New to DIY - Home Alarm Problems


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Old 09-20-07, 06:26 PM
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New to DIY - Home Alarm Problems

Hello, I wish I came across this site months ago...

I have a pretty outdated alarm system from Honeywell (I believe it was installed in 1988-9). Sorry I don't have the model number available at the moment (away from home).

Apparently after a blackout / heavy storm, my alarm system has "frozen". Both of my keypads are frozen and no longer respond to any pushing of buttons. I called my alarm company (HSM) and "reset" the alarm box (turning off and on) but the keypads still do not respond...

I have already dropped too much money into this POS dinosaur (all towards labor cost with HSM). HSM wants me to dump even more money in fixing the problem I have now. I will not pay $130/hr rate to have someone come and work on a system that will prob break again. I wanted to cancel my member ship with HSM due to their bad customer service (thoroughly dissatisfied with this company) but I still have 9 months left in my contract.

My questions are as follows:

Can I salvage this dinosaur? Is this a common problem?

If not, I am new to the DIY scene for alarms, are there affordable systems out there where I can install myself AND still salvage/utilize the 9 months left of monitoring service with HSM? (in other words, which DIY systems are compatible with monitoring companies?) I would like to at least use the monitoring service that I will be paying for whether or not I get my alarm system fixed...

Thanks in advance for your advice.
 
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Old 09-20-07, 07:04 PM
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How did they have you reset it? You should have unplugged the transformer and disconnected the battery, did you do this?

It does sound like the system is fried, but we have others on this board that know more then I.

You can pick up a decent Ademco alarm panel for around $150-200. That's without the sensors and such. This would probably be your best option.

Hang in there.

Welcome to the Forums!
 
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Old 09-20-07, 07:34 PM
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The wiring layout was done different in the 80's than it is now. To even get a system in place to work with, you will more than likely need to look at rerunning some wiring above or under the house. It can get messy pretty quickly when trying to update wiring of that age. Maybe a good idea to let a company handle it unless your familiar with a variety of alarm wiring schemes.
 
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Old 09-20-07, 08:47 PM
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Kind of depends on what you have now. If you have an older system with addressable or point ID devices, it can cost a bit. On the other hand, its seen its day, and is due for replacement. A point id system has devices with addresses on them, either on a chip or with dipswitches. The old devices aren't compatible with the new systems.

If it's a standard system, you will most likely be able to replace the panel and keypads, and make everything work. Some things you will have to watch for - you probably have 4 wire smoke detectors, you may have a siren or it may be a speaker.

Make sure the new panel can handle them, as not all support 4 wire smokes. Some panel have a voltage siren out, some a siren driver, some both. Siren driver boards can be bought for about $20 or so, though.

HSM should be able to monitor any panel you can get as a DIY. Good luck.
 
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Old 09-20-07, 09:20 PM
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Thanks for all the replies. I heard from the previous owner that he had an issue a few years ago with this system and HSM came out and did something with the battery. He suggested I get a new $10 battery from Home Depot... I hope it's this easy.

So I guess my option of just replacing the central system and 2 keypads are out of the question? I have a remote door sensor (could not run a wire to the mudroom door), motion detector, bunch of window sensors, siren, 2 keypads, 2 door sensors.

I was hoping to just get a central system with new keypads and just hook up the other sensors into this new one... possible? Sounds like it probably won't work with this dinosaur...

The remote wireless door sensor is actually a newer addition so I thought maybe I had a chance at keeping the other sensors...

Are ademco systems back compatible with older honeywell systems?

The thought of running new wires is daunting too!

I just need something to hold me over till next July, when my contract is up and I can get a new deal for a replacement system from ADT or some place else.
 
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Old 09-20-07, 10:36 PM
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Read my preious post. It may be possible. IF they are not addressable devices, they can work with any panel, aside from the few caveats I mentioned.

Ademco is now Honeywell. Older models may not be compatible with newer, mainly the keypads, zone expanders and modules, and addressable. Depends on how old. An Ademco Vista 15 or 20 is the same as a Honeywell Vista 15 or 20. Just depends on exact age.

Honeywell (Ademco) alarm panels have nothing to do with Honeywell (HSM) monitoring, which is no longer a part of the huge Honeywell corporation.

Do yourself a favor and avoid jumping from the frying pan into the fire. The majority of your "good deals" from the likes of ADT and Brinks etc, are going to be proprietary equipment, meaning if you decide the service sucks, you have to replace the panel, and maybe keypads, and maybe who knows. Also, when you get the free install, and you're paying 29.95 or 32.95, it's for as long as your with them. It won't come down.

