Mike

Mike

LifeSafety Power Technical Support and Applications
mbone@lifesafetypower.com
(
888)577-2898 x203

Tuesday, 07 March 2017 14:14

New NetLink Features Added

The first NetLink firmware release of 2017 is in, and it's a big one.  Version 8.04 has been shipping for about two weeks now and is currently available on the LifeSafety Power website for updating existing NL2 or NL4 boards.  This release contains the usual refinements along with some valuable new features and layout improvements.

multi site mgr

Who can upgrade?

Any NL2 or NL4 currently at version 7.15 or higher can upgrade directly to 8.04.  If your NL2 or NL4 has a version of firmware prior to 7.15 currently installed, you must first install 7.15 before upgrading to 8.04.  The Firmware Downloads page of our website has both 7.15 and 8.04 available for download.  Follow the included instructions for the update procedure.

Note that this update is NOT for the discontinued NL1 board - The final firmware release for the NL1 is 5.21, which is also available for download.

Layout Improvements

The layout of the FPO status pages has been changed for more logical grouping of data and settings with power supply measurements and statistics now at the top of the page, battery information and battery testing in the middle section, and settings at the bottom.  Several other smaller layout adjustments have also been made throughout the GUI.

New Features

Several new features have been added to the Netlink with this release - these new features are immediately available to any NL2 or NL4 after upgrade, with no change in hardware required.

Client ID

ClientID

A Client ID field has been added in addition to the existing Site ID field for better identifying the system.  The Client ID can be set on the configure page adjacent to the Site ID setting and appears on all screens of the GUI.

Export Fault Data Only

FaultOnly

On the home page in the Network Module Dashboard, there is now a checkbox labeled "Fault Data Only".  By checking this box, when history data is viewed or exported from the NetLink, ONLY the fault data will be shown and all data points showing normal operation will be hidden.  This makes it easier to analyze problems by eliminating less relevant data points.

Inadequate Battery Standby Alert

RequiredStandby

Each FPO page in the NetLink GUI now has a field where you can enter the desired battery standby time.  The NetLink will then compare the battery test results with this value and send an alert if the measured standby time does not meet this minimum requirement.

Password Lockout Delay

PWLockout

Previously, if an incorrect password was entered three consecutive times, the NetLink would lock out the user for 24 hours.  This Password Lockout delay is now able to be changed to several values between 5 minutes and 24 hours.

Import and Export Configuration Files

ImportExport

With Version 8.04, the NetLink now has the ability to export and import configuration files to allow backup of a system configuration, creation of a "standard configuration" for integrators to apply to all systems, or to speed configuration of multiple systems.  The main export function will save all pertinent NetLink, FPO, and M8 settings to the configuration file.

M8 Programming Page

M8Programming

Several improvements have been made to the M8 programming page:

Output Description Added

The Output Descriptions have been added to the programming page, allowing the user to see the programmed name for each output while configuring.

Import/Export Settings

The M8 programming info may be imported and exported separately from the NetLink configuration.  A checkbox to include the Output Descriptions in the export is included.

Automatic Limit Setting

The upper and lower limits for voltage and current for each M8 output is now able to be set automatically with the push of a button.  When the button is pressed, the M8 will activate each output, measure the nominal voltage and current values, then set the upper and lower limits based on the percentages you enter.

Reset Button Functionality

The functionality of the physical hardware reset button on the NetLink has also been changed.  Previously, holding the button for 5 seconds would reset the User Name, Password, and IP settings.  Now with 8.04, holding the reset button for 10 seconds will reset only the User Name and Password, leaving the IP information intact.  To also reset the IP information, hold the reset button for 20 seconds.

We hope you find these upgrades to the NetLink devices useful and welcome your feedback.  If you have any questions on new or existing features, or need any other assistance, our This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it department is here to help.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017 12:09

The Benefits of a Regulated Power Supply

Did you know something as simple as output voltage can have a dramatic effect on the life of your locks?  All LifeSafety Power FPO power supplies are UL Listed as having a regulated output, extending the life of locks and other connected equipment by reducing heat.  In order to explain how this is possible, we first need to ask...

What Does "Regulated" Mean?

