Help me 'build' my alarm system

Ok, first off sorry if this might not be the correct area, but based on title it seems the best fit, but im looking for thoughts and suggestions from others in the community to help guide me in building my system, I do have tech experience installing alarms (non commercial alarms) with a respectible company with blue signs and white lettering, so far I have the following items

FCI (i think??) call point, Edwards call point, and System Sensor MA-12 sounder, and possibly (depending on how the ebay auction goes soon will have the re Lite MS-9200UDLS Rev 1 fire panel.

wiring up shouldn’t be much of an issue with me, my big concern is more making sure the parts are compatible and function together as I want to make this an active in house system/demo system that functions

is there anything I should look into, perhaps places i can go for programming assistance? is there a way to ensure all parts will work and be compadible and opperate together?? other things I need to know possibly? or am I just going nuts with this and should stop while im ahead??

I’d say I know a thing or two about setting up a demo system, especially since I set up my own demo board (with help from my dad & the manual to the panel). I’d be glad to give you a hand in doing the same.

One little thing: “call points” are what are used in pretty much all countries outside North America. In North America however there are “pull stations” instead.

ah sorry, I am used to calling them the UK/Euro standard of way, so I apologize if perhaps I mince words and call things incorrectly as my family is mostly from Ireland or Germany (depending on which side your asking about), but yes I would very much like any assistance or guidance on building a working system that I could in theory ‘rely’ on for alerting to possible danger (though I hope that never happens) and have as a ‘play thing’ to learn different things on and what not!

So first step I will presume is to find the panel, so what would be a good, reliable, preferably as many zones as possible, not stupidly over priced panel I should consider? I have right now a traditional sounder and call point (pull station?) that are not ‘smart’ so I would like the system to be compadible both with smart and ‘dumb’ sounders and stations and notification appliances if possible.

Ah, I see.

“Life safety” systems & “demo” systems are technically two different things, since one actually protects life & property & the other is just for fooling around with (for one thing usually the components on a life safety system are not changed out constantly like they usually are on a demo system).

There are a lot of panels that most people would probably consider good starter panels. The one I started with is Silent Knight’s SK-5208, though that may be a little pricey for you (though most panels are pretty expensive). Be very wary when it comes to Fire-Lite & Notifier panels; quite a few of them put out FWR, which can & will kill Simplex devices. Two that don’t put out FWR are the MS-5UD-7 & the MS-10UD-7.
One that might be a good starter panel is the Simplex 4004, though the cheapest one I could find on Ebay is $400.
Another tip when it comes to getting your first panel: always go with conventional. Conventional panels can work with virtually all devices, addressable panels cannot.

well I am not planning on changing out parts much, but I get what you mean on that, I did find a panel that I tried to get, (mentioned in first post) but got out bid by $3…

Oh okay.

Sorry to hear that.

I don’t think I can give honest advice on a good affordable starter panel since I’m not familiar with all panels, & most panels you’ll find for sale are usually pretty expensive anyway, no matter their level of functionality. I can at least recommend Silent Knight’s SK-5208, I have one myself so I know it’s a good starter panel; 10 zones, 4 NACs, 4 relays, many programming options, freely-available programming software (though you can also program most of it through the front keypad as well) to name a few upsides. The main downside is probably the price; there’s an SK-5208 motherboard & an SK-5208 can (cabinet) on Ebay right now, but you’d spend almost $1000 buying both of them so you could put them together to make a complete panel, especially since one of the listings is a bid listing.

what software do you use, and how do you interface it with the panel? I’m actually finding that of interest and might spring the price for that panel, do you have a link to the software or know what it is called or where to get it from?

Here’s the software for the 5208: 5660 SKSS Silent Knight Software Suite Version 3.64
You’ll need a serial/USB cable (probably also a serial-to-USB adapter since the panel has a serial port) to connect the 5208 to a computer.

nice, does this work on any of the Silen Knight panels or only certain ones? What all does this programme allow me to do?

I believe SKSS works with most 5000-series Silent Knight panels.

Everything that you can program from the front keypad, except what you can’t like custom coding options & zone names.

cool, thanks for the info, going to look into that particular panel, do you have any suggestions or thoughts on ‘starter’ horn or strobe set up? main intent is to turn this more into a CO monitor system to alert if CO is detected in the basement

Well, maybe just what most people start out with: one pull station hooked to one alarm mounted above it.

