I had recently noticed something. Out of the type of Simplex fire alarm systems I’ve seen, not only are the really old pre-1970 systems and those 2100/2120 multiplex systems extremely rare these days, but so are Simplex 2001 fire alarm systems!
I do find this a tad interesting, because I’ve seen several older Simplex 4247 (and their unknown 24-VDC equivalent) and 4207/4208 systems still intact and in very good operational condition. But I don’t see many 2001 systems these days, and those were typically from the 1980s!
I recall there being several 2001 systems that I knew existed, but had the panel or system replaced at one point. Sometimes they may switch to another company and replace it completely with a Notifier or Siemens system, sometimes Simplex will replace the whole system themselves or even just replace the 2001 with a 4005 or something (there’s a few videos on SimplexTech’s YouTube account showing systems like that.)
I know the Shaw’s Supermarket near my college still has an older Simplex 2001 panel (smaller version with a black door with “Simplex 2001” written on it), but that could possibly be because SimplexGrinnell doesn’t service this supermarket (another company does.) There’s also a Greek church near our huge city park that also had a 2001 system, since it had the older “block”-style annunciator and was built in 1986. It still has that annunciator, the old 2903+9806 horn/visuals, 4251-20 T-bar pulls and wiffle-ball smoke detectors, but it could be likely they now actually have a newer fire alarm panel.
Additionally, the local YMCA Youth Center also had a Simplex 2001 system (probably a 2001-8001, it had the big black panel with the black-trim glass door), but a few days ago, they gutted the 2001 and put a brand-new Simplex 4006 fire alarm panel into the old cabinet! (I actually saw them doing so.) Nothing else in the system was changed (signals are a mix of 2901-9806 and -9833 horns, some on 2903 visual plates, and the pulls are a mix of older 1960s Gamewell pulls and newer Simplex T-bars, and they also have 1990s-style Simplex heat detectors.)
The problem with 2001 panels is they are beginning to show their age. Replacement parts are probably no longer available, and a panel has to be able to perform basic functions or else it fails and has to be replaced. Things can wear out after a while, and eventually the whole panel will need to be replaced. Sure, they were great panels back in their day, but now, they are beginning to show their age. I only know of two that are still in service around here. Generally, panels installed in schools can wear out faster, especially relay-based panels (4208), because they are alarmed much more frequently than a panel in a grocery store.
Another reason a 2001 panel would be replaced is a building addition or a remodel calls for a larger panel–and without zone cards available to add to the current 2001, they have no choice but to replace it with a newer panel. Even if zone cards were available, the panel is still very old and ought to be replaced anyway.
That would make sense. Similarly, the 4100U panel at the nearby middle school wore out recently (it began having problems and showing bugs and glitches), but since they did not like SimplexGrinnell’s services, they did away with the whole system and switched to Notifier.
I think 2120s are an even more hassle than 2001s were. I have NEVER seen one in person. And why not? Many 2120s have been upgraded to 4100Us or whatever (from several YouTube videos I have seen.)
The 2120 was a very early Simplex addressable panel made in the 1980s. It used MAPNET devices and had to be manually programmed. From what I have heard, in order to program a 2120, you have to unplug a chip from the panel and plug it into a small circuit board called a programmer, connected directly to a computer. Then you had to program it by using a programming language, not by the GUI-based systems they use now. After that, you had to flash the chip using the computer, unplug it, and plug it into the panel, hoping it still worked. A lot of them have been replaced; I have heard they are unreliable panels.
Its sad to see the 2001’s wearing out, they are my favorite panel. Does anyone know the parts that fail the most on the panels and if they can be unsoldered and replaced?
Probably relays, and incandescent lamps (if the panel is old enough).
On old panels like the 4208, the relays were mounted on sockets and if one needed to replaced, it would just have to be unplugged, and a new one plugged in.
Incandescent lamps were designed to be replaced as well.
Even new panels can have relays burn out… but those would require replacing the entire panel since the relays are soldered to the circuit board.
Basically anything on a circuit board can go at any time for any reason. Thus why they introduced resisters and capacitors, which will greatly increase the life of the circuit board and components on it. Generally speaking, components on a circuit board will wear out because of surrounding environment conditions. Humidity/moisture, temperature, dust, etc. can really wear down on electronic components. And at that point there would be no point in replacing individual electronics.
As far as which electronic components would go first on a board, basically anything with exposed metal (not solder). And quite frankly, everything has exposed metal at some point. These connections over a long period will deteriorate and give out due to electrical AND environmental stress, it’s just something that happens. The board itself may be intact, but smaller components will just wear out over time. Thus you’ll be prone to failures in the system, false alarms, etc. There’s no point into soldering connections to put in new components as the connections are probably less than a centimeter wide, and often the original soldering is done by a machine that drills and solders to microscopic precision. You’d end up doing more harm than good by replacing stuff that way. So therefore, it’s just more logical to replace the whole board.
My 2 cents and electronics lesson on this lovely Friday.