detector, the panel does not annunciate or report this condition. it is only observed when viewing detector status.
  • TT – Calibration Threshold – The threshold value that determines when a detector is out of calibration. When the CAV value reaches the TT value, the detector enters a Calibration Trouble condition. The panel will annunciate and report this event.
  • ATL – Alarm Threshold – The threshold value that determines when the detector goes into alarm. When the CAV value reaches the ATL value, the detector enters an alarm condition. The panel alarms appropriately.
  • NFPA72 – A Yes or No condition. If No is indicated for a detector, it is out of calibration and not functioning properly. It would need to be cleaned or replaced.

The Detector Status feature is very useful to ensure that the addressable detectors are functioning properly. It can be uploaded and viewed at any time and is U.L. listed for the required Calibrated Smoke Test on systems.

Did you know that SKSS can be downloaded for free from the Silent Knight website? Click here to access the SKSS page and download the latest release.


About the Author
Jack Grones is an Application Engineer with Silent Knight and holds a NICET Level III certification.  Jack joined Silent Knight in 1978 and is responsible for applications and technical support.

SBUS Fiber Optic Revisited: FAQs

sbus_webinar_screenI conducted a webinar on November 16, 2015, titled Powerful and Simple! Flexible Design with SBUS and Fiber Optic to provide an overview of the Silent Knight addressable SBUS devices and how they provide flexibility for a variety of applications. I also presented the SK-F485C SBUS to Fiber Optic converter. This product provides a solution to the high risk of lightning damage and ground faults that often occur with wire runs between buildings.

Thank you for those who were able to attend this webinar. There were excellent questions and comments and I would like to address some of them in this blog:

  • A popular question centered on cascade and daisy-chain wiring of multiple SBUS devices. SBUS devices are addressable and provide flexible wiring configurations. Daisy chain, T-Tapping, and Home Run wire configurations are all acceptable methods. The fire alarm control panel will properly annunciate and report trouble events if there is a wire break with any of these methods.
  • Another popular question related to wire type and distances. Specifications call out for wire to be from 14 AWG to 22 AWG with a possible distance up to 6,000 feet. Wire can be of any type that meets NEC 760 fire power limited fire protective signaling cable.
  • Lastly, questions and observations arose about the specifications of the fiber optic cable. The SK-F485C uses 62.5 micron multi mode fiber optic cable at 115.2K bits/second. Fiber connections are ST connectors and the cable distance is up to 1 mile (5,280 feet).

If you have any questions or need assistance with an application, please contact the Silent Knight Applications department at 1-800-446-6444 or

Do you know that you can download and view this and other previously held Silent Knight webinars? Click here to access our webinar library page.


About the Author
Mark Indgjer is a Product Marketing Manager with Silent Knight.  Mark joined Silent Knight in 1988 and is responsible for new product development, product marketing and much more.  Mark is also NICET Level II certified.​

Silent Knight Tech-Ed Training in 2016

Welcome to 2016! I hope you had a wonderful holiday season. We are happy to announce that schedule for the first half of 2016 is now available on our website at Once on our website, click on Training and select Schedule.

Tech-Ed Knight School is our popular instructor-led training course. This comprehensive course is designed for technicians who work on Silent Knight IntelliKnight® fire systems. The 3-day class will introduce technicians to system installation, SLC devices, emergency communication systems ECS, programming, and troubleshooting using the SKSS Software Suite. Hands-on exercises will solidify the learning experience. It is very important to mention that all attendees will receive continuing education credits (CEUs) for participating along with proof of course completion.

The Tech-Ed Knight School course covers:

  • 5600 FACP
  • Integrating CO and Emergency Communication Systems into Fire Alarm Systems
  • Silent Knight Selection Tool (SKST)
  • Installation of Addressable FACP
  • Understanding the Benefits of Addressable Technology
  • Signaling Line Circuit for SK Series Device
  • Programming and troubleshooting
  • Silent Knight Software Suite (SKSS)
  • Upload Event History and Detector Status
  • Wiring and hands-on exercises of Emergency Communication System
  • Hands-on SKSS programming exercises

Having conducted many courses, I can tell you that the value of these 3 days is immense and well worth your time. If you haven’t attended a Silent Knight training course, please consider doing so. If you have attended a training course, please refer it to someone you know and consider attending again.

Did you know that Silent Knight offers custom training? Please contact the Silent Knight training department for further details on how you can conduct a course at your office or location. Click here to view the latest training schedule.


