Tuesday, 08 September 2015 07:58

Understanding the C8 Board - Part 2 - Inputs Featured

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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.

 

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Tuesday, 25 August 2015 15:47

Understanding the C8 Board - Part 1 Featured

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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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In the first four parts in this series, we learned about the Voltage Drop, Wire Size, Battery Size, and Standby Time calculators in LifeSafety Power's Excel-based FlexCalculator Suite .  If you missed them, those posts can be found here:

Part 1 - Voltage Drop
Part 2 - Wire Size
Part 3 - Battery Size
Part 4 - Standby Time

In the final part of this series, we will cover the Ohm's Law and Miscellaneous calculations.  These calculators perform a variety of calculations such as Power, Resistance, BTU, Weight Conversion, Temperature Conversion, and more.  The FlexCalculator Suite can be found on the LifeSafety Power website at Support>Calculators, or can be directly downloaded by clicking HERE.

Once the suite is downloaded, open the file.  A main menu will appear with buttons for each of the calculator pages.  For these exercise, we will use the "Ohm's Law" and "Misc Calcs" buttons.  Click the "Main Menu" button from any of the calculators to return.

Ohm's Law Calculator       
These calculators help you perform Ohm's Law calculations by entering two parameters.  Start by clicking the "Ohm's Law" button from the main menu.  The Ohm's Law calculator page will appear.  There are four independent calculators on this page for Current, Resistance, Voltage, and Power calculations.  To perform any of these calculations, enter any two parameters into the blue cells.  If all three parameters are entered the calculator will show an error in the result field.  Below are two example calculations using the Power calculator - the other calculators operate similarly.

OLOverview

Example 1 - Using Voltage and Current
In this example, we will calculate the power drawn by a 24V maglock which draws 273mA and is connected to an FPO75 power supply set for a 24V output.

OLExample1

Voltage - In this field, we will enter 25 volts, which is the nominal output voltage setting of an FPO power supply set for a 24V output.
Current - In this field we will enter 0.273 Amps for the 273mA current draw of the lock.
Resistance - This field will be left blank in this application.
Power - This is the result field and cannot be changed directly.  In our example, the lock will use 6.825W of the 75W available from the FPO75.

Example 2 - Using Voltage and Resistance
In this example, we will calculate the power drawn by a 33 ohm resistor connected to 16V power supply.

OLExample2

Voltage - In this field, we will enter 16 volts.
Current - In this example, we will leave the current field blank.
Resistance - In this field, we will enter 33 ohms.
Power - This example results in a total power draw of 7.76 watts.

Miscellaneous Calculators
These calculators help you perform various calculations such as BTU, Efficiency, Power Factor, Temperature Conversion, Weight Conversion, Length Conversion, and Series and Parallel Resistors.  Start by clicking the "Misc Calcs" button from the main menu.  The Miscellaneous Calculations page will appear.  There are eight independent calculators on this page.  Descriptions of each calculator and their related fields are below.

MCOverview

Power Supply BTU
This calculator will give you the total BTU generated by a power supply.  The fields are as follows:

Pin - This is the power, in watts, drawn by the power supply from the main power source.  For this example, our power supply is drawing 170 watts from the AC line.
Pout - This is the output power being drawn from the power supply.  In our example, this power supply is supplying 150 watts.
BTU - This field gives the BTU generated by the power supply.  It is a calculated field and cannot be changed directly.  In our example, the power supply is generating 68 BTU.

Efficiency
This calculator will give you the efficiency of a power supply.  The fields are as follows:

Pin - This is the power, in watts, drawn by the power supply from the main power source.  For this example, our power supply is drawing 170 watts from the AC line.
Pout - This is the output power being drawn from the power supply.  In our example, this power supply is supplying 150 watts.
Efficiency - This field gives the efficiency of the power supply.  It is a calculated field and cannot be changed directly.  In our example, the efficiency is 88%.

Power Factor
This calculator will give you the power factor of a circuit.  The fields are as follows:

Pmeas - This is the measured power, in watts, of the circuit.  For this example, we will use 119.4 watts.
Vmeas - This is the measured voltage, in volts, of the circuit.  In our example, we will use 120 volts.
Imeas - This is the measured current, in amps, of the circuit.  In our example, we will use 1.41 amps.
PF - This is the Power Factor of the circuit.  It is a calculated field and cannot be changed directly.  In our example, the PF is 0.71.

