Articles

When not just any battery will do

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Only high quality batteries from reputable suppliers should be used for security and other mission critical equipment to avoid potentially costly failures. This is according to the director of one of the country’s fastest growing battery distributors, Greg Pritchard from GSS Group, who adds that intermittent load shedding and other environmental factors can quickly damage batteries that are not specifically designed and manufactured for these important applications. He says that on average an 8 amp hour battery should last approximately five years even with moderate load shedding. However, a flood of inferior quality, cheap batteries sold by retailers and traders, may only last for a couple of months or one deep discharge cycle. Even batteries sold at some security outlets have reduced lifecycles due to manufacturers saving on expensive materials.

Heavyweight battery

“One of the easiest ways to gauge the quality of a lead acid battery is its weight. Lead is one of the most expensive components of a battery and is usually where manufacturers make their savings. Our commonly sold 8Ah, for example, are very heavy and we have just the right amount of lead required to make this standard battery one of the most durable available. Beneath the skin are other design features that set the batteries apart such as the type of acid used, layout and design. “Unfortunately, for the installer or layman these are difficult to know and usually falls to trial and error to figure out which batteries are better, last longer and are best able to handle mission critical applications in any power conditions. That is where our GSS batteries have performed excellently and is the reason for our company’s rapid growth in the four years we have been trading. “Our batteries have been specified, designed and built according to our own requirements using knowledge that we have built-up over thirty years of experience in the industry. We have applied the lessons learned and come up with a number of different types and sizes of batteries specifically for mission critical applications in South Africa,” says Greg.

Good reputation

He says there are a number of reasons why monitoring companies should use quality GSS batteries and why end users should insist on them. In security applications a battery can mean the difference between life and death, while information technology infrastructure can lead to data and telecommunication interruptions or even the failure of instruments in manufacturing plants etc. Faulty batteries also lead to false alarms and unnecessary call-outs which cost monitoring companies money and excessive false alarms can taint their reputations in the long run. What is more, the homebred GSS batteries are competitively priced and available online from the company’s website, via delivery or direct from the company’s premises in Benoni on the East Rand. Greg has also worked for the country’s leading security product suppliers and interfaced with all the major electronic installation companies, overseas manufacturers, technicians and end users. He is eager to share his knowledge and welcomes customers to work with him and his team to supply quality batteries and power products for their applications.

Growing range

GSS batteries are available in a range of sizes and types from 6 Volt 4.5Ah used mainly in emergency lighting, 12 Volt 1.3Ah and 2.4AH for garage automation, 12V 4.5Ah for uninterruptible power supplies (UPS), 12V 7.2AH for gate automation, UPS and alarm control panels, as well as 12V 7.5Ah deep cycle batteries used mainly for solar, UPS and gate automation applications.

The following types are available:

  • AGM technology: 4.5ah 6V, 1.4ah 12V, 2.4ah 12V, 4.5ah 12V, 7.2ah 12V, 9ah 12V
  • AGM Deep cycle: 7.5ah 12V, 12AH 12V, 18ah 12V, 24ah 12V, 45ah 12V
  • Gel technology: 8ah 12V, 100ah 12V

The company also has a range of Lithium Polymer and Li Phosphate batteries, power supplies and transformers, as well as security communication cable, CCTV, Cat5, Cat6, Control cable (EN0575, IEC60332-1 standards and security products including detectors, beams and CCTV. GSS Group, Greg Pritchard, Tel: (010) 140 7137, Email: [email protected], Web: www.gssgroup.co.za

There is a high price to pay for using low-cost cables

The proliferation of low-cost cables with dubious origins and cheaper price tags has led to a dangerous situation in the country where mission critical security and CCTV systems are being compromised through the use of sub-standard cabling. This is a problem that is growing and extending beyond the black-market to security equipment wholesalers and distributors of security products who are unaware of the extent of the problem in South Africa. Apart from harm the cheap imports do to the suppliers of quality cabling in South Africa, the inferior cable is also likely to cause failures and false alarms with most unable to stand up to the rigours of modern-day security installations. So says security equipment specialist, Greg Pritchard, director of GSS Group, who has more than 30 years’ experience in the specification of security devices and cabling for the country’s top security firms. He adds that although there is no standard for security cabling in South Africa, there are generally accepted standards that have been proven over the years to meet local requirements for quality and are available at a price that is acceptable for the local market.

Affordable solution

“In recent years the industry has shifted away from pricey copper to the more acceptable high quality Copper Clad Aluminium (CCA) that meets requirements for resistance or thickness and number of strands that allows for least resistance for longer runs. These high-quality cables usually have adequately thick PVC for durability and to prevent over-elongation. Unfortunately, the move also ushered-in an opportunity for some suppliers to capitalise with inferior products. “Now it is time for specifiers, security installers and even end-users to take note of what they are buying and not just relate it to price. Buyers need to make sure they are paying for what they get, because factories that do not have rigid manufacturing standards also have a lack of consistency and what you buy today may vary from what you get tomorrow. “Most security cables comes from the East and unfortunately internet buyers of products don’t always know what they are buying. The cable we sell, for example, is manufactured in a high-quality facility, is regularly audited by us and we run stringent quality checks and batch sampling. This ensures that the finer details are perfectly made for South African conditions and this extends as far as presentation, labelling and consistency and lengths,” says Greg.

