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June 22, 2020

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TECH TALKS: Fire loop fault finding with the Apollo Test Set

Fault finding is a key component of many fire engineers and installers day-to day lives. Whether it’s during the installation and commissioning stage, regular maintenance inspections or emergency callouts. Here, Apollo Fire Detectors explores the causes of the most common faults that you could expect to see on site, and explains how its Apollo Test Set can assist you to find and resolve faults.

 

What are the most common faults that you can expect to find on site?

During commissioning it is common to find a plethora of faults which can take anywhere between an hour and a day to fix.

Our survey of common faults shows:

Other common faults include:

  • drawings do not reflect actual installation
  • heads not connecting to bases properly
  • incorrectly set address

Fault finding is carried out by:

  • checking loose wiring connections
  • checking for faulty devices (which may have been vandalised)
  • checking battery levels
  • taking the loop apart to narrow down the fault location

It is always helpful to gather as much information as possible before taking things apart or resetting panels, and to be methodical as you check the system to identify faults.

How the Apollo Test Set can help

Apollo-TestSet-20The Apollo Test Set was designed to assist engineers in managing Apollo loops and aid in fault finding. It is a portable loop tester featuring a touch screen display capable of providing several functions in interrogating and controlling all devices connected to the unit, either individual devices or complete circuits of analogue addressable devices in the Apollo ranges (Soteria, Discovery and XP95).

The Apollo Test Set key features include:

  • Loop connection ports for individual addressing or fault finding
  • Loop integrity and diagnostics testing during commissioning and maintenance
  • Review of device information and control functionality modes

The two main test set functions that help you to identify faults are the Loop Diagnostics Mode and the Loop View Menu. Below, we explain what they are and what faults they help to address.

Loop Diagnostics Mode

Loop Diagnostics Mode is best for handling wiring faults such as earth fault, short and open circuits.

Loop Diagnostics Mode is used for:

  • Wire connection test
  • Loop voltage and current measurement
  • Short circuit fault test
  • Loop cable impedance measurement
  • Earth fault test
  • Automatic detection of earth fault location

These tests and measurements are divided into four groups:

  • Short circuit fault/earth fault detection – This is the core test of loop diagnostics. It shows the results of the wire connection test, short circuit fault test, earth fault test and loop cable impedance measurement. The first thing tested is the loop integrity.
    • If there is a broken wire or it is not plugged into a socket, a warning message ‘Wire connection issue’ appears. In addition, it will tell you which wire is carrying the fault.
    • If an earth fault or short circuit is detected test Set will show warning messages.
  • Loop supply – from OUT – voltage and current measurement
  • Loop supply – from IN – voltage and current measurement
  • Earth fault location search

So, how does the Loop View function help us handle an earth fault?

The Loop View function will tell you if there is a fault and if it’s earth to positive or negative (e.g. yes there is an earth fault between +ve and screen or -ve and screen) but it will not provide an exact location. Then the engineer will need to work their magic to break the loop down and see which section the earth fault occurs in.

Loop View menu

Loop View Menu is best for handling

  • Incorrect detector labelling
  • Device double addressing
  • Faults due to water damage in the devices
  • Faults due to loss of connection between the head and the base

Loop View Menu is used to:

  • Select a polling range
  • View the details of a single address
  • Change the output bit status
  • Self-test
  • Fast Test
  • Isolator control – The Isolator Control button is used to switch the device isolator on or off
  • Configuration status – Tap the Configuration Status button to show the configuration status of any Soteria device on the loop
  • Mode and polling LED – This menu enables you to see the mode and LED status of the devices on the loop.
  • Analogue Value/Drift – This menu enables you to view the analogue and drift values of the devices on the loop.

Here are some common system faults that could be addressed with the Loop View function in the Apollo Test Set.

 

Find out more about the Apollo Test Set.

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