The word "regulated" can have at least two different meanings when talking about power supplies.  These two meanings are very close, with one distinct difference. 

In engineering terms, a regulated power supply is one which has circuitry to hold the output voltage within a small range that is centered around the actual SET output voltage across all line and load conditions.  This window is usually small and given in a +/- percentage (for example:  27.2V +/-5%).  This example power supply can range between 25.8V and 28.6V and still be considered a properly regulated supply.

In the lifesafety industry, UL defines a regulated output as +10%/-15% of the NOMINAL voltage.  In this case, the power supply set for 27.2V is considered to be a 24V power supply.  Given the +10%/-15% requirement on this 24V nominal voltage, this translates to an acceptable voltage range of 20.4V-26.4V.  In this case, the 27.2V power supply is NOT considered to be regulated by UL, even if that voltage doesn't change at all under any line or load conditions.

As you can see, the subtle difference between set voltage and nominal voltage makes a significant difference in what is considered regulated.  From a strictly electronic engineering standpoint, essentially every DC power supply in the industry today is regulated - however from UL's perspective, very few are considered regulated.  For the remainder of this discussion, "regulated" refers to the UL definition.

How Does a Regulated Supply Help My Locks?

So how does this lower voltage range extend the life of a magnetic lock such as a maglock or door strike?  Simply by reducing heat.  Lowering the voltage used to power the lock greatly reduces the heat generated within the lock and is recommended by most lock manufacturers.  Excessive heat within the lock can cause the windings to break down prematurely and can also cause mechanical failures due to expansion or swelling of internal components.  Minimizing heat is especially critical in warmer climates, where it is not uncommon for a strike to "jam" up due to heating effects of the higher voltage coupled with strong afternoon sunlight or higher ambient temperatures.

Can't I Just Adjust the Voltage Down?

Many "Brand X" power supplies do have an adjustable output voltage allowing a wide adjustment range.  While it's true that the output can probably be adjusted to a low enough voltage to protect your locks on these supplies, the problem then comes in properly charging batteries.

A non-regulated power supply has a single regulator and uses the output voltage to also charge the batteries, usually through a current limiting device like a PTC (which has its own set of problems).  This is done by many manufacturers to save the cost of an independent battery charging circuit.  The problem is that whatever the output voltage is set for is also what is applied to the batteries - so if you set your output for 25VDC, your battery charging voltage will also be only 25V, which is far too low to charge a 24V lead-acid/gel cell battery set.  Increase the output voltage to the recommended 27.2V to charge the batteries and you are now applying excessive voltage to the locks.

So What is the Solution?

LifeSafety Power has gone the extra mile to provide an independent charging circuit on all of our DC power supplies.  This allows the main output voltage to be set for 25V to power your locks and other equipment while a separate regulator charges the battery at the proper 27.2V nominal voltage.  This also has other benefits, such as the battery charging current not reducing output current capability, a stable output voltage during battery recharge, larger battery capacity, and optimized battery charging (so not only do your batteries charge properly, they also charge faster).

The output voltage setting of 25V was chosen as a balance between being low enough to minimize excessive heat while also being high enough to provide a small overhead for overcoming a reasonable voltage drop in the wiring to the powered device.  At the 12V setting, the output voltage is set for 12.5V.

Hopefully you now have a clearer understanding of what "regulated" means, how it can help you, and yet another benefit of LifeSafety Power.  If you have any questions on this topic or need any other assistance, our This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it department is here to help.

Tuesday, 30 August 2016 14:12

Using the NetLink Control Outputs

By now you are probably well aware of the NetLink's monitoring abilities and the added monitoring and control provided when an M8 board is used in conjunction with the NL4.  But did you know that both the NL2 and NL4 have two control outputs which can be used to control external relays or other devices?

Screenshot 1 Callouts

The control outputs can be used when basic control is needed without the full ISCAN functionality.  Our latest application note AN25 goes in-depth on using these control outputs to control individual devices or groups of devices, as well as other uses.   It can be found here:

http://www.lifesafetypower.com/docs/an25_netlink_control.pdf

If you have any questions on using the NetLink's control outputs or need any other assistance, our This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it department is here to help.

