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paulrichards

Testing Bell Box Battery

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Hi,

I have a Optima Compact Gen4 panel that I have just installed. Everything works fine but I would like to confirm the bell box battery works is ok, how do I this.

thanks

Paul

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hi Paul,

1) please don't do this at an inconciderate time to your neighbours - unless you really hate them :P .

disconnect the 240 mains from the panel, which should remain operative and silent, with perhaps some indications showing power is still on the panel, it is now operating in standby mode.

a crude test by engineering standards (we have special metering kit to test them efectively), but if so, then the panel battery is connected and seemingly working properly.

if you now carefuly open your panel and disconnect your panel battery, the external siren should start to sound, if not you need to have another look at the sirenc onfiguration and/or wiring.

some sirens come set up for a short run time (engineer test mode), so make sure it runs for 2+ minutes

if all is well, then reconnect the battery, shut lid, restore mains and reset the panel to silence it.

regs

alan

Edited by arfur mo
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Thanks !!!. So basically disconnect power (mains / battery) from the control panel and then if the bell box battery is OK the bell box alarm should sound ??.

I suspect the bell box battery may be nackered as its old, I am not looking forward to replacing the bell box.

Does a new bell box come with a flat battery as otherwise it would start sounding as soon as I take the cover off to wire it up ?

thanks

Paul

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Exactly, yes because it will think your Billy Burglar attacking it and it "should" do it's job of making noise.

Paul the battery would be charged but remember your not doing the test or indeed the replacment as an engineer would.

Your alarm has an engineering menu which allows service and repair without WW3 with the neighbours.

If you don't already have either the engineer code or manual we can't provide it but although you can't test/replace the bellbox quietly it is pyhsically possible the way arthur is saying.

C.

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You could also take out the bell hold from the panel and the bell should sound.

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yes I have the manual and engineering code (I changed it from the default) as I just installed the control panel.

So you saying that replacing the bell box is going to be noisy unless I get an engineer to do it who will have "inside" info on how to do it silently ?

I am not bothered about the bell box making a noise for a quick bell box battery test. however replacing the bell box is going to take more time so I dont want to be up a ladder with 115dB in my ears and bricks being thrown at me from angary neighbours.

So does engineer mode disable the bell box, if so then I am sorted

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ah, more info used old bell so new panel ball game, 'di thoight you had installed both new.

if your okd bell range when yoi ripped out the old panel assuming it was poeewd up for a time, your battery may be ok.

you need to check it is receiving a charging votage at the bell incase of wiring errors.

you can prevent the panel going into tamper by entering emgineer mode, but siren may still sound when lifting the lid, depends how or if correctly wired.

new siren will have info with it

regs

alan

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ok old panel was a scantronic 9548 (something like that) and it was nackered, false alarms, wouldnt set properly, so ages ago I disconnected the mains and the lead acid battery at the control panel. I never remember the bell going off (which I guess it should if the bell battery is ok), however thats not to say it didnt go off.

So the old alarm stayed disabled for some time (a year or so).

Just put in this new panel + new PIRs with the existing bell box. Now if the bell box battery is screwed then I really need to replace the bell box too.

I havent fully progammed/set up the new panel. Installed it, done a walk test, and an alarm/sounder/strobe test. Thats all ok, its just the bell battery I need to test now.

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ok old panel was a scantronic 9548 (something like that) and it was nackered, false alarms, wouldnt set properly, so ages ago I disconnected the mains and the lead acid battery at the control panel. I never remember the bell going off (which I guess it should if the bell battery is ok), however thats not to say it didnt go off.

So the old alarm stayed disabled for some time (a year or so).

Just put in this new panel + new PIRs with the existing bell box. Now if the bell box battery is screwed then I really need to replace the bell box too.

I havent fully progammed/set up the new panel. Installed it, done a walk test, and an alarm/sounder/strobe test. Thats all ok, its just the bell battery I need to test now.

Yes but no need to replace the entire box, you can just replace the battery in most cases though depending on age and condition you may want to consider fitting a new box.

