Aico Ei Ei168RC Specifications

Frequently Asked Questions
Mains Powered
Smoke, Heat
and RF Alarms
Aico Ltd , Mile End Business Park, Maesbury Road, Oswestry, Shropshire SY10 8NN
Tel: 0870 758 4000 • Fax: 0870 758 4010 • e-mail: •
Customer Service Helpline: 0870 758 4000
E & OE As our policy is one of continuous development, we reserve the right to amend designs and specifications without
prior notice. Every care has been taken to ensure that the contents of this document are correct at the time of
publication and we shall be under no liability whatsoever in respect of such contents.
Aico Ltd is a wholly owned
subsidiary of Ei Electronics
SAFAQ-Issue 5-04/07
Frequently Asked Questions
Mains Powered
Smoke, Heat
and RF Alarms
Frequently Asked Questions
Standards & Regulations for Domestic Fire
Alarm Systems
1. What are the
fire alarm
for New – Build
BS 5839: Pt.6: 2004 recommends that a new-build property consisting
of no more than 3 storeys (less than 200sqm per storey) should be
fitted with a Grade D, LD2 system
Building Regulations in England, Wales & Scotland recommend that
BS 5839: Pt.6 should be followed, but as a minimum a
Grade D, LD3 system should be installed.
Building Regulations in Northern Ireland require a Grade D, LD2
system to be installed, with smoke alarms fitted in the escape routes
and the main living room and a heat alarm in the kitchen.
2. What is a
Grade D
The BS 5839: Pt.6 standard places different alarm types into Grades,
simply described as follows:
Grade A – a system of detectors and sounders with control and
indicating equipment (a panel & perhaps call points)
Grade B – a similar system to Grade A with some minor
Grade C – detectors and sounders, or smoke alarms, with some
control features.
Grade D – mains smoke & heat alarms with a battery
back-up supply.
Grade E – mains only smoke & heat alarms
Grade F – battery only smoke & heat alarms
3. What do LD2
and LD3
This refers to the level of coverage supplied by the system to be
installed. Simply put, the number of alarms to fit in the property. The
BS 5839: Pt.6 standard lists three ‘Categories’ of system and these are
summarised as follows:
LD1 – alarms fitted in all rooms or areas where a fire may start.
LD2 – alarms fitted in escape routes and high fire risk areas e.g hall,
landing/s plus kitchen and main living room.
LD3 – alarms fitted in escape routes only e.g hallway and landing/s.
4. What are the
for existing
Building Regulations do not cover existing properties (unless material
alterations are taking place e.g an extension). In this type of property
BS 5839: Pt.6 should be followed. The minimum requirement for a 2
storey rented property would be Grade D, LD3, but the standard does
recommend that a Fire Risk Assessment should be conducted to
correctly determine what system should be installed.
Frequently Asked Questions
5. What is a Fire
This is where each individual property is assessed for the fire risk
present. The property itself must of course be assessed, as there may
be an unusual layout, or other features that could contribute to the
consequences of a fire. However, the occupier is often the greatest
factor in firstly whether a fire is likely to occur, and secondly what the
consequences of the fire are likely to be. The Fire Risk Assessment
should be an on-going process that may require amendment at any
time. Clearly, this would be very time consuming and create many
problems for landlords. To overcome this many landlords are finding
that it is easier and possibly cheaper in the long run to install an LD2
category of cover in all properties to minimise the need to
undertake a Fire Risk Assessment on every property.
6. If I install an
LD2 level of
cover can this
remove my
to conduct a
Fire Risk
The short answer is no! The installation of a Grade D, LD2 system will
almost certainly be acceptable for general needs properties, but
there may be special needs people or groups that require
additional protection e.g alarms for the deaf, and these should be
identified. It is likely that specific support groups have this information
and may be able to assist.
7. What do I
need to do to
address the
of ‘special
needs’ people
or groups?
This will depend entirely upon what their special needs are! Some
examples are; the elderly or infirm and the deaf or hearing
impaired. The elderly and/or infirm may require additional protection
from fire due to the fact that they may be less mobile. Consequently,
additional alarms should be considered perhaps in bedrooms. In
addition, these groups cannot be expected to climb steps or chairs
to test the alarm system. In these instances a Remote System Control
switch could be fitted to alleviate this problem. There may also be a
need to have a connection to a Warden Call system to alert them
to a problem in the dwelling. This can be achieved in most systems
by the addition of a relay. The deaf cannot hear a standard smoke
alarm, so it may be necessary to add a strobe and vibrating pad to
the smoke alarm system.
