Monthly Archives: June 2015

Trade Show Breakdown – After NFPA 2015

NFPA 2015 did not disappoint! Hopefully you were able to attend the expo and hit up a few of the over 120 educational tracks and sessions offered this year. The booth traffic stayed steady throughout the show and the new products got a lot of attention.

In case you missed the expo, here are a few products we highlighted this year:
Fire/CO Detector
Silent Knight’s SK-FIRE-CO addressable combination fire and carbon monoxide (CO) detector drew a lot of attention. With so many regions now requiring Fire and CO detection, the product fits tons of applications. This device not only protects people from CO leaks and fires all-in-one, but also saves the costs of independent smoke and CO detectors, and all the related parts and wiring. Plus it maintains the aesthetics of any room. It uses four sensing elements to provide the best fire detection and false signal rejection available, reducing nuisance alarms and provides a separate carbon monoxide signal. When used with the B200S/B200S-LF intelligent sounder base, the system ties together by providing the appropriate temporal signals, and because it can synchronize with System Sensor A/V devices, it becomes part of the evacuation signal vs. using a separate device.

Low Frequency Sounders, Strobes & Bases
Shown in connection with the Silent Knight fire panels were the SpectrAlert® Advance Low Frequency Sounders, Bases and Sounder Strobes. These are the first UL-listed low frequency (520 Hz) notification appliances to meet the NFPA 72® 2010/2013 requirements for new sleeping spaces. These devices were designed to easily integrate into new or existing panels’ notification appliance circuit (NAC) line and provide the required audibility and square wave tone to awaken individuals.

5820XL-EVS with Internal Amplifier (EVS-INT50W)
Ideal for schools, hospitals, government and military facilities or other places of assembly, the Silent Knight 5820XL-EVS is an excellent choice for buildings considering an emergency communication system (ECS) or fire alarm upgrade, or for those located within a municipality that will soon adopt current NFPA code ECS requirements. The EVS-INT50W is a 50 watt, single speaker circuit amplifier. What makes this amplifier unique is its ability to be mounted and housed in the 5820XL-EVS cabinet. This new amplifier mounts on the standoffs where 5815XL point expanders are normally mounted, thus saving valuable wall space.

If you’ve never attended an NFPA Conference or Expo, it’s a wealth of information for both product and industry! If your business is involved with fire, don’t miss next year’s conference at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV, June 13 – 16.

NFPA 2016
Did you go to NFPA 2015?  If so, what was your favorite part?

See you in 2016!

About the Author
Elizabeth Richards is the Manager of Communications for the SED Channel – Fire-Lite Alarms, Honeywell Power, and Silent Knight. Liz joined Honeywell Fire Systems in 2003 and is responsible for the communications, collateral, messaging, and events for all three brands.

Reacceptance Testing – What You Need to Know

An existing fire alarm system requires program modifications.  You have successfully completed the modifications and the question becomes how much of the fire alarm system do you need to test?

According to the Silent Knight fire alarm control panel manuals, you must perform a complete system check-out any time the panel is reprogrammed.  This is mandated by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) for any system that has or requires a UL certificate.NFPA Code books

If a UL certificate is not required for the installation, you should refer to the Inspection, Testing and Maintenance chapter in NFPA 72: National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code.  For example, Chapter 14, Section 14.4.2 in the 2013 Edition of NFPA 72 outlines the guidelines for reacceptance testing for both hardware and software changes.  As always, the methods described here are reliant on the local authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) to accept or modify.

Section states when changes are made to site-specific software, the following shall apply:

  • All functions known to be affected by the change, or identified by means that indicates changes, shall be 100 percent tested.
  • In addition, 10 percent of initiating devices that are not directly affected by the change, up to a maximum of 50 devices, also shall be tested and correct system operation shall be verified.
  • A revised record of completion in accordance with 7.5.6 shall be prepared to reflect these changes.

The initiating devices not affected by a change are meant to be a random sample and should include at least one device per initiating device circuit to ensure correct operation.  It should be noted that if you read the panel program via computer software, or view the program via a system annunciator, and no modifications to the panel program are made, reacceptance testing is not required.

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.

You Have The Power – B200S Series Auxiliary Power Requirements

The use of sounder bases in applications such as apartments, hotels and dormitories provide a flexible and efficient means of required audible notification. The ability to activate the sounder bases in the affected area or for general alarm makes these bases an effective audible option.

The Silent Knight B200S and B200S-LF sounder bases are used with the addressable SK series of detectors. These bases require a total of 4 conductors: 2 for the SLC (Signaling Line Circuit) and 2 for constant 24 VDC auxiliary power.sounders

A distinct advantage of the B200S series sounder bases is the supervision of the constant 24 VDC auxiliary power.  Previous versions of the sounder base did not supervise 24 VDC power at the base and required an End of Line relay module along with an addressable contact input module.  If 24 VDC power was lost, the End of Line relay module would open, thus creating a trouble on the contact input module. The B200S and B200S-LF supervise the power at the base, eliminating the need for an End of Line relay module and a contact input module. Since these bases take on the address of the detector, additional addresses are not required. If the power is lost, the affected detectors will indicate a Missing Base trouble. Supervision at each base also provides huge benefits by allowing the 24 VDC power circuit to be T-Tapped or Home Run from the source. Bases that require an End of Line relay module for supervision cannot be T-Tapped or Home Run.

The Silent Knight addressable fire alarm control panel provides a standard 24 VDC constant auxiliary power option or 24 VDC constant Sounder Base Sync option. The Sounder Base Sync option outputs a sync pulse that allows all B200S and/or B200S-LF bases to synchronize when activated.

The B200S-LF is a low frequency sounder base that provides a 520 Hz output required by code for sleeping areas.