Thursday, 10 December 2015 14:41

Using a 208VAC Line Voltage

Oftentimes, the only primary AC voltage source available is 208V.  This is often the case in data centers, particularly rack-mounted systems.  Here in technical support, we often get calls from integrators wanting to know if our products support a 208V input.  If you are using one of our FPA or FPX products, they are limited to a 120VAC input only.  For our DC and PoE products, however, the short answer is "yes" - but there are a couple of caveats to be aware of.

The first caveat is in the product setup:  If using a 208V line, the product must be set for a 230V input.  This means every FPO power supply board must have its jumper (JP1) cut.  If the product is a rack mount RD, RC, RS, or RGM, this would apply to the internal FPO power supply board(s).  The NPR product line is auto voltage sensing and requires no additional configuration.  Consult the documentation for the product being used for specific instruction on how to configure the product for a 230VAC input.

The second caveat is in low-line operation.  Our products are generally designed and tested to operate over a +10% / -15% operating range.  That means when the product is set for a 230VAC input, operation is guaranteed between 196 and 253VAC.  When using a 208V line, that means the product is only 12V away from the low AC fault point.  If the AC line voltage sags, you are much closer to the product giving a fault and/or transferring to battery power.  This typically is not a problem, but it is something to be aware of.

If you have any questions on 208V operation or need any other assistance, our This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it department is here to help.

Thursday, 19 November 2015 15:36

Overcoming Voltage Drop using a B100

Many times an existing wire run is undersized for the current draw of the load device.  This could either be due to an unexpected change in the device being powered, a miscalculation at the planning stage of the job, or a retrofit situation where the existing wire size is not able to be changed.  This undersized wire results in a large voltage drop, leading to improper or erratic operation of the load device.  Even if the voltage at the device is at the low end of the acceptable range, the voltage will quickly drop to unacceptable levels when on battery power.

What is Voltage Drop?

Wire has a specific resistance per foot of length.  The smaller the wire gauge, the higher the resistance (given equivalent wire types).  As the length of the wire increases, the total resistance between the power source and the load device increases.  When current is now drawn through this wire resistance, some of the voltage is "burned off" in the wiring as voltage drop, as defined by Ohm's Law (V=IxR).

Per Ohm's Law, two main factors affect the amount of voltage dropped within the wire run:  the wire resistance, and the current drawn through the wire.  This is why a lower-current device can get away with a smaller wire gauge. 

This is also one of the main reasons the lifesafety industry has, and continues to, switch from 12V to 24V.  A given device will use a certain number of Watts.  If that device is designed to use a 24V input rather than 12V, the current required will be halved (per Ohm's Law I=P/E), which in turn will halve the voltage drop.

How can the B100 help?                         

If powering a 12V device, a B100 can be used to give an adjustable output voltage greater than the 12.5V nominal setting of an FPO power supply.  The FPO will need to be set for a 24V output, and the B100 placed into the adjustable range by moving JP3 to position 2.  The output can then be set by adjusting VR2 to a level giving an acceptable voltage at the load device.  Since this voltage is run off of a 24V supply with a 24V battery set, this voltage will remain constant until the battery set drains to well below 20V.

Please note that if the device being powered has varying current levels during normal operation, the voltage at the device will change with this current, possibly with damaging results.  As an example:

A B100 is set to a level of 16.5V to overcome the voltage drop through 500 feet of 18AWG wire powering a 12V edge device and a 12V maglock at a door.  The draw of the lock is 400mA and the edge device is 100mA, giving a total draw of .5A when the lock is powered.  When the lock is powered, the voltage drop will be 3.24V, leaving 13.26V at the door.  However, when the lock is released, and the current draw drops to 100mA, the voltage drop will decrease to 0.65V, giving 15.85V at the door, which is likely too high for the 12V edge device. 

In the above example you could decrease the B100 voltage to compensate, but you must take the whole operating current range into account.  If the operating current range is too large, there may not be an acceptable voltage to cover all load conditions.

For more information on the B100, see the B100 manual and Application Note AN-07.  Also, be sure to download our FlexCalculator Suite for quick voltage drop calculations.  And remember, our This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it department is always here to help.

