Fixing an Accenta/Optima Alarm Power Failure Troubleshooting

A long time ago our alarm box died and I thought it was time we diagnose an fix the issue.

DO NOT ATTEMPT TO COPY IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING. CONTACT AN ELECTRICIAN OR ALARM INSTALLER.

We will be opening a delicate box with potentially live mains power and could cause damage to yourself or the panel.
Accenta Alarm Box with isolation switch above and LED light to the side.
Accenta Home Alarm Control Box (left)

As you can see, although our isolation switch is set to ‘ON’ the power light on the alarm box is not illuminated. This may be because,

  • The battery in the alarm has died.
  • A fuse in the alarm box has blown.
  • There is a fault with the incoming power to the alarm box.
  • There is a fault with the main board of the alarm box.

We know that there is no fault with the existing setup because the alarm used to work, so we can start to diagnose our four potential issues. I’ll also teach you how to reset your panel.

Opening the Panel

This step is the easiest but can be daunting for some. Remember, safety first. We will be dealing with a panel that may be receiving mains voltage.

Accenta / Optima alarm panel tamper switch

When we open the box, there is a small spring that pushes against the door, this little spring ensures that any burglars who attempt to open the panel, trigger the alarm. As our alarm is not working, nothing will happen but if the alarm does sound, then it may be a sign that your panel does not have a power issue, consider resetting your alarm. Unscrew the two front facing screws. Note that from here on out, experienced competent people should continue.

Accenta / Optima alarm control box with bottom section removed
Accenta / Optima alarm control box with bottom section removed

Now that we have taken the bottom section off completely, we need access to the top of the main board as well. There is a fuse we need to test in the top half of the alarm panel so we’re going to remove the top half as well, this bit is just as easy as the bottom half, but there is a speaker attached to the housing, we can remove the speaker by unscrewing the terminals or do what I did and simply let the top half dangle by its wires (lazy but effective).

Accenta / Optima alarm box completely opened exposing the components inside
Accenta / Optima alarm control box completely opened

Testing the External Power Supply to the Box

(If you are following along and have an Optima remote alarm panel, you may  need to find a box similar to mine, but it does not have any controls or lights - its also likely that your remote panel is not illuminated and the screen is off if it is a power issue.)
Power Light Not Illuminated

Firstly we need to test that the incoming power supply is working, this is where our AC Voltage tester comes in (fear not if you don’t have one but do have a voltmeter).

VoltAlert Wand

Using this wand we can see if there is power coming into the alarm. (If you don’t have one of these and are following along at home, you can set your voltmeter to AC or ṽ and place your black lead into the COM jack and red lead into the VOmA jack and when we open the alarm panel later put your test leads on the incoming supply chock block above the transformer, using the left brown and blue wire screws)

Place the wand near the incoming mains wire, if the wand sounds and flashes, congratulations. We have determined that the alarm panel is receiving power to its transformer.

VoltAlert want flashing and sounding with highligted testpoints for positive and negative terminals for voltmeter testing.

If there is no power, consider using a voltmeter as explained above to verify. If there is still definitely no power then a fuse may have blown in the isolation switch or the ring main RCD may have tripped, so consider diagnosing if they are the issue.

Testing the Alarm Battery

If you think that the Accenta / Optima alarm has stopped working due to a battery failure, we can test the battery by connecting test leads to the battery terminals on either side of the battery block or on the battery directly, you will need to turn off power to the alarm so that we don’t get the feed in voltage from the board. Do not put your voltmeter test leads in the red highlighted section. Make sure to set your voltmeter back to measuring DC voltage if you set it for AC earlier. Place your test leads on both screws on the green highlighted area.

Alarm Panel Power Block

If you don’t get a reading or a low reading (3V or less) then your alarm battery may have ran out because of power failure. If your battery reads ~12V then it is a good indicator that your alarm panel is faulty and will need to be replaced entirely, but I would suggest you check the fuses before doing so to verify.

Testing Fuses in the Accenta / Optima Alarm Box

If you have verified that the incoming power is working and your alarm battery is depleted then a fuse is a most likely cause of the alarm failing.

