Notifier AFP 1010

I would like to see if anyone out there can provide some insights to a problem that has plagued my facility for 18 years. I have the Notifier AFP 1010 which was new in 1994. Each year usually when we get a couple of good days of rain (3-4 inches) which is quite often here in the great Pacific Northwest, average rainfall is 120-140 inches a year. Anyway, after a couple of days of rain we get the “Earth Ground Fault in System Wiring” Trouble in the panel. Last year we upgraded our dialer from the Radionics D2071A to the Silent Night 5128/29. I was also informed that all of our wiring in conduits & in underground open vaults was not rated for these wet locations and was only designed for indoor wall use. So my question is how can I trace this thing down and figure out from the thousands of feet of this stuff which one is the bad wire or wires? What is different this year and it seems to be getting worse, is that the trouble has been happening now even after a couple of weeks or no rain. I have a request in to the University for a complete facility review of our panel, and the wiring, along with a request for upgrading the smokes to addressable devices, and possibly a new panel and all new wiring. This will be a big job for sure. But in the meantime I would like to get this things figured out as the dialer is driving the ladies in the main office crazy with the beeping every 10 seconds. There is no silence on this dialer.

I think what is happening is that rain is getting into conduit, going to a junction or device, causing the electricity to come in contact with the electrical box or conduit, and the control panel is feeling the shock. If this is true, that means that there is no Earth connection from the control panel to the breaker panel. This could possibly lead to alarm failure/damage, or someone getting shocked it they touch the conduit, a metal pull station (if any), or a metal electrical box/box cover. The fault can be tricky to find, as it may just be water in the conduit/electrical boxes. I would say to just rewire the system, the control panel replacement may not be necessary. In the meantime, you could just test every initiating device, and walk around the building when the notification appliances are going off, and verify that every device is working. You can test the initiating devices by performing a walk test (consult the panel’s instruction manual for more information).

Also, are you getting any other troubles, or messages on the control panel? Is the system conventional or addressable.

I would wait until someone else posts before taking my advice, I am not an expert.

Thank you for choosing The Fire Panels forums!

Ok from what I read your trouble is ground falt or somthing in that nature right? Now the wireing I am going to guess it is going to a separate building. Can you think of any thing that could cause this trouble on a daily base? What it could be is that water getting in the wire from the outside connection. And your panel is seeing this as no earth connection

Hope this helps

WARNING:I am not responsible for any damage done to the fire alarm equiptmint or your self

I think most panels don’t produce an Earth fault trouble if there is no Earth connection, as there is not always one available. I believe that it will display that trouble once something is shorting against something conductive that is connected to the fire alarm control panel. The fire alarm control panel can detect electricity moving through the chassis, as long as the wire coming from the Earth terminal is touching the chassis.

But the panel still looks for it

None of you know what you’re talking about.

Guys, leave the answer to the technicians before you suggest something and it causes a major problem…

We’re Is Mangum alert he is a tec right

Please defend yourself. We can’t even verify that you even know what we are talking about.

This is what I was explaining in my previous posts. I have had a couple of fire alarm control panels that I powered up with no Earth connection, and I have never received a trouble. Not all systems even have ground. It will display the Earth fault trouble once something is shorting, and the control panel chassis receives the shock. For example, the Fire-Lite MS-2 has you connect the ground wire to the panel chassis, and to the Earth terminal. The reason for connecting the wire to the Earth terminal is so the panel can detect electricity flowing threw the panel (in case there is a fault in the Earth wire going to the power panel’s ground bus). Even if you do not have an Earth connection, you should still have a wire going from the panel’s chassis to the Earth terminal.

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Oh, sorry, you posted that while I was posting my previous post.

Yes, that is why I advised deej to wait until someone else posted before taking any action.

Hmmmm the above comment “you guys don’t know what you’re talking about” is a little harsh. Being a forum moderator and administrator of a highly popular motorcycle website, I have seen comments like those cause a lot of problems. There is a better way to let someone know that what they are sharing might not be the right answer, but then again this isn’t my site. let me add to this again. What I think is happening is that one of the 2 inch conduits or a ground vault is getting rain water seepage in and hitting a wire with a nick in it then that is going to ground. It is also possible that the grounding system for our facility is losing its grounding properties. The fire panel is in the main building which is about 10,000 sqft, and then there are 4 other buildings.

The facility has a total of 20,000 sqft of occupied space. All of the junction boxes are in clean dry nema 4 boxes, at chest height in mechanical rooms with locking screws and so there is zero chance or moisture getting in. As you will recall in my original post I said that I was informed that all of the wiring was not rated for wet locations, and in fact it could just be a breakdown in the wiring insulation over the past 18 years. As an electrician I know how easy it can be to nick a wire, and in most cases in above ground situations indoors in a dry situation can be field repaired and will be just fine for the life of the facility, however if this is done and water is allowed to fill up a conduit, and or the wrong wire was used in the first place, then your chances of developing problems in the future quickly increases.

