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    How to Install A Hard-wired Burglar Alarm System

    How to Install A Hard-wired Burglar Alarm System

    See the full list of Installation Guides

    This article outlines the basic steps in installing a hard-wired burglar alarm system.  A hard-wired burglar alarm system uses multicore alarm cable to connect the various detectors and sounder(s) to the burglar alarm control panel.  Wireless Intruder alarm systems use radio signals to communicate between the control panel and the various wireless detectors.  Hybrid burglar alarm systems are also available where part of the system can be hard-wired and the rest connected wirelessly.


    The alarm equipment has arrived and the time has come to actually install the system. You can actually install the equipment in almost any order but the following installation sequence will ensure a neat and reliable installation.

    1. Read through all the manufacturer's manuals, but don't be daunted by the technical jargon used, once you work out how the system works, everything will fall into place.
    2. Install the Control Panel
    3. Install the Detectors
    4. Install the Signalling Devices
    5. Program the system


    Installing The Control Panel

    If you are at all unsure about how the control panel works you can connect the battery and test it on the bench (kitchen table) before physically installing it.

    1. Decide on the position of the Control Panel. Stand-alone control panels should be fitted near to the entry/exit point of the premises, unless you are using an RKP as well as the keypad on the panel. Blank end-stations can be fited anywhere within the protected area and are probably best if hidden from view. Consider the following when positioning the control panel.
      • Availability of mains electricity. All control panels require a mains electricity supply which should be supplied to the panel via a fused spur (not switched) fitted with a 3 Amp fuse.
      • Cabling access. Consider where the cables to and from the panel are to run; if possible cables should enter the panel from the rear (not as important on hidden blank end-stations). Avoid running mains and alarm cable close together.
      • Ease of access. Ensure that the panel is sited such that you can easily connect the relevant cabling to the internal terminals and where applicable access the keypad.
    2. Remove any break-outs from the panel and offer the panel to the wall, mark the positions of the fixing holes and the cable entry points,
    3. Drill any required holes through the wall at the rear of the panel and drill and plug the holes for the fixing screws.
    4. Loosely but securely fix the panel to the wall, such that cables can be routed to the rear of the panel if required.
    5. If the control panel is a blank end-station, connect at least one RKP to the panel. Note: it is better to connect all the RKPs at this point.
    6. Connect the internal sounder/speaker to the correct terminals - usually L/S +ve -ve - although polarity usually doesn't matter.
    7. Arrange for an electrician to connect the mains supply cable from the fused spur to the control panel. DO NOT apply mains power to the panel while the panel cover is open - REMOVE THE FUSE from the fused spur.
    8. Connect the 12v rechargeable battery and follow the manufacturer's instructions for initial power-up of the control panel.
    9. Put the control panel into engineering mode.


    Installing Detectors

    When installing detectors the detector should be fixed in position and the cable connected to the detector and then run back to the control panel. This ensures that any slack in the cable ends up at the control panel.

    Make a note of which zone the detectors are connected to as you install them. This will make programming the system a lot easier. As an example suppose we have a PIR fitted at ceiling level in a room remote from the control panel such that the cable needs to run into the ceiling space (or upper room) and then down into the room where the control panel is fitted. We have to drill a hole into the ceiling space directly above the PIR and another at the control panel. Starting at the control panel and with the cable attached to its reel, we thread the cable from the control panel into the roof space and across to the PIR, through the hole in the ceiling and into the rear of the PIR and connect the relevant cores to the correct terminals. We can then fit the PIR in position and fix the cable working back to the control panel. At the control panel we can cut the cable leaving sufficent length of cable to work with in the panel (any excess can be cut off later).

    Magnetic Contacts

    There are several types of magnetic contact all operating on the same principle i.e. when the magnet is in close proximity to the switch the circuit is closed; moving the magnet away from the switch allows the switch to spring open and thus signal an open circuit to the control panel. Magnetic contacts are wired using 4 core cable (2 for alarm and 2 for tamper). More than one magnetic contact can be connected to a zone using one length of 4 core and if required magnetic contacts and powered detectors (e.g. PIRs) can be wired to the same zone but in this case 6 core cable will be required for the powered detectors.

    Fitting and Connecting a Single Surface Magnetic Contact

    This section describes the fitting of a terminal type plastic magnetic contact.

