How To Integrate Your FACPs and Other Equipment With Newer Fire Alarm Monitoring Equipment

By Ziad Alezabi

January 24, 2024

The need to replace outdated equipment from your fire alarm monitoring system can come up when you encounter the following:

  • System failures
  • Escalating repair cost & frequency
  • Dissatisfaction with the lack of technical support that comes along with outdated equipment.
  • Failure to communicate with modern equipment as your system continuously evolves

This white paper will explore the strategic approach of integrating legacy fire alarm monitoring equipment such as Fire Alarm Control Panels (FACPs) with modern systems using mediation techniques that have been developed by industry experts.

When To Know That It's Time To Integrate

The idea of integrating new and old equipment may put some people off. Nobody wants a Frankenstein monitoring system when it comes to something as serious as fire safety. When people envision this, they think of in-house type solutions that leave with a wired mess.

There is no reason to worry, however, because a good fire alarm monitoring system manufacturer will be able to help you integrate newer and older equipment seamlessly. Even if that old equipment fails to communicate with newer technology.

Do you recognize any of the following symptoms in your existing alarm monitoring system?

  • Frequently false alarms: When equipment starts to get old, it will start malfunctioning. This will cause faulty alarms that will most likely cost you money to send out personnel and equipment to deal with it.
  • Signs of wear and tear: If you see signs of overuse on any of your equipment such as your sensors, your FACPs, or your communication devices -- then it is time to look for equipment upgrades. You do not want to put your fire alarm system's maintenance on hold. This could cost you lives and asset damage.
  • Outdated equipment with no support: Your alarm monitoring equipment is truly legacy when its original manufacturer no longer supports it. The good news is that you don't have to necessarily throw it away. A good fire alarm monitoring system manufacturer will help you interface with it through modern equipment. This will further expand your existing system's lifespan.
  • Repair costs are piling up and becoming too expensive: Older equipment will start to malfunction more often the older that it gets. At a certain point, it makes more sense budget-wise to start integrating newer technology. Keep in mind that manufacturers should always do their best to save as much of your existing monitoring system as possible when integrating new equipment.
  • You're unable to scale your system with your growing operation: it is time to find a manufacturer that will able to help you integrate if you're having problems extending your fire alarm monitoring system to your future site expansions.

If any of these points resonated with you then it's time to contact a manufacturer that will allow you to integrate your system forward and future-proof your system.

This is not a sketchy oil merchant solution. There are major cities in the United States that have stuck with their telegraph alarm systems and looked for ways to integrate that system with new technology. They either don't want to rip a huge system out or find their existing system too reliable to get rid of.

Digitize clients look to purchase our panels when their telegraph alarm systems begin to deteriorate. This is because of the Digitize panel's ability to interface with legacy equipment with their existing system and report information back to the System 3505 Prism LX.

Some of Digitize's clients include major historical cities that have had their telegraph fire alarm monitoring systems in place since the inception of telegraph alarms.

What Legacy Integration Should Look Like

Digitize’s legacy integration process involves connecting a Muxpad with the existing fire alarm control panel.

The Muxpad interface connects with the legacy FACP and collects information and data from the printer port or the relay contact closure.

There are also the VersAlarm panels, which are advanced versions of Muxpad. VersAlarm panels can transmit data over the Ethernet and have backup communication protocols. In the event of the VersAlarm's failure, critical information can still be transmitted back to the head end unit.

This is thanks to its dual functionality, which allows for alternate communication protocols and methods. Data is then transmitted through your fire alarm monitoring Multiplex network. This is done through mediums such as Ethernet, fiber, radio, or copper pair.

Optimally, the information that is collected would then be transmitted to a fire alarm monitoring head-end unit where in-depth information would be displayed and possibly printed. In Digitize’s case, this would be the System 3505 Prism LX.

The System 3505 Prism LX is designed to be installed directly into existing fire alarm infrastructure. This headend unit will even support and monitor panels that are no longer supported by the original manufacturer.

The System 3505 is also non-intrusive. This means you can install it into your existing infrastructure without needing to gut out your system or any major construction. It also gives you a gateway solution to further upgrading your existing system whenever you want in the future.

This means that you can get a longer lifespan out of your existing equipment than you had previously thought.

An Example Of Legacy Integration At Digitize

An example of integrating legacy equipment through our fire alarm monitoring system solutions is a major city. This is Digitize's biggest installation ever.

The city had a masonry concrete building that was located in the center of a park away from the rest of the town. This was due to the town burning quite often, so they wanted their alarm and monitoring equipment to be away from possible fire damage.

This city has countless System 3505 Prism LX units and decoder cards inside the concrete building. This system goes out to loops all over the city.

The prime benefit of such an application is that when someone flicks an alarm box's hook down, responders will have the box number and deploy their units within seconds.

While this might seem like an antique idea, it is continuously reliable and functioning. When it comes to fire alarm monitoring, that should be the primary concern.

Legacy Integration Is Digitize's Specialty

As you can see, even though a major US city utilizes a physical pull alarm, which is a legacy technology, it effectively reports, monitors, and dispatches fire alarms promptly, resulting in repeated life and asset-saving.

They are also able to scale forward thanks to Digitize's Prism LX. When looking for a new manufacturer to buy your fire alarm monitoring solutions, you must consider how they can interface with your existing systems.

Here is what John Ermatinger has to say about how Digitize interfaces with your existing systems:

To sell our system to someone with an existing system, we write an interface with that system. We write an interface protocol that can listen to fire alarm monitoring systems from other manufacturers. Then the client can continue to use their existing system and migrate into our systems. Customization. The bottom line is that we can "customize" our systems to work with other systems. - John Ermatinger

Digitize stands out in this aspect, providing solutions that interface with existing systems, thereby extending their lifespan and operational efficiency. The successful integration of a major US city's legacy system with Digitize's Prism LX provides a convincing testament to this approach. Customization is the key; it ensures the legacy systems' longevity and prepares them for future advancements. As John Ermatinger aptly puts it, the ability to "customize" systems to work with others is the way forward in fire alarm monitoring solutions.

Good fire alarm monitoring manufacturers will enable you to integrate legacy equipment with newer technology to make your transition easier. They also will focus on the reliability, scalability, and reliability of your data transmission protocols.

At Digitize, we believe in providing solutions that interface with existing systems, because we know everybody wants to save money and stay with technology that they're familiar with. We're also aware that customization is the key to forward scalability.

If you would like a fire alarm monitoring system manufacturer that understands your needs, offers invaluable expertise in tech support, in-depth documentation, and onsite visits, and knows that your success is their success, then give us a call today.

Even if we are not able to come to a compromise, I will still do my best to point you in the right direction.

Call me at 1-800-693-0351 or Email me at

Ziad Alezabi

Ziad Alezabi

Ziad Alezabi is a seasoned marketing writer renowned for his expertise in crafting compelling content and strategic marketing communications. With a rich background in the industry, Ziad has contributed significantly to various projects, delivering engaging blog articles, impactful videos, and...Read More