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Which System Types Are Best?

There are many different system types of fire alarm available today and

some understanding of their generic capabilities will prove helpful

in ascertaining which may be the most suitable for your own


On the other hand if your requirement is to modify or

extend an existing system, where should you start?

A huge variety of historical system types have

been installed over many years and

care should be taken with compatibility, maximum loading and compliance with current legislation.

These summary pages provide a break-down of most system types available to give an easier understanding of their topology, strengths, weaknesses and operation.

For general use in a wide range of small to medium properties it is generally cost-effective and suitable to keep the system as simple as possible and utilise a relatively standard ‘Conventional System’.

For larger properties a complex and powerful system is sometimes the only option. This type of application may dictate the use of a ‘Networked Analogue Addressable System’ to allow a huge degree of flexibility in system setup and operation.

Often of course, a compromise is sufficient and to enable smaller systems to achieve specific requirements a range of niche or hybrid systems are available such as the ‘2-Wire System’ and the smaller ‘Standalone Addressable System’. These systems are generally designed to be more cost effective than their larger relatives when only mid-range functionality and operation are required, but will usually offer significant benefits over smaller conventional systems.

Further thought may be spent on the physical issues facing an installation. If cable installation is not a problem then a ‘Conventional System’ is fine, but if longer cable runs are expected then ‘Addressable Systems’ are often more cost effective and flexible. If cables cannot practically be installed due to aesthetics or the nature of the building then a ‘Wireless’ or ‘Radio System’ may be the only practical course or action.

The experience of the Installation Contractor’ and the ‘Commissioning Engineer’ must also be taken into account. A novice installer could face a lot of problems if they moved beyond simple ‘Conventional Systems’ or ‘2-Wire Systems. A lot of experience is beneficial when setting up and commissioning an ‘Analogue Addressable System’ and the system manufacture may limit access to programming software and technical support depending on training and business affiliation.

Conventional Systems Radio Systems Analogue Systems