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Engineer Manuals

Engineer Manuals  

753 members have voted

  1. 1. Engineer Manuals

    • Engineer--Provide them if Asked
      173
    • Engineer--Do not provide them at all
      163
    • User--Im happy to leave the serious stuff to the pro`s
      13
    • User--Its my Alarm, I have the right to a manual
      265
    • Un-decided
      10


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Due to recent Discussions with certain Alarm manufacturers I am beginning to change my views as to whether I should supply Installation Manuals to users who request them.

My view until recently was that If they owned the Alarm System, then they were entitled to the manuals belonging to it, and to an extent i still believe this to be an owners right.

But......there are valid reasons why the Alarm Owners should not have access to them:

1: The supply of engineering information to end users can be seen to compromise the integrity of the system - especially in the eyes of the installation company who is under contract to maintain the system. Whilst this is especially true where remote signalling in use, the principle is true for all maintained systems - and can actually affect the relationship between us installers, the users and the manufacturers.

2: Manufacturers will not provide any kind of support for an end user contacting them. If they have a maintenance contract, they should be dealing with the installation company, not the manufacturer. Even if they do not have any contact with the alarm installer, the equipment is designed specifically for professional intallation engineers, so there could be serious health & safety implications for anyone giving any advice to unqualified persons that includes removing equipment covers or getting on a ladder (ie most advice!) - whether this is done by 'phone or in writing (ie manuals).

So Here`s the Question guys, and this is aimed at all installers who read the forums as well as Alarm Owners.

Shall we as a forum, provide Engineer manuals to the Alarm User....?

Please Vote and Also leave any comments. Stating wether your an installer oe Alarm user.

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Guest Putbinoot

I am a user and although not an alarm engineer I was before my present job a spark for 12 years so yes it's my alarm the installation manual comes in the box that I'm paying for so it's mine to do with what i want and the average joe will do nothing with it. The only reason i can see for not wanting to give out the user manual is to increase profit by insisting an engineer has to call, that could also be said for engineer codes. As you may have seen in my fisrt post on these forums I have moved into a house and no install/user manual has been left and no doubt a company would not want to give me their user code, if that is the case they should have a seperate engineer code for every install kepted on a data base, why should a company have a code installed on a bit of equipment that I have paid for that will prevent me doing certain things with the unit.

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Your Right Putbinoot, But in your case your probably a competant sparky with a limited knowledge of Alarm Systems, so i`d probably use my judgement and send you the manual you require, but lets say Mr Joe Average asked for the Installer manual because he fancied a go at adding a sensor, or moving the panel out of the hall and into the garage, how would I feel if he electricuted himself, or if his attempt at adding sensors caused a panel fault and his house caught fire..?

Hope you can appreciate my concerns.

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Guest Putbinoot

I do Service Engineer but we cannot continue to live in a nanny state. The average joe is more likley to do harm to him/herself or usually to some poor innocent sod driving his car whilst reading a map.

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Guest dale

I agree with putbinout, even though they are specialist pieces of equiptment, they have paid for it and should be allowed to do what they want with it. Recently I wanted the technical document for my PDA cause I wanted to modify it, and HP refused to give it to me... its my PDA, if I want to play with it and break it, thats my problem. It seems to me that we do treat the public as if they are stupid, whilst some are the majority are pretty competant people.

As long as we have a disclaimer on the site that says we are not responsible if someone harms themselves as a result of advice, I cant see the problem. Although I can appreciate the concerns, and legal issues involved.

D

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Guest Karl

In my experience as an alarm engineer for the last 15 years, customers should not be given engineering manuals. I have had many call-outs over the years where customers have attempted to alter programmed settings & made a total hash of it.

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Im not even sure what the legal issues may be, im assuming the manuals are all public domain and as such are free to distribute, but are they .. ?

Also legally does anyone know exactly where I/WE stand as to the regards of any legal repurcussions concerning advice, reccomendations or distribution of manuals..?

And where do we draw the line, there`s a massive difference in the programming complexity of an Optima G3 and a Galaxy 512 for instance.

