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If you're setting up a new security system for use with Alarm.com, then you might be wondering which door and window sensors to use. The answer really comes down to which system you are using and how you intend on using your sensors. Plenty of contact sensor options are usually available!


Alarm sensors do not communicate directly with Alarm.com. Instead, sensors communicate with alarm panels. From there, the panel will use an alarm monitoring communicator to send signals to Alarm.com. This communicator must be activated and registered for Alarm.com service. Per Alarm.com requirements, cellular connectivity is required. This means that your system must use a cellular communicator or a dual-path communicator that is built for use with Alarm.com.

As far as choosing specific sensors, it comes down to determining whether or not they will work with the system you are intending to use with Alarm.com. Today, we're going to break down some of the most popular Alarm.com Security Systems and help you determine the best sensors to use. Remember that our security system kits already come with some compatible sensors to get started. It may only be that you just need to add a few more door and window sensors, or you might not need to add any extra ones at all!

We will give you three (3) scenarios for each system. These are:

  1. Surface-Mounted Door/Window Sensors
  2. Recessed Door/Window Sensors
  3. Outdoor Door/Window Sensors

In most situations, surface-mounted sensors are what you want to go with. These are the standard regular sensors that you would use with virtually any door or window. They are super easy to install, and they are some of the most basic security devices you will encounter.

If appearance is important to you, and you want the sensor to remain hidden while the door or window is closed, then you may consider getting recessed sensors instead. Just remember that recessed sensors will require you rolling up your sleeves and drilling holes into your door/window and its frame. In addition to the added work, this may also have warranty ramifications with regard to the door or window.

And of course, if you plan on using the door/window sensor in an outdoor environment, then you will want to make sure the sensor is approved for outdoor use. Trying to use an indoor-only sensor in an outdoor environment will likely result in damage to the device due to exposure to rain, dust, etc. This also typically applies if you plan on using the sensor in an area that is not insulated, such as a shed, a gate or a barn.

Note: If you are totally new to door and window sensors and want to know more about how they operate, please check out this FAQ.


Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus (PowerG)




Arguably the most popular system to use with Alarm.com right now in 2020 is the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus. There are three (3) versions of the system, with each one supporting a different legacy sensor frequency (319.5 MHz, 345 MHz, 433 MHz). We will discuss the legacy sensor options in a minute. But one of the biggest reasons to purchase an IQ Panel 2 Plus is to use PowerG Sensors. All three versions of the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus support the PowerG Sensors. These sensors can communicate with the IQ Panel 2 Plus System from up to 2,000 feet away in open air, and they utilize 128-bit AES encryption and frequency hopping spread spectrum (FHSS) for enhanced wireless security. For anyone with an IQ Panel 2 Plus, these are the sensors we would point to first.


2GIG GC3e & 2GIG GC2e (eSeries)

2gig gc3e wireless encrypted alarm panel

2gig gc2e wireless encrypted alarm panel

Right now, we view the 2GIG GC3e and the 2GIG GC2e as the best alternatives for users who want to get started with Alarm.com, but don't want to use a Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus. The most popular sensors to use with these systems are the encrypted 2GIG eSeries Sensors. They are built for the GC3e and GC2e Systems, and they utilize encryption for protection against wireless hacking or takeover attempts. Remember that these systems are both backwards compatible with 345 MHz sensors (more on those later). But if you're running a GC3e or a GC2e, then we're going to recommend the eSeries products.


Original Qolsys IQ Panel 2, IQ Panel, Interlogix Simon Systems (Legacy 319.5 MHz)

Interlogix simon xti 5 80 632 3n xt5 front image
Qolsys iq panel 2 verizon 7 security panel w slash z wave ready
Qolsys iq panel rogers 7 security panel w slash z wave rogers ce

Things become a little tricky when we get into the legacy sensor frequencies. There is usually a lot of inter-compatibility across manufacturers, so often the choice comes down to preference. We will list our favorites based on value and functionality. But understand that you have a lot of options available when it comes to 319.5 MHz sensors. This frequency is used with the original Qolsys IQ Panel 2, the original Qolsys IQ Panel, and all of the legacy Interlogix Simon Series Panels. Keep in mind that you can also use these sensors with the 319.5 MHz version of the IQ Panel 2 Plus as an alternative to PowerG. The 319.5 MHz frequency is also typically used with any wired Interlogix NetworX Panel that has a wireless receiver added.


