Using Walk Test as efficient testing and fault-finding toolWritten by Tim Ulrich
Walk Test is a common function on most Fire Alarm Control Panels (FACPs) providing a method to test fire alarm devices that saves time and requires fewer technicians on site.
Using “Walk Test”, a technician can typically activate a device without initiating an alarm event. When the device activated, visual or audible feedback is provided by pulsing one or more Notification Devices.
Walk Test can be great for testing communication between FACP and devices, and verifying zone and device descriptor labels. Onyx AFP-3030 contains multiple options within Walk Test to operate to the technician’s requirements and providing a more comprehensive tool that can be used to verify cause & effect and as an efficient fault-finding tool
There are two modes of operation, Basic and Advanced, and 5 options Node, Panel, Loop, Zone and Device, In basic mode, you can test a Device, a Zone or a Loop, Panel or Node each test has different results and uses.
Walk Test - Basic
Walk Test Basic - Device testing: when the device is tested, the FACP will turn on the device LED and activate loop-powered sounders and strobes for 4 seconds.
Walk Test Basic - Zone testing: will cause all the devices in that zone to flash their address, it flashes the tens first then a short pause then the ones. This provides an easy indication of the device address and visual confirmation of the devices that are in walk test, which can help prevent unwanted alarms by and speed up zone identification during testing and commissioning. During zone test, when the device is activated by smoke or magnet the LEDs will indicate solid green for the duration of the test, a fault test may also be performed by removing the head for 30 seconds, the LED will go solid green once the detector is replaced, and all tests are recorded in History.
Walk Test Basic - Loop testing: will cause all the devices in that zone to flash their address, it flashes the tens first then a short pause then the ones. During the Loop test an alarm with smoke or magnet, the LEDs on solid green for the duration of the test and sound any loop powered sounders for 4 seconds, a fault test may also be performed by removing the head for 30 seconds, the loop powered sounders will sound for 8 seconds, the LED will go solid green once the detector is replaced, and all test are recorded in History.
Note if you do not want an output device to activate during walk test, un-tick the part of walk Test Box, in the example below only outputs 1 and 2 will sound during walk test.
Figure 1: Walk test outputs in VeriFire Tools
Walk Test - Advanced
Figure 2: AFP-3030 screen for Walk Test menu
Walk Test Advanced - Device: when testing the detector at the panel it will also activate all programmed outputs except for smoke control, you will need to press abort to stop the test. As always, the results are recorded in history, if you enable output event logging in the general setting you also get a recorded history of the outputs that were activated by each device.
Figure 3: Walk Test event logging screen in AFP-3030
Figure 4: Walk Test event logging options in Verifire Tools
Walk Test Advanced - Loop: this requires the detector to be activated by smoke or magnet in the field. You will require someone to press the next test button between detector test as the outputs remain active until the next test is pressed or the test is aborted., once again the history reports shows the Detector in test alarm and the outputs activating (if enabled) in test mode. This is a great service tool and commissioning time saver. NOTE the ARE alarm output WILL activate during advanced walk testing. Disabling Alarm devices has no effect and all sounder that have the Part of walk test box ticked will sound.
Report example with output logging enabled during a walk Test using advanced testing by loop.
Figure 5: Walk Test event logging report in Verifire Tools
Figure 6: Cause & Effect simulation tree in VeriFire Tools
When used in conjunction with the Simulation tree it can be a useful fault-finding tool.
One of the common complaints about AS7240 standards is the old AS4428 standard had Isolate which allowed you Isolate the zone and monitor the zone for faults and Alarms, whereas the disable disables all detectors and no events are reported to the panel.
As a way around this, the Basic Zone walk test can be used in the same way, but will only last approximately 1 hour from the last event. At the end of this period, the panel will reset and return to normal, any alarm that occurs outside the walk test zone terminates the walk test and registers as full alarm. If the test times out then you can look in history to see if any events occurred during the monitoring period.
To find out more information about the Walk Test and other functionalities, please book your training at Notifier Discovery Training Portal.