Temp Conversion
This calculator will convert temperatures between Fahrenheit and Celsius.  The fields are as follows:

Fahrenheit to Celsius
Deg F
- This is the temperature, in degrees Fahrenheit, to be converted.  In our example, enter 212 degrees.   
Deg C - This is the converted temperature in degrees Celsius.  In our example, the result is 100 degrees.

Celsius to Fahrenheit
Deg C
- This is the temperature, in degrees Celsius, to be converted.  In our example, enter 100 degrees.   
Deg F - This is the converted temperature in degrees Fahrenheit.  In our example, the result is 212 degrees.

Weight Conversion
This calculator will convert weights between Pounds and Kilograms.  The fields are as follows:

Pounds to Kilograms
Lbs
. - This is the weight, in pounds, to be converted.  In our example, enter 150 pounds.   
kg - This is the converted weight in kilograms.  In our example, the result is 68 kilograms.

Kilograms to Pounds
kg
- This is the weight, in kilograms, to be converted.  In our example, enter 150 kilograms.   
Lbs. - This is the converted weight in pounds.  In our example, the result is 331 pounds.

Length Conversion
This calculator will convert lengths between Inches and Centimeters.  The fields are as follows:

Inches to Centimeters
Inches
- This is the length, in inches, to be converted.  In our example, enter 36 inches.
cm - This is the converted length in centimeters.  In our example, the result is 91 centimeters.

Centimeters to Inches
cm
- This is the length, in centimeters, to be converted.  In our example, enter 100 centimeters.
Inches - This is the converted length in inches.  In our example, the result is 39 inches.

Resistors in Series
This calculator will give you the total resistance of up to four resistors connected in series.  The fields are as follows:

R1 - Enter the first resistor value, in ohms, in this field.  For this example, enter 100 ohms.
R2 - Enter the second resistor value, in ohms.  In our example, we will use 89 ohms.
R3 - Enter the third resistor value, in ohms.  Leave this field blank if there are less than three resistors being calculated.  In our example, we will use 1000 ohms.
R4 - Enter the fourth resistor value, in ohms.  Leave this field blank if there are less than four resistors being calculated.  In our example, we will enter 500 ohms.
R Total - This is the total resistance of the series circuit.  It is a calculated field and cannot be changed directly.  In our example, the total resistance is 1689 ohms.

Note that if more than four resistors need to be calculated, you may calculate the first four resistors, then take that result and enter it in the R1 field.  Up to three more resistors may then be entered into the R2, R3, and R4 fields.  This process may be repeated an unlimited number of times.

Resistors in Parallel
This calculator will give you the total resistance of up to four resistors connected in parallel.  The fields are as follows:

R1 - Enter the first resistor value, in ohms, in this field.  For this example, enter 1500 ohms.
R2 - Enter the second resistor value, in ohms.  In our example, we will use 330 ohms.
R3 - Enter the third resistor value, in ohms.  Leave this field blank if there are less than three resistors being calculated.  In our example, we will use 750 ohms.
R4 - Enter the fourth resistor value, in ohms.  Leave this field blank if there are less than four resistors being calculated.  In our example, we will enter 3000 ohms.
R Total - This is the total resistance of the parallel circuit.  It is a calculated field and cannot be changed directly.  In our example, the total resistance is 186 ohms.

Note that if more than four resistors need to be calculated, you may calculate the first four resistors, then take that result and enter it in the R1 field.  Up to three more resistors may then be entered into the R2, R3, and R4 fields.  This process may be repeated an unlimited number of times.

I hope that this series has helped you better understand the FlexCalculator Suite and that you will find the calculators helpful in your daily system planning.  As always, if you need assistance our Technical Support  department is always here to help.

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Wednesday, 12 August 2015 16:04

Securing Educational Campuses Featured

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high school

School lockdowns easy to deploy with FlexPower®

It’s a stark fact of life: K-12 schools and educational campuses are increasingly the focus of violent acts of crime. According to an active shooter study by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, 160 incidents occurred between 2000 and 2013, with some 1043 casualties, including those killed and wounded.

