Tuesday, December 19, 2017

OSID by Xtralis - Your Beam Detector Replacement

What is a Beam Detector?


A beam detector is a fire alarm detection device that projects a beam of light across a large area to detect smoke.  These devices are typically installed in large areas where spot type smoke detection is not practical due to cost or location.

Do you prefer to install beam detectors?


Whether you have been in the fire alarm industry for a month or 30 years, you have more than likely had to deal with beam detectors.  Some salesmen and technicians shriek when they hear the term and others have some what of a love hate relationship with them.  The simple fact is beam detectors can be a pain to adjust and keep true,  however they save a lot of money on detectors, wire, conduit and labor.  The concept of being able to cover a large open area with one detector is great and has become the preferred method of protecting warehouses, airports, gymnasiums, atriums and more. 

When I first got into the industry we were using Hochiki beam detectors which worked via a physical transmitter and receiver unit.  The main transmitter required re-settable power and IDC or SLC (if using an addressable module).  While this is not any different than the more modern System Sensor BEAM1224, the receiver required power as well as an additional pair of wires for communication between the two units.  These additional circuits where a burden, however the worst part was the adjustment.  Having to look through the tiny mirror to zero in the beam and then follow up with a coarse and fine tune got to be frustrating.  As mentioned above, the System Sensor BEAM1224 uses a similar technology that has been updated to eliminate the receiver unit.  The BEAM1224 uses reflectors to bounce the beam back into the transmitter.  Even though this upgrade eliminates the receiver, extra power and communication circuit, the adjustment can still be a nightmare to fine tune.  Lastly once you adjust the beams, there is always the possibility of building movement which can throw the adjustment out of whack and require a return trip.  With that in mind, remember that beam detectors are not typically installed in easy to reach locations.   

Xtralis has a response to this issue and it goes by the name OSID


Xtralis is more commonly known for their VESDA systems but have a few other products you may not be aware of.  The Open-Area Smoke Imaging Detection or OSID unit is one that you may what to start looking into.  This newer beam detection unit does not use a receiver or reflector like we have become accustomed to.  In fact the OSID uses an Imager and Emitter with a maximum coverage distance of up to 492 feet.  In simple to understand terms, the Imager (much like a camera) is simply looking for the emitter in its field of view.  If the Imager sees the Emitter, then you are good to go.  Unlike standard projected beam type detection, you are not relying on a beam that has to be precisely lined up to reflect back to its point of origin.  This new technology reduces alignment troubles and issues due to building movement.  Some other key points to mention include dual wavelength LED based smoke detection (UV and IR), high tolerance to false alarms and troubles, on-board event log, and the OSID is extremely easy to setup and get online.  Another important note is the Emitters come in both high and standard power as well as hard wired or battery powered.  The battery power option makes it easy when replacing a System Sensor BEAM1224 unit with reflectors. 

What makes up the OSID beam detection system?

Xtralis OSID Imager Case Open OSI-10
The OSID Imagers come in two different versions.  

  • The OSI-10 which has a 8 degree field of view and can be linked to 1 Emitter.  This Imager has a coverage distance of 30-150 m.
    • Note this Imager is NOT suitable for use with the High Power Emitters (OSE-HPW and OSE-HP-01).  See below.
  • The OSI-90 which has a 80 degree field of view and can be linked to up to 7 Emitters.
    • When using the OSE-SP-01/W the coverage distance is 6 - 34 m
    • When using the OSE-HPW the coverage distance is 12 - 68 m
    • When using the OSE-HP-01 the coverage distance is 12  50 m

The OSID Emitters come in four different versions.

  • The OSE-SPW is a a standard power Emitter that requires a hard-wired 24 VDC power source
  • The OSE-SP-01 is a standard power Emitter that is powered via an alkaline battery with a guaranteed 5 year life span.
  • The OSE-HPW is a high power Emitter that requires a hard-wired 24 VDC power source.
    • Not suitable for use with the OSI-10 Imager.
  • The OSE-HP-01 is a high power Emitter that is powered via an alkaline battery with a guaranteed 3 year life span.
    • Not suitable or use with the OSI-10 Imager.
OSID Emitter OSE-HP-01

Setup and Alignment of the OSID - YES, it's that Easy!


