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Bonding

PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2011 6:19
by Joe
Some electrical contractors will run a bonding conductor with fire alarm circuits in a non-combustiable building. Others will say it isn't required and the conduit is good enough.

I believe the electrical code states in section 10 bonding circuit less than 50V should be grounded if the transfomer is more than a 150v to ground.
Can anyone explains what this means?

Re: Bonding

PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2011 10:58
by FIRETEK
I think you're confusing the bonding requirements of fire alarm systems with other low voltage circuits. The two are not the same. Fire alarm device wiring requires each backbox be individually bonded to ground (fire alarm wire sold in Canada will always have an odd number of conductors - i.e. 3, 5, 7 - for just this reason). The installation instructions provided by the manufacturer will also stipulate that the common control ground terminal be properly terminated in any connection diagram I've seen. Section 32-104 of CEC further stipulates copper conductors must be used for the bonding of fire alarm back-boxes which precludes the use of conduit for the purpose.

Re: Bonding

PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2011 5:02
by Joe
Thanks, I was looking at section 10 bonding because section 32 references it. I will check a manufactures sheet for device about bonding. I know a panel diagram will indicate the ground terminal on the 120Vac block.

Re: Bonding

PostPosted: Sun Dec 25, 2011 6:24
by FIRETEK
Keep in mind that the suggested connection diagrams packaged with most fire alarm devices rarely mention grounding the back-box. CAN/ULC-S524 (Fire Alarm Installation Standard) does, however, reference Canadian Electrical Code.

Re: Bonding

PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2011 10:36
by sparky
Section 10 of the Canadian Electrical Code clearly states what are approved bonding conductors. I have been meaning to post on this and others on Franks FAQ sheet but honestly I don't have time.

FIRETEK wrote:I think you're confusing the bonding requirements of fire alarm systems with other low voltage circuits. The two are not the same. Fire alarm device wiring requires each backbox be individually bonded to ground (fire alarm wire sold in Canada will always have an odd number of conductors - i.e. 3, 5, 7 - for just this reason). The installation instructions provided by the manufacturer will also stipulate that the common control ground terminal be properly terminated in any connection diagram I've seen. Section 32-104 of CEC further stipulates copper conductors must be used for the bonding of fire alarm back-boxes which precludes the use of conduit for the purpose.


32-104 does NOT stipulate copper conductors must be used for bonding of fire alarm back-boxes. :roll:

If Mr. Kurz was an electrician, which he is not, he would know that according to section 10 of the CEC EMT, rigid metal conduit, the copper or aluminum sheath of MI cable as well as the sheath of Aluminum-sheathed cable or copper-sheathed cable are all approved for the purpose of bonding. All with some exceptions. So what I would like to know, is how someone who is not an electrician can check a VI report off that it is installed to the CEC when clearly they can not?

Further to Mr. Kurz incorrect information which according to his own standard is due for a brickee and public libel is the fact that he has called out others for his BS brickee award on this same issue of "no bonding from the common control." I will be writing ASTTBC on this matter although seeing as Frank isn't even a member of ASTTBC his friend Brian Stegevig will have nothing to say.

So Mr. Kurz. You are not an electrician, not an ASTTBC member how can you even open a junction box or enter into a fire panel past the dead front. I would suggest that Mr. Kurz "vancouver" approval be reviewed to reflect our safety authority requirements. I would even go so further to suggest that Mr. Kurz verifications he has performed be reviewed.

If you are looking for information contact a knowledgeable fire service company with electricians or a local sales rep. Don't use this site for information.

Re: Bonding

PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2012 3:06
by FIRETEK
Each individual back box must be bonded to ground. You cannot rely on rigid EMT to provide the bonding requirement for a life safety system which must be able to identify a ground fault condition to properly operate (I can cite dozens of examples where conduit connections have become separated due to building shift/settling or incorrectly installed connectors). Why is it (do you think) that fire alarm cable IN CANADA always has an odd number of conductors and why is it (do you think) that electrical inspectors will quite often check to see that a bonding conductor has been properly terminated in a device back-box? In addtion to reviewing the relevent sections of CEC, I would also like to suggest that you address your attention to CAN/ULC-S524 which references both this and the manufacturer's installation instructions. I should remind you that the CEC isn't the only reference used when verifying a fire alarm system to CAN/ULC-S537.

