Friday, June 20, 2014

Another Corporate Promise broken as Honeywell brings an end to the FBI Burglar Alarm Brand

F.B.I. Fire Burglary Instruments  was a small company which started in Haupage NY. and the first panel of theirs which I worked on in 70's  was the FBI 650 a combo Burglary and Fire Panel designed for a residence it was first designed to have a dry cell battery for back up and subsequently was converted to allow Jell Cell lead acid battery's to be used for back up. Similar in design and features to Ademco's 330  the FBI 650 panel was ahead of its time when it come to design .
It had a built in assembly which took an electron tube you purchased separately  to allow for Direct Connect
also known as leased line or polarity reversal connection .
This is back in the days before Digital Communicators  where you leased from the phone company a set of phone wires from your home or business to the local police station or some times to a telephone answering service which then called police for you like today's modern central stations.

The problem with the 650 panel like so many panels back then was it was during this time when alarm systems started going from Mechanical relays to a mix of relays and Solid State Electronics.
Which often resulted in false Alarms . Unfortunately this was a common problems with too many alarm systems and components as they where just not properly built to prevent false alarms and there was a very big learning curve to be overcome, In the 70's and 80's there was just a lot of junk on the market period.
But FBI stuck it out and got thru issues as did other manufacturers and when it come out with its very stable
XL series of panels in late 80's they where an instant hit.
Then when the computer wave of the 90's hit and up/downloading allowed remote programming and event  logging of panels came along these where great panels to install .
One panel in particular I liked to install was the XL-4 a 128 zone panel which was very stable and had many features but lacked one crucial feature a built in or addable wireless  receiver. Which lead to its ultimate demise.
One of the great features of the XL series panels was there simplicity of operation .
push 4 digit code turn it on push the 4 digit code again turn system off . Very nice system for seniors  which no one makes today they all require extra keys you must hit to arm and disarm. F.B.I.came out with all kind of neat modules too like  the talking siren module which warned  intruders they had activated an alarm system and to leave police had been called.
But then in the mid 90's Ademco's parent company Pittway Corporation
bought out the FBI brand and many of us where angry but Pittway stayed true to letter it sent to every dealer and kept the line going and actually improved it and brought out a panel the OMNI which had a built in wireless receiver.  That was till around 2000 when Pittway was wholly acquired by Honeywell Corporation who made no improvements and just allowed the panel line to die out which it has now allowed to happen as the last FBI panel made by Honeywell the XL2T  was discontinued this month.
Had Honeywell put a wireless receiver in the panel it probably would still be a best seller.
Yes there where only a hand full of dealers like me with senior customers who put a couple of these panels in for there simplicity for seniors to operate but it was not enough to sustain the line .
How ever some of the good features that FBI panels had in them have been incorporated into Honeywell's line of panels so the FBI panels will live on just not as we know them.

As far as alarm systems for seniors they have been screwed again seems no one wants to sell to the senior market other than to sell them medic alert system. Instead of home alarms which help them feel secure and prevent false alarm activation's.  What a dam shame. Of course this is not the first line of panels Pittway and Honeywell have bought up and Killed it also includes .
C&K Systems and Apex controls
 and many other corporations like GE also helped kill many good product lines as well. But tha'ts just the way corporations behave they put out what they think the consumer wants and needs and never talks to them to find out what they really want.

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