How to Install and Code a Wireless Alarm System
Picking the Best Wireless Alarm System and Installing It
My husband and I just bought a home. We thought it was in a pretty good area with quiet neighbors. If you were surprised unpleasantly like we were, or if are ready to get away from that alarm monitoring company that charges $30 a month or even $10, here's what I learned from buying and installing a wireless alarm system.
Table of Contents
Below is a table of contents of the different topics and tutorials included on this page.
- What You'll Get
- Alarm Features
- Things to Know Before Your Buy
- What to Do Before You Program the Alarm
- How to Go to Setup Mode
- Coding the Entry Sensors and PIRs
- Programming the Remote Controller
- Setting the Clock
- Attaching the Wired Speaker
- Video Guide for Alarm Programming
- Advanced Settings/Siren Management
Are Generic Alarms Worth It?
After this recent experience, I can say that I'm a big fan of generic security systems from China. I know, Chinese products don't have an awesome reputation, and I thing these systems are worth it. Way worth it!!
What's in the Box?
Here's a brief comparison. One popular company that advertises a lot on the internet offers a basic system with 1 base control, 1 keypad, 1 wireless entry system, 1 pet-immune motion detector and 1 "free" keyfob remote. If you ask me, they have some nerve calling that remote "free" when the package costs over $200.
For less than $100 on eBay, I got a much more robust wireless security system with the following pieces.
- 1 base control unit with an integrated siren and voice prompts
- 2 pet immune infrared (PIR) motion detectors
- 8 magnetic entry sensors for door and windows
- 4 "free" keyfob remotes
- 1 tiny wired siren that blasts 110 decibels, which is 25 dbs louder than the competitor's more expensive system
Wireless Alarm Features
Here are a few of the features that you'll get with a wireless alarm.
- Battery backup in case of a power outage or power cut
- Add extra sensors easily with wireless coding, since its generic you can add all sorts of items, including smoke detectors, gas alarms and more.
- Sends an SMS or phone call in case of a trigger
- Can call or text six numbers
- Supports wireless and wired sensors and speakers
- The system can be armed and disarmed with a remote control
- There are home and away settings
- Each sensor is numbered to tell you where the trigger occurred
- Wireless add-ons are easy to program, and the system supports up to 99 sensors.
Before You Buy
Here are a few things that you should do before you buy.
- Should the alarm call the police? Ask your local police department if they will respond to an automated call from an alarm system.
- Never program you alarm system to call 9-1-1. If permitted by your local sheriff or police force, have the alarm system call the non-emergency number.
- What about false alarms? Because false alarms are so common, some police departments will charge you to respond to an alarm call. Ask first. In some cases, you will have to pay after the police have responded to several alarms.
- Have the alarm call you. Consider having the alarm call your cell phone or send a text message. This can help you rule out false alarms first.
- Self-monitored alarms are cheap, you retain full control over the unit and you may be able to reach the police faster than a monitoring company. Remember that security companies must call you first before they can call the police.
- Decide how many sensors you need in your home. With infrared motion detectors, you can use fewer entry sensors. Entry sensors are recommended for all doors and windows that are accessible from the ground or a deck as well as windows that are protected by motion detectors.
- Wireless security systems are sold in kits. I have a small home that's less than 800 square feet, but I found that most of the packages were way to big or too limited. I ended up purchases a larger kit than I wanted because the price was lower than some of the more limited bundles.
- Choose your connection. Wireless security systems can make calls via a land line (PSTN), a cell connection with a GSM SIM card (this is the type that I bought) or WiFi (these are considerable more expensive and most have GSM backup anyway. Many models have dual connectivity, such as WiFi and SIM card or PSTN and GSM.
My Comparison of Popular Security Systems
$0-$99 Depending on System
6 Months Money-Back
$0 or $14.99-$24.99
Free DIY, Plus Cost of Equipment
60 Days Money-Back, 3-Year Warrranty
3- or 5-Year
Basic Return Policy
A Generic Self-Monitored Alarm
This generic wireless alarm system is just like the one that I purchased. I looked at dozens of systems and had a hard time finding the right one. I didn't think that I needed 8 entry sensors, but this large package was a better value than some of the more stylish and smaller kits.
You'll see that some of the systems use the same based but have a different siren and other slightly different accessories. This one is exactly the same. I highly recommend it, and I'm pretty sure that it comes with the same unforgivably pathetic user manual!
When you receive your security system, you will need to program all of the sensors, keyfobs and accessories. As most customers point out, the English translations in the manual are pretty much worthless. The best section of the pamphlet is the last page where there is a table that shows all of the programming codes.
Before you get started, connect the AC adapter into the back of the control panel, and plug the AC adapter into the wall. This will power up the display.
Number the Zones
Each sensor must be programmed as a zone. If the alarm is triggered, the base unit will tell you which zone was activated, so your sensors should be numbered in some type of logical order.
To keep things straight, number all of your sensors before you code them wireless. I used a piece of masking tape, but you could also a sticker or simply write on the back with a Sharpie.
Don't Forget to Number Your Sensors
Go to Setup Mode
Before you code the sensors, you'll need go into set-up mode by entering the default administrator password, which is 6666. Type 6666 on the keypad followed by the '#' key. This key combination will be used each time that you program a sensor or change a setting.
The unit's voice prompt will say "Please enter instruction." Then, you can enter a code for one of the tasks.
To exit the setup mode press: *, # (star, hash)
Program Codes for Wireless Entry Sensors and PIRs
The code for programming PIRs and entry sensors is 23 .To program a PIR motion detector or a magnetic entry sensor, type 6666#. Then, type 23 followed by the sensor number. Then, hit the "#" key.
