Installing recessed door contacts

Old 09-18-04, 01:53 PM
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Installing recessed door contacts

I need some advice on installing recessed door contacts. I've got 4 doors to cover and I bought 3/4" Ademco recessed contacts for them. First, is there any requirment for where the contacts have to be installed. I've seen pictures where they've typically installed them at the top of the door. Do they have to be vertical or could they be installed on the side or, even, the bottom of the door? Secondly, one of the doors is the front entry and it's a custom door that has sidelights and an overhead window. Very difficult to find a place to drill the holes and run wires. How is this typically done? This is where I was thinking that I might be able to put the contact in the bottom frame of the door. Thoughts?
Old 09-19-04, 05:54 PM
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There's no hard and fast rule on placing the door contacts. Generally, the top or side of the latch side is best. Given this unusual install, you will have to get creative. The bottom edge is probably a no-go. The contact will not handle being directly exposed to being walked on on a regular basis, and the gap is probably too wide for even "wide gap" contacts, once the weather strip is taken into account.

My gut instinct is to bring the wire in at the bottom of the frame, hiding it behind the base molding, if possible, and place the contact in the lower quarter of the latch side. A lot depends on how the door frame and it's trim are assembled, and whether you have access before the door assembly is put in place.
Old 09-19-04, 08:18 PM
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On your front door, does the side glass go all the way to the floor or is it set in a frame and stop say 6 or so inches from the floor?

I've done a few of those. I used an 18" 1/4" Flexi-bit (Ademco has them). I would put the bit on the door frame way down low, about 2 inches up from the floor. I would eye the angle so it aimed down towards the basement and forward toward the foyer, but not so much that you will punch out before going through the floor. The trick is to get in the basement at an angle that will pass over the foundation.

When the bit punched through, I would leave it in the hole and go find it in the basement. Once I knew where it came through, I would go back upstairs, pull it out and then use a 3/4" spade bit and drill straight in to the door frame right over the 1/4" hole. This would give me a nice 3/4" contact hole with a tiny 1/4" hole (that goes to the basement) in the side of the bigger hole that holds the contact. All of this was under the side-light window at the front door. The trick is "the angle" of the flexi-bit. Stare down it like a rifle barrel before turning on the drill. Picture the angle and "visualize" where the bit will punch out. If you're really not sure, go very very slow, if the tip starts to come out the wall or frame, stop and reangle the bit. I used this method for many wierd "shots" and it usually works. Also, make a dent with a nail or something to give that Flex-Bit something to grab when it starts. Without a starter "dent", the drillbit will ride all over the frame and make a mess. It's hard to put a lot of pressure on these bits because they are made to bend.

If I hit one that I just couldn't do, I would revert to very small surface contacts. There is no rule that says that surface contacts have to be mounted on the top of a door. Sometime down low on the latch side makes them almost invisible. You can even paint them to match the door and frame. This allows you to wire "straight" down to the basement. Most people wouldn't even notice that they are there

Good luck
paul o's
Old 09-20-04, 06:26 AM
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Got it - thanks

I got it done this weekend. The sidlights are about 6 inches above the floor as you described. I CAREFULLY drilled the 3/4" hole for the contact then used a very long 3/8" bit to drill at an angle in the basement. Worked like a charm and no damage to the door.

Thanks for the help!

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