Choice of Alarm Sensor Type
8. What types of
sensor are
Smoke alarms incorporating either an Ionisation or an Optical
sensor are available in mains with Alkaline battery back-up, or
mains with rechargeable Lithium back-up formats. Heat Alarms are
also available in these ranges, but these only sense heat; not smoke.
A comprehensive Fire Alarm system will contain all 3 elements
of detection.
Frequently Asked Questions
9. How do Ei
Ionisation and
Optical Smoke
Alarms work?
Ionisation Smoke Alarms contain a small sealed ionising source
which causes a small electrical current to flow through the air in the
smoke chamber. Smoke particles entering the chamber reduce the
current, this is sensed by the electronics and when a pre-set
threshold level is reached the alarm will sound.
Optical Smoke Alarms send a pulsed beam of infra red light through
the smoke chamber periodically. If visible smoke is present, it scatters
the light on to the photodiode light receiver and this is detected by
the electronics causing the alarm to sound. Ei Optical Alarms are
individually calibrated to ensure correct operation and to reduce
the risk of nuisance alarm.
10. What are the
of both sensor
types ?
Both have a sufficiently wide range of response to different types of
fire to be of general use. However:
Ionisation Alarms tend to respond quicker to fast flaming fires
producing small smoke particles (e.g flaming wood, petrol). This
makes them particularly sensitive to the “invisible” particles produced
by toasting, grilling or frying. They are also susceptible to nuisance
alarm when redecoration takes place. In view of this, they should be
located well away from the sources of such fumes or particles.
Optical alarms tend to respond faster to slow smouldering fires
producing large smoke particles (e.g smouldering wood,
overheating PVC wiring). They are somewhat more susceptible to
contamination from dust and fibres so they should not be installed in
particularly dusty areas. Both should be removed, or fully covered
when renovation work is being carried out.
11. How do Ei
Heat Alarms
These are fixed temperature alarms which incorporate a thermistor
sensor. The thermistor is a heat sensitive resistor, when the ambient
temperature reaches a pre-set point of 58˚C, the resistance is
lowered and the alarm will sound. They are designed for use in areas
where due to high levels of dust or fumes, a conventional Smoke
Alarm is not suitable. They are particularly suited for use in a kitchen
(source of 40% of domestic fires), garages or boiler rooms. Although
they are stand alone units they should be interconnected with our
Smoke Alarms to provide an adequate warning system in the event
of a fire. BS 5839: Pt:6 recommends the use of fixed temperature
heat detectors in preference to ‘rate of rise’ types due to the
reduced risk of nuisance alarm which can be caused by opening
hot oven doors etc.
12. Which Alarm
should I use
Both types of Smoke Alarms give good performances in a range of
situations. The BS 5839: Pt.6: 2004 British Standards that deals with fire
alarm systems in dwellings recommends that the choice of detector
should take account of the type of fire that may be expected and
the need to avoid false alarms. BS 5839: Pt.6 now strongly
Frequently Asked Questions
12. Cont...
recommends the use of optical alarms in circulation spaces of a
property, such as hallways and landings and areas in which a likely
cause of ignition of furniture or bedding is by a cigarette. Ionisation
alarms are considered to be more suited for use in rooms where a
fast flaming fire may present a greater danger, dining rooms and
bedrooms being possibilities. The standard recommends that in new
build properties heat alarms should be installed in kitchens and the
‘Principal habitable room’ e.g. living room; in addition to any smoke
alarms used in the escape routes.
13. Where should
alarms be
They should be sited on the ceiling, close enough to a potential
source of fire so they can respond quickly. The Building Regulations
requires that the installation of self-contained mains powered with
battery back-up Smoke Alarms in all new and refurbished dwelling
houses should, at least, meet the following requirements:
- Within 7.5m of any door to a room where a fire is likely to start.
- On each storey of a multi-storey dwelling.
