Advantages and Limitations of Conventional Fire Alarm Control Panels
Conventional fire alarm control panels connect devices such as smoke detectors and push buttons through circuits called zones, so when an alarm goes off on an existing system, the panel will tell you which zone it belongs.
Unfortunately, traditional systems have several drawbacks that must be considered when adopting them:
One of the primary costs associated with fire alarm systems is maintenance costs. This can include support and repair expenses that don’t always fall under warranty or service agreements as well as annual inspections – it’s wise to factor this in when planning your initial investment of a fire panel as this cost could quickly add up.
Conventional fire alarm systems employ a hardwired zone system in which each device is hardwired directly into the control panel, enabling it to identify which zone-triggered devices are in. On larger campuses, this approach can reduce wiring costs significantly while making scaling easy.
Troubleshooting problems with this system is difficult, requiring you to test each device within each zone to locate where an alarm has gone off and identify which device triggered it. This requires more work on your part as it increases false alarms and unplanned expenditures for your business.
Addressable fire systems provide a solution by giving each device its own individual “address.” Similar to how houses have addresses on streets, this allows the panel to know exactly which detector, call point, interface or siren has been activated – saving both time and costs by taking up less physical cabling space.
False alarms pose a real risk to any fire and safety system. Not only can they cost businesses money in lost productivity due to interruption of work, but they waste precious minutes from firefighters who would otherwise respond more promptly in response to real emergencies. Furthermore, false alarms may cause complacency among residents regarding taking steps when confronted by fire or danger – further weakening safety efforts overall.
Conventional systems rely on increased electrical currents to notify their panels that something is amiss, usually when initiating devices (call points, smoke detectors and duct detectors) exceed their threshold detection level for heat, smoke or carbon monoxide detection. When this threshold is breached by heat or smoke or carbon monoxide intrusion into their premises, these initiating devices alert their panels of any issues present.
These devices can be activated by non-fire-related events, such as steam from showers or aerosol sprays without carbon monoxide or smoke, as well as rodents, dust or any other airborne substances.
Newer addressable systems offer greater insight to the panel by providing more data from sensing devices, such as heat or smoke sensors, that enable it to more accurately make decisions to help avoid false alarms. Some panels may even feature verification and investigation delays that prevent fire alarms from activating until their signal has been verified as valid or investigated further.
Fire alarm control panels serve as the heart and soul of an installation, collecting signals detected by peripheral devices and activating warning and evacuation alarms. Scaling these panels can be challenging; often necessitating opening holes in walls for wires leading to detectors and push buttons.
Conventional FACP may trigger false alarms due to dust accumulation on sensors that send a signal back to the panel, leading emergency responders down a false trail of searching multiple areas without finding the source of fire or leading them to believe there is none at all.
By conducting regular visual inspections with authorized personnel, it is imperative that fire alarm components, including batteries and smoke detectors, are working efficiently. This will help decrease false alarms that disrupt business operations while sensitizing people to real emergencies.
Additionally, it is imperative that extensive records of maintenance activities, including details about any issues discovered during inspections, are kept. This helps ensure compliance with safety regulations and insurance requirements.
Scalability conventional FACP
Conventional fire alarm panels use a zone-type wiring system in which each device connects through its wire to the panel. However, an ordinary alarm panel can only identify that there’s an issue in one zone when all devices on that circuit trigger. This makes pinpointing the exact source of fire difficult and delays emergency responders from arriving quickly at their target locations in a building.
Conventional systems tend to generate more false alarms than addressable ones due to multiple initiating devices (detectors and call points) connected to each device in each zone; should any one of these activate, the panel will notify of a fire in that zone but without specifying which specific initiating device triggered it.
Conventional systems can also be more difficult to scale than addressable ones, requiring additional wiring loops to accommodate additional detectors and call points, which may prove both costly and inconvenient depending on building complexity or incompatibilities between detector and call point brands. Addressable systems offer greater scalability by accommodating more devices without necessitating additional cuts into walls, as well as more information to the fire panel about each device’s sensitivity level and provide maintenance alerts – something conventional systems lack.