Crash Course Fire Alarms: Cerberus Pyrotronics System3, CP-400, SXL, PXL, SXL-EX

Since I took the time to make one of these “Crash Course” topics on the Cerberus Pyrotronics addressable systems, I figured I might as well go ahead and make another one that covers the Cerberus Pyrotronics conventional systems.

Cerberus Pyrotronics System3


The System3 launched in 1968 and has existed in several forms ever since under four different brand variations: Pyr-A-Larm, Pyrotronics, Cerberus Pyrotronics, and now Siemens. The CP-30, CP-31 (rare), and CP-35 “Universal Alarm Control” boards were the main controls of the system, and the user specified what options they wanted on each individual System3. The panel would be pre-configured at the factory for the initial install, and the Cerberus Pyrotronics branch that serviced the system could add or remove modules from the System3 as needed. There are too many modules to list here; use the link above for more information. System3 came in all sizes; I have personally seen a 1995 Cerberus Pyrotronics System3 (in an upperclassmen dorm at a nearby university) that took up two 40-module System3 EB-35 cabinets (with a Cerberus Pyrotronics VoiceCom Voice Evacuation panel next to it). It was running (all rebadged) Wheelock ET-1070-LSM-24 speaker/strobes, Wheelock ET70 remote speakers, and Wheelock LSM-24 remote strobes for notification as well as MS-151 pulls and DI-3 smokes (some with ADB-3 audible bases). I’ve also seen a 4 IDC System3 (in a small local church) running Cerberus Pyrotronics MTS-15/75 horn/strobes (Wheelock MT-24-LSM) and SVMT-F strobes (Wheelock WMT-24) as well as MS-151 pulls and PE-3 smokes.
:cry: :cry: I hate to say this, but Siemens has officially discontinued the System3 effective October 2016 for new installations, and the System3 will go completely NLA on September 30, 2019. Refer to the link below for an image of the official Siemens Phase-Out Announcement. :cry: :cry:
(Siemens ZU-35 Cerberus Pyrotronics Dual Zone Module - Black/Green for sale online | eBay)

Cerberus Pyrotronics CP-400


The CP-400 launched around 1988-1989 and was the “off-the-shelf” economy model of the Cerberus Pyrotronics product family. This is basically the predecessor of the SXL. 4 IDC’s, expandable to 8 IDC’s with the ZNE-404S expansion module, 2 Class B NAC’s. The board is split; the main control board is attached to the back of the door, but the I/O board is mounted to the inside of the cabinet and connected to the CP-400 via ribbon cable. All 8 IDC+2 NAC circuits can be used in Class A configuration by adding the 405A Class A module and the LT-4 Communication module allows for monitoring by leased line or city Masterbox. The NAC’s are supervised and selectable for Continuous or March Time, but not power-limited. The PL-35 module must be used to power-limit the NAC circuits. The RC-400 Alarm Verification Module allows for Alarm Verification of selected IDC’s, and provides a drill switch to activate the NAC’s for fire drills. The AND-400 Supervised Remote Annunciator Driver supports Cerberus Pyrotronics remote annunciators (rebadged Space Age Electronics models). I have only seen two CP-400 systems in person. One is a basic 4 IDC system badged solely as Pyrotronics and is running Pyrotronics HSD-24 horn/strobes (Wheelock 7002T), HSD-24F horn/strobes (Wheelock 7001T), and rebadged Wheelock WST-24 strobes, as well as Pyrotronics PEC-3 smokes and first-generation Pyrotronics MS-151 pulls. The other is a newer, loaded 8 IDC system badged as Cerberus Pyrotronics and is running EHM-D horn/strobes (Wheelock EH-DL1-WM-24), one HSD-24 horn/strobe (Wheelock 7002T), one MBDC-10-C bell (Wheelock 43T-G10-24-R), and SVMT-F strobes (Wheelock WMT-24) as well as DI-3 smokes and newer MS-151 pulls.
The Cerberus Pyrotronics CP-400 was discontinued around 1994 when the first-generation SXL launched.

