Your LEAST favorite fire alarm company?

Your LEAST favorite fire alarm company

  • EST/Edwards
  • Simplex
  • Cooper-Wheelock
  • Gentex
  • Fire-Lite
  • Notifier
  • Gamewell/FCI
  • Silent Knight
  • System Sensor
  • Adaemco
  • ADT
  • Bosch/Radionics
  • Fike
  • Siemens/Cerberus Pyrotronics
  • Faraday
  • Protectowire
  • Misc./Other

0 voters

Since we already had a poll about your favorite fire alarm company, I thought I’d do one for your least favorite. It could be mostly due to the quality of the products, what their systems are like, just the opposite of your favorite.



My least favorite would have to be Siemens, post-2007. When Siemens had Faraday stop making their own signals in favor of the Wheelock ZNS line (I think Siemens also uses System Sensor signals now too, but I could be wrong), I knew they would somewhat start to decline. Their conventional System 3 panel hasn’t changed since the 1980s, when many other companies have gotten even better conventional fire alarm panels now. Even some of their newest systems have become more generic and cheap, especially compared to the bigger companies or any of the Honeywell lines, and nowadays I just see them use those metal RSG dual-action T-bars instead of their own MS-series pulls (are the metal T-bars even capable of being addressable?)

In fact, I’m starting to occasionally see a much better system get replaced with something cheap like this. At Stonehill College, they threw away a perfectly good Simplex system in one of their buildings and replaced it with Siemens garbage. (They did this partly because the college doesn’t like Simplex anymore and was doing away with one of their systems, but that’s for another topic.) And the Macy’s at the nearby Westgate Mall has a small Siemens system installed, while the rest of the mall has a more superior Notifier ONYX system (the Notifier system is still in use and serviced really well.) I’ve even heard of a few reports of people NOT satisfied with Siemens; the Neighborhood Health Center was originally built in 2007 with a Siemens FireFinder system, but last year they dropped Siemens from servicing the system in favor of a local company. And I’ve heard a couple reports about CP/Siemens systems being swapped out with another company’s system (like Simplex or Honeywell.)



Anyone other opinions/choices?

The only companies I dislike are Fire-Lite and ADT.



ADT rebrands panels from Fire-Lite and Honeywell brands, which is weird because they are owned by Tyco, who also owns Simplex.



Fire-Lite makes cheap panels that do not run very well from a collector’s view. Also the BG-12s and SpectrAlerts are overused. Way overused. I mean come on…



Also I dislike Honeywell after what they did to the classic brands. A few years ago they all had their own unique devices:

Notifier had the LNG

Silent Knight had their Hochiki smoke detectors

Gamewell had the Century pulls – THEY GOT DISCONTINUED.

FCI still has the MS series pulls but I bet they are going to be discontinued…

and they all used to sell Wheelock products.



Now they all sell BG-12s, SpectrAlerts, System Sensor detectors… anything that was not designed by Honeywell is thrown away.

They might as well just dump all the other brands except Gamewell (with the masterboxes) and create a huge Honeywell brand. That’s likely not to happen though. I don’t like where the industry is going. Years ago there were a lot of names, now there are only four big names:



Tyco Fire & Security

Honeywell Fire Safety

Siemens Fire Alarm Division

UTC Fire & Security

I agree on that. Almost any new Fire-Lite system I’ve seen installed since 2006 almost always has to use SpectrAlert Advances and BG-12s (and before that, the older SpectrAlerts!)

I know. Almost everything in Notifier’s catalog, outside of their panels and annunciators and addressable chips, are manufactured by System Sensor, i.e. the signals (SpectrAlert Classic and Advance alike), smoke and heat detectors (from the i3 to the “intelligent” FSP-851s) to even pull stations! (I heard System Sensor actually created and designed the BG-12 -series; is that true? If it is, why not have System Sensor also offer the pulls with their own brand on them?) They still offer the Wheelock and Gentex signals, though. In fact, a while back my psychiatrist’s office got a brand-new Silent Knight fire alarm panel to replace their old Kidde system and they also renovated a portion of the building. And what alarms did they put in? WHEELOCK EXCEEDERS!

At least Notifier seems to have the best panels out of the Honeywell brands, IMHO. I’m not as harsh on Notifier as I originally was, especially after Massasoit College started using them (to replace their Faraday stuff) and South Middle School’s 4100U system broke down and they were fed up with Simplex. And besides, Notifier’s panels seem a lot better than what Siemens has out now.



Also looking back, Wheelock and System Sensor were pretty innovative with some of their signals, and for a while were the only kinds like it on the market. But now other companies have been catching up (ESPECIALLY Simplex!)

Fun fact: The color of the BG-12 is identical to the color of the SpectrAlert and SpectrAlert Advance.



I do agree that the larger Notifier panels are nice quality and they are not designed to be proprietary, unlike Simplex. I actually know a guy who owns a company in the area who installs Notifier systems. He likes them a lot and he’s a very nice guy as well. He was also impressed because I brought my 8005 FACP to his office to show him.

I know, the Fire-Lite data sheet for the BG-12 says it is to match the color of the popular SpectrAlert series of signals (this was eventually updated to say it matches the color of the SpectrAlert ADVANCE series.)

I honestly don’t have a least favorite, just a favorite.

More color fun facts:

#2: The color of the BG-10 almost matches the color of Wheelock devices of the time period.

#3: It looks like the color of the BG-6 also almost matches the horns used in the 1970s (the ones made by Faraday)

#4: The BG-8 is an oddball, being colored maroon.

#5: The Simplex 2099 and 4099 pulls have the same color of the 4903 horn/strobe series and the TrueAlerts!

#6: The 4251 series has the same color as the 2903 light plates and the 4903 retrofit plates as well…

#7: Cerberus and Siemens ignored this trend.

#8: This is off-topic.

#9: But I just wanted to point it out.

what are fike and protectowire? never seen or heard of either of them before. don’t really have a least favorite company, but i am pretty sick of any setup that has simply the classic wall mount spectr alert…