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An optical beam smoke detector is a device that uses a projected beam of light to detect smoke across large areas,typically as an indicator of fire.They are used to detect fires in buildings where standard point smoke detectors would either be uneconomical or restricted for use by the height of the building. Optical beam smoke detectors are often installed in warehouses as a cost-effective means of protecting large open spaces.

An end-to-end optical beam smoke detector is a system that has a separate light transmitter and receiver. They are used in applications where there is little available room to install a wide area detector – as the receiver is on a separate element each individual unit is quite small.The small size of the detector is also an advantage for aesthetic installations, where fire protection is required without introducing unsightly or overtly modern devices. Aesthetic considerations are especially important for cultural and heritage sites. End-to-end detectors include open-area smoke imaging detection, in which two wavelengths of light are used to detect smoke.


A reflective optical beam smoke detector incorporates a light transmitter and the detector on the same unit. The light path is created by reflecting light emitted from the transmitter off a retroreflector that is placed opposite the detector.


A motorised optical beam smoke detector automatically aligns itself during installation and can compensate for alignment ‘drift’ i.e. where the optical path of the light beam changes over time Both end-to-end systems and reflective systems can be motorised.