Physical security trends and specifications now have a heightened focus on the fortification of the perimeter and interiors of educational facilities in an effort to provide proactive measures to lessen these incidents and avoid casualties. One of the successful means of preventing an active shooter from moving from classroom to classroom or other areas of a school has been emergency lockdowns that automatically secure areas electronically with a push of a button or other initiation. With the school year already begun in some areas or set to start soon, now is the perfect time for systems integrators to offer lockdown capabilities to users.

Versatile lockdown specification

The FlexPower® product line offers the flexibility to easily activate automatic lockdown. The Fire Alarm Input (FAI) is used to activate the lockdown condition with the reset switch latching the lockdown until manually reset. And although this activation can occur through a normally closed (NC) contact, any valid FAI activation may be used to initiate a lockdown.

There are lots of easy-to-use nuances which indicate the versatility of FlexPower in our online Application Note AN-33. Suffice to say, systems integrators have many different and easy to apply options to provide this critical feature to their educational, healthcare and other enterprise customers.

LifeSafety Power® continues to lead in the manufacture of Smarter Power Solutions and remote monitoring capabilities – designed with systems integrators and their customers in mind.

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Monday, 03 August 2015 09:05

Understanding LSP's FlexCalculator Suite - Part 4: Standby Time Featured

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In the first three posts in this series, we learned about the Voltage Drop, Wire Size, and Battery Size calculators in LifeSafety Power's Excel-based FlexCalculator Suite .  If you missed them, those posts can be found here:

Part 1 - Voltage Drop
Part 2 - Wire Size
Part 3 - Battery Size

In this part, we will cover the Standby Time calculator.  This calculator will tell you the estimated standby time with a given battery size, current, and alarm time.  Note that this calculator is only for lead-acid/gel cell type batteries.  The FlexCalculator Suite can be found on the LifeSafety Power website at Support>Calculators, or can be directly downloaded by clicking HERE.

Once the suite is downloaded, open the file.  A main menu will appear with buttons for each of the calculator pages.  For this exercise, click the "Standby Time" button.  The Standby Time Calculator page will open.

The interface for the Standby Time calculator is very similar to the Battery Size calculator, with some minor differences.

Standby Overview

About The Calculation
Like the Battery Size Calculator, the Standby Time calculator uses Peukert's Equation to accurately calculate the standby time based on rate of discharge.  This gives a slightly different, but more accurate, results than the Amps x Hours calculation used in typical battery calculations.  This is because a battery's amphour capacity is rated at a 20 hour discharge rate.  If you discharge an 8AH battery over 20 hours, it will give you 8AH.  If you discharge that same 8AH battery over 48 hours it will give you MORE than 8AH.  Conversely, if you discharge the battery faster than 20 hours, it will give you far LESS than 8AH.  For more information on this, see our in-depth white paper on backup batteries available at Learning Center>Articles on LifeSafety Power's website or by clicking HERE.

Standby Load
Like the battery size calculator, this is where the standby load currents are entered.  The fields in this section are:

Standby Standby Load

DC1 - This is the total standby load connected to DC1 output terminals on the FPO Power Supply.  In this example, the load connected to the DC1 terminals of the FPO power supply is 500mA, so 0.5 is entered.

DC2 - This is the total standby load connected to the DC2 output terminals on the FPO Power Supply.  In this example, we have no load on DC2 during standby.

Accessory Boards - The total standby load connected to any accessory boards connected to the FPO Power Supply.  In this example the total load on the accessory boards is 2.1 amps.

Total Standby Load - This is a calculated field giving the sum of the DC1, DC2, and Accessory Board currents.   This value cannot be changed.  In this example, the total is 2.6 amps.

Note that breaking the currents out into the individual fields is not required.  If you know your total standby load is 2.6A, you may simply enter 2.6A into the DC1 field and leave the others blank.

Alarm Load
This is where the alarm load currents are entered.  If there is no alarm time, leave these fields blank or zero.  The fields in this section are:

Standby Alarm Load

DC1 - This is the total alarm load connected to DC1 output terminals on the FPO Power Supply.  In this example, there is still a 0.5 amp load on DC1 during alarm.

