Notifier initiates panel recall

Issues software upgrade for AM2020, AFP-1010 panels
Monday, December 1, 2003

NORTHFORD, Conn. - Engineered systems distributors that carry Notifier products were contacted in late October that two of the fire product manufacturer’s most popular panels were in need of a crucial software upgrade to keep the units operating at maximum functionality.

About 6,000 of the two panels, Notifier’s AM2020 and AFP-1010, workhorses of the Notifier line, according to one ESD, need to have a software chip containing updated software replaced to correct what company officials called an “anomalous condition.” The condition is a software glitch that would allow the device’s Type ID to change unexpectedly, making the panel appear to be a photo detector, under periods of high system communications traffic.

Notifier officials declined to disclose how many of the two types of panels are currently in use, how much the recall might affect current year revenues or how much the upgrades might cost Notifier ESDs.

“Costs will vary, because each distributor has its own costs for labor,” said Leslie Craddock, company spokesperson.

At press time, the company did say that only about 0.002 percent of units manufactured had reported problems and that the company was voluntarily offering the software upgrade at no charge to its customer base. The upgrade will be open to panels sold to distributors between January 2000 and May 19, 2003.

Fire Systems Design, a Notifier ESD in Hurst, Texas, estimated that it will only have to replace software chips on 10 panels.

“The firmware chip replacement, that alone is not difficult, but the issue that comes with that is now you have to retest the systems,” said Todd Burgart, vice president of marketing for FSD. “That is the time-consuming part on our end.”

Burgart said that his company had received detailed records from Notifier, including lists of the panels his company had purchased, the dates of purchase and the purchase order for the company to track the panels through their system.

Another Notifier ESD, Antronnix in Silver Springs, Md., funnels the recall information directly to its technical department. That department, according to Antronnix President Ed Graves, sends out registered letters by certified mail to all Antronnix’s clients to notify them of the recall.

The technical aspects of the recall are such that “most customers won’t even know,” Graves said.

In conjunction with its notification process to customers, Notifier contacted the Consumer Products Safety Commission and also issued a Technical Bulletin to all domestic and international entities that purchased the panels in that time period.