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The Essential Features Needed for Central Station Alarm Equipment

Central station alarm

If an alarm doesn't have the ability to monitor and report on what it is supposed to be monitoring and reporting on, can it still be called an alarm?

We admit that's a bit of a philosophical question, but it does make some sense. After all, if an alarm can't do its job 100% of the time, it's essentially useless. If you have remote equipment that needs monitoring by central station alarm equipment, you need total coverage. And, you need the essential features to ensure that your equipment is reliable.

Your central station alarm should offer a central viewing station for effectively reporting alarms for all your equipment.

Essential functionality must include the capability of alarm collection masters to read alerts from various protocols, offer internal redundancy so it's durable, and offer a proven, reliable design. In short, you want a central station alarm that won't let you down.

Sometimes, problems occur with equipment. And, you need to know this so you can proactively address the situation. The sooner potential breakdowns are caught, the more money you save. That's why you should look for key essential features in your central station alarm equipment.

What is a Central Station Alarm?

Imagine stepping on a nail. When you do that, your nerves instantly send a message to the brain that something has gone wrong. Through some complicated processes, that gets translated into pain.

That's no fun, of course, but imagine if it didn't hurt. You wouldn't even notice the nail, and you might bleed a lot or have other problems. The pain is the alarm, created by the brain and the nervous system.

That's sort of what a central station is.

A central station, or master station, gathers all the data from your remote telemetry units (RTUs) and displays the data on one centralized computer screen. This includes any alarms that you have set up.

The alarms are pain, and they help prevent things from going wrong. It's like stepping on the nail: you can fix it right away or find a solution to the situation.

You lose money when problems go unnoticed. You lose money when you don't fix things on time. That's why it's critical to invest in a central station that can properly monitor all your RTUs. Now, here's the essential features it needs.

The Essential Features of Your Central Alarm Station

When shopping for central alarm station equipment, your #1 goal is to ensure a proper ROI. That means getting equipment that works the way you need it and works for a long time. So you'll want to look for these features.

Your Central Alarm Station Should Be Multiprotocol

Are you building a whole network of remote stations from scratch with an unlimited budget for the newest equipment? If so, congratulations! But for the rest of us (i.e. everyone), you'll be working with a tangle of old RTUs and monitoring equipment. The central or master station should mediate multiple different protocols including standard, proprietary, and legacy equipment.

That's why you need a central alarm that can take in alarms from both old and new equipment, employing multiprotocol functionality. When one station can handle all your equipment, you realize multiple benefits:

  • You don't have to buy extra equipment to handle all protocols.
  • You won't have to upgrade all your equipment at once, allowing you to gradually upgrade without losing information.
  • Also, you don't have to just decide, for budgetary reasons, not to connect a terminal to your central alarm station.

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Multiprotocol is how you save money and ensure total coverage.

Your Central Alarm Station Should Be Reliable, Durable, and Redundant

What makes a central alarm station reliable? After all, a huge storm could knock out key systems. That's just physics. What it means is to employ multiple layers of redundancy to ensure a constant flow of data. There are a few essential features that accomplish this.

Internal Redundancy

Internal redundancy is essentially hard disk redundancy and ensuring your hardware is failover/failsafe. These are slightly different, but they mean the same thing: when any network or server fails, it automatically switches to a backup - whether that is on a hidden redundant array of disks or a backup server. The result is the same: your system works.

Multiple T/Mons

Your T/Mon system is your central station - monitoring and northbounding alarms. Employing multiple T/Mons - a primary and secondary one - ensures that while the primary one is monitoring and forwarding, it is synching with the secondary. If something goes wrong with the primary, the secondary automatically takes over.

Battery Monitoring System

Q: How else do you stay durable?

A: With a battery monitoring system that uses D-Wire sensors daisy-chained together to give you readouts of battery power.

If the equipment is using too much juice - that might be a sign of overheating, too much humidity, or something else going wrong. It offers real insight into your system, and lets you see and fix a problem before it's too late.

Have a Proven Design

Is the system you are evaluating durable? Is it trusted? Has it proven successful for other companies? Do you know it works? Has it been used successfully in extreme environments? Has it worked wherever it is deployed?

We probably don't need to tell you that the answers to these questions should be "yes."

Your Central Alarm Station Should Come With Training and Support

You may not be an expert about master stations or RTUs. That's understandable. But the company you buy your network from should be. And that means they should be ready to share their knowledge with you, and help you maximize your ROI.

This involves a few things, including:

If you don't know how to get the most out of your central station alarm equipment, it isn't doing its job. And that - as we talked about - means it isn't a real alarm.

So don't settle for second-best. You want to maximize your ROI and keep your system monitored.

That means looking for central station alarm equipment that is reliable, durable, employs multiprotocol functionality, and is backed by best-in-class support and training.

That's the only way to know you have a real alarm master with the essential features required to get the job accomplished of effectively reading alarms - halting the pain of equipment breakdown and expensive repair.


DPS Telecom has the experience and expertise to help companies who need custom-built RTUs. Our technicians can work with you to find the right RTUs for your specific needs. Reach out and get a quote today!

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