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Fire Alarm System Standby Battery Replacement

In fire safety, a standby battery is used in applications such as fire detection and alarm systems, emergency warning systems, an electric a pump controller or other systems where a backup or reserve power supply is necessary.

Fire Panel Batteries (2 x 124 40Ah)

According to Australian Standard AS 1851:2012 there are 12 types of systems or equipmentThis list of 12 types of systems or equipment as shown in the order in which they appear in AS 1851:2012 that may incorporate batteries that require some form of inspection and/or test. These include;

  1. Alarm Signalling Equipment (Stand Alone) with power supply unit & batteries
  2. Fire Pumpsets (engine start)
  3. For Pumpsets (control batteries)
  4. Fire Detection and Alarm Systems
  5. Special Hazard Systems
  6. Smoke Hazard Systems
  7. Smoke Alarms & Heat Alarms
  8. Emergency Warning Systems
  9. Stand-alone Intercom systems
  10. Automatic Smoke & Heat Vents
  11. Fire Curtains & Smoke Curtains
  12. Motorised Relief Openings, Windows & Shutters

The batteries used in these systems fall into one of two categories;

The main feature of a standby battery is its ability to deliver a consistent supply of energy over an extended period of time, while the main feature of an engine start battery is its ability to deliver a significant amount of current over a short amount of time, necessary to start an engine.

Fire System (Standby Battery) Test Procedure

Standby batteries are extensively used in fire systems as a form of backup (reserve) power in the event of mains (primary power supply) failure.

According to AS1851:2012 a standby battery does not have to be replaced every two years, however standby batteries must be tested in accordance with Appendix F - Battery Capacity Testing of Australian Standard AS1851:2012 to verify their condition.

When the battery has not been replaced in the previous two years, verify the battery condition by carrying out a battery discharge test in accordance with Appendix F.

A standby battery arrangement is considered to have failed the test set out in Appendix F where the battery voltage falls below 21V during the 25 min test period. In these cases, the the battery arrangement shall be replaced.

Most modern fire detection and alarm systems and emergency warning systems with a power supply designed to Australian Standard AS 4428.5-1998 or AS 7240.4:2018 feature a battery load test facility incorporated into the power supply.

These power supplies provide an excellent guide to the condition and state of charge of a battery and can be relied on as a guide to the expected performance of a battery under load.

Engine Start Battery Replacement

A fire water pump with a compression-ignition motor driver is also known as a diesel fire water pump. The diesel driver for these pumps requires an engine start battery with the ability to deliver a significant amount of current in a short amount of time, necessary to turn the motor over.

Batteries for this application will have a Cold Cranking Amps or CCA rating. The CCA rating refers to the number of amps (or current) a 12-volt battery can deliver at minus 18 degrees Celsius  or 0 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 seconds while maintaining a voltage of at least 7.2 volts. The higher the CCA rating, the greater the starting power of the battery.

Batteries that are not rated for engine start applications should not be used for engine start applications.

According to Item 3.5 of Table 3.4.3 of Australian Standard AS1815:2012 engine start batteries must be replaced every two years ittespective of condition;

REPLACE all engine-starting batteries after a maximum of 2 years service, irrespective of condition. Record date of replacement on the new battery and the date the batteries were replaced in the service record.

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