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GENTEX TECHNICAL BULLETIN Number: 013 NOTIFICATION APPLIANCE COMPATIBILITY Frequently we are asked to provide proof of compatibility between Gentex notification appliances and various manufacturers' fire alarm control panels. Although many fire alarm manufacturers would like you to believe that compatibility is required, in fact it is not. Many fire alarm control panel manufacturers provide a compatibility document indicating which notification appliances they used to close out their UL listings of control equipment or prefer be used with their systems. In many cases these compatibility lists are at least partially marketing driven, listing only those notification appliances that are available from that particular manufacturer. The confusion these compatibility documents create, can ultimately result in the system designer believing there are fewer choices than actually exist. This can result in fire alarm systems that are unable to incorporate the latest technology in notification appliances. Underwriters Laboratories (UL) does not require compatibility listing between notification appliances and fire alarm control panels unless the panels notification circuits are listed as "special application" (most commonly found on releasing systems). For notification appliances installed on standard notification appliance circuits, compatibility exists if the notification appliance can operate throughout the control panels listed voltage range. Since UL tests notification appliances to operate at 20% below their lowest rated voltage and 10% above the highest rated voltage, Gentex appliances with a listed range of 20-31 VDC both filtered DC and unfiltered FWR, actually operate from 16 VDC to 34.1 VDC. This voltage range is well within those commonly found on 24 VDC fire alarm control panels. Upcoming changes in 2004 to UL 864 and UL 1971 will further clear up the confusion regarding compatibility by requiring all fire alarm control panel and signal manufacturers to adhere to the same operating voltage range. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) only requires compatibility listing for those devices that receive their power from a fire alarm control panel initiating device circuit, (typically 2-wire smoke detectors), or signaling line circuit, (typically addressable detectors and modules). The full text of this code requirement can be found in NFPA 72 1999 Edition, Section 1-5.3. It is important to note that 4-wire smoke detectors such as the Gentex 8000 series are also not required to be compatibility listed since these devices typically do not draw their power from either of the circuits indicated above. After considering the UL and NFPA requirements listed above, it is easy to see how Gentex notification appliances are compatible with virtually any 24VDC fire alarm control panel. Below is a partial list of control panel manufacturers that Gentex notification appliances have been successfully installed with, on projects throughout the country. Ademco Fike Notifier ADT Firelite Potter Ansul Gamewell Radionics Autocall Grinnell Safetech International Detection Systems Harrington Signal Secutron DMP Honeywell Siemens DSC ITI Silent Knight Edwards/EST Johnson Controls Simplex ESL Mircom Thorn F.C.I. Mirtone Fenwal National Time & Signal Please feel free to contact your Gentex representative for any additional information about our products.
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