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Thread: Mounting Alarm panels / Access control panels in ceiling cavity

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    Default Mounting Alarm panels / Access control panels in ceiling cavity

    Forever and a day i have been telling clients im not mounting the alarm panel in the ceiling because its against regulation / AS.
    Now i have been challenged by a client to present said regulation as they are keen to install door controllers in ceiling cavity.

    Was the regulation im thinking of, due to the fact that the Mode 3 was not allowed to be in the ceiling hence the alarm panel was not to be installed in the ceiling?

    After googling for 1hour i cant find an answer



    Thanks in advance
    Tim



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    Senior Member secure's Avatar
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    I'm not sure if there is a rule about alarm equipment can not be mounted in the roof space.
    I think it's not recommend due to the heat that can be generated in the roof space during summer. Plug packs die etc.

    I come across jobs every now and then where the panel is mounted in the roof space.

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    Look at the temperature rating of the controllers, then consider what temp the roof cavity will get up to
    Remember vermin (cockroach etc) is not covered under warranty

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    What you talk about is not a standard but bloody common sense.
    Quickest way to get an unstable control unit and drastically shorten its lifespan is to put it in the roof. The heat destroys batteries, and the pcb end up with dry joints and dried up capacitors.
    If your client is too stupid to see & understand these basic facts then I would just walk away from the job because when it all goes to crap, you will get the blame.

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    Also AS2201.1 requires that all alarm control panels be in a 'protected' area, unless authorised by the client, in writing. It is amazing how often the end user will do it the 'right' way when you insist that they put it writing that they want you to take shortcuts etc.

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    Although AS2201 said the panel had to be mounted at between x & y cm above floor level, I always thought that a stupidity.

    Nearly every conventionally installed system is either
    i
    • in the hall cupboard
    • in the bedroom cupboard
    • in the cupboard under the stairs


    Of course that's an overstatement, but in practice installers put panels where it was convenient for them to fit and service, and hence equally convenient for an intruder to "service". Standard practice leaves very few places an intruder has to look to "seek and destroy"

    Most domestic intrusions are not via the roof, so the ceiling space was the far more secure location for equipment that could easily be silenced. And that is any dialler or local alarm.

    Likewise I put it that the panel tamper was not a totally thought-through concept. If an alarm had not been triggered well before the time you were at the panel, then having a panel tamper was not much use, given the whole shebang could be silenced in under 5 seconds after the panel door was sprung open. And only a slacker would put a panel in an unprotected area. However, a panel tamper following detector alarms does give good confirmation of a genuine burg - if the burglar is not too slow or incompetent.

    Heat in the ceiling space is not too much a concern. A DAS panel (as an example) is rated between 30 and 120F ambient. Can run close to the wind in summer anywhere but Tassie. I'd be mindful of the heat issue in the Alice or Qld, but not in civilised climes.

    In practice, in Victoria, I have never (AFAIK) had an alarm panel malfunction due to ambient heat. Mind you, the earliest systems I serviced for Wormald consisted of a relay nailed to a piece of packing case and tripped by a germanium transistor. They were very heat tolerant.

    I have always maintained that having a strictly defined set of installation rules makes it easier to have any tech know his way around someone else's installation, and that has benefits, but it also makes it easier for a malefactor to nobble an installation because all installations look the same.

    How many installers use red for positive, black for negative and blue and white for circuit? No dissenters? How about black for pos, white for neg, and blue/red for alarm. That messes with the mind if trying to bridge out a circuit even if you know the wiring convention.. And no - I am not suggesting anyone go down that path. It's one bridge too far.

    Unorthodox installations bring better security to the client, but at some expense to serviceability.

    Of course the flip side to that line is that if everyone put their panels in the roof space then roof entries would become the norm.

    I expect to cop hell from the legion of righteous rule followers for this post, and I only wish I gave a damn.

    Cheers, and respect for the posts of yours that I have seen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PAFMelb View Post
    Although AS2201 said the panel had to be mounted at between x & y cm above floor level
    No it doesn't.

    Manufacturers may have their own mounting requirements (certainly the case for PIRs) and keypads should be accessible, obviously. I'm not aware of any guidleline or recommendation that suggests the mounting height of a control panel.

    Quote Originally Posted by PAFMelb View Post
    Nearly every conventionally installed system is either

    • in the hall cupboard
    • in the bedroom cupboard
    • in the cupboard under the stairs
    That's because it needs to be installed within the alarmed area and bedrooms typically are (most people's bedrooms aren't accessed via the front door where the keypad is mounted).


    Quote Originally Posted by PAFMelb View Post
    in practice installers put panels where it was convenient for them to fit and service, and hence equally convenient for an intruder to "service".
    If the panel is installed in the alarmed area an intruder cannot access it without having first triggered an alarm.

