RE: LOAD SHEDDING, ALARM SYSTEMS, BATTERY INFORMATION

You may be experiencing some of these problems with your alarm system as a result of load shedding, Here is some basic information you need to be aware of.

BATTERY INFORMATION:

  • Your alarm system runs off a battery which is constantly being charged by a transformer and not directly off the power.
  • As a basic guide, a battery takes 4 uninterrupted hours minimum to recharge.
  • Load shedding is putting a huge strain on the battery, especially when it occurs 2-3 times a day. The battery will deteriorate far more quickly dependent on use.
  • The batteries we use are gel batteries which are the best available. Suppliers do not guarantee the life of batteries.
  • If your battery does not last the length of time load shedding exists for – you will need to change it.

ALARM PANEL, KEYPAD, TRANSFORMERS:

  • Wired Alarm Systems
    Between 1-8 zones: will generally last between 4-6 hours on a fully charged battery
    Between 1-16 zones: 3-4 hrs on a fully charged battery
    Between 1-32 zones: if there is no power pack will last 3 hrs. If there is a power pack – 4-6 hrs.
  • Wireless Alarm systems 1-32 zones:6hrs as it uses less power
  • NB. These are general guidelines only and will vary with every system and every battery, but we would advise that you monitor your system based on these guidelines.
    • If your alarm panel and keypad loses all power during load shedding, your alarm system will not work and nor will your panics. It offers you no protection whatsoever.
    • Before the system switches off completely it will beep a number of times to warn you, together with a ‘Trouble’ light/ symbol which will be shown on your keypad.
    • When power is restored it will come back on line and start to recharge the battery (assuming the battery has not totally died). This will take approximately 4 hours minimum.
    • Transformers – whilst the basic transformer does have an element of surge protection contained within it, given the frequency of load shedding, this may also fail and will need to be replaced or the system will not operate. An electrical surge may also blow the entire panel, which would require replacement of the pc board. Older panels and transformers have no element of surge protection in them.
    • Telkom lines – When load shedding occurs some Telkom lines will fail totally and not transmit signals, or on occasion power will be reduced to below 40 volts and the Control Room will not receive those signals until power is restored within the line. If you are connected by radio, this is not relevant.

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CRIME WATCH SYSTEMS AND PROCEDURES

During load shedding when the power first goes off, your alarm system will generate a number of additional signals which the Control Room have to interpret, the majority of which are coming through at the same time as the whole suburb or suburbs which are affected.

These signals are likely to include amongst others: Panic, Burglary signals from the radio, telephone signals, Unknown signals. The AC fail signal will generally be defaulted to come through thirty (30) minutes after the power has gone off.

Once the battery fails completely it will generate any signal it can to alert you and the Control Room that the battery is failing and will shut down.

This in effect means that not only is the Control Room swamped by signals, but that they need to determine which are genuine signals and which are false ones as explained above.

The Control Room will not contact you if there is an AC fail during load shedding. It is simply not possible to do so. If a thousand clients are affected at one time and it takes 30 seconds to make each call to often more than one number, that will be in excess of 500 hours to make the calls to the affected clients.

The Control Room will focus on looking at signals that come through that would suggest a break in or that a burglary is in progress, which would send multiple signals, and dispatch / contact you accordingly.

CRIME WATCH WEEKLY ALARM SYSTEM ALERT EMAIL

As you are aware, Crime Watch has an automated Email alert, which notifies all clients of the following alarm signals that are received from your alarm panel (Overactive Alarm; Battery Fail; Battery Low; Fail to Test; VBD Battery Disconnected; VBL Battery Low).

This is generated early on a Monday morning, from the following email address: ControlRoomAlarmSystemAlert@crimewatchsa.com for the listed alarm signals received from your alarm panel. We do not contact you by telephone for any of these signals.

NB.1. As the client, it is your responsibility to ensure that you take note and read the email received (if you do receive one) from the ControlRoomAlarmSystemAlert@crimewatchsa.com email and take the appropriate action to rectify the fault that has been identified and ensure that your alarm is operational.

NB.2. This is a non-reply email address and should you wish as a result of the email to contact the technical department, please do so either by phone 021 551 1717 option 2 during office hours or speak to the Control Room, after hours. Alternatively, you can email tech@crimewatchsa.com

NB.3. Please ensure that if you do change your email address, Crime Watch has been advised and can update the systems accordingly, or you will not receive this alert email.

DO YOU NEED A TECHNICAL CALL OUT DURING LOAD SHEDDING?

If you are experiencing any of the following signals or situations during load shedding, they are probably quite normal especially if your battery is dead. There are very limited things that a Technician can do during load shedding, other than to replace your battery.

  • Low Battery
  • Dead Alarm
  • Key Pad beeping
  • False Alarms due to low Batteries
  • Open zones due to power pack or battery failure

On occasion, it may be better to wait until the power has been restored to better determine what faults still persist before calling for Technical support.

Contacting Crime Watch Technical Department to schedule a technical appointment.

DURING OFFICE HOURS: Monday – Friday 8.00am – 5.00pm
Tel:  021 552 1717 (option 2) or email tech@crimewatchsa.com

AFTER HOURS. Tel: 021 552 1717 – The Control Room will answer the call and can raise a fault report for you that the technical department will respond to during office hours.

Requiring a Technician after hours:  Crime Watch do have a standby technician available after hours, but given the volume of calls due to load shedding, they are often not able to respond to every client immediately.

I hope this information will prove useful. Unfortunately, it would appear that load shedding may continue to plague us for quite some time to come.