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November 3, 2002

                             ET NEWS
================================================================
        NEWS AND INFORMATION FOR ENGINEERING TECHNICIANS
----------------------------------------------------------------
Issue No. 71                                           11-3-2002
================================================================

Contents
--------
- News
- ET Journal
- NICET Test Dates
- AFAA Class Schedule
- Comments and Contacts

================================================================
NEWS
================================================================

Information regarding the Advanced Fire Alarm seminar
(NICET III & IV) to be held in Seattle on December 3-5, 2002 is
available at: http://www.afaa.org/afaa/PDF/ADV_Seattle_Dec2002.pdf

----------------------------------------------------------------

I'm off to Anaheim this week; home of the Happiest Place on Earth
(The Big A) *and* Disneyland!

Have fun!

Mike

================================================================
ET JOURNAL
================================================================

NICET Fire Alarm Systems Level II
33027 BASICS OF SIGNAL TRANSMISSION
-----------------------------------

33027 is a Level II General Non-Core Work element.

33027 DESCRIPTION
Know the types of signaling circuits on a fire alarm system, the
types of signals transmitted over these circuits, and the
limitations on the capacity of the signaling circuits. (NFPA 72
and related appendix)

33027 REFERENCES:
NFPA 72 http://www.nfpa.org/catalog/product.asp?category%5Fname=&pid=7299

33027 DESCRIPTION BREAKDOWN:
"Know the types of signaling circuits on a fire alarm system,
the types of signals transmitted over these circuits, and the
limitations on the capacity of the signaling circuits."

NFPA 72-1999 1-4 Active Multiplex System. A multiplexing system
in which signaling devices such as transponders are employed to
transmit status signals of each initiating device or initiating
device circuit within a prescribed time interval so that lack of
receipt of such signal may be interpreted as a trouble signal.

NFPA 72-1999 1-4 Multiplexing. A signaling method characterized
by simultaneous or sequential transmission, or both, and
reception of multiple signals on a signaling line circuit, a
transmission channel, or a communications channel, including
means for positively identifying each signal.

NFPA 72-1999 5-3 Proprietary Central Station Systems.

NFPA 72-1999 5-3.4.7 The maximum elapsed time from sensing a
fire alarm at an initiating device or initiating device circuit
until it is recorded or displayed at the proprietary supervising
station must not exceed 90 seconds.

NFPA 72-1999 5-5 Communications Methods for Supervising Station
Fire Alarm Systems.

NFPA 72-1999 5-5.2.2.1 Equipment. Fire alarm system equipment
and installations must comply with Federal Communication
Commission (FCC) rules and regulations, as applicable,
concerning the following:
(1) Electromagnetic radiation
(2) Use of radio frequencies
(3) Connection to the public switched telephone network of
telephone equipment systems, and protection apparatus

NFPA 72-1999 5-5.3.1.2.3
NFPA 72-1999 A-5-5.3.1.2.3 (b)
The maximum end-to-end operating time parameters allowed for an
active multiplex system are as follows:
(a) The maximum allowable time lapse from the initiation of a
single fire alarm signal until it is recorded at the supervising
station must not exceed 90 seconds. When any number of subsequent
fire alarm signals occur at any rate, they will be recorded at a
rate no slower than one every 10 additional seconds.
(b) The maximum allowable time lapse from the occurrence of an
adverse condition in any transmission channel until recording of
the adverse condition is started must not exceed 90 seconds for
Type 1 and Type 2 systems, and 200 seconds for Type 3 systems.
The requirements of NFPA 72-1999 5-5.3.1.3 apply.
Derived channel systems comprise Type 1 and Type 2 systems only.
(c) In addition to the maximum operating time allowed for fire
alarm signals, the requirements of one of the following must be
met:
1. A system unit that has more than 500 initiating device
circuits must be able to record not less than 50 simultaneous
status changes in 90 seconds.
2. A system unit having fewer than 500 initiating device
circuits must be able to record not less than 10 percent of the
total number of simultaneous status changes within 90 seconds.
Except proprietary supervising station systems that have opening
time requirements specified in NFPA 72-1999 5-3.4.7 through 5-3.4.9.

