Douglas Krantz - Technical Writer - Describing How It Works
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What is the Difference Between an Addressable System and a Conventional System?

The difference isn't really inside the control panel. Some control panels only connect to one kind of circuit or the other, some control panels can connect to both kinds. It's the building's circuit that really makes the difference.

What is the Difference Between an Addressable System and a Conventional System?

Greetings Douglas,

What is the difference between an addressable panel and a conventional panel? Can we make a network loop for multiple panels?

Thank you, FJ

Difference Between Addressable and Conventional

The first part of the answer is concerning the differences between addressable fire alarm systems and conventional fire alarm systems. I'll start with something you know about, the EST3 fire alarm system.

The EST3 fire alarm system starts with a box, and some rails with plugs. There aren't any circuit boards and almost not electronic components inside the panel.

The first rail-module to be plugged in is the CPU or Central Processing Unit). This CPU is used to work with all of the other rail-modules inside the panel. The second rail-module is a power supply. This supplies power to all of the other rail-modules, the CPU rail-module, and also is an auxiliary power supply.

Right now, using different rail-modules inside the EST3, the outside-of-the-fire-alarm-panel building circuits connected to the EST3 panels can be:
  • Addressable Signature Series Signaling Line Circuits (SLCs made by EST)
  • Older, Addressable ZAS Signaling Line Circuits (SLCs made by System Sensor for EST)
  • Older still, obsolete Addressable Signaling Line Circuits, (SLCs made by EST before they bought the FAST company)
  • Conventional Initiating Device Circuits (IDCs)
  • Conventional Notification Appliance Circuits (NACs)

All of these modules can be included inside the same EST3 panel. Not only that, but up to 64 panels, with all of the different kinds of circuits, are designed to be networked together.

Question: Is the EST3 panel Addressable or is the EST3 panel Conventional? Yes, the correct rail-module has to be used with the particular building's circuit. But using a different rail-module doesn't make the panel one way or the other. The EST3 panel is really just a fire alarm control panel that can be used with both addressable circuits and conventional circuits.

I'm saying all of this to show you that it's not the panel that makes fire alarm system addressable or conventional, it's the circuits in the building that makes a fire alarm system addressable or conventional.

Networking Fire Alarm Panels

First a rhetorical question: Can the EST3 fire alarm panels made by EST (Edwards System Technologies, Inc.) be networked together? Rhetorical answer: The EST3 system is designed to have up to 64 panels networked together.

Whether a panel is designed to work with addressable circuits or conventional circuits, what makes fire alarm panels able to be networked together is how they are designed by the manufacturer. If someone wants to network panels together, one has to purchase panels that are designed by the manufacturer to be networked together.

Panels that are not designed to be networked together, whether they're addressable or conventional, cannot be "Networked" together.

Douglas Krantz
Life Safety
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