Museum System?

So in my state, New Mexico, and abstract art museum opened pretty recently (2 years ago) and their system is very…interesting.

On the outside hey have a SpectrAlert Advance P2RK so I was like “okay there’s a ton of those inside”

I walked in and saw a TON of SpectrAlert Classics but those were discontinued a decade ago. I was so confused. I went to take a closer look at them to see if they were multi candela, and the strobe lenses had LEDS inside of them. I was so lost. Turns out they were the cheap Chinese knockoffs you get off eBay for like $8. I was wondering if these were against code since they do not do code 3. Anywho, there were a few SpectrAlert Advance p2rs and p2ws scattered around, then there were some GENUINE SpectrAlert classics and some gentex commanders and Wheelock horns everywhere. Ugh it was so complicated.

I was tempted to pull it just to hear the chaos

Fairly certain those would never be allowed in an actual installation. I’ve never seen one that is UL listed, and if you look closely most of them advertise their tones as “firetruck” and “police car” noises, so they are more of toys than anything.

True true, but there are so many building here with code violations. Half of them still contain non ads strobes

I never thought the day would come where I would hear of some bootleg SpectrAlerts being installed in an actual system here in the US. :lol:

I’m wondering if they somehow mistook the LED knockoff for an LED SpectrAlert, considering the outdoor Advances and the few genuine “classics” in there. Mine has no markings whatsoever on the device, let alone, any sort of listing (UL, etc). They definitely seem like cheap toys if anything, cheap toys that can be powered off 24VDC! The strobe on the xenon version is not very bright. Not sure if I would trust them in an actual life safety system, but they’re definitely interesting collector’s items.

It almost sounds like they just bought a bunch of random signals from eBay. Do you know what types of pulls, smokes, and/or panel they had?

Can you take pictures to show us?

When I return the the location, I will take some pictures.

The pulls were bg12Lx’s and the panel was a Firelite panel.

Hey! I know this place. I was a little surprised when it opened to see the odd mix of old SpectrAlert devices, and especially the cheap Chinese knockoffs. I have no idea how this cheap installer managed to slip this by the fire marshal. The old SpectrAlerts are fine as they meet current codes and can sync with the new ones. But the knockoffs are not UL listed and can’t possibly be loud or bright enough or synced.

I don’t recall seeing any Wheelock or Gentex signals there but I wouldn’t be totally surprised if there were. But it really seems like the fire marshal was asleep on the job, and some company’s license should be carefully scrutinized.

Meowolf correct? The Wheelock were blended in with the black ceiling as well as the gentex devices. The first Wheelock was spotted before the house on the ceiling and gentex near exits to lobby on the ceiling.


If you know how to make a complaint to the fire marshals in New Mexico, I suggest you do so. That definitely isn’t safe. They either genuinely didn’t know they weren’t supposed to use those alarms or they tried to cut corners to be cheap.

You wanna know what happened the last time somebody cut corners? The Station.

If they were grandfathered, they usually follow the code of when the system was installed or the building was built. Now if they decide to start making major changes to the system, then usually they have to replace them.

Yeah, but The Station Nightclub was a little more severe then someone just using a couple of non-listed horn/strobes. You’re talking locked/blocked exits, lack of crowd control, and overcrowding. All of which were deliberate attempts to cut corners and make a profit. The place did lack sprinklers (which should of been there based on code at the time) but that was more of an over-site. But I would agree, that maybe if they used non-listed devices in an attempt to reduce costs, you seriously need to look into other areas (exits, sprinklers, etc) to make sure they didn’t cut corners.

I would also caution on jumping the gun to call the fire marshal. It is a possibility they were allowed to use these devices (remember, AHJ always has final say) and without pulling one down and checking the label, or reviewing the installation records, you can’t actually say they are a non-approved device. Let the natural process of inspection and testing take it’s course. If these devices are not listed and not appropriate for the application, it should be found on the annual test and corrected at that point.

Yep! Next time I’ll look at the ceiling in those areas. Though they are probably disconnected and forgotten, or maybe installed for some special non-fire related purpose!

It’s an incredible place, I wouldn’t want to see them be on the hook for these issues. They could potentially be liable in a disaster, however. If I recall correctly, the building is fully sprinklered, which is a good thing. Probably the best thing to do in this case, and other cases like this, is let the owners know directly. They deserve to be fully informed and can make their own decision.

The only way those Chinese bootleg SpectrAlerts could’ve possibly meet a NFPA 72 code is if they were installed prior to 1996 (when the requirements for Code 3, ADA strobes and other things came into effect), and since the original SpectrAlert didn’t come out until 1997, they can’t possibly be that old.

I could contact a fire Marshall if you would want me to. WHO’S IN?

Again, not really my first choice of action. How about seeing if you can get in touch with the friendly people who manage the place? I’m sure they would like to be proactive about these things. Next time I’m up there I’ll try to do the same, and maybe leave a business card.

I’ve seen lots of botched installations from New Mexico on YouTube; some on the news detail sprinkler systems. Like sprinkler heads glued to the wall but not connected to anything; flow switches with rocks underneath so they don’t go off, pipes and risers not connected to anything, etc.

just a thought, the museum’s maintenance staff may have replaced faulty legit devices with ebay knockoffs.

Wouldn’t doubt it. Around here the local school district is allowed to service and test their own fire alarm systems. Not one of them is tagged so I really question if they are inspecting them fully. I’ve found t taps, BPS panels in trouble, etc. A complete mess. And when they replace a panel they just screw the new one on top of the old one and call it a day! We go in there to do their sprinkler systems because that is the one thing they are not allowed to touch but I always document anything I see on our work orders.

Well if they are that shoddy with all of the fire alarm work then its a good thing that they aren’t allowed to service the sprinklers.