Buy your equipment outright, make sure it's not proprietary, meaning any dealer can get it, service it, and monitor it. Your monitoring should be around 18 - 20 bucks. Do the math, and when I sell a system, the cost and monitoring about equal the cost and monitoring on a 29.95 or 32.95, etc system at the 3 year mark more or less. But mine stays at 18 and theirs is still 12 or 15 bucks more forever.
 
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Old 09-21-07, 04:49 AM
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Also, determine which model you actually have. Something like a Vista 20se isn't that far behind the curve, and is worth upgrading.
 
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Old 09-23-07, 07:41 AM
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Look in the panel door and tell us what model you have. It should be in bold print at the bottom of the schematic, or on the outside of the panel box on the door. We can get a little more in depth once we know what we are working with.
 
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Old 10-09-07, 08:07 AM
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The model number I have is a Honeywell 1500? I think 1500e to be exact. After trouble shooting, I decided that a new alarm system was needed so I went ahead and ordered an Ademco Vista 20P with 6160 and 6270 keypads. My main concerns now are whether I can keep the door and window contact wiring in place. I also have an old old honeywell motion detector, a wireless transmitter (new, a DX something) for the third door (wiring does not reach this door - no attic over this one), a couple of older smoke alarms, and a siren.

After doing some research and reading posts, I understand that I will have to scrap most of the old system.

However, I am hoping I can keep all the door and window wirings in place? Installing all those wires again will be such a pain!

After I get the basic system up, I plan on adding a wireless receiver to add additional components (i.e. third door receiver - if the current one I have is not compatible).

What should I be thinking of in preparation for the install? The system should be arriving this week. Any additional advice is much appreciated!

(I appologize for my newbie-ness. I do not know what constitutes an addressible device or not at this moment. I hope to be up to speed after reading the manual this weekend.)
 
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Old 10-09-07, 08:43 AM
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The 1500 must be old. My Factory rep never heard of it. Unless maybe it's a renamed panel from a Honeywell Security Monitoring (HSM) dealer, which isn't Honeywell at all (used to be. hence the name).

You won't have to replace the wiring, unless it was damaged.

While you could use the DX wireless, this is linear and you would get limited functionality, or at least more difficult to employ. But decent stuff otherwise.

Addressable devices usually have a single loop (pair of wires) that all the devices attach to. The older ones had dip switch to set the address, the newer one have a serial number and are pre-addressed. If youre devices are like this, or your motions only have 2 wires on them, they are addressable. Not very common in regular size houses. (But your palatial estate, who knows? ).
 
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Old 10-09-07, 10:16 AM
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Do I have to worry about EOL for these door and window contacts? Would EOLs be commom for an old set up? I found this forum discussion on a google search...

http://www.cocoontech.com/index.php?showtopic=8234
 
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Old 10-09-07, 10:36 AM
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depends on if they used them. I alwaysdo, but alot of them end up in the panels. It's difficult to put a resistor at the door or window. Are there any resistors on the panel? Or put a meter on the wires to the doors.

There is a possiblity you will have to change them. Just depends on the resisitor used on each panel. They vary by make and model. Heck, they are even different from the panel and zone expanders on Honeywell.

If they are at the doors and windows, you may have to get tricky. We'll cross that bridge if we need to.
 
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Old 10-18-07, 06:25 PM
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very Newbie question

I'm going to finally attempt installing my alarm but I keep encountering new simple questions. My latest... my old 1500e system has it's connections labeled as In / Out but the 20P of course have the connections labeled as Hi / Lo. My question is, is "In" = "Hi" or In = Lo? Since I have no electrical engineering experience, I am hoping to be able to just unplug wires from old, and plug into new 20P....

Thanks.
 
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Old 10-18-07, 08:10 PM
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On the Vista 20 hi is your zone positive, and low is the ground or common. You will notice that you have 2 hi's for every low. It is probably similar on the 1500e, so you should be able to figure out the commons, and just keep them the same.

But in most cases (except 2 wire smoke detector zones), it doesn't matter. You're not dealing with power. For simplicity, depending on the colors used, my blacks and greens are common, and my reds, whites or yellows are positive.
 
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Old 10-23-07, 08:38 PM
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So how's the project coming? Everything up and running well?
 
 

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