    Quote Originally Posted by PAFMelb View Post
    Most domestic intrusions are not via the roof, so the ceiling space was the far more secure location for equipment that could easily be silenced. And that is any dialler or local alarm.
    I think you're confusing obscurity with security. Just because you've 'hidden it' in the roofspace does not mean you've made it more secure. In actual fact you may have done the opposite and breached the Standard which requires it to be in an alarmed area (is the roof alarmed?) as well as in respect to environmental conditions, for which a roofspace is often far from ideal.

    Quote Originally Posted by PAFMelb View Post
    Likewise I put it that the panel tamper was not a totally thought-through concept. If an alarm had not been triggered well before the time you were at the panel, then having a panel tamper was not much use, given the whole shebang could be silenced in under 5 seconds after the panel door was sprung open.
    That is not what a tamper switch is for.

    It is an anti-sabotage utility, not burglar detection. It is to be assumed that the alarm panel will be destroyed by an intruder which is why it is required to be installed in an alarmed, protected area. The tamper switch is to stop (say) an insider-threat from discreetly disabling a few zones or removing power, or defaulting a system prior to a subsequent intrusion.

    Quote Originally Posted by PAFMelb View Post
    And only a slacker would put a panel in an unprotected area.
    You mean like a roof space? :-)

    Quote Originally Posted by PAFMelb View Post
    Heat in the ceiling space is not too much a concern.
    Moisture is. Glass fibres are. Big f**king rats the size of a housecat are. So is security as mentioned above. Lastly, give some thought to roofspace hazards (over and above the rats) for the contractors who follow you post-installation and don't want to risk falling through the gyprock and dying for a simple battery change.

    Quote Originally Posted by PAFMelb View Post
    Unorthodox installations bring better security to the client, but at some expense to serviceability.
    Security through obscurity is usually a myth. There are many ways to achieve most outcomes, however you are potentially introducing exposure by moving away from well considered standards that are the orthodoxy for a reason.
    Last edited by downunderdan; 06-08-20 at 04:47 PM.

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    The other problem with installing an alarm panel in the roof cavity is that the Summer heat quickly kills lead acid backup batteries... even here in Tasmania.

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    Not one mention if this is for a house or a larger building. If the ceiling space doesn't heat up, there's nothing wrong with having the alarm system on a sub-board in the ceiling. Easy to block the holes. Bugger putting it in the bedroom and having the customer hear the dialler relay click on a regular basis. Hallway cupboard, pantry, guest room, garage, laundry... So many better places to put it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CT4 View Post
    Not one mention if this is for a house or a larger building. If the ceiling space doesn't heat up, there's nothing wrong with having the alarm system on a sub-board in the ceiling.
    Actually the standards say "installed within the alarmed area" so if you are not putting sensors in the roof space it is not in an alarmed area. I would think that most installers would have a copy of the standards AS2201.1 as a minimum or if like me all 5 (AS2201.1 to AS2201.5) to me it is like installing the panel and not having a copy of the installers manual.

    However since running a control room for the last few years it has opened my eyes that there are a lot of techs (not just WA) that have no idea how to even wire a keyswitch or a N/O device

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    Quote Originally Posted by xr5adam View Post
    Actually the standards say "installed within the alarmed area" so if you are not putting sensors in the roof space it is not in an alarmed area. I would think that most installers would have a copy of the standards AS2201.1 as a minimum or if like me all 5 (AS2201.1 to AS2201.5) to me it is like installing the panel and not having a copy of the installers manual.

    However since running a control room for the last few years it has opened my eyes that there are a lot of techs (not just WA) that have no idea how to even wire a keyswitch or a N/O device
    Look up "Alarmed area" under Definitions in 2202.1... It's not a stretch to put a PIR in a ceiling space, especially if the panel is already up there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CT4 View Post
    Look up "Alarmed area" under Definitions in 2202.1... It's not a stretch to put a PIR in a ceiling space, especially if the panel is already up there.
    And if you read my post I did mention that a sensor would need to be there,

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    Quote Originally Posted by xr5adam View Post
    And if you read my post I did mention that a sensor would need to be there,
    Yup. You inferred that. It's both relevant and moot. Relevant because it's true, but moot because I'm sure you don't typically point that out when people are discussing installing a panel somewhere within the living space. This industry is a sh.t show. So many techs can't wire up basic stuff or even decipher pre-existing wiring, and take filthy shortcuts because their sense of integrity is lower than their skill set. Had a tech call me recently to ask how to troubleshoot an input with dual EOL's. Really basic stuff. Sparkies are no better. I installed lighting integration the other day. Three different sparkies couldn't get their head around two-way switching with changeover relays, yet they do it every other day with standard 2-way light switches. Expecting people to follow specs, let alone laws is a pipe dream so long as the relevant authorities aren't providing oversight.

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