PC5010 doesn't detect zone faults in expansion module PC5108

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  #1  
Old 11-20-20, 05:31 PM
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PC5010 doesn't detect zone faults in expansion module PC5108

I have an old DSC power832 alarm system - PC5010 - with the expansion module PC5108. It never worked well since we bought our house. In trying to fix it myself, I did a "hard" reset. So far it is working except that the faults for all of the zones from the expansion module (zones 9-16) don't show up on the keypad. I am a real neophyte. After the reset, I assigned all zone definitions, all zone attributes, and enrolled zones 9-16 into partition 1. Then, I enabled the supervision (section 902, 903). What am I missing?

All help is very much appreciated.
 

Last edited by Cindy Gilbert; 11-20-20 at 07:33 PM.
  #2  
Old 11-20-20, 07:43 PM
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Normally for wired zones, you don't need to do anything to zone attribute settings.

What keystrokes did you enter for configuration?
 
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Old 11-20-20, 09:49 PM
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Here Is my software sequence

After doing the reset, I entered the installer's mode - then entered zone definitions [001] plus the 2 digit definitions for zones 1-8. Next, I entered [002] for the definitions of zones 9-16. Next, I added zones 9-16 into partition 1 using [203] 12345678. Then, I set up the system to have normally closed switches [013] 7, and for now disabled the telephone line [015] 7. Finally, I entered the enable supervising mode [902] wait a little then [903]. Also, I do have to set the system clock. Everything looks good. When I look at the zone attributes - section [101] through [116], they look ok. My zones 1-8 are working, and none of my zones 9-16 are working.

I never get any response from the [902] section, but I wait for about a minute. When I enter [903], the numbers 1,9, and 10 are lit - I think that means that the keypad, and all 16 zones are supervised.

I hope that this helps.
Cindy
 
  #4  
Old 11-21-20, 08:14 AM
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Those are all of the right steps. If you have all of that set the way you describe, then it should work. At this point I'm wondering if you have a bad expansion board.

What were the previous issues that led you to try a default?
 
  #5  
Old 11-21-20, 10:04 AM
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I don't have a manual, and some of my switches were not working. Ever since we bought our house, it was always flakey. Because of the COVID, I decided to fix all it. I did buy another PC5108 board - and I could try to replace it.
Do you think that its the PC5108 and not the PC5010?

I will have to get back to you on that.
 
  #6  
Old 11-21-20, 11:44 AM
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PC5010 user manual: https://www.dsc.com/manual/29002655
PC5010 installer manual: https://cms.dsc.com/download2.php?t=1&id=13802
PC5010 programming work sheets: https://cms.dsc.com/download2.php?t=1&id=13794ins
PC5108 installer manual: https://www.dsc.com/manual/29034634

Hmm, based on what you have described, have you checked to see if you might simply have failed contacts? Sometime (surprisingly often) they fail in closed condition, especially on seldom opened openings.

It's an easy test, if you take one of the zone wires loose, from the board, does the zone show open?
 
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Old 11-21-20, 01:55 PM
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Good News! I was able to switch out the PC5108 board and all of the zones are working - I think. I have a total of 15 zones, and the zone 15 LED was on. This was my original problem - it was always intermittent. This was why I couldn't sign onto a service. Currently I have 2 problems:
1. Some windows don't trigger a zone fault
2. Zone 15 is always triggering a zone fault

So, is there a way to test each of my switches. I think that I have Normally Closed Reed switches. Or, should I just replace every switch that is bad?

Again, thanks for your help.
Cindy
 
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Old 11-21-20, 02:45 PM
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A crude, but effective test for the ones that don't open, is to give the contact a sharp rap, or two, with the handle of a screwdriver. A good chunk of the time it will release the stuck reed switch. You should still replace it, long term, because once they start sticking like this, they are on borrowed time. If it doesn't open, then you may need to cut it loose to see if the zone opens. In any case, the long term fix is new contacts.

For the one that shows open, first verify that the matching magnet is both present, and aligned. If so, you can short the wires together at the contact, itself. If that closes the zone solidly, then replacing the contact should do the trick. If not, you may have bad wiring for that particular zone.
 
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Old 11-21-20, 04:18 PM
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Thanks for the tips for the closed circuits, I will try them tomorrow and get back to you.
As for the open one, I have checked the alignment of the magnets already. I guess that I will have to try shorting all of the switches (3 of them). That will take some time.

Again, thanks, and I will get back to you.
 
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Old 11-21-20, 09:34 PM
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I could not wait to work on the closed circuits. I mapped out and marked which switches were sticking closed. It turns out that only 6 switches needed tapping. Your suggestion worked on all of the switches. At some time in the future, I will replace those switches.

