What's the best option for a starter panel?

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ironmatic1
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Re: What's the best option for a starter panel?

Postby ironmatic1 » Tue Nov 07, 2017 6:05 pm

Surprised no one's mentioned the Honeywell two and four zone panels (MS-2/MS-4 and equivalents). They work perfectly for a test system or home system, they're cheap, and they're the simplest possible panels to program. Just don't do stupid things with them and they're fine.

Also the whole "don't install a fire alarm system on your wall because _____" is WAY overblown...
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Re: What's the best option for a starter panel?

Postby asdf1 » Tue Nov 07, 2017 6:11 pm

asdf1 wrote:
Robert A wrote:I'd be careful about installing a system in your house. This discussion has come up before, but it's considered unlicensed electrical work and if your home is audited for insurance purposes, you run the risk of losing your coverage.
Were you planning to install it on a board on a wall in your house somewhere?


I will not place any equipment inside my walls.
Robert A wrote:We had someone ask a similar question, and we talked about it in this topic here.
I don't mean to be a downer or anything, but it's just something we don't recommend. A demonstration system on a board should be fine though!


Yeah. I am still fairly new to fire alarms so I am still learning.
I can't think of a good signanture to put here so this will be my signanture.

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Re: What's the best option for a starter panel?

Postby Robert A » Tue Nov 07, 2017 6:12 pm

ironmatic1 wrote:Surprised no one's mentioned the Honeywell two and four zone panels (MS-2/MS-4 and equivalents). They work perfectly for a test system or home system, they're cheap, and they're the simplest possible panels to program. Just don't do stupid things with them and they're fine.

Also the whole "don't install a fire alarm system on your wall because _____" is WAY overblown...

I'm from SA, and I've heard stories that the fire marshal doesn't have much of a sense of humor.
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Re: What's the best option for a starter panel?

Postby asdf1 » Tue Nov 07, 2017 6:18 pm

Robert A wrote:
ironmatic1 wrote:Surprised no one's mentioned the Honeywell two and four zone panels (MS-2/MS-4 and equivalents). They work perfectly for a test system or home system, they're cheap, and they're the simplest possible panels to program. Just don't do stupid things with them and they're fine.

Also the whole "don't install a fire alarm system on your wall because _____" is WAY overblown...

I'm from SA, and I've heard stories that the fire marshal doesn't have much of a sense of humor.


Well from past experience, the fire inspector was livid when he found paper on the classroom door at school :P
I can't think of a good signanture to put here so this will be my signanture.

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Re: What's the best option for a starter panel?

Postby randomperson » Tue Nov 07, 2017 8:53 pm

Robert A wrote:something we don’t recommend

Something you don’t recommend... how can you speak for everyone?
lol
ironmatic1 wrote:Also the whole "don't install a fire alarm system on your wall because _____" is WAY overblown...

Agreed!
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Re: What's the best option for a starter panel?

Postby kcin556 » Wed Nov 08, 2017 3:18 am

randomperson wrote:
Robert A wrote:something we don’t recommend

Something you don’t recommend... how can you speak for everyone?


We have made it absolutely clear multiple times on these forums that we do not promote, encourage, or condone the installation of fire alarms systems into residences by unlicensed individuals.

For the sake of our liability, it is the view of the forum that these activities are not to be recommended.
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Re: What's the best option for a starter panel?

Postby asdf1 » Wed Nov 08, 2017 7:40 am

kcin556 wrote:
randomperson wrote:
Robert A wrote:something we don’t recommend

Something you don’t recommend... how can you speak for everyone?


We have made it absolutely clear multiple times on these forums that we do not promote, encourage, or condone the installation of fire alarms systems into residences by unlicensed individuals.

For the sake of our liability, it is the view of the forum that these activities are not to be recommended.


I was told the same thing by another user.
I can't think of a good signanture to put here so this will be my signanture.

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Re: What's the best option for a starter panel?

Postby firefreak57 » Thu Nov 09, 2017 1:21 pm

asdf1 wrote:
Robert A wrote:
ironmatic1 wrote:Surprised no one's mentioned the Honeywell two and four zone panels (MS-2/MS-4 and equivalents). They work perfectly for a test system or home system, they're cheap, and they're the simplest possible panels to program. Just don't do stupid things with them and they're fine.

Also the whole "don't install a fire alarm system on your wall because _____" is WAY overblown...

I'm from SA, and I've heard stories that the fire marshal doesn't have much of a sense of humor.


Well from past experience, the fire inspector was livid when he found paper on the classroom door at school :P


Paper on a door? That’s so if there’s a lockdown an intruder couldn’t see in the classroom.
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Re: What's the best option for a starter panel?

Postby theboginator » Fri Nov 10, 2017 10:52 pm

The fire department gets aggravated about teachers hanging student work from the walls or ceilings since paper arts and crafts are flammable. A single sheet of paper covering the door's window is likely not as high on their priority list.

As for installing a professional fire alarm system in your house - as a general rule, nobody on this forum is likely to give you step-by-step instructions and encouragement to do so since there is the potential for liability if the system you install fails to perform in a fire, or worse, causes a fire.
That being said, in some jurisdictions, you do not need to be a licensed individual to perform the installation on your own property, however, adhering to all local installation codes AND the guidelines of NFPA 72 are a must.

If you follow all the rules and codes and properly install and program a professional fire alarm system, you will notice it is much more informative, accurate, and easy to control than the 120v smoke alarms installed in the house. And should a fire break out, the professional system will likely detect it before the typical residential smoke alarm setup would.