- All Smoke and Heat Alarms in the dwelling should be
BS 5839: Pt6 broadly supports these recommendations for alarm
systems in existing dwellings, adding that alarms should be sited no
more than 3m from bedroom doors so that they can be more easily
heard if a fire should occur during the night. We would recommend
the fitting of alarms in all rooms (apart from bathrooms and shower
rooms) for the earliest possible response. Very large dwelling houses
may require more elaborate alarm systems and the relevant
sections of BS 5839: Pt6 should be consulted for specific guidance.
14. How many
do I need?
One Smoke Alarm in each of the circulation spaces of a property
is the minimum recommendation. This would normally mean the
hallway, and the landings of any subsequent floors. However, the
only way to achieve good coverage is to install an alarm in every
habitable room. Building Regulations requires the installation of a
heat alarm in the kitchen if there is no door separating it from the
circulation spaces. Please note the circulation spaces could be a
lounge or dining room in a property where there is no hallway and
the stairway leads off a living area.
Frequently Asked Questions
15. Where
Smoke Alarms
be sited?
In summary, they should not be sited in Kitchens, Bathrooms, Shower
rooms Garages or other places where there are likely to be
excessive nuisance alarms from steam, fumes and high levels of
airborne contamination. Heat Alarms are considered more suitable
for use in Kitchens and Garages, but not Bathrooms or Shower rooms
or places where the normal temperature can exceed 40˚C.
16. Will they
always work?
The only restrictions to the correct operation of a Smoke Alarm system
in a fire situation are: that there are a sufficient number of alarms in
the system, sufficient smoke reaches the alarms, they are correctly
installed and sited, and that they are regularly maintained and tested
for correct operation. If all of these factors are right, there is a very high
probability that sufficient warning will be given in life-threatening
situations caused by a fire.
17. What cable
do I need for
the Mains
and where
should the
supply be
taken from?
We recommend the use of 6243Y 3 core and earth PVC insulated
cable to BS6004 standard. Building Regulations and BS 5839: Pt 6 state
that mains only alarms with back-up, can be wired from a dedicated
circuit at the distribution board, or they can be wired from a regularly
used lighting circuit. In both cases, all hard wired alarms should be on
a single final circuit.
18. What cable
do I need for
Use the third core of 6243Y cable as stated above. Do NOT use the
earth wire of twin and earth cable as this could cause problems of
mistaken identity at a later date.
19. How do I
mount the
Alarms on the
The 140 and 160 series Smoke and Heat Alarms have an Easi-fit
mounting plate, which incorporates an enclosure for the electrical
connections, so no back box or mounting kit would normally be
Frequently Asked Questions
20. Can I fit the
Smoke or Heat
Alarm on
the wall?
All of the Ei alarms are designed for ceiling mounting and will under
most circumstances perform better if sited in this position. If it really is
not practical to mount them on the ceiling, a Smoke Alarm can be
wall mounted with the top edge 15-30cm from the ceiling. Ensure
that it is 30cm away from any corner or obstruction which may
impede the movement of smoke to the alarm. Do not wall mount
heat alarms.
21. How many
Smoke and
Heat Alarms
can I link
We recommend that under normal circumstances Smoke and Heat
Alarms should only be interconnected within the confines of a single
family dwelling. If they are connected between different units, there
may be excessive nuisance alarms and it can be difficult to locate
and silence the unit causing the alarm. However, there is no
technical reason why up to 20 alarms cannot be interconnected in
a single system that encompasses a number of individual dwellings
- such as may be required in an HMO, for instance. In circumstances
such as these, a very high level of system design, management and
maintenance is necessary to reduce the level of nuisance alarm.
The minimum requirement should be to install a System Remote
Control Switch Ei1529RC on each floor of the property. By pressing
the locate switch, all alarms in the system are silenced, for a period
of approx. 8 - 10 minutes, except for the unit initiating the alarm
state. This allows time to rectify the problem before the system is
automatically reinstated to full working order.
22. Can I use a
relay to signal
other devices?
There are a number of options available for using a relay with Ei
Smoke and Heat Alarms. All the relays have volt-free output
contacts rated at up to 240V and have both Normally Open and
Normally Closed connections. There are relay options available for
use with mains operated devices such as bells, sounders and door
closers. In addition, there are relays available with a battery back-up
for use with devices that will operate even in the event of a mains
failure, such as Warden Call Systems. The relay can be mounted
under an alarm, or can be remotely sited using the optional cover
for electrical safety.
23. Can I use the
relay to
to a 24 Volt Fire
Alarm System?
