Troubleshoot wired motions on Vista 20P


Old 03-02-19, 10:15 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 20
Troubleshoot wired motions on Vista 20P

We have a Vista 20P system that was upgraded from a Vista 10SE in 2008. There are two wired motion detectors that Iím having trouble with. They are wired in series on one zone and are Rokonet Cosmos DT, bought/installed in 2005.

Over the past year or so, weíve had random false alarms from the motion detectors armed in Away. The worst being in the middle of the night while out of town on summer vacation (cops came for that one since we didnít pick up the monitoring call). Generally, the indicator lights seem to appear normal just walking around with the system not armed.

Iím trying to figure out what sorts of things to do to troubleshoot this situation. We generally didnít have problems for 10+ years between when they were put in and the start of the false alarms. The sensors are located about 6í 6Ē up in the corners of a bedroom and adjacent dining room.

FWIW, the only change in the timeframe weíve had problems was replacing the wireless board for one with more zones (a 5881 ENH in 2016) and adding a bunch of wireless contacts for windows. In addition, we have 3 keypads, two older wireless sensors (one motion, one door contact, c. 1999), and several wired contacts for doors/windows.

The battery (12V, 5 amp-hours) was last replaced in 2013.

Iíd appreciate any suggestions for a list/order of what to look at/do to troubleshoot. I think Iíve been dreading this b/c my fear is that one of the many Dolphin splices in the crawl space has come loose or corroded and Iím going to have to check/replace all of them.

Thanks for your help.

p.s. I really need to switch over to cell monitoring and cancel my landline, so I will be reading other posts and probably will ask about that soon.
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Old 03-02-19, 04:29 PM
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2013 is actually a little long in the tooth for a battery; 3-5 years is the median lifespan (lower end of the scale in places prone to power fluctuations) of this type of battery. Anything past that is borrowed time.

Best practice is for motions to be on individual zones. Since that's not what you have; to troubleshoot it, pick one of the motions, and bypass its relay (put both relay wires under the same screw). If you have programming access; change the zone to one that will chime, and turn on the chime feature. If you hear chimes when you _know_ that there is no one moving around the area covered by the motion, then that motion, or environment has issues. If you get nothing; after a couple of days bypass the other motion, and re enable the first.

If you don't have programming access, put your account on test, do the same bypass, and arm the system. If you get an alarm then you know which motion is the trouble child.
Old 03-11-19, 12:17 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 20
Thanks. I was out of town for most of the time since posting. I will order a new battery and work on testing the sensors. I do have programming access (I actually did the expansion, which is why the motions in the adjacent rooms are on the same zone; I think I was out of zones at the time).

I really appreciate you being here to help. I think you answered questions I had about 10 years ago, also.
Old 03-23-19, 06:06 PM
Join Date: Mar 2019
Location: USA
Posts: 13
If there have been no recent changes that caused the triggering, your sensors may be ok. I would open the motions and look for "critters". In my experience, I have found that spiders and other small pests have caused false alarms as they find refuge inside the sensor. If there are any "residents", use a shop vac to evict them. just my 2cents.
Old 04-19-19, 11:38 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 20
Thanks! I replaced my battery with a 7ah Yuasa. Had to turn it on its end to fit in the panel vs the old 5ah- think that's OK, though. I did an uncontrolled test (went out of town for a week on spring break with it armed Away) without incident. That seems to have addressed the problem- we never had been able to arm it for that long without a problem when we were having issues.
Old 04-20-19, 05:41 PM
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Seems like the bad battery was overloading the power transforming causing the sensors to loose power and cause a false alarm. One person on YouTube had the same issue with his Vista 20p where the motion sensor would cause a alarm. And it turned out to be a bad battery causing the motion sensor to loose power

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