In previous parts of this series, we have covered the basics, inputs, outputs, and jumper configuration of the C8 board.  If you missed any of these parts, you can find them here:

Part 1 - Power and LEDs
Part 2 - Inputs
Part 3 - Outputs
Part 4 - Jumpers

In this, the final part of the series, we will explain the usage of our Excel Jumper Configuration Tool.

About the Tool

The C4/C8 Jumper Configuration Tool is available free for download from the LifeSafety Power website's Calculators page, or by clicking here.

The tool uses information entered by the user to determine the correct jumper settings.  Even if you have the jumper settings memorized, the tool is very helpful in quickly configuring multiple zones.  Jumper settings can be predetermined in the office, printed, and included in the system design documentation, or done on-the-fly at the job site.

Using the Tool

To begin, open the file in Excel.  There are three sections on the screen - Voltage Sources, Zone Information, and Results.

Main Screen

Step 1 - Voltage Sources
The Voltage Sources section is where you enter the B1 and B2 voltages used as the power source for the C8.  In a single voltage system, only the B1 field will have information entered.  The B2 field should be left blank.

A dual voltage system should have both the B1 and B2 fields filled in as appropriate.  Remember that a dual FPO system (as built by LifeSafety Power) would have the top FPO's voltage in the B1 space and the bottom FPO's voltage in the B2 space.  An FPO/B100 system would have the FPO's voltage as B1 and the B100's voltage as B2.

Entering this information correctly is important for the yellow jumper's setting.  Reversing this data will cause the incorrect output voltage to be placed on the outputs, potentially damaging the powered equipment.  Remember to always double check your output voltages before connecting any load devices.

The B1/B2 information will remain consistent across all boards and zones in a typical FPO power supply system.

Step 1

In this example, the B1 supply is set for 24V and the B2 supply is set for 12V.

Step 2 - Zone Information
The Zone Information section is where you enter the information for the zone being configured.  This information may vary zone to zone.

  • Input Type - This drop-down selection allows you to choose the type of input connected to the input terminals for the zone.  Selections include NO or NC contact, remove or apply voltage, open collector, or no input.  The NO or NC contact selections are the most typical input types and would be used for a relay contact, pushbutton, etc.  The remove or apply voltage settings would activate the zone when a voltage is either removed from or applied to the B terminal of the input.  Open collector would be the setting to use for a transistor output, and "no input" would be the selection to use if you wanted a constant voltage output without input control.
  • Output Type - This drop-down selection allows you to choose the output type for the zone.  Selections include mag lock, fail safe or fail secure strike, NO or NC relay contact output, or constant output.  Choose the closest match for the output type needed (i.e. for an electrified handleset choose fail secure strike, since the operation is very similar).
  • Output Voltage - This drop-down will be populated with the values entered in the B1 and B2 fields in the Voltage Sources section above.  Select which voltage is desired for the zone.
  • Zone FAI? - This drop down has two selections - yes or no - to select whether the zone should react when an FAI is received on the FPO power supply.

Step 2

In this example, the input is set for a NO Dry Contact and the output is set for a 24V maglock with FAI.

Step 3 - Results
The results section displays the correct jumper settings for the configuration entered in steps 1 and 2.  Jumpers A-F are shown with a visual representation of positions 1 and 2 for each jumper.  Remember to look closely at the C8 PC Board for positions 1 and 2 for each jumper carefully, as these positions change from jumper to jumper.

Step 3

Conclusion

I hope this series has been useful to you and has helped you to become an expert in using the C8 family of lock control boards.  If you need any assistance, our This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it department is here to help.

Wednesday, 07 October 2015 14:11

Understanding the C8 Board - Part 4 - Jumpers

In previous parts of this series, we have covered the very basics and the inputs and outputs of the C8 board.  If you missed these parts, you can find them here:

Part 1 - Power and LEDs
Part 2 - Inputs
Part 3 - Outputs

This week we will cover in detail the jumper configuration of the C8 board.

General Jumper Setting Information

First, it is important to verify the voltage of the power supplies and to set the C8 jumpers before connecting any load.  This is to ensure the proper voltage is sent to the load devices and prevent damage to the devices.  Verify output voltage on each zone before connecting any load.