DC2 - This is the total alarm load connected to the DC2 output terminals on the FPO Power Supply.  In this example, a 6 amp load is on the DC2 terminals during the alarm period.

Accessory Boards - The total alarm load connected to any accessory boards connected to the FPO Power Supply.  In this example, the same 2.1 amp load is on the accessory boards during alarm.

Total Alarm Load - This is a calculated field giving the sum of the DC1, DC2, and Accessory Board currents.   This value cannot be changed.  In this example, the total alarm current is 8.6 amps.

Note that breaking the currents out into the individual fields is not required.  If you know your total alarm load is 8.6A, you may simply enter 8.6A into the DC1 field and leave the others blank.

Battery Size and Required Alarm Time
These fields are where the battery size and alarm times are entered.  The fields include:

Standby Bat Size Alarm Time

Installed Battery Size - This field is where the battery size is entered in amphours.  In this example, the installed battery is 40AH

Alarm (Hours/Minutes/Total) - These fields are where the total alarm time is entered.  Enter the requirements into the Hours and Minutes fields.  If there is no alarm time, leave these fields blank or zero.  In this example, the alarm time is 15 minutes.

Results

The results for the calculation appear in the Result section.  To get the results, click outside of the last field you entered information into, or click the "Calculate" button.  The results given are:

Standby Result

Alarm AH Required - This is the calculated number of AH used to cover the alarm portion of the requirement.  If there is no alarm requirement, this field will be zero.  This is a calculation and cannot be changed.  In our example, 4AH of the 40AH battery is required to supply the 8.6A alarm current for 15 minutes.

Standby AH Remaining - This field is the remaining battery AH after subtracting the Alarm AH requirement.  In our example, 40AH minus the 4AH required for the alarm period gives 36AH remaining.

Expected Standby Time - This is the estimated standby time factoring in the alarm period.  This is a calculation and cannot be changed.  In our example, a 40AH battery will allow a 2.6A standby for 12.67 hours and then still be able to supply 8.6A for the 15 minute alarm period.

The final post in this series will cover the Ohms Law and Miscellaneous Calculations.  These include power, resistance, temperature conversions, power factor, and many other calculations.  As always, if you need 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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Monday, 27 July 2015 12:22

Understanding LSP's FlexCalculator Suite - Part 3: Battery Size Featured

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In my last two blog posts, we learned about the Voltage Drop and Wire Size calculators in LifeSafety Power's Excel-based FlexCalculator Suite .  If you missed them, those posts can be found here:

Part 1 - Voltage Drop
Part 2 - Wire Size

This week, we will cover the Battery Size calculator.  This calculator will tell you the minimum battery size required for a given current and standby time.  Note that this calculator is only for lead-acid/gel cell type batteries.  The FlexCalculator Suite can be found on the LifeSafety Power website at Support>Calculators, or can be directly downloaded by clicking HERE.

Once the suite is downloaded, open the file.  A main menu will appear with buttons for each of the calculator pages.  For this exercise, click the "Battery Size" button.  The Battery Size Calculator page will open.

BatSize Overview

In the following sections, we will explain the interface then show two separate examples - the first for a basic access control application, and the second for a fire application.

About The Calculation
The Battery Size Calculator in the FlexCalculator Suite uses Peukert's Equation to accurately calculate the battery size based on rate of discharge.  This will give slightly different, but more accurate, results than the Amps x Hours calculation used in typical battery calculations.  This is because a battery's amphour capacity is rated at a 20 hour discharge rate.  If you discharge an 8AH battery over 20 hours, it will give you 8AH.  If you discharge that same 8AH battery over 48 hours it will give you MORE than 8AH.  Conversely, if you discharge the battery faster than 20 hours, it will give you far LESS than 8AH.  For more information on this, see our in-depth white paper on backup batteries available at Learning Center>Articles on LifeSafety Power's website or by clicking HERE.

Standby Load
This is where the standby load currents are entered.  The fields in this section are:

BatSize Standby

DC1 - This is the total standby load connected to the DC1 output terminals on the FPO Power Supply

DC2 - This is the total standby load connected to the DC2 output terminals on the FPO Power Supply.

Accessory Boards - The total standby load connected to any accessory boards connected to the FPO Power Supply.

