Reece Fitzhardy is quietly confident as he tries out C-TEC’s Hush ActiV Grade C Domestic Fire Alarm Kit on a recent project.
The enforced lockdown that our country has been under for many months has certainly had both its negatives and positives. Clearly the downsides have been obvious and don’t need much explaining, but a significant upside that I’ve noticed is that more of my customers have had the chance to assess their existing properties and which elements require an upgrade.
One such customer, an elderly gentleman, got in touch with me to see if I could recommend a new domestic fire alarm system for him post-lockdown. The good news (for both of us) is that I’d not long taken delivery of C-TEC’s Hush ActiV Grade C Domestic Fire Alarm Kit (product code: HAK/1) so I suggested that it could fit the bill for his particular needs.
C-TEC has a strong reputation in the fire safety industry and, although I’d not used this particular kit before, I’d read plenty about it beforehand and had full confidence of the C-TEC brand behind it.
The kit, as supplied, comprises 1 x power supply, 1 x central controller, 1 x sounder complete with cover, 1 x smoke detector, 1 x heat detector, 1 x multi-sensor (combined heat/smoke) and 3 x detector diode bases. The psu and controller are each designed to fit on a standard dual socket box and wiring to the single zone is by use of 1mm – 1.5mm triple cable which, following standard commercial fire/evacuation technology practice, is then looped through each unit, including the sounder.
Essentially the method is the same as that used in commercial applications, the main difference being there is only one zone on the HAK/1 kit. The psu is a simple modular unit that provides 24V with an indicator led, that once installed can be mainly ignored. The controller will then monitor most functions, including end of line terminators for both sounder and detector circuits, any removal of detectors and battery health/life.
The battery is a lithium-ion type which is claimed to last 72 hours, ensuring all functions of the controller remain available during a power outage. In this instance, the controller itself will exhibit a fault condition (both visual and audible), with the ability to silence most fault conditions if necessary. There are four LED indicators on the controller labelled: ‘supply’, ‘fault’, ‘alarm’ and ‘hushed’, and the two buttons for the operation are labelled ‘test’ and ‘hush’.
To ensure the system offers a good degree of flexibility, different detectors – such as gradient heat and set temperatures – can be used, while various sounders, LED extensions and visual audio devices are also available. The sounder supplied with this kit has a multitude of tones and frequencies. A dip switch is accessible from the top of the sounder when its cover is off and, with 31 available options, it is able to cover most European, US and southern hemisphere standards.
In operation the system is a simplified version of a commercial fire alarm system but one great feature is there are no codes required for a reset as the ‘hush’ button will achieve this on its own. If the unit is ‘hushed’ by the resident after an unwanted alarm such as burnt toast, a timer is activated for 120 seconds. If, after this time, the condition is cleared, it will then return to a reset state and, if not, it will continue with the alarm.
The detector indicators are able to be viewed through 360˚, making detector identification fairly easy.
The photos supplied with this review show a Hush controller installed in a lobby area, a detector base ready for a heat detector and the sounder unit installed (without cover) outside the bedroom area. The connections for the sounder are different than that of the detector bases, so the cable loop needs assessing prior to installation. The dip switch can be seen, which determines the alarm tone/intensity and flash rate of any visual alarm device (if fitted).
I’ve been really impressed with C-TEC’s Hush ActiV kit and found it very simple to install and set-up for the customer. Something that I hadn’t realised prior to the installation was that the kit’s use would raise the level of fire protection in my customer’s home (from the typical grade D level to grade C with additional monitoring) which he was thrilled to discover.
The product is built to a high standard and comes with the assurance of a monthly occupant test function and lower future maintenance costs, thanks to the separate detectors and sounders used. My customer has been particularly fulsome in his praise for the HUSH function, which removes the need to climb on a chair to silence an unwanted alarm and makes clearing fault codes and messages a much simpler process.
My customer commented that he would feel safer with the system installed. For me, the installer, I have the peace of mind that my customer is protected by a quality system from a reputable manufacturer.
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