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Fire Alarm

A Fire Alarm Control Panel (FACP), or Fire Alarm Control Unit (FACU), is the controlling component of a Fire Alarm System. The panel receives information from environmental sensors designed to detect changes associated with fire, monitors their operational integrity and provides for automatic control of equipment, and transmission of information necessary to prepare the facility for fire based on a predetermined sequence. The panel may also supply electrical energy to operate any associated sensor, control, transmitter, or relay. There are four basic types of panels: coded panels, conventional panels, addressable panels, and multiplex systems

Today, there are two types of fire panels:

  • Conventional fire alarm panel
  • Addressable fire alarm panel


CONVENTIONAL FIRE ALARM

Control Panel employs one or more circuits, connected to sensors (initiating devices) wired in parallel. These sensors are devised to dramatically decrease the circuit resistance when the environmental influence on any sensor exceeds a predetermined threshold. In a conventional fire alarm system, the information density is limited to the number of such circuits used.


Addressable Fire Alarm Control

Addressable panels are usually more advanced than their conventional counterparts, with greater information capacity and control flexibility. Addressable fire alarm panels were introduced by many manufacturers during the microcontroller boom in the mid 1980 .

Signaling Line Circuits

Addressable Fire Alarm Control Panels employ one or more Signaling Line Circuits, slang - usually referred to as loops or SLC loops - ranging between one and thirty. Depending on the protocol used, a Signaling Line Circuit can monitor and control several hundred devices. Some protocols permit any mix of detectors and input/output modules, while other protocols have 50% of channel capacity restricted to detectors/sensors and 50% restricted to input/output modules. Each SLC polls the devices connected, which can number from a few devices to several hundred, depending on the manufacturer. Large systems may have multiple Signaling Line Circuits.[1][2]

Each device on a SLC has its own address, and so the panel knows the state of each individual device connected to it. Common addressable input (initiating) devices include

  • Smoke detectors
  • Heat Detectors (Rate of Rise and Fixed Temperature)
  • Manual call points or manual pull stations
  • Notification appliances (Simplex systems with TrueAlert signals only)
  • Responders
  • Fire sprinkler system inputs
  • Switches
  • Flow control
  • Pressure
  • Isolate
  • Standard switches

Addressable output devices are known as relays and include

  • (Warning System/Bell) Relays
  • Door Holder Relays
  • Auxiliary (Control Function) Relays

Relays are used to control a variety of functions such as

  • Switching fans on or off
  • Closing/opening doors
  • Activating fire suppression systems
  • Activating notification appliances
  • Shutting down industrial equipment
  • Recalling elevators to a safe exit floor
  • Activating another fire alarm panel or communicator
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