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Conventional Vs. Addressable Fire Alarm Systems: The Differences

Comments (0) Posted by: Century on February 7th, 2014 @ 3:17 PM
Tagged with: Addressable Addressable Fire Alarm System Addressable System Conventional Conventional Fire Alarm System Conventional System Fire Alarm Fire Alarm System Fire Security maintenance Safety Security


 Firstly, what is a Conventional Fire Alarm System?

It’s the most common type of system and is suitable for most small businesses such as shops, offices and warehouses. A number of call points and/or detectors are wired to the fire alarm control panel in zones. This is because if a detector detects smoke or fire, it can give you a rough idea as to where it is within the building. For example “smoke detector in alarm in the office lobby”. The accuracy of knowing where a fire has started is controlled by the number of zones the control panel has.

And what’s an Addressable Fire Alarm System?

Although very similar to a Conventional Fire Alarm system in that they both have detection zones, they have the added benefit of having sounders. Because additional sounder circuits are not required, the installation and cost is massively reduced. The detection circuit is wired as a loop and up to 99 devices may be connected to each individual loop. They are essentially Conventional Systems, but with an address built in. The address within each detector is set by a Dual-in-Line switch (DIL) and the control panel is programmed to display the information required when that particular detector is operated.

So what are the main differences?

  • A Conventional Fire Alarm System is typically used in smaller businesses and properties (as stated above). They are usually less expensive than an Addressable System, but with this, they have limitations regarding reporting the exact location of the devices. For example they will display which zone is in alarm, but not which device (which can be a time waste if you have several devices within a large room).  
  • An Addressable Fire Alarm System can be programmed to show the exact device that is in alarm by a display on the panel. For example, the display may show “smoke detector in alarm on second floor outside room 4”. Because an Addressable System is so exact, it is a vital system to have installed on a larger business property as a time-saver (and potentially a life-saver) if there are any alarms.  
  • Addressable Systems can also give detailed information about individual detectors and also allow a courtesy text label to allow easy identification. For example detectors can be labelled after rooms such as “office lobby” or “office filing room”.  
  • Conventional Systems only give information about specific circuits or zones and can’t be labelled. 
  • Addressable Systems are wired in a ‘loop’.  
  • Conventional Systems are normally wired as radial circuits (only usable where each circuit connects to just one high power appliance). 
  • Most Addressable Systems allow for a ‘pre-alarm’ warning, which allows the responsible person to investigate a potential alarm before the system activates its sirens.

 For more information please do not hesitate to contact us on 0800 052 6070.


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