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Guest dale

But does customers playing with panels not earn you more money on the callout front? If they make a mess they get charged.

Its like giving someone a computer, and disabling all the features and saying - you can only use Internet Explorer and Outlook, even though its your computer - it would stop lots of call outs to customers, but do you think customers would be happy?

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Guest dale

Can find the legal stuff out for you Wed, as im installing structured cabling into a solicitors, so will quickly ask one of em.

D

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As an Installer all i can say is that we always leave the Installation Manual on-site, firstly because it IS the customers property, and secondly because if we should ever send an engineer not familliar with the panel then he would know a copy is on-site.

Obviousely we keep the Engineer code a secret, but we are willing to change it should a customer decide he no longer wants to use us.

And thanks Dale, that would be helpful.

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Guest simmo

I agree with you Dave, if I've installed a system the customer keeps all documentation - it's his and they have paid for it all.

The engineer code stays with me.

If a person is genuine(how do you confirm this?) ie a sparky or another engineer then send a manual out, if you are not sure just copy and paste the relevant section of the manual.

Not ideal but covers your butt to some extent.

If in doubt get them to do a disclaimer.

cheers

Simmo B)

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Guest Peter James

Personaly I disagree I dont think maintained end users should have the engineer manual, and any installer that give s the customer the manual is leaving themselves wide open for a law suit.

Scenario: customer decides that he wants to change the way his system is set up and wants a zone omittable.

He miss-interprete,s what the manual says and completely isolates that zone.

He then goes on a two week holiday in the sun when he comes home he's been burgaled, but the alarm didnt work.

He will want to claim on his insurance,who will he blame and how do you prove that he didnt touch it, his insurance company will want to see his spec and if they get an indepentant auditor in it will soon be discovered that the system was not progged correctly. Either way If you give an end user a Manual your to blame if it goes wrong.

I help out DIYers on here most are competant and if they aint competant (and I can tell) my advise is to call someone who is.

I also find this site great for info exchange, and passing my years of experience down to young engineers etc.

I guess what im trying to say is the customer has paid for a working system that makes a noise when he gets an intruder (if audible only), give him the manual and he may not have what he's paid for after he's meddled.

Pete :)

Edited by Peter James

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Guest dale

I agree with some of what you have said Pete, but how can the user change the settings if they dont have the engineer code?

Plus, I can go into my laptop and tell you the settings for all my customers panels, if I get a call out and the system doesnt agree with what my laptop says, I know they have been meddling and will charge them for a full re-initialisation.

Dale

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any installer that give s the customer the manual is leaving themselves wide open for a law suit

Dont be silly Pete, if you dont give the customer the Installer manual, your pinching part of the product they have purchased. We always have left the Installer manual on-site, right next to or very near to the control panel, we even tell the customer where it is and advise them not to mess. We just show them how to use the alarm system, and go through the finer points of the user manual. In my 10 years in the industry i have never known a customer mess with the settings of his alarm without my knowledge.

And Dale is correct, we never give out the Engineer code, so if the panel was crashed we`d know about it, also the log (if applicable) is a wealth of information.

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I agree with Peter on this one, if the customer is under contract then they shoudn't recieve the engineers manual.

You have to consider why we all pay large amounts of money for Insurance, Failure to perform and Efficacy etc. We all pay this because we have top protect our companies from that one time possible claim" I was out and I got broken into My alarm didn't go off"

We all have to install systems that best meet the level of risk of the property and most importantly we should even consider the customer as a risk, after all if they fail to set the system or isolate zones inadvertantly, they they are as dangerous as the potential burlar as well.

If we provide engineering manuals to customers from day of the install then this is another element of the risk. Its fair to say that the average customer isn't that interested in all the fancy functions that a modern panel offers other than set unset, but there is always the few that are and these are the ones that will always be willing to experiment. Even although you don't leave the engineer code with the customer, most customers stay with when you first enter the property and watch you entering engineering mode. It doesn't matter how good you are at entering your code there is always the one occasion when you don't and the client has the number, even if its not the full code theres not that many combinations to work out. The apprentice enters the code in full view of the client!! Old engineer friends with the client.

