“Fire drill in three, two, one…”

5 minute read

September 15, 2014, 10:09 PM

Back on August 1, I got together with my friend Elyse and we tested a number of different fire alarm notification appliances at her house.  We had to take it to her house, because I live in an apartment, and, out of respect for my neighbors, I have a visual-only policy at my house, i.e. as many strobes as you want, but no horns.  Most of the alarms that we tested were hers, though we did run a couple of mine, plus I provided the power, i.e. my Wheelock RPS-2440 24-volt power supply.

The first alarm up was a Gentex smoke alarm.  I’ve seen these in person before, most notably when I stayed at the Bolger Center in Potomac for an event with a company that shall remain nameless, where there was a Gentex smoke detector in my room, next to a Wheelock ET speaker/strobe.  At the time, I commented about the alarm system, “I thought about how neat it would be to see both devices in action, but the thing is, if both devices are going, you’re really screwed.”  While I had since seen a Wheelock ET in action, I hadn’t seen a Gentex smoke alarm in action until this day.  And here it is:

The tone on this one surprised me.  I was expecting Code-3, not the high-pitched beeping that I got.  After all, my home smoke alarm does Code-3, and so I would have thought that a Gentex product would do likewise.

Then we did a SpectrAlert Advance by System Sensor:

This particular specimen was made for use by alarm vendors displaying the Advance with some advertising literature, with the intent of selling to installers.  Elyse managed to get this from one of those vendors.

After that, we moved on to Elyse’s white Edwards Integrity 757-5A-TW horn/strobe:

This was pretty cool for me, because I had never heard an Edwards Integrity in person before.  I’ve seen them out and about many times before, but I’ve never seen or heard one in action.

Then the next alarm was a Wheelock Exceder LED:

Wheelock Exceder LED

For those not familiar, Exceder is the current line of fire alarm notification appliances produced by Cooper Notification under the Wheelock brand.  It comes in a version that uses a conventional xenon strobe (which you’ve probably seen before), and there’s another version that uses an LED for the visual component rather than a xenon strobe.  I had never heard either version of the Wheelock Exceder before, though in seeing clips online, I learned that it sounds almost exactly like an NS.  The LED was exciting for me, because it’s new in the fire alarm world, and I’d never seen an Exceder LED in person at all, let alone seen it in action.

And unfortunately, this would be a disappointment.  While the audible functioned properly, the LED part of it was, unfortunately, dead.  That was unfortunate, but somewhat expected, considering that a previous owner of this horn had disassembled it to see what it was like inside.  Apparently they didn’t get it all back together correctly.

After that, we moved onto a Wheelock NS:

This version of the NS is designed to be mounted on the ceiling, and has a very different design from the wall-based NS.  This alarm was also part of a trade that Elyse and I did.  She had an extra ceiling-mounted NS, and I had an extra Wheelock 7001, and so we swapped alarms.  Look for this ceiling NS, along with a few others, in the Fire Alarm Collection pages before too long.

Next up was my Edwards 881D-AW:

You may recall that this was extracted from my old middle school in 2005 when the Edwards system was replaced by a DSC Maxsys system.  This horn, unfortunately, didn’t sound when we applied power to it.  I don’t think that the horn is necessarily dead, as there was something to the wiring that confused me, specifically a white neutral wire that I didn’t know what to do with.  Thus we may have wired it up incorrectly, as I just turned this white wire up and out of the way, since I didn’t know quite what to do with it.  More research is necessary here.

Moving along, though, we hooked up Elyse’s Notifier KMS-6-24VDC/P bell, and took it for a spin:

And yes, that is a Wheelock 7002T with backbox underneath the bell.  We had to elevate the bell by a few inches, because when we originally placed the bell, with the gong touching the table on one end, the contact with the table muffled the gong.  That wouldn’t do, so we quickly found something to elevate it, after which it worked beautifully.

Then, speaking of that Wheelock 7002T, it was time to take that for a spin:

This particular 7002T also had an unusual label:

Label on the back of Elyse's 7002T

Prior to this, I had never seen a label screenprinted on the back of the strobe like that.  I’d only seen them like on mine, where the label is a sticker on the back of the strobe.  I wonder how long Wheelock labeled 7002Ts this way before switching to the sticker label.

Elyse also got the perfect photo of the 7002T in action:

Captured mid-flash

Can’t do better than that.  Then our last fire alarm horn was Elyse’s System Sensor MASS24110ADA:

This is a multitone device, and this one was set to slow whoop.  I have a similar one of these, though she has the trim plate on hers that I don’t have for mine.  I’ve seen the trim plate once before, at the Wawa on Quarterfield Road in Glen Burnie.

Then after this, we headed over to a phone line, and gave my Wheelock UTA-WH-VPS phone horn/strobe a spin:

For those of you who went to college with me, yes, this is the same phone horn that I had up in my dorm room in Potomac Hall.  It’s been a decade since I heard that horn.  I eventually want to be able to hook this up to something so that I can use it again, but I’m not getting a landline just so that I can hook my phone horn up.  One day.

So there you go.  I’m sure that we’ll eventually do this again, so if you want us to test anything specific, let me know in the comments below.  I have 12 and 24-volt power supplies, so I can test anything that takes 12 or 24 volts DC.  And if you have a working Exceder LED that you can send my way…

Categories: Elyse, Fire alarms