NFPA 72-1999 5-5.3.1.3
System Classification. Active multiplex systems are divided into
three categories based on their ability to perform under adverse
conditions of their transmission channels. The system
classifications are as follows:
(a) A Type 1 system will have dual control as described in NFPA
72-1999 5-5.2.4. An adverse condition on a trunk or leg facility
must not prevent the transmission of signals from any other
trunk or leg facility, except those signals normally dependent
on the portion of the transmission channel in which the adverse
condition has occurred. An adverse condition limited to a leg
facility will not interrupt normal service on any trunk or other
leg facility. The requirements of NFPA 72-1999 5-5.2.1, 5-5.2.2,
and 5-5.2.3 must be met by Type 1 systems.
(b) A Type 2 system will have the same requirements as a Type 1
system except that dual control of the primary trunk facility is
not required.
(c) A Type 3 system will automatically indicate and record at
the supervising station the occurrence of an adverse condition
on the transmission channel between a protected premises and the
supervising station. The requirements of NFPA 72-1999 5-5.2 will
be met.
The requirements of NFPA 72-1999 5-5.2.4 do not apply.

NFPA 72-1999 5-5.3.1.4 System Loading Capacities. The capacities
of active multiplex systems are based on the overall reliability
of the signal receiving, processing, display, and recording
equipment at the supervising and subsidiary stations, and the
capability to transmit signals during adverse conditions of the
signal transmission facilities. Allowable capacities of active
multiplex systems must be in accordance with NFPA 72-1999 Table
5-5.3.1.4.

NFPA 72-1999 5-5.3.2.1.1 Digital Alarm Communicator Transmitter
(DACT). A DACT must be connected to the public switched telephone
network upstream of any private telephone system at the protected
premises. In addition, the connections to the public switched
telephone network will be under the control of the subscriber for
whom service is being provided by the supervising station fire
alarm system. Special attention is required to ensure that this
connection is made only to a loop start telephone circuit and not
to a ground start telephone circuit.

If public cellular telephone service is utilized as a secondary
means of transmission, the requirements of NFPA 72-1999
5-5.3.2.1.1 does not apply to the cellular telephone service.

NFPA 72-1999 5-5.3.2.1.2 All information exchanged between the
DACT at the protected premises and the digital alarm communicator
receiver (DACR) at the supervising or subsidiary station will be
by digital code or some other approved means. Signal repetition,
digital parity check, or some other approved means of signal
verification will be used.

NFPA 72-1999 5-5.3.2.1.3 A DACT will be configured so that when
it is required to transmit a signal to the supervising station,
it will seize the telephone line (going of-hook) at the protected
premises, disconnect an outgoing or incoming telephone call, and
prevent use of the telephone line for outgoing telephone calls
until signal transmission has been completed. A DACT must not be
connected to a party line telephone facility.

NFPA 72-1999 5-5.3.2.1.4 A DACT will have the means to
satisfactorily obtain a dial tone, dial the number(s) of the
DACR, obtain verification that the DACR is ready to receive
signals, transmit the signal, and receive acknowledgment that
the DACR has accepted that signal. In no event will the time from
going off-hook to on-hook exceed 90 seconds per attempt.

NFPA 72-1999 5-5.3.2.1.5 A DACT will have suitable means to reset
and retry where the first attempt to complete a signal
transmission sequence is unsuccessful. A failure to complete
connection must not prevent subsequent attempts to transmit an
alarm where such alarm is generated from any other initiating
device circuit or signaling line circuit, or both. Additional
attempts will be made, until the signal transmission sequence
has been completed, up to a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 10
attempts.

If the maximum number of attempts to complete the sequence is
reached, an indication of the failure will be made at the premises.

NFPA 72-1999 5-5.3.2.1.6.1
NFPA 72-1999 5-5.3.2.1.6.1(8)
A DACT will employ one of the following combinations of
transmission channels:
(a) Two telephone lines (numbers)
(b) One telephone line (number) and one cellular telephone
connection
(c) One telephone line (number) and a one-way radio system
(d) One telephone line (number) equipped with a derived local
channel
(e) One telephone line (number) and a one-way private radio alarm
system
(f) One telephone line (number) and a private microwave radio
system
(g) One telephone line (number) and a two-way RF multiplex system.
(h) A single integrated services digital network (ISDN) telephone
line using a terminal adapter specifically listed for supervising
station fire alarm service, where the path between the transmitter
and the switched telephone network serving central office is
monitored for integrity so that the occurrence of an adverse
condition in the path will be annunciated at the supervising
station within 200 seconds.