To test the fuses, you need to set your voltmeter to continuity mode and then test each side of the fuses contacts. Make sure the power is switched off before and during testing any fuses. If any are blown, replace like for like.

highlighted alarm panel shows red boxes highlighting fuse locations
Accenta / Optima alarm panel fuse locations

The fuses are as follows, from left to right; –

  • RKP or Remote Keypad
  • Internal Speaker
  • Bell / Strobe
  • Battery
  • Transformer

Resetting the Accenta / Optima Alarm Panel

To reset the alarm panel, remove power to the panel and short the SET output to the left PA input terminal. Then turn on the alarm and allow it to power up completely. After a few seconds, you can then switch off the alarm once again and remove the shorting wires. Make sure to replace any wires previously installed and then power up the unit again, the default 0123 code will now have been restored. Beware in doing this, you reset any zones, such as fire zones will have been reset.

Aspects a business should consider in corporate strategy

Corporate Strategy

 

The way a company’s managers should manage a company should largely be down to the business plan. However there are often external factors limiting a companies business, they may choose to solely benefit shareholders, but practically and legally they must provide some benefit to their employees and their customers to remain socially responsible and have a strong positive public relationship to remain profitable. An umbrella corporation may often have to make strategic decisions to combat potential problems well in the future. In the show Silicon Valley (external) the senior venture capitalist spends a lot of his time studying sesame seed markets in Myanmar and Brazil in order to profit in the future, this example (although fictional and a little overplayed) is a small look into the world of ensuring that profits are maintained and some of the crucial detail that must be taken into account.

The ability to assess the viability of consolidating corporate strategy is not only about turning a profit, but is also about financial and shareholder relations, the capability and flexibility of dynamic and slow moving markets, the technical ability of the employees and manufacturing capabilities as well as cost, the people and manpower involved and the risks undertaken at every stage.

Ensuring that a business has a strategic plan ensures that the company has direction and vision, companies that fail to innovate or differentiate could get left behind or never reach their true potential. A business must define the scope of its operations, how it defines its goals, then how it plans to achieve them, and finally, evaluate. Companies that fail to find a suitable corporate strategy could be left behind and not identify important challenges ahead of time and their current states failings such as their branding or vision.

Aspects a business should consider in corporate strategy.

  • Brand appearance, awareness.
  • Internal Culture
  • Market Segmentation
  • Product, Pricing, Placing, Promotion
  • After sales
  • Research and Development
  • Growth Strategy
  • Human Resources
  • Product and Market Innovation
  • Technology

There are many techniques that businesses use to maintain a strategic advantage, such as Porters strategic matrix (external) and Ansoff’s matrix.

Access Control in Daily IT Organisation Tasks

Many Businesses use IT to manage their accounts, documents and decision-making. It is, therefore important that Access Control be implemented in Organisations to prevent unwanted modification or prying eyes from being able to commit computer crimes, such as the ones outlined in the Computer Misuse Act. Using Access Control can prevent these people and operational staff from being able to modify information that otherwise is not their place to edit. Some common implementations of Access Control could be limiting the information available to a customer about Transaction Processing Systems or Management Information Systems not allowing Managers access to manufacturer prices.

Access Control in Strategic, Tactical and Operational Management

In order to implement these features a common method of maintaining strict control is through a permissions model, where it is outlined to the computer what permissions a login has access to, such that they are able (like a file system) to edit, read or write a file or piece of information. Here are some common examples of Access Control;

  • A Supermarket Employee is not able to alter the price of products.
  • A Manager is not able to create new users for a MIS (Management Information System).
  • A DSS (Decision Support System) is not able to commit to a higher level of privilege without presenting documentation proving that that decision is possible, a good example of this could be a bank requiring an account number to confirm that the account is active before allowing the employee to make changes or a support agent requiring a pin from a customer before being allowed to view the customers details.

Strategic Operational and Tactical in Access Control

The three levels of control is a common (but not de-facto) model for systems management, however often these levels of tasks can become obscured by other factors. These tasks can often be divided up among IT departments in formal organisations, such as ‘Ops’ and ‘Licencing’. The use of Access Control can be used to coordinate effective ICT teamwork on large projects and in other departments, such as accounting.

