In today’s market of Radio fire alarms, what systems can we truly call wire-free or are they a Hybrid, a mixture of both wired and wireless technology?
First, let us define what a Radio Fire Alarm is. It consists of a fire alarm control panel that communicates directly to the field devices, such as the manual call points, detectors and sounders using Radio waves. There should be no wires involved in the process.
The fire alarm control panel will have an antenna that allows the devices to have continuous communication at all times with the radio devices.
Now that we have defined what a Radio system is, which wireless systems currently on the market and compliant with the Radio Fire Alarm Code EN54-25 would we consider as a Radio system? Well, the answer to the question is there is only one and that is the Zerio Plus from Electro Detectors.
The remaining two manufacturers the Hyfire from Sterling Safety Systems and the Firecell from EMS, as a standard wired off the shelve Addressable fire alarm control panel, which is usually open source from Advance or Kentec Electronics, with a Radio interface that sits on the wired detection circuit. The Radio devices communicate with the wireless interface. So in theory, the system does not become wire-free until the Radio interface that is wired onto the detection circuit. This setup is known within the industry as a Hybrid system, as you can have both wireless devices via the interface and wired addressable devices wired directly onto the detection circuit in the usual manner.
It is for this reason the Electro Detectors obtained an EN54-25 for the complete Radio Fire Alarm, whereas, the Hyfire and Firecell had to get a certificate for each piece of Radio equipment.