A two number ISDN line is not a substitute for the requirement to
monitor the integrity of the path.

NFPA 72-1999 5-5.3.2.1.6.2 The following requirements apply to
all combinations in NFPA 72-1999 5-5.3.2.1.6.1:
(a) Both channels will be supervised in a manner appropriate for
the means of transmission employed.
(b) Both channels will be tested at intervals not exceeding 24
hours
For public cellular telephone service, a verification (test)
signal will be transmitted at least monthly.
Where two telephone lines (numbers) are used, it is permitted to
test each telephone line (number) at alternating 24-hour intervals.
(c) The failure of either channel must send a trouble signal on
the other channel within 4 minutes.
(d) When one transmission channel has failed, all status change
signals will be sent over the other channel.
Where used in combination with a DACT, a derived local channel
is not required to send status change signals other than those
indicating that adverse conditions exist on the telephone line
(number).
(e) The primary channel will be capable of delivering an
indication to the DACT that the supervising station has received
the message.
(f) The first attempt to send a status change signal must use
the primary channel except where the primary channel is known to
have failed.
(g) Simultaneous transmission over both channels is permitted.
(h) Failure of telephone lines (numbers) or cellular service will
be annunciated locally.

NFPA 72-1999 5-5.3.2.1.7.1 A DACT will be connected to two
separate means of transmission at the protected premises. The
DACT must be capable of selecting the operable means of
transmission in the event of failure of the other means. The
primary means of transmission will be a telephone line (number)
connected to the public switched network.

NFPA 72-1999 5-5.3.2.1.7.2 The first transmission attempt will
utilize the primary means of transmission.

NFPA 72-1999 5-5.3.2.1.8 Each DACT will be programmed to call a
second DACR line (number) where the signal transmission sequence
to the first called line (number) is unsuccessful.

NFPA 72-1999 5-5.3.2.1.9 If long distance telephone service,
including WATS, is used, the second telephone number must be
provided by a different long distance service provider if there
are multiple providers.

NFPA 72-1999 5-5.3.2.1.10 Each DACT will automatically initiate
and complete a test signal transmission sequence to its
associated DACR at least once every 24 hours. A successful signal
transmission sequence of any other type within the same 24-hour
period is considered sufficient to fulfill the requirement to
verify the integrity of the reporting system, provided signal
processing is automated so that 24-hour delinquencies are
individually acknowledged by supervising station personnel.

NFPA 72-1999 5-5.3.2.1.11 If a DACT is programmed to call a
telephone line (number) that is call forwarded to the line
(number) of the DACR, a must will be implemented to verify the
integrity of the call forwarding feature every 4 hours.

NFPA 72-1999 5-5.3.2.2.1.1 Spare DACRs must be provided in the
supervising or subsidiary station. The spare DACRs will be able
to be switched into the place of a failed unit within 30 seconds
after detection of failure.

One spare DACR is permitted to serve as a backup for up to five
DACRs in use.

NFPA 72-1999 5-5.3.2.2.1.2 The number of incoming telephone lines
to a DACR is limited to eight lines.

If the signal receiving, processing, display, and recording
equipment at the supervising or subsidiary station is duplicated
and a switchover is able to be accomplished in less than 30
seconds with no loss of signal during this period, the number of
incoming lines to the unit is be permitted to be unlimited.

NFPA 72-1999 5-5.3.2.2.2.1 The DACR equipment at the supervising
or subsidiary station must be connected to a minimum of two
separate incoming telephone lines (numbers). If the lines
(numbers) are in a single hunt group, they will be individually
accessible; otherwise, separate hunt groups are required. These
lines (numbers) will be used for no other purpose than receiving
signals from a DACT. These lines (numbers) must be unlisted.

NFPA 72-1999 5-5.3.2.2.2.2 The failure of any telephone line
(number) connected to a DACR due to loss of line voltage must be
annunciated visually and audibly in the supervising station.

