Simple residential 24V Fire Alarm Panel?

tortuga

Senior Member
Location
(44.057116, -123.103394)
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field supervisor
Greetings all, this thread is directed at all you alarm installers,
What is the simplest residential firelarm panel that works with good old analogue 24 Volt smoke detectors?
It could be an alarm panel also, just has too be simple and low cost.
This thread:
Reminded me that we did not always install 120V hard wired interconnected smoke detectors in residential, rather there was a small 24 Volt system for residential applications.
It appears Fire-Lite makes a two zone panel as their smallest:
Any thoughts on 24V systems for resi work?
Thanks in advance
 

GoldDigger

Moderator
Staff member
Are there any state or cities that allow general electricians to install interconnected alarms but require a specialized license to install panel-based systems?

P.S. Including the special case where a panel-based system was not specifically required by any other safety code?
 
Last edited:

hbiss

EC, Westchester, New York NEC: 2014
Location
Hawthorne, New York NEC: 2014
Occupation
EC
There are some instances also where security system detectors cannot substitute for interconnected 120 volt alarms. Reason being is that there is no local sound from the detectors.

-Hal
 

Coppersmith

Senior Member
Location
Tampa, FL, USA
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
Are there any state or cities that allow general electricians to install interconnected alarms but require a specialized license to install panel-based systems?

P.S. Including the special case where a panel-based system was not specifically required by any other safety code?
My license allows me to install any kind of electrical work including fire and burglar alarm systems. The state also has a specialty license for alarm installers (who aren't allowed to do any other kind of work). Although I have pulled alarm wire and installed alarm devices while working for other contractors, I don't know enough about the systems to actually install one myself. (But the state says I can.)
 

gadfly56

Senior Member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Professional Engineer, Fire & Life Safety
Are there any state or cities that allow general electricians to install interconnected alarms but require a specialized license to install panel-based systems?

P.S. Including the special case where a panel-based system was not specifically required by any other safety code?
In NJ, if you are a licensed electrical contractor, you can put in any flavor of fire alarm system. It's one of three ways to get qualified to do so.
 

tortuga

Senior Member
Location
(44.057116, -123.103394)
Occupation
field supervisor
Vista 20p supports smokes, saw on line for $60. Its a very popular panel, lots of optional accessories
Thanks thats interesting.
Are there any state or cities that allow general electricians to install interconnected alarms but require a specialized license to install panel-based systems?

P.S. Including the special case where a panel-based system was not specifically required by any other safety code?
My understanding is Oregon, Washington, Idaho and California all have state wide licensing, cities can still adopt modified codes but cant restrict properly licensed installers.
The state tests all go from being a generalist, a licensed 'general journeyman' can make any electrical installation.
Then the specialists like limited energy / solar and residential, are restricted and limited to their specialty.
So if you own an alarm company you might train your apprentices to be 'limited energy' electricians as they will have specialized training in alarms
But there is no restrictions on what a general electrician can do, so a general journeyman can work for any alarm company.
The specialists are may work on jobs outside their specialty as an 'apprentice' or grunt, under the supervision of a journeyman at a properly licensed company.


Now the restrictions on the permits the contractor can pull may vary, I am not sure if a C-10 in California can pull alarm cable.
In Oregon and Washington a general 'C' electrical contractors can.
 

gadfly56

Senior Member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Professional Engineer, Fire & Life Safety
Vista 20p supports smokes, saw on line for $60. Its a very popular panel, lots of optional accessories
The OP asked about "good old analogue 24V smoke detectors." I don't know if that's like a System Sensor conventional detector or not, but the 20P uses addressable detectors. The confusion is that these detectors are often described as "analog addressable".
 

curt swartz

Electrical Contractor - San Jose, CA
Location
San Jose, CA
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
the 20P uses addressable detectors.
The 20P doesn't have any addressable capability. Smoke detectors connect to standard zones that only look for open/closed/EOL.
The 128 works with addressable devices on the VPlex Loop.

As Hal pointed out the issue you have using LV smoke detectors is you also need to have a sounder in each room. You can either wire for separate sounders or use smoke detectors with built in sounders. If you use SD's with built in sounders you need to use a reversing relay on the power feed to the devices. When the system goes into alarm the relay will reverse the polarity to the smoke detectors causing their built in sounders to sound.
 

tortuga

Senior Member
Location
(44.057116, -123.103394)
Occupation
field supervisor
The 20P doesn't have any addressable capability. Smoke detectors connect to standard zones that only look for open/closed/EOL.
The 128 works with addressable devices on the VPlex Loop.

