Smoke Detector Compatibility

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Smoke Detector Compatibility

Post by Frank » Sun Feb 14, 2021 10:36

I hope everyone is doing well.
I would like to say that the ULC smoke detector compatibility index on this form is great info to have read.
As we were about to start an annual inspection on a high rise apartment building we discovered that the last company had installed at least 40 System Sensors smoke detectors C2WBA on an old EST ESA2000. As the index states they are not compatible. We have notified the managers on this matter. As they seem upset, they find it hard to believe that they are not compatible.

We are gathering all the info we can including reaching out to Fire inspectors, Chubb Edwards, and System Sensor for more info. We also found this from System Sensor from doing a search.

Please let me know If anyone has seen or experienced this before and any help would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you

Technical Field Bulletin

Underwriters Laboratories (UL) requires that smoke detectors be compatible when used with a listed fire alarm control panel (FACP). This compatibility of smoke detectors with control panels is only an issue where 2-wire smoke detectors (power and signaling line circuit (SLC) on the same two conductors) are concerned. This is due to the requirements, restrictions, and limitations of electrical current needed to cause the detectors to alarm and for the control panel to “see” that alarm. Detectors are not required to be listed when they draw their power for operation from source other than the SLC.

The National Fire Alarm Code, NFPA 72, 2002 edition, states in chapter 4:

4.4.2 Compatibility.
All fire detection devices that receive their power from the initiating device circuit or signaling line circuit of a fire alarm control unit shall be listed for use with the control unit.

Because of this, UL requirements do not include 4-wire smoke detectors or any notification devices. Notification devices must verify that the power and signal being supplied through the notification connections are sufficient for operation. Some notification devices require either coded or non-coded signals for proper operation. The FACP manual should be consulted for specifications.

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Re: Smoke Detector Compatibility

Post by FIRETEK » Tue Aug 10, 2021 9:11

Smoke detector compatibility is incredibly important, as you point out.

It is unlikely a two-wire smoke detector on a conventional circuit will fail to operate. All smoke detectors in Canada are tested and listed to a Canadian Standard, CAN/ULC-S529. They're all required to operate within a strict set of performance criteria and are subjected to extensive environmental and operational challenges during the Certification process.

Will a System Sensor C2WBA work on an Edwards panel? More than likely it will. The problem is that Edwards (or Chubb Edwards as they're now known by), doesn't resubmit older panels for testing on newer model smoke detectors (this applies to practically all of the manufacturers that sell products in Canada). Manufacturers will typically concentrate their research and development efforts on NEW control panel technology, and, in order to make it compatible with the retrofit market (where you typically encounter older model smoke detectors), they will submit a variety of smoke detector model samples to ensure the broadest range of field compatibility possible.

The use of an incompatible smoke detector on a Listed fire alarm control is considered a deficiency. A service company that replaced a system smoke detector with one that is not on the prescribed manufacturer's compatibility list risks much more than their reputation if a fire were to occur and the detector failed to operate. Their liability insurer's adjuster would have a very solid case for denying coverage and could even recommend cancelling the liability insurance "ab initio" (which is Latin for "at inception). It would mean that the policy was "void" from the first day it came into effect. The same would hold true for any liability coverage extended to the TECHNICIANS who failed to identify the detectors they were installing were incompatible with the control unit.

In this day and age, it's a simple matter of pulling up the relevant fire alarm panel's installation instructions and checking the detector model you're installing against the compatibility charts usually located in the Appendices. Stay VIGILANT, gain in KNOWLEDGE, and work with INTEGRITY.
Frank Kurz
+1 (888) 340-3473

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