We have a project where a control module is connected to the mechanical controls that is programmed to the variable frequency drive for a fan on a large unit. When a duct detector senses smoke, the control module (which is normally-open circuit) will close the circuit, sending a signal to the mechanical controls which shuts down the unit.
On this project we had a bad set of control modules that didn't work. We discovered this in testing with the local jurisdiction, and swapped out the modules and the system now works correctly.
Both the jurisdiction and I wondered whether this normally-open arrangement is acceptable. If a control module were to fail, the duct detector would not be able to close the circuit on the module and the fan would remain running. In this scenario, there would be no supervision or way to know that the control module failed other than someone standing at the fan or finding the issue during testing.
My inclination is that in the future these modules could be normally-closed and open upon duct detection. That way if the module fails and opens on its own, the unit will shutdown in a "failure" mode.
Is it code required that this arrangement be fail-safe?
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We have a machine room-less elevator where the motor is located on top of the elevator cab and the elevator equipment is located within the elevator shaft.
NFPA 13 (2016) 126.96.36.199(2) allows sprinklers to be omitted from the hoistway of "traction elevators" where the hoistway is "protected by smoke detectors, or other automatic fire detection installed in accordance with NFPA 72", and several other requirements.
NFPA 72 (2016) 21.3.3 states that only the elevator hoistway and elevator lobby smoke detectors or other automatic fire detection (as permitted by 21.3.9) shall be used to initiate Phase I Emergency Recall Operation.
NFPA 72 (2016) 21.3.9 states that if "ambient conditions prohibit installation of automatic smoke detection" that other automatic fire detection initiating devices shall be permitted.
What type of ambient condition in an elevator shaft would qualify as prohibiting smoke detection?
I understand smoke detectors in elevator hoistways can cause nuisance alarms (NFPA 72 2016 A.21.3.9) and are very difficult to test and replace within elevator shafts, so in my opinion a heat detector would be better for elevator recall in the shaft if it's allowed by code.
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