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Optical smoke detectors incorporate a pulsing LED located in a labyrinth within the housing of the detector. The labyrinth is designed to exclude light from any external source. At an angle to the LED is a photo-diode which, in clear air conditions, does not receive light directly from the LED. The detector transmits a clear air signal to the control panel. When smoke enters the labyrinth, light is scattered onto the photo-diode and the signal to the panel increases. The signal is processed by the electronic circuitry and transmitted to the control equipment in exactly the same way as in the case of the ionization smoke detector.
Full details of the principles of operation and the electrical description are published in the XP95 Engineering Product Guide. XP95 I.S. detectors have the same operating characteristics as the standard versions.