Author Topic: Interlinked fire alarms  (Read 1540 times)

Feanor

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Re: Interlinked fire alarms
« Reply #25 on: 06 October, 2021, 02:27:45 pm »
The choice of wired or wireless depends on specific circumstances.

In general, I prefer wired for reasons already listed.
If you already have a smaller wired system, it makes sense to try to extend what's already in place.

But it comes down to the practicalities of running the wiring into place.

If the void spaces are accessible, or the walls / ceiling are already opened for other works, then I'd always go with wired.
Even then, it may require a bit of access hatch cutting in plasterboard, but that's easily patched.
Other wall construction may be less easy to run wiring in.

If I was starting from scratch in an old building with poor access to run wiring, then I'd be tempted to go with wireless.

Some photos of my recent installation ( 4 x Smoke, 1 x Heat, 2 x CO ):


Alarums - running cables by Ron Lowe, on Flickr


Alarums - installing bases by Ron Lowe, on Flickr


Alarums - some making good required by Ron Lowe, on Flickr

You've seen this one before:


Wago by Ron Lowe, on Flickr

I still have scars on my heid where I whacked it off rafters and the like in the confined spaces, leading to blood everywhere.

In response to the BS stuff, yes, the detectors themselves must meet the relevant BS (eg BS EN14604:2005) as described in the Tolerable Standards doc.
https://www.gov.scot/publications/fire-and-smoke-alarms-tolerable-standard-guidance/
The manufacturer's documentation will declare this.
The FireAngel units I used (SW1-PF, HW1-PF, CW1-PF) all meet the relevant BS.

In terms of the actual wiring, there's no Special Rules for the detector wiring.
It comes under the same rules as all the other wiring.

EDITED, to back-pedal slightly:

*Some* electrical work needs to be done under a Building Warrant.
This *does* require either someone who can self-certify, or a local authority building inspector to sign off on it.

You need to determine whether the proposed work requires a Building Warrant or not.
This may depend on the nature of the property.

If you are in doubt, then check with your own Local Authority on what work requires a warrant and what does not.
Here's one LA's take on it:

https://www.east-ayrshire.gov.uk/Resources/PDF/B/BSelectricalguidance.pdf

Page 1 lists their requirements for a Mains Operated Fire Alarm system.
For my house, it does not.


fboab

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Re: Interlinked fire alarms
« Reply #27 on: 06 October, 2021, 04:53:48 pm »
Oh, thank you for that, Kim. My parents (and I) are in Scotland, so this applies, and my father has standard-issue age-related hearing loss. (Is having a wife who (currently) isn't deaf and should hopefully wake him up before legging it out of the house herself an adequate back-up? Or am I putting too much faith in my mother...?)
We didn't rely on me to wake barakta because sometimes I'm elsewhere...
Yes, I was assuming that. Makes sense. Not very likely with my parents but there's no guarantee that, say, Mum won't end up in hospital or something like that. Hmmm. I've no idea what they have at the moment. We're certainly non-compliant (and it feels like total overkill in a 1-bedroom flat where the kitchen is part of the living room.)

T42

  • Old fool in a hurry
Re: Interlinked fire alarms
« Reply #28 on: 06 October, 2021, 04:57:47 pm »
I've put battery-wireless-operated ones in the house in York. Stuck to ceilings. The 'pairing' setup was a pain for these (we installed 5).

What sort of distance between units can they handle?

Can't remember official figures. It is a 3 story house (semi with converted attic), alarms in kitchen, living room and hall on ground floor, then one in each hall on the next two floors. Pairing maintained over that distance.

Internal walls are brick, wood floors.

I'm guessing that the alarms daisy-chain - judging by the way the pairing works. So once set up, each alarm broadcasts a signal and code, which triggers the next nearest and so on.

Some of our internal walls are half-timber with wattle & daub, some half-timber and brick, some lath & plasterboard and dog knows what else.  The floors are oak beams with chipboard, joists, chipboard & parquet on top, with god knows what sandwich filling for insulation - traditionally they used sand but this place was restored by a master carpenter and I don't know what he used.

Wifi will reach about 8 metres, the temperature sensor on the north wall about the same, but nothing we have will reach right across the house.
But they never got to Carcassonne.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Interlinked fire alarms
« Reply #29 on: 06 October, 2021, 05:01:29 pm »
Smoke detectors tend to operate as a mesh network, so you should be okay as long as any one hop isn't too far.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Mrs Pingu

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Re: Interlinked fire alarms
« Reply #30 on: 06 October, 2021, 06:07:19 pm »
It would be really handy if you could replace mains ones that are not wired together with ones that will interlink wirelessly but that would be too much to hope for I suppose.

