What’s the best way to eliminate ground transients in alarm systems that are generating repeated false alarms? This is an external alarm sensor in an heavy industrial application and to say there’s noise in the vicinity is an understatement.

A: If false alarms caused by messy power supplies, lightning, plant equipment, etc, are costing you money in call outs, then Ground Transient Terminator (GTT) technology – in particular, the Vortex Iso-Line Model IL-GTT – might be the answer.

This technology out-performs all other surge suppression solutiosn for protection applications by protecting live, neutral, and ground with a single device. It works by using continuous attenuation to filter out interference on the ground line caused by a external wavelengths and variable power quality.

When installed with fire and security alarm systems, the GTT can be safely placed in the case ground of alarm systems in order to eliminate one of the most common causes of false alarms, ground transients. A fire alarm or burglar alarm system can now be made impervious to lightning induced ESD and transient voltages induced by device switching within a building.

With fines levied on property owners for false fire/burglary alarms, managers are constantly trying to improve their system’s reliability. Prior to this technology there has not been a solution that could be safely applied to the grounding of alarm systems. This technology truly eliminates many of the nightmares caused by ground loops and transients.

Many end users are plagued by such false alarms. Power surges and lightning strikes caused intense ground transient activity, degrading the components in burglar alarm and fire alarm panels to the extent of causing them to malfunction or fail altogether. Not only does this cost installers and end users money, it compromises safety and security.

The GTT works by opposing changes in electron flow on the ground wire. Its ability to oppose the electron flow slows the damaging rise and fall time of a power surge, rather than clipping it off entirely. By doing so, it controls frequency rather than amplitude and keeps damaging voltages from entering.

Unlike conventional suppression techniques using Metal Oxide Varistor (MOV), gas tube, or silicon diode technology, the GTT technology incorporates a patented circuit with no moving parts or sensitive electronics, and as a result, does not pose any threat to intrinsic safety ground. For this reason, the GTT is the first suppression device to be recognized by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) to be used directly on the ground line of electronic equipment to prevent disruptions in operation.

Sensitive micro-electronics, such as those used in the design of alarm panels, are very susceptible to ground transients. These transients are frequent problems and can cause significant disruption to the operation of microprocessor-based equipment. Microprocessor circuits in alarm panels are constantly measuring logic voltages against the “zero voltage reference” or ground and their decisions are the result of discrimination of one rapid voltage transition from another, making ultra-clean and quiet electrical grounds essential.

Current microprocessors in alarm panels expect to see less than .5 volts of neutral to ground and future innovations will soon be leading to designs using voltages of near .3 volts. If a microprocessor sees more than .5 volts, communication errors, system lockups, reduced operating productivity, unreliable data, false alarms and damage to equipment will cause operational problems that can’t be duplicated or explained.

Iso-Line IL-GTT was developed by Vortex and the cost per unit is about $120, which is not a huge ask if it eliminates ground transients forever more.

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