Technically it can be used but if the system has to comply to BS
5839: Pt 1 it may not meet all the requirements. For example, it is not
possible to silence the sounder in the smoke alarm from the control
panel. Many regulatory bodies now recognise that a dual system
(smoke/heat alarms in the individual occupancies and a Pt.1 system
in the communal areas) in HMOs can be an extremely effective
means of reducing the incidence of false alarms. In this instance,
subject to approval, it could be an advantage to have this link.
Frequently Asked Questions
24. How often
should they
be tested?
We recommend weekly testing by pressing the test button on the
alarm/s for between 5 - 10 seconds, or until all interconnected
alarms sound. The use of a low level System Control Switch sited at
low level can be used to make this easier for the occupier.
25. Should they
be tested
BS 5839: Pt.6: 2004 recommends that a smoke/heat test is preformed
when the system is commissioned. Pressing the test button checks
the electronics, interconnect and the horn are operational, so it is
our view that it is not necessary to test with smoke or heat and a
‘variation’ can be invoked in order to comply with the standard.
However, if it is considered that testing of smoke alarms is a necessity,
we would only recommend the use of special purpose built
equipment such as the SAT332 Smoke Alarm Tester with the SAA300
Synthetic Smoke Aerosol. This device ensures that sufficient synthetic
”smoke” enters the sensor chamber and remains long enough for
the Smoke Alarm to respond. Other methods of smoke testing, e.g. a
lighted taper or smoke pellets, can give misleading results. Testers for
Heat Alarms are also available. Do Not test with a flame - this can
be a hazard in itself.
26. What
schedule is
The Ei range of Smoke and Heat Alarms are suitable for use in
Grades D, E and F systems as defined in the British Standard which
covers alarm systems in domestic dwellings, BS 5839: Pt6: 2004 It
states that these alarms “should be cleaned periodically in
accordance with the manufacturers instructions”.
Our recommendations are as follows:
- Regularly check to see that the green mains power light is on.
- Press the test button weekly to check all alarms in the system.
- Regularly check that the red light under the test button or on
the cover flashes approx. every 40 seconds.
- Clean the cover of the alarm regularly using a barely damp,
lint free cloth.
- On a monthly basis (at least) check the alarm for signs of
contamination from dust, cobwebs or insects. Use a vacuum
cleaner around the cover of the alarm to remove contamination.
- Check (at least annually) that the alarm will operate on back-up
battery power only by switching off the mains supply and pressing
the test button.
Frequently Asked Questions
27. How long will
the battery
This will depend on a number of factors that will differ slightly
according to the type of alarm in use.
The 140 series alarms are supplied with an Alkaline battery which,
dependent on conditions, can provide up to 4 years standby supply,
up to 2 years without mains power.
The 150 series and the 160 series alarms are fitted with rechargeable
Lithium power cells which are continuously charged by the alarm
circuitry. They have a life expectancy greater than that of the Smoke
Alarm, i.e 10 years or more, which eliminates the need for
28. How will I know
if the battery
has failed?
If either, the voltage of the battery falls to a sufficiently low level, or
the internal resistance of the battery reaches a predetermined
state, the alarm unit will emit a warning beep every 40 seconds.
In the case of the 140 series alarms, it is probable that the alkaline
battery in the unit requires replacement. Access to the battery is
gained by removing the alarm from the Easi-fit mounting plate.
The power cells on the 150 and 160 series alarms are not replaceable.
If these units emit a low battery warning beep it is probable that the
mains supply has failed. The cables, fuses etc should be investigated
and the fault rectified. If the beeping continues the alarm may have
a fault and it should be returned for inspection.
29. How long do
Smoke Alarms
There is no technical reason why a Smoke or Heat Alarm should not
last up to 10 years, but the actual lifespan will depend to a large
extent on where and how the alarm has been sited, installed and
maintained. The most common cause of alarm failure is due to
contamination of the sensor chamber and/or electronics. In certain
circumstances, even with regular cleaning, contamination can build
up in the smoke sensing chamber causing the alarm to sound.
If this happens the alarm must be returned for servicing or repair.
All manufacturers of smoke alarms recommend that their
products are replaced after 10 years use.
