Can I Add My Pre-Installed Wired Sensors to a Security Alarm?

Yes, you can add your pre-installed wired sensors to a security alarm. If it is a wired alarm system, then the sensors can be connected directly to the panel's circuit board or to a hardwired zone expander. If the system is wireless, then a wired to wireless converter will be needed.

Many users wonder if they will be able to continue using their old hardwired sensors with a new security system. By not having to replace the sensors, the user can save a large amount of money. In most cases, old hardwired sensors will be fully compatible with a new alarm system. However, an add-on such as a zone expander or a wired to wireless converter may be required.

The process for bringing over hardwired sensors to a new security system will largely depend on whether the new system is wired or wireless. If the system is wired, then the sensors can be connected to the panel's circuit board. They must then be programmed with the security system. If a large number of sensors are being brought over then a zone expander, such as a Honeywell 4219, may be needed. You will need a zone expander if the number of hardwired sensors being brought over is greater than the total number of hardwired zones available on the system. But remember, even with zone expanders, you will still be limited by the total number of zones that the panel can support. This number varies depending upon the type of panel that is being used.

The Honeywell 4219 8 zone expansion module:

Adding hardwired sensors is quite different if a wireless system is being used. In this case, a wired to wireless converter is needed. This is a special device that allows hardwired sensors to interface with a wireless system. The hardwired sensors will connect directly to the converter. The converter will then connect to the system wirelessly. This will allow the hardwired sensors to interface with the wireless zones on the system. For all intents and purposes, the system will consider the hardwired sensors to be wireless. The type of wired to wireless converter that we recommend depends upon the wireless security system. For Honeywell and 2GIG panels, we recommend using a Honeywell 5800C2W. For Qolsys Panels we recommend using a Qolsys Hardwire 8-S or a Qolsys Hardwire 16-S depending upon how many wired sensors are being brought over.

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