How Do I Add a Second Battery to My VISTA P-Series Panel?
You can add a second battery to your VISTA P-Series Panel by using an Ademco SA5140-1 Battery Harness Kit. This battery harness is actually built with the VISTA TURBO Series Panels in mind. But you can make some DIY adjustments to make it compatible with a VISTA P-Series Alarm System.
The backup battery is what keeps a Honeywell VISTA System running during a power outage. It is also used to power the bell output needed to activate a siren during an alarm. Most users of a Honeywell VISTA P-Series Panel will only need one (1) backup battery. One of the most common to use is the UltraTech 1240. If the system has a high current draw, the user might need to get a more powerful battery like the UltraTech 1270. This will work fine for the majority of system users.
However, there are some instances where a user might need to add a second backup battery. This could be because the system has a very high current draw. Another possibility is that the user wants their system to be able to stay powered on for an extended period of time during an electrical outage. Although adding a second battery requires some out-of-the-box thinking, it is certainly possible.
The problem when trying to add a second battery to a VISTA P-Series Panel lies in the fact that the panel battery connectors are hardwired to the circuit board. They cannot be easily removed, and they only have the connections needed for a single backup battery. You need a battery harness kit to make the system capable of supporting a second backup battery. At one point, Honeywell/Ademco had a battery harness specifically designed for the VISTA P-Series Panels. Unfortunately, this product has been discontinued.
You can see the hardwired battery connectors on a VISTA P-Series Panel in the following picture:
Since the add-on battery harness for the VISTA P-Series Panels has been discontinued, you will have to make do with an Ademco SA5140-1 Battery Harness instead. The problem with using the SA5140-1 is that it is designed for the VISTA TURBO Series Panels. These panels don't have the battery connectors hardwired to the board. You can easily connect the SA5140-1 to the system and then connect two (2) backup batteries.
The SA5140-1 is shown in the picture below:
But with a VISTA P-Series Panel, you cannot readily connect the SA5140-1. This is because the battery connectors leading from the VISTA P-Series Panel have female ends. They will not readily connect with the female spade connectors for the SA5140-1. This leaves you with two possible options. The first is to splice the battery connector wires from the VISTA P-Series Panel to the SA5140-1. The other is to use some type of female-to-female adapter to allow the VISTA P-Series Panel battery connectors to fit with the SA5140-1.
Complete the following steps to add a second battery to your VISTA P-Series Panel using an Ademco SA5140-1 Battery Harness Kit:
1. Prepare the battery harness. The Ademco SA5140-1 Battery Harness will not readily connect with the female battery connectors coming from the VISTA P-Series Panel. You need to make the battery connectors compatible. There are two ways to do this. One way is to splice the battery connector wires from the panel to the SA5140-1. You would splice the wires so that the connectors from the panel ultimately lead to an end with two (2) black connectors and two (2) red connectors.
There are two (2) ends to the SA5140-1. There is an end with one (1) black connector and one (1) red connector. The other end has two (2) black connectors and two (2) red connectors. For this part, you will only be working with the end that has one (1) black connector and one (1) red connector. Do not attempt to splice the other end, as you will ruin the SA5140-1. Only focus on the end with one (1) black connector and one (1) red connector.
You should see two (2) small wires leading from the single black connector, as well as two (2) small wires leading from the single red connector. Take the black connector wire leading from the VISTA P-Series Panel, and splice it with the two (2) small wires leading from the single black connector. You will be splicing three (3) wires in total. One will come from the VISTA P-Series Panel, and the other two will come from the SA5140-1. You will need to first cut the three wires with an appropriate tool. Then strip the three wires using a wire stripper. Then splice all three wires together using a soldering tool. You should then carefully wrap the secure connection with electrical tape to provide insulation.
You will then complete the same process with the two (2) small wires leading from the single red connector on the SA5140-1 and the single red connector wire from the panel. Again, you will be splicing three (3) wires in total. This includes two wires from the SA5140-1, and one wire leading from the panel. Carefully cut the wires, strip them, splice them with a soldering tool, and insulate them with electrical tape.
If you are unable to splice the wires, the other possible method for preparing the harness is to get a female-to-female adapter that will allow you to connect the connectors from the panel to the SA5140-1. The end result will basically be the same. You will have the connectors leading from the VISTA Panel to the female-to-female adapter to the SA5140-1. Again, the unconnected end will be the two (2) black connectors and the two (2) red connectors from the SA5140-1. Continue to the next step once the wire is properly prepared.
2. Connect the first battery. You can now connect the ends from the SA5140-1 to the backup batteries. Take the first battery that you plan to add. You will complete the connection using one (1) black connector and one (1) red connector. The battery should have male spade connectors where you can connect the female connectors from the leads. Black will go to negative (-), and red will go to positive (+). The battery tabs may be color-coded. If that is the case, you can just match the colors. Black will go to black, and red will go to red.
3. Connect the second battery. You can now connect the remaining ends from the SA5140-1 to the second backup battery. This is basically the same as the first battery. Black goes to negative (-), and red goes to positive (+). If the battery tabs are color-coded, then just match the colors.
4. Confirm success. Make sure that your system recognizes the batteries. There should not be a low battery trouble on the system. If there is, then you can try to clear it with a double disarm. Enter the following command on your push-button keypad to clear the trouble:
[Master Code] +  + [Master Code] + 
If the low-battery trouble remains, then the problem could be that the batteries are drained. Try giving the system 24 continuous hours of running on AC power with the transformer plugged in. Make sure the keypad does not display an AC loss trouble. After 24 hours, try to clear the low-battery trouble with a double disarm. If that doesn't work then the problem is either that one or both of the batteries are dead, or the wiring was done incorrectly. You can use a voltmeter to determine if a dead battery is the cause. If the battery is fine, but you are still getting the low-battery trouble, then check the wiring and try again.
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