2GIG GC3 & 2GIG GC2 (Legacy 345 MHz)

2gig gc3 diy wireless security system w slash 7 screen

2gig cp21 345 front

If you are working with a 2GIG GC3 or a 2GIG Go!Control GC2, then you will be enrolling legacy 345 MHz sensors with your system. This frequency was popularized by the Honeywell 5800 Sensors, and later the 2GIG 345 MHz Sensors. The GC2 and GC3 support both of these lineups, so you really have a lot of options to choose from. We're just going to list our particular favorites. Remember that you can also use these sensors with a 345 MHz IQ Panel 2 Plus as an alternative to PowerG.


DSC Impassa & DSC PowerSeries (Legacy 433 MHz)


DSC popularized their own wireless frequency of 433 MHz. If you have a DSC Impassa, then these will be the sensors you are using. The 433 MHz sensors can also be used with a DSC PowerSeries Panel that has a wireless receiver added. Although we do not sell the original DSC PowerSeries Systems, we do offer the DSC RF5132-433 Wireless Receiver that will allow support for these sensors. And of course, you can also use these 433 MHz sensors with the 433 MHz version of the IQ Panel 2 Plus as an alternative to PowerG. Unfortunately, we don't have a good recommendation for a 433 MHz outdoor door and window sensor. so we'll just list the other two types instead.


Honeywell VISTA, DSC PowerSeries, DSC PowerSeries NEO, Interlogix/GE NetworX (Wired Sensors)

Honeywell vista 20p wired alarm control panel

Many hardwired security systems can connect with Alarm.com using what is known as an Alarm.com System Enhancement Module (SEM). And since hardwired panels often use wired sensors, this makes hardwired door and window contacts technically compatible with Alarm.com as well! Honeywell VISTA Systems, DSC PowerSeries Systems, DSC PowerSeries NEO Systems, and Interlogix/GE NetworX Systems all have compatible SEM communicators available.

The great thing about hardwired contacts is that they are pretty much universal across all wired systems, provided that the system is not using polling loop sensors. We'll focus on standard non-polling loop sensors here, but these are all good options for most hardwired alarm panels. Also keep in mind that there are MANY options when it comes to wired contacts. Don't feel like you are restricted to the ones we happened to pick!


Get Started with Alarm Grid & Alarm.com


If you are interested in signing-up for Alarm.com service through Alarm Grid, make sure to check out our monitoring page. We support Alarm.com with our Gold and Platinum Level Plans (Self & Full) and our Cell-Only Plan. If you have any questions about our products or monitoring services, be sure to shoot us an email at support@alarmgrid.com. We operate support hours from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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With the holiday season quickly approaching us, we thought it was a good time to present some holiday buying guides for various security systems. Today, we are focusing on the Honeywell Lyric. This guide will help whether you are considering a new Lyric or adding upon an existing one.

Honeywell lyric controller encrypted wireless security system

The Honeywell Lyric is currently the flagship all-in-one wireless security system from Resideo. It has been one of the most highly regarded alarm systems for the past few years for several reasons. The system supports up to 128 wireless zones, making it suitable for applications big and small. It has a built-in Z-Wave controller, and you can pair up to 72 Z-Wave devices for home automation purposes. The Lyric is also one of the very few alarm panels that can support Apple HomeKit, making it perfect for iOS users looking to expand upon their HomeKit Network. In fact, we believe that the Lyric is the top HomeKit Security System on the market at this time.

