1. You cannot install the EVS SM-001 unit to conveniently perform the required short test for a conventional fixed temperature heat detector. This would not allow for a proper visual inspection of the device’s terminations (a requirement, in this instance, that would ensure alignment with a service bulletin issued for the Chemtronics 600 series detectors). The specific testing requirements mandated in CAN/ULC-S536-13 for any fire alarm field device appears in Clauses 126.96.36.199 and 188.8.131.52, and reads as follows:
(184.108.40.206) “Each field device shall be inspected to confirm the following as applicable:
A. Free of damage;
B. Free of foreign substance that inhibits the intended operation of the device;
C. Mechanically supported independent of wiring;
D. Protective dust shields or covers removed; and
E. Correctly installed.”
(220.127.116.11) “Each non-restorable heat detector shall have the circuits tested by simulating its electrical operation at the wiring connection.”
We actually abhor the idea of allowing the installation of an unsupervised “T” tap on any conventional circuit. We can unequivocally state that it also contravenes the Canadian fire alarm installation Standard (CAN/ULC-S524). The EVS is a Listed fire alarm device and must be installed so that a wiring fault to (or from) the unit initiates an identifiable “trouble” condition on the fire alarm system. Permanently attaching a “long wire” to a fixed temperature heat detector and calling this a “test point” is also a totally unacceptable testing method (and one we’ve NEVER seen employed)! If this were allowed, why not simply run a pair of conductors down the wall to a junction box where you can simply short the wires there without having to install an expensive testing switch?
2. You cannot install the unit to test inaccessible fire detectors. One prominently featured photograph on the website depicts a view from the top of a stairwell and the accompanying text suggests that the EVS device can be utilized as an approved test point for a detector in this location. We beg to differ. Stairwells are normally protected by a smoke detector. There are several tools available that would allow a technician to properly test a detector here. To maintain or clean the unit, would require a special ladder or the installation of scaffolding so a technician would be able to safely access it.
The required testing method for inaccessible devices is found in CAN/ULC-S536-13 Clause 18.104.22.168, which states:
“All field devices shall be tested on an annual basis, except in the event that a device cannot reasonably be made accessible for safety considerations (for example, continuous process operations, energized electrical equipment, radiation, and height), the device and its location shall be recorded and identified as “inaccessible” in the remarks column of the report similar to that shown in Appendix C3.2, Individual Device Record. The last test date shall also be recorded in the remarks column of C3.2. Those field devices identified as being inaccessible as noted in the remarks column of C3.2, shall be tested at least once every two years.”
3. The open circuit test mentioned on the data communication link (DCL) side of a monitor module (which Canadian Standards refer to as a supporting field device) is NOT a required test in any published edition of CAN/ULC-S536 (Standard for Inspection and Testing of Fire Alarm Systems). When the open circuit test IS performed as part of a CAN/ULC-S537 (Standard for Verification of Fire Alarm Systems) Verification, the device must be physically removed from the backbox and the connections TO the device must be visually inspected and tested.
4. The short-on-alarm test is actually missing from the website’s “Testing Procedure for In Suite Isolator Device” likely because of the key-switch’s maximum current limitation. Keep in mind that the testing Standard in effect in Ontario is still CAN/ULC-S536-04. For those Canadian provinces that have embraced the 2015 National Fire Code, the short on alarm is a critically important test that cannot be overlooked. We’ve highlighted the relevant wording in the testing procedure in RED in Clause 22.214.171.124 (F) of CAN/ULC-S536-13, which states:
“Where signal circuit suite isolator devices are used in suites of a residential occupancies they shall be inspected and tested to confirm operability. Where a signal circuit serves more than one residential suite, a wire-to-wire short circuit fault shall be imposed within each suite in normal (supervisory non-alarm) and alarm conditions. In all cases the wire-to-wire short circuit fault shall not interfere with the ability of devices in other dwelling units, public corridors, or suites to sound an alarm.”
NOTE: We describe the proper procedure to test isolators in this FAQ.
