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The wiring methods permitted by the NEC depend on the whether the fire alarm circuit is classified as "power-limited" or "non-power-limited." In simple terms, a non-power-limited circuit has the potential to have an unlimited amount of power on the circuit under fault conditions. By its design, a power-limited circuit strictly limits the amount of power on the circuit under fault conditions.
Thus, a power-limited circuit poses less of a shock and fire hazard than posed by a non-power-limited circuit. However, this doesn't mean that the chances for severe personal injury are eliminated when using power-limited circuits.
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