Alarm system parts for a complete system usually include the main panel, keypads, and possibly zone expanders and other modules.
For hardwired systems, magnetic contacts for the perimeter doors and windows are the most basic parts. Hardwired motion and glassbreak detectors can also be added for additional interior protection.
Wireless home security systems require transmitters to protect the doors, windows, and interior areas.
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See what kinds of Alarm Installation Tools you might need before you get started.
If you’re not sure exactly which alarm system parts you
might need, check out these pages for a rundown on the basic parts of
each of the two major types of alarm system:
Parts for Hardwired Home Security Systems
Parts for Wireless Home Alarm Systems
Homeowners or renters who use home alarm companies usually let the pro’s take care of alarm system parts and service as they are needed. This is especially true if the customer is paying for home alarm monitoring, since most companies have a service agreement included in their contracts.
Local alarm dealers also provide installation and service of security systems, and can be a good source of alarm system parts.
It’s possible that your alarm company doesn’t provide service, or you may not currently have a company. If so, read on to see if a “do it yourself” home alarm repair is a possibility.
If you’re building, expanding, or maintaining a DIY security system, you’ll likely be installing home security system parts yourself. Alarm system parts are widely available online from sources like my Home Security Systems Answers Amazon A-store and the HomeSecurityStore.com.
Information on DIY security systems is available on forums and web sites
everywhere. Check out my main DIY page on DIY home security systems.
Some home alarm system parts are generic, and are interchangeable from one make of security panel to another.
Others are brand-specific or proprietary, meaning they will only function with systems within their own brand.
In general, hardwired alarm system parts tend to be fairly generic, while wireless devices usually work only with panels and receivers of the same make.
Most alarm manufacturers include specifications or “spec sheets” which list all devices that are compatible with each panel. This is the first place to start when trying to choose replacement parts for an existing alarm system.
Hardwire contacts for windows and doors are almost totally generic, and are interchangeable without regard to brand of panel. A magnet and switch combination simply opens and closes an electrical loop, either “normally open” (N/O) or “normally closed” (N/C). All modern hardwired alarm panels will use one of these types of contact, and many can be programmed to work with both.
Most alarm panels that use hardwired zones have the option to include EOLR's, or end-of-line resistors. These connect either in series or in parallel with the zone wiring, and enable the loop to be supervised.
You can get replacement resistors of most common values through many online suppliers, including Amazon.com.
For details on installing alarm system contacts, see these pages:
For garage overhead doors:
The Best Overhead Door Contact Mounting Locations
Garage Door Alarm Contacts - Tips & Techniques
Sentrol Garage Door Sensor – Track Mount Model 2315
Motion detectors and glassbreaks are typically 4-wire
devices. Virtually all use 12-volts DC for power, which luckily enough
is the industry standard auxiliary power provided by most home security
systems. This makes them interchangeable on nearly all hardwired alarm
Smoke detectors are a bit trickier. They should be listed as compatible with the specific model of alarm panel you’re using, especially for 2-wire smokes. The spec sheets included with each panel will list compatible smoke detectors, and these parts are the ones to use for best results. The listed units have been tested on that system, and are known to operate correctly.
Keypads, zone expanders, and output modules are parts designed only to operate with their particular brand and model of main alarm panel. There is no mixing and matching of keypads and panels of different brands.
Some keypads, expanders and other parts are compatible with several models of panel within their brand. Check the specifications of the main panel for a list of all compatible devices.
Nearly all wireless security transmitters and receivers are totally brand-specific parts, so each device model will only work with other equipment made by the same manufacturer.
Similar to the way hardwired expanders and keypads are designed, certain wireless devices are interchangeable with multiple panels within their own brand. As with the hardwired parts, check the wireless equipment manufacturer’s spec sheets to see exactly which model numbers are compatible with each other.
For more information, see this section on Wireless Home Alarm Systems.
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