Horn strobe revision minor, manufacturers say

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Thursday, June 24, 2004

June 24, 2004

ZEELAND, Mich. -A change of label, not structure, has caused confusion to the installers of horn strobes. In May, UL Standard 1971, relating to signaling devices for the hearing impaired, dictated that the devices list just the peak current draw rather than peak, average and end rush draws.
The move was intended to simplify installation from the horn strobes to the panel. Yet, those accustomed to the former label have sought explanation of what the change signifies.
“There is a tremendous amount of confusion out there,” reports Scott Edwards, vice president of fire protection products at Gentex Corp.
The revision to UL 1971 does not affect the manufacture of horn strobes and their operation, however. Horn strobes are used to alert people of the danger of fire, by sending out flashes of light and bursts of sound. They are equally effective for those persons with hearing and sight problems.
The confusion is unwarranted, said Edwards. The devices have remained the same, yet the company has received a string of calls from installers in the field (the very people the revision was meant to help) asking for new wiring instructions.
If there is confusion in the field, it has not led to chaos, according to Rein Haus, director of product management at Wheelock Inc. He said the company met the May deadline to have all its horn strobes in compliance with the new UL listing and has not met with panic from its customers. But, he adds, “there is interest out there about what it means,” he said.