A third-party study, A Comparison of Aspiration Smoke Detectors, done by Packer Engineering, demonstrates that the System Sensor FAAST and the Xtralis VESDAVLF aspirated smoke detection systems perform similarly, yet FAAST fares better in difficult conditions.
Packer conducted experiments under three test conditions: smoke, dust, and both smoke and dust. Overall, both aspiration systems alarmed with the presence of smoke. The progression of alarm levels was comparable between the two as the systems detected smoke. The differentiation came with the tests involving dust.
Dust testing results indicate that the VESDA system alarmed in most of the dust trials, while the FAAST system did not. Similarly, the smoke and dust testing showed the same results as the box with dust-only experiments in the first portion (dust) of this experiment: VESDA would falsely alarm with the presence of dust, and in most cases, FAAST would not. The aspiration systems responded differently when smoke was then introduced into the box: FAAST would alarm, whereas VESDA had already false alarmed for dust and remained on alarm.
The testing, which was conducted by Packer at The Fire Testing and Evaluation Center at the University of Maryland, reveals that the FAAST system has a higher capability to discriminate against nuisance sources. As a result, FAAST has fewer nuisance alarms compared to the VESDA system.