Douglas Krantz - Technical Writer - Describing How It Works

What Causes a Fire Alarm System Trouble?

Many different problems can occur in a fire alarm system. Each one can each be a trouble. However, the time that the trouble light and buzzer comes on at the control panel is the time the fire alarm system needs to be fixed.

What Causes a Fire Alarm System Trouble?

Greetings Douglas,

What causes a fire alarm system trouble?

Thank you, RD

The word "Trouble" on a fire alarm system means "In the Fire Alarm System, including all the Input and Output Devices, Signal and Power Wiring, and Panels, something is not working correctly". This is based on the absolute need for the fire alarm system to "Detect Fire and Warn People of Danger".

A trouble can be caused by:
  • A broken wire
  • A bad battery
  • The power is out
  • The control panel has a problem
  • A wire is broken
  • There's a wire-to-wire short
  • A signal isn't getting through
  • A smoke detector is dirty
  • Something in the NAC (Notification Appliance Circuit) isn't correct
  • Etc.

Anything that isn't working correctly in a fire alarm system is a "trouble". These troubles show up on the panel to tell the owner of the building that the fire alarm system isn't working and it might not "Detect all Fires" or "Warn Everyone of Danger".


The idea, though, of the panel showing a trouble on the fire alarm panel is that whatever doesn't work correctly will be fixed. If the system is impaired so that the occupants might not be warned of fire danger, the fire alarm system's self-checking (supervision) turns on the trouble light and buzzer as a warning to the building's owner to correct the fire alarm system.

Any one of many problems can be a trouble, but they all mean one thing: Fix It.

Douglas Krantz
Life Safety
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