I appreciate all the comments, and suggestions, and that is one thing that makes forums great, thanks for this, lets keep the ideas coming. I think the real fix for all of this is to start looking at a new upgraded panel, and all new wiring, however my budget won’t cover that so if Environmental Health and Safety at the University level will get involved then we might have a chance of getting this addressed properly. I did find in looking at the schematics there is on the on-board battery charger a resister that can be snipped in order for the panel not to read earth ground loss, but I am of the generation that if something is wrong then get it fixed back to the way it was designed.

Some of you might even be asking yourself if I’m an electrician then why am I asking for an answer to this problem. Well to answer I thought that if anyone ran into this same problem then maybe they found an easier way to locate and isolate this problem with this particular panel. So yesterday when I did a Google search for “Earth Ground Fault in System Wiring” and had my panel in the search string as well, this site and this thread came up. So here I am.

I will throw in an additional question for you all, if we were to replace the panel, what seems to be the most popular out there? What panel company has the best support for parts and will be able to be easily worked on by the testing company? Is there a panel that is more user friendly than others? The University I work for might have a better idea on this as they have their own Fire & Life Safety department, as well as an in-house fire department. Having been here at the facility since the doors opened in July of 1995 I would love to get this one figured out, but unless I can shrink myself and travel inside the conduit and physically look at the wires like they did in the Fantastic Voyage (old guys will get that reference) then I will have to pick away at it. The problem with trying to ring out the wires is that the company that does our testing and troubleshooting is 3 weeks out so I can’t schedule them not knowing if the fault is going to be in that state the day they show up. Its random but seems to be getting worse. They are also not located in our town, so they can’t just run up here to test. And technically I am really not supposed to be working too far into this panel. So I’m kind of stuck between a rock…well you know. :slight_smile:

For me it would be firelite but all the modern panels get the job done :slight_smile:

Maybe wire insulation was cut during the wire pull. Also, sometimes in order to disable the ground fault detection, you have to have permission from your local AHJ, so make sure to check with them, first. Fire-Lite panels are the simplest, easiest to buy, and most user friendly. Any fire alarm company should be able to work on them with ease. Silent Knight is basically the same, but a little more expensive. Silent Knight panels can be a little less user-friendly, though.

I would recommend you do research of the MS-9200UDLS, and MS-9600UDLS/MS-9600LS. You can view the manuals and data sheets on Fire-Lite’s website.

Awesome guys! Thanks for the responses. :slight_smile:

Here is the manual to it, in case you need it.

deej: When you re-wire the system, remember to choose water-rated wiring, so this doesn’t happen again. :smiley:

Looks like many of your questions have been answered, but here are my $0.02.

As mentioned, the “Earth Ground Fault in System Wiring” indicates a dead short to ground somewhere in the field wiring and is not related to the facility’s grounding system. The best way to track down a ground fault is to disconnect all loops or circuits from the panel, and reconnect them one by one until the trouble comes in. Once you’ve identified which loop or circuit is causing the problem, it’s sort of guess and check from there. You can go down the loop and disconnect/reconnect each device until the ground fault disappears. This will help you locate exactly which run of wire between two devices is causing the problem. Although the AFP1010 appears to control all buildings, each building may have it’s own transponder (a remote keypad-less slave panel) that all circuits are connected to. In this case, the problem would have to be narrowed down to a specific node by disabling and enabling each transponder until the ground fault disappears, then proceeding to do as mentioned above for that transponder. I would recommend that all of this be done by a licensed technician since it can get pretty in-depth.

For the size of your facility, I don’t think Fire-Lite or Silent Knight would be able to sufficiently handle your needs. With multiple university buildings, you would be looking for a platform capable of networking and integrated mass notification. If budget permits, I would definitely recommend the Notifier NFS2-3030 with ONYXWorks and FirstVision. Also, the Gamewell-FCI E3 Broadband with FocalPoint. Both brands offer great flexibility, are easy to work with, and are non-proprietary should you ever decide to switch service companies. Most of your facility’s existing wiring could likely be reused, and Notifier can retrofit into your existing cabinets. Also, in a perfect world, all SLC devices would be equipped with fault isolator bases and modules to keep the facility protected in case more wiring issues arise in the future, though this hikes up the cost.

Good luck!

Thanks, I have all the books on the panel. :wink:

Destin beat me to what I was going to say about the transponders:)

Destin said it best. but I might point out to save money on panel an NFS2-640 would suffice, considering he’s got a 1010that can only handle 2 loop cards. And in my opinion 640 is the modern day 1010.

DeeJ. Does your system have a printer installed? That’s my best friend in troubleshooting ground faults (alone).