The conventional fire alarm panel has been in use for more than 30 years in the fire alarm industry. Its function is too report troubles, supervisories and general alarm conditions. Since it is one of the older fire systems on the market, it does not have the advanced technology as the modern day addressable fire alarm panels.
One of the primary difference between the panels is the fact that a conventional fire alarm panel does NOT assign a unique address to each device. This makes it difficult to determine which device is in trouble, malfunctioning or activated in an alarm condition. It also is more expensive in terms of labor when it comes to searching for a defective device. For example, you may have 20 smoke detectors on one zone. If one is bad, you have to go look at each device to determine the problem. This can be labor intensive if they are located at different locations and floors of a high rise building. A conventional fire alarm panel can support up to 30 devices compared to over 100 for the more advanced addressable fire alarm panel.