n simple terms, the ASE is a RED BOX typically mounted within a Fire Detection & Alarm System or adjacent to an Automatic Fire Sprinkler System that receives an alarm signal from the Fire Panel or Sprinkler System and transmits that signal (normally via the mobile phone network) to the Monitoring Service Provider.
Based on our knowledge, there are THREE monitoring services providers operating in Victoria;
- ADT Fire Monitoring; and
- Code Red (Chubb Fire Monitoring); and
Each of these devices serves the same basic function however their operation and the way they display their status is different.
What is the purpose of Alarm Signalling Equipment?
The primary purpose of Alarm Signalling Equipment is to monitor and transmit an alarm signal from one of the following;
- a fire detector (heat, smoke, flame or carbon-monoxide); or
- a manual call point (also known as a break glass alarm); or
- the operation of an automatic fire sprinkler system (alarm pressure switch or water flow switch); or
- the disablement (closure) of a monitored water supply valve via an valve monitoring device.
In most cases (not all) where an ASE is fitted within the Fire Detection & Alarm System Control & Indicating Equipment (“FDCIE”) it will likely include additional signal monitoring for an isolation of one or more alarm zones or fault signal of the FDCIE. This additional monitoring is used to ensure the fire system is working and has not been disabled in any way that could adversely affect its operation.
Alarm Signalling Equipment (Standards)
There are THREE standards that set out the requirements for the operation, interface and protocol for the operation of Alarm Signalling Equipment;
- AS 4418.2—2000 (R2016) : Supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) — Generic telecommunications interface and protocol - Fire Alarm Systems
The objective of this Standard is to provide fire equipment manufacturers and fire alarm monitoring organizations with a telecommunications protocol for connecting fire alarm systems to monitoring centres, in order to achieve system and equipment interoperability;
- AS 4428.6—1997 : Fire detection, warning, control and intercom systems — Control and indicating equipment - Alarm signalling equipment
This Standard sets out the requirements for the functional and performance requirements of equipment used to signal status changes at an automatic fire detection and alarm system to a monitoring service.
- AS 7240.21-2006 (R2016) - Fire detection and alarm systems Routing equipment
Specifies requirements, methods of text and performance criteria for fire alarm routing equipment and for fault warning routing equipment for use in fire detection and fire alarm systems installed in buildings.
Automatic Fire Alarm Service Providers
In Victoria there are three Automatic Fire Alarm Service Providers; ADT Fire Monitoring, Code Redd (Chubb) and Romtek. Each of these providers have proprietary Alarm Signalling Equipment that differs in appearance and operation from the alternatives.
ADT Fire Monitoring
ADT Fire Monitoring are the largest provider of monitoring services in Victoria. Their Alarm Signalling Equipment called the Centaur, Series I and Series II have been around for over 20 years.
The two models of the Centaur are very similar in function but differ slightly in terms of their features and functions.
The Centaur Series I originally was fitted with a radio modem and a backup telephone line for communicating alarm signals. The device features up to 8 alarm inputs. The ASE features THREE types of “KEYS” that provide the following functions;
- Test Key (Red)
- Isolate Key (Blue)
- Signal Strength Indicator SSI (Green)
This device is progressively being phased out in favour of the Centaur Series II which incorporates Dual SIM Radios, removing the need for a backup telephone line and overcoming issues related to the National Broadband Network.
The Centaur Series II has a similar operation to the Series I however it has fewer alarm inputs and uses a different type of “Key”. This key is commonly referred to as the USB style key.
ADT Fire monitoring can be contacted 24 hours by telephone on 1300 360 575.
Code Red (Chubb)
The Chubb Code Red is the second most popular Alarm Signalling Equipment (“ASE”) in Victoria and provides a range of both Fire Signals as well as non-fire signals such as;
- Circuit/device faults
- Circuit/device isolations
- Pump faults
- System tamper
- Power supply and/or battery faults
- Low system pressures
- Tank levels
Like the Centaur ASE, the Code Red uses a proprietary “Key” to activate the various functions of this system including the ability to “Test” and “Isolate” for maintenance purposes. Unlike the Centaur, the Code Red key is removed after activating the ASE and selecting the relevant function (Test or Isolate).
The Chubb Code Red Monitoring Centre offers 24/7 fire alarm monitoring services which can be contacted by telephone on 02 9930 5061.
Romteck / Romteck Grid
Romteck Australia Pty Ltd (“Romteck”) is the manufacturer of the Romteck ASE while Romteck Grid Pty Ltd (“Romteck Grid”) is a monitoring company. Romteck Grid is arguably the least known of the Automatic Fire Alarm Service Providers in Victoria however they are widely used in other states and Aviation.
According to Romteck they have submitted the Romteck ASE for testing to CSIRO Services with six listings under the provisions of the ActivFire Scheme.
Unlike the Centaur and the Code Red, the Original Romteck (Version 1) uses a traditional “Key” to change the state of an ASE to the required mode (Test, Normal, Isolate), while the new Romteck uses a Dallas Wireless
iButton (like the Chubb Code Red).
The Romteck can accommodate up to 8 alarm inputs.
Romteck Grid can be contacted by telephone (Control Room) on 1300 552 231.
Alarm Signalling Equipment Feature Overview1
|Manufacturer||ADT Fire Monitoring||Chubb||Romtek Grid|
|Centaur II||Centaur II Dual 3G||FFE CodeRed Series II||CodeRed Series III||Version 1||Version 2|
|Display Type or Status Indicators||LED||LED||LED||LED (15)||LCD||LED||LCD|
|Supply Voltage (DC)||12V / 24V||12V / 24V||12V / 24V||9V to 35V|
|Current (Typical)||50-200 mA @ 24V||1.6 mA @ 24V||35 mA @ 24V||500 mA @ 24V|
|Primary Line||Radio Link (Mobitex or GPRS) or PSTN||2G, 3G, Ethernet, PSTN||GPRS 2G, 3G of PSTN||PSTN||GPRS/PSTN||4G|
|Secondary Line||PSTN||3G or PSTN||3G or PSTN||PSTN||GPRS/PSTN||4G|
|Slave ASE's||Up to 12||Up to 12||Up to 10|
|Number of Inputs||6||4||4||6||6 to 66|
> Main Module
|100 x 174 x 78mm||97 x 171 x 80mm||97 x 171 x 80mm||178 x 101 x 77mm||
107 x 176 x 55mm
|87 x 108 x 73mm|
NBN and Alarm Signalling Equipment
Some Alarm Signalling Equipment (ASE) may be affected by the roll-out of the National Broadband Network ("NBN"). As the NBN is being rolled out across Australia, Telstra are decommissioning the old copper Public Switched Telephone Network ("PSTN") telephone lines.
In response, the manufacturers of Alarm Signalling Equipment have upgraded their devices to remove the need for a PSTN line. They typically achieve this by using dual radio modems (2G or 3G) for the signal transmission path.
If you have been advised by your telecommunications provider that your Fire Telephone Line is being disconnected, don't worry there is a solution.
To address this specific question, check out our article "My ASE is being disconnected due to the NBN" and request a copy of our FREE fact sheet which will be sent to you via email.
We have covered a lot in this article, but you may have more questions. If you do, feel free to reach out to us via our contact page and we will do our best to help.
- 1. The following information has been derived from publicly available information, and may change from time to time.