    1. Decide on the positioning of the contact bearing the following in mind.
      • The contact should be fitted at or very near to the opening edge of the door or window i.e. not near the hinge.
      • It is usually preferable to fit the contact near the top of the door or window in order to prevent moisture ingress and/or physical damage.
      • Do not position the contact where there is a lot of play in the door when closed, also make sure that all doors and windows stay shut when closed - you may have to reposition the catch to eliminate any excessive play.
    2. Run the cable from the control panel through any holes in walls to the magnetic contact.
    3. Connect the cable to the contact as shown in the diagram (core colours are arbitrary). Do not strip more of the outer sheath than is necessary.
    4. Make a small notch in the edge of the switch (opposite side to the arrow - if present) such that when the switch is secured to the door the cable will be trapped.
    5. Screw the switch to the frame such that when the magnet is fixed to the door or window it is in close proximity to the switch. If the contacts are marked with arrows then these should point to each other. Note: it is usually possible to fit the contacts at right angles to each other i.e. the top face of one part facing the side of the other. It is best to check with a continuity tester if an unorthodox positioning is required.
    6. Fix the magnet to the door or window and check (using a continuity tester or connecting to a zone on the panel) that the switch opens/closes in response to the door opening/closing.
    7. Secure the cable at a point close to the switch and then secure the cable back to the panel. Work towards the panel such that any slack is at the panel end.
    8. Connect the alarm cores into the 2 zone terminals and the tamper cores into the global tamper circuit - see below.

    Fitting Flush Magnetic Contacts

    Flush magnetic contacts are fitted into the edge of the door (magnet) and the dooor frame (switch) and as such can only be fitted to wooden doors They are wired in the same way as surface contacts. The following describes how to fit a 20mm flush magnetic contact.

    1. Decide whereabouts on the door to fit the contact bearing in mind the following.
      • Do not fit a flush magnetic contact near the bottom of an external door - damp will almost certainly rise up inside the frame and corrode the contacts.
      • Ensure that there is sufficient space to drill a hole through the back of the door frame to access the rear of the switch.
    2. Mark the position of the switch on the door edge. The easiest way to do this is to push a small screwdriver between the door and frame with the door shut and rock the screwdriver from side to side to leave matching indentations in the door edge and frame.
    3. Using a 20mm spade bit, drill a hole in the door edge to slightly deeper than the depth of the magnet. drill a corresponding hole in the door frame to the depth of the switch plus around 15mm to allow for the wiring connections.
    4. The contacts are fitted with a flanged faceplate. If the gap between the door and frame is sufficient, the flange need not be recessed. Where there is insufficient clearance or if desired, the flange should be recessed.

      To recess the flange; push the magnet and switch into their respective holes and mark round the flange. Remove the switch and magnet and remove approximately 2mm of wood from the face of the door edge and frame such that when the magnet and switch are pushed in their faces are flush with the surrounding wood.

    Connecting Multiple Magnetic Contacts

    It is possible to connect more than one magnetic contact to a zone using the wiring diagram below. It can be quite difficult to get the wiring neat between the detectors.

    Note: The above diagram shows all 4 cores being cut and and connected to terminals, however, it is possible to cut just one of the alarm cores and one tamper core at each detector and just run the others past. A bit tricky but can be done with practice.

    Powered Detectors (PIRs, Shock Sensors, Breakglass Detectors)

    Powered detectors require an extra 2 cores for their 12v power supply. The power supply is taken from the control panel Aux supply. The power supply is connected to each detector in parallel not serial as with the alarm and tamper circuits - refer to the diagram showing the connections for multiple powered detectors.

    Fitting and Wiring Powered Detectors

    The procedure described below refers to a PIR detector but can be applied to any powered detector.

