Sunday, June 26, 2022

Heavy Duty Industrial Electrical Plug has a design flaw which could result in Injury

 The Crouse Hinds Heavy Duty Arktite Electrical plugs are designed for industrial use and are very solid built and designed to be pulled under load . That's why their so popular for portable pumps etc that are operating at 480 volts 3 Phase Delta Service. Where a dangerous arc Fault can develop when you pull out the plug when its under load these plugs are designed to prevent that from happening.


 

However they have an Achilles heal as we have found out at an Oil Distribution Facility.




 They whole upper assembly which contains the pin sleeve components is held in place with one set screw seen below

What happened at our facility the screw fell out either from use or not being installed properly fell out and allowed the inner pin sleeve to rotate and pull wires loose . The how wires made contact to each other and their was a loud bang  breakers tripped but the arc stayed contained as designed. 

They really need 2 screws to make sure the inner sleeve will not accidently rotate.




Monday, May 16, 2022

Tri- State area of Pa. OH and WV put in Danger by loss of NWS Emergency Weather Radio Alert signal being shut off. and No answers when it will be turned back on

 There is one very critical service the Federal Government does and does well. Its the National Weather Service known as NWS 

24/7 - 365 They maintain VHF Radio Transmitters  which signal and turn on Emergency Weather Radios 

Across the country. 

These Radios are vital to warn of impending Severe Weather Conditions  such as Tornadoes and Severe Thunder Storms etc.

Unfortunately the Signal on 162.550  put out by the National Weather Service which covers 

The Pittsburgh Pa and surrounding County's and parts of WV and Ohio 

Went out of service on April 12, 2022 due to Verizon discontinuing private in band phone lines service

 

NOAA's National Weather Service
NWSChat
NWSChat
742 
NOUS41 KPBZ 121923
PNSPBZ
OHZ041-PAZ013-014-020>023-029-031-073>076-WVZ001>004-130730-

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE PITTSBURGH PA
323 PM EDT TUE APR 12 2022

...PITTSBURGH NWR TRANSMITTER...

AUDIO FROM THE NOAA WEATHER RADIO STATION KIH35 BROADCASTING FROM
PITTSBURGH ON 162.550 MHZ REMAINS IN A DEGRADED STATE UNTIL PHONE
CIRCUITS AND AUDIO EQUIPMENT CAN BE UPGRADED. TEMPORARY FULL OFF 
THE AIR TIME IS EXPECTED IN THE NEAR FUTURE AS THIS EQUIPMENT IS 
UPGRADED. ESTIMATED TIME FOR COMPLETION IS UNKNOWN.

SURROUNDING NOAA WEATHER RADIO SITES THAT COVER THE AFFECTED
REGION INCLUDE:

	BRIDGEPORT, OH     WWF35 - 162.525 MHZ
	MORGANTOWN, OH     KWN35 - 162.475 MHZ
	JOHNSTOWN, PA      WXM33 - 162.400 MHZ
	PARKER, PA         WWG53 - 162.425 MHZ
	REYNOLDSVILLE, PA  KZZ42 - 162.500 MHZ
	YOUNGSTOWN, OH     WWG56 - 162.500 MHZ

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND AT WWW.WEATHER.GOV/PBZ/RADIO.
LISTENERS ARE ALSO ENCOURAGED TO MAKE SURE WIRELESS EMERGENCY 
ALERTS (WEA) ARE ENABLED ON CELLULAR DEVICES.

$$
 


.This is a very bad situation for those who depend on these radios in homes and businesses

Like mine who may not have a TV or Radio on or have poor or no Cellular Service .

All Too often Verizon , AT&T and T Mobile fail to send out the messages . The radio 100% of the time works 

and now that Analog TV 1 and 2  radio bands no longer work on multi band radios  it also cuts out many rural people who need this service.and depend on weather radios.

where they use to at least be able to listen to TV newscasts  when they could not get video.


This is also causing Issues for Radio and TV stations who monitor the Weather Radio Alerts to trip their EAS alert monitors so messages get delivered. 

KDKA 1020 AM which is the main re-transmission point for NWS in Pittsburgh to all other stations never got notified to problem and only after contacting NWS was able to establish a  IP link using the EMnet system Pa set up but not all stations have EMnet due to the expense. 

So they are at mercy of signal not getting to them at all because many rural stations have a hard time getting KDKA s signal.

This also means the Homeland Security  National Emergency Signal will not get out .

