Fire Angel mains Alarm System battery failure

Discussion in 'Electrics UK' started by frank999, 30 Aug 2021.

  1. frank999

    frank999

    Joined:
    11 Feb 2009
    Messages:
    638
    Thanks Received:
    8
    Location:
    London
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    Hi,

    I and others are experiencing permature battery failures on these units and wish to replace the system.

    2 core and earth FP200 fire cable was laid ready for 2x Grade A systems to be installed in 2x flat conversion.
    A certified Fire Risk Assessor was brought in, but told me that the property only required a Grade D system, and if a Grade A was installed he would have me RIP it out and replace it with a Grade D.

    For the replacement, I wish to avoid wireless if possible, could the 3 core be used (L&N + Interlink), with an earth taken from an adjacent light fitting, or L,N&E all from the light loop, and just one of the cores of the FP200 for ther interlink.

    Can you buy a Grade D system with a central battery ? A Grade A system requires weekly testing (which I already have in another property), but which is not required.
    And 16x units, all with separate batteries seems more probable to be a nuisance, so many posts online with folk being woken in the middle of the night by a variety of different manufacturers detectors failing batteries. Central Battery backup in my experience removes this 'nuisance'.

    My expectation is that the units should last at least as long as the 10 year period, warranted for the battery. But I am sceptical now. Can any one steer me to a Grade D where the batteries do last 10 years.
    Unsure why the 'sealed' backup battery does not get a top up from the mains, would that not help.
    AICO is in the running, any premature battery failures like this experienced.


    Here's some more detail:

    Wireless Fire Angel WST-230 and WHT-230's mains with battery backup were installed, had to be wireless as I did not have 4 core cable. These are supposed to have a 10 year warranty to cover the 'sealed' battery life, so you would expect them to last at least 10 years without complaint.

    However, after just two months of operation we have experienced 3x battery failures across the two flats, with the units chirping, waking up our tenants in the middle of the night, and subsequent calls to me to sort out. The SMART silence feature only works for 8 hours, and then only 10 times, then it goes into SOS alarm sounder mode, along with other units chirping, something that happened on the most recent failure, and whilst I was away on Holiday.

    Looking at the Fire Angel Trust Pilot reveiws
    https://uk.trustpilot.com/review/fireangel.co.uk
    it appears that battery life is much in question, with many reviews cursing the units chirping at night after the batteries failing prematurely, failing sometimes within a couple of months of installation, but none seeming to last more than a few years.
    I have a couple of non mains units Fire Angel units in my mothers house, and both have failed with ina few short years.
    I have called one well known reseller of Fire Angel equipment, and battery failure with these is there number one reason for return - amongst a varied catalogue of Fire Equipment they sell.

    There are 16 interlinked units across 2 flats, I can only assume going on observed and experienced failure rates, I will get on average 3 failures per year over the next 5 years. That is unacceptable, I purchased the system assuming a minimum 10 year life.

    Fire Angel's tech have explained the reseller will replace any units when they fail free of charge in the 1st 12 months, then they will for the next 9 years after that (at their discretion), but my issue is I don't want them to fail, I want them to live the expected warranty life, and I'm sure my tenants do not want to be woken up in the middle of the night every 4 months for the next 5 years.
    I have asked for a full refund, but FA will not move.
    I feel its not fit for purpose.
    And the interlinked nature of the system really doesn't help when units prematurely fail like this.
     
    Last edited: 30 Aug 2021
  2. Sponsored Links
  3. flameport

    flameport

    Joined:
    10 Mar 2007
    Messages:
    10,097
    Thanks Received:
    2,037
    Location:
    Poole, Dorset
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    Aico 3000 series, which are mains powered and have sealed in lithium rechargeable batteries.
    Also fit a remote test switch for testing them all at the same time, and identifying which one is causing an alarm.

    In the exceptionally unlikely event of one failing, it's a few seconds to remove it from the ceiling plate, which both removes mains power and disconnects the internal battery leaving all of the others fully functional. No access to live parts and no need to switch anything off first.

