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PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2017 11:23 pm 
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For a small holiday cottage I am having refurbished in picturesgue West Wales, I am doing first fix, the electrician has asked me to source linked alarms as follows:

A heat detector in the kitchen (which is open through an archway from the living space);
A smoke alarm in the living area, and located near the front door/only exit (which is close to the kitchen arch);
A CO alarm within 3 metres of the log burner (which is 6/7m from aforementioned door & kitchen).

All heating, water & cooking, is electric. Wires in the loft is not a problem. Cost is not an issue.

He has said that he will put these on a separate mcb, 1.0mm t&e to the first then three core to link the other two. I don't object to battery backup in the event of power failure.

But on my first investigation (S/Fix) the items available seem to be battery powered & wi-fi linked, not requiring mains power. This may very well be the current trend but as I want to keep the building low maintenance I am not in favour of having to replace batteries if units start bleeping when visitors are in occupation & I am miles away. Obviously it' s different if you live in the property yourself.

Any recommendations please? Do mains linked units have to be the same brand or is there a standard they all meet so they are compatible?


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2017 11:42 pm 
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Kidde and Aico brands are popular.

As an aside, smoke detectors on their own MCB is NOT a good idea. The reason is, if the MCB should trip, you will not know. But if they are connected to the lighting circuit you will soon know you have a problem.

The other point to note is that although they are mains operated and have a battery back up, they will still beep when the battery goes flat.

I would also suggest having a standalone CO detector, not interlinked as when it activates only the CO detector makes a noise. The idea being you can go and investigate the CO, but if the smoke alarms activate you should evacuate the building then worry about checking.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 09, 2017 9:09 pm 
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That is very helpful & thought-provoking, thank you.

Not sure if the electrician said 'own circuit' now, although we were discussing the number of ways required at the time.

And whilst I appreciate that backup batteries will eventually fail, that's not the same as having to replace old style alkaline batteries more often when the property has been empty a few weeks and a new temporary occupant arrives to find a battery alarm bleeping annoyingly.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 09, 2017 9:45 pm 
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arco_iris wrote:
.........And whilst I appreciate that backup batteries will eventually fail, that's not the same as having to replace old style alkaline batteries more often when the property has been empty a few weeks and a new temporary occupant arrives to find a battery alarm bleeping annoyingly.


............guess what batteries they have for battery back up :lol:
arco_iris wrote:
......old style alkaline batteries


I only wish I was joking, but its true, they do have any 9v battery you choose to put in them as back up. (But some do come with a Duracell battery)

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 5:11 am 
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Some more research to do, but Kidde Firex for a start have a non-replaceable rechargeable lithium cell backup.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 10:27 am 
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The aico brand also do a lithium battery option. These should last for 10 years without you having to change the battery. Aico also do a remote test, locate and silence switch which is pretty good.

I agree with SE that the smokes should be on the same circuit as the lights and I also would not interlink the CO to the heat and smoke.

You would also be better with an optical smoke not an ionisation one due to the location near to the kitchen. If possible I also fit a double pole key switch the the smokes to allow any maintenance work to be carried out without having to turn the lights off.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 5:25 pm 
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Thanks for joining in, On Lyme! Can I just clarify first of all that an alarm with a lithium back-up is rather like emergency lighting in that the battery is constantly charged by being connected to the mains, but is only used when mains power fails, to keep the alarm alive?

However, this thread has opened up another issue, regarding which circuit the alarms should be on. I fully accept the reasoning that they should be on the lighting circuit, however that does not appear to be what the Regulations say.

Which is that smokes should be on a dedicated circuit and importantly, one which is NOT covered by an RCD. My electrician had already said previously that he would put the living/bedroom ring on one side & the kitchen ring on the other side of a new split DB so that in the event of a fault, power is not lost completely. So he's right about the smokes circuit being separate but actually there's nowhere to put it in a new dual RCD board!

To the layman, there seems to be a contradiction between what the Regs. say & what electricians do, which makes a mockery of the whole caboodle. Apparently we should be looking at a high-integrity DB in order to comply? These have a separate 6A RCBO, I'll investigate the cost.

So whilst it is a legal requirement to have detectors in a holiday let cottage, I'd probably be best off, on balance, to go for 10 year life, lithium powered, battery only ones - I'm not bothered about them being linked as the building is so small you'll hear them anyway.

And just to mention, we are only converting to Amendment 3 metal split-load DB because it will be nicer than what's there - this is not a new-build but refurbishment of an existing building so we wouldn't really need to. As I understand it.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 5:53 pm 
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Battery only ones would solve your problem, but according to This you can't have them. You have to have mains fed, interlinked with battery back up.

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Which is correct? Metre or Meter? Click the link. to find out more.

No such thing as "Thou shalt put this wire here, Thou shalt put that wire there" .............Take a picture BEFORE you do the job.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 5:58 pm 
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arco_iris wrote:
However, this thread has opened up another issue, regarding which circuit the alarms should be on. I fully accept the reasoning that they should be on the lighting circuit, however that does not appear to be what the Regulations say.


What regs are you looking at?


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 6:37 pm 
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someone-else wrote:
according to This you can't have them.


But that pages says "These regulations cover new builds, materially altered dwellings, loft conversations and certain building extensions for standard dwellings" none of which applies to me. I believe that the building was converted from a former farm building in the seventies.

OnlyMe wrote:
What regs are you looking at?


I started on a page on TLC's website that summarised various bits in short & then a link took me to:https://www.tlc-direct.co.uk/Technical/Regulations/Fire/CutOut/PowerSupplies.htm.

Wondering if this was definitive I then googled for the regulations and ended up reading threads on electriciansforumscouk & probably others as well where members were discussing the anomaly.

Going back to the split board issue, is it acceptable to put an additional RCBO inbetween the incomer & the first (left hand) RCD, like this:

[Incomer] | [6A RCBO] | [RCD] - [MCB][MCB][MCB][MCB] | [RCD] - [MCB][MCB][MCB][MCB]

so in this example needing a DB with 15 ways? which would also solve it.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 6:53 pm 
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Its up to you, but I would still suggest having them interlinked, because at night people close doors, so if there was an incident say in the kitchen it would be some time before any one knows there is a problem.

As an aside, you should also have one near the sleeping area. (More for the sound than detection)

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Take it easy, a forum is only a collection of opinions. Above, are mine.

Which is correct? Metre or Meter? Click the link. to find out more.

No such thing as "Thou shalt put this wire here, Thou shalt put that wire there" .............Take a picture BEFORE you do the job.

If gloom had a voice, it would be me. :mrgreen:

:idea1: How to post a picture on this forum Click here


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 7:01 pm 
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Going back to the very first post, the kitchen is open through an archway - you walk in the front door (to the living area 6m x 4m) take two steps forward turn right two steps & you're in it; the bedrooms are 6 metres to the left. You could say "FIRE!" in a hoarse whisper and hear it throughout the building!




arco_iris wrote:
someone-else wrote:
according to This you can't have them.


But that pages says "These regulations cover new builds, materially altered dwellings, loft conversations ..."


I c&p'd that from s-e's link - what's a "loft conversation"? :dunno: :lol:


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 7:57 pm 
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Stop over engineering your installation.

Keep it simple.

And for some unknown reason I agree with SE.


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