The entire emergency alerting chain is down and damaged. 

There will be no national Test this year either . There where so many stations last year who never got the national emergency message across the country it was considered a failure.

Please get hold of your elected  federal officials and congressman and let them know we need funding to 

get and properly maintain these signals . 

As far as when Pittsburgh will have a signal back up is unknown  I have contacted various State County Emergency Management Agency's to try and put pressure on PEMA to put pressure on FEMA to get this 

situation to be remedied ASAP

as we are at the start of Severe thunderstorms and Tornadoes. Season.  


UPDATE

The servive is back online

Thankyou to Pa. State Senator Jay Costa 

PAB

and PEMA

The service was restored June 10th

 

Thursday, April 28, 2022

ISO Three (3) Initials you should know about your town where you live because it effects how much you pay for Fire Insurance

 ISO the Insurance Service Offices is an independent rating organization  you as a Home Or property Owner should know about .

Why 

Because this organization looks at the readiness and effectiveness of Fire Suppression services in your area 

IE your local Fire Dept.

Generic photo

 

While some Dept are proud to put on their fire rigs where a ISO  3 ,4 or 5 Community 

many are hesitant to because some community have no or poor ratings. 


This can make a big difference in obtaining and what you pay for Fire Insurance 

So How is it rated  According to BankRate

The ISO outlines four categories that account for their scoring model no matter where in the U.S. your home resides. Each carries a specific weight and reflects a different aspect of fire prevention.

50% Fire department: The overall health of a fire department is assessed in this category. Factors ISO assesses include: training, number of employees and volunteers and maintenance and testing of crucial equipment.
40% Water supply: ISO evaluates the following questions; Does a community have enough water and water access for fire departments to use for fire suppression; How many fire hydrants are there; How much water is available after daily consumption?
10% Emergency communications systems: This evaluates how well a fire department receives and responds to emergency calls.
5.5%Community risk reduction: Any extra practices a community develops are recognized in this category. Includes fire safety education, fire prevention techniques and fire investigation (ISO considers these points to be bonus points)

The higher your community's number the more you pay

No1# being the best and No10# the worst 

You would be very surprised what your community is rated despite fact you have paid firefighters nearby .

Some community's with Volunteers are actually better than paid depts. 

So how do you find your community's Rating .

Well some times that's the big secret they don't want to give it out just to the Fire Dept.

But there are some ways to find out like an insurance agent can help

https://www.bankrate.com/insurance/homeowners-insurance/iso-fire-ratings/

 But if a community wants to hide it and not reveal it that's their choice .

which is a shame but that's way system was set up they where rightfully so worried people would not invest in community's with poor ratings . that's why if your buying a home check around because insurance varies widely from community to community.


Unconscionable Actions of a Fire Officers leaves a Building Unprotected full of people .

 This Past Saturday a Volunteer Fire Dept  North  of Pittsburgh  did a very Unconscionable act when they tampered with a Fire Alarm and left  a large Motor Cycle dealership without Protection.

During an Spring Open House Event  the fire Alarm Activated in Administration Office area 

Point 30# it was a Addressable Smoke Detector which was bad .


 

Unfortunately I was out of town at another customer and it would be at least 4 hours or more before I got there .

I was able to remove the detector from system profile remotely so it would stop causing a false alarm till I could get there. 

The  Honeywell Vista 250FBPT is designed to allow this as are other modern panels .

But this was not good enough the Officers said he was going to fine them if it went off again .

He then orders the smoke detector taken down and removed from system and when they did this they left the entire rest of the loop open thereby bypassing and rendering that part of system inoperable which was offices, restrooms and part of showroom 

HE DOES ALL THIS AND NEVER TALKS TO ME AND TELLS ME WHAT HE IS DOING 

 The Officer  then goes up stairs to look at panel and wants to know where the gauge is so they know the panel is working . Gage the dealer employee asks? and just laughs .

Well they have not had Voltage Gauges on fire alarms since 60s. The employee knew this because he worked for a municipality with large alarm panels .

The fire fighters arrived in a pissed off mood and said they where tired of responding to false alarms 

Yes 2 false alarms in 8 years I have been handling the system and took it over Because  thee where problems which I corrected.

These fire fighters need to be removed from office and new officers who are properly trained to replace them. There is absolutely no excuse for this behavior they put there township at great liability had there been a fire and god forbid a fatality they would have been 100% responsible for all damages. . Yes the dealership has a Sprinkler system but a lot of damage could go on before a fire would have been detected. 