As for the open zone, with 4 windows, I intend to remove all of the switches and connect the wires. Hopefully, this will close the circuit, and help me locate the bad switch. If this fails, then I will be asking you for help to find the bad wiring. Due to the upcoming holiday, it may be a couple of weeks before I can work on this project. I will keep you up to date.
As I said before, this zone was always intermittent, and it was the reason I wanted to fix my security system.

Thank you very much for your help!
 
  #11  
Old 11-22-20, 11:13 AM
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Because installers often don't make it clear just how mechanically simple most typical hardwired alarm installs actually are, many DIYs fall into the trap of messing with programming, when what's needed is basic continuity testing...
 
  #12  
Old 11-26-20, 05:40 PM
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When replacing a PC5108 zone expander module on a DSC 5010 panel you have to set 2 sets of jumpers on the PC 5108 that need to be set for zones 9 thru 16. The first time I had to replace a PC 5108 on a PC 5010 after a lightning hit it drove me nuts until I re-read the instruction and found that the module needed 1 set of jumpers for zones 9 thru 12 and another set of jumpers for zones 13 thru 16 when using the PC 5108 on a pc 5010 panel.
 
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Old 11-27-20, 07:54 PM
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Thanks, I actually knew that. What took me forever to find on line was that I actually had to put zones 9-16 into partition 1. Older versions don't do that.
Currently, I am waiting for a switch to come in the mail. I think that will get it working - for the most part.

I do appreciate your help. I know that I still have a couple of more questions about how the alarm works.
 
  #14  
Old 11-30-20, 11:23 AM
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My System is now working - I think

I just replaced the broken switch that was causing the false alarms. So far, it is working. Thanks to everyone who has offered me advice!

Now, I have a question about how to set up the alarm. I have pets, and when I arm the alarm in "Stay" mode, the alarm doesn't go off when the motion detectors sense the movement. However, the DSC power832 Manual says that the "Stay/Away" zones will set the alarm in the "Away" mode. Is there a way to set the "Away" mode and bypass the zones which have motion detectors without having to manually bypass ("*1") each zone every time I leave the house? I am not sure if I can do a group bypass, but still is there a way so that the Away mode doesn't sound the alarm?

Again, thanks for any help that I receive.
 
  #15  
Old 11-30-20, 02:58 PM
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Ok, my alarm is still going off, intermittently, indicating the 1 zone - zone 15. Should I be replacing the other 3 switches?
 
  #16  
Old 11-30-20, 03:08 PM
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If you arm your system with stay button on the keypad you can still exit the building and the stay zones will still be automatically bypassed. When you enter the building you will still have the entry delay to dis-arm the panel.
 
  #17  
Old 11-30-20, 04:16 PM
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If you are still getting alarms from that zone, it's worth a shot to replace the remaining contacts. It's not impossible that you have a problem with the actual wiring, but the contacts should be your first look.
 
  #18  
Old 11-30-20, 04:51 PM
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Update - my zone 15 no longer ever closes. I took out the new switch, and just connected the wires, can I do that? I also took out another switch and tested it. It seemed ok when I put a magnet to it and checked the continuity. So, I put it back in. Should I remove the other 2 switches? Is there a way to check the wiring. I don't know how to do that when the wires go behind the walls. Any help would be really appreciated.
 
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Old 11-30-20, 04:54 PM
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Thanks. If I arm the alarm with the "Stay" button, will I have time to exit?
 
  #20  
Old 11-30-20, 07:01 PM
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The exit delay runs in _all_ arming modes. There's just no audible countdown in stay mode.

For testing the connections, you can just short the wires at the switch locations. If you close them all with a twist together, and the zone is still erratic, that likely means that somewhere between the panel/expander location and the openings, the wire may be damaged in the walls or ceiling void. It could be something as minor as a trim nail that got a lucky shot.
 
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Old 11-30-20, 07:18 PM
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So, I am trying to debug my system again with my husband. We checked the continuity of all of the wires. He says that all of the continuity checks out on the circuit, but there is a high resistance -25 mega-ohms while other circuits are less than 12 ohms. He says that this may be causing the zone to light up on the key pad. Could one of my old switches cause this high resistance if it's broken?

I do intend on replacing the switches, but I have to order them, and it will take some time.
 
  #22  
Old 11-30-20, 07:29 PM
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High resistance that high would certainly cause this. Yes, a contact can fail like that. These little reed switches have operating elements the size of a coarse human hair. Removing the contacts, and shorting the wires together will definitely tell you if that's the case. If the resistance comes down, then new contacts will definitely solve the issue.

