Home Opinion Matthew Parton Looks at the Self-Test Area of the Emergency Lighting Sector | ESP

Matthew Parton Looks at the Self-Test Area of the Emergency Lighting Sector | ESP

Matthew Parton, Product Development Manager at ESP, looks at the self-test area of the emergency lighting sector and how it can save building owners time and money.

Emergency lighting is a legal requirement in almost every building, with one simple, life-saving task: to provide light if a power outage shuts down a building’s standard operational lighting. It is the responsibility of building owners and responsible persons to prove that the emergency lighting systems they are responsible for are working correctly and are regularly maintained so that they are in full working order.

According to BS5266-1 Emergency Lighting – Code of practice for the emergency lighting of premises, the functional operation of the emergency lighting systems falls onto the responsibility of the user (i.e. the appropriate person appointed responsible for the premises).

BS 5266-1, Section 12 outlines the recommended routine testing of the system.  These include (but is not definitive to):

  • Checking functional operation “at least every month”.
  • Full rated duration test (on each luminaire) “at least annually” (full discharge of batteries to check all working as required).
  • Logging of failures to any part of the system and introducing alternate safety procedures until this is repaired.
  • Recording all testing and repair information in a logbook.

All emergency lighting installations must have routine tests carried out, with each system luminaire the subject of daily, monthly and annual testing. These tests should all be documented with the results including maintenance and rectification results all held on file.

Whilst the testing of emergency lighting does not take much effort and isn’t difficult, manually inspecting every single lighting luminaire for lamp starting, operation and duration performance can be a very labour intensive and therefore expensive task. However, with the latest improvements in technology, routine testing can be simple, automatic and therefore much less expensive. It is now possible for building owners to take advantage of emergency lighting equipment that ‘self-tests’ in accordance with the relevant standards.

Reduce the burden

Installing self-test emergency lighting units can reduce the burden of testing emergency lighting installations as they perform all mandatory testing automatically, removing the need for manual testing to be carried out by the user or building owner. The resulting reduction of labour time leads to inevitable cost savings. Whilst the initial costs for the products may be higher, overall, they will provide a very short payback period – making them an ideal option that should be given consideration at the beginning of any project.

The benefits of self-test emergency light units include ease of installation, with no need for key switches or additional data cables for example. Convenience is also a major plus, with mandatory tests carried out without disruption to the normal use of the building, and any faults identified. The self-test units identify faults in luminaires and any faults are then highlighted to maintenance personnel, saving them the time and effort it would take to search the building in question for faults.

Self-test units use an accurate internal clock programmed to interrupt the permanent mains supply at set intervals, initiating emergency lighting tests. Short duration weekly and monthly tests and annual full duration tests are automatically activated with the results shown via an LED indicator on the fitting. The responsible person only needs to check the indicator and it means that only lights with reported faults will need to be attended to by maintenance personnel.

Extra peace of mind

During initial power up of a self-test unit, an automatic commissioning stage will begin. The internal clock will commence at a random time between 0 and 24 hours – this avoids the luminaires all going into test at the same time. After the initial charge up time (up to 72 hours), the unit will carry out a full duration test. After all initial tests are completed successfully the inbuilt processor will start the standard programmed test schedule, reporting failing functions via the status LED. In addition, it is also possible to initiate a manual test on self-test emergency lighting fittings for extra peace of mind.

Monitoring results is straightforward. A single bicolour LED indicates the system status. A green LED on constant with a pulse once every minute shows that the micro-processor is active and functioning. A flashing red LED identifies a fault condition is present. If a fault is resolved the LED indicator will return to green.

The following LED statuses apply to ESP’s Duceri self-test fittings:

LED Colour LED Status





Green Constant Normal Battery Charging Mode
Green Slow Flash 2 Minute Duration Test
Fast Flash 3 Hour Duration Test
Red 1 Flash Battery Failure
2 Flash Lamp Failure
3 Flash Duration Test Failure

ESP continues to develop its Duceri range of Emergency Lighting to meet the latest standards and to offer the latest technologies. The company’s range of Self-Test Emergency Light Fittings offers numerous benefits over standard fittings by reducing the costs and time associated with manual testing and inspection.

The self-test products within the Duceri Emergency Lighting range include:

  • 3W LED Maintained Emergency Self-contained Downlight with Self-Test and Interchangeable Open and Corridor Lens.
  • 3W LED Emergency Open Lens Downlight with Self-Test
  • 9W LED IP65 Non-Maintained Emergency Twin Spot with Self-Test
  • 3W LED IP65 Maintained Emergency Bulkhead with Self-Test
  • 3W LED Maintained Emergency Exit Box with Self-Test

They have all been tested and comply with the latest standards.

For more information, click here

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