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Category: How To’s

ACK Delay causes and solutions.


AES ACK delay definition

An Acknowledge Delay will occur after an antenna cut or loss of communication with the network. An Acknowledge delay occurs when a Packet Acknowledge (P_ACK) is not received for a transmitted Data Packet within the programmed Acknowledge Delay time. (Default Ack Delay Time for the fire subscriber unit is 60 seconds).  An Acknowledge delay occurs when a Packet Acknowledge is not received for a transmitted Data Packet within the programmed Acknowledge Delay time.

What it boils down to is either your signal strength is weak (NetCom 6 or higher) or your signal acknowledgements are taking a few seconds to come back.  Yes, that can happen even if you have a NetCom of 5. The majority of the ACK Delays generated on the network I help maintain occur because of delayed acknowledgements not NetCom or 6 higher issues.

Some of you might be asking yourselves so what if I have acknowledgement delays my signals report on time in less than a minute and I passed my fire inspection WHO CARES? Well the problem is now that jurisdictions are requiring local notifications of radio faults.  The 2016 fire code focuses more on local notifications of radio issues including antenna cuts ac fails acknowledgement delays and other hardware issues.

Aes radios have a J4 Relay the main board that you can set up for normally open or normally close.






According to AES:

 Look for trouble with the antenna or its location, coax, connectors, transceiver, radio or electrical Interference or with the electronics itself. Maybe the subscriber is just to far away

From other devices in the network. The problem could also be with the other Subscribers or receiver it is attempting to communicate with.


That is too vague of an answer. The solutions I have come up with usually work.


  1. (This is our problem on our network usually.) The subscriber can be directly talking to an IP LINK instead of other radio units around it.  I know it makes sense that you would want a radio to talk directly to the data node but the problem is data nodes are always busy and can delay signal confirmation.   We have some units with remote antennas that jump 20 miles to talk to a repeater on a building 70 stories in the air vs AES units or repeaters closer to its location.  A stronger antenna is not always better.  To find out if this is happening to you use the NMS Google Earth to view the paths. Right click on a path and it will tell you how far it travels.  You can also check the paths using the Linux interface they have for the AES receiver.

NMS example of ack delay accounts





  1. Sometimes or most of the time techs will install the rubber ducky antennas and tighten the washers by hand. The problem with that is the washer does not dig into the can and create good enough grounding. This can cause signal strength issues, NetCom, and ACK Delays.


  1. The AES install manual for 7788 units instructs techs to ground the radio using the Green nut on the right middle side of the radio. That goes to earth ground. I’ve been told by techs on site it has improved their signal strength.


  1. Sometimes ACK Delays are caused when your radio is NetCon 6 or higher. If you have a handheld programmer hit shift + f4 at the same time to get the NetCon rating.  It should be at NetCon 5 all the time.  If not check the rubber ducky install or battery and or install a remote antenna.  



  1. I have noticed that some ACK Delays occur when a radio starts repeating too many signals. It is normal for some Subscribers to repeat RF packets originating from other Subscribers, to convey those packets along their route toward an IP Link. However, excessive packet repetition by a single Subscriber may reduce network efficiency and cause delays. I have witnessed units 5 to 15 miles away talking to specific radios and ignoring many radios around the immediate area.   Check in your NMS software for the TOP REPEATERS section.


  1. Sometimes radios are programmed incorrectly and the test interval is off. Each Subscriber normally transmits Check-in messages at regular, pre-set intervals. AES recommends setting the Subscriber Check-in interval to 23:45. A shorter time interval increases RF traffic in the network. When a radio checks in it submits a bunch of data. Once a day is fine but multiple times an hour is a no no.




I think I covered everything that can cause an ACK Delay but if I missed something leave a comment. If this helps, leave a comment. 

Updated: March 27, 2017 — 7:41 PM

7706-ULF A:24 Z: 358 Failed cell Test Explained

A failed cell test  basically means that the 7706 was defaulted to potter settings  instead of  AES potter settings.   Yes there is a difference.    If you have a 7706 defaulted to the potter settings it turns the radio into a regular  6006 potter fire panel.   If you use the AES potter default then your  6006 potter unit can use the pic and send signals on the AES network. 


This is how the raw data will look before the automation converts it.


Below is the detailed explanation from AES help desk:

Solution # 0690 – E/R358 001 received from 7706-ULF Account


Official Description:

Subscriber out of network


On at least on one occasion, this was reported due to a bad RJ/Modular cable between the PIC (Panel Interface Card 7764) and Potter panel.  

A more common reason may be because the PIC is not properly learned.  Be sure to load the AES “7706-ULF AES Default Config.fpcf” configuration file available as a download from the AES Web site especially if the panel was reset to factory or the default Potter 6006 configuration file from the Potter software was used.   



