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Old 04-27-2020, 06:28 PM   #1
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Default ? fire alarm code whiz

I'm an electrician who also installs the fire alarm system in the buildings I wire but some aspects of NFPA 72 I don't get.

I thought a fire alarm system DACT could not use two telephone lines for primary secondary transmission of events but two fire technicians have disagreed. I just installed a small system and the monitoring company have chosen to use the FACP DACT with 2 telephone lines from Verizon, that might be POTS lines. All other systems I've done were monitored by a different company and the buildings did not have Verizon lines available and radio systems were used.

Whenever I'm told I'm wrong about this I timidly mention section 26 of NFPA 72 and hear mumbling or nothing. I thought this was changed in 2013 but I don't really know. I'm reading my handbook in 26.6.4 digital Alarm Communicator Systems I only see an exception in 26.6.4.4 and subsequent areas, especially the expert Handbook commentaries, clearly are telling me you can only use two identical transmission methods when invoking that exception.

Anyone have help for this electrician dabbling with tiny wires?
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Old 04-27-2020, 06:47 PM   #2
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I do fire alarm systems, but by no means am I a 72 expert. Most fire chiefs use pages out of nfpa72 to wipe their a$$ with. They all have their own stupid preferences and they are all incredibly loosely based on 72. I typically just draw up or bring a set of prints over to the fire department for approval.
As far fire alarm transmitters, I was always under the impression but you needed two paths to transmit. And your situation 2 phone lines does it. With a cellular transmitter, they transmit over IP over 4g and SMS over 3g. With Gamewell type telegraph boxes, they transmit between two wires, and between either one to ground. Private radio boxes like Aes/keltron transmit to the nearest two boxes and all of them act as repeaters for the same FD/ central station.
These days, unless there is no cellular service, I steer clear of phone lines. Too many headaches. Cellular transmitters are dirt cheap, and the monitoring is less money then monitoring two phone lines and paying for the phone service.
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Old 04-27-2020, 08:58 PM   #3
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Ditto. My solution on many panels is a Telguard TG-7FS. UL certified and have been rock solid. I think I pay in the area of $400 for the unit. Install is simple and any monitoring company can monitor. Wholesale for the cellular is about $6/month on top of the monitoring. Two POTS lines were $54 each per month. Fast payback.
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Old 04-27-2020, 10:21 PM   #4
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I have been using DSC LE4010CF. Last one I installed, I picked it up new on eBay for $165 shipped. Never paid more then $250 for one. Dialer capture just like the Telguard and 4 programmable supervised dry inputs to interface systems without DACTs. AT&T only, but that hasn't been an issue.
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Old 04-28-2020, 06:26 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by farmantenna View Post
I'm an electrician who also installs the fire alarm system in the buildings I wire but some aspects of NFPA 72 I don't get.

I thought a fire alarm system DACT could not use two telephone lines for primary secondary transmission of events but two fire technicians have disagreed. I just installed a small system and the monitoring company have chosen to use the FACP DACT with 2 telephone lines from Verizon, that might be POTS lines. All other systems I've done were monitored by a different company and the buildings did not have Verizon lines available and radio systems were used.

Whenever I'm told I'm wrong about this I timidly mention section 26 of NFPA 72 and hear mumbling or nothing. I thought this was changed in 2013 but I don't really know. I'm reading my handbook in 26.6.4 digital Alarm Communicator Systems I only see an exception in 26.6.4.4 and subsequent areas, especially the expert Handbook commentaries, clearly are telling me you can only use two identical transmission methods when invoking that exception.

Anyone have help for this electrician dabbling with tiny wires?
I'm not really understanding your question. Are you questioning the usage of two similar means of telecommunication ie two POTS lines for your primary and secondary comms?

Are you thinking you should have two dissimilar means as in one POTS and one cellular?
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Old 04-28-2020, 07:47 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by farmantenna View Post
I'm an electrician who also installs the fire alarm system in the buildings I wire but some aspects of NFPA 72 I don't get.



I thought a fire alarm system DACT could not use two telephone lines for primary secondary transmission of events but two fire technicians have disagreed. I just installed a small system and the monitoring company have chosen to use the FACP DACT with 2 telephone lines from Verizon, that might be POTS lines. All other systems I've done were monitored by a different company and the buildings did not have Verizon lines available and radio systems were used.



Whenever I'm told I'm wrong about this I timidly mention section 26 of NFPA 72 and hear mumbling or nothing. I thought this was changed in 2013 but I don't really know. I'm reading my handbook in 26.6.4 digital Alarm Communicator Systems I only see an exception in 26.6.4.4 and subsequent areas, especially the expert Handbook commentaries, clearly are telling me you can only use two identical transmission methods when invoking that exception.



Anyone have help for this electrician dabbling with tiny wires?
Here, this might help you. I just received an approval back on a plan where I apparently didn't make signal transmission clear enough... The approval letter had this note attached: "If using a DACT, two POTS phone lines cannot be utilized for transmission of signals from the FACP to the supervising station. Provide a second alternative means of communication per this standard section. If one means of communication is provide, it shall adhere to section 26.6.3.1.5"

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Old 04-28-2020, 08:46 PM   #7
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Googling "section 26.6.3.1.5" I found this referencing the 2013 changes.









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Old 04-28-2020, 09:15 PM   #8
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Googling "section 26.6.3.1.5" I found this referencing the 2013 changes.
As if I needed another reason to not use crusty pots lines for monitoring.
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Old 04-28-2020, 11:02 PM   #9
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All systems I’ve worked on 200 device to 1000 device all had POTS lines to the FACP dialer. Some systems had additional monitoring through BMS and BAC monitoring.


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Old 04-30-2020, 09:55 AM   #10
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All systems I’ve worked on 200 device to 1000 device all had POTS lines to the FACP dialer. Some systems had additional monitoring through BMS and BAC monitoring.


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That's traditionally how it's done, but changing fast. NFPA 72 is being increasingly lenient with IP and GSM whole getting stricter on POTS, plus POTS is definitely more expensive now. The industry is quickly moving to IP/GSM communications.

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Old 04-30-2020, 03:37 PM   #11
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Here, this might help you. I just received an approval back on a plan where I apparently didn't make signal transmission clear enough... The approval letter had this note attached: "If using a DACT, two POTS phone lines cannot be utilized for transmission of signals from the FACP to the supervising station. Provide a second alternative means of communication per this standard section. If one means of communication is provide, it shall adhere to section 26.6.3.1.5"

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bingo! that's what I'm seeing in my NFPA 72 handbook. Electricians need the
Handbook. 12.3.2.7.8. huh!? 17.3.8.1.2 examples
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Old 04-30-2020, 03:39 PM   #12
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2013 is old news here
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Old 04-30-2020, 03:43 PM   #13
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I'm not really understanding your question. Are you questioning the usage of two similar means of telecommunication ie two POTS lines for your primary and secondary comms?

Are you thinking you should have two dissimilar means as in one POTS and one cellular?
that's what I'm reading in section 26.6
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