Unless you randoomly change your code or have a code of the day facillity then its not that hard to find out.

Okay lets say thave got the manual, and spotted your code. Made some small changes to the systems operation, but it still functions okay. If we visist only once every six months and they set/unset once a day. Unless they have a high end panel the logs unlikely to show anything. How would you know?

The European and inspection body rules will require us to complete a formal Risk Assessment for every property we install in. Will you record here that you left an engineers manual on site. I dont think so. Is this a risk to the systems integrity..Yes. It used to be that if a system was broken into, some insurance companies would request a log printout or in extreme circumsatnces the nvm from the panel. But the customer made changes to the system programming no reccord in the log...who is laiable for the system failure. I know who the insurance company will want to claim against.

Manufacturers.. The high end panels don't come with manuals, just a simple defaults sheet. Indeed some manuafcturesr insist on being trained by them before they will give you support.

In short if the system is under contract and/or monitored then they should not recieve the manual.

A lot of the users who access this forum only require low end panle manuals, and if they were to require monitoring would have to be upgraded if they were to be monitored. So they would have to contact a local alarm company anyway. Most of them wouldn't want the system maintained anyway.

And Petes also right in saying you can tell about peoples abillity when they ask a question.

When you buy a car you don't get the workshop manual, special tools and computer to access the Engine Management system........Why is this.....Same argument I think..................but common sense prevails.

If the system isn't maintained and the customer signs a disclaimer then this would probably cover you for a bells only. But as we are all in business to earn a living, building long term relationships with clients is far easier.

As far as this site goes, Its great for us installers but I think there should be a detailed legal disclaimer that every member must agree to access the site, that say that the information is provided foc and as such the provider doesn't accept any liabillity for the use of any information provided or opinion expressed.

Bit of a hot potatoe this one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Colin.

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Guest Peter James

We are the retailer so the customer has not paid for the installer manual we did!

The other thing that everyone seems to be forgetting is that most e/manuals tell you how to default engineering codes.

Insurance companys would only be interested in proving that the system doesnt do what you said it would do when you sold it they couldnt give a monkeys why, once they've proved the system doesnt perform as you said it would, their of the hook.

Proving that the customer tampered with the system is between you and the customer and even if you can prove it you gave him the tools to do it (how responsible is that)

Colins spot on with the engine management scenareo.

I have every respect for you Dave and you Dale but I still think your both wrong on this one and I hope that you never find out the hard way.

Pete :)

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NSI Systems Silver Scheme states that information on all the equipment used by the installing company should be available to the service engineers and installing teams at all times.

Surely the best way to ensure this is to leave all the information relevant to each site actually on-site. Or are your engineers carrying the installation manuals around for absolutely all the equipment they have installed..?

And allthough good I dont agree with the CAR analogy, a better description may be having someone come to install a new piece of hardware on your computer, lets say a Printer, he installs it for you, then takes your software with him but leaves you the user guide. Its not quite right is it..?

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Guest Peter James

Most of our panels are of one manufacture,( all engineers have the scantronic/ menvier cd rom and a laptop) the odd panels they all have manuals for, and in most case's our engineers dont need them anyway, they can fully program a system without a manual. If there is a panel that we are not familiar with which we don't all have manuals for it is kept inside the panel or a tamper protected box. Currently we have no panels out there that we need to keep a manual on site for.

Most modern day panels are now lcd text menu driven so a manual is hardly ever looked at anyway.

The printer scenario is not the same if you messed with the printer software you could mess up the computer lose all your data at most, (and its quite difficult to make a printer driver crash the computer try it) anyway the printer supplier is not selling you protection of your computer against it crashing he's selling a printer that prints your stuff. (yes I know you could prevent the printer from working but its hardly the same)

We sell something that is designed to protect the customers property, its supposed to detect intruders if it fails to perform who is responsible ?