An example message is:

13 4321 18 E358 24 C001


Where 13 is Receiver #1, Line card 3.

Account 4321,

New Event Code E358

Group or partition 24

Zone or Contact 001


This will be reported with E370 00 C001 from the 7788F portion as well indicating a problem with the Potter Panel or PIC in this case. 


Updated: October 27, 2016 — 1:57 PM

NetCon 101 part 5 – The Routing Table, how it is built


aes routing table

You may have heard or read the phrase “Routing Table” when referring to a Subscriber.  This solution explains what the Routing Table is and how it is generated.An AES IntelliNet Subscriber maintains a list of ID’s, up to eight for the purpose of passing its messages or data packets through, in route to the head end or Central Receiver. The list is generated by listening. Any transmission by any other device on the IntelliNet network at the  same frequency and with the same Cipher code that is passed through the Transceiver and decoded by the Subscriber is evaluated. The Subscriber that hears the transmission will extract values contained in the header of the transmission detected.

The extracted information will include the ID of the device currently transmitting the packet along with its Link Layer / Level (LL), NetCon (NC) and Status or fault code. The signal strength of the transmission will also be evaluated. The signal strength evaluation includes whether the Carrier Detect level was reached (CD) and a value that identifies how readable the data was.Upon decoding a packet header, the extracted values are compared with the current list or Routing Table. If the ID is in the list and the values have not changed the Table is left as is.

If there was a change to a value of an ID in the list, the list is modified. If the ID is not in the list, then it is evaluated to determine if it should be in the list. That evaluation includes the signal strength, Status code and whether the LL is equal to or better than what is currently in the list. If the ID rates a place in the list, the list is modified, the Table is sorted and the Subscriber calculates new LL and NC values.

The important thing to take away from this lesson is that the Routing Table is built by listening. Attempts to communicate back to those ID’s in the list, does not occur until the Subscriber has a Data Packet to transmit and only then, if it progresses through the List of ID’s and reaches that ID in the process of using its Routing Table because others in the list before it have failed to have a packet Acknowledge received.

Updated: October 19, 2016 — 7:25 PM

NetCon 101 Part: 3 – Edition 9 (V 2.6+) vs. Pre Edition 9 (earlier than V 2.6)

Back before UL revision 9 came out the NetCom values  read 0 to 7. 0 being the best and 7 the worst. After the UL Revision 9 changes  the NetCon values changed to  5 to 7.  5 is the best 7 is worst.    A NetCom 5 is needed to pass a fire inspection. The detailed explanation is below. 

A Subscriber developed before the UL 864 9th Edition Compliant models calculate NetCon differently than the later. Edition 9 compliant Subscribers begin at firmware version 2.6+. The firmware version features typically follows all models. If another model is released with a version 2.6+ or higher, it would include the basic Subscriber functions as any other at that version with specific model variations added as needed. Version 2.6+ was designed to operate in a MultiNet environment and still be able to use NetCon 5 to indicate at least two unique paths exist in the current Routing Table all the way to the MultiNet Receiver/7705i.Earlier firmware than 2.6 was developed around the Single RF head end receiver concept, where they would report their NetCon as 0 if the #1 ID in the Routing Table was reporting a Link Layer/Level (LL) of 0.

RF Head End devices such as the 7003, 7703 or a 7170 IP-Link, are the only devices that can report LL as 0. A pre-V 2.6 Subscriber would report itself as a NetCon of 0, because the ID at the top of the list is a LL 0. In other words, if the #1 ID in the list is the single Stand Alone Receiver, it reports NetCon as 0.A V 2.6+ or higher does not report a NetCon of 0 with a LL as 0 in the #1 position. This prevents the reporting of NetCon 0 when a single IP-Link is at the top of the list. Two IP-Links are required to establish a NetCon of 5. Two IP-Links would in fact constitute two unique paths all the way to the 7705i. A third IP-Link would provide three unique paths, but NetCon would still be calculated as 5 adhering to the Edition 9 algorithm’s rules.

Updated: September 11, 2016 — 1:32 PM

How NetCon is calculated for AES radios (PART 2)

How can there be several IDs at the top preference locations in a Routing Table, which have a Good Signal Quality (SQ) and yet have a NetCon of 7?
If NetCon is 7 and there are what appears to be Good SQ IDs at the top of the list, then there is something else that is preventing the Subscriber from considering the ID as Good.It may be that the NetCon of the #1 listed ID has itself got a NetCon of 7. A Subscriber can’t be better than the best (#1) ID listed in its routing table.
It may be that there are some faults being reported by the ID, which are not displayed in the information presented to you.Signal Quality is only one factor in determining if a listed ID is “good” to decrement NetCon.