As Hal pointed out the issue you have using LV smoke detectors is you also need to have a sounder in each room. You can either wire for separate sounders or use smoke detectors with built in sounders. If you use SD's with built in sounders you need to use a reversing relay on the power feed to the devices. When the system goes into alarm the relay will reverse the polarity to the smoke detectors causing their built in sounders to sound.
Very interesting I did not even know they made smoke detectors with built in sounders.
That VISTA-20P panel can be had for under $60 on amazon.
 

curt swartz

Electrical Contractor - San Jose, CA
Location
San Jose, CA
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
The cheapest I seen new for is $69. It appears they stripped the transformer from the box that Honeywell normally includes with the panels. Also all of these Amazon panels are 3rd party sellers none of which are authorized dealers so no support or warranty from Honeywell. May be ok for your own house but not to install in a customers house.

By the time you add for the transformer, batteries, keypad and programing time you are better off using a simple fire panel. Fire panels will still require the batteries. The other issue with using basic Burg panels for fire is they are not designed to handle much auxiliary current. If you have very many devices you will need to add an auxiliary power supply.

Another thing to check is if you liability insurance will cover you for installing fire alarm systems. In California the standard policy for electrical contractors doesn't. It requires a different policy or addendum to the policy. There is more liability to fire systems since if any component were to fail you are on the hook. Fro the standard 120/battery smoke alarms the liability pretty much falls on the manufacture of the device if you installed it according to the instructions. Even if your wiring fails the internal battery takes over so its a completely self contained device.
 

tortuga

Senior Member
Location
(44.057116, -123.103394)
Occupation
field supervisor
The cheapest I seen new for is $69. It appears they stripped the transformer from the box that Honeywell normally includes with the panels. Also all of these Amazon panels are 3rd party sellers none of which are authorized dealers so no support or warranty from Honeywell. May be ok for your own house but not to install in a customers house.

By the time you add for the transformer, batteries, keypad and programing time you are better off using a simple fire panel. Fire panels will still require the batteries. The other issue with using basic Burg panels for fire is they are not designed to handle much auxiliary current. If you have very many devices you will need to add an auxiliary power supply.

Another thing to check is if you liability insurance will cover you for installing fire alarm systems. In California the standard policy for electrical contractors doesn't. It requires a different policy or addendum to the policy. There is more liability to fire systems since if any component were to fail you are on the hook. Fro the standard 120/battery smoke alarms the liability pretty much falls on the manufacture of the device if you installed it according to the instructions. Even if your wiring fails the internal battery takes over so its a completely self contained device.
Thank you Curt for the reply, do you install systems?
I would be really interested in a link to a 24V combination smoke detector / annunciation device(s).
The question is mostly a brain storm/ academic in reaction to all the problems and low quality of the 120V systems.

I just realized Its possible to put together a 'one zone' system (as an experiment) without even needing a 'panel', that would function better than any 120V hard wired one, It could be done with just some 24V relays and a few other components add batteries and a good 24 VDC power supply.
 

hbiss

EC, Westchester, New York NEC: 2014
Location
Hawthorne, New York NEC: 2014
Occupation
EC
I just realized Its possible to put together a 'one zone' system (as an experiment) without even needing a 'panel', that would function better than any 120V hard wired one, It could be done with just some 24V relays and a few other components add batteries and a good 24 VDC power supply.
It better be just an experiment because I wouldn't want the liability of selling or installing an unlisted fire system for anybody.

-Hal
 

MichaelGP3

Senior Member
The 20P doesn't have any addressable capability. Smoke detectors connect to standard zones that only look for open/closed/EOL.
The 128 works with addressable devices on the VPlex Loop.

As Hal pointed out the issue you have using LV smoke detectors is you also need to have a sounder in each room. You can either wire for separate sounders or use smoke detectors with built in sounders. If you use SD's with built in sounders you need to use a reversing relay on the power feed to the devices. When the system goes into alarm the relay will reverse the polarity to the smoke detectors causing their built in sounders to sound.
There are 12 VDC 4 wire smoke detectors that incorporate a sounder (UTC makes one) that have no need for a reversing relay.
 

brantmacga

Senior Member
Location
Georgia
Occupation
Electrical contractor
Are there any state or cities that allow general electricians to install interconnected alarms but require a specialized license to install panel-based systems?

P.S. Including the special case where a panel-based system was not specifically required by any other safety code?
Georgia has four different low voltage licenses; for a fire alarm, you would need “alarm” or “unrestricted.”

Outside of fire alarm work, the LV licensing is generally not enforced throughout the state.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

paulengr

Senior Member
In NC the electrical test includes the fire alarm Code. The general license is split into a residential only one, an intermediate that is useless, and unlimited. The test is almost the same for all 3 so no reason to get anything but unlimited.

There is a baby license for alarm installers. It is modeled on the CATV one so I don’t know any reason you would get one. Too many limitations.
 
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