Douglas Krantz - Technical Writer - Describing How It Works
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Are Addressable Fire Alarm Systems Different from Conventional Systems?

Addressable Fire Alarm Systems are Conventional Fire Alarm Systems, with an added Addressable means of Communication.

Are Addressable Fire Alarm Systems Different from Conventional Systems?


Greetings Douglas,

My goal is to learn more about my system, so that I may be better-prepared to address fire safety issues, as this is only one of my functions. Do I your book on conventional fire alarm systems, also?

Thank you, B M

Many fire alarm people think that an addressable fire alarm system with an SLC (Signaling Line Circuit) is totally different from a conventional fire alarm system. But is it?

A NAC circuit (Notification Appliance Circuit), for instance, is a totally conventional circuit. Any addressable panel that has a NAC circuit has a conventional NAC circuit. If there are addressable horns and strobes, the addressable horns and strobes aren't connected to a NAC circuit, they are connected to an addressable circuit and to a power supply.

Waterflow switches and tamper switches are pretty much all conventional devices. If they are connected to zone input on a fire alarm panel, they are connected using a conventional Class B or Class A circuit Initiating Device Circuit (IDC). If they are connected to an addressable system, they are connected to an addressable input module using conventional Class B or Class A circuits.

Some pull stations are conventional and are connected to the panel or to an addressable input module using a conventional Class B circuit. Some pull stations have the module built into them so the switches can be called "Addressable". EST, for instance, doesn't even hide the addressable input module and just mounts it to the back of their conventional pull stations, and then use a conventional Class B circuit between the switch and the module.

I've even seen smoke detectors that are off-the-shelf conventional smoke detectors, but are called addressable detectors because there is an addressable input module glued to the back.

In other words, in order to understand an addressable fire alarm system with an SLC, you have to understand a conventional fire alarm system that have IDCs and NACs.

Yes, I do touch on addressable systems in my book "Make It Work - Conventional Fire Alarms". The book is a life safety book, really goes into how conventional circuits work, and briefly mentions the addressable portion of a fire alarm system.

Douglas Krantz
Douglas Krantz -- Fire Alarm Engineering Technician, Electronic Designer, Electronic Technician, Writer

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