contact sensors question

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  #1  
Old 05-31-19, 06:31 PM
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contact sensors question

I moved into a new home (home was built in 2009) and there is an existing home security system with contact sensors on windows/doors. The model is a DSC PK5501 (link below). There are contact sensors on all windows and doors and they seem to be hardwired with their own circuit on the fuse box. When I turn off the breaker to the home security system it doesn't turn off. Does anyone know if this thing runs on a backup battery when power is cut off? And also, can these sensors be used for newer systems like Ring or Nest? Thanks

https://www.dsc.com/index.php?n=endu...ls&keypad=1280
 
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Old 05-31-19, 06:53 PM
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Yes..... that panel has a backup 12v battery inside the enclosure.

Those look like magnetic switches. The top one is just a switch with no matching magnet.
I don't see wires on the bottom one so I can't tell if it's the magnet or the switch but it is only half of the pair.

A magnetic switch comes with two parts. The switch gets mounted to the jamb (fixed) and the magnet gets mounted to the door and moves. It would be doubtful that each switch is a direct run to the panel. Several.... like multiple windows.... are usually placed on a circuit. Doors can be on their own zone. We would use a toner and tracer to trace the wiring. Without tracing it can be difficult to determine what is on a zone.

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Old 05-31-19, 11:32 PM
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Can't tell for sure, but that screen in your top pic might be a security screen and part of the system. I'd need to see a better shot of it to be sure. If it is, the magnet of the switch/magnet pair would be hidden inside the screen frame, so the switch is tripped if the screen is removed.

If the system is working, i.e., if you get a "Ready to Arm" indication with all doors and windows closed, then it's easy to see what openings are on what zones: You just open the windows & doors one at a time and see what zone is "violated" (open) on the keypad display.

The PK5501 is your keypad (KP), not your "system model". When we say a system model number, we're talking about what Control Panel (not keypad) is the brain of the system. The PK5501 is the interface between User and Control panel, and that KP is compatible with several different Control Panels (usually just called "the Panel"). When we know what Panel you have, we'll know its capabilities.



Whatever your DSC Control Panel model number, it's a professional-grade Panel. All contemporary (since the early 90s) pro-grade Panels are hybrids, i.e., they can use both hardwired _and_ wireless sensors (sensor/transmitters). The "newer" DIY systems you can buy online support only wireless sensors. I put the word "newer" in parentheses because pro-grade panels are continually upgrading and you may be able to add a module onto your DSC Panel to get whatever feature you're looking for.

But back to hardwired vs wireless sensors: The consensus among professional alarm techs is that hardwired sensors are more reliable and more versatile than wireless. Hardwired zones are more work and take more expertise to install, which is why the "newer" DIY panels use only wireless---but you already have hardwired sensors. For you, converting from hardwired to wireless sensors would be an expensive downgrade.

It might be worth your while to describe what Control Panel (model number?) and other peripherals you have, and look into upgrading the existing system for whatever features you're looking for.

One final word on the newly available wireless DIY systems: We had a spate of those in the 80's and as far as I know, they worked fine within their limitations. The problem came within a few years when the RF (wireless) technology upgraded and so did the alarm industry; and those all-wireless DIY systems owners couldn't buy replacement sensors.

One downside of wireless sensors, pro-grade or DIY, is that they're brand-specific, i.e., Brand X wireless sensors won't work in a Brand Y Panel/Receiver; as compared with hardwired, which is compatible with any hardwired system.

I'm still waiting for the next few years to see if the DIY manufacturers continue to support (provide replacement parts) for last year's panels. I'm pretty confident that DSC (and Ademco, Napco, and GE Interlogix & NetworX) will.
 
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Old 06-01-19, 09:01 PM
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Thanks for all of the valuable information. I found an instruction manual in the basement for a ADT Focus 32. Could this possibly be the control panel model number?
 
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Old 06-02-19, 01:44 PM
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"Focus 32" is ADT's re-naming of a DSC 5010, aka "Power 832 Panel.

Do you have, or can you get, the code(s) to arm and disarm it?
First priority is, if you don't have a disarm code, DON'T play around with the keypad. It's possible to arm one of those panels without a code and then everything gets a lot more complicated. If you have what you _think_ is the code, DON'T test it by arming the system. Test it with the chime feature or something. Don't arm unless you KNOW you have a working User Code.

If I seem fixated on this, it's because I've seen so many posters on here cost themselves a ton of extra work by inadvertently arming their systems.
Do you have any code(s) for the system?

Also: Full disclosure, I haven't actually worked with DSC panels on a daily basis for over a decade. I don't mind if some other expert wants to jump in here, but I wanted to get this caveat out first thing.
 
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Old 06-02-19, 02:33 PM
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The big caution with the DSC panel variants, is don't play with the function keys on the keypad. Those are the main ways to accidentally arm one of these.

Did the seller/agent provide you with any user codes? (Honestly, this should be something that people write into their purchase contracts: Either provide working codes, or provide a credit for professional service to make the system usable).
 
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Old 06-06-19, 06:07 PM
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I did get the user code from the previous owner, however, after briefly reading through the instruction manual I think I will forget about using the existing alarm system. It doesn't seem very user friendly. I feel like this manual would make sense to an alarm technician, but for myself, I think I'm looking for something a little more intuitive. I think I'm going to try the Ring Alarm Security Kit. Also for $100/year (no contract) they provide professional monitoring vs ADT which quoted me around $50 / month with a 3 year contract. Unless anyone has any good reasons why I shouldn't go with Ring?
 
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Old 06-06-19, 06:58 PM
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I can't say one way or the other whether your Focus 32 system is worth keeping because I don't know much about your particular system, other than the model of the control panel and keypads. Beyond that, every professional-grade alarm system is customized by its nature. I can say that your existing hardwired zones represent permanent value ( rare for wiring to get damaged) and never becomes obsolete, if you stay with a pro-grade system.

Now I can't say what Ring is going to do in five years. Whatever your Ring system will cost, I expect most of the cost to be in wireless door/window sensors and wireless motion sensors and/or wireless glass break sensors to replace the hardwired sensors that Ring doesn't support.

The prices you usually see advertised are for the control panel (I think they call it a "hub") and a few sensors. If you live in an apartment or townhouse with few protected openings, that basic package might be enough; but if you live in a stand-alone house that typically has 20-30 opening to protect, and needs several motions and/or glassbreaks for full protection, wireless sensors typacally add up to a lot more than the basic package.

Again, not knowing your premises, I can't make a judgement on whether the Ring system is going to be expensive.
And I also don't know that Ring won't be supporting last year's technology five years from now--I'm just a little wary because back in the 80's, a lot of DIY companies left their customers high and dry a few years later when the wireless technology upgraded and the old sensors were discontinued; and the new upgraded sensors weren't compatible with the old receivers.

But as I said, I don't know enough about your particular system and premises to advise you on it. Perhaps one of the other less skeptical or more knowledgeable techs on here might chime in.

EDIT: Almost forgot. ADT doesn't have to be the company monitoring your Focus 32. There are plenty of monitoring companies whose monitoring cost is comparable to Ring's.
 
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