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How to Wire an Addressable Fire Alarm System

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Muhammad Baballe Ahmad, Mehmet Cavas, Sudhir Chitnis, and Zhen-ya Liu.

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In this blog post, we’ll show you how to wire an addressable fire alarm system.


An addressable fire alarm system is typically used to detect smoke and heat from fire, as well as other hazardous materials. This type of system allows individual components, such as smoke detectors, heat detectors, and manual pull stations, to be identified by a central control panel. This makes it easier for technicians to quickly diagnose problems and keep the system running smoothly. The following steps will explain how to wire an addressable fire alarm system.

Before connecting any wiring, make sure to install the necessary components according to manufacturer’s instructions. These components may include smoke detectors, manual pull stations, notification appliances (alarms or horns), and a control panel. The control panel will typically contain a terminal strip where all the wiring is connected. Once these components are installed correctly and securely mounted on walls or ceilings, proceed with the connections outlined below:

1) Connect power supply wires and ground connection wire between power source and control panel terminal strip;
2) Connect field wiring between notification appliances (e.g., horns or strobes for visual notifications), manual pull stations, smoke detectors;
3) Connect communication wires between each device in your fire alarm system with the central control panel terminal strip;
4) Finally confirm that all connections are correct before turning on your addressable fire alarm system.

Overview of Addressable Fire Alarm Systems

Addressable fire alarm systems are an important part of fire safety. These systems are made up of detectors and control panels, which are connected with wiring to form a system. This wiring is responsible for the communication of data from the detectors to the control panel. In this article, we will discuss the basics of wiring an addressable fire alarm system to ensure proper installation.

Components of an Addressable Fire Alarm System

An addressable fire alarm system is a type of fire detection system that uses one or more addresses to identify the initiating device. Each device on the system is assigned an address, which can be used to identify it and its location when activated. This type of system is often used in high-risk or industrial sites where real-time monitoring of each device is important. The components of an addressable fire alarm system include:

– Central control panel: This unit acts as the brain of the system, relaying information from all devices on the network and reporting on any alarms that occur. This unit is also responsible for controlling power to any equipment connected to the network.

– Initiating devices: These are sensors that detect a potential threat, such as smoke, heat or a spark, and alert the control panel to take action. Examples include smoke detectors and heat detectors.

– Addressable manual stations: Manual stations are typically wall-mounted units that can be used by personnel in an emergency situation to quickly activate the alarm system without having to contact a remote station or central control panel.

– Notification appliances: These are incorporated into addressable systems for audible and/or visual indication of alarm conditions at various locations throughout a building or area being monitored by an addressable fire alarm system. Examples include bells, strobe lights, speakers, horns and other indicators as may be appropriate for a given site/application.

– Annunciators: Annunciators display information about any triggered alarms on built-in displays with LED lights and can be configured to provide details on each device’s location and what activation occurred on it. They may also offer additional functions such as record keeping capability for all events including nonalarm events (such as reset events).

Advantages of an Addressable Fire Alarm System

Addressable fire alarm systems provide several advantages over traditional fire alarm systems, making them the popular choice for many buildings. They are more advanced, feature an easier installation process, and are more reliable than traditional systems.

One of the biggest advantages to an addressable system is its flexibility. Because each component within the system has a separate address and communication protocol, the system can be programmed to fit most any layout or emergency response plan. This makes it much easier to install in new construction, or during renovations and expansions of existing buildings. Additionally, because each component can be addressed separately, components such as detectors can be individually calibrated and tested.

Another advantage is that each component within an addressable system is able to continuously monitor and communicate with the other components on the network. This allows for faster notification and response times in case of an emergency – even if one component fails for some reason, all of the other components will still continue to work correctly without interruption. This also makes troubleshooting possible without shutting down or disabling parts of the system – technicians are able to quickly diagnose faults from a remote location using specialized monitoring tools that connect to the synchronized network components.

Finally, addressable systems typically require less wiring than traditional fire alarms since all components use one bus line rather than individual wires for communication between them. This reduces costs associated with installation as well as maintenance throughout its lifetime by eliminating the need to run multiple wires through walls and hallways when adding or removing components from a large system that covers multiple floors or areas of a building.

