How to Troubleshoot a Simplex Fire Alarm Control Panel

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SimplexGrinnell is a well-known fire alarm company that provides alarm systems to a wide array of businesses, schools, hospitals and government installations. The heart of any Simplex system is the fire alarm control panel. The panel alerts you to know where possible fire threats are, displays any active error codes and also allows you to arm and disarm various parts of the system in the event of a test or emergency. Troubleshooting the panel should be the first priority in the event of a system malfunction.


Step 1

Verify the panel is getting power. Multiple green or yellow lights should be lit on the panel and an active LCD display should show the current date and time. If power is lost, it must be restored before the panel can resume normal operation. If the system has a power backup, which it should, the panel registers a power alarm until primary power is back on.

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Step 2

Check the panel itself for any signs of damage or tampering. If there are disconnected wires, loose connections or evidence of impact damage, the panel needs professional repair as soon as possible.

Step 3

Examine the LCD screen on the panel for any error codes. A sensor may have gone bad, and the panel tells you where the sensor is. Check the sensor in question and repair or replace it as needed to get the control panel to resume normal operation.


Step 4

Reset the panel by hitting the "reset" button. The system resets only if no active alarms are going off at the time. So any bad sensors or false alarms need to be taken care of before the system resets itself. The reset may eliminate glitches in the panel and get everything working properly again.


Step 5

Read the printout on the remote printer. SimplexGrinnell control panels print their readings and statuses to a printer to provide a hard copy backup in the event of mechanical failure. The printout may tell you exactly what is wrong in the system so you can go about fixing it.

Step 6

Run a diagnostic on the panel. The method varies depending on which model you have, but there should be a "diagnostics" option under the main menu screen. Hit "enter" once you find it. You need to be authorized on the system to run a diagnostic, so if you don't have clearance, a supervisor needs to do it and enter a security code. Scroll through the diagnostic device options and select any that you want to test. The panel and the printer tell you whether the device is working properly.

Step 7

Contact a professional repair technician if the panel is still malfunctioning.


Notify the fire department if you are running tests on the panel or if the system is malfunctioning. Many Simplex systems automatically call the fire department during an alarm activation, so communicate with them to prevent false responses.

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