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DSC PC5108 Eight Hardwire Zone Expander Module

The DSC PC5108 Zone Expander is used to add additional hardwired zones to your existing control panel.  Each expander module has jumper settings that can be set for the desired zone numbers.  For example, if you are using an expander to add zones 9 through 16, you would make sure that jumper 1 is off, jumper 2 is on, and jumper 3 is on.

If using any wireless devices on your system, be sure not to include any wireless zone on a module that has been designated for hardwire devices.  The zone sets would be: Zones 1-8 (main panel), 9-16, 17-24, and 25-32… (more…)

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Programming DSC Zone Definitions

There are several times people get confused on programming their zone definitions into the DSC security systems.  It is fairly easy to do, but can also be really confusing.  Zone definitions basically tells the system how that zone is to respond to that device being triggered.  In other words, the definition tells the system how to function for that zone.  The only thing to remember when doing your definitions is to know that you will not enter a zone number, but only a definition.  You must also know how to count, because each time you enter a 2-digit zone definition, the system will do a quick triple beep and then you are ready to input the definition for the next zone.

Here are the most common Zone Definitions:

  • Definition 00 = Not Used (null, turned off)
  • Definition 01 = Delay 1 (ie: entry/exit doors)
  • Definition 03 = Instant (ie: window sensors, non entry doors, glass breaks)
  • Definition 05 = Interior Stay/Away (motion)
  • Definition 08 = Delayed 24hr Fire (hardwired)
  • Definition 88 = Standard 24hr Fire (wireless) (more…)
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RF House Code On Honeywell Alarm Panels

A few people I’ve talked to in the past on the tech support line have a big misunderstanding of what Honeywell’s RF House Code is used for or even what it is.

Honeywell incorporated the RF House Code into the programming of quite a few of their panels whether they be the hardwired Vista panels equipped with wireless receivers or their totally wireless Lynx panels. The house code was made for certain add-on accessories so that they wouldn’t take up zones in programming.

We will use the Honeywell 5800WAVE Wireless Siren, pictured to the left, as an example of how to set up the RF House Code in your Honeywell system and in the device itself. (more…)

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Installing a new battery into the WT4911 Siren

Rather you are replacing or installing the WT4911Bat (battery) in the WT4911 outdoor wireless siren, you must follow certain directions.  Failure to follow instructions during this installation process may damage your battery and your siren may not work.

When dealing with this certain type of battery, it must go through a depassivation mode.  The purpose of this is to pre-condition the battery so that it won’t drop below the minimum voltage of the device once a load has been applied.  This is done by advancing the discharge past the point of the voltage dip.

Before connecting your battery in the DSC WT4911, please read and follow theses instructions:

  1. Hold the tamper switch down and plug in the battery (continue holding tamper)
  2. Continue to hold the tamper switch down for 10 seconds and then release
  3. Once the tamper switch is released, the strobe lights on the WT4911/WT8911 will flash different patterns to indicate that it is in depassivation mode. (more…)
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Wireless Alarm Systems Comparisons (DSC, Honeywell, and GE)

As more and more homeowners are wanting to install their own system, they start to ask questions on what type of system to get. Most Do-It-Yourself people are wanting a wireless alarm system.

Lets get one thing straight, no professional grade alarm system is completely wireless. What I mean by that is, you will have at least one wire (18/2) needed to power your system. This goes for any wireless system. you will also need a phone line to your system, if you plan on the system calling out. If you don’t have a land-line then you could always go with GSM or IP communication.

I have worked extensively with four (4) wireless home security alarm systems. They are the Honeywell Lynx (R, R2, Plus, and Touch), the DSC Alexor and DSC Impassa, as well as the GE Simon XT. Below is a quick review and my personal opinion of each one.

Honeywell Lynx Series

This is a great system for self-monitoring. You can program a number for the system to call. When the system calls you, it has a voice recording saying, “Alarm, Front Door, Alarm, Back Door, etc…” It tells you exactly what zones had been tripped. The new Touch Series (Touch Screen) has a real nice look. The touch screen makes it easier to program the system. It is really difficult to hook any hardwired sirens to this system because the outputs are such low voltage, but it can be achieved with a relay and a power supply setup. Honeywell does make a wireless indoor siren for this system, but not out-door.   The Lynx Plus would be the easiest to hook a hardwired siren up.  There is a hardwired low-draw, low current siren, GE 13-950 or Wave2-Ex, you could use (for Lynx Plus only).  The Ademco / Honeywell Lynx panels are all self-contained. This means the main brain of the unit, indoor siren, and keypad are all in one unit. The body of the panel is strong and sturdy and is high in quality.  On a scale of 1 to 10, I rate the Lynx Plus an 7.5, and the Lynx Touches an 8.5.