The other major appeal of the Lyric is the fact that it can technically be monitored using an IP only communication path. This is because it connects with AlarmNet360 and the Total Connect 2.0 platform. Unlike most other monitoring platforms like Alarm.com which require cellular connectivity, Resideo allows IP only monitoring for panels connected with TC2. The Lyric has a built-in WIFI card, so you can connect with a local network right out of the box. Although we always recommend cellular communication for optimal reliability, we do understand that many users will want to use IP only service as a cost-cutting measure. Additionally, you can always add a cellular communicator to the Lyric System if you decide that you want to go cellular later on. Both the Honeywell LYRICLTE-A (AT&T LTE) and the Honeywell LYRICLTE-V (Verizon LTE) are great options.

Building a Lyric System from Scratch

Honeywell lyricpk lte enc encrypted at and t lte alarm system w For new users starting from scratch, the best option is typically to buy a complete Honeywell Lyric Security System Kit. This will include everything you need to get started with alarm monitoring. Whether you plan to use IP only monitoring service, or you intend on setting up cellular service, there is a perfect kit for you. For those planning to go IP only, no cellular communicator is needed, and you should choose a kit labeled "WIFI Only". If you intend to use the system for cellular monitoring, then both AT&T and Verizon system kits are available. Whether you go with a 3-1 kit (3 contacts and 1 motion) or a 10-1 kit (10 contacts and 1 motion) should depend on the size of the building you are monitoring. You will need more contacts to cover more doors and windows.

We recommend going through the Lyric System Kit Page linked above and finding the perfect Lyric Kit for your needs. In addition to the system, sensors, and optional communicator, you will also get a Honeywell LT-Cable with every kit. This makes it super easy to get the system up and running without having to prepare any standard alarm wiring.

Sensors for New and Existing Lyric Systems

Honeywell sixgb wireless glass break detector

One of the best aspects of the Lyric is that it has one of the most diverse and complete lineup of supported sensors in the entire security industry. Resideo created a sensor lineup designed exclusively for their Lyric System in the Honeywell SiX Series Sensors. These powerful sensors offer an impressive communication range of up to 300 feet indoors and 128-bit AES encryption for enhanced wireless protection. The lineup includes the following products:

With this great lineup, you can achieve a total and complete Lyric Security System by only using SiX Series devices. And for most Lyric users, that is the best option. But these are not the only sensors you can use with the Lyric System. The Lyric is also compatible with nearly any uni-directional 345 MHz sensor, which includes most devices from the Honeywell 5800 Series and the 2GIG 345 MHz lineup. Additionally, these lineups are both a little more fleshed out than the SiX lineup. There are certain sensor types (e.g. outdoor sensors) where you will need to turn to one of these product lineups.

Many users will also supplement their SiX Series devices with Honeywell 5800 Sensors and 2GIG 345 MHz Sensors as a cost-saving measure. These 345 MHz sensors will work just as well as the SiX Series devices on the Lyric. The only difference is that the 345 MHz sensors will not utilize any encryption, making them more susceptible to wireless attacks. The Lyric does have protection against 345 MHz RF jamming, but it can offer some users better peace of mind to know that their wireless sensors are encrypted. But if you are comfortable using non-encrypted wireless devices, then 345 MHz sensors can save you a lot of money when designing your Lyric System.

Some of our favorite Honeywell and 2GIG 345 MHz Sensors for use with the Lyric include:

Other Accessories for Your Lyric

Yale yrd216 brass front z wave push button deadbolt lock

We have already covered the sensors you will use with your Lyric System. However, there are still other devices you may want to add to your setup. The biggest attraction are Z-Wave devices like lights, door locks, and smart thermostats. One admitted weakness of the Lyric is that its automation controller is only a standard Z-Wave controller. The Lyric does not offer a Z-Wave Plus controller, and Lyric users cannot take advantage of the extended range and increased battery life of Z-Wave Plus. You can still use Z-Wave Plus devices with the Lyric System, but they will only offer the functionality of classic Z-Wave peripherals.

With that limitation in mind, you can still use the Lyric as a perfectly capable smart home automation hub. You can even pair the system as a secondary controller to other automation hubs (e.g. Samsung SmartThings) for added flexibility in your smart home. Nearly any Z-Wave automation device can be used with the system, so feel free to explore your options. We have plenty of devices on our website. Just remember that the Lyric System cannot support Z-Wave security devices. The Lyric Z-Wave controller is for automation purposes only. Alarm Grid does not sell Z-Wave security sensors on its website.

