Alarm Contacts Don't Work in Pre-Wired Home

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Old 09-17-14, 12:14 PM
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Alarm Contacts Don't Work in Pre-Wired Home

My home is pre-wired. I plan on installing my own Honeywell Vista 21IP system. I have located the "home run" ends of all of the wires and am attempting to verify the existing contacts work at the windows. I previously verified where all of the wires went in my attic the corresponding labels on the wires match with my investigation. When testing the wires with an ohmmeter, they are reading as "open" (infinite resistance) whether the windows were open or closed. I verified with a tone tester that the wires are not broken between the panel location and the contact. These are the type of contacts that appear to be installed:

http://www.amazon.com/951WG-WH-Ademc.../dp/B001UKY1A4

The "magnet" side of the contact does not look like it was installed on the sliding part of the window as part of the pre-wiring. I originally thought this was my issue, so I have tried a couple different magnets to get the contact to "close". I cannot get a closed contact reading on my ohmmeter nor continuity tester. I tried to pull the wired side of the contact out of the window frame, but the wire length is too short for me to pull it out to inspect it. I have checked 4 windows in the house and these all seem to have the same problem as I can't get any of the contacts to close.

The 3 different magnets I have tried do not "stick" at all to the contacts. In a properly working contact will they try to "pull" towards it? Is there a special magnet that I need to be using? From what I have read, any strong magnet should do.

Could these be some type of unusual contact that does not use a magnet?

The house was build 12 years ago. Could the contacts have failed since they were installed? I read about lightning strikes damaging contacts, but I live in an area of California where lightning is rare.

Any help is appreciated.
 
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Old 09-17-14, 12:57 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

How many "home runs" do you have ?
Is each window/door on its own "home run" ?

There may be several windows on one zone and they would all need a magnet near the switch at the same time for the loop to show closed.

Sometimes several doors, called delay doors, are wired on one loop. Delayed doors are needed to get to the keypad before the alarm goes off.
 
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Old 09-17-14, 01:09 PM
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PJ - Good point. However every window and door (15EA) home runs separately to the panel location.
 
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Old 09-17-14, 06:58 PM
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Just to go back to some of your original questions.... since the zones weren't connected to a panel... lightning damage is pretty much nil.

It is possible that the alarm installer installed an EOL (end of line) resistor at each switch. An ohmmeter set too low won't show the resistance of the resistor.
Are you using a digital meter....and on auto ohms ?

It would be good if you could check at least one switch for a resistor.

Any magnet held over switch should work. A magnet will not "stick" to the switch.
 
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Old 09-17-14, 07:06 PM
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Solved! The "contacts" were not contacts. They were in fact one of these:

Pre-Wire Plugs for Magnetic Contacts | Flair Electronics

They were in very tight, but I was able to remove it to expose the wire. Now my only problem is that I have two doors with no plugs. The wire is there but I believe it is behind the door frame. Is the best way to attempt to connect to the wire to tone out the location, drill a 3/8" hole, and hope I am lucky to get close enough to pull the wire out with a coat hanger?
 
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Old 09-17-14, 09:52 PM
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Might be easier to pull off the door molding to get at the wiring -- (not easy to fish through a 3/8" hole or) you could try a 3/4" to make it a bit easier. [These are the two most-used sizes.]

If you make holes in the sheetrock, keep them small and in areas that can be covered over with the molding.


edit: don't need to tone [not likely to tone through the wood and sheetrock] -- just wire it in and figure it out, later.
 
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Old 09-18-14, 12:16 AM
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The wire is missing. He can't wire the switch.

Yes.... at the panel end you can send tone out. You can wand it thru sheetrock and wood.

You will need to identify all the other zones first otherwise you won't know which wire to connect to.
 
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Old 09-18-14, 03:32 AM
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The magnet will not stick to the contact. It causes a very small reed switch inside the plastic housing to close when the magnet is close enough (3/8" - 1/2" away)

If they went through the effort for the prewire plug, it's worth a shot to see if the wire's just inside. A crochet hook is a good tool if the wire's just inside the door casing.
 
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Old 09-18-14, 11:16 PM
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Two doors didn't have the prewire plugs so it's kind of foolish to just start drilling holes randomly.
 
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