Cerberus Pyrotronics SXL


The SXL launched around 1994 to replace the CP-400 system as the “off-the-shelf” economy system. This panel was a drastic departure from the physical layout of the CP-400 as the complete standard board is in one piece and all stationary inside the cabinet. The SXL also has the popular optional CP-400 features (alarm verification, Drill switch) contained on the main board and in the programming as standard equipment. The SXL still had the CP-400’s 4 IDC+2 NAC setup, but replaced the ZNE-404S with the SZE-4R Expansion Module, which mounts below the SXL main board and provides 4 extra IDC’s+4 extra programmable relays. SZE-4R connects to the SXL via ribbon cable. The SLT-1 module allows for monitoring, be it leased line or city Masterbox. The SZE-8A module provides 4 extra IDC’s and allows for Class A operation of all 8 IDC’s and both NAC’s. The SXL offers support of two LED-3/4 remote annunciators, but there is no remote control capabilities, just annunciation. I personally have not seen a SXL in person, but there are a couple of “mystery” conventional Cerberus Pyrotronics systems in my area, so there may be some I’m not aware of. These systems were in production during the 1996 Wheelock-Faraday signal transition, but the initiating devices remain the same, except for the introduction of the PE-11 Photoelectric smoke sensor. The SXL can also be used as remote bell panels for the MXL system.
The SXL was discontinued around 1999-2000 and was replaced by the SXL-EX.

Cerberus Pyrotronics PXL


The Cerberus Pyrotronics PXL launched around 1996 as a larger conventional system alternative to the System3. The base PXL came with 12 IDC’s and 4 NAC’s. This panel can support up to 32 IDC’s by installing PZE-4B IDC expansion cards and 16 2-Amp NAC’s by installing PNC-2Z NAC expansion cards. The User Interface is “ATM-style” with seven programmable function buttons and a blue “Help” key and allows for customization of controls per the customer’s request. PXL is designed to be a single cabinet system, and the PSE-2 cabinet can hold a maximum PXL along with the battery set. The only need for an extra cabinet would be if the PXL was to be paired with a Cerberus Pyrotronics VoiceCom voice evacuation system. As for Class A operation, the PZC-4D Class A adapter module converts 4 zones per module to Class A operation. The NAC’s can be used in a Class A setup without the need for additional conversion modules. PXL comes standard with 3 programmable relays, and supports eight PRM-4 Form C relay cards for a total of 32 Form C relays. Monitoring is accomplished by connecting one of PXL’s dry contact relays to the Silent Knight 5128 or 5129 communicators. PXL carried on through the Siemens takeover and can be found using either F-Series or U-Series Faraday signals and possibly the current Wheelock-made Siemens signals (don’t quote me on that, though). I’ve never seen a PXL in person, but it falls under the same category of possibility as the SXL for me.
The PXL was discontinued in the mid-late 2000’s, I assume to cut costs and help turn focus to the FireFinder and FireSeeker addressable systems for new installations.

Cerberus Pyrotronics SXL-EX


The Cerberus Pyrotronics SXL-EX launched around 1999-2000 to replace the SXL. The board design was revamped, and all of the corresponding modules received a refresh as well. Programming procedures (I think) remained the same, as well as the LED-3/LED-4 remote annunciators. SXL-EX introduced the revamped SZE-4X IDC+Relay Expander, the SZE-8AX Class A adapter, and dropped the SLT-1 leased line module. SXL-EX is monitored by connecting the by connecting a dry contact relay to a Silent Knight 5128 or 5129 communicator (same as PXL). These systems use the Cerberus Pyrotronics F-Series and/or U-Series notification appliances and can be found using those or the current Wheelock-manufactured Siemens signals. I’ve seen several SXL-EX systems (one of those replacing a System3) and actually operated the one that used to be installed in my middle school (which was tied into a Fire-Lite MS-5210UD that now runs the entire system).
The SXL-EX is still a current-production product from Siemens Building Technologies, and there are no plans that I know of to phase SXL-EX out of production and sales for new installations.

The Cerberus Pyrotronics/Siemens MS-51 manual pull stations, MS-151 manual pull stations, MSM-K weatherproof pull stations (RSG RMS-1T), DI-3 ionization smoke sensors, PE-3 and PE-11 photoelectric smoke sensors, DT-Series thermal sensors, and the new Siemens OH and OP Series photoelectric and thermal sensors are compatible with these systems. The F5000, F2000, and PBA-1191 beam sensors are also compatible. Signals vary widely, from rebranded Space Age Electronics 2DCD+AV32 signals (exclusively for the System3), rebranded Wheelock-manufactured signals (both old and current), Faraday F-Series signals, or Faraday U-Series signals. Remote Annunciators are either the in-house LED-3/4, or rebranded Space Age Electronics models (LED-8/16, AN-404/S, AN-408/S). Cerberus Pyrotronics offered the Silent Knight line of communicator panels for monitoring of the PXL and SXL-EX, as well as leased line/city tie modules for the System3, CP-400, and SXL.

I know I did not cover the Gamewell systems of the era, but their conventional systems were drastically different than the Cerberus Pyrotronics conventional systems offered. Gamewell kept their conventional systems very much in-house, and let Cerberus Pyrotronics handle the addressable systems.