Monthly Archives: November 2014

CO Fact #8 – Is Carbon Monoxide (CO) Lighter or Heavier Than Air? (50 words)

chemistry-joke-cat-argonSome people say CO is heavier than air, while others say it is lighter. The simple fact is that the molecular weight of CO is almost identical to air. The molecular weight of CO is 28 grams per mole (g/mol), whereas the molecular weight of air is approximately 29 g/mol.

Add Value Not Cost with Free Applications Support

The Applications department at Silent Knight is available to provide the support you need for specifying, installing, and servicing our products.  Jack Grones and Mark Indgjer have a combined 62 years of industry experience and can assist you with:

  • Reviewing specifications for proper equipmentFA Spec
  • Providing parts lists
  • Competitor product comparisons
  • Battery calculations
  • A & E Specifications
  • CAD drawings
  • Code review
  • Technical Support and Customer Service

The Silent Knight Selection Tool is a powerful program that allows you to build a system with any of our Intelliknight addressable panels.  The FREE tool provides job information, bill of materials, battery calculations, and datasheets.

The Silent Knight Training department provides an excellent 3 day hands on training class that will step you through wiring, programming, and operating our addressable panels.  In addition, you can visit our website for online courses and short videos to assist with immediate training needs.

Please feel free to contact the Applications team at:

For more information on these free services, feel free to watch our informative webinar “Add Value Not Cost”.

 

About the Author
Mark Indgjer is the Technical Support Supervisor for Silent Knight.  Mark joined Silent Knight in 1988 and is responsible for technical support and application engineering.  Mark is also NICET Level II certified.

 

CO Fact #7 – How Reliable are Carbon Monoxide (CO) Alarms and Detectors?

Unfortunately questions still remain about the dependability of CO detection devices. When first introduced in the late 1980’s they performed adequately, but they easily alarmed when exposed to constant low levels of CO.No-false-alarms1

The one incident that gained considerable media attention and is still talked about today, occurred in December of 1994 when the Chicago Fire Department responded to over 1,800 false alarms in a 24-hour period. This was due to a thermal weather inversion that trapped cold air under a layer of hot air that prevented pollutants like automobile exhaust to escape into the atmosphere.

The confusion surrounding these false alarm activations caused Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and other key industry stakeholders to embark on two important projects:

The first project occurred in 1998 when UL updated the alarm thresholds in their product standard by adding several false alarm requirements to prevent nuisance alarms. This important change requires NO alarm below 30ppm until after 30 days and NO alarm at 70ppm until after 1 hour. The 30ppm requirement is to protect against alarm activations due to temperature inversions and the 70ppm requirement to protect against transient CO concentrations such as short term spikes from a boiler or hot water heater starting.

The second UL project was a five-year study that was designed to evaluate the effectiveness of CO alarms. The study involved the random collection of over 100 CO alarms from retail stores and manufacturer locations by the UL Field Staff. The alarms included samples of all three sensing technologies used in the US. The three types are: (1) electrochemical, (2) biomemetic, and (3) metal oxide semiconductor – explained in CO Fact #6 – What Are the Different Types of Carbon Monoxide (CO) Sensing Technologies?

The alarms were taken to the UL lab where initial sensitivity tests were recorded. The alarms were then distributed to UL staff for installation in their homes. UL staff then returned their assigned units for sensitivity testing every six months. Throughout the entire program, a few units did experience early or delayed activations, however UL determined these CO alarms would provide effective signaling protection to the users should there be a fatal concentration of CO. As a result of the 5 year UL study, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has posted a CPSC Q&A Document on their website saying CO alarms are not susceptible to nuisance activations.

About the Author

Richard Roberts is Industry Affairs Manager at Honeywell Fire Safety with over 30 years in the fire alarm and carbon monoxide market. His experience spans the installation, sales, and product development of code-compliant products and systems. Currently, Mr. Roberts is a member of eight NFPA Technical Committees and he serves on the Board of Directors for the Automatic Fire Alarm Association (AFAA) and Chair of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) Smoke & CO Committee and Building Codes Committee.

 

Updated SKSS Supports New Features & Products

The 5660 Silent Knight Software Suite (SKSS) allows you to upload (receive) data from a panel to a PC or download (send) data from a PC to a panel. The 5660 software makes it easy to program panels from a remote location or locally when directly connected to the panel.

SKSS version 3.6 now supports the latest products and features from Silent Knight:upload download

The Silent Knight Software Suite offers the following features:

  • Easily program panels from a remote location or on-site
  • Upload panel account information to your PC
  • Quick access to panel event history
  • Upload detector status from IntelliKnight addressable fire alarm control panels
  • Compatible with 5104, SK-5208, 5700, 5808, 5820XL, and 5820XL-EVS fire alarm control panels.
  • Free software and software upgrades downloadable from the Silent Knight web site

Download SKSS version 3.6 and take advantage of these new features and products.

About the Author
Richard Conner is the Director of Marketing for the SED Channel – Fire-Lite Alarms, Silent Knight, and Honeywell Power. Richard joined Honeywell in 2002 and has over 15 years of experience in the fire alarm industry in Marketing, Engineering, and Product Support positions. Richard is responsible for developing brand strategy and marketing programs for all brands.

 

CO Fact #6 – What Are the Different Types of Carbon Monoxide (CO) Sensing Technologies?

Carbon Monoxide detectors monitor the amount of CO in the air over a specific time period and they are distinguished by their sensing technologies. There are three basic types of CO sensors used today: biomimetic, metal oxide semiconductor, and electrochemical.carbon-monoxide-art-1

Biomimetic CO sensors mimic how hemoglobin reacts to CO. Specifically; a biomimetic sensor monitors infrared light that is passed through a disc of synthetic hemoglobin that darkens in the presence of CO. As CO concentrations increase, the light is absorbed. Once the light falls below a predetermined level it will trigger an alarm.

With metal oxide semiconductor technology, commonly referred to as (MOS), a tin dioxide semiconductor is heated by an electric current at regular intervals. When the tin dioxide reaches its operating temperature, it is capable of changing its resistance in the presence of carbon monoxide. Once the resistance reaches a predetermined threshold it triggers an alarm.

Lastly, electrochemical sensors use an electrode and acid combination to promote a reaction between CO and the oxygen in the air, which then produces an electrical current. When CO is present in the air and the current increases beyond specific thresholds it triggers an alarm signal.

Regardless of the sensing technology, all CO sensors used in single- and multiple- station CO alarms and system-connected CO detectors have a limited-life. The life span ranges from 6 to 10 years depending on the sensing technology and the manufacturer. In accordance with UL-2034 all CO alarms must indicate an end-of-life audible signal that is different from an audible alarm signal. Also ANSI/UL 2075 and NFPA 720 require all system-connected CO detectors to provide a means to send the sensor’s end-of-life signal to the Control Unit. Typically the end-of-life signal is triggered either by an internal timer or by a self-diagnostic test.

About the Author

Richard Roberts is Industry Affairs Manager at Honeywell Fire Safety with over 30 years in the fire alarm and carbon monoxide market. His experience spans the installation, sales, and product development of code-compliant products and systems. Currently, Mr. Roberts is a member of eight NFPA Technical Committees and he serves on the Board of Directors for the Automatic Fire Alarm Association (AFAA) and Chair of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) Smoke & CO Committee and Building Codes Committee.