If the resistance still looks funky with the contacts removed, and the connections shorted, then you may have bad wiring.
 
  #23  
Old 11-30-20, 10:51 PM
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One more update. I have removed the new switch that I installed today - and twisted the wires together. Now, the zone is working (which is why I thought that was the problem). This week, I will order the other 3 switches. While waiting for them to arrive, I will remove the old switches and twist the wires together.
 
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Old 12-02-20, 04:50 PM
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Oh no! I have removed all of the switches and twisted the wires, and the zone light 15 is still on. I will put in the new switches when they arrive. It is my last zone in the system - and there are no zone 16 wires, I am wondering if my wiring is correct in the panel. I did a 1 for 1 wiring when I swapped in the new board.

Assuming that there is a problem with the wiring, is there a way to find out where in the circuit it is? I can access some of the wiring in the attic, but not when it goes down the walls. Can I follow the circuit somehow? If it is bad wiring, is there a way to replace it?
 
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Old 12-02-20, 04:58 PM
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Unless you can spot something obvious, like a staple pinching the wire, or a cut, it's sometimes easier to just run new wire, and abandon the flaky wires.

It wouldn't hurt to double-check your connections.
 
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Old 12-02-20, 11:11 PM
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Thanks for your help. I am still getting intermittent zone faults on the zone. The continuity on the wiring seems to be ok. Are you sure that it's the wiring? I will be able to look at it this weekend in the attic - maybe wiggle the lines. I don't understand the intermittent part.
Again, thanks for your help.
 
  #27  
Old 12-03-20, 03:14 AM
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The kind of wire used for this is pretty small (22 gauge being typical). It's quite possible for a wire to be broken inside of the plastic jacket at some point where it makes a sharp bend or possibly got kinked in the process of being pulled, or possibly some spot where a staple or nail damaged the wire. There are a _lot_ of possible causes.
 
  #28  
Old 12-05-20, 12:11 PM
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Thanks, I was going to ask you about the type of wire. I am going to try to find out which wire it is. Also, I will have to buy the "fishing" tools. Where should I be looking to get the wire, assuming I will be buying some?
 
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Old 12-05-20, 04:45 PM
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It's the kind of wire that _used_ to be used for telephone wiring, before cat 5 became the default standard. Most HD/Lowes still stock it in both 2 and 4 conductor versions. Unless I'm strapped for cash, I generally go with 4 conductor, because having a spare pair can remedy exactly the kind of problem you are having.

https://www.homedepot.com/b/Electric...toreSelection=
 
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Old 12-07-20, 09:31 AM
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Thanks for your help. I think that I have isolated the wire, I will know for certain in the next day or so. I am not sure that I have the skills or the tools to fish it up and down the wall. This weekend, I will see if the wire will slide easily. I may be at the point where I will have to get some professional help. I watched some youtube videos, and I don't have any of the "fishing" tools. Because of COVID, I am not sure that I can get an electrician to do this, either, I'll know more when I get into the attic.

Again, thanks for your help, I will keep you up to date.
 
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Old 12-12-20, 12:48 PM
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Here is my update. I crawled up into the attic, and tried to fish the wire down. I could not tell whether the wire was going straight down or bending along the way. I really don't know what is behind the wall. Also, it was difficult to go vertical as the roof line was getting very small at the top of the line. As I was watching youtube videos, one of them suggested using a magna pull tool. I am not sure if I have the skill to use this tool because I still don't know what is behind the wall. Is it time to call a professional?
 
  #32  
Old 12-12-20, 01:15 PM
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Blind fishing wires in finished structures is almost as much an art as it is a skill. It's also something very difficult to do solo, especially if you don't have some of the specialized tools that full time installers may have.

Make your judgement as to your skill set, and how much you want this wire placed.
 
  #33  
Old 12-12-20, 11:49 PM
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Cindy, what part of the country do you live in? It's a long shot, but I live in the DC outer suburbs and I've been retired long enough that I sometimes take on calls (no charge) just for the fun of it.
 
  #34  
Old 12-14-20, 11:52 AM
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That is soooo nice, but I live on the west coast. I would pay someone if I could get this fixed. I just bought a magna pull tool, and I will try again when it arrives. Of course, an update will follow. Again, thanks for your offer to help.
 
  #35  
Old 12-22-20, 06:30 PM
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Hey all, my magnepull arrived late last night, and I spent all day in the attic. I was never able to "couple" the retriever tool with anything. The problem is that I don't know exactly what my location was on the other side of the wall. I think that I need someone who is skilled in fishing the wire - anyone will be more skilled than me. Do you think that a "real" electrician will be able to do this?
 
 

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