I will be writing and letting the township know what happened so it never happens again.

Once again  THE FIRE SERVICE IS ITS OWN WORST ENEMY 


Just Imagine these headline in newspaper 

FIRE DEPT DISABLED FIRE SYSTEM ALLOWING MAJOR DAMAGE TO A DEALERSHIP

 

 



Sunday, March 20, 2022

US Justice Dept needs to look into a nationwide Honeywell - Alarmnet Services outage. and Underwriters Laboratory UL How could this ever happen?

 Sunday March 13th Alarm Dealers who use Honeywell Alarmnet Services started noticing failure to Communicate siiganls coming in at an unusala pace and not being able to log into Total Connect ad the 360 Website portal for dealers.

Alarmnet is a  AT&T & Verizon Cellular and IP service provided by Honeywell which transport  Burglar, Fire , Medical , Holdup , PERS and Environmental alarms  signals  which are routed thru their Central Station in NYC to hundreds of Central Stations across the nation.

In fact 2 Million subscribers all of a sudden around 7 Pm and sooner  went down totally and completely the entire Honeywell Alarmnet was down . 

The signal transportation  The Total Connect Interactive system allows remote control of alarms and Honeywell comfort which  remote controls Thermostats .

It was also an extremely cold weekend in the mid west and north east .

Of course no word was coming out of Honeywell what was going on . Dealers like myself started calling 

and notifying customers in my case 186 Alarmnet users and Local Authorities because we had a real nightmare on our hands . They would have to call 911 and many of my sites are remote and unattended 

I would not know I have an overheat a fire or burglary or possible water or oil leak.

I have many Critical Infrastructure customers I monitor including Oil Distributors and AM /FM Radio stations and a large institutional customer as well as industrial customers and Apartment buildings . 

Over 1 Billion in assets and 2500 individuals  my Alarmnet monitored systems are covering.

Besides me there was an even bigger concern some of our Military and Government facility are monitored thru Alarmnet  as well. 

there was concern this could have been a terrorist Hack and attack.

So you can understand why myself and many Fire Marshals and Officials wanted answers  

Honeywell sent out hourly emails of system being down if you signed up for them but many dealers where totally unaware especially residential dealers whose systems do not test as often as Commercial systems do. 

Finally Monday at 2:30 Pm Honeywell sent out a notice Alarmnet signal transport was back on line and  the rest was back on by 7Pm but problems continued for a couple more days as buffers in panels started finally clearing.   

They then send out an Email claiming it was all caused by the failure of Air conditioning unit overheating their server racks.

Really a single point failure caused 2 million accounts to go down. 


Central stations are to have dual redundant systems up and ready to go at all times  and honeywell had none of this .

Where the hell was UL on setting up and demading this facitly to be fully redundent so nothing like this happens 

The big central stations have multiple monitoring sites which they can switch to and honeywell has no back up.and gives us a less than satisfactory answer.

Some claimed it was a ransom ware demand while others say it was definitely a hack there are malicious programs which can take over  HVAC systems and computer servers speed up the processors and burn them up. 

a simple HVAC failure sorry I am not buying t and if they where that poorly designed I will be moving all my accounts off Alarmnet  .

Its time for real answers .



 



Friday, February 25, 2022

Ademco 5140-MPS Pull Stations are we looking at anothe recall similar to Firelite BG-10

A few  year ago the Fire Lite BG10 Pull stations  where recalled


Due to the plunger which actuates when station is pulled freezing in place 

Well now after testing some Ademco / Honeywell 5140MPS stations I am getting same issues


 Did an apartment buildings fire alarm inspection today and both pull stations in the cold corridors  stuck and would not actuate. and the plunger switch being used is very similar to the BG-10 that was recalled  for repairs or replacement .



 The problem with Pull stations other than the occasional sometimes  yearly testing they sit  and are not activated allowing them to s=get stuck.


The newer Designed BG -12 made by Fire Lite is far superior because it uses a toggle switch which is much better design.

So now I have to notify Honeywell an CPSC to possible issues for a possible recall. 



Thursday, February 24, 2022

Improper install of Antennas on 2 Way AES Radio units leads to many problems and Fustrations for Building Owners

 I recently was called to look at and take over seven (7 )Buildings Fire Alarm Systems after they experienced constant problems with their Two  (2 ) Way AES Radio Systems which report an active Fire Alarm Signal to a Central Station.