ETA: hmm, maybe there is such a thing. Be great if you could then add a battery powered one into the mix as well, the only place we are missing one is in the lounge.
Do not clench. It only makes it worse.

mcshroom

  • Mushroom
Re: Interlinked fire alarms
« Reply #31 on: 06 October, 2021, 09:38:17 pm »
It definitely looks like you can do that. These AICO ones seem to be happy to talk to battery or mains powered sensors wirelessly: -
https://www.safelincs.co.uk/ei140-series-230v-radio-interlinked-alarms-with-alkaline-backup-battery/

Another option for the living room might be to install a further mains powered alarm, spurred off the light fitting.
Climbs like a sprinter, sprints like a climber!

ian

  • not a woman, not an american, not a vampire
Re: Interlinked fire alarms
« Reply #32 on: 06 October, 2021, 09:44:56 pm »
I figure you people either live in actual palaces or sleep the sleep of the already dead.
Authoritarian Thought Leader, the Pol Pot of Powerpoint, the Stalin of Spreadsheets

Mrs Pingu

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Re: Interlinked fire alarms
« Reply #33 on: 06 October, 2021, 10:22:03 pm »
It definitely looks like you can do that. These AICO ones seem to be happy to talk to battery or mains powered sensors wirelessly: -
https://www.safelincs.co.uk/ei140-series-230v-radio-interlinked-alarms-with-alkaline-backup-battery/

Another option for the living room might be to install a further mains powered alarm, spurred off the light fitting.

Yes I reckon so, the Fireangel ones look like they will do it too. Wonder if I can persuade my brother to come poke the elastrickery.
Fitting another mains alarm seems like more trouble than it's worth.
Do not clench. It only makes it worse.

mcshroom

  • Mushroom
Re: Interlinked fire alarms
« Reply #34 on: 07 October, 2021, 12:40:48 pm »
I figure you people either live in actual palaces or sleep the sleep of the already dead.

I think it's more about meeting the new regs, although I did once sleep through the house across the street burning down, come to think of it. I missed the (I've been told 3) fire engines completely.
Climbs like a sprinter, sprints like a climber!

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Interlinked fire alarms
« Reply #35 on: 07 October, 2021, 02:15:42 pm »
I figure you people either live in actual palaces or sleep the sleep of the already dead.

AIUI it's pretty easy to sleep through a fire in another room for long enough for it to get to the point where it impedes your exit (especially if your exit involves herding family members who can't be relied on to get themselves out).  Or to sleep through the build-up of smoke until you're actually dead - particularly if you're drunk or ill or something.

Personally, I'd like to be woken up promptly enough to have a reasonable chance of fighting the fire before the whole house goes up.

Anyway, we know that Scottish people all live in castles.  It's why they have so many problems with leaky rooves and heritage construction methods (see Mrs Pingu threads passim).
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Wombat

  • Is it supposed to hurt this much?
Re: Interlinked fire alarms
« Reply #36 on: 07 October, 2021, 03:01:56 pm »
I'm not in Scotland so these rgulations don't apply here.  Our fire alarm is merely to stop us burning to DETH.

On that basis, it needs to be able to wake barakta, which means it needs to link to a vibrating pad (she won't wake with flashing lights alone).

There are two consumer wireless systems that support that:
1) Aico Ei RadioLink.
2) FireAngel Wi-Safe2.

The first is notorious for false alarms, so we went with the FireAngel, and to their credit we had a single false alarm with them.  But they turned out to have '10-year' batteries with a life of about 18 months to 3 years, and a serious design flaw:  When the battery voltage drops below spec[1], the unit chirps, followed by all the linked units chriping and a blinkenlight on the deaf alerting wossname flashes.  As such, the only way to know *which* unit has the low battery is to leap out of bed and position yourself at a strategic location, so that you can use stereo hearing[2] to binary search the house at each subsequent chirp.  If you're lucky, you'll locate the offending unit before the voltage creeps back within spec (possibly because you've been moving round the house stirring up the air) and the chirping stops ...for now.

Over a few years this put me seriously on edge, to the point where, after several new alarms and a couple of guerrilla battery replacements, I consigned the whole lot to the bin for the benefit of my mental health, and bodge-installed a professional wired addressable fire alarm system with competent diagnostic features and a single replaceable battery in the control panel.  It wasn't even that much more expensive, which shows what a ripoff high-end consumer-grade kit can be.

