Ademco manuals, as well as those for most any other brand of alarm system, are available as free pdf downloads from several great websites.
If you know your Ademco system model number, scroll down to the bottom of this page and click the highlighted link for “PanelGuides.com”.
For Brinks/Broadview systems, scroll down to the "AlarmsBC.com" link.
If you need help finding the model number, or aren’t sure which manual you need, read on…
Ademco alarm panels, like most other brands, normally have the model information on a sticker inside the lid of the main panel box. This is not the keypad used to arm and disarm; instead, look for a tan metal box about 16” square. It will probably be tucked away in a closet or laundry room, and may or may not have a locking lid.
If you don’t have a key, look on top of the panel. Or, check the “catch-all” drawer in the kitchen. It will be smaller than a house key, with teeth cut on only one side.
Once the lid is open, locate the panel information. Ademco has been making alarm equipment for a long time, so there are many, many different models.
Older models include the 4100 series (4140XMP, 4150, 4110) and the 5100 series (5110XM, 5120XM).
Another older line is the Via series (Via-16, Via-30, Via 30PSE).
Newer products are in the Vista series (Vista 10SE, Vista 15P, Vista 20P).
Before heading to PanelGuides.com, decide what Ademco manuals you’re looking for. Most Ademco alarm systems will have at least two manuals available. Here is what to look for:
These Ademco manuals will contain "Install" in the file name. This is everything an alarm technician or do-it-yourselfer would need to install the panel, connect it to power, a phone line, and other alarm devices. Wiring information for keypads, zone expanders, and optional modules is also included.
The "Install" file may also contain programming information (see below).
Technical specifications are also listed, along with a wiring diagram of the panel.
A Vista 20P schematic diagram is shown below, as an example. For details on how to use it, see Ademco Vista 20P Wiring Diagram.
Look for "User" in the file title. User manuals provide instructions on how to arm, disarm, bypass zones, etc. with all current keypads that are compatible with that system. Keypads that come out later may have an addendum to the user manual, explaining their operation.
Look for "Program" in the file name. This document contains everything you might want to know (and probably lots that you don’t!) about programming the system. This includes entering zone definitions, account number, dialer information, master codes, etc.
Unless you’re doing the installation yourself, you can safely skip this file. If you are going the DIY route, this is the single most important file you’ll need.
Even after a system is installed, programmed, and working, the programming guide is necessary when making any future changes to the system. The center section of many Ademco manuals contains sheets intended to be filled out by the installer, with every programming item listed. The factory default values are shown, along with boxes to record any changes.
Some panels don’t have a separate programming manual, and you won’t see any "Program" file listed. In that case, download the "Install" file; programming information should be included there.
Click on the highlighted PanelGuides.com link below. The site will open in a new window. After downloading your manual, closing the window will bring you right back here.
PanelGuides.com doesn’t require a log in. Just click on the “Panel Guides” tab in the upper-right corner. Then click the “Ademco” tab in the list. Find the tab for "Control Panels" and click it.
Scroll down to find your panel, then choose the manual(s) you’d like. Select “Download”, and Save to your Desktop or other handy place on your computer.
A good tip is to briefly Open the file first, before Saving it. This is to make sure you’ve got the correct file. A few manuals on the site are misfiled under the wrong "Install" or "User" label. A small inconvenience, considering the site is so helpful, not to mention free!
Go to PanelGuides.com
Another great source for alarm manuals is AlarmsBC.com.
Specifically for the Lynx alarm panel, see Ademco Lynx System Code Programming.
For other Ademco panels, see Ademco Home Alarm System Code Programming.
If you need to easily connect a keypad to an existing system to make programming changes, see this page for an Alarm Programming Quick Keypad Connector.
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