Stock Control and Resource Management

Just In Time is a lean production technique, It involves ordering a product right as it is about to run out, but before the business has to stop manufacture, this allows a business to work effectively when creating a product that requires a lot of parts and accessories.

types of stock control and resource management arrows
Raw MaterialsWork in ProgressFinished Goods
Bought from suppliers  Supplier may not be able to meet demand Supplier could not raise prices Used in assembly or as ingredients  Parts for assemblyNot Sellable  Costs business money to make into product May be a slow process  Wine May cost staff hours if long time delays i.e. building housesNeeds moving for social events  Christmas Gifts

This table shows the disadvantages of holding stock at different levels of the stock control process.

Why hold stock?

  • Fundamentally holding stock allows production to take place
  • To satisfy customer demand
  • As a precaution against delays from suppliers
  • It allows efficient production
  • It allows for seasonal changes
  • It provides buffer between production process

Main influences on Stock

  • The need to satisfy demand such as demand influxes or lower commodity prices.
    The a need to manage working capital, stock control for example could mean a product is depleted without being replaced.
    Risk of losing value, such as the stock market price. Food and vegetables such as flowers may also decrease in value over time.

Low stock levels

  • Lower stock holding posts.
  • Lower risk of obsolescence.
  • Less capital tied up in stock. So the business is more liquid.
  • Consistent with operating on lean production.

High stock levels

  • Production is always fully supplied so there are never any delays as the product never runs out.
  • Potential for lower costs by ordering in larger quantities.
  • The business is better able to handle unexpected changes in demand or the need for higher output as they will have the stocks available.

Business Failure

meh-face-emoticon business failure common causesBusinesses just starting out have a generally low rate of success, 50% of businesses fail within the first two years. Some of the common causes of business failure are avoidable, however there are some examples that businesses may not predict.

Could Leadership Cause Business Failure?

Leadership in a business is vital to its survival, but failure to identify where they need to straighten up and fly right again could mean that a business is left behind, unable to correct it’s course.

  • Loss of Control, Just short of divorce of ownership, an owner unable to make effective and authoritative decisions could mean that a business could start to lack innovation or a competitiveness that every business needs to get an advantage over competition. At the same time, an owner making too little decisions could also mean a business effectively has no leader, which in small business could be the difference between growth and decline.
  • Overtrading could see a business go into liquidation, it is important that a business can fulfil its promise and deliver too customers and HMRC, if a business does not identify when it needs to have some liquid assets or a financial cushion, it could loose out on future repeat purchases. Bad leadership could be the root cause of overtrading, however poor management and/or communication could also make overtrading the determinate factor. Machinery breaking may also mean that overtrading orders that they can no longer fulfil could cause massive cash flow problems for a business
  • Ineffective Expenditure could mean that a business could go quick. Inability to manage finance and good investments could see even the largest business fail. Even if a business does not invest in merit-less research and development, a lack of innovation or diversification in their products could also see them fail as a result. 
    • Poor cash flow could lead to insolvency.
    • No profit made
    • Margins are too high, not enough return.
    • No Inflows, Product is not developed effectively.
    • Pressure groups prevent business from making enough money or attract too much of a negative stigma.
    • Interest rates mean business cannot afford premises.
    • Business unable to move product as price is too high because ingredients are too expensive.

Business can also fail if they do not have enough profit,companies that can’t expand due to financial and logistical restraint, greed and overheads being too high could mean that a business is unable to continue trading.

Key Terms

  • Business Administration – A management firm (usually accountants) come into a business in order to improve spending and save a business from collapse.
  • Liquidation – Selling assets to cover costs. Usually as a last resort to pay debtors.

Common Business Failure

 

Financial
  • Minimum wage has increased (living wage)
  • Economy is bad (or not favourable)
  • Inadiquate Finance
  • Majour Bad Debt
  • Inadiquate shareholder capital
  • Employees are not getting paid, so stop working
  • Greed or Theft
  • Dominant sales from a now dead source
Non-Financial
  • Legal and Social Change
  • Consumer Protection Laws
  • Poor Management
  • No Interest in Business
  • Poor Idea
  • Poor Execution
  • Poor Tourism/Footfall