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Fire Detection System: Conventional or Addressable

Which is better, a Conventional Fire Detection System or an Addressable Fire Detection System?

Both will do the job, however there are more advantages to the Addressable System even with it being more expensive. Let us have a look at both systems:

Addressable System

This is a highly intelligent system and the panel can be programmed to do whatever you as the client want.

It can take 127 devices per loop and all devices are addressable. This enables the programmer to give a description to each device on the loop, hence it will make so much easier to identify the location of the device that has gone into “Fire” or “Fault” as it will be displayed on the LCD screen on the fire panel’s door.

This is a very handy feature. Let me explain: Worst case scenario if there is a fire, where is the Fire Brigade or Emergency Personnel going to search for the fire if it doesn’t show on the fire panel? Time is of the essence when there is anemergency. Also is fault finding not going to be much faster?

The sounders are also addressable; hence you do not have to install additional cable for them. They get connected to the same loop as the other devices.

Another advantage of this system is that you can install cable as a Class “A” loop configuration. This means that your cable is going out into the field and gets connected back in the fire panel, which will allow communication to all devices from the panel even though the cable is cut. This is a brilliant feature as it will still protect your building, assets and staff even if someone cuts the cable!!

Isolators can also be installed on the loop of this system. They protect the loop from failing when there is a short on the cable. In conjunction with the Class “A” cable configuration it is one of the most important features you want on a fire system. The fire panel has batteries that provide back-up should there be a mainpower failure.

Conventional System

The Conventional Fire Detection System on the other hand is much cheaper, but doesn’t have the device monitoring capabilities of the Addressable System.

You cannot install the cable in a Class “A” loop configuration and will thereforeloose communication to the devices once the cable is cut or damaged.

Unlike the Addressable System, this system cannotindicate which device is faulty and where it is. Although it shows you which Zone is in fire or fault, it cannot pin-point its exact location. A Zone will have multiple offices in it and you will have to search all of them to find the fire or fault. Very time consuming!

The Fire Panel also has back-up batteries in case of a power failure.


Both are adequate. In the end it is up to you to decide what suits your application best!