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Observer

Three phone lines needed and questions about fire alarm connectivity

We are putting an elevator in a museum with one regular phone, a fire alarm system line, and it now requires a phone line for the emergency phone in the elevator car, so we contacted AT&T about adding a third phone line and they wanted to jack up our rates and we cant afford the third line with them so we are getting Spectrum phone services installed in  a few days.  I am trying to figure out if there is even a modem with three phone jacks on it and i also wanted to see if anyone had experience with spectrum/timewarner phone services and fire-alarm lines.  I know this isnt a firealarm forum but i mainly wanted to know about a modem.  I wasnt actually the one who called spectrum for the lines so i do not know much at the point but i would like to know someone opinion on this.

 

Thanks

4 REPLIES
Expert

Re: Three phone lines needed and questions about fire alarm connectivity

TWC/ Spectrum has a 4 line EMTA modem... BUT, IT IS NOT UL APPROVED FOR FIRE ALARM USEAGE. Please call your fire alarm company, they may be able to use a cell modeminterface on it.

The issue is that line supervision measures the 48 vdc "battery " on the line to cause an alarm "trouble" local alarm if the line fails and "battery" is lost.

 The TWC EMTA modems continuously supply "battery" even though the coax may be disconnected or power is lost on line amps. Hence it fails UL fire alarm requirements.

Same with intrusion alarms...

Sorry.

 However, AT&T should be able to install 2 RJ 31x, used to be rj41 x jacks for the alarm that break off any internal phones if there's an alarm, it tries one line first, put the elevator phone on the second line.

Please contact your alarm company as they will be aware of your exact state& local fire codes.

 No one here or at TWC/ Spectrum has that answer.

I know that in Ohio, you can't soley use EMTA cable service, Have had 3 customers have to use a AT&T copper pstn line for the fire and intrusion alarms. That was even with 8 hour run time UPS on the EMTA modem... Uverse with the 8hr UPS might be OK, provided that line supervision actually works, again contact your alarm company, they have dealt with this before.. many times.

 

 

Observer

Re: Three phone lines needed and questions about fire alarm connectivity

I can see that being an issue passing on inspection and i can also imagine the spectrum phone system probably wouldnt be as reliable as a standard att copper line.  I have been looking into the cellular communicator for the firesystem which would solve all of our issues with that.  We have the fire company coming monday to put in some detectors for the elevator,  so we will ask them about cellular and pricing.  I think switching to spectrum phone for the main phone line and the elevator line may be the way we go just because it will save money but i'm afraid that we will have our price jacked up later especially since i think it's biz class.  Thanks for all of your help

Expert

Re: Three phone lines needed and questions about fire alarm connectivity

 We just had a gun store robbed here where they cut the AC power lines right before the meter and the DVR did not have a UPS on it. If the burglar alarm was connected to a cable modem, it would be dead as well as TWC here does not put batteries in any of their ubee biz class modems, the customer must provide an 4-8 hour run time UPS, it also must power up the coaxial distribution  amp if there is one in the building for multiple modems and cable boxes.

 I would put in a seperate power fail , enviormental monitoring panel that can sense temperature , noise, movement, power loss, etc. that can text you, especially if there's only a single heat source and winter temps fall below 20 f and you have a wet sprinkler system... Can give you a few hours warning before pipes/heads freeze and the place gets flooded ( we had that here, destroyed 100k worth of electronics and the bottom foot of drywall and all the hardwood flooring 2 years ago.

Fire alarm panels are supposed to have the batteries replaced every 2 years. Same battery powers the cell modems if AC power is lost. If they are installing any wireless sensors, good luck if a battery lasts a year, I believe there are some that have supervision(again, I'm not an alarm contractor, I only deal with them. with interface issues.)

Expert

Re: Three phone lines needed and questions about fire alarm connectivity

Other  than the 4 ch Ubee EMTA box, I've seen an 8 or 16 line one as well, it too does not have internal batteries, unknown if it's got advanced enough options for line "supervision" (cuts battery from the rj11 jacks if the cable connection or actual dial out capability at the CMTS that handles the EMTA traffic is lost) Unknown if the biz class techs  would know either, don't expect any more from them than the in home techs. Your alarm co will have a better idea.