Total Standby Load - This is a calculated field giving the sum of the DC1, DC2, and Accessory Board currents.   This value cannot be changed.

Note that breaking the currents out into the individual fields is not required.  If you know your total standby load is 2A, you may simply enter 2A into the DC1 field and leave the others blank.

Alarm Load
This is where the alarm load currents are entered.  If there is no alarm time, leave these fields blank or zero.  The fields in this section are:

BatSize Alarm

DC1 - This is the total alarm load connected to the DC1 output terminals on the FPO Power Supply

DC2 - This is the total alarm load connected to the DC2 output terminals on the FPO Power Supply.

Accessory Boards - The total alarm load connected to any accessory boards connected to the FPO Power Supply.

Total Alarm Load - This is a calculated field giving the sum of the DC1, DC2, and Accessory Board currents.   This value cannot be changed.

Note that breaking the currents out into the individual fields is not required.  If you know your total alarm load is 4A, you may simply enter 4A into the DC1 field and leave the others blank.

Required Backup Time
These fields are where the standby and alarm times are entered.  The fields include:

BatSize Backup

Standby (Hours/Minutes/Total) - These fields are where the total standby time is entered.  Enter the requirements into the Hours and Minutes fields.

Alarm (Hours/Minutes/Total) - These fields are where the total alarm time is entered.  Enter the requirements into the Hours and Minutes fields.  If there is no alarm time, leave these fields blank or zero.

Results

The results for the calculation appear in the Results section.  To get the results, click outside of the last field you entered information into, or click the "Calculate" button.  The results given are:

BatSize Result

Standby AH - This is the calculated minimum number of AH required to cover the standby portion of the requirement.  This is a calculation and cannot be changed.

Alarm AH - This is the calculated minimum number of AH required to cover the alarm portion of the requirement.  If there is no alarm requirement, this field will be zero.  This is a calculation and cannot be changed.

Minimum Total AH - This is the sum of the Standby and Alarm AH requirement above.  This is the minimum required battery size, based on a fresh set of batteries.  It does not account for the natural reduction in AH which occurs as the battery ages.  This is a calculation and cannot be changed.

Safety Factor - This is a safety factor to account for the reduction in AH capacity of a battery set as it ages.  Typically, 20% is a good safety factor to use for battery sets on a 3-5 year replacement rotation.  This field may be changed to the Safety Factor required for your application.

Recommended Battery - This is the recommended battery set based on the minimum battery size adjusted by the safety factor.  Round up to the nearest standard battery size.  For example, if the Recommended Battery size is 10AH, round up to a 12AH battery set.  This is a calculation and cannot be changed.

Example 1 - Access Control
In this example, we will be calculating the required battery set for a typical 4 door access control system with a required standby time of 4 hours.  The power supply installed is an FPO75-C4E1.  The loading requirements are:

  • Two access control boards powered directly from the FPO power supply's DC1 output, drawing 750mA each, for a total of 1.5A.
  • Four maglocks powered from the C4 board, each drawing 235mA, for a total draw of 940mA.

To calculate the required battery size for this example, enter the following:

BatSize Example 1

Standby Load Section
DC1 - Enter 1.5 Amps here for the 1.5A total draw of the access panels connected to DC1.
DC2 - Leave blank, since nothing is connected to DC2.
Accessory Boards - Enter 0.940 Amps for the 940mA total draw of the locks on the C4 board.

Alarm Load Section
Leave this section blank, since there is no alarm load in an access control application.

Required Backup Time Section
Enter 4 Hours in the Standby Time fields.  Leave the Alarm Time fields blank.

Results
In this application, the recommended battery size is 15AH with the 20% safety factor.  In this case, two 8AH battery sets in parallel would fit the requirement, giving 16AH total.

Example 2 - Fire System
In this example, we will be calculating the required battery set for a typical fire alarm system with a required standby time of 24 hours and an alarm time of 5 minutes.  The power supply installed is an FPO250-N24E2.  The loading requirements are:

  • Eight door holders powered from the DC2 Output, drawing 150mA each for a total draw of 1.2A.  All door holders will release on an alarm condition.
  • Ten horn-strobes powered from the N24 board, each drawing 250mA, for a total draw of 2.5A.

