Hi DIYers! Welcome to the first edition of Alarm Grid Tips! This is where we teach you basic principles about alarm systems. Most of these tips will be designed for beginners, so anyone can follow along! Today, we're going to show you why you should run a wire through the back of a panel.
One of the first things you will do when setting up an alarm system is power it on. This involves connecting a 2-conductor wire to the appropriate power terminals on the back of the panel. This is something you must do whether you are mounting the panel to the wall or using a desk mount to avoid drilling holes. The panel will ultimately receive its primary power from a plug-in transformer.
If you have a wireless system, you will want to run the unconnected power wire through the back plate before connecting it to the panel. This way, you can properly close the panel. If you try to connect the wire first, you will feel pretty silly when you have to disconnect the wire and then redo the same connections!
You can see this example below with a Honeywell L5200 System. First, let's see what happens if you don't run the wire through the back plate:
Now let's try again with the system wired correctly:
The principle is the same if you have a hardwired panel. These systems are normally housed inside a metal enclosure. You will want to run any connecting wires through one of the openings on the side or in the back. This way, you can properly close the metal cabinet door. You can see this on our Honeywell VISTA 21iP System below. Note that we removed the door for easy access, but we would be able to close it if it were still attached!
Also remember that you must follow proper polarity if your system is running DC power. The black wire will connect to the negative (-) terminals on the transformer and the panel. The red wire will connect to the positive (+) terminals on the transformer and the panel. If you are using AC power, then either wire can go to either terminal. Make sure you know whether your system uses AC or DC power before wiring!
Below is an example of DC transformer where proper polarity is followed:
That concludes today's Alarm Grid tip! Keep an eye on our blog for more tips in the future. We will also let you know if there's any important new security news. If you're an Alarm Grid customer in need of assistance, or if you are interested in an alarm monitoring plan, please reach out to us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also call us at (888) 818-7728 during our normal business hours of 9am to 8pm EST M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!