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Posted on

With summer here and thunder and lightning storms due to make their presence known, we may be losing power at some point in the coming months.

If you have a home alarm, you may be hearing some beeping coming from the keypad.  What should be your next step?

Napco Security's Gemini Keypad

If you’re at a business and you have security cameras, an access control system and of course doors that lock, what is likely to happen?

In terms of your burglar alarm system, most keypads will have a reset button on them.  You should simply press this if you hear beeping due to an outage.  If power remains out for an extended period of time, in order to save battery life, you may want to consider disconnecting the battery.

It is located inside your panel and is usually a black cube with two wires connected at the top.  Simply disconnect those wires.

If you don’t, and power remains out for an extended period of time, it may drain your battery.  Just like a car, alarm batteries get recharged by being hooked up to the system while power is on.  But sometimes they may go “past the point of no return” if power is out and will not be able to be recharged.  It is important however to remember to hook them back up again when power returns, or if you want your system to work with the power out.

It is also important to know that you will not have a working security system when you disconnect the battery, since power will be out and you will have disconnected the only remaining power source.  This is a choice you need to make.  If you feel you need your system on for safety reasons at that given time, keep your battery hooked up and if drains, you’ll simply have to purchase a new one.  We at One Source are not recommending one course over another.

Pressing the reset button silences the issue, but it doesn’t clear the system trouble if the AC power isn’t present back at the panel.  The system is still in trouble—the condition is still there.  The beeping you hear at the keypad is actually indicating any of a variety of system troubles, such as “AC power fail” if it’s an alpha numeric keypad. 

If you choose to disconnect your battery, how long it’s going to last depends on the number of devices that are on your system.  These include items such as motion detectors, smoke detectors, door and window contacts and more.  The battery should recharge if it becomes somewhat low, but not usually if it becomes completely drained.

What happens to doors that are on a keyless system in a power outage?  Those doors with electric strikes (locks), will “fail locked”, so no one will be able to enter from the outside if power fails. 

“Mag” locks, often found at the top of glass doors in the main entrance to buildings, require power to remain locked, so with an outage, they become unlocked.  They should certainly have a manual key override (that would need to be locked) so no one can enter during an outage.

And card readers at each door need manual key overrides as well.

In terms of your CCTV system, each security camera needs a power supply to operate.  One way to back up security cameras is by using a generator circuit.  It is possible to use batteries on cameras, but it is not often done—there needs to be DC in order to do this.

For your DVR, a UPS can be used, just as would be done on your PC, so some protection is offered.

So please enjoy the summer and let's hope the storms leave our systems running uninterrupted.

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