To calculate the required battery size for this example, enter the following:

BatSize Example 2

Standby Load Section
DC1 - Leave blank, since nothing is connected to DC1.
DC2 - Enter 1.2 Amps here for the 1.2A total draw of the door holders connected to the DC2 output.
Accessory Boards - Leave blank since there is no output from the N24 board in standby condition.

Alarm Load Section
DC1 - Leave blank, since nothing is connected to DC1.
DC2 - Leave blank, since the door holders will be unpowered during the alarm condition.
Accessory Boards - Enter 2.5A here for the 2.5A total draw of the horn-strobes under alarm condition.

Required Backup Time Section
Enter 24 Hours in the Standby Time fields.  Enter 5 Minutes into the Alarm Time Fields.

Results
In this application, the recommended battery size is 34AH with the 20% safety factor.  In this case, a 35AH battery would fit the requirement.

The next post in this series will cover the Standby Time calculator, which calculates the standby time of a battery with a given battery size and current draw.  As always, if you need 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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Monday, 20 July 2015 11:41

Understanding LSP's FlexCalculator Suite - Part 2: Wire Size Featured

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In last week's blog post, we learned about the Voltage Drop calculator in LifeSafety Power's FlexCalculator Suite which can be downloaded from the Support>Calculators menu on the LifeSafety Power website or by clicking HERE.  If you missed Part 1 of this series, you can find it HERE.

In Part 2 we will cover the Wire Size calculator, which tells you the minimum wire size required based on starting voltage, wire length, and load current.  Again, it was designed for solid wire, but will give reasonably accurate results for stranded wire as well.

Once the suite is downloaded, open the file.  A main menu will appear with buttons for each of the calculator pages.  For this exercise, click the "Wire Size" button.  The Wire Size Calculator page will open.

WireSize Page

General Information
To begin, enter the information required in the General Information section.  The fields in this section are:

WireSize General Info Example

Start Voltage - As in the Voltage Drop calculator, this is the voltage of your power supply.  Enter either the nominal (12V or 24V) rating, or the actual measured voltage.  For this example, we will use 12.5, which is the measured voltage of an FPO power supply set for 12V.

Temperature - This is the average temperature of the wire run in degrees Fahrenheit.  Typically, this can be left at 75 degrees, but if the wire run is in extreme conditions, this value can be changed for more accurate results.  For this example, we will leave this at 75 Degrees.

Allowable Drop - Enter the percentage of voltage drop allowed from the Start Voltage entered above.  As in the Voltage Drop calculator, this value is determined by the minimum operating voltage of the device being powered at the end of the wire run.  For this example, we will use a 12V lock which will operate down to 10.1V:

(Start Voltage-End Voltage)*100/Start Voltage=% Drop
(12.5-10.1)*100/12.5=% Drop
2.4*100/12.5=19.2%

Low Battery - This is a calculated field giving the low battery voltage based on the Start Voltage.   This value cannot be changed.  In this example, a discharged 12V battery set will be 10.2V.

Wire Run Information
Next, the Wire Run Information must be entered.  The fields are:

WireSize Wire Run Info Example

Wire Length (One Way) - This is the distance between the power supply and the device being powered in Feet.  Only enter the one way distance - do not double the distance to account for the return wiring.  For this example, we will use 300 feet.

Current Through Wire Run - This is the total current draw of the load at the end of the wire run in Amps.  For this example, our lock is drawing 426mA, so 0.426A is entered.

Results
The results for the calculation appear in the Results section.  To get the results, click outside of the last field you entered information into, or click the "Calculate" button.  The results given are:

WireSize Results Example

Max Voltage Drop - This is the maximum allowed voltage drop for the device to operate based on the entered parameters.  Our example gives 2.4V of maximum allowed drop (19.2% of 12.5V).

Max Wire Resistance - This is the maximum allowed wire resistance, calculated using Ohm's Law.  In our example this result is 5.63 ohms (2.4V/0.426A).

Minimum Wire Gauge Req. - This is the minimum wire size in AWG necessary to meet the requirements.  Our example gives a result of 19 AWG.  Since this is a non-standard wire size, round this to 18 AWG.

Note that a negative result in this field indicates a wire size larger than 0 AWG.  A minimum wire size of -1 converts to 00 AWG, a result of -2 converts to 000 AWG, etc.