Most of them have a disable facility which allows you to work on the box without deafening yourself.

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also when I put the panel into engineer mode and took the cover off the panel (to swap some zones) the souder went off, is this normal, i know I triggered the anti-tamper circuit (by taking the cover off) but it was in engineer mode so I thought it wouldnt do it.

If its usefull I can dig out how I wired the bell box up

Yes but no need to replace the entire box, you can just replace the battery in most cases though depending on age and condition you may want to consider fitting a new box.

Most of them have a disable facility which allows you to work on the box without deafening yourself.

yes I would replace the whole bell box, for

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Just put in this new panel + new PIRs with the existing bell box. Now if the bell box battery is screwed then I really need to replace the bell box too.

hi paul,

having swapped out all the other bits for new on your alarm system, why did not change the one thing that will alert others of an intruder?

bit like pimping your car - but retaining the old 5 1/2 J wheels imo.

so replace the siren and that way at least, you know its got a new battery, and has been better designed to keep you clear of the noise pollution act if you get a fault.

if you then want to test the siren battery, remove the + feed to the siren at the control unit (marked + BELL).

regs

alan

Edited by arfur mo
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I didnt replace the siren because it means ladders and drilling outside which is a pain, however I see your point.

So if I remove +BELL will that force the it use the battery onboard the bell box ???

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I didnt replace the siren because it means ladders and drilling outside which is a pain, however I see your point.

So if I remove +BELL will that force the it use the battery onboard the bell box ???

Yes it will.

In answer to your previous question some sounders when used with some panles allow you to run a routine which tempoarily disables the sounder so you can work on it. I don't think that is a feature of your panel though. (though I may be wrong)

Most new sounders have some means of disabling the sounder from the actual box so you can work on it without it sounding continuously but the method is different with different makes of sounder.

If you buy a sounder the instructions will explain it quite well.

Any Texecom, Gardiner Tech, CQR etc sounder will work with your panel.

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I didnt replace the siren because it means ladders and drilling outside which is a pain, however I see your point.

So if I remove +BELL will that force the it use the battery onboard the bell box ???

if it don't, then also remove the '- hold off'.

regs

alan

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just did this:

- put it engineer mode

- took cover off control panel

- removed +bell (red wire) labelled "D" on the control panel

- took panel out of engineer mode (dont think I needed to do this) and held tamper microswitch down

nothing, no siren, completely silent

will try with -hold off too

now just done this:

- into engineer mode

- removed panel

- removed BELL+ (red wire) labelled "D" on the control panel

- removed -VE (black wire) labelled "A" on the control panel, which the manual says is wired to HOLD OFF- in the bell box

nothing, no sound nothing, I did keep the panel in engineer mode but I guess if the battery in the bell box is good then it shouldnt matter.

I have also redone an alarm test with everything back together, and the bell box works with the power back on so its not like its died in the last few days.

So I guess the battery in the bellbox is screwed ??

Paul

Edited by paulrichards
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hi paul,

your over complicating the issue, its a very simple concept so lets step back a bit.

all you need to remmember is the siren needs voltage to charge the battery, and also 'know' the controls have not been ripped of the wall or the power turned off. so removing the voltage (as though the panel has been detroyed) the siren should sound.

if it don't, then you need to look at the siren wiring in the panel 1st, then the siren, then the siren battery, after that if needed then replace the siren - in that order.

i this is beyond you, tbh with all due respect, you need to seek a trained engineers help,as the time i've spent typng help, i could have fitted five sirens.

regs

alan

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just did this:

- put it engineer mode

- took cover off control panel

- removed +bell (red wire) labelled "D" on the control panel

- took panel out of engineer mode (dont think I needed to do this) and held tamper microswitch down

nothing, no siren, completely silent

will try with -hold off too

now just done this:

- into engineer mode

- removed panel

- removed BELL+ (red wire) labelled "D" on the control panel

- removed -VE (black wire) labelled "A" on the control panel, which the manual says is wired to HOLD OFF- in the bell box

nothing, no sound nothing, I did keep the panel in engineer mode but I guess if the battery in the bell box is good then it shouldnt matter.