    1. Decide on the positioning of the detector bearing the following in mind.
      • PIR detectors should not be fitted where they are likely to pick up spurious heat sources, i.e. not in direct sunlight, not directly above boilers or radiators, nor in rooms which get hot (conservatories etc.). In the latter case a Dual Technology detector should be fitted.
      • All types of detector should be fitted to a stable surface.
      • In the case of PIRs, the detector should be fitted in such a position that detection of movement is across the detector, not towards or away from it.
    2. Remove any break-outs from the rear of the detector required for the cable entry and fixing holes - Do not make the hole for the cable entry larger than is absolutely necessary. Note: the PCB may have to be removed. CAUTION: do not touch the lens on a PIR detector.
    3. Run the cable from the control panel through any holes in walls and through the rear of the detector.
    4. Connect the cable to the detector as shown in the diagram (core colours are arbitrary). Do not strip more of the outer sheath than is necessary.
    5. Ensure that the cable cannot be pulled out of the detector by either securing the cable inside the detector using a cable tie or simply fixing a cable tie round the cable such that it cannot be pulled through the cable entry hole or where space permits tieing a single knot in the cable.
    6. Fix the backplate of the detector to the wall or ceiling and pull the cable back through the detector refitting the PCB if required. In the case of PIRs adjust the PCB to the mounting height by positioning the PCB.
    7. Fit the detector cover.
    8. Connect the detectors power supply and allow the detector to warm-up (~ 30 secs). Check that the detector responds to movement in the protected area using its LED (the LED can be disabled later if required).
    9. Check that the alarm circuit is switching correctly at the control panel using a continuity tester or by connecting to a zone.
    10. For PIR detectors, remove the detector cover and seal any holes in the backplate against insect intrusuion with silicone sealant (like the stuff for bath surrounds).
    11. Secure the cable at a point close to the detector and then secure the cable back to the panel. Work towards the panel such that any slack is at the panel end.
    12. Connect the alarm cores into the 2 zone terminals and the tamper cores into the global tamper circuit - see below.


    Global Tamper Wiring

    When all the detectors and any other tampered devices have been installed, the tamper pairs should be wired into the global tamper circuit as in the diagram below. The factory-fitted link across the tamper terminals should be removed.

    The detection system should now be functional with all the detectors correctly triggering and the global tamper clear.

    Installing Signalling Devices

    The main signalling devices used in alarms systems are:

    • Sounders - internal and external, Piezo sounders are usually used for external use in the form of a Self Actuating Bell (SAB) unit which incorporates one or more piezo sounders, a rechargeable battery and rechargeing circuitry. Internal sounders can be either an internal loudspeaker which replicates the the tones from the panels integral speaker or the RKP tones, or a piezo sounder which connects to the external bell terminals. Internal SAB units are also available which are connected as external SAB units. Because SAB units derive their power from the control panel there is a limit to the number of SAB units that can be fitted. However, SAB units can usually be configured to operate in SCB mode where they only draw chargeing power from the panel.

      SAB units usually incorporate a strobe unit and flashing comfort LEDs.

    • Speech Diallers and Speech and Text Diallers. Speech diallers and speech and text diallers dial up to a preset no of telephone numbers and deliver one common message (property identity) followed by up to 4 different messages dependent on the type of alarm caused (e.g. Intruder, Personal Attack, Fire). Note: alarm type differentiation is only available when the dialler is connected to a control panel with communicator outputs. On panels without communicator outputs (known as Bells Only panels), the dialler has to be triggered by the bell trigger. Text versions allow text messages to be sent to mobile telephones or land lines with a text option enabled.
    • Communicators. Where the alarm system is connected to an Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC), the alarm status is sent via a communicator in a specific coded format. The ARC then confirms the alarm and contacts the relevant authority.


    Installing an Internal Sounder (piezo)

    A simple (two wire) internal piezo sounder can be installed along with the external sounder. The sounder should be connected to the permanent +ve supply and the bell trigger in parallel with the external sounder - see SAB connections below. Note: be careful not to exceed the maximum bell output current.

    Installing an Internal Sounder (Loudspeaker)

    Most control panels have a built in loudspeaker for signalling entry.exit tones (low volume) and alarm tones (high volume). Additional loudspeakers may be fitted but there is usually a minimum and maximum load allowed.

    The following is a typical extract from a control panel installation manual. Refer to the specific installation manual for their loadings.

    "The total load including the built-in speaker must not be less than 4ohm (e.g. 2 x 8ohm speakers in parallel, 4 x 16ohm speakers in parallel, 2 x 2ohm speakers in series, 4 x 1ohm speakers in series, etc.)"

    The loudpeaker(s) is/are connected to the L/S terminals.

