Fire-Lite ES-200X panel "Display Communication Error"

Hi I am a 17 year old fire alarm enthusiast and vintage electronics collector, and someone recently got for me a Fire-Lite ES-200X panel that I was going to use for a system. This panel will not be installed in a real life safety application, only for demonstration/hobbyist use.

They informed me that upon powering up the panel, it gives a “Display Communication Error” and that’s all it does. Does anyone have any ideas as to what component or components may be faulty on this panel? I’m thinking it could be a bad ribbon cable somewhere or a bad connection from the display board (if it’s a separate board) and it’s interface with the main board, as to me it sounds like the panel can’t communicate properly with the display and controls.

Would anyone know if attempting to reflash the firmware to the panel could fix it in case somehow the firmware is corrupted or something? If not, i’m thinking it could be a bad solder joint on the board or a defective cable. If anyone has any suggestions or knows what might be wrong with my panel, I would greatly appreciate it!

Thanks, -Dylan

Any ideas on this or what I could check?

it sounds like maybe the panel is looking for a remote annunciator. Or the cable as you suggested. Is the screen working? I believe it connects via ribbon and 2 pair.

This type of error does not even appear in the manual for the ES-200X which would indicate this is a problem at the circuit board level that Fire-Lite does not expect to be a user or technician-serviceable problem. If you called support with that error they would likely tell you, return the panel if under warranty, else replace the motherboard.

I think we can safely rule out an annunciator error as a missing annunciator would show up as a “trouble” and should not be able to keep the panel from starting.

It’s likely that the display and keypad is a separate unit from the main control board (i.e. it has its’ own processor.) My guess is that the display is starting up but is unable to communicate with the motherboard for some reason, hence all it can show is the “Display Communication Error.”

With all field wiring removed, check all the connections at the motherboard. Remove and re-seat each ribbon connector one at a time, make sure the pins and sockets are clean. Closely inspect the circuit boards for damage, burn marks, corrosion, swelling chips/capacitors, etc. Check for stray wires, metal shavings, etc, that could be causing a short on the main board. If you somehow had the equipment and know-how, you could try to re-flash the panel’s software. If not, you’ll have to replace the board.