Most fire alarm systems have evolved to the microprocessor based type. The following is a brief description of the various combinations.

Hard wired microprocessor based
These panels are usually economical up to 20 zones (building areas). The wiring to the devices is usually 2 wire, class B with an end of line resistor or 4 wire class 'A' which the wires loop back to the panel.

The remote annunciator, when required is usually mutiplexed. In the past each light on an annunciator required a wire. When multiplexed, the light is selected by data from the control panel, thus, reducing the amount of wires required. Often, in a retrofit, these wires are already there on the old annunciator.

The multiplexed annunciator saves the requirement of new wires to the entrance or lobby from the panel, which is usually located in the basement. See Mircom - FX 2000 info for panel specification.

Addressable System
These panels utilize a data loop to communicate to each device, this has two main advantages.

1. Up to 99 devices can be on a two wire circuit.
2. You can identify which actual device is in alarm rather than in the zoned hardwired system where you may have many devices.

Most systems employ smoke detectors which are actually sensors. These sensors send information to the microprocessor in the panel and the panel decides the criteria for alarm, trouble etc. See Mircom - FX 2000 data.

n the Cerberus system "Fire Print", the detector actually is a self contained smoke detector (see Fire Print data).

Addressable devices are available in the following:
• Ionization Detectors
• Photo Electric Detectors
• Heat Detectors
• Duct Detectors
• Manual Pull Stations

For sprinkler devices or to convert existing devices to addressable a mini module is used, this is wired with an end of line resistor to the contact of the devices usually in the same back box, and then tied to the data loop. The addresses can be set in a number of ways by a programmer dip switches or two dials.


There are two types of voice alarms in use at the present time.

. Centralized Amplifiers
This type of system is becoming obsolete and is not used in new construction due to new code requirements. In a retrofit situation where all of the existing speaker wires terminate in one place, this system is ideal to replace an old system.

2. Distributed Amplifiers
This system distributes the amplifiers throughout the building in combined fire alarm voice cabinets. These cabinets have various names attached to them the most common being D.G.P. (Data Gathering Panels) or Transponders. It is good practice to have the detection area served by the transponder to also match the output tones and voice paging for the same area. The transponders would typically service three floors of a high rise building and are controlled by data loop which ties the system together.


This is a supervised intercom system which allow fire fighters to communicate to the Fire Chief from the floor areas. The communication can be private. i.e. originated from the floor by lifting the handset, usually mounted in a locked box, this will cause a call in signal and light at the Central Control. Once the call is acknowledged by the Fire Chief he can add other callers to the conversation or patch individual phones together.


This is the Fire Chief operating unit and would contain the following equipment.

Microphone to page.
• Selector buttons to selectively page to areas.
• Master handsets to privately communicate to handsets on floors.
• Selector buttons to select which handsets are to be included in the conversation, and to indicate a call in.
• Annunciation to show the area of alarm either by lights per zone or LCD or both.
• Selector to select or deselect alarm zones tones.
• Smoke control switches to operate dampers, fans and pressurization.

t is good practice to layout the CCF in a logical manner with respect to the building layout.
Our main lines of Fire Alarm and Voice Systems equipment are...

SIEMENS - Cerberus (Pyrotronics)
The main feature of the Cerberus product is the 'FirePrint' detector. This detector has its own processor and algorithms which assess environmental conditions and compares them to fire conditions. The advantage of this is that false alarms are practically eliminated.

The Cerberus 'FirePrint' detector is well suited to large projects. For example, the change-out of a Convention Center, Hotel and Office Tower which we have just completed. It had some 2,000 detection and supervisory zones and approximately 4,000 speakers.

More than a year ago, we also completed a 630 room hotel with 'FirePrint' detectors and there has not been a single alarm attributed to these detectors, which are in all rooms including those where smoking was allowed. This truly remarkable detector is addressable and is also a true smoke detector rather than a sensor.

For more information on 'FirePrint'... CLICK HERE

Mircom - FX-2000
Mircom's new FX-2000 fire alarm system is unique in that it can combine traditional zones with addressable. The advantage of this is that, in a retrofit situation, the existing hardwired zones can be tied to the traditional module and the new zones can be addressable. This saves new wiring requirements and reduced labour to install.

For more information on the Mircom FX-2000... CLICK HERE

Mircom - QX-5000
This is a unique audio system for emergency use. It is a standalone ULC approved system which can be married to almost any type of fire alarm to give the paging and tone option. The advantage of this system is that, if you have an existing fire alarm and you would like to add or you are required to add a voice system, you need not change your existing fire alarm.

For more information on the Mircom QX-5000... CLICK HERE

Miscellaneous Systems
ACE services almost all brands of Fire Alarm equipment and have in stock, a substantial supply of parts for old Mirtone Systems, Pyrotronics MUX, Electrovox, Gamewell and Edwards 6500.