Whether you are installing the OSID in a new facility or replacing your existing beam detectors, the setup is simple!  The first step would be configuration.  Are you planning on covering an area where one beam is sufficient or are you looking at an atrium with multiple levels to protect.  As noted above, the OSI-10 has an 8 degree field of view and can link with only 1 emitter.  This is good for your standard beam application like gyms, warehouses or the peak of an atrium.  Remember only one emitter can be used with each OSI-10 but multiple OSI-10s can be installed on your system.  Important note, do not use the high powered emitters with the OSI-10.

OSID with multiple Emitters in Theater


Now let's say you have a theater or atrium with multiple levels requiring detection.  In this case you may want to eliminate multiple OSI-10 imagers and go with the OSI-90.  This imager has an 80 degree field of view and can connect up to 7 emitters.  This setup will allow the installer to use one OSI-90 in the corner of the room while placing the emitters at the opposite end of the space at different heights to capture the area to be protected.  The use of 3 emitters will cover 6,000 sq' while 5 emitters will cover 20,000 sq'.

OSID Mounting

The Imager an emitters are same footprint and both come with an easy to install mounting bracket.  The bracket has multiple mounting slots making it easy to affix to existing boxes, new boxes or walls.  Once the bracket is firmly installed on the wall, the OSID imager and emitter simply slide onto 3 protruding areas on the bracket.  The housing has 4 knockouts located at the top and back towards the left hand side of the unit giving you access to the wiring terminals.  Terminals include: alarm contacts, fault contacts, rest switch, power in, power out, Fire LED and heater.  The Imager has plenty of space to internally mount a mini addressable module.  Once your wiring is complete, you are going to want to hold off on powering up or activating the unit.  To the right of the board, there is SW1 containing 10 dip switches.  These switches allow you to configure the amount of emitters, latching or non-latching and dust rejection.  make sure you set these prior to power up. 

OSID Imager OSI-10 Circuit Board
OSID Imager and Emitter Mounting Bracket



















OSID Alignment

Once you have your OSID imager and emitters securely wired and mounted, you are going to want to start the initial alignment process.  Now this is where OSID pulls away from the competition!  Xtralis makes a laser alignment tool (part # OSP-002) that can be purchased separately or purchased along with the Installation and Maintenance Kit.  I recommend picking up a kit or two with your first purchase.  The kit includes large reflectors to assist with laser alignment, a red plastic test panel, the laser alignment tool, diagnostic software cable and instructions.  Note the software can be downloaded for free from the manufacturers website.

Important!  You are going to want to start with the emitters when aligning.

Once you get to the unit, you will notice the very flexible ball and socket design.  This allows the lens to aim at a large variety of angles.  Located at the end of the laser alignment tool, you will notice a hex wrench.  Simply insert that hex head into the small hole just below the lens.  After you insert the tool, turn on the laser and move the lens around until the laser beam is within approximately 2 feet of the imager.  Note that in brightly lit areas, it may be necessary to have an assistant hold up the reflective film at the imager.  This will make the laser more noticeable.  Once the laser beam is on target, simply turn the tool clockwise 90 degrees to lock the ball and socket assembly as well as activate the unit.  Once activated, the lens will pulse with a blue light that can only be seen in line of sight.

OSID OSP-002 Laser Alignment Tool

OSID Emitter with Laser Alignment Tool

Align the Imager after the Emitter(s)

Once you have all the applicable emitters lined up to the imager, you can do the same process in reverse.  Use the same steps as above to line the imager up to the emitter.  After you have the laser lined up, turn the tool 90 degrees clockwise to lock it in place and activate with Xtralis refers to as "Training Mode".  When in training mode, the Imager is looking for all emitters and calibrating itself.  This process can take up to 10 minutes.  During the process, the amber LED will flash.  After training mode is complete the Green LED will flash at intervals of approximately 10 seconds.

Once all these steps have been successfully completed, the fault contacts should clear and your system will return to normal.  Testing is as simple as your standard beam detector and as noted above, the Installation and Maintenance Kit comes with a red testing screen that is rigid enough to last for a long time.  If you are interested, Xtralis provides free diagnostic software on their website for use in reading event logs and narrowing down issues with the unit.  However there is no need to use this software in the setup of the OSID.

In closing the OSID is a high quality replacement to the dreaded beam detection we have been forced to use throughout our careers.  We highly recommend you purchase one of these setups and install it on your next project.  The small increase in price is welcomed on the back-end with easier installation, alignment and setup.  This is a product you can expect to quickly take open spaces by storm.