For your information, in an older version of CAN/ULC-S524 (-91 specifically), a table was included in Appendix "A" which was removed in subsequent editions because it referenced several items already covered in CEC. This table is being re-introduced in the "-12" version of the standard. I will publish the table (from the -91 version) when I receive permission from ULC to do so.

I have on occasion opened junction boxes to troubleshoot system connections, but when performing a fire alarm verification the electricians/contractors that normally contract me invariably will perform this function for me (as well they should). I've also replaced field devices, control components, and annunciators. I've installed and terminated new control components (on an existing fire alarm control). The forgoing will, I'm certain provide you some "grist" for the complaints you intend to file against me. In the immortal words of Clint Eastwood's "Dirty Harry": "Go ahead, punk. Make my day!" :)

I am factory trained on a number of fire alarm panels (and in the thirty or so years I've been in this profession that number represents pretty well every manufacturer you care to name) so I'm just as qualified to go "past the dead front" as any other fire alarm technician is (and, more than likely, a great deal more than most electricians). In my experience, ASTTBC "registration" doesn't necessarily mean you're any more qualified to work on a fire alarm system than CFAA "certification", an undisputed fact I've unfortunately demonstrated here on far too many occasions already (and over which you yourself have lamented at least twice to my recollection in this forum). In my opinion, a "local sales rep" will no doubt provide you with about the same level of "knowledge" as many so-called "factory trained technicians" have demonstrated in a number of burning examples on this site (and others). On one occasion, I'd actually been "instructed" by a "local sales rep" to ignore the way devices were installed while "verifying" them! Shoddy work (and workmanship) can also be attributed to many so-called "TQ'd electricians" (some of whom I respectfully suggest may have even involved in a good number of the fire alarm installations that I've served up as examples of exactly what NOT to do).

My verifications (over the entire span of my career) have never been questioned. I wonder whether the same could be said of yours. I suppose we'll never really know, will we? I have thus far tolerated your personal attacks on me because they have been a source of some amusement (for me and the other readers of the forum). However, your participation here is now being curtailed to "read only" until you provide the requisite VALID contact information (a bogus email address simply won't fly - please read our terms of use). I have my doubts that you will (which is a pity as I do so enjoy a good debate). Please note that I have elected NOT to edit your comments. You "found the time" to attack me personally but left it to me to provide the only proper response to Joe's question. That's disappointing too.

I welcome any constructive critique or suggestion regarding a FAQ you might think requires correction or addtional clarification (in fact, I'd appreciate an email for either of these scenarios). So far the site (as you see it) is very much an individual effort (I certainly don't have the vast resources either ASTTBC or CFAA have), but I have a really good feeling that this will change as we venture further into the New Year. The FAQ section of the website now boasts over 120 questions grouped into eighteen topics. For the last 12 years, CFAA's website listed six questions, one of which was removed because the answer was incorrect (if you want a perfect example of complacency, this is it!). You are quite right in that I am not ASTTBC Registered, however, I do subscribe to their Code of Ethics and Conduct. I am not this industry's biggest problem (although you're probably not alone in thinking that I am). Poor practice and corporate complacency only serves to highlight the lack of proper training, oversight, discipline and technician support that's really needed. This, my friend, represents the real danger to the public. It's odd that I don't see many RFPT's stepping forward to help, and those that have (like yourself), don't want to identify themselves with (or their involvement in) an association that advocates for the higher standard (and which is at least attempting to address the very issues many are complaining about)! That's just sad.

Everyone here knows who I am, where I work, and what I do. Contacting me is as easy as dialing any of the numbers you see at the bottom of every page on this site. I've invested significant personal resources into this project, and I have a dream. I already know that I won't achieve it as a one man show, but if I can "spark" dialogue; if just one other person joins and he brings in another, well it simply won't be just "my voice" any longer, but a chorus, and eventually a choir.

When (if) you do write to Brian Stegavig at ASTTBC, I should like to advise you that anonymous, unsubstantiated complaints are "filed" through a device that renders them into small bits of material very similar in shape to what was distributed into New York's Time Square at midnight last night. Happy New Year!