Archive for Training

New Class Schedule for 2024

“Preparing for the NC SP- FA/LV Electrical Examination”

This 8-hour course reviews subject areas of the National Electrical Code (NFPA 70-2020) applicable to the North Carolina SP-FA/LV (Special Fire Alarm/Low-Voltage) license classification examination, as well as the administrative requirements of the NCBEEC and the use of the National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code (NFPA 72-2013). The course emphasizes Code requirements that may not be familiar to the typical installer of low-voltage and power-limited circuits for security and fire alarm systems, but that are important for successfully taking the qualifying examination. These topic areas include:

  • Review of basic requirements of Title 21 NCAC 18B;
  • General requirements for all electrical work;
  • Grounding and bonding for power-limited and associated branch circuits;
  • Calculating conductor ampacity;
  • Calculating box fill;
  • Identifying conductors for specific applications;
  • Identifying and providing overcurrent protection for power-limited circuits; and
  • Calculating resistance in simple circuits; and
  • Requirements of National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code (NFPA 72-2013)

Effective March 1, 2022, the electrical examination is based upon the 2020 edition of the National Electrical Code (NFPA 70-2020) and the 2013 edition of the National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code (NFPA 72-2013).  All classes presented after March 1, 2022, must use these editions as their references.  However, all applicants are advised to verify through the NCBEEC the specific editions that will be used on the date of their examination.

Virtual Class Schedule for 2024

This class will be presented virtually by a live instructor on the following dates:

  • Wednesday, April 24, 2024  8:00 AM – 5:00 PM (Eastern)
  • Wednesday, July 17, 2024  8:00 AM – 5:00 PM (Eastern)
  • Wednesday, October 9, 2024  8:00 AM – 5:00 PM (Eastern)
  • Wednesday, December 4, 2024  8:00 AM – 5:00 PM (Eastern)

Class Registration

Class registration is managed by National Training Center at:

NTC Virtual Class

Each student will receive a student workbook that includes a course outline and copies of all presentation material; a copy of Title 21 NCAC 18B; and an extensive set of practice examination questions, along with a practice question answer key with references.

It is strongly recommended that students have a copy of the 2020 National Electrical Code and the 2013 National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code in order to participate in exercises and discussion.  These books are not included in the class fee.

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Alarm Circuit Supervision – Why You Should Care

EOL resistors installed at panel instead of terminating device.

                  The wrong place for EOL resistors.

Nearly every project we work on, we recommend that alarm initiating devices, especially door contacts, are to be configured using end of line (EOL) resistors for 4-state supervisory circuits.  The actual resistance value and configuration can vary by system manufacturer, but typically it involves wiring a 1K Ohm resistor in series and another in parallel with the switch, at the terminating device itself (not in the panel or junction box above the door).   This ensures that we have circuit supervision from the alarm panel (or card reader panel) all the way down to the device termination, so we know if the device is in a normal state (1), an alarm state (2), shorted state (3), or cut state (4).   This is known as 4-state supervision, because it distinguishes between 4 possible scenarios for the supervised device.

For an example of why you need device supervision, I recently had a high profile client contract me to do a security survey of their research building.  One of the basement doors had a door contact on it that was not supervised and had been cut and shorted about 30 feet away from the door.  The card access system monitoring the door didn’t use 4-state monitoring and the door appeared to be “closed” all the time, even though it was commonly known that maintenance staff actively used the door for that area.  It had been in that state for several years before it was identified and later repaired.

This simple addition offers greater security to the system, yet often gets omitted by vendors in the installation because it requires extra time and expense, and even causes confusion with some installers (really).  Worse, we sometimes end up with installations like the picture above that adds the EOL resistors to the panel with Dolphin connectors.  This type of installation does not offer any real security, and potentially introduces the opportunity for spurious connections inside the panel.  Thankfully, vendors like GRI manufacture magnetic contacts that come pre-assembled with the resistor array included.  They include 1K, 2K, 3.3K, 5.6K, 10K, and 33K resistors in a variety of contact packages, and also sell resistor packs for retrofit installations.

Years ago, one of the best explanations I ever read about alarm circuit supervision was from an Andover Controls card access panel installation guide.  I had learned already about 4-state supervision and why you should do it, but the following illustration shows it more clearly than anywhere else I ever saw it.  I ran across it again the other day and decided I would put it in an article here on the site.  The illustration below shows how the first two iterations of EOL resistors do not offer any significant line supervision, and could easily be defeated.  The third configuration offers 4 unique resistance values that correspond with the 4 possible state conditions.

Credit to Schneider Electric / Andover Controls for the illustration.

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Training Class – Preparing for the North Carolina SP-FA/LV Electrical Examination

Protective Resources is the premier provider of training for individuals who are planning to take the North Carolina Board of Examiners of Electrical Contractor SP-FA/LV examination. Our one-day class, “Preparing for the North Carolina SP-FA/LV Electrical Examination,” is a proven method for applicants to learn about the exam and to review the major topics it covers. We have classroom exercises that emphasize using the exam references, including many charts and tables, to derive the correct exam answers.

We are currently scheduled to present this class on the following schedule:

  • January 28, 2015                  ADI, Greensboro, NC
  • March 25, 2015                     ADI, Raleigh, NC
  • May 27, 2015                         ADI, Raleigh, NC
  • July 29, 2015                         ADI, Greensboro, NC

We are also happy to provide a quotation on presenting private class sessions for two or more students. If you are planning on sending two or more students to our regular class, it may be more economical to have us bring the class to you.  We are also able to offer coaching sessions, if you think you need more personalized help to ensure being successful.

Contact us at for more information.

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