If you want to use your Lyric to control your garage door, then you will want to invest in a Honeywell 5877GDPK. This kit includes everything you need to get started with garage door operation for your Lyric System. Inside the kit there is a Honeywell 5877 Z-Wave Garage Door Relay, a Honeywell 5822T Garage Door Tilt Sensor, and a FortrezZ Z-Wave Siren/Strobe. You can purchase these items separately, but this convenient kit makes things easier.

The Lyric has only one compatible wireless keypad option, which is the Honeywell LKP500. This is a fairly standard push-button keypad with an LCD screen. You might also consider getting a cheap tablet and mounting it to the wall and using that as a keypad. You can download the Honeywell My Home Controller App to the tablet and essentially make the device a permanently mounted touchscreen keypad for your Lyric.

Lastly, you might want to get a desk mount for your Lyric System. This will eliminate the need for mounting the panel to the wall. Desk mounts are great for people living in apartments or rental homes, as well as users who simply do not want to drill holes. Using a desk mount sure beats laying the system flat on a counter! The Lyric Desk Mount is called the Honeywell LCP500-DK. There is also a desk mount for the Honeywell LKP500 Lyric Keypad called the Honeywell LKP500-DK.

Ask Us Questions!


Don't be afraid to reach out to us at Alarm Grid if you have any questions about the Lyric, or if you need any help choosing a system and accessories. The best way to reach us is to email support@alarmgrid.com. You may also reach us over the phone at (888) 818-7728. Remember that our support hours run from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Hi DIYers! We would like to inform you that the VERSA-2GIG Door and Window Contacts have received an update. These changes should not affect device compatibility or performance. However, they will effect the way these devices are enrolled with a panel and how maintenance is performed.

Versa 2gig honeywell lyric and 2gig compatible sensor pow

The VERSA-2GIG Contacts operate at 345 MHz. They are designed for use with 2GIG Systems (GC2 and GC3) and the Resideo Lyric Controller (Version MR3 or higher). These surface-mounted devices operate like any standard door and window contact sensor. Each unit includes a sensor and an accompanying magnet. The sensor is mounted on the door or window frame, while the magnet is mounted on the door or window itself. When the door or window is opened, the magnet will separate from the sensor and cause it to activate. The sensor will then alert the panel to let the system know that the door or window has been opened.

Alarm Grid recently learned that the VERSA-2GIG Door and Window Sensors have been updated. The new model enrolls using Loop 1 and has a convenient slide-off cover. Additionally, a tab on the side of the device indicates which side should be facing the accompanying magnet. This is a change from the older style. The old model of the VERSA-2GIG is enrolled using Loop 2 and has a pop-off cover. Both devices have a yellow inner board that allows you to differentiate them from the VERSA-GE Sensors (blue board) and the Honeywell 5800MINI Sensors (red board).

This change should not affect the performance of the VERSA-2GIG or its compatibility. At this time, we are only aware of changes to the VERSA-2GIG Sensors. We have not received any news of changes for the VERSA-GE Sensors or the Honeywell 5800MINI Sensors. Alarm Grid will produce an update post if we learn of any changes to these sensors.

At this time, we cannot control which version of the VERSA-2GIG Sensors you will receive when placing an order. Some old-style sensors are still being sent out, while other customers are reporting that they have received the new style. It is even possible that you may receive a mix of old and new VERSA-2GIG Sensors with a system kit. Please be aware that these sensors operate exactly the same, and you should not notice any difference in device performance. The new-style VERSA-2GIG Sensors work just as well as the old-style ones. The only functional difference is the cover.

Remember, if you have a new-style VERSA-2GIG Sensor with a slide-off cover, it will enroll to your system using Loop 1. If you have an old-style VERSA-2GIG Sensor with a pop-off cover, it will enroll to your system using Loop 2. You can always auto-enroll your sensor, and the Loop Number should populate automatically. We recommend auto-enrolling whenever possible to check device communication and to avoid making a mistake when manually entering the Serial Number.