    Installing an External Sounder

    1. Decide on the positioning of the external sounder bearing the following in mind.
      • The sounder should be fitted as high up as possible, and be readily visible. A decoy sounder can be added on another face of the building to increase awareness of an alarm.
      • The cable to the sounder must enter from the rear of the sounder - no cable should be visible.
      • Try to hide the internal routing of the cable by bringing it through the loft or through a cupboard/wardrobe.
    2. Drill a hole through the wall to coincide with the cable entry of the sounder. Note: if drilling through into a plastered room, the hole is best drilled inside to outside.
    3. Feed the cable (6 core) from the control panel, through any pre-drilled internal holes and through the external wall. A straightened wire coat hanger can assist in getting the cable past the cavity in external walls. Leave around 0.5 metres hanging outside.
    4. Offer the back-plate against the wall such that the cable entry hole is in line with the cable and the sounder is level. Adjust the position so that the mounting holes are aligned with brickwork and not the mortar. Mark the position of the mounting holes.
    5. Drill and plug the holes.
    6. Pull the cable through the rear of the sounder and fix the sounder to the wall. If the sounder is fitted to an uneven wall then packing pieces should be inserted to avoid twisting the backplate.
    7. Sounder installations vary but in general the cores should be connected to the relevant terminals. Do not connect the sounder's internal battery at this point. Fix the cable to the backplate or tie a knot it to prevent the cable being pulled from the sounder.
    8. Fix the cable along its route working back to the control panel. Connect the cores to the relevant terminals on the control panel. Note: control panel and sounder installation manuals usually have cross references for sounder/panel connections. Where this is not given, the wiring connections will have to be worked out from the generic wiring scheme given below.

    Wiring an External Sounder

    The majority of control panel and external sounder installation manuals have charts for connecting various panel/sounder pairings. Where the sounder and panel are not listed the wiring can be determined by matching the functions of the terminals in the panel and sounder.

    A typical control panel will have at least 5 connections for connecting the SAB sounder. Sometimes a sixth terminal is present - Strobe +ve, but this is actually the same feed as the permanent +v supply.

    • Permanent Positive Supply (+12V) - also termed +ve hold off
    • Switched Negative to Activate Sounder
    • Negative Tamper Return
    • Permanent Negative Supply (0V) - also termed -ve hold off, this is the tamper feed
    • Switched Negative to Activate Strobe
    • Strobe positive supply (not always present)


    A typical wiring scheme for the Txecom Veritas series of panels is shown below as a guide.

    The control panel is usually factory fitted with a link across the tamper feed and return which allows you to determine two of the terminals (the link should be removed on installation). The other terminals can then be identified from the installation instructions for panel and sounder.

    When the correct connections have been made the final connection is usually to activate the sounder by connecting the sounder's internal battery. The installation manual for the sounder details the procedure. Finally fit the sounder cover, ensuring that the tamper switch(es) close.

    If no other signalling devices are to be installed then the system can be programmed - see below.

    Installing A Speech Dialler

    This section describes the installation of a typical speech dialler - refer to the speech dialler installation manual for specific instructions.

    As mentioned previously, a speech dialler can be fitted to any hard-wired control panel. On a bells only panel the dialler has to be triggered by the bell trigger and as such there is no option of delaying the bell before the dialler dials. On a panel with communicator outputs the dialler is triggered by different outputs dependent on the type of alarm - e.g. Intruder, Personal Attack, Fire.

    1. Decide on the positioning of the dialler unit bearing in mind the following.
      • If the unit is a stand-alone unit it should be fitted as near to the telephone master socket as is practical.
      • If the unit has a listen-in/talk back feature, then the unit should be fitted where this feature would be useful.
    2. Fix the unit securely in position.
    3. Connect the cabling to the required terminals in the dialler.
    4. Fix the cable, working back to the control panel.
    5. Connect the cable to the required terminals in the control panel,
    6. Connect the telephone cable into the dialler.
    7. Connect the cable to the telephone master socket either by using the standard plug or by hard wiring into the socket (refer to the installation manual).
    8. Programme the dialler according to the installation manual.


    Programming the System

    When all the detectors and signalling devices have been installed and everything is working correctly the system can be programmed accordingly. Refer to the control panel installation manual.


    Congratulations, now you've installed the system make a note of the program settings. The last thing to do is to change the user code(s) and the engineer code. Note: the user code should be changed reguilarly such that the same buttons are not constantly used.

    This Article is Copyright and cannot be used commercially without express written consent of Sapphire Alarms. Illegal copies are detected by Copysentry
    2013-06-04 14:35:10

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