What are the most common problems in hardwired alarm systems – what should we be looking for first in order to reduce time spent on site troubleshooting?

All other things being equal – like epic RFI or EMI issues that are specific to a site – we’d suggest the most common issues in hardwired alarm panels are open circuits, ground faults or short circuits, and changes in electrical value.

Value changes are common in older systems – cables and terminations degrade, and resistance increases, leading to voltages failing to meet expected thresholds for normal operation. Value changes also include things like surges and spikes, which tend to be single events that damage devices, infrastructure, terminations and connections on a circuit.

Ground faults are caused by conductors wearing or being damaged in such a way that cables come into intermittent or permanent contact with each other. Making this issue more complex, a live cable will also short if it contacts a grounded chassis.

Open circuits are caused by a broken cable, a termination or connector that has come loose, a blown fuse or an overcurrent protection device that has tripped, a switch with a loose or broken mechanism, or a controller with broken circuitry or damaged termination blocks.

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