Step-by-Step Guide to Wiring an Addressable Fire Alarm System

Installing and wiring an addressable fire alarm system is a complex process that should only be undertaken by professionals. In this guide, we’ll walk you through step-by-step, how to properly wire an addressable fire alarm system, so that it’s done right the first time. With an addressable system, the wiring is composed of loop circuits, which makes it a bit more involved than a conventional system. Let’s get started!

Step 1: Design the Fire Alarm System

The first step in wiring an addressable fire alarm system is to design the entire system. You should create a design schematic of the existing or new building layout, listing all addressable points (e.g. control and detection devices) and their intended functions. This includes the number of connected detection devices, power supplies, modules (e.g., interconnects and isolators), alarm notification appliances, manual pull stations, etc., locations of all peripheral equipment, cable pathways between components, device types and signaling line circuit (SLC) wiring configurations. Consideration should also be given to any future expansions to the system if required as well as potential back-up solutions that can be implemented in case any component of the system fails for any reason. When creating your fire alarm system’s design plan it’s important to follow standards outlined by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) codes and local building codes for instructions on proper installation requirements.

Step 2: Install the Addressable Fire Alarm Panel

After the cables have been run to all the appropriate devices, they must be connected to the addressable fire alarm panel. This is typically a metal cabinet that houses all the devices that power and control an addressable fire alarm system. Depending on the type of panel and its rated capacity, it may need to be connected to an AC power source as well.

Before beginning any wiring, it is important to check the manufacturer’s instructions supplied with the system. Make sure that all cutouts, knock-outs and other components are in place and ready for use. You may need a qualified electrician or certified fire alarm installer for this task since most addressable systems will require specialized wiring knowledge and tools.

The first step in connecting an addressable fire alarm system is locating and installing the main control board usually located near the top of your panel’s enclosure. This board contains numerous connections; you will need to identify where each one connects by referencing its wiring diagram label or number on its terminal block mountings (for more detailed instructions, please refer to your manufacturer’s installation guide). Most systems also include a separate power supply module which may require installation at a later stage of your project.

Once all connections are complete, hand-tighten each nut on terminals and check them against their labels before supplying power to your brand new fire alarm system!

Step 3: Connect the Fire Alarm Control Panel to the Fire Alarm Devices

Once the addressable control panel has been mounted and its power supply connected, the next step is to wire in the addressable fire alarm devices. All of these devices will be wired in a similar manner, with the red and green wires respectively providing power and data communication links to the fire alarm control panel.

Before wiring begins, all conductors should be examined for damage and bent back if necessary. The main line of power should never be used as part of an addressable device circuit. Rather, auxiliary power sources such as a 24VAC transformer should be provided from which an isolate or single line can be run between the fire alarm device and the control panel’s common terminals.

Each individual loop should have its own dedicated negative (red) conductor for each path between each device and its associated module on the fire alarm control panel. A negative (red) conductor is always required when connecting wired-in smoke detectors or other devices electrically to an addressable fire alarm system. It is generally easier to begin wiring at the fire alarm control panel then work outwards towards where all of these circuits are ultimately terminated at either an initiating device or keypad module near each detector location in coordination with any zone diagrams provided by building plans or other reference material associated with this task.

When connecting two-wire smokes detectors located on one zone it is strongly recommended that their associated wiring layout must include both Class B circuit normally open ‘trouble’ pairs (i.e., N/O; C/O; COM – usually indicated by green colored paired wires exiting from their bases) as well as Class A ‘alarm’ pairs (i.e., N/C; C/C ; COM – usually indicated by yellow colored paired wires) for trouble shooting purposes if ever needed during this process or any future maintenance needs that may arise over time related to these systems components / infrastructure!

Step 4: Connect the Fire Alarm Devices to the Fire Alarm Control Panel

The next step to wiring an addressable fire alarm system is to connect the fire alarm devices – such as smoke detectors, pull stations, heat detectors, and audible/visual alarms – to the Fire Alarm Control Panel (FACP). This is done by running conductors from the FACP to each device. Depending on the type of device being connected, this will require either 18 AWG or 22 AWG wire. It is important that all installations follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions and local codes.

Always keep in mind that certain devices may be sensitive to stray voltage or interference caused by other nearby equipment or wiring. When possible, minimize potential sources of interference by running long runs of wire separately from each other and away from any power sources or connections, motors, transformers and metal conduit.

