Siemens Systems - What's wrong with them?

I typically prefer simplex and fire lite systems because they’e among the most used in the industry, however I’ve seen people bashing the Siemens systems. I’ve never worked with them, so can someone tell me why these systems are often referred to as “Complete Crap”, as a friend of mine who is a fire alarm systems technician call them?

Siemens and Simplex are both proprietary companies, that’s pretty much the reason why they’re so disliked.

They make decent equipment that gets the job done like any other manufacturer, but they’re disliked by professionals because of the proprietary measures to keep non-Siemens personnel from servicing them. For example, all of their addressable devices have to be addressed with a remote programmer. Even Simplex detectors have DIP switches that make for easy swapouts, but if a detector needs to be replaced on a Siemens system, you need the programmer to give it the proper address. Also, the MXL is not exactly a walk in the park to service.

Siemens came from Pyrotronics which was a fantastic company back in the day. Among their innovations were the first commercial smoke detectors and the bulletproof System 3 (still made today since the 60’s). Things began to change as technology became more sophisticated and the company went through a couple buyouts.

I’ve heard reliability issues with the more recent Siemens equipment.

We do quite a bit of Siemens systems (takeovers) and have lots of issues with them. One system refused to reset one day because of a smoke that wouldn’t reset one time out of the other 10 times the panel was reset that day. Another system started getting an end of life trouble for its batteries when the batteries were brand new (Load tester verified that claim)…

Also, their addressable smoke detectors are real junky – they’re the only one I have seen where the LED does not latch red when the detector goes into alarm. When the detector is normal it flashes green every 5 seconds or so, when in alarm it flashes red every 5 seconds or so. Real annoying when you have one 35 feet up and you’re standing on an 8 foot stepladder with a fully extended Solo tester. Normally i’d just look for a red glow around the Solo tester’s cup but in this case I have to hold the tester up there, wait a while, then pull it out of the way and wait for the LED to blink.

They have one of the slowest SLCs in the industry… I’ve pulled stations on one of their smaller systems and waited like 4 to 5 seconds for the alarm to go in.

I could keep going…