Archive for the ‘You are doing it wrong!’ Category

From around the traps.

Sunday, May 4th, 2014
Ants in a card reader


Switch in panel


security panel behind fire hose

security panel behind fire hose

cable "rough" in

cable "rough" in

more cabe "rough" in

around the corner from the previous image

even more cabe "rough" in

In the same corridor as previous images

network switch hanging by cables

network switch hanging by cables

Fiber above a CCTV rack

Fiber above a CCTV rack

Behind a CCTV rack

Behind a CCTV rack

Missing the point….. again

Sunday, May 4th, 2014
PP8FR Reverse Powered

In the out

A customer from WA found this in the course of his travels. Once again a separate fire trip relay has been mistakenly used! To make things worse the power has been fed into the expansion outputs rather than the dedicated inputs. This will work however it makes things harder for the tech who has had to change all the output jumpers to get one of the boards to work on fire trip.

Remember technicians, the whole point of the PP8FR is to provide a built in/all in one fire trip and power distribution solution. No extra relay is required. Also read the instructions!

Missing the point…..

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

Redundant fire relay

I found this today, a recent install. Maybe we need to make the instructions a little more clear/simple. The installer has used a separate relay to take the fire interface and monitor the fire trip. They have then fed the switched power into the fuse module.

The whole point of the PP8FR is to provide a simple ALL IN ONE interface including fire trip relay and monitoring. The separate relay is NOT NEEDED. See extract below from install notes. I apologise for the IBone photo quality.

PP8FR Fire Trip Setup

Power Port Fire Trip Interface Settings.

Spot the problem?

Friday, February 21st, 2014

Mag lock mounted wrongMag lock all wrong

Yes that is a sliding door!

This mag lock was installed by a carpenter, it is switched via a cheap hotel style locking system. Obviously this did not work long due to the lock grabbing the armature plate as soon as it slid close to the face. The door would not close and quickly the plate was dislodged. The mag was also packed down with cheap plastic spacers.

An experienced locksmith was called in and paid to install the proper L&Z configuration. The L&Z bracket was supplied with the lock but the original installer obviously did not have a clue.

Thanks to the locksmith (Luke) for the photos. Another reason only qualified and experienced tradesmen should be used.

Mag Lock Slow to Release?

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

If you are finding a mag (electromagnetic) lock to be “sticky” or slow to release it is likely that it has a diode connected across the power terminals. Remove it, problem solved.

This is a common mistake. The reverse biased diode is supposed to prevent a current spike (often call back EMF) caused by the decay of the magnetic field around a coil. This is true of basic coils such as those found in relays and unprotected strikes. However the combination of the diode and the internal electronics of modern mag locks combine to cause a slow release of the armature plate.

This is often very noticeable to the door user. In one particular case I came across recently an entire buildings worth of doors had this problem. It was exacerbated by the fact that the push to exit buttons used the wrong contact. The problem was so bad that the security manager had put up signs that read “press button… wait… open door.” The same company that incorrectly installed the diodes and exit buttons had also glossed over the problem for five years of annual maintenance.

Protection diodes should not be installed in modern electromagnetic locks. The delay can cause excessive force to be placed on the lock by users and I have even seen people bump into the door expecting it to open sooner. It is also a major problem when a mag lock is combined with a power swing door operator, the operator fights against the mag for a second shortening the life of both parts.

Fuse Fail (Fail)

Saturday, June 9th, 2012

Yesterday I was called out on a service job to one of the worst installs I have seen in a while. What makes it worse is that Jack Fuse Power Port modules were being used! What makes it even worse is that it was an add on to a system that I upgraded relatively recently.

The call came in (late on Friday and my day off!) that several mag locks had no power. To cut a long story short, a company had added three doors to an existing system in an area of a building that previously had only an alarm system. Two of the locks and a keypad were without power.

Eventually after a few red herrings I diagnosed a blown fuse. The problem was caused by the use of a 1A fuse to protect about 1.3A worth of equipment. Along the way I found a litany of other faults and poor practices. I will detail a few.

One of the alarm keypads was connected to fire/lock power. So the blown fuse killed it. I just had to change the link setting on the PP4F to solve the problem. The keypad would have also turned off in the event of a fire trip.

Fire tripped lock power for at least two of the doors was supplied on a single pair in a four core security cable. Four core cable has a low current rating and there was a decent voltage drop present. I had to be mindful that I installed an appropriate fuse to limit current on the cable. To make matters worse RS485 communications were supplied on the same unshielded cable.

The door and reader power was added to a single power supply that is now over loaded. This is a common problem I see during add on installs. Proper thought must be given to power supply and battery capacity. A new unloaded separate power supply was installed but used only to power a single controller and door?? There was not battery or monitoring on the new power supply!

Other problems included multiple faulty inputs that had been shunted in the software to prevent alarm runaways filling up the alarm viewer, substandard cabling that was just laid across the ceiling tiles, at least one door controller not mounted and just hanging by cables, detectors not to client specification, a general rats nest of cables in panels, electrical tape over soldered (or not soldered) joins and items mounted out of level.

It is exactly this type of poor quality install that gives the industry a bad rep and kills confidence of clients/users in their systems.  As far as I can tell this particular install is still under warranty so hopefully the client can get the techs back to fix it all.

Break Perspex?

Thursday, June 7th, 2012


Yes that is a solid Perspex box glued over the break glass unit to prevent it ever being used!

I found this recently in the foyer of a commercial building on the only exit.