Actual Wire Resistance - This is the actual wire resistance of the run using the calculated minimum wire gauge.  Our example scenario shows that a 300 foot, 19 AWG solid wire run is about 4.90 ohms.

End Voltage - This is the voltage at the end of the wire run under normal conditions.  In our example, 10.41V.

End Voltage at Low Battery - this is the actual voltage at low battery.  In our example, this value is 8.1V - which is below the 10.1V minimum our lock will operate at.  If you are not using batteries or do not care about the operation of the device while on battery backup, this field can be ignored.

This field accounts for a loss of AC, where the battery has fully discharged to the "Low Battery" voltage shown in the General Information section.  This is important when using batteries in a system - your 24 hour standby time will be greatly reduced if your devices stop working at an 11V battery voltage because of voltage drop in the wire run.

If battery standby is required, use the Minimum Required AWG result as a starting point in the Voltage Drop calculator to determine the wire size required for operation at low battery.

The next post in this series will cover the Battery Size calculator, which calculates the minimum required battery size in AH with given standby and alarm times and currents.  As always, if you need 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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Tuesday, 14 July 2015 07:45

Understanding LSP's FlexCalculator Suite - Part 1: Voltage Drop Featured

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LifeSafety Power's FlexCalculator Suite provides the integrator a bevy of Microsoft Excel-based tools to help plan and install access control, fire, or other life safety systems.  It is available under the Support>Calculators menu on the LifeSafety Power website, or by clicking HERE to directly download it.  In this post, I will show you how to use the Voltage Drop calculator page of the suite.  The Voltage Drop calculator will tell you the voltage at the end of a wire run, based on the starting voltage, load current, and wire gauge.  It was designed for solid wire, but will give reasonably accurate results for stranded wire as well.

Once the suite is downloaded, open the file.  A main menu will appear with buttons for each of the calculator pages.  For this exercise, click the "Voltage Drop" button.  The Voltage Drop Calculator page should open.

 VoltDrop Page

General Information

To begin, enter the information required in the General Information section.  The fields in this section are:

VoltDrop General Info Example

Start Voltage - This is the voltage of your power supply.  Enter either the nominal (12V or 24V) rating, or the actual measured voltage.  For this example, we will use 25.0, which is the measured voltage of an FPO power supply set for 24V.

Temperature - This is the average temperature of the wire run in degrees Fahrenheit.  Typically, this can be left at 75 degrees, but if the wire run is in extreme conditions, this value can be changed for more accurate results.  For this example, we will leave this at 75 Degrees.

Allowable Drop - Enter the percentage of voltage drop allowed from the Start Voltage entered above.  This value is determined by the minimum operating voltage of the device being powered at the end of the wire run.  For this example, we will use a 24V lock which will operate down to 19.2V:

(Start Voltage-End Voltage)*100/Start Voltage=% Drop
(25-19.2)*100/25=% Drop
5.8*100/25=23.2%

Low Battery - This is a calculated field giving the low battery voltage based on the Start Voltage.   This value cannot be changed.  In this example, a discharged 24V battery set will be 20.4V.

Wire Run Information

Next, the Wire Run Information must be entered.  The fields are:

VoltDrop Wire Run Example

Wire Length (One Way) - This is the distance between the power supply and the device being powered in Feet.  Only enter the one way distance - do not double the distance to account for the return wiring.  For this example, we will use 100 feet.

Wire Gauge - This is the AWG of the wire.  For this example, the wire run is 22AWG.

Current Through Wire Run - This is the total current draw of the load at the end of the wire run in Amps.  For this example, our lock is drawing 300mA, so 0.3A is entered.

Results

The results appear in the Results section.  To get the results, click outside of the last field you entered information into, or click the "Calculate" button.  The results given are:

VoltDrop Results Example Good

Wire Resistance - This is the calculated wire resistance in ohms, based on the information given.  Our example information gives approximately 3.3 ohms.

Voltage Drop - This is the calculated voltage drop under normal conditions.  Our example gives 0.98V of drop.

End Voltage - This is the voltage at the end of the wire run under normal conditions.  In our example, 24.02V.

