HILLS’ Reliance alarm panel needs little introduction – that’s because the ancestral platforms that preceded it have been charming installers and end users for nearly 10 years. Released on 1 November 2007, Reliance uses the excellent bus-based platform that NX panels always have. Some new products can leave you battling to find a point of differentiation, not Reliance. The key elements here are ‘bigger’ and ‘simpler’. But before we go on, it’s important to stop and flesh out the Reliance family. There are 3 systems available – an 8-zone, a 16-zone and a 128-zone system. According to Hills’ Reliance product manager Kevin Wong, Reliance has powerful foundation features that allow up to 8 areas with separate reporting codes, users and operating options for each area. “What the improvements mean is that installers can now use one platform to service more sites and cater to customer requirements,” Kevin says. “This is especially beneficial for sites above 48 zones that previously required moving towards a larger system with more powerful features that might not be necessary for a given installation.” “There’s support for 24 codepads, 99 uses and an additional duress code – it’s a feature spread that allows end users to operate a comprehensive security solution using just one panel,” he explains. It’s pretty obvious that the Reliance designers looked at the venerable NetworX solution and divining its inherent power worked hard to give users and installers even more of everything they’ve always loved. This manner of thinking is apparent across the entire feature set and taken together the improvements constitute a solution with consummate power. For a start there are auxiliary outputs on each model that allow the integration of door openers to handle garage doors. It doesn’t sound like a big deal until you’re able to use this feature to offer customers a level of real life integration competitors can’t. Then there’s tamper and supervision functionality. Simple enough, you say. But with Reliance you can apply tamper and supervision to the panel case, all the codepads, the expansion modules, siren, the telephone line and the battery. These features offer an enhanced level of system integrity that makes others systems look like they’re groping in the dark. Another great feature of Reliance is that it’s designed to resist false alarms. This is a feature that has the taste of the CP-01 initiative about it. Most false alarms occur on exit or entry as any control room operator will tell you. Reliance fights back by sending an exit error signal to the control room allowing operators to call the user and have them reset the alarm while they’re still nearby. It’s a great idea. In addition, Kevin says “Reliance has a programmable Twin Trip feature that allows zones to be programmed so they do not report an alarm unless they are tripped twice within a predetermined time, while sounding codepads and/or the siren between trips if desired”. “Reliance also has fully selectable event reporting options so installers and control rooms can determine what information is necessary to provide an accurate picture of the operation of the security system depending on the level of security required,” Kevin explains. “20 zone types can be fully reprogrammed to allow installers and control rooms the flexibility to meet the requirements of the customer.” One thing that’s always stood out with NetworX gear is the beauty of its bus-based approach. It’s a format that makes for easy expansion and Reliance has lashings of it. “Expansion modules include hardwired zone expanders, a range of wireless zones expanders, open collector or relay output modules, remote power supply and bus repeater (extend system cabling by an additional 800m with optical BUS isolation), remote keyfob kits and a range of codepad options)” Kevin says. “Remote programming and downloading is possible using DL900 software with all features presented in a graphical user interface that allows control rooms and installers to make changes to the system programming as needed without visiting the site,” he explains. “This time-saving feature is great for commissioning and user change requests such as changing PIN codes.” While we’ve highlighted the expanded functionality of Reliance it’s a mistake to think there’s nothing new about this product. Key additions include basic access control functions delivered by the NX 508E output module and NX1701EAU card reader. Another powerful new feature is the NX-590E Ethernet TCP/IP Interface Module which brings Ethernet connectivity to the reliance family meeting future communication requirements. In the field You can say anything you like about a product on paper but the real test is in the field and it’s here the Reliance panel really shines. According to Steve Payne of Complete Integrated Alarm Solutions (C.I.A Solutions) in Melbourne, his company has been hungry for an NX-based alarm panel that cracks the 48-zone barrier for a while. “When we scored a big job at a major hardware store I asked Paul Domanski at DAS if there was any way we get our hands on software to expand the NX panel and his reply was that something was in the pipeline and samples were on their way,” explains Steve. “After a few months Paul handed me some sample motherboards and told me we were the first installers to get Reliance 128 in our hot little hands.” Steve and his team didn’t waste any time getting to grips with Reliance. “We promptly replaced the existing main board in the NX panel in our office with Reliance – and colleague Andrew and I also changed out home systems and really started working to put this panel through its paces,” Steve explains. “Once the hardware store site was completed we’d installed 78 zones in 3 of the 8 available areas,” says Steve. “The first 8 zones of Reliance can be programmed to suit a number of different EOL values – that’s a handy feature when you’re replacing older or different panels” Steve explains that when the C.I.A Solutions team got hold of Reliance the DL-900 software wasn’t available so a lot of the programming was done via the keypad. “Funnily enough that was not a drama,” says Steve. “Like its baby brothers the Reliance 128 is a breeze to program and just prior to commissioning we got hold of the USB programming dongle and it worked a treat. “When we got the new DL-900 software soon after, Andrew completed the final programming of the system and found it worked well in both remote and direct connect modes.” Steve says that C.I.A Solutions has not yet used the IP module but has fielded enquiries from an existing client interested in using it to get live reports via email. “Since the hardware job we have also installed a Reliance 128 in a private residence and we really stretched the system,” Steve says. “This solution is not just acting as a security solution, it’s also monitoring 3 water level sensors located in a sump pit and cellar. These 3 zones are set to 24-hour silent reporting and inform the control room if the main pump requires service or has failed.” “And as all the doors in the premises are Besam electric, the NX-508 open collector module has been used in conjunction with Sentrol smoke/thermal detectors to release all door locks in the event of fire.” Steve says “overall the Reliance platform has a broad range of expanders and modules available to handle all sorts of applications”. “For us they have been most reliable from a service/installation point of view,” Steve says. “Trouble in the field has varied from lightning strike through the PSTN line, water damage and one occasion, corrosion caused by a leaky SLA battery in an un-monitored installation – none of which has reflected on the Reliance system. “DAS has always provided us with good technical support and service and they carry plenty of stock with a quick turnaround on delivery,” Steve explains. “When installed and serviced by us we offer a 5-year warranty on these units and all I can say is that like their predecessors, the Reliance panels are a piece of cake to install, program and use.” Additional Features of Reliance * 8, 16, 128 zones * Auto Arming and Disarming in the main board * Auto Partial Arm by Area * Disable Bypass For Force Arm * Zone Inactivity Monitor * Auxiliary outputs with 2-state programmable logic over 56 events * Selectable End-Of-Line Resistors on the main panel * Selectable Steady/Evac Siren tone for fire zones and selectable chime options (chime once, follow input, or latch) allow you to customise options depending on user preferences. * Smoke + terminal is a programmable auxiliary * NX-588E Flash Programming Module (available December 2007)