Having been in the fire alarm business for over thirty five years, I’ve seen a lot of different products come and go. One of the more recent systems we’ve installed is the
Silent Knight 5820XL
.A couple of month ago, we were completing an installation for a local school district in one of their elementary schools. The school decided to go with the Silent Knight 5820XL as their preference and specification, so we were obligated to use this fire alarm system.
To say the least, I was thoroughly impressed!
Silent Knight’s 5820XL Has Super-Fast Programming
One of the things that shocked me was how quick and easy this system was to program (including the components). Some of the devices were programmable with dip switches on the units themselves, while others, such as intelligent smoke detectors and heat detectors were done right at the panel using a wire attached to the motherboard.
As fast as you put in the address at the main annunciator, the device is programmed. Pop a smoke head into the hard-wired base, punch in the number and voila, it was programmed. It literally takes half a second to attach an address to each device.
If you match this up with the Siemen’s line of addressable equipment programming, there’s just no comparison.
Another Nice (and not so nice) Feature Is the Auto-Program
Being able to auto-program a fire alarm system is nothing new as I have programmed Notifier panels and Firelite panels in the past, but it’s nice to know this feature is available at the time of initiating the system.
With auto-programming, all one has to do is install all the addressed devices on the system and push a few buttons at the main fire panel and you’re on your way. One of the benefits of going this route is that you can determine whether all your devices are on the loop.
For example, if you run the auto-program and notice not all of the devices match in number with the fire alarm drawings, you know whether there is a missing link in the wiring.
To find the missing devices you simply go out in the field (with drawings in hand) and look for a wire that is not attached between devices or a loose connection. Once you’ve determined the missing link, simply make the necessary wire attachments and repeat the procedure until all your devices are responding at the main fire alarm panel.
If you have duplicate numbers…
There are times when you will get dupe numbers when auto-programming. Most likely, the number will be the default address (000 or 001) that comes with the device. If you get a duplicate and both devices are assigned to a real device number, such as 035, for example, the only way you will find the address is by testing all of the initiating devices one-by-one.
Hey, according to fire codes, testing has to be perform at the end of the installation anyway, right, so all you have to do is find the initiating device and field program the device as you are testing the system… problem solved!
The downside of Silent Knight’s Auto-programming feature
The negative to Silent Knight’s auto-program is that it will over-write and erase everything you’ve previously programmed into the system. Be sure to only do an auto-program on the first run or if you don’t mind losing some of the programming you have already done.
That being said, if you think you might be making constant programming changes and really need this feature, then I recommend looking into using the Firelite brand for your “non-proprietary”, off-the-shelf fire alarm system.
FYI, The 9200 and 9600 models are the ones I have used in the past and they work great.
Free Programming Software!
Another nicety to Silent Knight’s 5820XL is that you can download the easy-to-use fire alarm system programming software directly from Silent Knight’s website. I believe it also comes with complete instructions on how to use this software. All you need is a laptop and a USB or nine-pin cable to upload the program.
You can also use this software for uploading/downloading, event history, detector status, test reports and more!
More and more agencies, businesses, and school districts are making this “intelligent” choice.
In recent months, there seems to be an upswing in sales of this particular panel because many end users are begining to realize how easy it is to use. But, it’s not just the ease of use…
Too many times, a business will hire a fire alarm company to install a system and find out later that the system installed was a proprietary system, which can only be serviced by licensed dealers for that particular product.
The results can be a nightmare for the business owner as some systems have a limited amount of dealers in the area that are licensed to work on them.
Of course, I should be fair and echo what a lot of proprietary fire alarm system dealers will tell you and that is this… “When you use a non-proprietary system, any ‘trunk-slammer’ with tools can work on it, but when you use our (fill-in-the-blank) proprietary fire alarm system, you get factory-trained, qualified people working on the system”. I won’t go into this right now, but that last quote is debatable and all depends on the fire alarm company you hire.
The saga continues… until next time… Have a great week and thanks for stopping by our site!
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