Fire Alarm Panels

Fire Alarm Panels

The fire alarm panel is the central element of any fire alarm system. All devices (detectors, call points, sounders, etc.) are connected to the fire panel, which typically provides power to them and information is relayed back and forth to determine whether there is a fire and if so activate an appropriate warning.

If you're not too sure which fire alarm panels are suitable for your needs, there are several factors that should be considered. Any fire alarm system that has been designed to the British standard BS 5839 will divide the property up into zones (physical areas which can be identified by a zone number used to locate the fire). Every fire alarm panel will have a zone capacity and this must be sufficient to accommodate however many zones your system needs.

Secondly do you know what type of system you need to install? Broadly speaking there are 3 types of fire panel; conventional, 2 wire or addressable and each is summarised as follows;

Conventional fire alarm panels are considered the most basic and economical in terms of the equipment itself. Detectors and call points for each zone are connected in series, which ends at the last device and terminates at the panel (radial circuit). Warning devices (sounders and flashers) must be connected to a separate sounder circuit. In the event of a fire the panel will simply show which zone this has occurred in (it is worth considering that a single zone may contain up to 32 detectors).

2 wire fire alarm panels can be thought of as an evolution of conventional panels. To overcome the additional cabling needed for the separate sounder circuit, 2 wire panels allow any type of device (detectors, call points or sounders) to be connected in series on the same wire. However, alarm indication is still limited to only showing which zone the fire is in.

Addressable fire alarm panels (sometimes referred to as intelligent fire alarm panels) are the most advanced type of fire panel. All devices for every zone are connected to the same wire which is looped from the panel to each device in series before returning back to the panel. Through a system of addressing, addressable panels can identify each individual device to assign them into a zone. In alarm condition the panel will not only show the zone number but also a text description (for instance “bedroom 2”) of the device. Further benefits are gained from this loop wiring including system integrity if there is a cable break.

Finally some other considerations in your fire alarm panels selection are;

  • Do you need to interface with auxiliary equipment such as door holders? Most panels have an onboard fire relay and others provide interfaces that can be installed with field devices.
  • Do you need to remotely monitor the fire panel? Some panels can interface with a number of communicators such as IP (over the internet), GSM or telephone and the status of the panel will be relayed to a remote location.

If you need assistance choosing the right fire alarm panel feel free to contact us on 01792 452 700.