Napco MA 2600 replacement


Old 07-10-18, 11:54 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: USA
Posts: 10
Napco MA 2600 replacement


Reading some other threads here, I impressed how many knowledge people are on here.

I have a Napco MA 2600 alarm system in my house, which starts to fail. The wall panels are chirping, causing false alarms. The system was installed in the mid 90th, I bought the house a few years ago.

The system has all wired sensors, mostly windows and door sensors, the smoke detectors are hooked up. The motion detectors and glass braking detectors are offline already, some broke, some are offline because they are not "pet friendly".

I asked the guy who installed the system in the mid 90th what he would do, but he wasn't really able to give me a clear answer. He basically said, just replace what is broken, he wants to check ebay for me.

Now, I would like to know what is a compatible replacement system.
And what do I need to look for wanting to run all of my zones (extension board?)

Another questions somebody can maybe answer easily. Does is matter with my alarm company what kind of alarm system I have? (Napco, Honeywell, etc). I dont want to change my alarm company, they are awesome.

Thanks in advance.
If I need to clarify anything, please ask.

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Old 07-11-18, 12:03 PM
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Maryland, USA
Posts: 795
Any professional-grade alarm control panel and keypads will be able to replace your MA2600 and its keypads. Hardwired zones are compatible with everything except all-wireless systems, which don't exist anymore in professional-grade equipment. You WILL need to replace the keypads along with the Panel: Keypads are system-specific, and in any case, 20-some-year-old keypads are already working on borrowed time: They have moving parts (the keys themselves) that wear out over time and since the MA-2000 Keypads have been out of production for about 20 years, any keypads you get off eBay would likely not have many years left in them, just like yours. As I recall, the MA 2000 KPs were prone to early failure and may be one of the problems you're having.

I personally recommend the Honeywell Vista-20P control panel, with at least one 6160 Alphanumeric Keypad (required for programming). The rest of the KPs can be either 6160's or 6150 Fixed-English KPs. Every tech has his/her own favorite brand, so I'll just say I'm recommending the Vista-20P because in my opinion it's the most DIY-friendly as far as programming and use. Honeywell (formerly Ademco) doesn't change the entire programming format every time they upgrade the panel, unlike most other panels. Once you've learned to program a Honeywell Panel, a new upgrade doesn't put you back at the bottom of the learning curve to program it.

Also, Honeywell/Ademco has the alarm industry's best record for making their control panels and keypads back-and-cross compatible: If you had bought a Vista panel 20 years ago and needed to replace your KPs now, new keypads would still be compatible with your old panel. No other brand can make that claim.

The Vista-20P Control Panel has 8 on-board zones and will support zone expansion boards (Model 4219) for up to 40 more zones. 48 zones is enough for the vast majority of homes, but if you have more than 48, this would be the time to mention it. Honeywell/Ademco does have higher-end panels that support more zones, but they're overkill for most homes.

The brand of your control panel won't affect your monitoring company: All controls transmit signals on the same few formats, and the monitoring company can't even tell what equipment is sending those signals. For the last few decades, almost everybody uses Contact ID Format for signals, because it's almost impossible to mis-program it. If your MA2600 doesn't use Contact ID now, I'd recommend you notify your company that signals will now be coming in as Contact ID.

As for your service company, they should be familiar with Honeywell/Ademco equipment, even if they specialize in Napco. Honeywell/Ademco is probably the most common brand in the industry.
Old 07-12-18, 09:18 PM
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 139
I suggest that you use the equipment that your alarm company is most familiar with.

Most alarm companies can ultimately install most alarm systems as can I. However, I prefer to use Napco. Although I can install Honeywell, DSC etc, I'm sure there are some idiosyncrasies in that equipment that I'm not aware of.

It would seem to make sense to use the equipment that your service company is most familiar with.
Old 07-13-18, 07:19 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: USA
Posts: 10
First of all: Thank you very much for the answers, it's greatly appreciated.

"Service Company":
The gentlemen who installed the system is now retired and the company doesn't exists anymore. He just does some service work for his former customers as a side job. So I can understand where he is coming from when he says "just repair it". I don't even know when he retired, but I would guess in the yearly 2000. And on a side note, it takes days, sometimes 2-3 weeks to get him to my house. No blame here at all. He is retired, so it's his time and choice.

