How Do I Reset My Wired Alarm System?

You can reset your wired alarm system by cutting power to the system to turn it off, and then reapplying power to turn it back on. That will perform a power cycle reset for your hardwired panel. If you are instead applying a factory reset, then the process varies between different systems.

There are two (2) types of resets that you can apply to an alarm system. The first is a power cycle reset that involves simply powering the system down and then powering it back on. This type of reset is good for basic troubleshooting, and it is also useful for installing new hardware. You can power down the system, safely install your new hardware, and then power your system back on.

The other type of reset is a factory reset, also referred to as a factory default. This is a more extreme type of reset that will revert all settings and configurations for the system back to their factory default values. In other words, it will be as though the system is brand-new and fresh from the factory. You will need to reprogram the system from scratch after a factory reset. Most users will only factory reset their system as a last resort troubleshooting step, or if they plan to sell or give away the system. The process for factory resetting varies between different systems, so you will need to refer to the manual for your specific wired alarm system to learn how to factory reset. However, if you have a VISTA-15P, VISTA-20P, or VISTA-21iP, or VISTA-21iPLTE System, then you can check out this helpful FAQ for factory defaulting your system.

You might also hear the word "reset" being used with a security system for the process of resetting the system following an alarm event. This includes getting the system's siren to stop sounding and clearing the alarm so that the system is once again in its ready-to-arm state. This process varies between different systems, so please refer to your system's user manual for more information on resetting the system following an alarm event.

If you want to perform a power cycle reset for your hardwired system, complete the following steps:

1. Disconnect battery power. Start by removing the battery backup power source for your system. The easiest way to do this is to locate the backup battery for your system and disconnect the positive (red) wire at the battery terminal. The battery for a hardwired alarm panel is usually a large black or gray box found inside the panel's enclosure. Grip the connection at the battery, and firmly pull the connector off the battery. Do not try to yank the wire from a distance, as it's possible that you could damage it.


2. Disconnect AC power. Now you will remove the system's primary power source, which is AC power from its plug-in transformer. This can be done by unplugging the transformer from the wall outlet. You will need a screwdriver, usually a flat head if the transformer is screwed into the outlet. If the outlet is in a difficult place to reach, then it may be easier to drop power at the circuit breaker. That is also fine. But do not remove AC power by disconnecting the hardwired power connections at the panel itself. Attempting to remove power in this way can result in damage to the panel, transformer, or both if a wire is accidentally allowed to touch the wrong location. The panel should power completely down after both battery power and AC power have been disconnected.

3. Reapply AC power. When it's time to power the system back on, start with AC power for a hardwired system. Plug the transformer back into its wall outlet, or reapply power at the circuit breaker. The system will power back on once AC power is applied.

4. Restore battery power. After connecting AC power, you should immediately reconnect the backup battery. Reconnect the positive (red) red wire at the battery to restore battery backup. Make sure that the wire is securely connected. If you don't reconnect the battery immediately, you may receive a low battery error message on the alarm panel. Assuming the battery is fully charged and in good condition, this message should clear on its own within a couple of minutes. If you need help clearing a low battery message on one of the panels mentioned above, click here.

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