Frequently Asked Questions
30. How do I
stop nuisance
False alarms are usually a result of incorrect siting of the Smoke
Alarm, by contamination as a result of building/redecoration
operation, or poor levels of maintenance. For instance, if Ionisation
alarms are sited too close to a Kitchen, false alarm will often result
due to invisible cooking fumes reaching the alarm. Optical alarms
are liable to contamination from dust and fibres, often associated
with building work being undertaken without the alarms being
properly covered. The 140, 150 and 160 series smoke alarms are
supplied with a ‘hush button’ that can be pressed to desensitise
them to allow time for the source of the problem to be investigated.
Use of the ‘hush button’ will only silence the alarm for 8 - 10 minutes
after which the alarm will automatically reset. If the cause of the
false alarm is contamination, the only method of permanently
silencing the alarm is to remove the contamination source. This may
not be possible without removal and cleaning of the alarm itself. It
can be difficult to reach the hush button in some instances,
particularly for the elderly and infirm, so the installation of a wall
mounted System Remote Control Switch Ei1529RC should be
considered to overcome this problem.
31. What is the
radiation risk
from Ionisation
Smoke Alarms?
The National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB), UK have carried
out extensive tests on Ei professional Ionisation Smoke Alarms and
have concluded that they are radiologically safe. They estimate that
we recieve 10,000 times as much radiation from our surroundings as
we would from an ionisation alarm in normal use.
32. How do I
dispose of
redundant Ei
alarms that
contain a
The early 150 series alarms contained a NiCad battery and some may
now be reaching their end of life. The Cadmium contained within the
battery is a restricted substance under The Batteries and
Accumulators Regulations 1994 and cannot be disposed of in normal
waste. Aico Ltd and Ei Electronics take their responsibilities to the
environment seriously, and will accept redundant Ei product back for
recycling/disposal. The Ei151TL, Ei156TL, Ei156TLH, 140 and 160 series do
not contain NiCAd batteries, so are not subject to disposal restrictions.
33. Are the Ei
alarms with
Lithium Cells
with previous
These have been designed to be fully compatible with previous
Smoke and Heat Alarm models. Therefore if an old model 150 series
mains powered alarm should require replacement, the equivalent
model in the new 150 series can be easily and safely installed in it’s
place. All 140, 150 and 160 series alarms are also fully compatible
with each other.
Frequently Asked Questions
34. Why choose Ei
Smoke Alarms?
Ei Professional Alarms are designed and manufactured by Europe’s
largest producer of Smoke and Heat Alarms, with over 30 years
experience in producing quality life safety devices. The latest
techniques are used in the manufacturing process, with the highest
quality and reliability standards (including BS EN ISO 9001:2000) being
practised to ensure trouble-free performance. Smoke and Heat
Alarms are fully 3rd Party tested and Kitemarked to the relevant British
Standard (BS 5446: Pt.1: 2000 for Smoke Alarms, BS 5446: Pt.2: 2003 for
Heat Alarms). All the alarms are easily installed and come with
comprehensive instruction leaflets and a 5 year guarantee.
PLEASE NOTE: The information contained in this leaflet is only a
summary of some of the key points about our Smoke and Heat
Alarms. It is not intended to replace the instruction leaflet supplied
with the product.
Smoke and Heat Alarms must be installed by a qualified person
according to the recommendations contained in whichever of the
following documents are relevant to the specific installation; BS 5839 :
Pt.6 : Building Regulations and I.E.E. Wiring Regulations. The
information supplied in this leaflet is believed to be in conformity with
these codes. However, Ei Electronics and Aico Ltd cannot be held
responsible for ensuring the Smoke and Heat Alarms, as installed, are
in compliance with these codes. This is the responsibility of the installer
and we recommend that the original source documents are
consulted to achieve this end.
1. What is
2. Which alarms
can be used
with RadioLINK?
Frequently Asked Questions
It is a totally new concept enabling smoke alarm systems to be
interconnected without the need for cabling between the alarms.
Instead, a radio signal is used to trigger all the alarms in the system.
The Ei141, Ei144, Ei146, Ei161RC, Ei164RC and Ei166RC smoke and heat alarms
can all be used with an Ei168 base to make a RadioLINK system. These all
require a mains supply to them. The Ei405 and Ei405TY are battery operated
alarms, these contain all the RF components and do not require the use of
an Ei168RC base.
3. Do I have to
wire the alarms
at all?
