Basic Rules for Panel Care

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lilrags16
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Re: Basic Rules for Panel Care

Postby lilrags16 » Tue Jun 10, 2014 11:18 pm

Destin wrote:When you wire in series, the voltage is evenly divided across each device.

Do you mean Parallel?( Not trying to show anyone up, but rather curious. :wink: )
Or am i not getting the point?
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Re: Basic Rules for Panel Care

Postby NewAgeServer » Tue Jun 10, 2014 11:27 pm

He's correct.

When you wire in parallel, the amps are evenly divided, not the voltage.
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Re: Basic Rules for Panel Care

Postby lilrags16 » Tue Jun 10, 2014 11:43 pm

NewAgeServer wrote:He's correct.

When you wire in parallel, the amps are evenly divided, not the voltage.


Ok thanks Andrew! I probably misread something :roll:
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Re: Basic Rules for Panel Care

Postby AllFiredUp » Wed Jun 11, 2014 9:27 am

"I don't have a wristband grounder. Am I able to just wrap the grounding wire that comes with the hot and neutral in AC power? I don't really touch anything on the circuit board besides the screw terminals, and obviously, the keypad."

I think something is being missed when talking about "grounding". Grounding is supposed to be an alternate pathway for electricity to discharge into the earth instead of traveling through a person. If you are "grounded" your body then becomes that alternate route. That is why electrical workers use fiber glass ladders and heavy leather gloves. They want to be a high resistance path to earth so that electricity can't pass them, unlike a metal ladder, and also them subsequently.

The wrist band "grounders" are to be used when working around CMOS chips that are subject to being easily damaged due to a static shock. The purpose of the wrist band is that it will allow static electricity to leak away into the grounding network to which you are attached that may build up on you if you are standing on a rubber mat with shoes that have soles that can create static electricity.

You never want to be "grounded" because you become part of the circuit.

You see at science halls people that have their hair standing out straight from a static electricity charge. They have basically become a human capacitor. However, nothing happens to them because the stored electricity can't discharge out because they are insulated from letting a discharge to occur, as opposed to grounding. If they were grounded a high static charge couldn't build up.

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Re: Basic Rules for Panel Care

Postby facp_eng » Wed Jun 11, 2014 9:30 pm

Just to add my $.02...

I've worked with these sorts of boards for many many years. Especially with the newer circuit boards you would always want to handle them (while unpowered) with a grounding wriststrap. They are relatively cheap, and can prevent the static buildup (particularly worse in the cold dry winter months) from damaging sensitive electronics. Nothing worse than turning some long-awaited piece of electronics into a fancy doorstop.

http://www.radioshack.com/product/index ... Id=2260808

$15 is a pretty cheap investment to protect your collection.

I would never suggest using the ground wire from the AC wiring as a means to ground yourself. It would certainly work, but you would probably be in close proximity to the dangerous live wires.

Lastly, I would never suggest playing around with such equipment while the system was hot. Touching the wrong thing can damage your prized piece of equipment, or worse, yourself.

Above all, be safe.

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Re: Basic Rules for Panel Care

Postby lilrags16 » Wed Jun 11, 2014 9:37 pm

facp_eng wrote:
I would never suggest using the ground wire from the AC wiring as a means to ground yourself. It would certainly work, but you would probably be in close proximity to the dangerous live wires.



some panels can have multiple ground inputs for static protection
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Re: Basic Rules for Panel Care

Postby facp_eng » Wed Jun 11, 2014 9:41 pm

I agree. Just to clarify though... I was under the impression (perhaps falsely so), that the idea of grounding oneself by touching the bare ground wire in the AC bundle coming in (sometimes referred to as romex) was being suggested. This I feel is extremely dangerous.

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Re: Basic Rules for Panel Care

Postby Jack » Thu Jun 12, 2014 4:50 am

facp_eng wrote:I agree. Just to clarify though... I was under the impression (perhaps falsely so), that the idea of grounding oneself by touching the bare ground wire in the AC bundle coming in (sometimes referred to as romex) was being suggested. This I feel is extremely dangerous.

Agreed. I would not endorse doing this, because if your ground lead touches hot, touches neutral, or connects the two, you're out of luck.

