A fire alarm control panel is essential to a fire alarm doing its job. It serves as the central processor of all the devices in a fire alarm system and communicates their status to the occupants of the protected building and to the central monitoring services.
Control Panel Types
Fire alarm control panels come in two main types:
- Conventional Fire Control Panels
A conventional system means that every initiating device in a system is wired to an individual zone on a panel. There can be more than one device on a zone and typically when an alarm goes off you only know the section of the building it came from.
- Addressable Fire Control Panels
Addressable systems allow every initiating device in a system to be on a single set of wires that go back to the control panel. The devices identify themselves with an address allowing the system to alert you to the specific device that caused an alarm or trouble.
Beyond selecting the panel type, the most major consideration in choosing a panel is using one that can provide the power necessary to activate the proper number of sounders and strobes for a building. Horn strobes and strobes are typically the highest power drawing devices in a fire system. When a large number strobes are required, there will equally be more power required to activate them. When power requirements exceed the capability of a fire alarm control panel, an additional power supply would then be required to make up the difference in power demand.