Saturday, January 26, 2013

Linear VS Non Linear Power Supplys theres a Big Difference when powering up big Fire Systems

Before the passing of the ADA Americans with Disabilities act  they amount of power available coming out of a fire panel to run horns or bells was not a big deal . The few buildings like highrise buildings which needed strobe lights was small  and strobes where just small blinking white lens. Which was not a significant load on the fire systems  panels power supply.
Then ADA came along with powerful clear strobes capable of 115 and even 185 candella  power.
It became a challenge to have enough power from the fire alarm panel to power them up and the Fire Alarm Booster supply was invented . From one to as many as was needed could be added to a fire system so as many strobe lights which needed powered up could be added.
But as the ADA and off shoot state disability codes expanded the need for even more strobe lights in buildings where they where not previously required  it started causing installers to some times have to use as many as 4 booster panels  for one small job. The answer was simple change the type of power supply your using and go to lower amperage  draw strobes. Many manufacturers like Silent Knight began to offer Linear power supply's VS non linear supply's Linear supply's provide a clean level voltage and can handle initial in rush current much better than non linear designed supply's. allowing for more devices per circuit and when you size up the wiring to 14-12 gauge wire you can get even further.
SK5495 Power Supply

  Company's like System Sensor and Wheelock started to offer strobes which drew less power and  a fire system designer  had the ability to pick and choose which power supply's , panels and strobes you wanted to use on a  jpb, so you had the freedom to get more out of your products with less material and wire runs getting the best of both worlds.
With an average cost of $500.00-800.00  a booster if you can save putting in 2-3 boosters thats significant money to save on a job as well as all the extra wire not needed to be run and back up batteries etc. which just adds to the job.

But the Linear VS Non Linear  Power supply often brings up conflict on jobs because if your only  installing  non linear supply's and strobes which draw more than another popular product and are locked into an engineered product like Simplex, EST ,Siemens etc.   They often see Silent Knight as an unfair competitor and cut down on its performance because it can be put in for a cheaper price.
The truth folks is Silent Knight is just as good if not better than many of the engineered systems on the market and I have installed and serviced many different systems so I know what I am talking about.  In some cases engineered systems  are nothing more than relabeled off the shelf panels with a couple extra features.
So why would you pay all that extra money and get whacked with a $400.00 service call for an engineered system vs an over the counter product.
  As more strobes are being needed and jobs are getting bigger as buildings are growing in size some manufacturers now offer even lower amperage draw strobes by utilizing LED based  strobes   which I will be testing out and reporting on in the future.

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