NFPA 72-1999 5-5.3.2.2.2.3 The loading capacity for a hunt group
will be in accordance with Table NFPA 72-1999 5-5.3.2.2.2.3 or
be capable of demonstrating a 90 percent probability of
immediately answering an incoming call.

Each supervised intrusion alarm (open/close) or each suppressed
guard tour transmitter will reduce the allowable DACTs as follows:
1. Up to a four-line hunt group, by 10
2. Up to a five-line hunt group, by 7
3. Up to a six-line hunt group, by 6
4. Up to a seven-line hunt group, by 5
5. Up to a eight-line hunt group, by 4

Each guard tour transmitter will reduce the allowable DACTs as
follows:
1. Up to a four-line hunt group, by 30
2. Up to a five-line hunt group, by 21
3. Up to a six-line hunt group, by 18
4. Up to a seven-line hunt group, by 15
5. Up to a eight-line hunt group, by 12

NFPA 72-1999 5-5.3.2.3
NFPA 72-1999 5-5.3.2.3.1 Digital Alarm Radio System (DARS). If
any DACT signal transmission is unsuccessful, the information
must be transmitted by means of the digital alarm radio
transmitter (DART). The DACT will continue its normal
transmission sequence as required by NFPA 72-1999 5-5.3.2.1.5.

NFPA 72-1999 5-5.3.2.3.2 The DARS must be capable of
demonstrating a minimum of 90 percent probability of successfully
completing each transmission sequence.

NFPA 72-1999 5-5.3.2.3.3 Transmission sequences must be repeated
a minimum of five times. The digital alarm radio transmitter
(DART) transmission is permitted to be terminated in less than
five sequences if the DACT successfully communicates to the DACR.

NFPA 72-1999 5-5.3.2.3.4 Each DART will automatically initiate
and complete a test signal transmission sequence to its
associated digital alarm radio receiver (DARR) at least once
every 24 hours. A successful DART signal transmission sequence
of any other type within the same 24-hour period is considered
sufficient to fulfill the requirement to test the integrity of
the reporting system, provided signal processing is automated so
that 24-hour delinquencies are individually acknowledged by
supervising station personnel.

NFPA 72-1999 5-5.3.2.4 Digital Alarm Radio Transmitter (DART).
A DART will transmit a digital code or another approved signal
by use of radio transmission to its associated digital alarm
radio receiver (DARR). Signal repetition, digital parity check,
or an equivalent means of signal verification will be used. The
DART must comply with applicable FCC rules consistent with its
operating frequency.

NFPA 72-1999 5-5.3.2.5 NFPA 72-1999 5-5.3.2.5.1 Digital Alarm
Radio Receiver (DARR).
A spare DARR must be provided in the supervising station and be
able to be switched into the place of a failed unit within 30
seconds after detection of failure.

NFPA 72-1999 5-5.3.2.5.2 Facilities must be provided at the
supervising station for supervisory and control functions of
subsidiary and repeater station radio receiving equipment. This
will be accomplished via a supervised circuit where the radio
equipment is remotely located from the supervising or subsidiary
station. The following conditions will be supervised at the
supervising station:
(a) Failure of ac power supplying the radio equipment
(b) Malfunction of the receiver
(c) Malfunction of the antenna and interconnecting cable
(d) Indication of automatic switchover of the DARR
(e) Malfunction of data transmission line between the DARR and
the supervising or subsidiary station

NFPA 72-1999 HANDBOOK 5-5.3.3 McCulloh Systems. McCulloh systems
provide the oldest form of transmission between a protected
premises and a supervising station. Coded transmitters at a
protected premises connect in series with transmitters at other
protected premises and with receiving equipment at the
supervising station. The interconnected circuits must maintain
continuous metallic circuit continuity. This allows the dc
current to flow from the power supply at the supervising station,
out over the series circuit, and through the coded contacts of
the transmitters at the protected premises. Where the public
telephone utility does not wish to maintain circuits that will
offer continuous metallic circuit continuity, an alternative
exists (see NFPA 72-1999 5-5.3.2.6). This alternative system
converts the McCulloh-type system into a multiplex system between
public telephone utility company wire centers. Then it reconverts
the multiplex system to a McCulloh system in order to deliver
the signals to the supervising station.