The Ei168RC RadioLINK base requires a mains supply to each of the
alarms in the system. The power supply can be taken from any
convenient light pendant, with a permanent live feed, to where the
alarm is to be sited. The Ei405 and Ei405TY don’t require any cabling as
they are battery powered, but they will not be suitable for use in new
build and most tenanted properties.
4. What benefit
is there in
RadioLINK if I
still have to
connect the
to the mains?
There are significant savings to be made, mainly in time, but also in materials.
5. How can the
without a cable
A radio signal is sent when the test button is pressed, or the alarm senses
smoke. This is received by all the RadioLINK alarms in the system and
they will also sound.
6. Will
from other RF
devices be a
The frequency and duration of the RF signal used by the Ei RadioLINK
system meets strict European guidelines. These are designed to virtually
eliminate interference. Interference cannot be completely ruled out but
it is our experience that hard wired cable connections are far more
likely to be affected by interference than RadioLINK will be.
a) There is no need to feed the wiring from one alarm to another. This
can be very time consuming and can cause problems with tenants
not wanting to have trunking running up walls and across ceilings.
There is no need to lift floorboards either. Both of these points mean
that damage claims to floors, carpets and decoration are minimised,
if not eliminated.
b) Less cable and trunking is required so further reducing costs.
There have been problems with doorbells using RF causing interference
with other doorbells of the same type. These problems were mainly due
to there being only a few codes available that the user could choose
from. This made it very easy to select a code that was used by a
neighbour. The consequence was that when one doorbell was pressed,
a number of them sounded! This cannot happen with RadioLINK
because each alarm base has a unique code that is set at the factory.
The code cannot be repeated so interference is eliminated.
Frequently Asked Questions
7. Will security
systems and
car alarms
affect the smoke
alarm system?
Security systems may use the same frequency as the RadioLINK but they
will normally be on a different band and/or be restricted to using the
channel for 1% of the time, for a maximum of 4 seconds at any one
time. Also, the unique code used by RadioLINK units means that
interference is a very remote possibility. Car alarms and mobile phones
use a completely different frequency so interference is not possible from
either of these. Television remote controls mostly use infra-red, which
cannot affect the RadioLINK system.
8. How far will the
radio signal
The radio signal can travel a very long way if there are no obstructions
to block it – 250 metres or more. But, it is more relevant to consider the
practical application of RadioLINK where there will be walls, ceilings
and many other obstructions to impede the radio signal path. In the
vast majority of properties, where there will be 2 or 3 alarms, the signal
from a RadioLINK unit will be more than adequate. In fact, it is quite
probable that the radio signal will transmit well beyond the limits of the
property. This is a very important reason why the alarms in a property
must be ‘House Coded’ – see question 9.
9. If all the alarms
can interlink how
can I stop the
next door
sounding the
ones in my house?
Simply House Code each separate system of alarms. In this way they
cannot cause nearby alarms to sound.‘House Coding’ takes a
matter of minutes after installation of all the alarms in the system and
can be easily undertaken by anyone following the instructions supplied
with the product.
10. Can you use
RadioLINK to
between as
well as within
Yes, this is a big advantage in blocks of flats and HMO’s. In ordinary
hard-wired installations it is necessary to cross property boundaries with
mains cable in order to interlink the alarms (and provide the mains
power). This could pose an electrical safety risk if people working in the
dwelling were unaware that there are 2 mains power supplies to the
property. With RadioLINK each alarm in the system can be connected
to a local power supply, the interconnect signal is provided by the radio
signal, therefore overcoming this risk.
In flats and HMO’s where interconnection between dwellings is not
required, but a connection to the communal areas is (for early warning
purposes), it is easy to provide a simple, yet effective system. Simply,
‘House Code’ the alarms in each flat separately and then ‘House
Code’ the alarms in the communal areas with say a heat alarm in the
individual dwellings. In this way, if a nuisance alarm should occur within
one of the dwellings it will not affect the other residents. However, if a
real fire has occurred, the heat alarm in the dwelling will operate the
communal system – and all other dwellings – when sufficient heat has
been generated.
Frequently Asked Questions
11. How will I
know if the RF
line has failed?
How do you know if a hard wired cable connection has failed or not?
There is a much greater chance that damage will occur to a cable
than there is that the RF signal will fail. Cables can be disconnected, a
nail can be put through them, or rodents gnaw through them. An RF
interconnect cannot be affected by any of these. The only effective
method of checking that the RF interconnect link is operating is by
pressing the test button on the alarms and checking that they all sound.
