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OBJECTIVE 1. To explain the automatic fire alarm system for their design principle, transmission lines and their advantages and disadvantages. REFERENCE 2. a. b. Manual of Fireman ship Book 9. Fire College Notes.

CONTENTS 3. Introduction. Design Principle. Basically the fire alarm consists of the following: a. b. c. d. The sensor heads. The transmission line. The control/indicating panel. The alarm (Visual/audible) warning devices.

4. The detectors are installed at ceiling of protected building or areas and connected via protected cable conduits to zone or master control panels. Single transmitter by activated sensor heads are detected by the control circuitry and appropriate alarm signals are transmitted to the alarm warning devices such as alarm bell, flashing lights, siren or buzzer. 5. Transmission Lines. There are four basic types: a. b. c. d. Open circuit. Closed circuit. Combination circuit. Loop circuit.

6. Open Circuit The Theory. In an open circuit system detectors call points are wired in parallel and can be regarded as switches in the off position i.e. there is no current flow in the circuit when the contacts and activated the alarm system. 7. As there is no current flow in the circuit when on stand-by it is not monitoring; as a result however it does not consume as much electricity as a closed circuit and is therefore relatively cheaper to run. A short circuit in the etector wiring will rise am alarm, as it effectively closes the circuit. A broken circuit on the other hand will not and if unidentified could render some detector heads inoperative. 8. It is important to remember that in all except the simplest systems the detector and alarm circuits are separate meeting only in the alarm control unit (for simplicity this has been omitted from figs 1.1 and 1.2).


FIG. 1.1 Diagram of an Open Circuit System 9. Closed Circuit The Theory. In a close circuits (or call points) can be regarded as a series of switches whose contacts are normally closed when the system is not standby thus allowing current to flow in the detector circuit. The current energizes the relay which holds contact (1) (Fig. 1.2) against contact (3) and keeps the alarm circuit inoperative. Once a detector (or call point) operates the detector circuit is broken interrupting current to the relay.

FIG: 1.2 Diagram of a Closed Circuit System 10. The relay is therefore de-energized releasing contact (1) which spring back to contact (2), completing the alarm circuit a sounding the bells. 11. The main advantage of this type of circuit is that the continuous current flow on standby makes it self monitoring. Any break in the circuit will cause the alarm to ring; which, although it may be false, does at least draw attention to the fault. The fact that the circuit is drawing current from the supply on standby however can be regarded as a disadvantage the size and cost of the battery and charger will be increased. In a bas ic close circuit system a short circuit could remain unnoticed as it simply completes a separate path for current flow. In doing this it could by-pass some detectors and call points rendering them inoperative.



Combination of Open and Closed Circuit

FIG 1.3: Combination of Open and Closed Circuit a. The conductors are close circuit connected; a resistor (R1) limits the current through two sensing units to a valve sufficient to hold the operated low current (fault) sensing unit, but insufficient to operate the high current (alarm) sensing unit. b. Open circuit call points are connected a across the conductors. c. Operation of a call points allows the current to by pass the resistor, the resultant increase in current the high current (alarm) sensing unit which initiated an alarm signals. d. A broken circuit between conductors will result in an increase of current and operates the high current (fault) sensing unit which initials a fault signal. e. A short circuit between conductors will result in an increase of current and operates the high current (alarm) sensing unit resulting in a false alarm. f. Type B:

FIG1.4: Type B Series Circuit (1) The conductors are close circuit connected, the open circuit call points being wired in series, their contacts being bridged by resistors. The valve of the call point resistor and of the limiting resistors is carefully chosen to ensure that the current flows in the circuit during vary conditions of fault and alarms. (2) Under normal condition, only sufficient to hold the low current (fault) sensing unit. 266

(3) Operation of a call point by-passes its call resistor resulting in an increase of current sufficient to operate the medium current (alarm) sensing unit will initiate an alarm signals. (4) A broken connection/conductors will interrupt the current releasing the low current sensing unit which initiates a fault signal. (5) A short circuit between conductors by-passed the limiting resistor causing a high current sufficient to operate both medium and high current fault sensing units. The formals attempt to initial an alarm signal is overridden by the latter and a fault signal is initiated. 13. Loop Circuit. Type must often found which allows the detectors to be connected separately but still allows them to function if a fault occurs the ring system where the cable is fed back to the control panel from the last detector provides the highest degree of safety. 14. S/No a. The advantages and disadvantages are as follows: Type Open Circuit Advantages 1. No current is consumed on standby there fore a battery of moderate size and cost may be used 2. A broken connection will not result in a false alarm Disadvantages 1. No monitoring of lines

2. A short circuit will cause an alarm 3. The call points are not monitored.


Close Circuit

1. The call points are monitored. 2. The contacts and connection are monitored.

1. Current is consumed on standby. 2. No indication of a short circuit between conductors which will make some part of the system in operative. 3. A broken connection or conductor will cause false alarm.


