BEACON Shows – And Sounds – The Way To Emergency Exit

July 1, 2008
The SARGENT 80 Series Exit Device equipped with the SARGENT Beacon uses a combination of visible and audible alerts, including a pulse LED, recorded message, and green laser lights pointing to the nearest illuminated touchbar exit device

In the early 1900s, building fires resulted in a significant number of occupant deaths. People were crushed to death in the panic that usually results during a fire. Some of the reasons for the deaths were doors opening inward, locked exiting doors or an inadequate number of exit doors.

It seems that a 1911 fire at a shirt factory resulted in the deaths of 148 girls. The story continues with the owner/operator of the building being arrested and going to trial on a charge of “not providing adequate protection for his employees.” His defense was, “There were no laws defining the degree of protection he had to provide for his workers.” He was convicted; significantly fined and sent to prison.

As a result of this and other fires, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) was formed with the assistance of insurance companies. Their goal is to establish and improve the levels of building safety. Over the years, many building standards have been implemented.

This brings us to the present. SARGENT has just introduced a next generation exit device that creates a concise pathway to safety during an emergency. The SARGENT Beacon is a UL Listed exit device for use on panic (UL 305) and fire-rated (UL10C) exit devices. The Beacon-equipped SARGENT 80 Series Exit Device provides exit device functionality during an emergency. This pathway is a combination of visible and audible alerts. These built in alerts emit a pulse LED, white noise, an audible message “exit located here” and a green laser beamed from the exit device. The green laser forms an arrow shape pointing directly to the illuminated touch bar. These three alerts are designed to enable occupants to quickly locate illuminated touch bar and exit the building.

The SARGENT Beacon can be wired for continuous operation or integrated into the building’s existing fire alarm system. Important: The Beacon is fully programmed at factory. There is no field configuration required.
Beacon is designed to make the exit door highly noticeable for all occupants, including those who are hearing or sight impaired.

The compact SARGENT Beacon mechanism is mounted onto a SARGENT 80 Series mounting rail insert. The Beacon Insert can be retrofit onto most rim, mortise or vertical rod SARGENT 80 Series exit devices. For new installations, the Beacon is available as part of a complete SARGENT 80 Series exit device.

To show the ease of installation, we installed the SARGENT Beacon-equipped rail onto a right exterior swing door of a double-door entry to a large facility. For the purpose of this installation, the SARGENT Beacon was a complete push rail assembly. For most retrofit installations, the Beacon is available as a mounting rail insert.

The facility doors were equipped with SARGENT 80 series concealed vertical rod exit devices. Prior to the installation, the appropriate mortise cylinder was installed into the Beacon. When installing a mortise cylinder, rotate clockwise until the cylinder cam aligns with the reset switch. Do not over tighten.

Wires were run to provide DC power and connection to the fire alarm system. For non-fire alarm system equipped buildings, the Beacon can be wired for continuous operation. Power requirement for the Beacon is less than one Amp at 24 VDC. To simplify the installation, ElectroLynx™ harnesses were wired; one 8-pin and one 4-pin connector.

Installation of the SARGENT Beacon was straightforward. The SARGENT 80 Series push rail assembly was removed from the door by unscrewing the chassis assembly cover, end cap, mounting plate and the two rail mounting screws.

The new wiring was fished out of the stile. The Beacon-equipped push rail assembly was slid into the chassis assembly and secured using the two rail mounting screws and the mounting plate. The chassis assembly cover was secured. The exit device push rail was checked to be certain it would completely depress. If the push rail would not fully depress, the latch bolt may not go into the hold back position and possibly obstruction operation of the door. If that happens, the concealed vertical rods would have to be adjusted to ensure proper operation.

To complete the electrical connections, the four- and eight-pin connectors were attached, and the earth ground was screwed onto the mounting bracket.

At this point, the Beacon was tested. Upon powering up, the green LED will illuminate, indicating the Beacon is in the Ready State. The key was inserted into the mortise cylinder and turned counter clockwise to activate the reset switch for two seconds. The key was turned to the locked position, activating the Beacon.

When the beacon is activated; the LEDs will flash twice. A two second white noise burst will sound. The green laser will activate. The factory programmed audible message will sound. The system will reset itself to the Ready State.

The Beacon retrofits to most SARGENT 80 series wide and narrow exit devices having a door width of 26” to 48”. In addition, the Beacon is available with SARGuide TL- Electroluminescent or the non-electric PL- Photoluminescent options.

For retrofit installations, an ElectroLynx™ harness kit is available.

For more information, contact your local locksmith wholesaler or SARGENT Manufacturing Company, 100 SARGENT Drive, New Haven, CT 06511. Telephone: 203-821-5769. Fax: 203-498-5577. Website:   

Rich Franken is sales and technical support rep for the Dugmore & Duncan Group in Corona, California. Rich has spent 24 years in the Door and Hardware industry primarily in the Southern California market.