This is also the only way that you can check a hard-wired interconnect.
12. Are the
RadioLINK units
kitemarked to
BS 5446:Pt.1?
BS 5446: Pt.1 is the standard that smoke alarms should be Kitemarked
to. As the Ei405 and Ei405TY are smoke alarms, they have been 3rd Party
tested and Kitemarked to this standard. The Ei168RC RadioLINK base is
not a smoke alarm; it is a base that a smoke alarm is attached to.
Consequently, this standard is not applicable to the Ei168RC.
13. To which
standards does
the Ei168RC
The Ei168RC is CE marked to demonstrate conformance to BS EN
60065:1998 (Electrical safety), EN 300220-1 V1.3.1 (2000-09) (RF performance),
EN 301489 VI.4.1 (2002-08) (EMC) and has been 3rd party tested for
electrical safety in accordance with Annex K of BS 5446: Pt.1: 2000.
14. Is RadioLINK
suitable for
use in all
The simple answer is yes! But it is easier to justify the additional cost
when retro fitting smoke alarms as this is where surface trunking often
has to be used. Cable is relatively cheap and easy to install in new
build properties without the need for trunking so the extra cost may not
be a viable proposition. However, some new build properties have
concrete ceilings and this may mean that surface wiring via trunking will
still be necessary. In these applications the use of RadioLINK could play
a useful role. Other applications could include...
a) Individual dwellings within a block of flats or HMO’s. We would not
recommend interconnecting individual dwellings together as
nuisance alarm could cause considerable aggravation to other
occupiers. But, many enforcing authorities insist that this is done.
RadioLink allows this without the need to cross boundaries with mains
cable, so potentially creating an electrical safety risk. In addition,
separation of dwellings and communal areas is possible yet still
allowing a warning to be given throughout the building via RadioLink.
b) Connection of remote areas to a central smoke alarm system
avoiding the need to run cable for extended distances.
c) Allows existing systems installed without a hard wired interconnect to
be connected, avoiding the need for a complete rewire.
d) Existing hard wired systems can use RadioLink to extend the system
into additional rooms or areas without all the extra wiring and
disruption this may cause.
Frequently Asked Questions
15. How many
alarms can be
Technically, up to 30 alarms can be interconnected but the limiting
factor is likely to be due to distance between alarms and obstructions
that may block the radio signal. In most domestic properties a realistic
maximum number of alarms would be 12.
16. Is there any
method of
controlling a
A fixed wall switch, Ei411H, is available. This allows Test, Hush and Locate
features to be incorporated into a RadioLINK system without having to
reach up to the smoke alarms. The switch is the same size as a normal
light switch and is powered by a Lithium cell having a realistic 10 year
life. This means that the switch is easily installed, as it does not require
any wiring, the signals to the alarms being transmitted by a radio link.
A Manual Call Point, Ei407, is available for use in larger installations.
This also has the benefits of a Lithium cell power supply and no wiring
connection being required.
In applications where a relay is required to signal to other devices the
Ei428 is available; this is mains operated, but has a rechargeable Lithium
cell back-up supply to ensure that it is operational even in a mains
failure. This is an essential requirement when signalling to Warden Call
Systems. The unit is supplied with a cover to enable it is to be sited at
any convenient position within the property.
17. BS 5839: Pt.6:
says that all
alarms must be
on one final
circuit. Will
comply with this?
BS 5839: Pt.6: 2004 recognises the benefits of radio communication in
the note to Clause 15.5 dealing with power supply requirements for
smoke alarms, thus: “This recommendation [for a single final circuit] does
not apply if the form of interconnection is not capable of conducting
current, e.g. if the means of interconnection compromises radio
communication rather than wiring”.
Building Regulations Document B (England & Wales) allows the use of a
radio link between alarms under section 1.21. The Building Regulations in
Scotland and Northern Ireland currently make no reference of a radio link,
but it is considered that the new recommendations of BS 5839: Pt.6: 2004
would be an acceptable means of meeting the requirements of both
18. Can the smoke
alarms be
connected on
phases of the
mains supply?
Yes, the individual smoke alarms and RF bases are not electrically
connected so a phase difference will not affect them. The only
connection between the alarms and bases is by a radio signal.