As ever, wired systems work.  Wireless things mean radio and batteries, and now you have two problems.  Running wires is sometimes a pain, but if you own your own house you don't get to moan about it, because at least your barrier is technical rather than the risk of loss of deposit or eviction for disturbing some social parasite's precious magnolia emulsion.

And if you're going to buy into a system, it's probably worth checking that you can get low-frequency sounders[3], flashing lights and vibrating pads for it should you or a family member need them in future.


[1] Which inevitably happens at 4am, because chemistry.
[2] Spot the flaw in this idea.
[3] The 1kHz beep beloved of penny-pinching engineers is deeply suboptimal for anyone with age-related hearing loss.  You can get low-frequency sounders which are easier for them to hear, and are slightly better at waking small children[4].
[4] This is your irregular reminder that children don't reliably wake up in response to fire alarms.


I haven't used Fire Angel linked ones, but every other one of theirs I've experienced, has died in a fraction of their supposed lifetime.  Hampshire fire brigade installed them free, for pretty well anyone who wanted one, and as we were the Local Authority section who dealt with poor ole' duffers who need a bit of help, we got countless calls when they died in a year or two.  I had one installed by them too, as I was in the qualifying age range, and that died in less than 2 years.  Absolute bloody rubbish, won't touch them again.
Wombat

ian

  • not a woman, not an american, not a vampire
Re: Interlinked fire alarms
« Reply #37 on: 07 October, 2021, 03:27:11 pm »
I figure you people either live in actual palaces or sleep the sleep of the already dead.

AIUI it's pretty easy to sleep through a fire in another room for long enough for it to get to the point where it impedes your exit (especially if your exit involves herding family members who can't be relied on to get themselves out).  Or to sleep through the build-up of smoke until you're actually dead - particularly if you're drunk or ill or something.

Personally, I'd like to be woken up promptly enough to have a reasonable chance of fighting the fire before the whole house goes up.

Anyway, we know that Scottish people all live in castles.  It's why they have so many problems with leaky rooves and heritage construction methods (see Mrs Pingu threads passim).

I did think of getting interlinked ones, but I'm sure I won't sleep through the alarm in the kitchen going off unless I'm already dead. If the one in the bedroom goes off, the shock might genuinely kill me.

I'm mostly kept awake by the Bad Cat's miaowing, squabbling foxes, and the newly installed owl.
Authoritarian Thought Leader, the Pol Pot of Powerpoint, the Stalin of Spreadsheets

Re: Interlinked fire alarms
« Reply #38 on: 07 October, 2021, 04:51:32 pm »
I figure you people either live in actual palaces or sleep the sleep of the already dead.

AIUI it's pretty easy to sleep through a fire in another room for long enough for it to get to the point where it impedes your exit (especially if your exit involves herding family members who can't be relied on to get themselves out).  Or to sleep through the build-up of smoke until you're actually dead - particularly if you're drunk or ill or something.

Personally, I'd like to be woken up promptly enough to have a reasonable chance of fighting the fire before the whole house goes up.

Anyway, we know that Scottish people all live in castles.  It's why they have so many problems with leaky rooves and heritage construction methods (see Mrs Pingu threads passim).
We do have a smoke alarm in the hall. We will have to get our set-up correct at some point because we would like to move in the next few years.

Mrs Pingu

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Re: Interlinked fire alarms
« Reply #39 on: 07 October, 2021, 04:57:50 pm »
Oh frabjous day! Ours are interlinked \o/
They're also made by Ei, which could conceivably mean they are 'Easichange' ones which would be great if they were. Hopefully they do a wireless one which will speak to the mains ones.
Ah, I just made a big assumption that these ones are not linked by wires there, didn't I.
Shame I couldn't find an obvious model number on the case.
Do not clench. It only makes it worse.

Feanor

  • It's mostly downhill from here.
Re: Interlinked fire alarms
« Reply #40 on: 07 October, 2021, 05:07:28 pm »
Shame I couldn't find an obvious model number on the case.

Usually, if you pop the detector out of the base, there will be a proper label on the inside, next to the battery compartment.

It's not always obvious how they detach from their base.
Most have 2 or 3 tabs which accept a flat-bladed screwdriver which you use to lever the tab open whilst pulling the detector downy-ways.

