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#640651 04/14/21 12:37 PM
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Sadly, I inherited a VoIP solution to dial tone that interfaces with a Fire alarm system. Spectrum converted the dial tone to VoIP and I added two VoIP lines via a Grandstream box. It puts out 47 volts at 26mA. The alarm system hates the lower voltage and everybody is pointing fingers at my lines. Yet, the Spectrum line puts out 50 volts at 40mA!

Sandman says that the specs are 23-120 mA and if your equipment fries, it was too high. Nobody seems to mention what to do about low voltage and low current, except for the 46222 (an old Proctor staple LLA) that is way too expensive and rare.

If you have an old ATA lying around, can you read the voltage? My Linksys PAP 2T is a candidate. It puts out 49 volts at 21 mils. I'm trying that one today.

Carl


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Carl Navarro #640654 04/14/21 04:17 PM
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Not saying that the voltage isn't an issue, but a lot of VoIP adaptors don't always work with fire or security.

These systems communicate to the monitoring station using DTMF. Generally, most VoIP services convert the DTMF tones to rfc2833 out of band signaling. That will likely mess up the timing of the tones to a point that the panel and monitoring station can't communicate. The first thing I would make sure of is that the DTMF signaling is in-band G.711 .

I have a Cisco SPA112. I can check the voltage sometime today.

Carl Navarro #640661 04/14/21 08:37 PM
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Problem solved...so far. The PAP2 with 49 volts seems to work. The alarm system tests each line every other 25 seconds. As soon a i put the matched set of 49 volt lines on the box, it cleared in about 5 minutes. I picked up the lines from Flowoute instead of Voip.ms because I didn't want to reprogram everything just yet. I'll let it sit over the weekend and change it if the ATA ends up working.


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Carl Navarro #640668 04/15/21 01:55 AM
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Just in case you don't know or forgot this, but you can not use VoIP and an ATA with a fire alarm panel.

Here is a great article about it and it explains why better than I can. Changing With The Technology: New Fire Alarm Communications Methods was originally published in 2013, but the code it references is still accurate.

Here is an excerpt explaining why you can't use VoIP.


Quote
You are not allowed to use voice over internet protocol (VoIP) equipment to transmit commercial fire alarm signals. Because you are transmitting data, not voice, the way VoIP compresses and uncompresses signals will dramatically affect the message being sent.

Here is an article from a security blog that is more up-to-date. Migrating from POTS to VoIP? Don’t Get Burned by Your Fire Alarm System.

Last edited by Mercenary Roadie; 04/15/21 01:59 AM.

Patrick T. Caezza
Santa Paula, CA 93060
C-7 - Low Voltage System Contractor - Lic# 992448
Carl Navarro #640669 04/15/21 02:41 AM
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I did know that...and we went through some scary times about the DACT connected to VoIP vs. copper trunks that don't exist anymore. The codes sent are in the voice band as 14 DTMF tones IIRC. The inherited part was that this has been going on for about 8 years, I just got there last year when we made the transition to high-speed internet. In the conversion, Spectrum dumped the old-style lines for VoIP and would not EVER give back the old lines, so there smile. This had been inspected and passed for years until we made the change, then we ruffled some feathers. The monitoring fee is so good, I think we should do whatever the alarm company wants.

The alarm company and the church are negotiating a cell solution that is legal and leaves me out of the problem, but I also wanted to prove that the ATA providing dial tone works. Also, for some reason, the alarm system sucks up the inbound caller-id, so I'm happy to report that the SMDR capture of inbound calls now has complete records!

Anyway, it feels good to know that the solution works and, with luck and a bit of pressure, it will not be needed by the end of June. Also, there is a 2019 version of the code that's getting closer to the truth. If it weren't a $5K solution, this panel would be gone. For now, the cell addition is less than $1K.

Carl


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Carl Navarro #640672 04/15/21 03:37 AM
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Years ago, our town made a push to decommission the teletype pull boxes used to report fires with an OTA solution.

Establishments were required to either switch to the new system, or, find an alternate monitoring company.

My church went with the new system, but, I suggested that the old pull box be left on the outside of the building.

Years later, as far as I can tell, the old system is still in use.


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Carl Navarro #640687 04/15/21 11:39 PM
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If you run into this problem again, have the provider set the line as a fax line. Doing that removes the voice compression from the line and allows the full tones to go through, I do that for the burglary alarm line and they work perfectly.

I had to deal with a similar situation. A site that had 17 POTS lines dropped AT&T as their provider and changed over to a Spectrum PRI line on the recommendation of their IT MSP person. I got called in because I had some basic knowledge of the 3COM NBX system, but they did keep any analog lines for things like the fire and burglary alarms, elevator, and fax lines. The MSP people thought they could use the analog line cards which were used for the POTS line as analog out cards. They had no clue that they needed the analog terminal cards to create the analog equipment's POTS lines. The site was without their analog equipment for over a month before they got it straightened out and I am still getting called back to fix the mess they created.

Last edited by Mercenary Roadie; 04/15/21 11:51 PM.

Patrick T. Caezza
Santa Paula, CA 93060
C-7 - Low Voltage System Contractor - Lic# 992448

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