JCI Disputes The Interceptor's 'FATAL DEFECT' Allegation

By Brian Rhodes, Published Dec 04, 2020, 10:06am EST (Info+)

Jeff Zwirn and Keith Jentoff of "The Interceptor Project" have escalated their campaign against major alarm manufacturers, with Zwirn claiming that JCI has confirmed a "FATAL DEFECT". However, JCI disputed that in a response to IPVM.

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In this note, we examine the faceoff between "The Interceptor Project", alarm manufacturers generally, and JCI specifically.

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Comments (9)

The Interceptor reminds me of the old DSC PC1000-3000 line, which had fuses for AC, Bell, AUX (Keypad). I carried around several excess fuses and salvaged them out of dead boards when able mainly because of how frequent the shorts were in our area. I do recall instances where the separated fuses didn't stop a lightning strike or other significant power surge to completely disable the panel.

I'm unfamiliar with the newer PowerSeries/Neo units, but I assume they utilize resettable fuses in the circuitry to buffer against most non-lightning shorts and surges.

I'd suspect the Interceptor circuitry having the same possibilities of arcing across the solders and bypassing the fuses when they blow. Perhaps installation in a different enclosure would be helpful.

2 cents.

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Thank for the feedback Aaron!

To your point, the principle behind 'The Interceptor' board is not technically complex / high-tech and I think power isolation and management could indeed be put together with basic components and fuses.

However, one of the advantages of 'The Interceptor' is that it is tested and passes several key UL standards for alarm system components, UL-985 among them. (...these are several of the very same UL standards 'The Interceptor Project' calls a failure.)

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Ive tested a few DSC panels over the years with shorting out the keybus for shits and giggles. Mostly tried it on the power series 1832 and neo panels. They still communicated to central station. Not a scientific test but it was to prove a point to a coworker of mine. He would tell me how in the old days you could destroy the keypad and shutdown the panel. He said they called them ice pick panels. I never saw any panel shutdown over that event but always wonder what crap is being pushed to market with poor fault tolerance. I can appreciate what zwirn is trying to point out but kinda sour on him pushing the product in the manner he has chosen.

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I can appreciate what zwirn is trying to point out but kinda sour on him pushing the product in the manner he has chosen.

without discounting your opinion of what went down, how would you have done it differently than Zwirn has done?

serious question - the guy got on my nerves from all the previous threads here on IPVM where he ranted about his certainty that he was right and everyone else was wrong.

but put yourself in his shoes.... how would you have approached the situation differently if you were Zwirn?

NOTICE: This comment has been moved to its own discussion: If You Were Zwirn, How Would Convince People Of These Alarm Panel Flaws?

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Zwirn responds to JCI Letter:

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Speaking as someone not very familiar with NFPA or UL standards, I thought that video made his case quite well, in spite of not being produced very professionally. Even if he's misinterpreting the standards, I can see value in protecting against this particular case. However, as you mentioned in the other thread, it would be useful to know how often this actually happens outside a lab.

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Jeff Zwirn sent the following letter to Ken Kirschenbaum about this issue:

There is a significant development regarding UL that happened last week. UL confirmed in writing that they failed to test a combination listed burg/fire control unit despite it being required in both UL and NFPA 72 Standards. In response to a package (see video below) I sent to the CEO and President of Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. Jennifer Scanlon, she directed UL’s Principal Engineer, Mr. Lawrence Shudak to prepare a formal response. I believe, and my interpretation is, that UL’s response consists of false claims and deception. UL’s written admissions are shocking to me because UL and NFPA Standards are adopted into building and fire codes across the country making them statutory duties from which no equipment manufacturer or alarm contractor can deviate. To underscore UL’s failure, Johnson Controls confirmed in a separate letter that their alarm panel does not comply with UL 985 and NFPA 72. The YouTube link below reviews UL’s letter and then tests Johnson Controls DSC Power-Series Pro Control Unit. I believe the video demonstrates how UL did not meet their own published standards and NFPA 72 Standards. Video Link of UL Letter: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=za5PwpVBZkM The conduct of UL and Johnson Controls should be examined carefully. Consumers, alarm contractors, and AHJs across the country all rely on equipment manufacturers to provide them with a safe and reliable product especially when it comes to an alarm system providing life safety protection. However, I believe the Johnson Controls burg/fire Control Unit catastrophically fails and provides NO ALARM WARNING of the fire within the home. The Central Station receives NO FIRE ALARM SIGNAL(S). Once the system fails, as demonstrated in the video, there is no longer a window of opportunity afforded to occupants within the home so that they can escape from the fire. I have forensically investigated cases and claims and I believe some of these injuries are attributable to the combined burg/fire panels. Consumers and Alarm Dealers have trusted UL and Johnson Controls with the lives of their families, customers, and the success of their company. What should an alarm dealer do?

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I have to wonder what the difficulty is in adapting the standard for residential systems? Or should I say ... modifying the standard.

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