Large Fire Alarm Control Panels

Howdy again.

I was looking at some control panels by Notifier, Gamewell-FCI, Siemens, and Simplex, and I was wondering which one would be the best fit for a very large building, like the WTC. Obviously, the new WTC is using a FireCom system, but I was under the impression that Notifier and Simplex were about tied for the most SLCs per panel.

Interestingly, Gamewell-FCI’s E3 series apparently tops them all. Clocking in at a whopping 244 SLC loops at 318 devices each (77592 points!), the E3 surprisingly beats out Notifier’s NFS2-3030 system, which can handle 10 loops at 318 devices each, totaling 3180 points. Simplex can’t really compete, with the 4100ES supporting 2000 points over 3 bays, not even coming close to the tie between EST and Siemens EST-3 or XLS 2500-point system.

I’m not even sure if I’m reading Gamewell’s datasheet right. It seems surreal that a panel can support that many devices. I know that systems that support that many devices are supposed to be networked, but seeing one panel seemingly holding nearly 78000 points blows my mind.

Am I seeing things or is this real?

I would think a Simplex 4100 or 4020

Hello? Did you even read the OP?

(Someone should get Brian because he probably has all the specs memorized from selling the panel.)

I was answering his question about the choice for a panel for a large building.

I’ll admit my main point wasn’t clear, however even with this information, I wouldn’t recommend a 4020 or 4100 for large installations.

Be nice to the new member, Green. :slight_smile:

Yep, looks like that’s correct. 1 node can support 244 SLC’s, although I don’t imagine too many systems get designed like that. The more distribution you have across a network, the less risk you create for a single point of failure. All of the major brands’ networked platforms can handle jobs of just about any size, but GW-FCI gives you some flexibility in being able to run a ton of devices off one node.

The Honeywell brands are really at the top of the game when it comes to addressable technology. Simplex and EST rely on technology that was revolutionary for the time, but is starting to get up there in age.

I’m sorry! 8) I was kind of teasing him; it wasn’t serious at all. Didn’t mean to backseat moderate

Now for the OP:

I think this is all possible because of the 32-bit processor and fiber-optics mentioned in the data sheet. This is what makes the supersonic polling possible. Try hooking one or two smokes to it, and the LEDs will probably look steady. :wink:

There is a difference between Notifier, EST and Simplex compared to the GFCI’s E3, you’re comparing local devices (Notifier, EST, Simplex) with networkable devices (E3). Besides… talking with Andrew earlier today him and I came up with the reasoning that 1 system holding roughly 77600 points is ridiculous and no one would use the panel for such capability and that kind of reliability.

I agree with what Destin is saying. Anyways… You’re comparing apples and oranges.

It is, which is why I don’t like this argument because its comparing two different things.

I’m pretty sure that each SLC card has its own processor so it can do its own polling speed without effecting the main CPU load, then the CPU just checks on the cards for status updates.

Any panel with a few modules can poll devices quickly on each loop and cause the LED to be as close to steady.

Notifier and GWFCI currently have the fastest responding SLCs that I have seen in the field. Simplex takes a long time and Siemens is even slower. It looks now like Honeywell’s four brands are now the top dogs in the industry, which is rare considering how long Simplex has been known as an industry leader. I give applause to Notifier and Fire-Lite for making advanced high capacity addressable systems that are ridiculously small.

In 1996, Simplex’s smallest addressable panel, the 4020, was quite large, about 4 feet tall and VERY heavy. This was because they used through-hole components on multiple PCBs. The 4020 was a single loop analog MAPNET II FACP with a loop capacity of 127 devices which required shielded twisted pair wiring. Simplex had add-on cards, which were a DACT, a Simplex panel network card, RS-232 printer interface, and agent release functions. If you wanted to add voice to a 4020 you would need to add a 4003, which was another oversized Simplex product, and that would be placed next to the panel. However this configuration was rarely seen as they usually would install a 4100 with the voice evacuation panel built in.

Notifier had three single loop analog addressable panels at the time: the AFP-100, AFP-200, and AFP-300. The AFP-100 was an extremely basic panel (it was a rebranded Fire-Lite MS-9200). The AFP-200 was a very small networkable addressable panel with a single CLIP loop, four NACs, and several other features that did not come standard on the 4020, such as agent release, printer/terminal interface, and relays.