The list of what is considered good:

Signal above a threshold. (SQ=Good)
No Faults reported. (i.e. low battery, AC fail)
Link Layer better than current LL of this Subscriber.
NetCon is less than 7

Updated: August 24, 2016 — 4:13 PM

How NetCon is calculated for AES radios (PART 1)

I have 6 years experience troubleshooting and programming AES radios and just want so share some information with you guys.  This will cover radio model numbers  7788/7744 , 7706 and 7058.  Explaining how NetCon works does get detailed so I broke it up into 8 parts.  Make sure to scroll all the way to the bottom of this page to see the rest of the parts.



Following is a general explanation of how NetCon is calculated by an AES UL 864, Edition 9 compliant model Subscriber (7744F or 7788F).

aes polling example

  Look at your routing table. What is the Level/Link Layer (LL) of the #1 ID in the list? Is its Signal Quality (SQ) = Good? How many IDs are in the list at the same LL as #1 with a Good SQ? Subtract that number from 7. That should be the NetCon based on that routing table. On Edition 9 compliant units, NetCon will not be lower than 5 even if there are three units at the same Level that are good.Generally, if the SQ is not good, then it is quite possible that the Level was incremented by 1 for the purpose of sorting lower in the list. Sorting is primarily done on the LL.  If there are no Good SQ or all IDs have faults, then the NetCon will be 7.


With one ID at LL 1 and SQ = Good the Subscribers LL should be 2 with a NetCon of 6.With two IDs LL 1 and SQ = Good the Subscribers LL should be 2 with a NetCon of 5.With one IP-Link ID at LL 0 and SQ = Good and another IP-Link ID at LL 0 or 1 with SQ = Marginal the Subscribers LL should be 1 with a NetCon of 6.

 With two IP-Link IDs at LL 0 and SQ = Good the Subscribers LL should be 1 with a NetCon of 5.

 7788F/7744F Rev 1.64Z5 also considers other ID’s in a table listed at a higher Level if it’s NetCon

Updated: August 24, 2016 — 4:05 PM

Quick Troubleshooting Guide for when your car won’t start.

frustrated car won't start

I know it sucks when you jump in your car and try to start it and you only hear  a clicking noise or no noise at all. You sit there thinking what should I do ? What could it be ? How much is this going to cost ?


Three types of scenarios that you typically encounter when your car won’t start.

This post will focus on scenario A & B and lightly cover scenario C.


Scenario A

dead dashboard

You try to start your car but nothing happens no crank no noise dead dashboard.

Scenario B

dashboard lights up car wont start

You try to start your car but all you hear is a loud clicking noise no crank

Scenario C

You try to start your car and it cranks but the car won’t turn on



Scenario A

You jump into your car and turn the key and nothing happens the car won’t crank no noise and no clicking. No lights on your dashboard.  The likely culprit is your battery is dead and requires a few hours of charging. Typically when a starter starts to die it gives you symptoms. It makes grinding noises or it clicks sometimes.   If your dashboard works sometimes you get can hit the starter with something heavy like a hammer or a piece of wood and they start working again. But that means it will be a matter of time before the starter dies. Sometimes they just die and make no noise.   You can try to short the starter to get it going but that’s advanced troubleshooting.  The safest thing for the inexperienced if possible is to remove the starter and take it to your auto parts store where they can check it for free.  




Scenario B

You try to start your car but all you hear is clicking.   This usually means you let your battery run down left your lights on or something.  Most of the time getting a boost will fix your problem. Worst case scenario your engine seized. To find out if it seized you would have to manually move the engine which is an advanced troubleshooting technique. To manually test the engine you have to move the crankshaft pulley.  If you get a boost and you still click or you get a fully charged battery and you hear clicking then your starter might be shot or dying.  You can try hitting the starter with something heavy sometimes to make it work but that starter is circling the drain.  



Scenario C

Your car cranks but it won’t start. Can be caused by lack of fuel.  No spark or no combustion.  Dirty fuel filter or your fuel pump failed.  Spark plugs could have worn out.  Or you have engine damage.


Symptoms of a bad starter

  • If your lights work and your dashboard turns on like normal
  • If you radio works and all the electrical things work
  • If you have driven all day and turn your car off for a few minutes but it clicks when you try to turn it back on


Symptoms of a bad battery

  • Headlights won’t turn on or are dim.
  • None of your dashboard lights come on or turn off when you try to start your car.
  • When it gets near freezing or below freezing your car won’t start.


Symptoms of a seized engine

  • Check your oil if you have no oil in you engine then it’s probably f’ed up to say the least.
  • When attempting to manually turn the crankshaft pulley it won’t move.
  • You can see inside the engine
  • If you try to start your car and the wires from the starter catch on fire they probably overheated because the poor starter is trying to turn an engine that won’t turn.
Updated: March 31, 2016 — 3:51 PM
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