Combination Circuit Type A.

1. The conductors are monitored. 2. An open circuit of a connection or a conductor will produce a fault signal not as false alarm.

1. Current is consumed on standby. 2. A short circuit between conductor will cause a false alarm. 3. The call points are not monitored. 1. Current is consumed on standby. 2. Selection of limiting resistors is critical. A number of call point operates together may result in a fault in fault signal instead of an alarm.


Combination Circuit Type B.

1. The conductors are monitored. 2. Open circuit will produce a fault signal.


S/No e.

Type Loop Circuit

Advantages 1. Uninterrupted power source. 2. Provides highest degree of safety.

Disadvantages 1. Current is consumed on standby. 2. Open circuit of conductors need sophisticated equipment to detect. 3. Short circuit will produces a false alarm.

15. General Practices. It is essential that detector and alarm circuit are above all reliable. The diagram in Fig. 1.1 and 1.2 are basic illustration of open and closed circuits. In practice the circuitry, although based on open and closed principles, is more sophisticated than this. Ring circuit and other refinements can be used to achieve, as far as possible, a fail-safe situation and to overcome the disadvantage mentioned earlier. Resistors and/or additional relays are disadvantage to reduce false alarms by providing for separate signaling of fault conditions (e.g. a broken circuit or a short circuit). 16. Close circuits have the advantage mentioned that they are continuously under test i.e. current flows in the circuit on standby. If desired, however, the continuity of an open circuit can be tested by incorporating an end-of-line resistor in the circuit (Fig.3).

FIG 1.3: An Open Circuit System with End-Of-Line Resistor 17. This allows a continuous but reduced current to flow through the detector circuit. The resistor incorporated in the circuit reduces the current sufficiently to prevent it activating the alarms. 18. The more components there are introduced into a circuit of course; the more there is to fail. With this in mind the British Standa rd Code of Practice 1019 states In the interests of reliability it is desirable that the number of circuit elements in the system should be kept to a minimum Every additional component will inevitably add some risk. Nevertheless with care taken to minimize a fully discriminating system can be well justified. Indeed the Fire Officers Committee rules require some element of discrimination (e.g. fault signal or end -ofline testing) in approved systems. 268

19. Some detectors and manual call points can be used in either open or close circuit system. 20. Cable and Wiring. It is essential for reliability that the wiring in automatic fire alarm systems should be of a high standard and be suitably protected against the possibility of accidental damage. The degree of protection needed in an open circuit will generally be greater then that needed in a closed circuit in which any break in the wiring will automatically sound an a alarm. 21. In selecting cable sizes due regard should be paid to limitation imposed by voltage drop consideration. 22. Types and Method of Wiring Cable: a. Mineral Insulated Metal Sheathed Cables. When used in damp end or corrosive the cable should be pre-sheathed overall. Suitable additional protection for cable should be provided at any point where it is likely to be subjected to mechanical damage. b. Armored Cables. Used for protection against mechanical damage; the conductor should be pre-insulated and sheathed. c. Cable in Screw Metal Conduit or Metal Ducts or Trucking Exclusive To The Fire Alarm. (1) General purpose elastomer-insulated textile braided and compound cable or pre insulated non-sheathed cable. (2) System voltage not exceeding 50V Polythene insulated, pvc sheath co-axial cable. (3) d. e. (1) System voltage exceeding 50V pvc insulated cables. M.M.M.S cable shall be used. Cable Laid in a Non-Exclusive Channel or Trucking Surface Laid Insulated Sheathed Cables. (1) Where is less than 2.5 M above the floor, it should be protected from rodents or mechanical damage where cable is more than 2.5 M above the floor, pvc isolated sheathed cable. f. Overhead Lines. Should be avoided if possible. g. Underground Cables. Should run on conduit or ducts and only lay direct or ground if suitably protected. PVC be extended through insulated and sheathed, cable shall be used but M.I.M.S. may be extended through underground conduit or duct if desired, provided they are pvc-sheathed. h. Warning devices. detectors. The alarm bells shall be separately wired from the