About the Author
Brian Brownell joined Silent Knight as a Technical Trainer in 2011 and has worked within the fire alarm industry for 30 years.​

Internally Speaking: Applications Using the EVS-INT50W

I wrote a blog in May 2015 introducing our new EVS-INT50W internal amplifier. An overview of the product was provided along with a brief mention of applications. In this installment, I would like to discuss a few specific applications: Day Care Centers, Assembly Occupancies, K – 12 Educational Facilities, and Lodging.

evs-int50w-diagram1Day Care Centers is an ideal application for the internal amplifier because of limited wall space for mounting external hardware and the requirement for the 520Hz low frequency output. Many jurisdictions are adopting the 2012 edition of the International Building Code (IBC) which states that a manual fire alarm system that initiates the occupant notification signal utilizing an emergency voice/alarm communication system shall be installed in Group E occupancies.  Day Care facilities fall under a Group E occupancy. In addition, Section 18 of the 2013 edition of NFPA 72 states that effective January 1st, 2014, audible appliances provided for the sleeping areas to awaken occupants shall produce a low frequency alarm signal.

As defined by NFPA 101, an Assembly Occupancy is an occupancy used for a gathering of 50 or more persons for deliberation, worship, entertainment, eating, drinking, amusement, awaiting transportation, or similar uses. A common example of an assembly occupancy is a place of worship where the area of congregation will require voice evacuation. The EVS-INT50W is perfect for this application because vital wall space is saved while providing a 50 watt single speaker circuit amplifier that meets required decibel output and audibility requirements

K – 12 Educational Facilities offer the ability to use the internal amplifier with the flexibility of integrating distributed amplifiers. As with the Day Care Center application, K through 12 educational facilities fall under a Group E occupancy. Since many classrooms and other gathering locations will have an occupant load of greater than 30 people, these facilities are prime candidates for voice evacuation and emergency communications. The 5820XL-EVS and the EVS-INT50W will cover an area or areas of the facility while distributed amplifiers will cover other areas of the facility. This is quickly becoming a popular method of distributing voice.

evs-int50w-diagram2Due to recent code updates and state/local legislation, low frequency is becoming common in the lodging industry. Section 18 of the 2013 edition of NFPA 72 states that effective January 1st, 2014, audible appliances provided for the sleeping areas to awaken occupants shall produce a low frequency alarm signal. Full coverage for low frequency voice evacuation can be accomplished by using a combination of the internal amplifiers and the distributed EVS-100W amplifiers. As with the K – 12 Educational Facilities application, the 5820XL-EVS and the EVS-INT50W will cover an area or areas of the lodging facility while the distributed EVS-100W will cover other areas of the facility.

Do you have applications where the EVS-INT50W would be helpful? Please let us know by clicking on the Leave a Reply link above to enter your request.  Click here to download the EVS-INT50W data sheet.


About the Author
Mark Indgjer is a Product Marketing Manager with Silent Knight.  Mark joined Silent Knight in 1988 and is responsible for new product development, product marketing and much more.  Mark is also NICET Level II certified.​

New NICET Certification Program

Through the efforts of the Automatic Fire Alarm Association (AFAA), the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET) is now offering a new certification program for Inspection and Testing of Fire Alarm Systems. This new certification program consists of two levels.

  1. Level 1 is for those who test “Basic” fire alarm systems, with a minimal amount of interconnection with other systems. 6 months of I&T experience is required. Individuals already certified for Fire Alarm Systems at Level 2 are considered to meet the testing requirement for Inspection and Testing Level 1.
  2. Level 2 is for those who test “Complex” fire alarm systems, including systems with multiple or complex interconnection with other systems. 18 months of I&T experience is required. Individuals already certified Fire Alarm Systems Levels 3 or 4 are considered to meeting the testing requirements for both Inspection and Testing Level 1 and Inspection and Testing Level 2.

This new certification is not meant to replace the existing Fire Alarm Systems certification, but is intended to start having certifications more specific to an individual’s work experience. The intent is to broaden the base of certificate holders in the fire alarm industry. AFAA promoted this to continue our efforts to improve professionalism as well as improve the quality of inspection and testing of fire alarm systems.

For more information, go to There is a link to this certification on the home page. For more information on AFAA’s new Inspection and Testing Seminar to help prepare for these tests, look at the Training Calendar under the Training tab on


About the Author
Tom Hammerberg is Technical Director of the Automatic Fire Alarm Association. He has been in the alarm industry for 40 years and with AFAA for 21 years, serving as President/Executive Director from 2003-2014. Tom is NICET Level 4 certified in the field of Fire Alarm Systems and is a Certified Fire Protection Specialist. Tom represents AFAA on NFPA 3 and 4, the NFPA 72 Technical Correlating and Protected Premises Technical Committees, NFPA 90A and NFPA 101/5000 Building Services and Fire Protection Equipment and Fundamentals Technical Committees, the ICC Industry Advisory Committee, Life Safety Section of the International Association of Fire Chiefs and the Codes, Standards & Technical Research Committee of the Center for Campus Fire Safety.