If you have read the previous parts of this series, you should have a fairly solid understanding of how the C8 should operate.  This knowledge is helpful in setting the jumpers when a manual is not available.  As mentioned in previous posts, it is not necessary to have the function of each jumper's positions memorized - only the overall function of the jumper.  For example, once you know the Red jumper is for FAI, you know that is the jumper to move if FAI is not operating the way you expect it to for a particular zone.  There is no need to memorize that Position 1 is on, and position 2 is off, or that position 2 of the Blue jumper is for a NO input.  As you go through the following sections, take note of the jumper color in relation to its function.

Also remember the correct LED operation - LED lit steady for a locked door, and flashing for an unlocked door.  The goal is to get this correct with relation to the input, then set the output to operate correctly.

Finally, please note jumper positions as they are printed on the PC boards carefully for EACH jumper.  For some jumpers, position 1 is up, while for others, position 1 is down.  Every jumper has a position marker next to it.

Black Jumpers

The black jumpers select whether the output will be a relay contact output or a wet (voltage) output.  Both jumpers should always be set in the same position, without exception.  Use caution when setting these jumpers, as position 1 is different on each jumper.  From the factory, these jumpers come set in position 2, which provides a voltage output.  If a relay output is desired, move these jumpers to position 1.

Yellow Jumper

The yellow jumper selects the voltage to be applied to the zone's output.  Position 1 sets the output to the B1 voltage, and position 2 sets it for the B2 power supply.  In a single voltage system, this jumper will remain in position 1, as there is no B2 voltage present.

In a dual FPO system, as built by LSP, the top FPO will be the B1 voltage.  The bottom FPO will be the B2 voltage.  So if the top power supply is set for 24V and the bottom FPO is set for 12V, then position 1 on the yellow jumper will set the output for 24V, position 2 for 12V.  In an FPO/B100 system, the 24V is on B1, and the B100's output is on B2.

Again, always verify each zone's output voltage before connecting any load to the C8.

Blue Jumper

While all of the jumper settings are equally important, getting the blue jumper set properly is critical to the operation of the C8.  In Part 2, we discussed how the B terminal of the input is a voltage input, while the A terminal is a voltage source.  The blue jumper sets the zone to either activate on the application of voltage, or the removal of voltage on the B terminal.

Position 1 will activate the zone on a removal of voltage from the B terminal.  This is the setting you would want for a NC contact activation.  The NC contact will normally connect the voltage from the A terminal to the B terminal.  When the NC contact opens, the voltage at the B terminal goes to zero, and activates the zone.  This is also the setting to be used for an open collector input - normally, a voltage is present on the B terminal, and the open collector will shunt this voltage to zero to activate the input.

Position 2, is the opposite - an application of voltage will activate the zone.  This is the setting to use for a normally open contact activation.  When the contact closes, it connects the voltage from the A terminal to the input of the B terminal to activate the zone.

To verify the proper setting of the blue jumper, look at the LED status for the zone in relation to the input.  If the LED is flashing when the input is set to unlock the door, the blue jumper is set correctly.  If the output is operating opposite from what is expected, but the LED is operating correctly, then the white jumper needs to be adjusted.

White Jumper

The white jumper sets the output by selecting the NO or NC contact of the internal relay contact.  Position 1 uses the NC contact and position 2 uses the NO contact.  When set for a relay output, this is straightforward.  When set for a voltage output, position 1 should be used for a doorstrike, electrified handleset,  or other fail-secure device.  Position 2 would be used for a maglock or other fail-safe device.

If the output is operating backwards from what is expected but the LED is indicating correctly with relation to the input, the white jumper should be changed.

Red Jumper

The red jumper sets the FAI activation of the zone.  Position 1 enables FAI activation, while position 2 deactivates FAI for the zone.  The setting of the blue jumper is crucial to proper FAI operation.  Remember that the LED for the zone should flash when the door is unlocked.  If the blue jumper is set incorrectly, the LED will be flashing when the door is locked.  This presents a problem when an FAI activation is received because the C8 thinks the door is already unlocked, so the output does not change.  If the LED is operating backwards from what is intended, move the Blue and White jumpers to the opposite position that they are currently in and FAI should begin working properly.