Have a question on where or when to use certain sounder bases? Have a specific question on programming? Enter questions and comments in the comments section below.

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.​

How To: Installing the Internal Amp (EVS-INT50W)

We are excited about a new product release for the 5820XL-EVS family.  The EVS-INT50W is a 50 watt, single speaker circuit amplifier.  What makes this amplifier unique is its ability to be mounted and housed in the 5820XL-EVS cabinet.  This new amplifier mounts on the standoffs where 5815XL point expanders are normally mounted, thus saving valuable wall space.Internal Amp install

The EVS-INT50W requires a total of 3 pairs of wires for installation: 2 for the 24 VDC power, 2 for the SBUS data and 2 for the VBUS.

  • 24 VDC constant power can be obtained from any of the 6 Flexput™ circuits programmed as constant auxiliary power. Eliminating an additional AC circuit and backup batteries to power the amplifier saves time and money.
  • The EVS-INT50W is an intelligent device requiring SBUS wiring to the 5820XL board assembly. The A and B terminals on the amplifier will wire to the SBUS Out A and B terminals on the 5820XL.
  • The amplifier requires a VBUS (Voice BUS) connection to the VCM (Voice Command Module) located on the dead front door of the 5820XL-EVS cabinet. The VBUS carries the recorded voice messages and microphone to the amplifier.  The 2 wire VBUS runs from the VBUS out on the VCM to the VBUS terminals on the amplifier.  Since the VBUS is an audio circuit, shielded wire is recommended.
  • Using shielded wire, connect the speaker circuit to the Speaker Out terminals on the amplifier. The speaker circuit requires a 15K end of line resistor.  There is an option to wire the speaker circuit as Class A.  In this case, an end of line resistor is not required and the shielded pair would return to the Speaker In terminals on the amplifier from the last device on the circuit.

Before applying power, use the dipswitches on the EVS-INT50W to set the address.  You will then need to program the EVS-INT50W into the 5820XL-EVS, by following these steps:

  • Open your program file in SKSS and click on the “System” tab. Under “Module”, right mouse click and select “Add”.  The “Add Module” window will appear and you will scroll down to highlight the EVS-INT50W voice amplifier.  Select “OK” and ensure that the ID of the module matches the ID set with the dipswitches.
  • Select the “Output Groups” tab. Scroll down to Module 34 and right click on the Type box across from Flexput™ circuit you want to use for constant auxiliary power.  Select the “Aux. Power” bullet and ensure that “Constant” is selected in the drop down.  Save the configuration and download to the panel.

You have successfully installed the EVS-INT50W internal amplifier!

The EVS-INT50W works with version 15 of the 5820XL-EVS and version 3.64 of SKSS.  Download SKSS for free and check out our new EVS-INT50W video at

You can also click the link to download the EVS-INT50W sell sheet.

About the Author
Brian Brownell joined Honeywell in 2011 and brings 30 years of fire alarm industry expertise to his current role as a Technical Trainer for Silent Knight. ​

AHJ: Three Important Letters to Success

Get to know this critical code official

You can easily expand your repertoire from security to fire alarms when you have good manufacturer partners, training and the right ‘people’ skills. Adding fire alarms is a natural for those in the security business, especially as the proliferation of integrated, converged systems continues. If you decide to become a fire alarm designer, one of the peoLocal Authorityple you need to get to know as soon as possible is the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ).

You don’t have to approach those three letters with dread; instead, you can look at it as an opportunity to reach the top of your game in providing best-in-class life safety solutions.

The AHJ is the official representative and enforcer of the building code and NFPA 72, the National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code. According to NFPA 72 the term AHJ is used “in a broad manner, since jurisdictions and approval agencies vary, as do their responsibilities. Where public safety is primary, the AHJ may be a federal, state, local, or other regional department of individual such as a fire chief, fire marshal, chief of a fire prevention bureau, labor department or health department, building official, electrical inspector or others having statutory authority.” In addition, in the course of plans, reviews or an installation, there may be several AHJs as the local fire inspector is your personal contact. You may also have a state electrical inspector, a state fire marshal and a state building inspector – all of whom have a hand in code enforcement.

Before you begin the design and specification of a fire alarm system, find out who the AHJ is — your grass-roots definition means the person having statutory authority or the authority to enforce code. Once you investigate this by calling or visiting the local city or town in which you are doing business, find out what version of the fire alarm code they reference. Some may be following the latest released code (2013), but others may be referencing earlier versions. All it takes is a quick introduction to the AHJ, a mutual discussion and a few key questions. Let them know you are interested in making sure everything meets or exceeds codes, and the journey will start off on the right foot.

Now that you know what code version the AHJ is following, get to know its nuances. You need to know if the end-user is asking for something that deviates from code – and you need to have the ability to reference pertinent portions to illustrate to the customer that their design specification or request may not be up to speed and they may be opening themselves up to obstacles along the way. The better path is to convince the customer to follow the code closely to avoid any potential problems with AHJ approval and final sign off.

While adopted codes require you to comply with rules, you may also have to adhere to the requests of others, such as the fire department. The fire department may provide the approval for location of annunciator(s); zoning descriptions and other items – even the location of inspection reports if not at the fire alarm control panel.  Again, make yourself known to the fire department official and work together with them – not against – to ensure the system solution meets all necessary codes and requirements.

Fire alarm designers need to be credentialed, thorough and knowledgeable. Take advantage of manufacturer-sponsored training and education to be certain your knowledge base is up to speed. But once you have proven yourself to the AHJ and your customers, you’ll open up new streams of profitable business revenue.

About the Author
Deborah L. O’Mara is a journalist specializing in the burglar and fire alarm and systems integration industries and the managing director of DLO Communications in Chicago.