Difference Between Conventional and Addressable Fire Alarms

Selecting a fire alarm for your construction site is not only about following the legal requirements; the right alarm system can help to save money, time and effort. Most commonly, businesses install conventional and addressable fire alarms to safeguard their premises.

Both the alarms connect the various devices like smoke detectors and call points to the main control panel. The key difference between the two alarm systems is that in an addressable fire alarm, you can identify which device has been triggered specifically.

How Do the Two Alarm Systems Differ?

In the case of an addressable fire alarm system, each device on the system has a unique address. In the case of a fire, the particular device’s address is indicated on the main control panel that shows which particular device has been triggered. This helps to find the precise location where the fire has occurred and extinguish it quickly before much damage is done.

In a conventional alarm system, it is not possible to locate the exact location where the fire has occurred. Nevertheless, you can narrow down the location of the fire outbreak by wiring the site into separate zones. For example, the first floor of the worksite can be wired as “Zone 1” and the second floor can be “Zone 2”, etc. So if any fire breaks out in Zone 2, you will know that there is a fire somewhere on the 2nd floor.

Difference in Wiring

In addressable alarm systems, all the devices are connected in a loop. Here, all the devices are attached to the main control panel with a single wire. The wire loop is connected to the main control panel from both ends.

In a conventional alarm system, every device on the alarm system is connected to the control panel by its own wire and there is no concept of sharing. One end of the wire is connected to the device, while the other end is connected to the control panel.

Cheaper Option

While conventional alarm systems are more inexpensive to buy, the installation of these systems is more costly since each device in this system requires its own wire. In addressable alarm systems, one wire is sufficient to connect many devices. Conventional alarm systems need more wire and take a longer time to install than addressable systems.

In addition, addressable alarm systems have many features that can help you save money. For example, addressable fire alarms can monitor the air that flows through the smoke detectors, preventing false alarms, which is very expensive for any business.


Addressable alarms are more reliable than conventional alarms as the wire connects to the main control panel at both the ends. Even if one end is cut off, signals can be sent to the control panel through the other end. Also, if any device is disconnected from the loop, the circuit will not be disabled. In the case of a conventional system, if any wire gets severed, the device will get disconnected.

Hence, addressable alarm systems are superior and can help to save time and prevent expensive activities when identifying a fire. The installation is also easier and cheaper. However, when it comes to the cost of purchase, a conventional system is less expensive and is suitable for a small site which does not require a complex sophisticated system.

Our engineers can help you choose and install the best fire alarm system that is most suited for your construction site’s requirements. The Cygnus range of fire alarms are economical, very reliable and is the best option to ensure the safety of your worksite and people.