Most fire alarm panels, including the 5208, don’t have a specific CO zone type, but you can use the supervisory zone type for CO detectors instead. While pretty much all CO detectors have built-in horns, even the commercial ones, I’d recommend putting amber lens devices in that are marked “CARBON MONOXIDE” so you know if CO is present (because otherwise only the panel will beep when a supervisory condition comes in).

cool, I didn’t know such a device existed, and thanks for the heads up on the panel beeping bit! so a AMBER alert chime plus a horn possible?

Mhm, such devices do exist. I know PICKLE 700 on Youtube added 3 LED Exceder amber strobes (marked “CARBON MONOXIDE”) to his garage system specifically for CO alert.

certainly worth looking into then

Would a panel like this one work (would this be fine to use?) can I program it so I can decide how I would want the alarm to sound/behave (march time, code 3, California, ect)? or should I look for more advanced set ups?

Also not sure if this will help but here are some other panels im considering…

any thoughts on any of those? I am leaning towards the MS4 as it looks to have the largest feature set for what I want but at the same time be the simplest to use/set up (though im not afraid to learn more complex systems)

Sorry, didn’t know that you edited the one message. I’d honestly advise staying away from the MS-2 & the MS-4, because while they may seem like good starter panels, they have hardly anything compared to panels like the 5208 (4 zones on the MS-4 vs 10 zones on the 5208 for example) & they also output FWR, which as I said before does kill Simplex alarms.

As for the ES-50X, I’m honestly not sure if it outputs FWR or not. Not sure about the FireShield (the FSP502RD) either.

The FCPS24S8RB is part of Fire-Lite’s recently-discontinued FCPS-series of NAC extenders, which extend the number of alarms that a panel can power; they’re not true/main fire alarm panels themselves. That one doesn’t even come with a cabinet from what the listing says.

One more thing: I’m honestly not sure if Amazon is the best place to be buying devices.

The main reason I was considering the MS4 was the MS4 is pretty close to the ADT branded MS10UDLS (IIRC??) and I am some what familiar with the UDLS, also I am using a System Sensor MA-24 (sounder only) while I am ok with Simplex they don’t from what I can tell offer multi tone horns that offer two tone or chimes as an option and due to the intended plan of installing it in a house as an active co system, I want the chime/two tone so it doesn’t annoy the rest of the family any more then required…

Where would you suggest getting the panel from?

Any links to the version of 5208 you would suggest?

I have purchased things off Amazon and have prime so that was why I was considering Amazon, easy returns if something were to go wrong…

Would either of these Simplex panels be ok? If so what is the differences between them?

Ah, alright. Simplex actually does make multi-tone Truealert horn/strobes, though those are somewhat rare to find for sale. Here are videos of two different versions:
Simplex Multitone TrueAlert 4901-9856 - YouTube
Simplex TrueAlert Multi-Tone Fire Alarm All Tones - YouTube
As for chimes or chime/strobes in general, another option is Wheelock’s CH70: CH70-24MCW-FR | Eaton Wheelock CH chimes and chime strobes | Eaton
System Sensor’s MA-series is pretty loud, whatever the tone it’s set on, & unlike other alarms it doesn’t have a volume control.

Not sure, I got mine from a local seller via Craigslist, but I’d say I got lucky there. I guess maybe Ebay.

I’m not sure I know of a good place to buy a 5208 from, but I did say previously that there’s a can & a board for sale separately on Ebay.

Ah, I see.

The 4006 is probably a good starter panel I’d imagine, but of course it’s probably very difficult to find one for a fairly cheap price, especially in good working condition. Here’s Simplex’s product page for it if you’d like to learn more about it: Product Detail (

As for the 4007ES, do not buy it; all Simplex ES-series panels (4007ES, 4010ES, & 4100ES) cannot be programmed without the software, which can only be obtained & used by licensed authorized Simplex technicians. On top of that all ES-series panels are addressable, meaning that even if you could program & use them you’d need to use specific addressable devices with them.

thanks, I didn’t know the true alerts could be multi tone, all the true alerts I have seen or heard have always been really loud aircraft engine type ‘buzzing’ tones (for lack of a better descriptive word), I already have the MA24 in possession as to me it was the best sounding out of the two tones that I have heard by viewing YouTube videos of horns that I could find between the 5208 and the 4006 which of the two do you think would be ‘better’ and why? Should I still even consider the MS4 at all? I do like its simplistic nature