Notifier and EST vs. Silent Knight for three 9-story tower complex

Looking to replace a Siemens conventional system with a new addressable system (from Notifier, Silent Knight, or others) in a complex of three 9-story apartment towers which stand over an underground parking garage. Each tower would have its own panel which we’d connect to the main central tower (to mimic the current setup). No tower is considered a high-rise so there is no voice evac. There are a total of about 240 smokes and 80 sprinkler switches (waterflow and tamper).

Question is which system - Notifier, EST, Silent Knight, etc. - is appropriate? We heard from one consultant (and Notifier and EST dealers) that Notifier and EST are recommended for larger projects (like ours) and Silent Knight for smaller ones. But when we look at the capacity and network-ability of their new panels, Silent Knight seems just as capable.

Outside of the number and quality of support/service options - is there any real difference for the end user? features, expandability, backward/forward compatibility, etc.?

I’ll go with the Notifier NFS-320. Just the better panel in my opinion. EST is proprietary. Silent knight can also do the job and isn’t proprietary and anybody can work on it.

Actually the Notifier nfs2-640 or the silent knight 6820.


Aren’t Notifier and EST both considered proprietary (require licensed distributors)?

With Notifier NFS2-640 and Silent Knight 6820 do you see any significant difference that might matter generally and for our setup? Features, backward/forward compatibility, quality, support, etc?

Curious if anyone has additional thoughts on Notifier (or EST) vs Silent Knight:


backward/forward compatibility



When I look at features - the NFS2-640 and SK 6820 seem very similar.

SLCs: 6820 can be expanded with more SLCs than the NFS2-640 (limited to 2)

multi-detection: NFS2-640 has “multi-detection” capability (not sure SK does).

cabinets: NS2-640 cabinets are significantly larger (8" wider, an inch or so deeper, and can be longer), and more modular.

NACs: 6820 has 4 NACs, but has two other “flexible circuits” that can be made NACs (though appears power output of panel maxes out at 6A). NFS2-640 has 4 NACs, but can be expanded with rack mount power supplies. Both can be expanded with external power supplies.

As for backward/forward compatibility, quality, and support, have no idea.

Two points to add to the above:

Networking: 6820 can connect 17 panels to share common communicator; NFS2-640 can support full networking up to 200 nodes.

Single NAC output: 6820 shows a single NAC as supporting 3A, vs 1.5 A for Notifier (though both panels max at 6 A default).

They’re basically the same, they’re both made by Honeywell so they use virtually the same devices (only software locked to the specific brand), and they’re probably made in the same factory.

I’d highly recommend Notifier, then EST. Both would scale quite well to a project that size. While Silent Knight might sound adequate on paper, I have never seen one of their systems cover a property of that size, and they just don’t have capabilities that would be important for usability and maintenance of a multiple mid-rise application. Notifier and EST can interface with a computer monitor and control system, and configuration and control will be usable and efficient because these systems are are designed ground up for this application. I don’t think that would be the case with Silent Knight.

The only brands I would personally recommend for this project are Notifier, EST, Simplex, or Siemens. Possibly Gamewell-FCI but it’s a stretch. I don’t know enough to say one way or another on Mircom since I’ve never worked on their systems.

Just as important to look at is the reputation of the installer, since you will want to have them be the ones to maintain and service the system for many years to come. In fact, this is arguably more important, since no manufacturer is a clear leader in quality as long as their system is installed to specification, but the quality of installation will determine if service is minimal or a nightmare down the road.

Edit to above: I actually overestimated the size of your project in my response here. You may be able to get by with the Silent Knight system, or certainly Gamewell-FCI or Mircom, since you’re looking at around 1-2 nodes per building. However, you can’t go wrong with the brands I listed above, and you’ll still probably be better off in the long run with those from a usability and service perspective.

So…if the existing system is a conventional Siemens system…it’s most likely (if not certainly, based on the size) a Siemens/Cerberus Pyrotronics System3 or PXL running Siemens/CP smoke detectors.

It may be worth the OP’s time to explore replacing the control panel(s) with a Siemens FireFinder XLS or Cerberus PRO Modular FACP. Both panels are networkable, expandable, and the conventional zone cards will work just fine with the older conventional Siemens/CP detectors. Also, this would make it easier to phase in addressable technology over time through the Siemens Total System Migration upgrade platform, without having to replace the entirety of the system at once. Just a thought…

Any particular reason you recommend Notifier over EST?

In my experience, EST addressable circuits are more prone to faults due to electrical noise or less-than-ideal wiring quality, and I find their controls to be not quite as user-friendly. If the wiring is done well, however, most likely you will not have that issue.

Notifier is Honeywell’s top of the line brand and I would consider their equipment some of the best designed and most durable in the industry, along with Simplex. Caution about Simplex, though, you must consider the reputation of your regional office since all install and service is done in-house by Simplex. Also be careful about being over-sold and getting locked into contracts.