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Alarm System Manual Sources

Finding Manuals for ADT, Ademco, Brinks/Broadview, DSC, GE, and More

Finding your Alarm System Model Number

Finding an alarm system manual starts with knowing the manufacturer / brand and model of your system. Over the years, dozens of manufacturers have produced many hundreds of different security panels, so you really need the brand and model info to narrow the search down to the right manual.

Most manufacturers place this information on a sticker inside the lid of the panel enclosure, but you may find partial model names or numbers on the outside of the enclosure too. For help, see the photos in the next section.

For decades, was the go-to source for manuals for virtually any brand and model of alarm system. Sadly, this resource was shut down in early 2017. This makes finding manuals a bit more difficult, but usually not impossible.

July 15, 2017 Update: is back online!!

This great FREE resource is back up, and seems to list all the manuals as before. Just visit the site, click on "panelguides" in the upper-right corner, and find your system by manufacturer and model number.

If you need an Ademco alarm system manual, see my page on Ademco manuals.

For Monitronics / MONI alarm manuals, use the manufacturer and model information.

Some alarm systems, most notably those from DSC, have two names: The Model Number and the Marketing Name. For example, the PC5010 (Model Number) is also known as the Power 832 (Marketing Name) which can be found on your control panel.

Alarm System Manual Sources - Outside of panel. Notice Marketing Name 'DSC Power 832'

DSC Power 832 - Inside of lid. Notice Model Number 'PC5010'

Types of Alarm Manuals

User Manuals

User Manuals, often called Owner Manuals, explain the everyday operation of the system, and only include basic, user-level programming instructions. A User Manual will typically show you in simple terms how to arm, disarm, bypass zones, and possibly change your own passcodes.

Functions covered in a User Manual usually include:

  • Arming/disarming the system
  • Finding faulted zones
  • Bypassing zones
  • Checking "Alarm Memory"
  • Turn "Chime" on/off
  • Limited code changes

Alarm User Manuals are widely available at no charge from many sites. Most manufacturers have a “Literature”, “Manuals”, or other "Support" section on their website where you can download User Manuals. Aside from that, many third-party sites have User Manuals available for free download.

Inside of lid of Ademco Vista 10SE panel.

Installation and Programming Manuals

An Alarm Installation Manual is intended to help an alarm technician install and connect all components of a system. They usually don’t have any background information on specific techniques for doing this; it is assumed that an experienced professional will be doing the work and has the tools and skills needed.

Alarm Programming Manuals describe in detail how to access installer-level programming, and how to enter data to control every function of the panel.

Although intended primarily for use by an installation technician, a determined (and patient) homeowner or DIYer can also follow the programming instructions to make changes to their system.

Functions shown in Installation Manuals include:

  • Changing all codes, including Master and Installer Codes
  • Program system as reporting or local
  • Phone number to dial, if desired
  • Account number
  • Events to report, if desired
  • Zone definitions
  • Assign area partitions
  • All other aspects of system operation

Installation and Programming Manuals are getting more difficult to find. Many alarm companies only share alarm system manuals with their own installers, and forbid third-party sites from posting manuals or programming sheets for public use. Other third-party sites, like, charge a fee for them (although they still offer user manuals for free.)

The important thing to remember is that without an Installer and/or Programming Manual, you can't fully control how the panel works.

So, let's suppose you "inherit" an alarm system when you buy a new house. If the existing system was programmed to report to a central station, you have no way to turn that off without an Installer Code and  programming information.

If you’re a do-it-yourselfer and you buy a new system, you will typically get a copy of each alarm system manual: alarm installation manual, programming manual, and user instructions included with the new panel purchase. These manuals may be either printed or on CD.

Links to Alarm System Manual Resources

ADT User Manuals Page

User manuals for ADT SafeWatch systems, as well as Ademco, Brinks, DSC, GE Concord, among others. User

Free DSC Alarm User Manuals direct from the manufacturer.

DSC Install
Free DSC Installation Manuals direct from the manufacturer.
Free User Manuals for many brands, no Installation Manuals.

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Return to Home Security Systems Answers from Alarm System Manual Sources

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