DSC Alexor (PC9155)

The Alexor is a great system. Unlike the Lynx, the Alexor has a main brain and panel that can be completely hidden. You can place the panel in a utility closet, hall closet, etc.. If a burglar were to break in, they could not disable the system by hitting the keypad, unlike the Lynx panels. The system is great if you plan on having monitoring. I have been able to find a good monitoring service for $8.95 a month.  The DSC Alexor can be used for self-monitoring, but when it calls you, it does not inform you of what zone has been triggered; it only gives you DTMF tones.  This DSC system along with the Impassa are the only two wireless systems that have a compatible outdoor siren.  The Wt4911 comes with a built-in Blue or Red strobe light and a temperature sensor, which will allow the keypad to display the outside temp.  The Alexor is made great and is one of my most favorite systems.  On a scale of 1 to 10, I rate the Alexor an 8.5.

DSC Impassa

The DSC Impassa is great and just like the Alexor, however, the Impassa is a self-contained unit (just like the Lynx).  The main brain, siren, and keypad are all in one unit.  This system will also work with the bi-directional key fobs, outdoor wireless siren, as well as all other DSC wireless devices.  On a scale of 1 to 10, I rate the Impassa a 7.

GE Simon XT

The GE Simon is a self-contained unit, just like the Honeywell Lynx and DSC Impassa.  The GE Simon has the ability self-monitor as well.  If you want an outdoor siren, there is not a wireless one, but there is a hardwired low-draw, low current siren, GE 13-950, you could use.  The GE Simon has had a higher failure rate for me.  The body and plastics appear to be flimsy and more easily broken.  I have had many customers return the GE Simon XT due to poor quality and failure.  On a scale of 1 to 10, I rate the GE Simon a 4.5.

Overall, if you want monitoring, I’d suggest the DSC Alexor and if you plan on self-monitoring, I would suggest the Honeywell Touch (L5000 or L5100).  Both Systems are great and I would put either system in my home at anytime.

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DSC Alarm System Troubles

Confused About DSC Trouble Conditions

Confused About DSC Trouble Conditions

Many people call and state that they have a trouble light or a triangle lit up on their keypad. If either of those are lit up, then your system is letting you know that something isn’t right. Here is an easy way to tell what the trouble may be.

On your DSC Keypad, hit ” * 2

Zone light will turn on showing trouble

Zone Light 1 Service Required, Press 1 again to show exact trouble (more…)

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Ability of the Honeywell Lynx Touch L5000 & L5100 to call out for self-monitoring

We have had quite a few people calling in to ask whether the new Lynx Touch panels, the L5000 & L5100, will call out for self-monitoring purposes. Honeywell has been telling people that these panels will not do this. But we have tested this out here in the office and we do know for a fact that both of these panels will call to phone numbers for self-monitoring.

The Lynx touch panels will do what is called a follow me phone number. This will allow your alarm panel to dial two phone numbers beside a central station phone number. This is very useful if you do not want central station monitoring service right off the bat. You can have the Lynx call you in case of emergency and it will announce what exactly is being violated. (more…)

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How To Hook Up An Additional Siren Using Honeywell Vista Trigger Pins

If you have already exhausted the power output of terminals 3 & 4 on your Vista control panel then you can use trigger output 17 on your Vista board to trigger 1 additional siren by doing the following. You will need the wiring harness used for this purpose. The part number is Honeywell 4120TR:

  1. Hook the negative of the siren to pin 1 on your Vista board
  2. Hook the positive of the siren to pin 3 on your Vista board

Now, after you have hooked the siren to the trigger pins as instructed above you will have to go into programming and enter the following information. This programming will let the sirens differentiate between burglary and fire conditions because the siren pulses differently for each condition. (more…)

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Additional power for an extra sirens / strobes on a DSC Power Series

Wiring for additional power on a DSC Power Series

Wiring for additional power on a DSC Power Series

The DSC Power Series hardwire systems, like all systems have limits to their output used for sirens and strobes. You are limited to no more than 2 amps short-term draw with a good backup battery. Short term means during a reasonable alarm period. I’d recommend keeping your bell cutoff time to under 5 minutes to stay within the “short term” guidelines. Note: The manual states the limit is 700ma, however this is without a backup battery and a continuous rating and as such is usually not pertinent to most users.

You’ll find current draw ratings on the sounders and strobes we sell, but as a general rule we tell people you can put one indoor siren and one outdoor siren on the system and stay under this 2 amp limit. Of course you could swap the indoor siren for a strobe and stay under too since strobes typically draw less. If you need more than this however it’s time to look at an additional power supply to power additional sirens or strobes. (more…)

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