I will call my monitoring company and ask them if they are familiar with different systems. Thanks for that.

While I started looking into a new system and how to hook up a fire alarm. This got me thinking how my fire alarms are hooked up.
So I need you help again.

I have 3 fire alarm zone (total of 22 zone, 4 are already deactivated). Hi have a hard-wired Kidde system, 2 wires power and 1 wire alarm (which comes of the breaker box). I was looking last night how this system might be hooked up but I couldn't find anything.
Supervision relay with EOL resistor?
Any ideas how, or what to look for?
I know it's hooked up, because it went off a few times this year already, as we got the new furnace and from cooking.

Everything else seems to be pretty straight forwards.

Thanks again.
Old 07-13-18, 01:02 PM
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: US
Posts: 350
Since you have more than 8 zones, you have EZM expansion modules. If you stick with Napco, the right panel will let you retain the EZMs and $ave you $ome money. Something like a GEM-3200. Keypads will have to be changed, but any End-of-Line resistors can remain in place. Not always the easy to find!

The 3200 can be broken into 2 independent systems and supports wireless.
Old 07-14-18, 01:31 AM
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Maryland, USA
Posts: 795
Your service guy sounds a little like me: I retired about 8 years ago and still service maybe a dozen personal customers from time to time.

Every tech has his/her own pet brand, and I'm partial to Honeywell/Ademco, but in this instance I have to agree with ThisOldMan: Having working EZM zone expansion modules in your existing system is a powerful incentive with stick with the Napco brand.

Also, if you plan to have the same gentleman replace and/or continue servicing your panel, you should definitely get something he's partial to. Before you buy anything, you should confer with him, or better yet, let him buy it. I've personally had good luck buying from eBay and there are some good deals there, but you need to be a savvy buyer. Some sellers don't know what they're selling and advertise it wrong.

We don't actually know that he's partial to Napco--I installed more than a few Napco panels too, working for a company that specialized in them, but they weren't my personal favorite.

I should mention that that's a personal preference--Napco makes good solid equipment in my experience.

Now if you're planning to switch and program the new panel yourself, I'll go back to recommending the Honeywell panel: Its programming has a much gentler learning curve. Otherwise, ask your service guy his preference.

Your fire zones sound a little flaky--it sounds like they're powered from your 120VAC line voltage...? If your line-voltage smoke alarms are tied into your alarm panel, you may be violating Fire Code--it's hard to say because there are state codes and national codes, but I'm pretty sure it isn't legal anywhere to hardwire 120VAC smoke alarms into a home alarm panel.

Again: It only matters if you're planning to install/replace the panel yourself. I'd say just tie the wires to the old fire zone(s) into the new fire zone(s). Again, I have to agree with ThisOldMan: Staying with Napco will let you keep the old EOLRs (End-of-Line Resistors) in place and not have to switch them out, which can be a PITA.
Old 07-17-18, 07:43 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: USA
Posts: 10
Again , Thanks a lot guys, you are awesome.

So, the decision was made by my wife, so please don't kill the messenger. LOL
I had to order a Vista 21ip system. My wife googled it and told me afterwards that there are some great features she would like to use. Looking at this for myself I have to say, to have some of the stuff would be nice, also the integration of our z-Wave stuff would be really cool. And it fits what we would like to use and what we already have and therefore what can be integrated. In the past we had false alarm due to miss-use by our pet sitter, neighbors or friends (watching the house). I believe with a touch panel these problems should be gone.

Based on what you told I just ordered the board and a panel to program it. Not everything. I would like to confirm that it is in fact working. So I will report on my progress. I haven't received the shipment yet.

After another key pad started chirping two nights ago, I decided to take the whole system offline. While doing this I checked if there are EOL resistor at the panel. There are none. Some zones are offline (and have these EOL resistor to bridge them).
I also found a small "home-brew" circuit board, clearly made by somebody on it's own, which is hooked up to a gas sensor/detector in the basement. Funny is, that the gas detector is not working, the power cables are disconnected.

Is there a gas detector/ sensor which can be hooked up to the alarm panel? I looked for one, but I couldn't find one.

So I went thru the zone list and found out that at least 6 zones are not in use anymore, compared to the zone list I found inside the panel.

