Like any battery-powered equipment, fire alarm and emergency systems are vulnerable to faults in their power supply. A neglected battery running low on charge, or suffering some other fault could cut out at any time, leaving your emergency system without power when it is needed most. Any complex electric system will need regular maintenance and fire alarm systems are no different. Regular inspections and maintenance should be conducted as standard practice, and inspecting and testing the battery is an important step in this process.
Using battery testers is an essential requirement of gauging how well your system’s battery is working, and how much power it has left until it needs to be replaced. At SDi Fire, we work closely with NFPA regulations to design our battery testers and other fire safety equipment.
Battery Testing Best Practices
The National Fire Alarm code recommends testing the battery’s load voltage, discharge and seal on semi-annual and annual basis. Using a well-designed, accurate and reliable battery tester makes all the difference in knowing exactly how well the battery and your fire alarm system is working. Batteries need to be tested for charge, discharge and load voltage.
In testing the charge of a battery, the battery must be fully charged and then tested with a voltmeter. This is carried out while the battery is connected to a charger.
Testing discharge again requires the battery to be fully charged, but then disconnected from a charger, then load-tested for 30 minutes with the voltage output not falling below the level that would be required to run your system.
Finally, testing load voltage involves a charged battery, disconnected from a charge, and run at terminal voltage while it is required to supply the maximum load of the system it is used to power.
These tests must be carried out initially, before the battery is installed, and then annually until they are replaced. Testing within these guidelines, as required by the NFPA, will ensure that a fire alarm and emergency system is always fully functional and always ready.
The Benefits of Our Battery Testers
However, carrying out these tests can be a time-consuming, daunting and complicated procedure if you are forced to do it without the right equipment. Cheap, poorly designed or faulty battery testers can result in a lengthy process, and more importantly, inaccurate results. Working with electrical components is a delicate task, often carrying no small amount of risk. You need to know you can trust the tools you use.
At SDi Fire, our expertise and knowledge of fire alarm systems has helped us to develop highly accurate and high efficiency battery testers. Our Power Checker (PC01) is ideal for wireless detectors and is easy to use, with no complicated switches or settings to adjust. Our similarly designed Cell Checker (Cell03) is designed for SLA batteries while being just as simple to use. Both of these battery testers test not only voltage and internal resistance, but are optimized to measure the actual performance of the battery, letting you know if you are getting all the power your system needs. Please take some time to look our other available component tools on our product pages.