AES makes an excellent supervised wireless radio system that runs on its own UHF Channels and are deployed world wide. but the problems at these buildings was the radios where not properly installed particularly the Antenna set ups and when you live in a city full of Hills and Valleys like Pittsburgh Pa. that's important .

I replaced all the AES Radios with Napco Starlink Cellular Radios as I am not an AES dealer and you need to set up an entire network for it to work so only larger alarm company's can usually afford these systems.


 There are very specific specifications which must be met so these units will operate at peak efficiency and this was not done .

From the AES Manual 

AES 7788 Series RF Subscriber Unit ─ Installation and Operation Manual
AES Corporation 11 40-7788, Rev 6, August 30, 2016
1.11 Coaxial Cable and Antenna Installation Tips
· Avoid using 25’ of coax length if a 10’ will be sufficient.
· Never use more than 25’ of RG-58 cable in any antenna installation
· Always use shortest length of coax possible. Longer than necessary coax lengths
translates into greater signal loss.
· Always use the straightest most direct routing possible in any coax installation.
Unnecessary and tight bends adds to potential signal loss.
· Use 50 Ohm impedance coax only. Do not use 75 Ohm coax for the connection of
remote antenna. RG-8, 9913, LMR-400, LMR-600 and RG-58 are among a list of
acceptable 50 Ohm coax.
RG-59 and RG-6 are 75 Ohm and NOT to be used.
· Use the proper coaxial connectors and crimp tool for the coax selected. Incorrect or
poorly installed connectors can have a significant effect of the performance of the RF 

 The reason for this is when you couple an antenna to a radio you must maintain as close as possible a SWR of 1:1   anything past a 1:3 and problems will occur including burning out the transmitter

SWR  stands for Standing Wave Ratio 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standing_wave_ratio

 

Clearly these installers failed to follow the instructions and as a result management was getting called for Radio trouble signals at all hours of the day   and when they called for service and techs would come out to service the system they did nothing to fix it and charged the customer big bucks so you can understand the situation and why they called me. 

Take the following pictures as some of the bad practices I saw 



 As you can see in this picture install instructions where violated when a section of coax was added to a system  which is not allowed and then where it is coupled together a poorly sealed connector with tape is allowing water to get into it .

This building in particular the local fire Marshal thanked me for taking over because he was so upset with the company who installed and serviced the radios due to all the calls they would get from tenants when the systems would start beeping in trouble all times of the day.  

This was all 100% avoidable.

Had they hired someone like me who is familiar with Two( 2) way and Amateur ( Ham ) Radio Equipment  to scope out and test  for best placement of the antennas instead of  just do what you have to to get a signal .

Needless to say i will be picking up more of these buildings from this customer because they have had it with the current alarm provider. 

 

antenna shoved thru hole in ceiling

antenna shoved thru drilled hole in soffit




 

 


Saturday, February 5, 2022

Missing /stolen Reward 25 caliber Mauser Pistol

A man my wife knew Jeff  who who did some  wood  work on our house about 20 years ago and did gun smithing as a hobby and lived on School Street in Penn Hills Pa and is now deceased . He  either lost ,sold or was otherwise stolen from him a Mauser 1910  25 caliber 6.25 mm  hand gun which I had given him to repair . aprox. 20 years ago . It was Reported Stolen  to Penn Hills Police  and not seen since.
  Serial number # 213979

Not a particularly expensive  or historic gun made during  war and millions where made and many Germans carried them for personnel protection.

Though the gun was well made it had one fatal flaw and that was the flat springs in the gun which would frequently break and which Jeff was going to fix for me. Well he never did and kept putting me off finally admitted to me lost it in his house.   I immediately called Penn Hills  Police who took a report .

You can still buy these guns at any gun show for around $150-$500 depending on condition and certain models could go much higher if you had case etc.  mine was closer to the $150.00 dollar  more of a family heirloom than a practical gun to carry and I would like to get it back so I can pass it down .

This is a problem with these old guns  they are still applicable to all state and federal firearms laws Just like a brand new gun and if you bought , found or where given  one and did not run a back round check on it and  if are found in possession of one of the many stolen guns like mine you will be charged with a felony and can face 5-10 years in prison  weather you knew it was stolen or not  If you inherent or buy or other wise find an old gun and decide to keep it run it thru the local police and or gun shop and make sure it is not stolen or prepare to face the consequences. Better to turn in a gun with no consequences than face legal and jail time .