% Drop - this is the actual voltage drop over the wire run.  In our example, the drop is 3.9%.  This field will be green if the value is below the Allowable Drop value.  If the % Drop field is greater than the Allowable Drop field, this field will turn red.

End Voltage at Low Battery - this is the actual voltage at low battery.  In our example, this value is 19.42V - just above the 19.2V minimum our lock will operate at.  If you are not using batteries or do not care about the operation of the device while on battery backup, this field can be ignored.

This field accounts for a loss of AC, where the battery has fully discharged to the "Low Battery" voltage in the General Information section.  This is important when using batteries in a system - your 24 hour standby time will be greatly reduced if your devices stop working at a 23V battery voltage because of voltage drop.

To illustrate this, we will increase our wire run to 500 feet:

VoltDrop Results Example Bad

When we do this, the End Voltage under normal conditions is still 20.08V, which is still enough to power the lock.  However, our End Voltage at Low Battery is now 15.48V - well under the minimum voltage of the lock.  In fact, in this situation the voltage at the lock would be below the minimum at a battery voltage of 24.1V - Your 24 hour standby has been reduced to just a couple of hours.

I hope this has given you a better insight into the usage of the Voltage Drop Calculator.  My next post will cover the Wire Size calculator, which calculates the required wire size given a wire length and current.  And as always, 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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Tuesday, 07 July 2015 11:02

Online & Ready to Assist Featured

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Calculators and other support materials assist in battery specification and more

When your system solution is ready to deploy, or you have questions about battery size or voltage drop calculations, we have the resources ready for you 24/7 on the LifeSafety Power website. With these resources, you can calculate the system requirements and parameters for all your access control and life safety solutions, including wire size, voltage drop, battery standby time and battery size.

Ready for easy download, the calculators cover a wide range of topics – from an excel sheet to configure power, to configuring outputs in five easy steps, to a spreadsheet for performing various Ohm’s Law calculations and more.

There’s also great information on selecting battery size and voltage drop.  We even have calculators for configuring the jumpers on a C4 or C8 and B100 power calculations. If you need all of the above, there’s a download called the FlexCalculator Suite that includes everything listed in one handy document plus a group of miscellaneous calculations such as BTU,  temperature conversion, etc. so you have everything you need for your job at your fingertips.

That’s only a small part of the support we provide to the integrator community. Other online and easily accessible support materials include installation manuals for setup, configuration and operation, application notes as well as software downloads and firmware updates. We also have two white papers online: “Being Smart About Backup Batteries,” and “Inductive Loads in Life Safety Applications,” which may be of assistance.

Remember to turn to LifeSafety Power Inc. for all your intelligent power solutions, and the kind of support that makes installation and specification a breeze.

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Wednesday, 17 June 2015 14:52

New Age Power Solutions Featured

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Technology today is a whirlwind of activity. Connected devices are ever in the news, providing new services and capabilities no one dreamed of five years ago.

Power solutions are no exception to the ongoing move to smart, networked, intelligent devices. They can deliver better service efficiencies for systems integrators, who can now take advantage of remote service and monitoring and deliver consistent uptime and 24/7 reliability to customers. Even better, systems integrators can save labor and the cost of on-site visits with these super-smart components.

What you select in a power device is critical, however. Look for solutions with enhanced features, such as those LifeSafety Power provides, to avoid having to purchase necessary features separately. LifeSafety Power products also help to reduce SKUs and inventory by providing all the needed features in the base product. When you do select the right devices, you can take advantage of the new age of power – with a total supply system that can provide single and dual voltage, power distribution, lock and output control, remote test capability, remote diagnostics and remote reporting capabilities.

Even better, through these total solutions, integrators have the ability to generate new billable services, increase profitability and boost recurring monthly revenue.

The end is nowhere in sight. Power solutions will continue to improve and our research and development teams are hard at work with new features and enhancements in this product category. In fact, the efficiency, feature sets and available diagnostics will continue to improve over the next generation of products. Devices will continue to integrate—with the ability of hardware and software to communicate more wholly through protocols such as Physical Logical Access Interoperability (PLAI) profile and Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP).

Increased services, interoperability, network intelligence: power solutions are a critical part of the operability of any security and life safety system and the sky’s the limit as far as further innovation.

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