Before making any connections, ensure that all wiring complies with layout diagrams provided by the local Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) codes. Additionally, it is important to properly terminate all wiring using cable glands designed for use with fire alarm systems. All conductors should be connected in accordance with the color coding stated in NFPA 72; typically white for positive/active wires and black for negative/ground/common wires.

Before powering up any part of an addressable fire alarm system it’s important to do a quick physical check across each device connection at both ends to make sure everything is correctly wired up before electrical current is applied – ensuring against short circuits down the line due to a faulty connection. Once everything has been checked the system can be powered up and tested according your specific instructions provided by your FACP manufacturer.

Step 5: Connect the Fire Alarm Control Panel to the Fire Alarm Monitor

Once all of the wiring for the modules and devices has been completed, it is time to connect the Fire Alarm Control Panel (FACP) and Fire Alarm Monitor (FAM). This requires establishing a dedicated data line from one addressable device to another.

The data line should include two conductors, each of which is used for power between the FACP and FAM. The power conductor should be attached to terminals at both ends, as should the ground conductor. It is important that both ends are connected in parallel and that any additional wires are secured in place. Once connected, the data link should be tested using a meter or voltage tester to make sure there is adequate continuity between points on both sides of the system. Finally, an ohmmeter can be used to check the resistance between both components ensuring full communication between them.

Once these tests have been carried out successfully, a notification signal will be sent from the FAM back to the FACP indicating successful connection and allowing full control of all devices from one central control panel. This connection will ensure proper operation in case of an emergency – fire alarms will sound and any other relevant devices may actioned such as closing dampers or releasing fire suppression systems – ultimately keeping staff safe in conjunction with addressable evacuation plans.


Ultimately, when it comes to wiring an addressable fire alarm system, the best thing to do is to have an electrician or a fire protection engineer do the job for you. Depending on the scope and size of the project, you may also need local permits, inspections and certifications before you can use the system in a certain jurisdiction. With that in mind, it’s important to note that there are different tools, devices and techniques used in wiring an addressable fire alarm system. To ensure that the systems are completely efficient and operational after wiring are complete, it is essential to opt for professional services when possible. With proper preparation and knowledge beforehand as well as insight from experts when necessary, you can rest assured knowing that your addressable fire alarm system will keep you and your loved ones safe from any potential threats.


Wireless addressable fire alarm systems have a wide range of applications and can be used in spaces where cabling may not be practical. Their reliability, sensitivity and the ability to deliver precise information make these systems the preferred choice for many commercial and residential applications. Here are some common questions about wiring addressable fire alarm systems:

1. What type of wire do I need for an addressable fire alarm system?
An addressable fire alarm system consists of several key components connected with two-strand copper wire, such as 22-. The main panel is then connected to peripheral elements through a loop or daisy chain pattern. Each peripheral element must connect to ground before connecting back to the main panel, creating a continuous looped circuit that allows all the components to communicate with each other.

2. How many devices can I install in an addressable fire alarm system?
The number of devices you can install depends on your overall needs, as well as the specific model you are working with. Most systems have between eight and 32 device addresses available on the main control panel but larger custom-built systems can accommodate more than 500. It’s best to consult your installer prior to installing any components or wiring any circuits so you get an accurate understanding of what’s possible with your system setup.

3. Can I run my wires inside walls?
It is possible, but recommended that wires be run inside electrical conduit than within wall cavities; this helps protect them from environmental conditions that could degrade their performance over time (e.g., dust, corrosion). Additionally, if one strand of wire is worn or corroded at one point along its course in the wall cavity it leaves no room for splicing resulting in potential instability due to weak points developing within the circuit over time when fibers rupture off from moving wall surfaces during installation procedures making these vulnerable spots challenging/impossible to detect/trace/repair.. Additionally containment within conduit will assist against rodents chewing through insulation on open sections thereby aiding integrity etc.. Generally it is far simpler and more cost efficient where ever possible (as determined by installer) for metal conduits & junctions boxes enclosed along pathways delivering easy and flexible maintenance upon removal of covers etc.. although this does require additional material and labour costs being factored into quotations etc.. depending upon supplied materials & labour rates being used by province/region etc

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