Initiation of an alarm, supervisory, or trouble signal at the
protected premises actuates the associated transmitter. As the
code wheel of the actuated transmitter turns, it alternately
breaks the circuit and connects the circuit to earth ground.

Under normal circumstances, the breaking of the circuit operates
receiving equipment that records the coded pulses at the
supervising station. Operators, either manually or by a
computer-based automation system at the supervising station,
convert these pulses to information that gives the location of
the protected premises.

If a single open fault or single ground fault impairs the circuit
between the protected premises and the supervising station, then
the signal produced by the turning of the code wheel transmits
through earth ground. Operators must respond to a trouble signal
generated by the fault. They then manually, or by a
computer-based automation system, recondition the circuit to
receive the signals through earth ground.

NFPA 72-1999 5-5.3.3.1
NFPA 72-1999 5-5.3.3.1.1 Transmitters. A coded alarm signal from
a transmitter must consist of not less than three complete rounds
of the number or code transmitted.

NFPA 72-1999 5-5.3.3.1.2 A coded fire alarm box will produce not
less than three signal impulses for each revolution of the coded
signal wheel or other approved device.

NFPA 72-1999 5-5.3.3.3
NFPA 72-1999 5-5.3.3.3.1 Loading Capacity of McCulloh Circuits.
The number of transmitters connected to any transmission channel
is limited to avoid interference. The total number of code wheels
or other approved devices connected to a single transmission
channel must not exceed 250. Alarm signal transmission channels
are reserved exclusively for fire alarm signal transmitting
service, except as provided in NFPA 72-1999 5-5.3.3.3.4.

NFPA 72-1999 5-5.3.3.3.2 The number of waterflow switches
permitted to be connected to actuate a single transmitter must
not exceed five switches.

NFPA 72-1999 5-5.3.3.3.3 The number of supervisory switches
permitted to be connected to actuate a single transmitter must
not exceed 20 switches.

NFPA 72-1999 5-5.3.3.3.6 One alarm transmission channel must not
serve more than 25 plants. A plant is permitted to consist of
one or more buildings under the same ownership, and the circuit
arrangement will be such that an alarm signal cannot be received
from more than one transmitter at a time within a plant. If such
noninterference is not provided, each building will be considered
a plant. 

NFPA 72-1999 5-5.3.3.3.7 One sprinkler supervisory transmission
channel circuit may not serve more than 25 plants. A plant is
permitted to consist of one or more buildings under the same
ownership.

NFPA 72-1999 5-5.3.4 Two-Way Radio Frequency (RF) Multiplex
Systems.

Review NFPA 72-1999 3-4.2 Circuit Designations, and Table A-5-5.1.

THE INFORMATION HEREIN IS PROVIDED AS A GUIDE ONLY AND IS INTENDED
TO ASSIST YOU IN PREPARING FOR AN EXAM. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO BE
INCLUSIVE OF ALL INFORMATION THAT MAY BE ON AN EXAM BUT RATHER IT
IS INTENDED TO BE A SMALL SAMPLE OF THE KIND OF MATERIAL THAT YOU
MAY BE EXPECTED TO KNOW.

NICET Test Preparation handbooks can be found here
http://www.etnews.org/index.php?tb=index1&s=11

================================================================
NICET TEST DATES
================================================================

From the NICET web site http://63.70.211.210/cfdocs/nicetschedule1.cfm:
"It is anticipated that the 2003 schedule will be very similar to
the 2002 schedule. The dates for the first test cycle of 2003
will be January 26, February 23 and March 23. The first
application postmark deadline will be December 1, 2002. This
postmark deadline must be used by all examinees testing in the
first test cycle of 2003 until such time as the schedule for your
preferred sessions is established."

OREGON
------
PCC Sylvania, Portland;
Test 11/16/02. Postmark deadline 9/28/02.
Test 3/15/03. Postmark deadline 1/25/03.

Clackamas Community College, Oregon City;
Test 11/16/02. Postmark deadline 9/28/02.
Test TBA/03. Postmark deadline TBA/03.

