The Condenser - A Closer Look at Remote Test Boxes

The Condenser - A Closer Look at Remote Test Boxes

Remote test boxes allow easy testing of dampers with electric actuators. Keep your dampers in working order with the right equipment. Read all about it in this Condenser article.

Dampers need regular maintenance to stay in peak condition. They must open and close when needed, with minimal effect on the system’s overall performance. A good maintenance routine includes testing the damper and its components. With proper testing, technicians can diagnose issues with the damper and resolve them, avoiding costly failures.

Remote test box connected to an actuator

Accessories like remote test boxes can help operators with damper maintenance.

Testing dampers is important, but it can be an arduous task. Dampers require a visual inspection when testing, to ensure the blades are correctly opening and closing. Technicians will typically need to disassemble duct work to get to the damper. Also, control dampers are commonly equipped with electric actuators that need to be tested separately. This means technicians will need disconnect the actuaotr from the power supply and reconnect it. A remote test box provides a simple and effortless way to perform these tests.

A remote text box is a device that connects to the electric actuator. There are several kinds of test boxes. Variants may include test boxes with a push button, lights that indicate blade position, or with multi-stage switches for testing modulating dampers with multiple blade angles. Regardless of the configuration, their function will be the same.

To perform a test, technicians will press a button or flip a switch on the test box. This will send disrupt power to the actuator, which will cause the damper to rotate its blades to the power off position. Indicator lights on the test box will indicate whether the blades should be opened or closed. Technicians can inspect the damper’s blade action with the simple press of a button. This saves time during maintenance. Technicians can focus on the damper during testing and address any issues that arise.

Remote test box with switch and indicator light

This test box has indicator lights for determining whether the damper is open or closed. It also has a switch for operating the damper's actuator.

Remote test boxes can be customized for many types of dampers and actuators. A standard test box will consist of a test button and two position indication lights, for indicating that damper is either open or closed. Multi-stage switches and position indication lights can help ensure modulating control dampers are working at all blade angles. 

There has been a push in recent years to allow the use of remote test boxes for testing fire and smoke dampers. The standards for UL-rated dampers involve regular testing to ensure they close when their actuators lose power. Fire response devices are an important part of your HVAC system. You may be able to use a remote test box to perform these tests, but you will still need to visually inspect the life safety damper to ensure it is properly closing. Be sure to check the current standards for your dampers before utilizing a remote test box for these tests. 

Photo of a remote test box connected to an electric actuator

Pictured: A remote test box connected to an electric actuator. When an operator presses the test button, the actuator will open the damper.

Keep your dampers in working order with the right equipment. Accessories like remote test boxes and position indication switches can help you track your dampers.

Learn more about dampers with these Newsstand articles:


Looking for UL-rated dampers to meet your fire safety requirements? Air Balance offers a wide range of combination fire smoke dampers, including multi-blade and curtain blade dampers. Contact us today and let's work together on your next project!

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