Case Study - Fire Alarm Control Panel

The Customer

The customer is a well-respected and established Fire Alarm System design and manufacturing company based in the UK and is recognised as one of the leading companies in its field. Since incorporation in early 90’s it has established a wide customer base and enjoys a significant share of the UK market.

THE PROBLEM

The existing Fire Alarm Control Panel solution:

  • Needed connectivity to addressable detectors
  • Did not have an easy way to add detectors
  • Had a limited number of detectors able to connect at a time
  • Was missing a panel networking option recommended to cover a large fire detection area
  • Had an outdated and unintuitive User Interface (UI)

THE ANALYSIS

  • Loop detectors with the ability to be retro fitted and hot fixed needed to be designed
  • An upgradeable and updated hardware platform needed to be developed
  • Panel networking was a must and needed ideation and development
  • The customer would benefit from having the option to add loop cards
  • The UI needed to be updated to be more intuitive and to increase usability

THE SOLUTION

  • An integrated hardware and firmware solution for a control panel was designed
  • A feature-rich control panel: field upgradeable, able to add/ remove loop cards, and can each handle up to 800 detectors, vastly increasing its capacity and ability
  • Apart from the features the fire panel was given a rich graphics UI and intuitive LEDs that indicate at a glance all critical information regarding fire and smoke detection
  • Part of the UI and usability improvements was Farsi language support, ability to configure the UI via a PC-based software, and integration with third party Building Management Software
  • To further enhance the ability of the solution, the panel networking was engineered to be able to cover up to 200 control panels, each able to control the 800 detectors

THE OUTCOME

  • Customer gained market leadership through a feature rich product and UI
  • Product complied with the stringent EN-54 standards for seamless release into the UK market

Technology Areas

  • Addressable Detectors Connectivity
  • Machine Connectivity
  • Networking Capability
  • Fault Prevention & Analysis
  • Computer interface though USB
  • Third party Software Integration

TECHNICAL DETAILS

Fire Alarm

Hardware

  • Control board – double sided PTH
  • Loop Card board – double sided PTH
  • Schematics, BOM, Layouts & Gerbers: PADS from Mentor Graphics

Firmware

  • Code in C
  • IDE: Ashling
  • Graphics Screen Design – EasyGUI

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