    If the tenants complain about false alarms and all that, you can obtain data from each alarm as to exactly when that occurred, how many times, if/when it was removed from the base plate, mains power failed and so on, which is ideal when certain tenants are not 100% truthful and honest about such things.

    3 cores are required for wired link (L,N,link).
    BS7671 requires an earth connection at every point.
    Taking an earth connection from an adjacent circuit doesn't comply with BS7671 either, and would achieve nothing in this case as the alarms themselves do not require any earth, although they do have a terminal for it.

    Wireless interlink on a system of 16 units will be a pile of problems although it's not impossible.

    I have only installed Aico for the last 10+ years. Zero failures or problems other than batteries needing replacement on the 9V backup types.
    Prior to that, other makes were used and failures were a thing, particularly with the Kidde ones at the time where a whole lot of them inexplicably failed and beeped continuously only a few months after installation.
     
  4. frank999

    frank999

    Joined:
    11 Feb 2009
    Messages:
    638
    Thanks Received:
    8
    Location:
    London
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    Hi, thank you for the considered reply.

    I understand a Grade C system might solve my problem, I have found one system that might suit: it only requires monthly testing, and has one central battery.
    Initial googling brings up:
    https://www.discountfiresupplies.co...V-Grade-C-Stand-Alone-Domestic-Fire-Alarm-Kit
    But the panel looks very basic. It would be great if you could get a Grade C that has a proper panel, with all the diagnostics ??? the system required here does not have manual call points, and from what I can see, that helps differenciate it from a Grade A, any thoughts on what differentiates a Grade A from C would be appreciated.

    3 cores are required for wired link (L,N,link).
    Would the existing 3 core only cabling be compliant without an earth if used as a wired link, I understood an earth should always be present in the back of the accessory (detector) even though they are all plastic, the wired Fire Angels base plate has a terminal for an earth.

    Wireless interlink on a system of 16 units will be a pile of problems although it's not impossible.

    Exactly what I thought at the time of specifying - Fire Angel's Tech convinced me otherwise at the time, I will be pleased to get away from the wireless arrangement.

    AICO's appear to be the most trouble free, but if a Grade C can eliminate the back up battery debacle, then thats a result.

    I can't see that where you need an interlinked mains system, Grade D units, with backup batteries, and wireless interlinks - are really the best solution, is it really about cost ?? a few £100 more (forgoing the wireless link) and you can save all the broken nights sleep our fellow citizens must be suffering due to this infernal battery issue.
     
    Last edited: 30 Aug 2021
  5. flameport

    flameport

    Joined:
    10 Mar 2007
    Messages:
    10,097
    Thanks Received:
    2,037
    Location:
    Poole, Dorset
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    Grade C will always be very basic, as it's defined as
    A system of fire detectors and alarm sounders (which may be combined in the form of smoke alarms) connected to a common power supply comprising the normal mains and a standby supply with central control equipment.

    Other features generally only available on Grade A systems.
     
  6. BS3036

    BS3036

    Joined:
    24 Sep 2007
    Messages:
    995
    Thanks Received:
    75
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    Can anyone explain the logic behind such an action?
     
  7. frank999

    frank999

    Joined:
    11 Feb 2009
    Messages:
    638
    Thanks Received:
    8
    Location:
    London
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    Other features generally only available on Grade A systems.
    I guess from an operators point of view they want to make sure it retains some form of 'Idiot Proof'ness, shame.
    I presume there is some LED signalling on these simple systems detectors to let you know which detector will have gone off - if there is a false alarm, guess its manufacturer dependant.

    Can anyone explain the logic behind such an action?

