Very old CCI-5-12 security alarm system

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  #1  
Old 05-27-17, 10:32 AM
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Very old CCI-5-12 security alarm system

I have this old alarm system that was installed before I bought this house. Guessing that was around 1979. It has worked fairly well all these years. Last night, I came into the garage, and a small transformer like device was hanging from the ceiling after becoming unplugged from the ceiling outlet. I had no idea what it was for. Possibly garage door system, irrigation or security alarm. I reattached the wires as best I could, and replugged to AC outlet. For my own edification, I measured the voltage across the leads to be about 0.84 volts DC. Still not sure if it is for the alarm system.

Coincidently, when I went to set the alarm system, the power light was out. Siren and armed lights worked, but wireless transmitters did not appear to activate the system, although transmitter lights cycled. My guess is that it is no longer receiving AC power, but battery is not activating the system for some reason.

Any help is appreciated. BTW, I know this system in antiquated, but I don't want to spend big money right now to replace with a modern one, as we may not be staying here that much longer. Thanks.Name:  IMG_1860.jpg
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Old 05-28-17, 06:25 AM
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Look at the label on the transformer. It should say output voltage and if AC or DC. If AC, measure with your meter set to AC.

And if no voltage output, get another transformer with the same specifications. It will say voltage and amperage or "volt amps" or "VA". A local alarm company may have the transformer you need for not too much.
 
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Old 05-28-17, 07:12 AM
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The CCI-5-12 is an old Napco Panel. It was a good panel in its day. Here's the installation manual:
http://www.alarmhow.net/manuals/Napc...n%20Manual.pdf

It looks like the installing dealer put his own name on the panel, obscuring the manufacturer's name. Napco usually labeled their power transformers--if you're lucky, the installing dealer didn't re-label that too. Look for a transformer named Napco.

The first thing you need to do is find your power transformer. To my surprise, the installation manual didn't give the electrical specs for the transformer used, just the Napco in-house model number. From what I read on a quick search, it uses a 12VAC, 20VA or higher, transformer. If it turns out to be the one you found hanging from the ceiling, that one sounds like a dead (blown) transformer to me.
Test the wires to see if that's your alarm panel transformer: Disconnect wires at the transformer and then test for continuity at the panel (disconnect wires from terminals 25 and 26 before testing). Test with transformer wires separate and then twisted together. If that's not the panel's transformer, then keep looking: It's plugged into an outlet somewhere.

If you have wireless transmitters, then you have (or used to have) a third-party receiver module somewhere. Napco in that era didn't have its own wireless equipment. See if you can find it by tracing wires from the zone inputs. If you have already located it, a make and model number (and even a picture) would be helpful (read: Essential). When you say "transmitter lights cycled", are you talking about lights on the transmitters, or lights on the receiver that are labeled, "transmitter-something"?
 
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Old 05-28-17, 08:14 AM
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Wow! Straight out of the "Wayback Machine". The panel could be private labeled. I don't remember whether Napco was private labeling panels then, but others did so I'd bet Napco did. I remember virtually nothing about that particular panel, but maybe I don't want to.

One indicator of age is the -12 suffix. Six volt systems were still in production when that panel was introduced.
 
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Old 05-28-17, 08:32 AM
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@ThisOldMan: Yeah, I didn't remember much more. I did remember the CCI-5 (Napco's Hype Name was the "Black Belt" panel, lol) is a 4-zone panel, zones differentiated by function (Entry/Exit zone, Instant Perimeter zone, interior intrusion zone and fire zone). No user programming at all, so I guess that's a plus for erom43.

I'm guessing his wireless was added much later, if it has lights that cycle. Back in '79 all the wireless systems were single or double "channel" at best.
 
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Old 05-28-17, 08:40 AM
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Thank you for the helpful information. Further investigation has shown the voltage output from the transformer to be 0.12 volts. I also measured the voltage going into the control panel, and it is identical to the transformer output.
Name:  IMG_1862.jpg
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Size:  35.3 KBThe transformer is also very warm, and I am guessing this may be the problem. I will pull it and investigate, and see if I can find a replacement, and assume that thirty seven years is decent longevity for this transformer.
It is appearing like I have lost AC power to the control panel, and am on battery backup alone. Today I noticed the old battery is starting to fade as well. Yesterday when I measured the battery voltage it was 10.0 V, which may be why the system did not function with no AC power. Not sure if the 10 volts was enough.
When I talked about the cycling, I was talking about the transmitter light coming on, but the control box not responding.Name:  IMG_1863.jpg
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Old 05-28-17, 09:01 AM
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erom43, you should pull one lead wire off your battery immediately. The battery should not be left plugged on the system when the AC power is out: The battery is draining into deep discharge and may not recover. You may need to replace it for your system to work properly.