Digging deeper

He continues that the company has run several investigations on cables available in South Africa and “you will be surprised” at the extent of inconsistency in lengths supplied and thickness variance of the cables when measured with a micrometre. Another investigation carried out by Greg and the team from GSS Group found that the company’s CCA .5mm six core cable measures a resistance of just 13.6ohms while other suppliers cable measured 21.2ohms. This is not to mention the make-up of the actual raw cable or CCA as well as the PVC coatings and sheaths which can also have an effect on the quality. Buyers do however have the ability to turn the situation around by carrying out random and regular checks to ensure the cable is still within standard. That means using a micrometre to measure thickness, multimeters to measure resistance and a heat source, in some instances, to check flammability of the products. Another trick is to weigh it as this will show if it has the correct copper mix as well as the right diameter and length.

Conscientious supply

“That is why it pays to use quality cables from reliable suppliers that understand the market and can specify the manufacture of cables that are suitable for our unique requirements. The savings come with the smooth operation of systems without comebacks and callouts relating to failures. “With the establishment of GSS Group five years ago, it has been my passion to provide quality products for South African conditions. As a result, we uphold the strictest standards with special attention paid to local requirements and operating environments. This also extends to CCTV and ensures that the factory produces only high-quality foamed PE with foil and 90 percent braid to shield and improve the quality of transmission. “On the electronic and electrical side, the company also applies similarly rigid industry specific standards for its LAN, CAT5, CAT6, CAT7, CAT5 UV outdoor protected and HT cables. We even take care of the small details that are important to installers like thicker carton boxes, winding and shrink-wrapping cables in the correct position and having labels that are positioned to prevent installers losing them on site. In order to ensure the highest safety, our cables are also made from low flame materials,” Greg concludes.

GSS Group, Greg Pritchard, director, Tel: (010) 140 7137, Email: [email protected], Web: www.gssgroup.co.za

Locally developed power supply

Critical equipment including security devices and other electronics can now be operated with locally developed power supplies that have been specially designed to function on the local power grid and have built-in features to make it more robust than standard equipment. GSS Group director, Greg Pritchard, says more than 30 years spent in the security and electronics industries has given the team the best possible understanding of local operating challenges. This has allowed them to develop power supplies that are designed to handle all of South Africa’s extremes, including load shedding, brown-outs and even has circuitry that is better able to deal with the highveld’s well-known lightning storms. Designed and developed by GSS Group, the power supplies are manufactured in a quality-controlled manufacturing plant in China which allows the costs of the high-quality componentry to be incorporated at more affordable prices for the local market. As a result, several of the country’s large security and electronic distributors have already switched to the local brand of power supplies with success.

Manufacturing expertise

“During my time in the industry I have worked for some of the largest electronic security equipment suppliers and gained decades of experience and long relationships with manufacturers in the East. By setting up our manufacturing operation alongside a large-scale electronics equipment manufacturer we get to enjoy better pricing as a result of the large volumes of components purchased by the manufacturer monthly. “The enclosures are also specially designed for tough African conditions and where possible incorporates innovations that can protect and even avoid damage where batteries may be used or in the event of short-circuits etc. By maintaining strict control of the process, we have the agility to change and customise the power supplies to customers’ requirements and even bring the customer’s own branding onto the supply where sufficient volumes are ordered. “This type of arrangement is only possible as a result of our longstanding relationships with suppliers in the East following dozens of visits and a good understanding of the business culture. As a result, our manufacturing partners work with us to manufacture products that are as good or better than locally available equivalents,” says Greg

Local certification

He adds that GSS Group power supplies carry SANS IEC 60950, LOA and NRCS certification both AC and DC power supplies and DC UPS, as well as meeting SANS /IEC 61558 certification for its range of linear transformers. The products also incorporate EMI filtering and meet EMC standards. These standards are required for effective use in IOT devices, electronics and security applications which includes intrusion, CCTV, access control and automation. The power supplies have subsequently also found favour in the electrical and alternate energy industries or wherever power supplies are required.

The range includes:

Desktop

  • 5V, 4Amp
  • 12V, 1-8Amp

Aluminium Casing

  • 12V, 3-40Amp in 12V
  • 24V, 5-10Amp

Power Distribution

Battery back-up for a 4-way and 9-way power distribution box.

  • 12V, 4 output 5Amp
  • 12V, 5 output 10Amp
  • 12V, 6 output 6Amp
  • 12V, 9 output 9 Amp
  • 12V, 8 output 20Amp

DC UPS Range

Metal enclosure with keylock in:

  • 4Amp for 7ah back-up
  • 6.5Amp for a 18ah back-up

Plastic enclosure battery leak protection:

  • 3.2Amp 12V

GSS Group, Greg Pritchard, Tel: (010) 140 7137, Email: [email protected], Web: www.gssgroup.co.za