FS-8700-98 – Notifier NCA

Driver Version: 1.00

Document Revision: 15

FieldServer Driver – Serial


Notifier NCA


The NCA (Network Control Annunciator) Serial driver allows the FieldServer to record data from Notifier NCA over RS-232.  The FieldServer acts as a Passive Client receiving messages and recording the status of a Notifier NCA Panel. There is no active polling by this driver; the communications are one-way through the panel’s printer port, however the driver can generate some system commands like Ack, Reset, Silence and Drill if the FieldServer is connected to the NCA through its CRT port.  The panel MUST output messages in English.

This driver is not capable of emulating a Notifier NCA panel and the very limited Server functionality has only been implemented to facilitate FieldServer’s Quality Assurance program.

The NCA controls all the devices (e.g. NFS-3030, NFS-640 panels) connected in NOTI*FIRE*NET[1] architecture.  Each Fire Alarm Panel connected in NOTI*FIRE*NET architecture is considered as a Node.  240 Nodes can exist on one network.  The main purpose of this driver is to record the status of Fire Alarm System detectors and Modules at every Node in Data Arrays – one Data Array per loop per Node.

NCA interacts with other Fire Alarm Panels, records the status of all panels and sends the events to printer and CRT ports.  FieldServer captures these events in text form, parses and stores them in Data Arrays.  These Data Arrays can be controlled by third party tools.  Since the FieldServer does not actively poll for data, the accuracy and timeliness of the data is limited to the frequency of update messages that the Notifier Fire Panel issues.

The NCA can connect to additional NOTIFIER Fire Panels (with the proper network software), namely AFP-200, AFP-400, AFP-1010, AM2020, NFS-640, and NFS-3030.  Note that when AFP200’s and possibly AFP400’s are networked they do not send the ‘CLEARED’ message for latched points via the NCA so it is not possible to detect cleared points unless a system reset is done.

Please note that an NCA panel is theoretically capable of being configured with up to 321 180 points.  Although the FieldServer is capable of addressing and accessing each of these addresses, the point limits purchased with the FieldServer prevent the entire database from being accessed in any one application.  It is therefore strongly advisable to ensure that only the point addresses of interest are configured, and that the FieldServer is purchased with the correct point count.

The types of Notifier messages supported by this driver are summarized later in this manual.  In addition, a detailed table shows each type of NCA message the FieldServer recognizes and the effect that it has on the status of the points in the Data Array.


Fieldserver Mode Nodes Comments
Client 1 Each FieldServer port can connect to only 1 NCA panel
Server 0 The NCA driver cannot be used as a Server.


Formal Driver Type


Passive Client


Compatibility Matrix

FieldServer Model Compatible with this driver
FS-x2010 Yes
FS-x2011 Yes
FS-x30 Yes
FS-x40 Yes
SlotServer Yes


Connection Information

Connection type: RS-232
Baud Rates: 9600 (Device limitation, driver supports most standard baud rates)
Data Bits: 8 (Device limitation, driver supports 7,8)
Stop Bits: 1 (Device limitation, driver supports 1,2)
Parity: None (Device limitation, driver supports None, Even, Odd )
Multidrop Capability No


Devices tested:

Device Tested (FACTORY, SITE)






Connection configurations

The FieldServer is connected to the Notifier NCA Fire Panel as shown in the following connection drawing.

Configure the Notifier NCA Fire Panel according to manufacturer’s instructions.


Connection Notes

  • · The FieldServer can be connected to EITHER the TB8 (CRT port) or TB9 (Printer Port)
  • · If the FieldServer is connected to TB8, the port must be enabled and set to Not Supervised.
  • · If it is connected to TB9, then the Printer port must be enabled and set 80 columns, Not Supervised and the following Functions will not work, ACK, Signal Silence, System Reset, and Drill.


Communications functions – Supported functions at a glance:

Message Types Supported

This driver was designed to be connected to the Notifier NCA printer or CRT port, and listen for incoming messages.  The panel’s default setting for the printer port is off.  To utilize this driver, the printer port must be enabled to 80-columns, unsupervised.

The driver is capable of generating system commands (Ack, Reset, Silence and Drill) along with listening messages if the FieldServer connected to the CRT port of the NCA Panel.

The primary purpose of this driver is to record the status of devices connected to the NCA system by interpreting the text messages sent to the printer or CRT port and to generate some system commands on the CRT port.  Not all messages will be interpreted, as many messages do not directly pertain to device status, or are currently supported.  The following subset of event messages is recognized:

Active Events:


A detailed mapping of message interaction System Trouble messages provided by Notifier at the time this driver was written is tabulated in the NCA Driver Manual.  Any changes or additions by Notifier will not be reflected in this driver unless specifically revised.


Zone Status:

This driver will not record information about zone status that is incorporated with point status messages.  A device can belong to multiple zones, however, only the primary zone is listed in the printer output.  This severely limits the accuracy of zone data based on event generated messages, and therefore will not be recorded.


Panel Status:  Data Array Mapping:

The status of NCA devices will be recorded into a series of data arrays within the FieldServer, and is available for reading by any other connected device.  The data from each loop will be recorded into a separate data array, and a single system array will record system troubles. The structure of the data arrays is provided below.

Most of these arrays will only contain binary information to represent an active or inactive state.  However, there could be multiple troubles associated with a single device.  For each trouble message, the data array register corresponding to a particular device will be incremented as a counter and decremented when a trouble is cleared.


Parameter Registers (float)
{per loop}
Fire Alarm 0-199


modulesTrouble – Each point will increment/decrement the number of troubles recorded, system normal will reset the counter to zero500-799




modulesSecurity Alarm1500-1699










modules{system points only}System Troubles0-100Fire Alarm101-196


BellTrouble – Each point will increment/decrement the number of troubles recorded, system normal will reset the counter to zero201-296




BellSecurity Alarm401-496










Driver Limitations & Exclusions

  • · Zone information will not be recorded.
  • · Synchronization between the NCA panel and the FieldServer can only occur if the FieldServer is reset while the panel is in SYSTEM NORMAL mode.
  • · The NCA menu function called “Read Status” will not be recorded as this information is not available at the printer/CRT port
  • · The printer port must be enabled on the unit and set to 80 columns with NO supervision
  • · Any data related to non-event driven reports will not be recorded by the FieldServer
  • · This driver was written specifically for the following NCA firmware versions.  Any changes or additions by Notifier will not be reflected in this driver unless specifically revised.


  • · This driver will not record information about zone status that is incorporated with point status messages.
  • · This driver is not designed for multi-dropped panels.  There can only be one panel connected to any given FieldServer port.
  • · This driver records data as presented to the Printer/CRT port by the Notifier NCA, and can only be as accurate as this data.
  • · The driver can send Ack, Reset, Silence and Drill messages to the NCA Panel if the FieldServer is connected to the NCA Panel at the CRT port.
  • · Successful write message sent for functions such as Ack, Silence, Reset or Drill only mean that the message has been sent. The driver does not record whether the message was received or acted upon.


[1] For more detail about NOTI*FIRE*NET architecture contact Notifier Canada Ltd.

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