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Emergency Lighting: Frequently Asked Questions

Emergency Lighting: Frequently Asked Questions

Emergency Lighting: Frequently Asked Questions

What does the term emergency lighting system mean and why are emergency luminaires needed?

The term emergency lighting system describes the set of components that aim to provide appropriate marking and a minimum amount of lighting on the floor, in order to safely evacuate a public building, in case of emergency (e.g. earthquake). By the term "buildings of public use" we mean all those buildings in which people may be found, who are not familiar with their layout, such as  hospitals, hotels, schools, office buildings, public services, etc.' As their name indicates, they are used for emergency reasons, in the event of a power outage in a facility (e.g. power outage due to damage, fire, earthquake, etc.).
In these cases they help people to evacuate a building or to live comfortably in situations of total darkness.

What is the role of Emergency Luminaires?

Their role is to provide the necessary and sufficient lighting in the space and to illuminate the signs indicating the escape routes of the building, so that it can be safely evacuated (in case of emergency) or comfortably stay inside it when the power is interrupted.

What are the general categories of emergency lighting?

A. Non-maintained emergency luminaires:
These luminaires only work in case of interruption of the main power supply. They consist of a charging circuit, rechargeable batteries (usually ni-cd), a control circuit and an inverter to operate the lamp, if the fixture contains a fluorescent lamp.
B. Continuous operation emergency luminaires (maintained):
Luminaires of this type operate either from the main power source or from batteries, in the event of a main source failure, using the same lamp in both cases. They consist of a circuit to operate the lamp from the main power source (usually an electronic ballast), a charging circuit, rechargeable batteries (usually ni-cd), a control circuit and an inverter to operate the lamp, if the fixture contains a lamp fluorescence.
C. Sustained emergency luminaires:
Same as continuous operation, except that they use a different lamp to operate from the main power source and another to operate from the battery.
D. Central unit luminaires or dependent emergency luminaires (slave):
They are the lamps that do not have batteries for their operation, but depend on some other auxiliary voltage source (central unit). Dependent luminaires are characterized by their supply voltage. There are 12 or 24 v ac/dc models but also 230v ac/dc.

What do we mean by the term new technology emergency luminaires and what categories are there?

A. Self-checking emergency luminaires:
It is a special category of new technology emergency luminaires, with a microprocessor that controls the most basic parameters of their operation. In particular, Olympia Electronics' smart emergency luminaires control:
1. Constantly the correct charging, internal workings of their circuit and correct placement of the battery.
2. They automatically perform a check for the correct operation of their lamp, every 15 days.
3. They carry out a full discharge to check the autonomy, every 6 months. The self-checking lamps have three leds with which they show their status, so that with a simple visual check the maintainer of a building can know which lamps need maintenance and what kind of maintenance they need. Smart lamps are non-continuous, continuous and complex.
B. Addressable emergency luminaires:
They operate like smart lighting, with the exception that the controls are performed with commands given by a central control panel. The panel is programmed by the user for the type and timing of checks. The results of each check are recorded in the board's memory and can be read from its screen or printed on a printer. The installation of such system is certainly more complicated, but it has many advantages and offers control possibilities incomparably greater than a system with common emergency lighting.
C. Centrally powered and addressable emergency lighting (CBS – Central Battery Systems):
They work with the philosophy of smart luminaires, with the difference that these luminaires do not have batteries, but are powered and at the same time controlled by a central panel. The panel communicates with the luminaires through the same cables that power them. By performing some automatic checks, the user can see the status of all the luminaires at any time on the panel screen. Facilities of this type, among others
they have reduced maintenance requirements because the batteries and main control mechanisms are all located in the central panel. Also, these systems typically use batteries with a typical life of 10 years – unlike all other categories, where batteries have a typical life of 4 years.


How are emergency luminaires connected?

They are connected to the PPC network (230 V) with a plug and are placed on a wall, suspended ceiling, etc.

Which emergency light is the most suitable?

Emergency luminaires vary in terms of their autonomy, the type of lamps they contain, the space they are made for and their price.
The main criteria for choosing the appropriate emergency light are:
1. The placement area
2. The light intensity
3. Autonomy
In addition, emergency luminaires are used in two cases:
1. To illuminate the direction sign affixed to them and
2. To provide light in emergency escape routes.
In the first case, continuous operation emergency luminaires are used, and in the second case, non-continuous operation.

Where do we place emergency luminaires?