Settings Chart

The manual for the C8 board has a very helpful chart for jumper settings.  The Common Jumper Settings chart is organized by output type.  Find the desired output type, then look down to find the desired input type.  Then select With or without FAI and look across the row for the jumper settings for that configuration.  This chart covers 99 percent of common applications.

Next Week

Next week we will cover the usage of our Excel-based C8 Jumper Configuration Tool for help with jumper settings.  Until then, if you need any assistance, our This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it is here to help.

Friday, 18 September 2015 11:33

Understanding the C8 Board - Part 3 - Outputs

In the previous two parts of this series, we covered the very basics and the inputs of the C8 board.  If you missed these parts, you can find them here:

Part 1 - Power and LEDs
Part 2 - Inputs

This week we will go in-depth on the outputs of the C8, including the wiring, operation, and jumper configuration.

The Anatomy of the C8 Output

Like the inputs, each output of the C8 has two terminals, labeled A and B.  Each output may be individually configured for a voltage output or a relay output and contains a reverse diode to dissipate and reverse EMF from a locking device or other inductive load.  See our White Paper and Application note on reverse EMF for more information.

When configured as a voltage output, the B terminal is the positive and the A terminal is the DC Common (ground).

C4

C8 Voltage Output

When configured as a relay output, due to the reverse diode, the current must be fed through the contact in the proper direction.  Regardless of what the relay output is activating, there will be a current present.  If the relay output of the C8 is connected backwards, the reverse diode will always be conducting and will not change with the relay.

C1

C8 Relay Output

Each output has four configuration jumpers, detailed below.

Black Jumpers (C and E)

The black jumpers for each zone, labeled C and E, configure the output for either a voltage output or a relay output.  BOTH jumpers must always be set in the same position (by the jumpers' markings) for proper operation.  Check the position markings carefully on the PC board, as position 1 and 2 for each of the black jumpers is different.

By setting the black jumpers in position 1, the output will be configured for a relay output.  By setting these jumpers to position 2, the output will be configured as a voltage output.

White Jumper (F)

The white jumper selects between the NO and NC of the output relay.  When set for a relay output, this selects a NO or NC output.  When set for a voltage output, this selects whether the output is normally powered or not powered (maglock or doorstrike). 

By setting the white jumper in position 1, the output will be NO or will normally have no voltage on the output until the input is activated (flashing green LED).  This is the typical setting for a fail-secure door strike or electrified handleset.

By setting the white jumper in position 2, the output will be NC or will normally have voltage present on the output until the input is activated.  This is the typical setting for a fail-safe maglock.

Again, there is no need to memorize all of the settings - once the blue jumper for the input is set properly (steady when locked, flashing when unlocked - see Part 2), the white jumper can be changed until the output operates correctly.

Yellow Jumper (D)

The yellow jumper selects between the buss 1 and buss 2 voltage supplied to the C8 for each output (See Part 1).  If only a single voltage source is connected to the C8, then this jumper should remain in position 1.  If two power sources are connected to the C8, then setting this jumper in position 1 will select the voltage source connected to B1 and position 2 will select the B2 power source.

Note that this jumper has no effect when the output is set as a relay output.

Voltage Output

The most common output configuration for a C8 is a voltage output.  When connecting a device to the terminals when set as a voltage output, the positive connection goes to the B terminal and the negative connection goes to the A terminal.

C2

C8 Voltage Output Wiring

Relay Output

When configured as a relay output, the current through the relay must flow from the B terminal to the A terminal (the more positive side of the voltage on the B terminal).  Note that ONLY a DC voltage may be switched through the C8 relay due to the reverse polarity diode.

C3

C8 Relay Output Wiring

Next Week

Next week we will go into detail on the jumper settings of the C8, including the usage of our Excel-based C8 Jumper Configuration Tool.  Until then, if you need any assistance, our This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it department is here to help.

Tuesday, 08 September 2015 07:58

Understanding the C8 Board - Part 2 - Inputs

In last week's blog post, we covered the very basics of the C8 board including the power inputs and the LED functionality.  If you missed Part 1, you can find it by clicking HERE.

