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The Essential Features Of 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, an alarm that can't be efficient all the time is 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 fail.

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 Monitoring Device?

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.

Now imagine it didn't hurt. You wouldn't 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.

Your bottom line is affected when problems go unnoticed. Your bottom line is affected 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 Monitoring 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. There are some main features that you should look for.

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.

Multiprotocol is how you save money and ensure total coverage.

Your Central Station Monitoring Device Should Be Reliable, Durable, and Redundant

What makes a central alarm station reliable? After all, a huge storm could damage 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 monitoring cetner - 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 alarm system you are evaluating durable? Has it proven successful for other companies? Are you positive it will work?

Has it been used successfully in extreme environments? Has it worked wherever it is deployed?

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. But the monitoring 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 your central station operators don't know how to efficiently use your master, it isn't doing its job. And that - as we talked about - means it isn't a real alarm signal.

You shouldn't be content with "good enough". 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 equipment and alarm monitoring services. Our technicians can work with you to get a device for your specific needs. Reach out to us and get a quote today!

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