WASHINGTON
----------
Bates Technical College, Tacoma;
Test 12/14/02. Postmark deadline 10/26/02.
Test TBA/03. Postmark deadline TBA/03.

Walla Walla Community College;
Test TBA/03. Postmark deadline TBA/03.
Test TBA/03. Postmark deadline TBA/03.

Spokane Community College;
Test 11/16/02. Postmark deadline 9/28/02.
Test TBA/03. Postmark deadline TBA/03.

For a complete list of all test centers and test dates, visit
http://63.70.211.210/cfdocs/nicetschedule.cfm

================================================================
AFAA CLASS SCHEDULE
================================================================

------------------
November 4-7, 2002 Anaheim, CA - Sponsored by CAFAA
------------------
Fire Alarm System Testing and Inspections Seminar 11/4
http://www.afaa.org/afaa/PDF/INT_TI_CAFAA_ANAHEIM_November2002.pdf
Intermediate Fire Alarm Seminar 11/5-7 SOLD OUT!

------------------
November 12-14, 2002 Anaheim, CA - Sponsored by CAFAA
------------------
Intermediate Fire Alarm Seminar
http://www.afaa.org/afaa/PDF/IntFA_CAFAA_Anaheim2_Nov2002.pdf

------------------
November 12-15, 2002 Richmond, VA - Sponsored by Virginia AFAA  
------------------
Fire Alarm System Testing and Inspections Seminar 11/12
http://www.afaa.org/afaa/PDF/INT_TI_Richmond_Nov02.pdf
Intermediate Fire Alarm Seminar 11/13-15
http://www.afaa.org/afaa/PDF/INT_TI_Richmond_Nov02.pdf  

------------------
November 13-14, 2002 Philadelphia, PA - Conducted by PA Regional AFAA
------------------
IMSA Interior Fire Alarm Technician Level 1 Seminar
http://www.afaa.org/afaa/PDF/IMSA%20Seminar.pdf

------------------
November 19-21, 2002 Salt Lake City, UT
------------------
Intermediate Fire Alarm Seminar.
http://www.afaa.org/afaa/PDF/IntFA_SaltLakeCity_Nov20021.pdf

------------------
December 2-5, 2002 Orlando, FL  
------------------
Fire Alarm System Testing and Inspections Seminar 12/2
http://www.afaa.org/afaa/PDF/INT_TI_Orlando_Dec2002.pdf
Intermediate Fire Alarm Seminar 12/3-5
http://www.afaa.org/afaa/PDF/INT_TI_Orlando_Dec2002.pdf

------------------
December 3-5, 2002 Seattle, WA
------------------
Advanced Fire Alarm Seminar.
http://www.afaa.org/afaa/PDF/ADV_Seattle_Dec2002.pdf

------------------
January 14-16, 2003 Denver, CO - Sponsored by the Rocky Mountain AFAA
------------------
Advanced Fire Alarm Seminar.
More information will be available soon!

------------------
January 21-23, 2003 Oklahoma City, OK - Sponsored by OK AFAA
------------------
Intermediate Fire Alarm Seminar.
More information will be available soon!

------------------
February 4-6, 2003 Orlando, FL
------------------
Advanced Fire Alarm Seminar.
http://www.afaa.org/afaa/PDF/ADV_Orlando_Feb2003.pdf

------------------
February 19-21, 2003 Raleigh, NC 
------------------
Intermediate Fire Alarm Seminar.
More information will be available soon!

------------------
April 7-9, 2003 New Orleans, LA - Sponsored by LA AFAA   
------------------
Advanced Fire Alarm Seminar.
http://www.afaa.org/afaa/PDF/ADV_NewOrleans_April2003.pdf

================================================================
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================================================================

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http://www.nfpa.org. This reprinted material is not the complete
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on the referenced subject, which is represented only by the
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Some information may be found within this web site that is reprinted with permission from one or more of the following: NFPA 70 National Electrical Code®,NFPA 72® National Fire Alarm Code®, & NFPA 101® Life Safety Code®, Copyright© NFPA, Quincy, MA 02269.

This reprinted material is not the complete and official position of the NFPA on the referenced subject, which is represented only by the standard in its entirety.