Douglas Krantz - Technical Writer - Describing How It Works
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Can I use an addressable detector on a conventional panel?

I have a question about something


I have a Question

Douglas

Can I connect an addressable smoke detector to a conventional fire alarm control panel? What would happen if I did connect an addressable detector to a conventional panel?

Thank you. E E

Detect and Warn

In order to "detect fire and warn people of fire", the type of smoke detector and the type of fire alarm control panel have to match.

When looking at whether or not an addressable smoke detector can be used on a conventional fire alarm system, we have to look at both the detector, and the fire alarm control panel. We also have to look at their wire loop that carries the alarm signals throughout the building: the Initiating Device Circuit {IDC} for conventional fire alarm systems) or the Signaling Line Circuit {SLC} for addressable fire alarm systems.

Conventional Fire Alarm System

A conventional smoke detector is a switch. When it's not in alarm and just standing by, it uses very little electrical current from the wire loop (IDC) in the building. When it is in alarm, the switch is turned on and the smoke detector uses a lot of current.

Similar to a smoke detector is a pull station; the pull station is a switch. When the pull station not in alarm, The switch is turned off and does not use any current from the wire loop in the building; when the pull station is in alarm the switch is turned on and the pull station uses a lot of current.

The fire alarm control panel is looking at the wire loop (IDC) for this change in current. When the wire loop doesn't have much current being used, the fire alarm panel does not go into alarm; when the wire loop has a lot of current being used, the fire alarm panel goes into alarm.

Addressable Fire Alarm System

Inside an addressable smoke detector is a mini-computer. Between the time an addressable detector is standing-by and the time the detector is in alarm, the amount of electrical current it uses doesn't change very much at all. In other words, an addressable detector doesn't send an alarm signal to the panel by simply changing how much current it is using.

Instead, in order to always be telling the fire alarm control panel (FACP) either that there is no smoke, or that there is smoke, the smoke detector is using computer style data over the wire loop. The computer style data is a series of electrical impulses making computer type words to communicate to the Signaling Line Circuit (SLC).

An addressable pull station is also has a mini-computer that uses computer style data to communicate on the SLC.

Using the electrical impulses over the wire loop (SLC) in the building, the fire alarm control panel is in constant communication with all the devices.

Matching Systems

The type of smoke detector (addressable or conventional) has to match the type of fire alarm control panel, or the whole system won't act right, and no one will be warned if there is a fire.

So, no, an addressable smoke detector cannot be used on a conventional fire alarm system because if the smoke detector sees smoke, the fire alarm panel will NOT go into alarm.

Douglas Krantz
Get help finding those Ground Faults - Buy the book "Make It Work - Hunting Ground Faults" by Douglas Krantz - Ground Fault Hunting becomes easier when you know what causes the ground fault and what is needed to "see" the ground fault.
Get help finding those Ground Faults - Buy the book "Make It Work - Hunting Ground Faults" by Douglas Krantz - Ground Fault Hunting becomes easier when you know what causes the ground fault and what is needed to "see" the ground fault.
Douglas Krantz -- Fire Alarm Engineering Technician, Electronic Designer, Electronic Technician, Writer

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