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Fitlet brings dependable connectivity to innovative fire-safety networking solution

Published: 23 March 2017 - Sarah Mead

High reliability, powerful compute performance and rich connectivity made Fitlet - the latest generation of Tiny Green PC’s rugged mini computers - the first choice to power the SMaRT interfaces of Drax Technology’s AMX system for centralising control of complex fire and security networks.

Ensuring the safety of people and places in the event of fire is a mandatory mission for managers of buildings or workplaces. Large organisations and sites with multiple buildings must be monitored continuously and tested regularly. Drax Technology’s AMX alarm-management system streamlines these tasks for building operators.

“Professional fire alarm contractors choose our AMX software and SMaRT interfaces to centralise the monitoring and management of multiple alarm systems, which may be installed in a single building, several buildings on a site, or distributed over a wide geographical area,” explains Keith Minster, Product Manager at Drax Technology.

But premises can often have separate fire-monitoring networks using different protocols installed over time by various contractors. AMX can connect and centralise disparate systems which simplifies management, expansion or upgrading of any existing alarm system.

“Our software can work with many types of systems, which communicate data in a variety of differing formats,” comments Keith Minster “and bring all the information together, presented in a single, coherent and easy to understand user interface.”

SMaRT Interface with Fitlet

AMX software runs on a dedicated PC and can interpret the data from a wide variety of systems. Security or safety personnel in a central control room can monitor the status of the entire fire-safety infrastructure in real-time. They can isolate devices, identify faults and access control panels remotely.

AMX maintains an electronic log of events such as alarms, tests and maintenance, and generates reports that help verify maintenance is being done correctly and demonstrate compliance with legal obligations.

Each individual fire system is connected to the central AMX computer by a SMaRT interface unit. This unit is built with a mini fanless computer from Tiny Green PC (Fitlet), chosen for its ease of use, small size, and excellent reliability. The Fitlet communicates with the central computer over the building’s existing IT infrastructure, using standard TCP/IP over Ethernet for simplicity and convenience.

The computer at the heart of each SMaRT interface is an ultra-small Fitlet PC (size of your hand) packing a powerful 1GHz AMD A4 quad-core CPU, with up to 16GB of RAM, two Gigabit Ethernet ports, 4 USB 2.0, 2 USB 3.0 ports, a 6Gbit/s mSATA slot, digital audio support and power management including auto-on, wake-on-LAN and wake-on-time. Graphics are rendered courtesy of the AMD Radeon R3 chipset, although the Drax SMaRT interfaces use Fitlet-i in headless mode.

Chosen on Merit, and Track Record

Originally FitPC – a tough UCFF powered by Intel CPU – was the computer behind SMaRT interfaces. When Tiny Green PC updated its range to incorporate a new generation of micro pc with AMD processors as well as new high-speed interfaces such as USB 3.0, Drax found Fitlet-i to be the best choice in the market. “We evaluated potential alternatives, which have come onto the market since we first chose the FitPC,” comments Keith Minster.

“Obviously, reliability and quality are extremely important to us, as this is a life-safety application. Fitlet-i is robust and reliable, just like the FitPC, with all the connectivity we need, and a convenient 12V DC input that works well with our existing power supply and backup battery.

It was also the only computer we could find that meets all our requirements and comes with a suitable bracket to enable straightforward and secure attachment in our enclosure. We chose Fitlet-i based on its own technical merits, as well as our previous positive experiences with FitPC.”

“We also know that we can rely on direct answers to any questions we have with TinyGreenPC, and overall, Fitlet-i is easy to design in, easy to use, and simply works,” attests Drax’s Keith Minster. “It’s completely dependable, and provides 100-percent peace of mind for us and our customers.”

About Drax

Drax supplies the AMX alarm-management system throughout the UK, Europe, and further afield such as the Middle East and India, through accredited distributors and fire-safety specialists. Drax’s Keith Minster estimates that over 400 SMaRT interfaces are currently in service.

A recent major project installed more than 20 interfaces in a prison in the north west of the UK to monitor both fire and general alarm systems. In the last year, Drax has also provided SMaRT interfaces for use in Bath and Coventry Universities, and Imperial College in central London, to expand large AMX systems already monitoring thousands of smoke and heat sensors via dozens of fire alarm control panels.

For more information, please visit www.tinygreenpc.com

Industry Connections: Drax UK Ltd


 
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