If you have any questions about this change, please reach out to us at support@alarmgrid.com, or call us at (888) 818-7728 during our regular business hours of 9am to 8pm EST M-F. We look forward to hearing from you.

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Hi DIYers! We're here with another Alarm Grid Tip. We're going to cover the proper technique for mounting your door alarm sensors. Many people have trouble getting a faulted zone to disappear when their sensors are not aligned properly. Mounting your sensors correctly will fix this issue.

Honeywell 5800mini interior wireless door and window sensor

First, It's important to understand how door and window contacts work. There are two (2) parts. These are a sensor and a magnet. The sensor is the larger component and usually represents the listed product dimensions. The magnet is the smaller component. In a proper installation, the sensor (larger) should be mounted on the door frame. The magnet (smaller) should be mounted on the actual door. Ideally, the magnet and the sensor should be in direct contact when the door is closed. The magnet should also be aligned with the metal reed switch inside the sensor. The sensor will most likely have indentations to indicate the location of the reed switch.

The idea is that when the door is closed, the magnet will be in contact with the sensor. This is why these sensors are often called "contacts". When the door is opened, the magnet will become separated from the sensor. This will release its internal metal reed switch. When this happens, the sensor will transmit a signal to the alarm control panel. The system will respond based on the programming settings for the corresponding zone.

When you mount your door contacts, you should make sure that the magnet and the sensor are in proper alignment when the door is closed. If not, then the reed switch inside the sensor will stay open. As a result, the zone will still be shown as faulted on the panel. You want proper alignment so that the zone functions consistently. Whenever the door is opened, the zone should appear as faulted. If it's closed, then you should not see any faults.

Walk testing your contacts is extremely important! This is the best way to make sure that the sensor and magnet are in proper alignment. Sure, it might pass the eyeball test, but does it pass the system test? Always, always, always test your equipment! We don't care if you are a novice DIYer or a seasoned professional installer - your job is not finished until you have completed the walk test.

Again, the ideal door sensor and magnet will be IN DIRECT CONTACT when the door is closed. This will provide the best possible results. We have seen customers stack multiple pieces of double-sided foam tape to make this happen. This is pretty unusual, but it works! It might look funny if you have to do that, but it will get the job done! As long as the sensor and magnet are in correct alignment, then the sensor will work.

If you absolutely must leave the contact and magnet separated, do not do so from more than one-half (0.5) of an inch, unless the manual specifically says that the sensor-magnet gap can be further. And make sure to test extra thoroughly if you decide to try and get these sensors to work with a wider magnet spacing.

Also remember to check sensor for indentations that indicate which side to place the magnet. If you are unsure, then check the device manual. Many answers can be found in the installation instructions. Unfortunately, many end users choose to ignore them. Read the manual!

Keep in mind that some door sensors may be equipped with LED lights that help the installer make sure that the sensor and magnet are indeed in proper alignment. If your sensor has this feature, then definitely use it! This is an easy and convenient way to make sure they are aligned correctly. Check your device manual for more information. An example of a door sensor that is equipped with this feature is the Honeywell 5800MINI.

Below is an example of what a properly installed contact looks like. In this case, it is the 2GIG DW10. Note how the sensor and the magnet are in direct contact and properly aligned. Normally, the battery tab at the bottom of the sensor would be removed, but for this example, it's okay.


We hope this tip has been helpful for anyone setting up their first alarm system. Please email us at support@alarmgrid.com if you have any questions. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Hi DIYers! Today, we're taking a look at the VERSA-2GIG and VERSA-GE Door and Window Contacts. These are actually both Honeywell 5800MINI Sensors that have been reconfigured to communicate at different frequencies. They offer an affordable solution for monitoring doors and windows.

