Leaders in Fire Alarm Systems

An Exclusive Security Dealer Roundtable

Roberts: The trend in the system-connected smoke detector market is toward wireless and addressable technologies. The reason for the trend is because both technologies minimize the installation costs and provide more accurate notification. Obviously wireless detectors are easier to install and more cost effective than hardwired units, particularly for applications where it’s difficult, or impossible to run conductors. However, addressable smokes require significantly fewer conductors than conventional hardwired detectors. The installation labor and wiring costs of addressable smokes are significantly reduced by having all devices connected to a single two-conductor circuit called a Signaling Line Circuit (SLC) instead of having many IDC circuits that are typically found in conventional systems. Also, it is easier to pinpoint the exact alarm and trouble conditions with wireless or addressable smoke detectors. Wireless and addressable smoke detectors will report their alarm or trouble condition to the control panel.

Hendrickson:The current generation of addressable control panels allow for more flexibility in wiring the building sensors and modules. This flexibility when combined with flexible programming options can help speed up the installation process. Addressable control panels feature built in communicators that enable pinpoint accuracy when reporting events. The installer can also use the communicator to query the system for the event history and detector status from a remote location which allow for more efficient troubleshooting.

Frankenberg: The software in the new systems make programming simpler and provides flexibility, as well as more feature sets. This allows the dealer to do more now. The dealer installing the system should know the full capabilities of a system.
Fast and accurate fire detection and notification is the goal of every fire system. The use of the analog/addressable fire systems is the logical way of the future. These systems allow for indication of dirty devices, adjust the sensitivities and automatically compensate as a detector becomes dirty. Also, NFPA annual testing is much simpler using the sensitivity levels in the panel. The software should be simple to operate and allow flexibility. New panels should be easy and quick to program and offer aids to the installer as to what conditions exist and where they are. In addition, the walk test allows for quick testing without the need for an extra person resetting the panel.

McNamara: Since the advent of computer based systems, system programming and false alarm reducing features have been added through software—most of which is not even visible to the installer or user. More is being done with software to insure that you have programmed systems correctly and all devices are operating properly, and within specification. Devices are becoming more intelligent, and can warn you if you are nearing a false alarm state. Wiring is moving toward “you can’t wire it wrong.” All these features and improvements make today’s systems easier and more cost effective to install.