Types of wires used in Fire Alarm installations

What kinds of wire can be used for Fire Alarm installations except FPL/CM cable? I’ve seen stranded wire in Black, Red, Yellow, Orange, Green .etc. In one of safetech’s videos, one of the 4005 installations (replaced a 2001 panel) had orange and yellow wires in the zone connections. I’ve seen 4002’s have orange yellow and green wires as well? What are those wires called (if you were to buy) and are they still compliant in most jurisdictions?

In most systems I’ve seen, THHN wire is used. In fact, the majority of systems I’ve removed have used THHN - I’ve only seen FPL in the field once.

However, I suppose you have to consider most of these systems were from the late 1970’s to the mid-1995’s and at their end-of-life (not to mention, the building’s end-of-life). FPL may be a more common choice nowadays.

I believe FPL wire is mandated by current NFPA codes (probably since 1996 or so).

I believe its now a requirement.

I don’t think it is. I heard on a video it doesn’t really matter what kind of wire is used, and even if it is required it may not be used as much, although all modern buildings that don’t have drop ceilings I’ve seen FPL used…going on about what Nick said earlier; the components I saved from the now long demolished school building (equipment from the 80’s, building circa 1923) used 14AWG THHN stranded wire, but again, that’s from a long time ago. There was actually some pretty long strands of wire on the equipment so I salvaged some to use if I need extra wire and it works quite well.

All that aside, if it’s for a current system I would recommend using FPL as it is also heat resistant from melting for a few minutes if there was a fire, if I recall right…I might be thinking of the European equivalent though which I know definitely is fireproof for a few minutes.

Some more experienced techs here can offer better details here I’m sure. From what I understand though, THHN is fine when fully inside conduit. If you’re not using conduit, you must use a cable with a properly rated jacket for the location it is run in. FPL can be run inside walls and ceilings, but not risers between floors or plenum areas. FPLR can be run in walls, ceilings, risers, but not plenum areas. FPLP can be run in walls, ceilings, risers, or plenum areas. It can also be exposed above 8 feet from the floor in places with open ceilings.

I have seen stranded wire in some places, but it is pretty rare in my area. Stranded is more prone to error as if a single strand touches the wrong place, you can accidentally send high voltage down a line and fry an entire circuit and panel. (Yes it has been done, not by me.) I’m not sure what the regulations say about stranded, but it doesn’t seem to be worth using in my opinion.

thhn is fine in conduit. i see mostly fp installed mostly, but it’s definitely area dependent. some cities are 90% thhn, some are 90% fpl.

i’d stay very far away from stranded as harrison mentioned. i’ve seen it maybe twice and it was a problem both times, the wire pullers prefer stranded but it’s terrible once you start terminating.

All of the stranded installations I’ve come across have used crimp-on Panduit terminals wherever the THHN ran into a terminal block. This of course adds extra time and effort to the installation, but the results seem to turn out nicer than having solid wiring is inserted or looped directly into the terminals.