This week we will go in-depth on the inputs of the C8, including the wiring, operation, and jumper configuration.

The Anatomy of the C8 Input

Each input of the C8 has two terminals, labeled A and B.  Typically, a dry contact is placed across these terminals and a change in the state of that contact will activate the input of the C8.  However, the C8's inputs are very flexible - capable of handling almost any type of input including dry contact, voltage, or open collector inputs.  The key to the flexibility of the C8 input is in its wiring.

C8 Input

The A terminal of the C8 board is a resistor-limited voltage source, provided by the higher of the B1/B2 power inputs.  The resistor limits the current of this voltage to approximately 10mA maximum when directly shorted to ground.  This voltage may be used in conjunction with the B terminal for activation of the input.

The B terminal is the actual input to the C8's circuitry.  It is a voltage input, with an acceptable range of 9-30VDC for activation.  It may be activated with the voltage available on the A terminal or with any voltage common grounded with the FPO/C8.

Note that there is no ground connection on the input.  If you place a voltmeter across the A and B terminals of the input, you will see a voltage - this is normal and will not damage a dry contact due to the current limiting resistor on the A terminal.

Dry Contact Input

C8 Input NO

 

C8 Input NC

By far, the most common input application is a dry contact.  This contact may be the output relay of an access control panel, a momentary pushbutton, a relay output on a keypad, or any other dry contact.  The C8 will operate correctly with a Normally Open (NO) or Normally Closed (NC) contact by setting the blue jumper for the zone.  There is no requirement to use a NC input for Mag Locks and a NO input for door strikes - the C8 will work correctly for any output type with any input type, so all inputs may be wired the same regardless of the lock type being used.

Voltage Input

C8 Input Voltage

A separate voltage source between 9 and 30VDC may be used to activate the C8's input, by connecting it to the B terminal.  This voltage must be common grounded with the FPO system in order for it to work properly.  The FPO power supply's DC1- terminal is a convenient point to tie the grounds together.  The C8 can be set to activate on the application of a voltage or the removal of a voltage by setting the blue jumper for the zone.

Open Collector (Transistor) Input

An open collector input may be used to activate the input of a C8, though some precautions may need to be taken.  First, the activation device with the open collector output must be common grounded with the FPO system to work correctly.  If wired as shown in the first diagram below, with the diode, the C8 will work with any open collector output that can sink the 10mA maximum current of the A terminal.  This diode blocks the voltage from the A terminal from reaching the open collector.  This diode may be eliminated if the open collector output can tolerate the 24V supplied from the A terminal.  Verify with the activation device's manufacturer to be sure - many have a 12V maximum.

C8 Input OC Pullup

The second diagram below shows an alternate wiring method if the open collector output also provides a voltage source.  This is typical for open collector outputs designed to power locks - the lock is designed to be connected to the +12V terminal and the ground for the lock is provided through the open collector.  When using this type of output with a C8, use a resistor from the voltage terminal to the open collector to provide the activation voltage required by the C8, rather than using the C8's A terminal.  The resistor value isn't critical, but should be around 1K ohm.  Sometimes multiple outputs on the activation device will share a common voltage terminal - in this case use multiple resistors from the voltage terminal to each open collector output.


C8 Input OC A Terminal

Typically for an open collector output, the blue jumper for the zone should be in position 1, however moving this jumper to position 2 will reverse the operation if necessary.

Blue Jumper

The blue jumper for each zone inverts the operation of the input for that zone.  This allows the input to operate either on application of voltage to the B terminal or on removal of voltage.  It is important to get this jumper set properly for proper operation of the C8.  When set up correctly, the LED for the zone should be steady when the door is locked and flashing when the door is unlocked.  It is possible to set the board up so that the LED operates in the reverse and the lock still works properly under normal conditions, however the door will not unlock when the FAI input is activated.  In this situation, simply place the blue and white jumpers into the opposite position of where they currently are.