Lastly, the AFP-300 was a physically larger version of the AFP-200 designed to be used with Notifier’s modular cabinet system, where you could add extra NACs, power supplies, and voice evacuation inside a cabinet the same size as the 4020 cabinet.

All of Notifier’s CLIP SLCs had a capacity of 198 devices, 71 more than Simplex at the time. Furthermore, this SLC did not require shielded twisted wiring and could be used as a drop-in replacement for old zoned systems. The SLC capacity on the ONYX series and the AFC-600 panel was 318.

The Simplex 4020 was expanded to support three SLCs at one point before it was discontinued. Notifier’s AFP-400 was a two CLIP loop panel that used the same cabinet and power supply as the AFP-300. This made it possible to expand to an AFP-400 easily since very few re-wiring would be necessary as the terminal blocks are able to unplug from the PCB making board swaps a piece of cake. Now if you needed more than two SLCs, your options at the time were either the AFP-1010, with a total capacity of five loops at 198 devices each, or the AM-2020, with a capacity of ten loops at 198 devices each. All of these panels (AFP-300, AFP-400, AFP-1010, and AM-2020 all use the same standard Notifier cabinets. The large scale conventional System 5000 series also used the same cabinet.

The Simplex 4010 was created to replace the 4020, after Notifier began to get lots of sales from their small addressable systems. It was built quickly and based off the Simplex 4005 to the point where the firmware and operating panel is nearly identical on both. It has all the advanced control features as the Simplex 4005 (this includes agent release, logic control scripts, and more) plus networking capability. The SLC on this panel was now IDNET with a loop capacity of 250. I think IDNET is still an analog protocol.

Im here, im here! Let me clarify a few things since I wrote the datasheet :wink:

The GWFCI E3 Series system can support up to 122 networked loop cards. Each card supports 2 SLCs with 636 devices.

In the largest E3 Series cabinet, you can support 5 loop cards. 10 total SLC loops, 3180 devices. Same as the 3030.

The SLC protocol for GWFCI E3 and S3 are the same as the Notifier 320, 640, 3030 panels. The SLC polling time is crazy, we poll 10 devices at a time. Gives us 1.8sec alarm response time!

So they are the same! Velociti and FlashScan are the same protocol. Is Velociti also backwards compatible with CLIP and is FCI’s CLIP the same as Notifier’s?

Darn, no 78000 points. :roll:

I doubt a single building will ever need that many devices, anyway. Gamewell-FCI and Notifier are now tied for my favorite fire alarm company.

Actually, no.

GFCI wins, because for small applications, you’ve got the 7100, which is awesome. Then there’s the S3, which is even cooler.

And Gamewell pretty much invented the street box, so that’s at least three reasons to love GFCI.

Plus my middle school has an E3 system! :mrgreen:


The 7100 has a lower address count then some of the Notifier panels.

I do like the S3 panel for it’s feature set but there are things (in my opinion) that could be improved upon.

What in particular do you think can be improved on the S3? I’ve seen some minor graphical issues that I’m biased against. I was watching the video about the S3 series on YouTube, and when I saw the Alarm screen use a serif font I kind of winced. I don’t really like serif fonts unless they’re on paper, so I would have preferred a sans-serif font.

Yeah I thought the serif font (it looked like times new roman) was very unimaginative and lame. Makes a high tech product look old fashioned. Change it in the next firmware update!

Suggestions on font? Good thing about the touchscreen, its easy to make improvements

Try the “Highway” family, it’s the font family that used to be used by the US DOT for highway signage. It is known for being a very legible font able to be seen from far away.

If you can’t get the rights to that, I’d also suggest using Helvetica.

Here’s some samples. The first one is Highway.
[attachment=0]Screen Shot 2014-05-10 at 9.13.40 PM.png[/attachment]

Velociti and FlashScan are the same. Our Velociti on E3 and S3 can run in CLIP mode but limits to 197 devices per loop.

The FCI and Notifier CLIP is slightly different but pretty much the same protocol. Supports 99 sensors, 98 modules per loop.

Thanks! Like the 1st one, Highway.

If you have any other suggestions, let me know.