If your DSC home alarm is beeping every 10 seconds or so, there could be many possible causes. In most cases, it’s because the alarm panel has detected one or more “trouble” conditions. These include things like battery trouble, phone line failure, and communication problems, among many others.
Note: DSC keypads also emit "normal" beeping caused by the "Chime" function. You can easily toggle this on or off by pressing and holding the "Chime" button on any keypad that has function keys. For keypads without a chime button, just press "*4".
On this page, I’ll show you how to silence trouble beeping, and how to use a few
easy keypad commands to find the source of the trouble. I’ll also
explain how to fix some of the most common causes of alarm system
If you have a brand of alarm panel other than DSC, see "My Alarm Keeps Beeping - What Can I Do?".
While beeping alarm keypads can be very annoying, they’re designed that way for a reason. The alarm beep is intended to get your attention so you’ll go to the keypad, where you can then get a detailed visual indication of what the problem is. Unfortunately, these problems usually seem to crop up in the middle of the night!
With the noise eliminated, you can relax a bit and figure out what to do next.
Trouble codes are displayed on DSC keypads using either LED’s
(on basic LED keypads) or as text (on LCD keypads with alphanumeric
Over the years, DSC has made many different alarm panels, and they don’t all share the same trouble code scheme. For this reason, I highly recommend you download a copy of the “User Manual” for your specific panel model.
You can find links to free DSC manuals on my alarm system manual sources page.
Go to any keypad and press “*”, then “2”. The keypad will switch
from its “idle” display to its “trouble code” display. The lit LED’s or
text will now correspond to the trouble code table. The example below is
for the Power 832/864 family of panels.
Notice that if a “1” is displayed (“Service Required”), pressing the “1” key again will cause the specific problem to be displayed.
Note: If you have a DSC model PC4020, there won’t be any numbers. This system uses LCD keypads with fixed displays, so instead of numbers, the trouble condition is spelled out in text form.
Make a note of the trouble condition(s). I’ve listed some of the most common problems below, along with ways to handle them.
After attempting to correct any of the problems below, the trouble display may not clear immediately. Arming, then disarming the system will reset most trouble displays.
If your DSC home alarm is beeping due to this condition, the main panel battery is low or failing.
If you’ve recently had a power
outage, wait 24-48 hours after power is restored. The battery may simply
have discharged, and will recharge when the electricity comes back
on. If the beeping persists, the battery probably needs to be replaced.
The battery can be replaced by your alarm company, if you have one. Or, if you’re fairly handy, you may be able to fix it yourself. Replacing an alarm battery isn’t very difficult, provided you can reach the main panel box.
For details on doing this yourself, see my page on DIY alarm system battery replacement.
If your DSC home alarm is beeping for AC trouble, it means
that the panel isn’t getting power from the low voltage transformer.
This is a small cube that plugs into an outlet, usually near the main
Possible problems and solutions:
For transformer details, see the alarm system battery page.
If your DSC home alarm is beeping due to this condition, then it isn’t
able to see the telephone line. The line may have been cut or damaged,
or the phone service may simply be down.
If your phones are out, check for dial tone by plugging a standard telephone into the jack in the phone box outside the house.
If it’s dead there, call your phone service provider.
If it’s good, something may have been disconnected between the alarm panel and the exterior phone box. In this case, you’ll probably need an alarm technician to come out and trace the line.
When a DSC home alarm is beeping for this condition, it means that the panel was unable to call the central station. This
could be a result of no phone line as described above, in which case
fixing the line will clear this condition as well.
Otherwise, check with your alarm company for instructions. They can check your alarm’s reporting activity, and advise you on further steps to take.
Note: FTC troubles will clear only when the panel successfully sends a signal to the central station. Call your alarm representative for help with this.
If your DSC home alarm is beeping for either of these conditions, there
is a problem with some form of wireless security equipment. This can
include wireless door and window transmitters, remote keypads, and
Tamper means the plastic cover is loose, missing, or somehow not attached correctly. Check the affected zone; you may be able to easily re-attach a loose cover.
A Low Zone Battery is generated when a remote transmitter battery is low or failing. If you do your own battery changes, replace the batteries in the affected transmitters. Otherwise, contact your alarm company for service.
If your DSC home alarm is beeping for time loss, the internal clock will need to be reset. To do this, follow these steps:
All entries must be 2-digits; for example, January is month 01.
These are the system trouble conditions I’ve seen most often. For help with other trouble conditions, check the manual for your specific panel model.
This is especially true if you have an older system that's been discontinued.
You already have wiring in place, which is often the biggest expense for a hardwired system.
And, you can probably re-use your existing hardwired devices like door and window contacts, motion detectors, and glassbreak detectors with the new system.