The sensor number must be two digits, so 8 would be 08. The lowest number is 02 and the nighest number is 99.
To program sensor 08 type the following string:
You will hear the voice prompt say "Please enter instruction."
Then, type 2308#
The voice prompt will say "Detector coding." The sensor number will be displayed in the middle of the screen, and you will see a detector icon at the top of the display.
If you're coding a PIR, turn it on now. If the process is successful, the voice prompt will say "Coding complete."
Once you're in set up mode, you can enter commands without the 6666 prefix. Look for dashes on the screen, and enter your instructions.
Common Codes for Programming the Alarm Host
Remote Control Programming
Press Any Remote Key to Confirm
XX=Sensor Number 02-99
Add Two Dights for Yr, Mo, Day, Hr, Min
Siren Ring Time
Change Default Password
XXXX=4 Digit Password
Require Code to Arm or Disarm
40 or #
XX=PIR Number, PIR Won't Trigger Alarm for Home Arm
Install the Batteries in Your Entry Sensors
How to Code a Magnetic Entry Sensor
Entry sensors use the same code as wireless PIRs and motion detectors, but the process for triggering the sensor and completing the coding is a little different.
First, you need to put the batteries in the sensor. I pried the back of with a flat-head screw since it was really on there. The +\- marks were tricky to see, so you can just line the negative pole of the battery up with the spring if you don't see any markings.
Some entry sensors have a little round button on the front for testing the unit. Mine did not have this feature either way, you can follow these steps.
First, line the narrow magnetic piece up with the sensor.
Next, type in 6666#.
Then, type 23[XX] with XX being your sensor number.
When the voice prompt says "Detector coding" pull the the magnetic strip away from the sensor. A light should display on the sensor and you should hear the message "Coding complete."
If your sensor has a button on the front, you can simply press it.
Coding the Remote Controller to Your Security System
Remote controllers aren't numbered like the sensors are, so the process is a little bit easier.
- Type the usual 6666#.
- Then, type 21#.
- After the voice prompt, press any button the remote controller.
You can now arm and disarm the system with one button.
Other Features on the Remote
Aside form the arm and disarm buttons, your remote as an emergency alarm/panic button, which displays a lightning bolt icon. There is also a mute icon, which activates your at-home alarm settings. In this mode interior sensors, such as PIRs, won't trigger the alarm.
Setting the Clock on Your Alarm System
The code for setting the time and date on you control panel is 48.
So, you will type the following string of numbers.
Now, you will enter the year, month, day and the time in hours and minutes in one string.
So, if you're programming the alarm at 1:07 p.m. on the fourth of July, 2016, this is what you'll enter.
16 (the last two digits of the year) 07 (the month in a two-digit format) 04 (the day, also in two digits) 13 (the hour in a 24-hour format) and 07 (the minutes)
So that would be 481607041307#. When you return to the main display, it should show the correct date and time.
Attaching the Wired Speaker
Wireless security systems are great and very popular because they are super easy to install. Attaching one wired speaker is pretty easy too. If you've ever put together a stereo, this is about the same.
To install the speaker, you will need a small screwdriver to loosen the screw on terminals (BZ- and BZ+).
The speaker has two wires, one is black (negative) and one is red (positive). The positive wire will go in the BZ+ terminal and the the black wire will go into the BZ- terminal. The wire won't go all the way in, so don't worry about it.
Next, tight in the screws, and gently tug on the wire to make sure that the connection is secure.
Finally, cover your ears and test the alarm.
Watch This Video Before and During Setup!
Advanced Settings/Siren Management
After I completed the basic settings, I tackled some more advanced instructions, such as defining the sensor types and adding instructions for which sensors should be activated for a home arming and away arming.
Programming Eight Sensor Types
Let's start with the sensor types. If your smoke alarm goes off, you don't want to receive a regular alarm notice. Defining the alarm types tells you exactly what's going on at home. An icon will also pop up on the display if one of these alarm types is activated. These system supports these options.
- SOS/Panic Button
- Smoke Alarm
- Gas Leak
- Door Lock
- Hall Alarm
- Window Alarm
- Balcony or Deck Alarm
To program the alarm type, enter this code:
- 60, sensor number [XX], single-digit alarm type [1-8] and #.
Repeat the process for all of the sensors that you're labeling.
Home and Away Arming
This wireless alarm system can protect you from intruders while you're home or away. Naturally, you don't want the alarm going off every time your spouse has a midnight snack. The default is to activate any time that motion or activity is detected.
The system supports four siren options for home and away arming. Each wireless sensor can be programmed independently based on the following siren codes.
- The detector will never trigger the alarm (I'm not sure why you'd want this one, but it's available.
- The sensor will trigger the alarm when the system is armed.
- The sensor will only trigger the alarm when you're away from the home.
- The sensor will trigger the alarm at all times, I believe even if the system isn't alarmed.
Here's how to complete the programming.
- Enter programming mode by keying in 6666#.
- Key in 26#.
- Enter the zone number assigned to the sensor (2-99).
- Enter the desired code (0-3) followed by the # key.
Why are you installing a security system?
How to Set Up Your SMS Alert Number
To program your SMS phone alert settings, enter the setup mode and submit your information using the following instructions.
- Key in 6666#.
- Enter 49 or 50 followed by # (you can assign two alternate phone numbers).
- Input your 10-digit mobile phone number using the numeric keypad only starting with +1 (xxxxxxxxxx).
- When you're finished, hit the # key. The system will let you know that programming is complete.
How to Delete an SMS Phone Number Alert
If you've changed your phone number, made a mistake or would like to put in a different phone, complete these steps.
- Key in 6666# to enter the setup mode.
- Enter the code, either 49 or 50, followed by the # key to override the current settings.
- Program your new number.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
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