I’m currently considering buying my first panel and have pretty much narrowed my options to a Simplex 4004, Simplex 4005, Simplex 4006, or Edwards FireShield FS-1004. A Cerberus Pyrotronics SXL-EX is still an option, but as a hobbyist/collector I appreciate the flexibility of the Simplex and Edwards panels concerning detector support and features. Both of these brands support System Sensor and Bosch (and I think the Edwards is compatible with ESL) detectors as well as their own lines. The Edwards FireShield has Genesis/Integrity sync built in, and the Simplex 4006 (I believe) has SmartSync built in.
What is the general opinion of these panels on the forums? I don’t have any experience with the FireShield, and they are considerably less expensive than a lot of Simplex panels. Are they good panels, or should I stick with Simplex?
I’ve also considered looking into a Simplex 4010. Do many members here have experience with these? I watched Destin’s (thesdx) videos and and really liked the looks of the 4010. Your thoughts?
4010’s that people have bought new or used from eBay usually have had problems though…and might be quite expensive and you have to worry about the access codes and programming and such. I personally recommend the 4004 because it’s easy to program and wire up as the programming can easily be reset to default and it doesn’t require any passcodes to enter the menu. Although I would look carefully at the condition and price before you buy. I got mine for a good price with minimal issues but it still had to be cleaned up and the on board annunciator lost its adhesive over the years it was in service so I had to improvise using masking tape to keep a few of the corners adhered on. Although that’s a relatively minor issue that certainly does not affect the operation of the panel.
Just my two cents. Though certain 2-wire smoke detectors are listed for certain panels, in practice, I have never encountered a combination that did not work. They may exist, but I have not found them. I’ve seen some pretty odd combinations, like a Fire-Lite panel with ESL, Bosch, System Sensor, and Hochiki detectors mixed throughout the building, even on the same circuits.
You might consider Fire-Lite or Silent Knight panels as well. They are considered lower end but are widely available, generally not locked, and have sync built in for System Sensor, Gentex, and Wheelock. I have quite a bit of experience with them and they are solid options. The only real limitation is not using them with modern Simplex devices because they put out FWR.
Really, I’d go for whatever you can find for a decent price and you can confirm (if it requires a code) is not locked out.