Also, once the detector is removed from the base, you will be able to see if they are wire-interlinked (they will be, I expect).
For wired-interlinked, the cabling to the base will be 3-core + Earth: Live, Neutral, and Interlink ( Might be labelled L, N, I or similar. )
If it's only 2-core + Earth ( L & N ) then they are not wire-interlinked.


Mrs Pingu

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Re: Interlinked fire alarms
« Reply #41 on: 07 October, 2021, 05:38:01 pm »
Yeah I did spot the instructions on how to detach the unit but didn't have a drewscriver about my person while I was up the ladder (the ladder just happened to be handy), a job for the coming week. I see on their website they sell additional RF modules so with a bit of luck something might be bodgeable.
Do not clench. It only makes it worse.

FifeingEejit

  • Not Small
Re: Interlinked fire alarms
« Reply #42 on: 07 October, 2021, 11:14:26 pm »
I figure you people either live in actual palaces or sleep the sleep of the already dead.

It's Scotland, you can still buy a 4 bed with 2 reception rooms and 6 lavvies for the price of a Small Hovel in South East England.
If you live in Methil you could buy 5.

Now I think of it my brother's work is mostly commercial, so some of the certification he did be for those regs, which is fine really.
Looks for e-mail again

System Grade: D1
System Category: LD2

I did note that he put in the exceptions "Domestic Dwelling to LD2"

But given the description is:
Category LD2: A system incorporating detectors in all circulation areas that form part of the escape routes from the premises, and in all specified rooms or areas that present a high fire risk to occupants, including any kitchen and the principal habitable room

And Grade D1 is:
"A system of one or more mains powered detectors, each with a tamper-proof standby supply consisting of a battery or batteries."


So that's basically what the tolerable standard required (I noted that the English equivalent is called "Decent Standard")

Mrs Pingu

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Re: Interlinked fire alarms
« Reply #43 on: 09 October, 2021, 03:04:54 pm »
So I've been a furtling with the drewscriver. They are this model  https://www.aico.co.uk/product/ei141rc-ionisation-smoke-alarm/
And I assume this pic means they are mains interconnected (centipede optional).
2021-10-09_02-59-06 by The Pingus, on Flickr
So now I guess I need to see if I can get a battery powered one that will talk to them with an RF module..
Do not clench. It only makes it worse.

Feanor

  • It's mostly downhill from here.
Re: Interlinked fire alarms
« Reply #44 on: 09 October, 2021, 03:17:18 pm »
Yep.

The Blue/Brown pair are the incoming mains supply.
The 3-core Grey, Black, Brn goes to the other alarm. The black wire is the Interconnect.

Mrs Pingu

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Re: Interlinked fire alarms
« Reply #45 on: 09 October, 2021, 03:19:13 pm »
This sounds promising
Quote
The Ei168RC allows for easy expansion of an existing hard wired interconnected system. A mixed wired and wireless system is often referred to as a hybrid system. To set up a hybrid system, simply fit one Ei168RC base to an alarm in the existing alarm system and any new alarms with Ei168RC bases. Once installation is complete House Code the alarms together into a system. If any alarm, hard-wired or wireless, is now triggered it will sound all the alarms in the system.

Sounds like what I want to do.
Do not clench. It only makes it worse.

Feanor

  • It's mostly downhill from here.
Re: Interlinked fire alarms
« Reply #46 on: 09 October, 2021, 03:42:21 pm »
Yep, sounds like it.
I had a quick rummage on the website for installation details for the wireless bases, but I lost patience.

It was not clear to me if a wireless base would also support the wired interlinking, but that sentence seems quite clear that it does.

ETA: That's the exact model which I've just removed two of here! Mine had labels on the outside saying 'Replace by Oct 2019', but also I didn't want to mix-and-match between different manufacturers, so I just took the 2 old ones out and re-used the in-situ wiring. <Wonders what mischief I can get up to with the Americium.>

Mrs Pingu

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Re: Interlinked fire alarms
« Reply #47 on: 10 October, 2021, 04:13:12 pm »
Ah tits. I ordered all the relevant items off BigRiverCo, noticed the battery alarm description said it was all in German packaging for German speakers so added a UK seller one to the basket. Remembered on checkout I needed to delete 1 of the 2 alarms that was in the basket. Deleted the wrong one didn't I? Hopefully it all works the same...
Do not clench. It only makes it worse.

Pingu

  • Put away those fiery biscuits!
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Re: Interlinked fire alarms
« Reply #48 on: 11 October, 2021, 06:12:43 pm »
That was a bit of type 2 fun.