    "if a Grade A was installed he would have me RIP it out" were the FRA's advice on 2 separate conversations, one conversation was onsite during the inspection/assessment, and one subsequent from his office on a phone call.
    It was explained that the Grade A introduces more nuisance/disturbance value - with all the weekly tests, which I agree with, who as neighbours wants to hear a full blown alarm system wailing once a week through your open windows, especially if you live in a quiet suburban road or culdesac. And that is not including the tenants in the property, the sounders in their bed rooms are very loud and more than intrusive.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  8. Sponsored Links
  9. frank999

    frank999

    Joined:
    11 Feb 2009
    Messages:
    638
    Thanks Received:
    8
    Location:
    London
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    Thought I would update this with some additional info.

    Grade C's, whilst only requiring a monthly test, will require a 6 month engineer service and certificate, so that is a cost consideration.

    Grade D AICO's (3000 series) are individually bench tested, 3 times from what I was informed, they also have a return rate of 0.004%, they also are manufacturered in Ireland, so the time to market (ie to suppliers) is shorter than Fire Angel (Sprue Ltd).
    The backup batteries recieve a top up from the mains supply running into the unt, so if power fails for an extended amount of time, the unit will simply recharge the backup cells when power is restored.

    Fire Angels are 'batch tested', so the detector you receive will most likely never have been tested (and possibly why we had 3 battery failures within first 2 months)
    These are manufactured in China, and will sit in containers exposed to extremes of temperature, and have a longer time to market.
    The back up batteries do not receive and top up from the mains supply.

    How many nights sleep will be disturbed, you get what you pay for !

    I wont be specifying any more Fire Angel equipment for the foreseeable future.
     
    Last edited: 2 Sep 2021
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  10. frank999

    frank999

    Joined:
    11 Feb 2009
    Messages:
    638
    Thanks Received:
    8
    Location:
    London
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    I get an email from Fire Angel today:

    The failure rate is confidential.

    Yes, when removing 1 alarm for your network, without unlearning all the others, these others will beep every once in a while to indicate they are missing that unit.

    If not unlearnt asap, their chirp becomes permanent and these units need replacing. Simply taking one down does not delete it from the memory of the others.

    I have had yet another battery failure this morning.

    I took a look through screwfix's reveiws, again many siting battery failure.
     
  11. Benway

    Benway

    Joined:
    18 Oct 2005
    Messages:
    323
    Thanks Received:
    17
    Location:
    Essex
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    I've had so many issues with Fire Angel. My 5 alarms are no longer linked as it seems the linking was causing the beeps. The do eventually swap them if you contact support over email but the hassle and inconvenience means once they are out of warranty they will be replaced by something else. Fire Angle have lost me as a customer forever.
     
  12. frank999

    frank999

    Joined:
    11 Feb 2009
    Messages:
    638
    Thanks Received:
    8
    Location:
    London
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    I asked Fire Angel:

    "When you say it chirps once on a while, how often is 'once in a while' please.

    When you say 'unlearnt asap', what time frame are you suggesting here.

    Do you have more in depth technical information you can send me please."


    The reply I received then from Fire Angel gave no greater explanation than:

    As per the 'once in a while' chirp of your other alarms, it is every 8 hours.

    As per the asap, there is no time frame. It is random. We advise to unpair as soon as possible.

    In case of an issue, our manual states to call our technical support.
    Our technical support will then be able to explain this.


    The Trust Pilot review of the Technical Support tells a tale of unanswered phones, you need to speak to someone that day, not wait for an email to be answered a number of days later, this is Fire Safety Equipment.

    These are not fit for purpose, ie a wireless interlinked mains grade D alarm, the Fire Brigade might give them away for free as stand alone battery operated alarms, but how many nights sleep will end up broken and disturbed by the battery issue, with alarms ending up in a bucket of water at 3am.
     
    Last edited: 10 Sep 2021
  13. frank999

    frank999

    Joined:
    11 Feb 2009
    Messages:
    638
    Thanks Received:
    8
    Location:
    London
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    Fire Angel bizarrely called me up today to advise the replacements they want to send are not instock for a few weeks, (are on there way from China) ...
     
Loading...

Share This Page