Don't install a new battery until you get your AC (transformer) power working properly. Your system's transformer should read 12 VAC output, not .12 (.point-twelve) V, AC or DC. If you disconnect wires from the transformer, I suspect you'll read zero volts--a reading as low as .12V or .84VDC sounds like you're reading an induced voltage on the wiring. It doesn't mean anything.

You should be able to find a 12VAC transformer online. Look for 20VA or higher rating. ( 12VAC, 20VA or 12VAC, 30VA, etc).
 
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Old 05-28-17, 10:10 AM
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Thanks

Thank you ChosunOne, I am looking around now. I assume I am looking for a 12v step down transformer for an outlet, that has the two wire leads, and is rated at 20VA or better. Is the frequency important, 60hz being normal, and what about ratings higher, like 40VA or more? Also, what is the black thing attached across the terminals, and is it important to replace it on the new one?
 
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Old 05-28-17, 10:14 AM
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Also, is grounded plug important, and should I look for one with only two leads, verses three?
 
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Old 05-29-17, 07:38 AM
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Needs to have a 3rd ground prong ONLY if the transformer has a metal case. Most are plastic and have only two prongs - that is OK.

Also try removing that black round thing wired to the transformer output. That is a MOV and it works by shorting the two leads during a power surge. It may be shorting them now. If that works, keep it disconnected and use an outlet power surge protector instead. Like this and many others...

https://www.lowes.com/pd/360-Electri...afety/50063931
 
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Old 05-29-17, 10:43 AM
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Question Thanks

Yes, after looking things up I found out about the varistor. Interesting, I removed it and plugged in the transformer again, and then measured about 5.8 volts output. Not sure why the difference. Could it be the 12v transformer is now putting out 6v, and with the MOV attached it only puts out 0.6v? Or could the varistor require mover than six volts? Or, are they both bad? At any rate, I have ordered new transformer.
Problem is that wiring is set up in garage ceiling outlet, which makes it harder for normal surge protection. I have ordered a transformer with screw attachment for that reason.
Another question: Old battery has drained down to about 6 volts. I also have a ten year old unused battery that measures less than one volt. Can these be charged while in the control box, assuming AC voltage is working again? Can they be charged via other methods, like car battery trickle charger etc.? Is the ten year old unused battery useless?
 
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Old 05-29-17, 06:08 PM
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Varistor? MOV?

Thanks for all your help. The new transformer appears to be working just fine. Still have a question about whether it will charge the backup battery.

I have hooked it up without the varistor, but I don't want to leave it without surge protection. I am also afraid to put the old MOV back on for fear that it may be shorted, and I'm not sure what that will do to the system, or the new transformer.

Can anyone help me with the specs for a new varistor? The label on the old one said "ZNR 14K 241U", with a smaller 35 below that. I measured 14V coming out of the new transformer. Not sure about varistor proper voltage, clamping voltage or amps etc..
 
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Old 05-30-17, 11:17 AM
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erom, you told us you were measuring 14V (I assume AC?) at the transformer but forgot to tell us if you were getting 14VAC at the control panel. In other words, IS the transformer you're metering, the transformer for your panel? I don't want to skip that step in the troubleshooting.

14VAC is typical for a "12VAC" transformer: The rating is nominal: Close to, but not precisely, the actual voltage output, which will vary according to the load it's bearing (the work it's doing, aka, the current it has to provide).

The "VA" (Volt-Amperes) rating is essentially the Watts (power) rating of the transformer. It is the maximum Watts (power) the transformer can sustain without danger of burning up or blowing in internal fuse. If you get a plastic-encased class II transformer, it has a fuse (usually not designed to be replaced) on the secondary (output) winding.
Long story short, ratings that are higher than 20VA can be used, but they'll cost more, with no benefit for the added cost. If your panel draws more than 20VA of power, something is wrong and needs to be addressed (except for brief periods, like the siren sounding).

Your battery is probably a lost cause by this time: Panel batteries typically last 3 to 5 years. A battery that gets down below 10 VDC may not recharge enough to use, unless it's a new battery that gets recharged immediately. If your battery is more than 3 years old, I recommend replacing it from your local Batteries Plus or equivalent store.


It just occurred to me that a system installed in '79 might not have a siren time-out feature. I see a module in one picture that could be a time-out module, or it could be a siren driver, or something else. Your system should have something to time out the siren, i.e., shut it off after 4 to 15 minutes. I can't remember if the CCI-5 had a siren time-out or not, check the manual and see, or test when you get it working (not before).