Versa 2gig honeywell lyric and 2gig compatible sensor powThe VERSA-2GIG, VERSA-GE and 5800MINI all provide the same operation that a user would expect out of any standard door and window contact. The device functions using a sensor and an included magnet. The sensor should be mounted on the stationary portion of the door or window frame. The magnet should be mounted on the moving part of the door or window, within a half-inch of the sensor. Both can be mounted using screws or with double-sided foam tape. When the door or window is opened, the magnet will separate from the sensor. This will result in an internal reed switch inside the sensor being activated. The sensor will then know that the door or window has been opened, and it will send an alert to the security system.

The main difference between the VERSA-2GIG, VERSA-GE and the 5800MINI is the frequency at which each sensor communicates. The 5800MINI communicates at the 345 MHz frequency that is used with all Honeywell 5800 Series Devices. This makes it compatible with all Honeywell Systems (with compatible wireless receivers) and 2GIG Systems. The VERSA-2GIG operates at a similar frequency, but it is more like the 2GIG Sensors. The device will work with 2GIG Systems and the Honeywell Lyric Controller after receiving firmware update MR3. Both the 5800MINI and the VERSA-2GIG will work with the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus with 345 MHz Daughterboard. As for the VERSA-GE, it operates at 319.5 MHz. This makes it compatible with the Interlogix/GE Systems and any Qolsys System with a 319.5 MHz Daughterboard. This includes the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 and IQ Panel 2 Plus with 319.5 MHz Daughterboard.

The only other difference between the two VERSA Sensors and the Honeywell 5800MINI is that the VERSA Sensors program in as Loop 2, while the Honeywell 5800MINI programs with Loop 1 when used as a contact. Also, the VERSA Sensors cost significantly less than the 5800MINI. This makes the VERSA Sensors the preferred option if both sensors are compatible with their system. Other than that they are the same sensor. Both devices measure in at 2.2"L X 1.0"W X 0.25"H. This makes them extremely discreet and unobtrusive once installed. And of course, the VERSA Sensors are extremely easy to program in with any compatible panel.

Versa 2gig honeywell lyric and 2gig compatible sensor powBoth versions of the VERSA Sensors - the VERSA-2GIG and VERSA-GE - are available for purchase right now. And for users of a Honeywell LYNX Touch or Honeywell VISTA, the 5800MINI is still available as well. You can get all of these excellent sensors from Alarm Grid. Protect the doors and windows your home with these versatile and reliable sensors!

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Door alarm sensors, or contacts, are some of the most important devices used with security systems. These devices alert a user whenever their door is opened. They can be used on virtually any type of door. These might include a front door, a back door, screen doors, a patio door, a shed, cabinets and any door inside the building. We typically find that door alarm sensors are some of the easiest to use devices with an alarm system. But still, it can be helpful to read through a comprehensive guide explaining the full ins and outs of these devices. So it here is - everything you've ever to know about door alarm sensors.

Qolsys iq dw mini s encrypted wireless sensors for iq panel 2 qsThe Basics of Door Alarm Sensors

Most traditional door sensors feature a relatively simple design and premise. These devices usually consist of a sensor and a magnet. The sensor is placed on or inside the door frame, and the magnet is placed on or inside the door itself, within a half inch of the sensor. Opening the door will cause the magnet to pull away and separate from the sensor. When this happens, a reed switch inside the sensor will activate. This will cause the sensor to send a signal to the security system, letting it know that the door was opened. The system will then perform the appropriate response based on how the sensor's Response Type was programmed. At the surface, it's all very simple. Some examples of these traditional sensors include the Honeywell 5800MINI, the Honeywell SiXMINICT and the VERSA-2GIG Sensor. Traditional door sensors can be either surface-mounted or recessed.

Honeywell 5800mini interior wireless door and window sensor

There's also a second variation of door sensors, known as mechanical door sensors. This type of sensor features a physical switch that is pressed down when the door is closed. When the door is opened, the switch will pop up, causing the sensor to activate. From there, the system will perform the Response Type assigned to the zone for that sensor. This type of door alarm sensor is far less common than the other type of sensor. However, the end result is still the same - the system will still perform the programmed Response Type when the sensor is activated. An example of this type of sensor is the Honeywell 5800RPS. While you are less likely to come across this type of door sensor, it's still worth mentioning just in case. Mechanical door sensors are only available in the recessed variety.

