Fire Alarm Rant

We recently took over a building that had been "serviced" by a company kind enough to leave a record of work orders inside the main control unit (Mirtone 790) located in the parkade electrical room. The property manager gave them 30 days to fix the "trouble" on the system and then decided to call us in when there was no response.

Here's what we found:

  1. The "parkade sprinkler zone" lamps were gone (there are two lamp modules for every zone and both were gone leaving two empty socket connectors). These were obviously removed by the brain-dead technician so he could "source" replacements. The common trouble lamp had been "on" for so long (since August 2005) that it had burned out as well. The common "alarm" lamp was also burned out. So we fixed 'em all and the "lamp trouble" LED turned off (probably for the first time since August 2005).

  1. The two 12 volt 12 AH gell cell stand by batteries were split wide "Oh? The other company said that we'd have to REPLACE the fire alarm system because they couldn't get parts for the old one any more. Gee... Maybe you should look at a couple of other buildings we have."

There's a reason for the big smile on my face these days. :)

Regards, Frank

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Been there so many times.

I was called by an electrician with a fire alarm license to fix an older fire alarm system that used large slide in zone cards. I never worked on this system before, or even heard of it. The previous company also wanted to replace the entire system because the parts were no longer available.

So I called the manufacturer, and they confirmed that the parts were no longer available. They switched me over to tech support. The tech support guy was also their engineer. He was nice enough to instructed me on how to fix the problem onsite. It turned out that all that was needed is a voltage regulator to be replaced. So I went to our local Rat Shack and picked up a couple of dozen voltage regulators.

I charged them 4K for the board repairs, and the 5 hour service call. Plus I also repaired & tested all the other dead boards laying inside the panel. They were more than happy to write me that check...That was at least 8 years ago. To this day, the system has been working fine.

Jim Rojas

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Jim Rojas

Jim it is the same old story Alarm companys will not pay for properly trained techs. most are lucky to get 2 weeks training and there on there own with no tools meters parts and toold go fix this and that with whatever so we can bill them big bucks.

then some one like me or you or a few others come along and do simple trouble shooting and end up with the whole account becuse of customer dissatisfaction and the large company who just lost a large customer stands there and shakes there head and can not understand why. likw you see it day after day.. Same old story to one of my big non profit customers has a board member who had the big integartion company he works for to come in spend $60,000 for cameras at there 3 places system still does not work and they tore out perfectly good working system that was easy to use. and stopped many work place problems. Of course they were sold a bill of goods and are ashamed to admit it. give it a year and i will be ripping out there fancy integrated system and putting my simple dvr back in place after no oneuses the big fancy system becuse it constantly breaks down and is to complicated to use. and of course the non profit will have to explain to state auditors why they spent so much money for nothing.

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