There are two uses for which emergency lighting will be used in a building. The first use is signage, for which continuous operation luminaires are used and the aim is to give information about the direction someone should follow to safely leave the building. The second use of emergency lighting is to provide sufficient illumination at floor level so that the building can be evacuated safely. The luminaires for this use are intermittent and are placed in dangerous or critical areas.
Emergency luminaires are installed in places where they are visible and easy for people to see. The spaces in which they are installed are mainly spaces where overcrowding is likely to be created or there are dangerous elements such as stairs, sliding doors, level changes, etc.. For example, in a building, the emergency luminaires must be installed on its stairs, in such a way that in case of absolute darkness there is a sufficient amount of lighting so that the occupant can safely get out.

More specifically, they are placed in key points such as:

  • Near an intersection of corridors
  • Close to every change of direction
  • Near emergency exits
  • On the stairs so that each step receives sufficient lighting and in stairwells
  • Close to every floor level change
  • Near every alarm button
  • Near fire extinguishing materials (e.g. Fire Extinguisher) and fire alarm
  • Near first aid stations
  • Outside and close to every final exit
  • Near First Aid stations

"Near" is defined as a maximum distance of 2 meters horizontally from the point. These points must have luminaires with the appropriate sign.

Why should I choose LED emergency luminaires instead of a fluorescent lamp?

Emergency luminaires with LED lamps have a longer autonomy time, due to the lower consumption of the LEDs. Also, energy and space are saved as LED lamps are smaller in size than fluorescent lamps, in addition they have 5-10 times longer life, do not heat up and are not sensitive to vibrations, shocks and strains.

What autonomy should the emergency luminaires have?

The duration of autonomous operation of emergency luminaires must be enough to ensure the safe evacuation of each building in case of such a need appears. The minimum requirement set by the Greek specifications is 90 minutes (P.D. 71/88). Exceptions are health and welfare buildings (hospitals, clinics, health centers, etc.) where a minimum autonomy of 3 hours is required. In most foreign countries such as Germany, England, Arab countries, 3 hours autonomy is required.

Why should emergency lighting be manufactured in accordance with European legislation?

Because emergency luminaires that are not manufactured in accordance with European legislation are considered expendable luminaires, with transformers of dubious origin, which are in no way recommended for use in building emergency, but only for private use, as "flashluminaires", as they are completely unsafe for use on escape routes.
For this reason OLYMPIA ELECTRONICS products comply with European new approach directives and European harmonization standards. As a result of the above, they carry the CE mark, while several of them also carry quality marks from internationally recognized certification bodies.

How often should emergency luminaires be checked for proper operation?

For simple emergency luminaires, it is recommended that at least once a month the operation of the lamp is checked by the control button (TEST) and once a year an autonomy check in the event of a power failure.
But there are also self-checking luminaires, which, as their name suggests, carry out the necessary checks of proper operation by themselves.

Is the installation of emergency lighting mandatory by law and in what type of buildings?

Yes, emergency luminaires are placed in public buildings and places of mass gathering and according to PD 71/88 regarding emergency Lighting it is stated that:
"For each building, where, according to its Special Provisions, emergency lighting is required on the escape routes, it must meet the following:
a. The interruption of lighting, during the change from one energy source to another, should be minimal. The permitted interruption should not exceed 10 seconds.
b. The emergency lighting must be supplied from a reliable back-up power source, so that a minimum value of 1 lux, measured at floor level, is ensured at all points on the floor of the escape routes.
c. The emergency lighting system must maintain the intended lighting for at least 1½ hours, in the event of interruption of normal lighting."
Such buildings are: residences (>50 people or 6 floors and >30 people), hotels, schools, offices, shops, public gathering places, industries, warehouses, health and welfare buildings, prison buildings, car parks, petrol stations.

Why should one choose OLYMPIA ELECTRONICS emergency lighting products?

1. Engaged in the manufacture of electronic emergency systems since 1979.
2. Of the 200 people working at OLYMPIA ELECTRONICS, 10% are employed in the Research and Development department.
3. 99% of OLYMPIA ELECTRONICS emergency Lighting products are of its own development and production.
4. It has a fully vertically integrated production process.
5. It has ISO 9001 and 14001
6. Its products are manufactured in accordance with European legislation and carry certifications from independent laboratories abroad.
7. Immediate availability of products (Warehouses in Aeginio, Municipality of Pydna-Kolindrou, Prefecture of Pieria and in Athens).
8. Technical Support every day from 07:00 to 20:00 at night
9. Wide variety of designs, brightness and autonomy.
10. It is trusted by 72 foreign countries (70% of the turnover is exports).
11. It is a FRIENDLY GREEK Company!

How can I change the operation mode of an emrgency luminaire from maintained to non-maintained and vice versa?

Most maintained/non-maintained emergency luminaires have a three-position jumper built into the board. Depending on the pair we choose, we can change the mode of operation

The GR-2000 turns on when there is power from the grid. How can I make it only turn on on a power outage?