Honeywell 5800rps wireless recessed door and window plunger sensTypes of Door Sensors - The Two Distinctions

Now that you know the very basics of door sensors, you can start thinking about the different types. While almost every door sensors operates using one of the two mechanisms mentioned above, there are two other distinctions that are commonly made between door sensors. These are whether the door sensor is wireless or wired and whether the door sensor is surface-mounted or recessed. These considerations will play a big role in determining which door sensor you choose to purchase for your alarm system.

A wireless door sensor will communicate with an alarm system wirelessly. This will prevent the need for running a wire from the system to the door sensor. This can make wireless door sensors significantly easier to install. Another great aspect of wireless door sensors is that they can usually be auto-enrolled with the security system. That said, a wireless sensor will need to have its battery replaced every three to five years. On the other hand, a wired door sensor will need to be physically connected with the alarm system. This can make the installation considerably more difficult in certain cases. However, a wired sensor will never require any battery replacements.

If you are using a wireless door sensor with a wired alarm system, such as a Honeywell VISTA Panel, then you will need to use a wireless receiver. This will allow the wireless signal to be received by the system. When choosing a wireless door sensor, make sure that the wireless frequencies it uses are compatible with your alarm system. For example, Honeywell Panels look for wireless signals that operate at a frequency of 345 MHz, while Qolsys Panels use signals that operate at a frequency of 319.5 MHz. If you try to use a wireless door sensor that does not communicate at the correct wireless frequency, then it will not function with the alarm system.

Honeywell 5800rp wireless repeaterThe other major distinction between door sensors is surface-mount sensors versus recessed sensors. Simply put, surface-mount sensors are installed on the outside of the door and its frame, while recessed sensors are installed in the inside. Surface-mount sensors require no drilling. In the easiest scenario, it is possible to mount them using a double-sided adhesive (foam tape). They can also be mounted using screws. With their easier installation, this is generally the preferred type of door sensor. Most users do not mind the fact that a small sensor will be visible on the outside of the door.

Honeywell 5820l super slim wireless door and window sensorHowever, for users who do want a more discrete installation, there are recessed door sensors. These sensors and their magnets need to be inserted into holes that are drilled into both the door and the frame. The exact size of the holes will depend on the specific model of the recessed door sensor that is being installed. Once the sensor and magnet have been installed, they will not be visible from the outside. That said, most users opt for surface-mount door sensors due to the easier installation.

Honeywell 5818mnl wireless recessed door sensor and window senso

Some Notes on Response Types

The primary function of any security sensor is determined by its Response Type. This refers to what action the system will take when the zone is faulted (e.g. the door is opened). Below are the Response Types that are most commonly used with door sensors:

  • Entry / Exit: If the door is opened while the system is armed stay or armed away, then the system will need to be disarmed within its entry delay period. If the system is not disarmed within this time period, then an alarm event will occur. Most alarms will feature two different Entry / Exit settings. This allows two different entry delay periods to be used on the same system for different zones.
  • Perimeter: If the door is opened while the system is armed stay or armed away, then an alarm event will occur immediately.
  • Interior Follower: If the system is set to armed away, an alarm event will immediately occur if the door is opened, assuming that an entry / exit zone is not faulted first. If an entry / exit zone is faulted first, then the system must be disarmed within its entry delay period, otherwise an alarm event will occur.
  • Interior With Delay: If the system is set to armed away and the door is opened, then the system must be disarmed within its entry delay period. If the system is not disarmed within this time period, then an alarm event will occur.
  • Day / Night: If the system is disarmed and the door is opened, a trouble event will occur on the system. If the system is armed away or armed stay and the door is opened, an alarm event will immediately occur on the system.
  • 24 Hour Audible: Opening the door will immediately cause a full system siren and an alarm to be set off, regardless of what state the system is currently in. This Response Type should not be used unless the door should never be opened for any reason.
  • 24 Hour Auxiliary: Same as 24 Hour Audible, but only the panel itself will produce a siren. Any external sirens or noisemakers will not activate. This zone type is ideal for emergency medical cabinets that would only be opened in a serious medical emergency.
  • 24 Hour Silent: Same as 24 Hour Audible, but no siren or sound will be produced.
  • Fire No Verification: Opening the door will immediately cause a fire alarm to be set off, regardless of what state the system is currently in. This is the ideal Response Type for fire doors.