I have also redone an alarm test with everything back together, and the bell box works with the power back on so its not like its died in the last few days.

So I guess the battery in the bellbox is screwed ??

Paul

Yes it is fair to assume that the battery is screwed or possibly disconnected or there may even not be a battery fitted.

The siren works when you trigger the alarm, it doesn't when you remove hold offs.

Either re connect the battery in the external sounder, replace the battery or replace the sounder.

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Thank you for your help, I am new to alarm systems, though have plenty of wiring and electronics experience (actually part of my trade believe it or not). So its merely a matter of understanding what is wired to what and what triggers what etc and finding a suitable quick test to fully test the system making sure it works correctly.

The alarm tests from the panel work, ie siren/strobe so I can only assume its wired correctly. I disconnected the power as above and the alarm did not sound therefore I am assuming my battery and therefore bell box needs replacing.

Edited by paulrichards
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You could also take out the bell hold from the panel and the bell should sound.

Same here.

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but I took the tamper out, so the siren should have sounded, I think I will just replace the bell box, any recommendations ?

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but I took the tamper out, so the siren should have sounded, I think I will just replace the bell box, any recommendations ?

hi paul,

no, but i can see why you might think so.

the tamper is a 'return' path back to the panel, so the panel 'knows' the cable or siren is missing, lid had been removed or damaged even while unset, it would only operate the siren on panels programmed to do so while unset, as would be required in the latest regs.

i'd think likely the setting for bell tamper operating your internal sounders and causing the siren to operate is not selected in the panels software.

regs

alan

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talk about make things confusing

your alarm was powered down for over 12months, the back up battery in the bellbox is either flat or knackered through been fully disharged and needs changing, whilst your at it you might as well change the whole lot

your new sounder will come with full wiring instructions

dont fall off your ladders

Angus.

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but I took the tamper out, so the siren should have sounded, I think I will just replace the bell box, any recommendations ?

OK quick lesson, for an external sounder to work you need four wires

Positive hold off and negative hold off charge the battery in the sounder and keep a relay energised (in practice it's not a relay in modern sounders it's an electronic switch but relays were used back in the day). If the cable gets cut or the panels gets ripped off the wall the relay become de-energised and connects the battery to the sounder and hey presto, alarm activates.

The next two wires are switched negative and negative return.

The panel applies a negative to the sounder via the switched negative when activated and drives the sounder using power from the panel.

The negative return is a tamper wire, it should always be at negative potential but if the sounder is removed or otherwise tampered with it goes neutral (or in some cases high) the panel detects this change and triggers the alarm.

By removing either hold off the external sounder should activate, if it doesn't either the sounder was never fitted with a battery (and many cowboys don't fit them), the battery is faulty (they do fail with age), the sounder PCB is faulty (they do corrode) or as somebody else suggested there may be a link which hasn't been made. (many sounders are fitted with a link to disable the battery during install).

Personally I like Texecom sounders but recently fitted one of the new Gardtec ones and was equally impressed with that. Either will work with your panel as will most other decent ones.

talk about make things confusing

your alarm was powered down for over 12months, the back up battery in the bellbox is either flat or knackered through been fully disharged and needs changing, whilst your at it you might as well change the whole lot

your new sounder will come with full wiring instructions

dont fall off your ladders

Angus.

I do admire your talent for the succinct Angus, if only I could be as concise!

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Thanks for the replies, I have a 5th wire, for the strobe :-).

So removing the tamper will only fire the alarm if the tamper is enabled on the panel, right, ok got that.

What I removed was the -hold and the +hold, so in theory the alarm should have sounded. The tamper LED on the panel also started flashing.

texecoms look good, though cant see the difference between the 1/2/3/4/5 series apart from the "E" versions which seem cut down in terms of features

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