Addressable Control Panels

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 1980s.


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.
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

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

Mapping
Also known as "cause and effect" or "programming", mapping is the process of activating outputs depending on which inputs have been activated. Traditionally, when an input device is activated, a certain output device (or relay) is activated. As time has progressed, more and more advanced techniques have become available, often with large variations in style between different companies.


Zones
Zones are usually made by dividing a building, or area into different sections. Then depending on the specific zone, a certain amount and type of device is added to the zone to perform its given job.


Groups
Groups contain multiple output devices such as relays. This allows a single input, such as a smoke detector or MCP, to have only one output programmed to a group, which then maps to between two to many outputs or relays. This enables an installer to simplify programming by having many inputs map to the same outputs, and be able to change them all at once, and also allows mapping to more outputs than the programming space for a single detector/input allows.


Boolean logic
This is the part of a fire panel that has the largest variation between different panels. It allows a panel to be programmed to implement fairly complex inputs. For instance, a panel could be programmed to notify the fire department only if more than one device has activated. It can also be used for staged evacuation procedures in conjunction with timers.