The car manual is the same the retailer sells you a car without the manufactures manual, he has access to it, are you entitled to it? ask em for one see what they tell you.

Nacoss and SSIAB and the other one no-one can remember are all trying to help security installers to be taken seriously, thats why they were formed. Take Corgi gas fitters, the reason they are the only ones allowed to touch gas ovens is to stop cowboys blowing people up (but im sure if they left the instalation manual lying around someone will have a go to try and save themselves a few quid) I have nothing against diyers or the strugling one man band and im sure that all on this site are perfectly honest reliable genuine guys (and gals) but I cannot commend leaving the engineer manual onsite.

Pete

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I must admit our manuals are kept inside the the panel (manual & panel permitting) or very close by inside a plastic sleeve with any of the other paperwork that we keep onsite such as wiring schedule and historic records etc.

But the customer knows where it is, there is no chance of the customers quesing or knowing our Engineers codes, and where possible they are locked into the panel, so a full reset would be fruitless.

I`ve deleted any installer manuals i had linked too on the forums, and over the next few days shall be removing any left on the server (there arent many), dont know quite what to do about the dual user/installer manuals..?

Anyway looks like were sorted, ill trust the moderators to only supply manuals to other engineers, and hope we all show good judgement regarding who and what information we supply to Mr Joe Public.

This does pose a few other problems though, so from now on the Panel Defaulting Methods forum and the Installers & Engineers Forum shall only be viewable by members known to be in the trade, or of proven competancy.

Any further comments....?

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Guest dale

I think weve exhausted this one... lets agree to disagree as otherwise we will just argue each others corners till the cows come home.

Dale

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Good move on the manual front. Peters right in saying that most companies standardise on one panel/ type of equipment. If we do take over an obscure panel or attend a fault, a quick call to the office or another engineer would normally help.

To help the small installers on the site what about having a full list of manufacturers technical helplines in the protected area.

But just as a point of interest on the Health and Safety Front, we shouldn't be puting any paperwork inside the panel, as it is a fire risk. Even if its in a self adhesive wallet. The wallet/paperwork could slip/detach and cause a fire.

If my memory serves me correctly both Nacoss and the BSIA issued a warning against this practice and the prefered method was to fit a a lockable box adjacent to the panel or buy one of ACT's plastic document boxes.

And as to obtaining the password for the protected areas who do we go about this.

Colin.

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I don't know how I feel on the subject after reading all the different views above. It has always been my beleif that the engineer manual should be kept by the engineer and user manual given to the user. After all, thats why they are two different manuals.

I don't think that anyone could be held accountable for an end user injuring himself by fiddling with the alarm because there are all types of mains sockets, switches and even consumer units available to the public at B&Q which do pose more of a hazard.

I totally agree with the car manual mentioned above. I think that Ademco have took this view too because only the user manual is supplied with the Galaxy panel when bought. Therefore, the user has no right to this because it was never supplied with the equipment.

Maybe in the future alarm systems will give the user more control over the alarm system. Without going too far into the programming they may be able to change certain aspects of its operation to suit changing circumstances. The keypad could act as a user friendly interface between customer and alarms panel guiding them through different set ups and even informing why something can not be done.

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Guest Affinity

would you guys like our opinion on this as manufactureres if I ask in the morning???I can try and find out the legal implecations too.

Do you remember me being asked by Dinefwr about doing a CQR Forum on the CQR site??????? It was due to legal implecations that I could not go ahead with it.

As manufacturers we cant risk having installers or engineers giving out information on a site under our name and it being seen as our reply or advice incase it is incorrect or the questioner injures himself due to a response from the site.

It is deemed ok to be on an unafilliated site such as this where Steve has openly stated at the beginning that the site takes no responsibility for advice given or taken.

Speaking on my own behalf I thought qualified electricians were legally responsible for equipment if they saw it was unsafe and took no action ....... if that is the case and I stand corrected if wrong (its just that I know my other half is in his job), is it wise to give out engineering manuals to the public?

Anway as I said I will check where we as manufacturers stand on this.

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