Douglas Krantz - Technical Writer - Describing How It Works

Can I T-tap Using Junction Boxes?

By Douglas Krantz | Descriptions

Can I T-tap Using Junction Boxes?

Can I T-tap Using Junction Boxes?

Greetings Douglas,

Can I run all of my zones out to the field in one conduit from my FACP (Fire Alarm Control Panel) and as I drop off each zones, T-tap off the conduits using junction boxes.

Thank You, IE

Assuming that the fire alarm system is:
  • Wired as Class B
  • A conventional or an addressable fire alarm system
  • Not using voice evacuation (Speakers)
  • Wired according to the installation sheets that come with the devices, and the installation manuals that come with the panels

If the system is wired Class A, then for redundancy purposes there has to be at least two conduits: one for feeding Class B and one for returning Class A.

Technically, I can't see a problem with including cables to all the zones to the field in one conduit. T-tapping though, is a different issue.

If the manufacturer allows the T-tapping of the circuit (usually, the manufacturer only allows T-tapping for addressable Class B circuits), then for technical purposes, T-tapping will function correctly. To find out if the manufacturer allows T-tapping, you will have to look up the wiring diagrams in the manufacturer's installation sheets and installation manuals. These are the only methods that have been tested and listed.

The other source of this information is the manufacturer's technical support team. When calling them, be prepared with the specific make and model of the fire alarm system, the devices that will be used, and anything else specific to the installation.

When talking to the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) or the manufacturer's technical support team, remember, they may think of the term T-tap differently from what you mean. In other words, be very specific about what is meant by a T-tap. T-tapping a circuit or wires is completely different from T-tapping a conduit. In other words, the wires make up the circuit; the conduit just carries the wires of the circuit.

Also, be careful about the definition of the word "T-tap. The AHJ or technical support may be thinking about T-tapping the circuit, when you are thinking about T-tapping the conduit.

Beyond that, legally, it's up to the AHJs. Even the National Fire Protection Association, Inc. (the NFPA is a publishing house), in their definition of Acceptance and their definition of an AHJ, specify that the various AHJs have legal authority over the fire alarm system. In other words, the AHJs can have more stringent requirements than the absolute minimum requirements shown in the NFPA 72.

Douglas Krantz
Life Safety
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