5. The open circuit test application demonstrated on the source side of a data communication link isolator is NOT a required test in any published edition of CAN/ULC-S536 (Standard for Inspection and Testing of Fire Alarm Systems). The instructions also suggest that you will require two (2) EVS units in the floor area. The testing of the data communication link isolators serving a Class “A” Style “C” circuit (where two DCL isolators would have to be installed) only requires a single open, short and ground fault be introduced in the floor area and the activation of a field device on the source side while these individual troubles are present. The reference Clause in CAN/ULC-S536-13 is 6.6.2, which reads:
"Where fault isolation modules are installed in data communication links serving field devices, wiring shall be shorted on the isolated side, annunciation of the fault confirmed, and then a field device on the source side shall be operated, and activation confirmed at the control unit or transponder."
6. The use of the Offside EVS unit to electrically simulate the activation of a sprinkler flow, valve, or other supervisory switch does not comply with the mandated testing required by CAN/ULC-S536-13 Section 6.7.8. “Devices for Water Type Extinguishing Systems”. Flow switches MUST be tested by the required water-flow means available (which may require a sprinkler technician to operate) and the testing technician must record the time-to-alarm, etc., on the Individual Device Record. Other supervisory devices (like low air switches), need to be properly tested for operation and the test results recorded in the Individual Device Record. Valves have to be operated to ensure their supervisory switches function within the required parameters (two turns of the valve handle or movement of the valve stem beyond 20% of the normal open position). In other words (and to make this perfectly clear), you cannot perform the required testing mandated in CAN/ULC-S536 from an end-of-line device or other fire alarm field device other than AT the flow, valve, or tamper switch you are physically testing!
NOTE: We describe the proper procedure to test fire sprinkler devices in our INSPECTION FAQ.
7. You cannot use the EVS to bypass any fire alarm or supervisory input (an example provided in the Offside Technologies EVS instructions is a kitchen suppression releasing system). The two Standards, which our 2015 published edition of the National Fire Code reference are NFPA 17A(2013) (specifically Clauses 6.4.6, 126.96.36.199) and CAN/ULC-S536-13 Clause 188.8.131.52.1. BOTH clearly REQUIRE witnessing the correct operation and the fire alarm system’s activation (including remote annunciation) at every test that’s conducted.
NFPA 17A(2013) 6.4.6 “Building Alarm System. Where the system is connected to a building alarm system, verification that alarm-sounding or notification devices and remote annunciation devices are functional shall be required.”
NFPA 17A(2013) “184.108.40.206* All wet chemical systems shall be tested, which shall include operation of the detection system signals and releasing devices, including manual stations and other associated equipment.”
CAN/ULC-S536-13 220.127.116.11.1 “Where a fixed type extinguishing system is connected to the fire alarm control unit or transponder, confirm the operation of the output contacts of the extinguishing system panel initiates the specified system functions at the fire alarm control unit or transponder (e.g. alarm, trouble).”
And the note in this Clause is also relevant:
“NOTE: It is presumed that the fixed type extinguishing system shall be tested in accordance with applicable Codes and Standards as these systems are outside the scope of this Standard.”
If you are engaged in providing inspection and testing services to any fixed type extinguishing system and you are NOT following the required testing procedures, you are actually contravening the Fire Code! If you are the OWNER (and responsible to ensure the mandated testing is performed), you’d better make darn sure the company you engage to perform the service complies with the referenced Standards!
8. Do not connect the EVS SM-001 to a speaker circuit. While the installation instructions clearly suggest that you can, this would actually contravene the UL/ULC Listing on the device. The key-switch is not rated to operate on an AC powered circuit of any voltage (which also happens to align with the electrical specifications provided in the installation instructions).
9. Do not connect the EVS to the unsupervised output of any programmable relay module. While the installation instructions seem to suggest that the operating current is higher than the actual Listed switching current, the voltage ratings (as published in the instructions) do not allow for a connection to any circuit above 40 Volts DC or on circuits which employ AC current of any voltage. Additionally, the suggested maximum current capacity of the EVS is NOT A FUNCTION of just the keyswitch, but is directly correlated to the total capacity of the complete assembly which includes the traces on the circuit board. We are fairly certain that UL / ULC did not test the EVS in this configuration (they were likely not asked to either). We would go so far as to suggest that it should not be done in either case as you risk damage to unit if you accidentally activate it (common sense would suggest that if the unit was installed, then someone likely Verified it in the configuration). Posting a prominent warning label next to the unit should be mandatory if certain functions are not to be (or cannot be) used.