What happens to your alarm system if the electricity goes out?

What happens to your alarm system if the electricity goes out?

With a notable increase in crime and the threat of load shedding constantly hanging over our heads, it’s important to understand the implications for your alarm system when the power goes out.

Generally speaking, your traditional alarm system is typically powered by a 16V AC plug-in transformer with a 12V DC battery backup. What this meant is that your alarm system would be powered by the 16V AC transformer while simultaneously recharging or maintaining the charge on your 12V DC backup battery. When load-shedding or an outage occurs, your alarm would automatically draw its required power from the available charge in your 12V DC backup battery.

When a power outage or load shedding occurs, the information displayed on your alarm system keypad varies from model-to-model. But most systems will indicate an AC (home electricity) failure as a trouble condition or with a blinking LED on the keypad itself. This should be no cause for concern and your alarm system should continue functioning normally. However, should you notice an AC failure trouble status while your electricity is still on – this could indicate that your 16V AC transformer has either been unplugged or that it has failed.

The amount of time that your alarm system can survive on battery backup depends on a few variables, namely, the condition and charge of your battery. You should also be aware that if power outages are occurring multiple times per day, your backup battery may not have had enough time to charge to full capacity between failures, thus further reducing the total amount of time available on battery backup. Additionally, the amount of equipment powered by your alarm system (Motion detectors, perimeter beams, remote receivers, armed response radios, and communication modules) has a significant impact on overall battery backup time. We always recommend splitting your 12V DC load by installing multiple battery backup power supply units to further bolster the total available battery capacity at a given time.

You should also note that a normal alarm installation is done with a 7AH lead-acid 12V DC battery. This means that you have a total of 7Amps available when a battery is fully charged. However, most standard lead-acid batteries only have a 50%-70% DOD (depth-of-discharge) rating, meaning, that you actually only have 3-5Amps of backup power available during power outages or load shedding. This is important to know because draining the battery beyond its DOD abilities will have a significant impact on its reliability over time.

There are numerous solutions available to further bolster the backup power capacity of your security and alarm systems. Contact us to chat about solutions available from Paradigm Dynamix.