Certain Response Types are only available for certain Device Types. Depending upon the panel you are using, not all of these Response Types will be made available for the Device Type of "Door". A way to work around this is to set the Device Type to "Other". This will allow you to set any possible Response Type for the door sensor.

2gig dw10 wireless slim door slash window contactOther Programming Settings

Programming a door sensor has to do with more than just the Response Type and the Device Type. Below are some of the other programming settings available for a door sensor. Please note that these settings are specific for a Honeywell Lyric Controller, and different settings may be available on another type of panel.

  • Serial Number: This is how the system will specifically identify the exact door sensor that is being used.
  • Loop Number: This tells the door sensor what function it should perform. Each door sensor usually has a specific loop number that should be set for the device to function as a door sensor. Some door sensors have multiple possible functions that can be used with the device. One example is the Honeywell 5816, which can be used as both a door sensor and as a wireless transmitter depending upon the loop number that is set.
  • Zone Descriptors: These serve as the name of the door sensor. The panel will announce the zone descriptors whenever the zone for that sensor is affected.
  • Alarm Report: This tells the system whether or not it should send an outbound signal to the central monitoring station. If you turn this off, then all the sounds and sirens will still be made, but a distress signal will never be sent to the central station. An example for turning this off might be if you are monitoring a liquor cabinet to make sure your teenage doesn't get into it. You might want a very loud siren to go off so that you know if this happens. However, you obviously wouldn't want the police to show up at your house in this situation!
  • Chime: This will have the panel produce a simple chime whenever the door is opened. Many panels will allow you to toggle between different chime options for the panel. Remember, you will still need to have the local chime for the system enabled from the main settings menu.
  • Supervision: This will have the system monitor the door sensor for low battery or loss of signal. Keep this enabled to make sure that the door sensor is always in proper working order. This setting is only used with wireless door sensors.

For any programming questions related to a specific panel, please consult the programming guide for that panel. This information is readily available on the Alarm Grid website in the form of FAQs.

Honeywell 5816 wireless door window sensor

Common Door Sensor Questions

Below are some questions that are commonly asked about door sensors:

1. How do I program my door sensor?

If it is a wireless door sensor, it can most likely be auto-enrolled.This is accomplished by accessing zone programming on the system and then faulting and restoring the door sensor three times to learn it in. You can fault and restore the door sensor by separating the sensor and the magnet and then clicking them back together. From there, make any necessary programming configurations on the panel. See the above information on Response Types and other programming settings.

If it is a wired door sensor with a hardwired VISTA Panel, then we recommend consulting this FAQ. You may also need to consult the VISTA 15P and 20P Programming Guide.

Honeywell vista 15p alarm control panel

2. How long do door sensor batteries last?

A wireless door sensor will typically require a battery replacement every three to five years. Wired door sensors do not use batteries, and they will never require a battery replacement.

Panasonic cr123a 3v battery

3. How close should the door sensor be to its magnet?

We usually recommend placing the door sensor magnet within a half inch of the sensor. Some sensors may allow for a greater separation distance than others before a faulted zone will occur. The closer the magnet is to the sensor, the less likely an unwanted fault or a false alarm is to occur.

Honeywell 5899 magnet for 5816 wireless door sensor and window s

4. Are there any encrypted wireless door sensors?

Yes, there are encrypted wireless door sensors. The Honeywell SiXCT, the Honeywell SiXMINICT, the Qolsys IQ DW MINI-S and the Qolsys IQ Recessed Door-S are all encrypted wireless door sensors.

Honeywell sixct wireless door slash window contact for lyric con

5. What is the best door sensor?

Please see the following FAQs:

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