Note that if you don't have the jumper positions memorized and don't have access to a manual, you can still set the jumpers properly by setting your activation source to the state where the door should be locked, then set the blue jumper on the C8 so that the LED is lit steady.  Verify that it is set correctly by setting the activation source so that the door should be unlocked and verifying that the LED is flashing.  After setting the blue jumper, adjust the white jumper to set whether there is voltage when the door is locked or unlocked.  This will be covered in more detail in the next part of this series.

Next Week

Next week we will cover the outputs of the C8 - again going into detail on the wiring, jumper settings, and other details.  Until then, if you need any assistance, our This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it department is here to help.

 

Tuesday, 25 August 2015 15:47

Understanding the C8 Board - Part 1

LifeSafety Power's FlexPower line of power systems is the industry's first and only fully-modular, listed power supply system.  This allows you to choose from a variety of power supplies and output boards and combine them in the best combination for the job at hand.  One of the most versatile components at your disposal is the C4 or C8 lock control board.  Don't let the "lock control" fool you, however - the C4 and C8 can do far more than just locks. 

C4C8Photo

The C4 and C8 come in four different variations.  The C4 and C8 provide 4 and 8 zones, respectively, of 3A fused outputs.  The C4P and C8P provide the same 4 and 8 zone counts but use 2.5A PTCs, rather than fuses, to provide Class 2 Power Limiting.  In this multi-part series of posts, we will refer mostly to the C8 board, but the C8P, C4, and C4P are all identical in operation.

What does the C8 do?

The C8 board provides eight outputs, each with its own input for control.  If you are familiar with the Altronix ACM8, then you are already familiar with this basic concept.  The inputs of the C8 are low current, protecting your high-cost access control panel's relays from the high currents and return EMF spikes from the locks.  Each output can be individually selected for voltage, lock type, input type, and whether or not to unlock the door on a Fire Alarm Input (FAI) activation.  Outputs can be wet or dry (NO or NC).

Input Power & FlexIO Connections

Like all FlexPower output boards, the C8 has a dual-buss power input, allowing use in either single or dual voltage power supplies.  When used in a dual voltage power supply, the C8 allows you to select either voltage on each individual output.  Note that the C8 MUST be supplied with constant power for proper operation.  Do not use the DC2 output of the FPO power supply to power the C8 board - the C8 controls each output for FAI on its own.

C8Power

The first power supply should be connected to the B1 input of the C8.  As with all FlexPower output boards, the power connections can be made at either B1 terminal.  The BR connection serves as the DC common and must be connected to the BR terminal of the power supply.

If a second power supply is also being used, it should be connected to the B2 input of the C8.  The second power supply's BR terminal must also be connected to the other BR terminal of the C8 so that everything is common grounded together.

The FlexIO connectors supply FAI input and fault status to and from the C8 board.  Both FlexIO connectors are the same and either may be used interchangeably.  Simply plug one end of the white 2-pin FlexIO cable into the FPO power supply's FlexIO connector and the other end into the C8.

If there are other output boards already connected to the power supply, the C8 may be connected at the end of the chain, or inserted into the middle of the chain.  Make sure to match up the wire colors and B1/B2 connections to the other boards in the system.

Visual Indicators

The C4 and C8 boards have a green LED for every output indicating its status.  When the C8 is properly configured, a steady green LED indicates that the door is locked, and a flashing green indicates unlocked.  Notice we are speaking in terms of "locked" and "unlocked" rather than about the outputs being powered and unpowered.  This makes understanding and configuring the C8 easier, once you are accustomed to thinking this way - all LEDs function the same, whether the input is NO or NC, whether the output is connected to a maglock or door strike, whether FAI is active or not.

If any of the green LEDs are out, it indicates that there is a problem with the fuse (or PTC), jumper settings, or there is a missing power supply voltage.

The C4 and C8 also have a single yellow fault LED.  It will light whenever any of the green LEDs are out (blown fuse, incorrect jumper setting, or missing power supply voltage).  If there is a fault on your FPO power supply and the C8 also indicates a fault, correcting the C8 fault will likely clear the FPO fault unless multiple problems exist in the system.

Next Week

This week we covered some of the very basics of the C8.  In the next post in this series, we will go even more in-depth on the inputs of the C8 board - including wiring, configuration, and other information. Until then, if you need any assistance our This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it department is always here to help. 

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