Home security alarm system installation and device wiring guide

DSC System basic wiring overview

In this video, I’ll go through the basic install and wiring of a DSC Powerseries 1616 and 1832 panel.  DSC has done a good job over the last 15-20 years of keeping their panels quite standard. Which means that even if you have an older DSC panel in your home, or are looking to upgrade to a newer unit, the wiring will be quite similar to this one.

Required hardware

This video covers the basic wiring of a security panel, devices and other hardware.  To get started with a system, you’ll need:

Main security panel – 

I own and install these DSC Power Series Panels for a few reasons.  The brand has been around a long time and is quite user friendly.  The panels can easily be expanded to handle lots of wired and wireless devices.  There is a wide range of devices that are compatible with these systems to secure your home and loved ones.  If you don’t want to spend money on monthly monitoring through a central station, there are self-monitoring options now.  I’ll get into those options a bit later in this post.

Keypad options –

These DSC keypads look good and come in quite a few different options.  Some have wireless receivers built in to them to easily add wireless devices to your system.  Others are simply meant for hard-wired systems and are good for that, or as a second keypad on a system with a wireless capable keypad.  DSC also has a higher end keypad with a touch screen that can double as a digital picture frame.  For more info on these keypads and installing them, check out this video.

Door/Window Contacts – 

Most systems will have a contact on their exterior doors and maybe some windows.  Depending on the situation, these contacts may be recessed or surface mounted.  Typically recessed contacts are used when the walls are open so that wiring can be run behind the drywall.  Here’s a video on the install of a recessed door contact.  

Motion Detectors – 

Motion detectors are a necessary addition to most installs.  If you have a room with lots of glass doors or windows, you can use a single motion detector to cover it, rather than contacts on every window and door.  These motions come as a standard PIR(passive infra-red) or can be dual band, with a Microwave technology option as well.  

These dual tech motions are a good option for outdoor, or garage applications where there may be animals or other movement.  They are made to cut down on false alarms in high risk areas since both detectors need to trigger for the motion to alarm.  360 degree ceiling mounted motions are great for large areas like a retail sales floor or board room where one 360 can do the job of multiple standard corner mounted motions.

Smoke, heat and CO detectors – 

In most regions, the electrician who wired your building had to put in a certain amount of smoke detectors on each floor and, more recently, in bedrooms.  The issue with these smokes, is that the siren/strobe goes off but no notification goes anywhere else.  If you use detectors wired to your security system, you can have them send a signal to a monitoring station or to cell phones.  The same applies for heat and CO detectors.  Heat detectors are typically used somewhere like a garage where there is exhaust or other fumes that would cause a false alarm on a smoke detector.  These heat detectors trigger when the temperature hits a certain degree, or there is a very quick jump in heat.  

Its also a good idea to install Carbon Monoxide detectors near bedrooms and places like a furnace or electrical room where a lot a natural gas,  propane, or other fuel is being used.  If this fuel isn’t being burned off completely it can cause carbon monoxide.  When carbon monoxide is breathed it can starve the body of oxygen, leading to brain and lung issues, and inducing suffocation.  CO detectors can also be purchase as stand alone units, even if you don’t have a security system right now they are a good idea to have.

 Emergency buttons and flood sensors

 These security systems have wired and wireless options for emergency buttons and flood sensors.  For the emergency buttons, they can be set as a panic, hold up, or medical alarm.  A panic setting tells the system to activate the siren and send a signal out to the central station and/or cell phone.  The hold up and medical settings don’t activate the siren but send out the emergency signals.  Wireless emergency buttons can be hung from around the neck or on a keychain or belt clip.

Flood sensors also come in hardwired or wireless options.  Typical places that these sensors are mounted would be near the top of a sump pump pit so that you have some time to fix the issue if the sump pump isn’t working properly.  Another good location is near the bottom of a water heater so that your are notified if there’s a leak.

 

 System Self-Monitoring options

Up until a few years ago, standard security systems communicated through your land line or a piece of hardware that used the cell towers.  The signals were sent back to a monitoring station who would then dispatch the authorities if you payed them a monthly fee.  More recently though, with new hardware availability and internet becoming faster and more stable, there are options for the average user to self monitor their system.

One of the best pieces of equipment in the last 5 or so years is an internet module from EyezOn.  The most recent model is called the EVL4.  This module connects to your DSC or Honeywell security system, and also to the internet.  After setting up an account on their web site, you can use your smart phone to receive messages from your system if there is ever an emergency.  

The EVL unit also allows you to arm and disarm the system from your phone as well.  This is great if you weren’t around and needed to disarm the system so someone could swing by the home or business.  The best thing though, there are no monthly for this service.  The average user could save hundreds of dollars a year if they wanted to self-monitor their system rather than pay a central monitoring station.

If you’d like more info on this hardware and no fee self monitoring options, I go into more detail in the Self monitoring walkthrough and Medical alert monitoring posts.  For a full tutorial, check out our Security Course as well.

 

Our other training videos and articles will show you how to properly install and program a system to keep your valuables safe.

Also, check out our Shop, where we have links to the equipment you’ll need to get a professional system set-up for a fraction of the price.

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