All that being said, do I recommend you perform a whole-house installation yourself? No. My system is installed in my unfinished basement, so no walls to drill through and no wiring to permanently affix anywhere to the structure, the panels are mounted to plywood which is attached right to the wall, the AC connection is at a regular outlet with a 3-prong plug (don't forget ground!) and all my peripherals (pull stations and signals) are mounted to backboxes which are strapped to the iron columns in the basement via hose-clamps. A little flexible conduit makes the system look very professional, but the entire system can be effectively disabled by pulling the plug, and removed very quickly leaving only a few small screw holes behind. Doesn't interfere with my home's legal 120V smoke alarm system and is not used for life safety.
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Re: What's the best option for a starter panel?

Postby asdf1 » Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:35 pm

theboginator wrote:The fire department gets aggravated about teachers hanging student work from the walls or ceilings since paper arts and crafts are flammable. A single sheet of paper covering the door's window is likely not as high on their priority list.

As for installing a professional fire alarm system in your house - as a general rule, nobody on this forum is likely to give you step-by-step instructions and encouragement to do so since there is the potential for liability if the system you install fails to perform in a fire, or worse, causes a fire.
That being said, in some jurisdictions, you do not need to be a licensed individual to perform the installation on your own property, however, adhering to all local installation codes AND the guidelines of NFPA 72 are a must.


Like I said to many other people before, I am not replacing my standard smoke alarms with a commercial system. I am however building a "demonstration system."
I can't think of a good signanture to put here so this will be my signanture.

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Re: What's the best option for a starter panel?

Postby randomperson » Sun Nov 12, 2017 9:07 am

asdf1 wrote:
theboginator wrote:The fire department gets aggravated about teachers hanging student work from the walls or ceilings since paper arts and crafts are flammable. A single sheet of paper covering the door's window is likely not as high on their priority list.

As for installing a professional fire alarm system in your house - as a general rule, nobody on this forum is likely to give you step-by-step instructions and encouragement to do so since there is the potential for liability if the system you install fails to perform in a fire, or worse, causes a fire.
That being said, in some jurisdictions, you do not need to be a licensed individual to perform the installation on your own property, however, adhering to all local installation codes AND the guidelines of NFPA 72 are a must.


Like I said to many other people before, I am not replacing my standard smoke alarms with a commercial system. I am however building a "demonstration system."

That’s fine, in my opinion.
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Re: What's the best option for a starter panel?

Postby theboginator » Sun Nov 12, 2017 7:37 pm

asdf1 wrote:Like I said to many other people before, I am not replacing my standard smoke alarms with a commercial system. I am however building a "demonstration system."


That's just fine, and there's a lot to be learned from doing so. A few words of advice, be EXTREMELY careful when connecting AC power. I recommend going to Lowe's or Home Depot and purchasing an "appliance replacement cord," it'll be located with or near the rest of the extension cords. It has a regular 3-prong plug on one end, and on the other end 3 exposed leads, black (hot), white (neutral), and green (ground). Make sure when you connect these leads to the AC connections on your FACP, the exposed wire is covered entirely by the screw terminal. If the cord isn't long enough, purchase some Romex 12/2 (with ground) and wire nuts and CAREFULLY twist the wires together and don't forget to make those connections in a junction box. 120 Volts AC is nothing to joke about, and if connected improperly it will cause a host of issues, from a blown circuit breaker to electrocution or an electrical fire.
As for mounting your FACP, it depends where you want to keep this demonstration system, but on plywood which is attached to the wall via toggle nuts or similar, should work just fine. As long as you check and double-check all your connections, and only apply AC power with the system in use, you are highly unlikely to experience any problems. I agree with ironmaniac, this "don't install a fire alarm system on your wall because _____" is WAY overblown... I get it, we shouldn't encourage people to do unlicensed, damaging, and potentially dangerous electrical work throughout their house, but for a forum based on fire alarms and hobbyism, I've read a lot of threads where people are being actively discouraged from gaining some valuable hands on experience.
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Re: What's the best option for a starter panel?

Postby Robert A » Tue Nov 14, 2017 3:13 pm

I think it's less of "active discouragement", but more of giving cautionary warnings. A "ready, fire, aim" mentality could result in several hundred dollars worth of kit being fried, so it's better to air on the side of caution. We do have very young members on this board that don't have enough electronics know-how to set up a demonstration system, but we also have experienced professionals that have been doing this sort of thing for 40+ years. Unless they tell us where they stand, we have to be careful that we don't assume someone's skill level.
I think it's great that we have young hobbyists though! If they're interested enough in the trade, they may very well pursue life safety as a career, and that's certainly a good thing! However we want to make sure that the $200 panel they saved up for to buy on ebay isn't blown up the day they get it. So we encourage them to ask questions first.
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Re: What's the best option for a starter panel?

Postby theboginator » Tue Nov 14, 2017 11:27 pm

Robert A wrote:I think it's less of "active discouragement", but more of giving cautionary warnings. A "ready, fire, aim" mentality could result in several hundred dollars worth of kit being fried, so it's better to air on the side of caution. We do have very young members on this board that don't have enough electronics know-how to set up a demonstration system, but we also have experienced professionals that have been doing this sort of thing for 40+ years. Unless they tell us where they stand, we have to be careful that we don't assume someone's skill level.
I think it's great that we have young hobbyists though! If they're interested enough in the trade, they may very well pursue life safety as a career, and that's certainly a good thing! However we want to make sure that the $200 panel they saved up for to buy on ebay isn't blown up the day they get it. So we encourage them to ask questions first.

Can't disagree with you there. Certainly, "ready, fire, aim" is not the mentality to practice or encourage. Although few things teach you the dangers of working on live circuits like the *pop* of a non-replaceable fuse on your first MS-2 or MS-4 and the perpetual NAC Trouble that results :lol:
That first $120-$150 replacement circuit board is a fantastic reminder never to work on live circuits kids!
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