The GR-2000 is designed to always be turned on (ie run in continuous mode). We can change the operating mode in 2 ways:
A. With the remote control if we have purchased it (its purchase is optional)
B. With the TEST button. To change the operating mode from continuous to non-continuous and vice versa, press and hold TEST for about 10 seconds. If we assume that we put the lamp on 220 V for the first time, then it luminaires up (continuous operation). To make it non-continuous, press the TEST paddle firmly and after 5 seconds you will see the 3 LEDs light up in sequence and do not release the press. On the second switch of the LEDs, only the red LED will remain lit. Then we release the TEST button and the light turns off (goes into non-continuous mode) and only the side blue LEDs light up and the green central LED flashes which means the battery is charging. If we have a power cut then the lamp will light up since the battery is charged (the first charge takes 24 hours). If we want to change the operating mode, we follow the same procedure.

How can I find out more information about the size, brightness and other technical characteristics for each lamp?
We can go to the page www.olympia-electronics.com/el and select the emergency lighting in the products. Then we select the family of lamps that interests us and at the bottom of the page various product codes appear with information regarding autonomy, consumption, luminous flux, and operation. Then if we select a code, we can see more photos of the lamp, we can download the instructions for use, download the certifications and the photometric data.

The emergency light does not light up during a power outage. What can I do in this case?

You should do the following:
A. Check if the battery plug is properly clipped into the slot on the board and if the battery charge is flashing when we have 220V. In a new installation the battery charging time is 24 hours.
B. If the charging led is red instead of green, then the battery needs to be replaced. You can find the battery type from the user manual and get the replacement battery from an electrical store.
C. If after replacing the battery the luminaire sitll doesn't turn on, then you should contact the store where you bought the hardware so they can send it to us for inspection/repair.

When should do I use an emergency luminaire and when sould I use a led illuminated safety sign?

The emergency luminaire is used when we want to direct the staff to the exit but at the same time to illuminate the surveillance area. Marker luminaires are mainly used to show an exit direction.

Are there battery-free emergency luminaires and how do they work?

There are emergency luminaires that do not have their own battery and can be powered by a central CBS (Central Battery System) panel which, in the event of a power cut, provides its autonomy to the luminaires. This solution has the advantage that there is no need to change the battery of each lamp as the user only has to deal with the 2 batteries (2 x 12 VDC) of the panel.

What CBS categories are there?
There are 3 categories of CBS:
A. CBS 220 V AC (CBS with 4-8 separate 220 V AC lighting circuits)
B. CBS 24 V DC (CBS with 4-16 separate 24 V DC lamp circuits)
C. CBS 24 V DC Addressable (CBS with 4-8 separate 24 V DC addressable lighting circuits with possibility of remote control and operation commands)

Can an emergency luminaire be remotely controlled?

An emergency luminaire that can have its own ip address can be controlled remotely with an addressable lighting panel. The panel can check and be informed about the operating status of each lamp, the brightness level, the autonomy. In addition, we can remotely monitor one or more lighting panels via the Internet, giving us the ability to monitor larger lighting networks for better maintenance.

Which are the distinct categories of addressable emergency lighting panels?

There are 3 categories of addressable lighting panels:
A. Wired 24 V DC for battery powered emergency luminaires (GR-6500 & GR-750X models)
2 loop wiring is supported on the GR-6500, with 150 fixtures per loop and a total of 250 fixtures per panel.
Up to 4 loop wirings are supported on the GR-750X, with 250 fixtures per loop and a total of 1000 fixtures per panel.
Each luminaire has its own 220 V AC power supply and communicates bi-directionally with the panel via the loop and a 24 V DC pulse that carries information. The address of each luminaire is changed by the installer with the available deep switches of the luminaire. The panel automatically reads and communicates with each address.

B. Wired for lamps without battery (CBS Addressable – model GR-8600). 4-8 wirings are supported, with 32 fixtures per wiring. Each luminaire is powered by one of the eight 24 V DC circuits of the panel and communicates bi-directionally with the panel via a 24 V DC pulse that carries information. The address of each luminaire is changed by the installer with the available deep switches of the luminaire. The panel automatically reads and communicates with each address.

C. Wireless for luminaires with independent 220 V AC power supply and built-in battery (Phos4)
It consists of a PC connected to 1 to 16 gateways that provide an RF network and the ability to connect to 200 RF lighting devices/gateways. Each fixture with the built-in RF device acts as a signal repeater that extends the RF network to allow more devices to connect to it. Each gateway has a different communication frequency to avoid interference with other networks. The address of each luminaire is automatically read by the panel that communicates with each address and controls its operation.

All of the above categories of addressable boards can be remotely monitored over the internet.

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