Just put your ground clip onto the can/chassis of the panel, because it should be grounded. Check to see if there's a green/bare wire attached to the can.

I've never used a ground strap before on anything and everything has been fine, but it's an extra layer of protection.

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Re: Basic Rules for Panel Care

Postby AllFiredUp » Thu Jun 12, 2014 7:24 am

"because if your ground lead touches hot, touches neutral,"

Your ground and neutral are tied in together. It is the "hot" that you have to worry about.

The ground is an alternate pathway to the neutral that shunts an electrical current into the earth to help you from getting shocked from a faulty piece of electrical equipment that has a ground prong on its' plug.

Take a voltmeter and check the voltages of a 120 VAC feed between Hot-Neutral and Hot-Ground, they should be the same.

Power down and check the resistance between the Neutral-Ground and it should be < 0.5 Ohms.

To add more confusion, fire alarm panels for the most part use a "Floating" ground, which is why you can get a "Positive" and Negative" ground fault from a DC circuit.

A floating ground is also used in car stereos. That is why you can get AC sound output coming out of a car 12 VDC system.

Simply put, an "AC" sound wave is a result of voltage being higher or lesser positive from a CIRCUIT BOARD fixed(floating) ground point of about 6.0 VDC and not your car's chassis which is 0.0 Volts by being connected to the car battery's negative terminal.

Toronto, Ontario guy

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Re: Basic Rules for Panel Care

Postby facp_eng » Thu Jun 12, 2014 9:20 pm

Not going to beat this dead horse to death, but just to clarify. Imagine the point that the AC comes into the panel. The Hot, Neutral and ground are all in close proximity. You are probably taking a pretty big risk by attaching yourself either via wriststrap or direct connection to the bare ground lead with it being so close to the hot. My impression from previous comments was it was being suggested that in lieu of a grounding wrist strap, one could just grab the grounding wire.

I'm only dragging this out, because I've noticed that there are quite a bit of younger folks in this forum. The power available in these panels can make for a very bad day if you touch the wrong thing. Above all, be careful. If you are experimenting and don't have a lot of experience, please consult someone who knows before you touch something questionable. On another safety note, a lot of the panels have components that store voltage (capacitors). Most are relatively harmless, but some of the larger ones can give you a pretty unpleasant shock even after the panel has been powered down.

Bottom line. Fire panels are fun to play with and very educational. Live systems can be extremely dangerous, so take proper precautions and error on the side of safety.

</Off Soapbox>

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Re: Basic Rules for Panel Care

Postby AllFiredUp » Thu Jun 12, 2014 10:48 pm

There seems to be too much concern about this "static electricity" issue and I would say the discussion can cause more negative apprehension in new technicians than being simple good advice. I have been around fire alarm panels for m-a-n-n-y-y years and I never damaged a fire panel or even a fire panel component from a static electricity discharge because of a good understanding of the most misunderstood term "ground" or "grounding".

If you have any static electricity on your body(and how did it get there?) you will discharge that static electricity safely as soon as you touch the fire panel key lock, since it is attached to the panel which is connected to the building ground, which is different from the circuit board chassis ground, which is a voltage reference point.

Once you start working on a fire panel you will only be standing and won't create any static electricity so you have nothing to worry about.

As for capacitors, they are voltage stabilizers and since the highest DC voltage that you will see on a fire panel is 28 VDC, they present no shock hazard. Capacitors that store high voltages are for circuits entirely different than fire control panels.

There are 4 main types of "grounds":

1 - Earth ground
2 - Chassis ground
3 - Floating ground
4 - Isolated ground

Isolated grounds are more common with UPS systems that use batteries or diesel generators and wouldn't be our concern unless the installation of a fire alarm panel was speced with an isolating ground in conjunction with a power backup supply for the fire alarm panel that also used an isolated ground.

Each different type of ground has a specific application.

Fire alarm panels deal with #s 1, 2 and 3.

It is important that you learn the difference between the 3 uses because using a ground wire can be an important part of troubleshooting, but ONLY if you know how it affects a circuit because you will know when you CAN'T use a ground reference to troubleshoot.

Toronto, Ontario guy


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