Fire Alarms:
After I find out how they are actually hooked up to my current alarm system, I will double check with our town fire marshal.
If I can't hook the current system up to the panel, thats fine with me. I alway can mount additional RF smoke detectors in my house. For me it doesnt matter, if there is an additional smoke detector in the hall way or the basement. I will make sure I can use wireless devices.

Let's see how it goes. I am prepared for total chaos. lol
Old 07-17-18, 01:48 PM
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Maryland, USA
Posts: 795
Uh-oh. Jesterle, there may be a slight delay in getting your new control panel (a.k.a., "The Panel") and Touchpad up and running.

It sounds like you ordered just a Vista-21iP Control Panel ("the Panel", for short) and a Touchpad. (Whenever we refer to a "panel", we're talking about the "brains" of your system that lives in the steel cabinet, a.k.a. "The Box". Each system may have many Keypads and/or Touchpads, but only one Panel.

Understand, this is professional-grade equipment and not really designed with DIYers in mind, and manufacturers assume the installer has some familiarity with the system. DIYers can install them, and do all the time, but it's wise to consult with the experienced peeps on this kind of forum before taking an action like ordering equipment. In this case, all you'll lose is a little time waiting for the other piece of equipment you didn't know you need. That is, if I interpreted your last post correctly and you ordered just a Vista-20iP and a Touchpad.

Whatever literature you may have found on it probably didn't mention that whatever model Touchpad you ordered is not a plug'n'play item: You need to enable an address in Panel Programming before the Panel (the Vista-21iP) will recognize the Touchpad. After the Touchpad is integrated into the system, you can use it for the rest of the programming, but to start out, you'll need a Keypad, with physical keys: Either a 6160 or a 6150 will do.

The Vista-20iP uses "addressable" keypads/touchpads, i.e., each keypad or touchpad (and any other interface devices) has to have a different address enabled in Panel Programming, and each Keypad/Touchpad has to be addressed to match, so no two devices have the same address. However, the Panel comes with only one address (16) enabled, and your first Keypad is used to enable the rest of the addresses. (Touchpads cannot be addressed to 16). When you get your 6160 or 6150 Keypad, the instruction sheet will tell you how to address the Keypad to Address 16.

One final caveat: Always have the system powered down when you connect Keypads or Touchpads to it. You _might_ get away with connecting a live power wire to a Keypad, but you're more likely to zap the KP.

Old 07-18-18, 06:55 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: USA
Posts: 10
Thanks ChosunOne.

I guess I was unclear. I just state what my wife would like to use. I was aware that I need a 6160 alphanumeric panel to code it.

I ordered the Box, the Brain and a 6160.
I am aware of changing the 6160 from 31 (un-addressed) to 16, then later enable 17 for the next panel, which most likely will be the 6160RF.
I did not order the touch panel yet. I am aware that these panel use a different addressing system.

I started dismantling the old panel, marking all cables. Now tonight I will take the panel out, plug the recessed hole in the wall and then I will start mounting the new stuff.
Old 07-25-18, 07:56 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: USA
Posts: 10

I case somebody is interested in what I do and the outcome, I think I should follow up on this topic.

I bought the following hardware:

- Vista 21ip
- one Tuxedo Wifi panel
- one 6160RF
- two 6160

I replaced all of my old hardware and replaced it with the hardware above. I also replaced my old not-working gas detector in the basement with a Macurco GD-2A.

After I cleaned up all of my zones and tested every single one of them, it turned out, that some of them are not longer working, or not longer needed/wanted (e.g. in house motion detectors, which are not pet safe).
It turned out, that I only have 10 zones left. It was easy to hook them up and configure the alarm system.
All works well.

At the moment I am working on the internet connection, to find a monitoring company and configure 2 zone to go the alarm mode instantly when they are triggered (24/7 audible/aux).

I believe I will have a fully working system by the weekend, my goal is to have the old functionally from the old system up and running and then go from there with all the new functionality or additional devices.

I did not run into any serious trouble yet, I knocking on wood here. I got some (constant) zone faults which came back to me mis-configuring the zone, NO instead of NC, which took me a while to figure out, because I was "absolutely sure" that this zone is a NO zone.

Thanks again to everybody who helped to make this possible.

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