Another thing to check for: A lot of those old systems had chronic false alarm problems, most often from old door/window contacts and/or poor splices in the wiring. With a single zone for all your Instant Perimeter, the zone loop amounted to a lot of wiring. I recommend you disconnect the zone loops and check the resistance (Ohms scale) of each zone. It should be no more than a few Ohms, say, 5 Ohms at most.
Back in the day, my boss used to say that 50 Ohms was "acceptable", but I now know that that was because if he actually let us track down resistances beyond that, we'd take too long to get all our calls done. You can afford to track down potential false alarm sources in your own system.

Back in '79, some companies were still using the old mechanical contacts (as opposed to reed switch/contacts) on doors and windows. If your system doesn't have reed switch contacts, you may expect to find more than a few ohms in your zone loops, especially your instant perimeter. If you're not having a falsing problem, don't worry about it, but think about having a look at the kind of contacts you have.

Municipal regulations about false alarms vary widely. Where I live, in the MD and VA suburbs of DC, is one of the most regulated areas in the country (I'm told). Montgomery County, MD, doesn't even allow outside sirens to be installed or replaced any more. What part of the country are you in?

EDIT: Almost forgot about the MOV. It's been a long time since I studied electronics, so I'm kind of rusty. The vast majority of alarm transformers do fine without an MOV, but I'll look into it.
 

Last edited by ChosunOne; 05-30-17 at 11:47 AM.
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Old 05-30-17, 12:43 PM
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Thanks again ChosunOne

Yes, the system is hooked up and working normally since I replaced the transformer. BTW, it is an old wireless system that uses magnetic contacts at each transmitter with a 9V battery each. Some have up to three sets of contacts for just one transmitter. And yes, we have had false alarms through the years, usually due to the magnetic sensors moving too far apart. I'm not sure about the siren limitation. I have an old, but unused battery as well as the one in the control box, and since they are both over five years old, I am going to get a new one.

I just called the alarm company that installed the system, and they said they don't normally add a MOV for surge protection. Not sure why I had this one on there. But, it does sound like a good idea to have one here in Florida, as we get frequent surges when lightning is in the area. My question on the varistor, is what kind, or specs do I need to protect the circuit boards? The transformer hangs from a ceiling outlet, which makes surge protection more difficult, so the MOV makes sense. The old one was a- ZNR 14K 241U. Unfortunately, I have scoured the internet, but have been unable to decipher it.
 
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Old 05-30-17, 05:28 PM
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That varistor is an obscure one; but here's a cross reference that has it:

Datasheet search term helper znr -v14471u
 
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Old 05-30-17, 07:13 PM
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Thanks MrRonFL. Afraid I don't know exactly what I'm looking at with the link you sent. I kind of guessed the old MOV was an obscure one. I understand the system will work fine without it, but for a few bucks it would be nice to have a little extra protection.....as I sit through a thunderstorm right now. It would be nice if I had, or knew the parameters I would need for this system. Protecting the panel from getting fried from a surge of the 12 VAC going in is all I need. Amazon has a whole bunch of varistors, but none seem similar the the old one. Appreciate any help. Thanks again.
 
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Old 05-31-17, 07:26 AM
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As for "a system installed in '79 might not have a siren time-out feature"...

That brings back memories! Back in the 1980's, I remember a local business with a local alarm. It rang ALL night long and the nearby neighbors were really ticked. Nothing the alarm company could do due to no service contract and being a local system. (And no one could contact the business owner due to outdated contact info.)
 
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Old 06-01-17, 05:54 PM
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Angry

"It is an old wireless system that uses magnetic contacts at each transmitter with a 9V battery each. Some have up to three sets of contacts for just one transmitter."

I used to work with systems like that: A single or double-channel receiver with a dry relay hooked to one or two zones on the CCI-5 panel, the Entry/Exit and Instant perimeter zones. Possibly a single channel hooked to the E/E zone.

We most often used the Linear D-67 Receiver, and IIRC, D-22 or D-21 transmitters. I forget which was open-loop and which was closed-loop for the sensors. Made it difficult to be sure which sensor/transmitter triggered a false alarm. We basically had to check every one of them in the event.

I can't tell you how happy I was when we finally got a wireless zone for each point of protection (POP) in the mid-eighties (IIRC) on our wireless systems. If your system is using the Linear Receiver/Transmitters, chances are that I've actually got spare parts for it. Ha! Doesn't sound like you need them though.

The other bad part about those old late-'70's RF (wireless) configurations is that the panel only saw a zone open for a second or two, but even if a door or window stayed open, the zone closed and wouldn't re-trigger unless the door/window closed, waited, and then opened again. So it was possible to arm the system without knowing if windows and/or doors were left open, in which case they were left unprotected. Sound like what you've got?
 
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