Door Contacts - Overview

Door Contacts - Overview


In this video, Jorge provides an overview of door and window contacts used with alarm systems. Door and window contacts are some of the most common sensors for alarm systems. The sensors let the panel know when the door or window is opened. There are many types of door and window contacts available.

There are many varieties of door sensors available. The sensors can be hardwired or wireless. Wired sensors need to have a wire run to the panel. This can make setup more difficult for the average DIY installer. But the good thing about wired sensors is that you never need to replace any batteries. Also, hardwired sensors are extremely affordable. Wireless sensors are very easy to install and program. You just have to make sure the wireless sensor you choose communicates at a frequency that is compatible with your alarm system.

Another major distinction for a door sensor is whether it is surface-mounted or recessed. A surface-mounted sensor will be installed on the outer surface of the door and its frame. This makes the sensor very easy to mount. On the other hand, a recessed sensor will be installed inside the door and its frame. A recessed sensor will remain hidden when the door is closed. However, you will need to drill holes inside the door and its frame to install a recessed door sensor. This is fairly easy, but some DIY installers may prefer recessed sensors, as fewer tools are needed.

Most door sensors work in the same way, but there are some exceptions. The typical door contact will include a sensor and a magnet. The sensor will go on or inside the door frame, while the magnet will go on or inside to moving part of the door. The sensor and contact should be in extremely close proximity, usually less than one half-inch apart, when the door is closed. There are also recessed plunger switch sensors that do not use a magnet. A plunger switch sensor has a switch that will be pressed-in when the door is closed. Opening the door will release the switch and tell the sensor to alert the system.

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Hey, DIY-ers. I'm Jorge from AlarmGrid. Today, I'm going to be going over all the different kinds of door contacts that are typical in an alarm ecosystem. Now, this is going to go for whether or not you're wanting to buy alarm sensors, if you have existing sensors and you're trying to identify them so you can kind of get an idea of what you're working with. Now, door sensors are sensors that you put on your door that let your system know when a door is open or closed. Now, the door sensors are also used as window sensors as well. That's why when we refer to door sensors, we call them door or window sensors. They can be used in either application. Now, door sensors come in different kinds of varieties, which I want to kind of touch base on today. There is wired, and there's wireless, there's surface, there's recess, there's plunger type. There's some wireless sensors that have internal read switches that act as wireless transmitters, there's encrypted, non-encrypted, and I'm going to just briefly go over some of the main appliances that you may see in your home or that you may want to get. So the first sensor I want to go over is the most common one. It's just a normal wireless door sensor. This is a 5800MINI which is a Honeywell wireless sensor. You can see, it's a mini sensor, hence it's so small compared to, let's say, a normal 5816. It's about twice the size. I'll go over that in a second. Now, this 5800MINI is surface-mounted, which means it's going to have go on actual door frame. And then, let's say, the magnet is going to go on the swinging part. So whenever the door moves away from the contact, it lets the system know that a sensor is open. When it closes back, it lets the system know that the door is closed. Now, if all your sensors are closed, there's no motion going on, your system will be in a ready-to-arm state and that's when you can arm the system away or stay whichever one you want to go, which we're also going to touch base on at the end the video. So this is a 5800MINI. They make these kind of small sensors almost in every alarm manufacturer DSE, Qolsys, 2-gig, Honeywell. So there's different kinds of mini sensors that you can get for your system. So if you guys are looking at buying sensors and you guys want mini, feel free to contact us and we can point you in the right direction of which sensor to get. Now, the other sensors we have. We have the bigger wireless sensors. Now this one, I'm going to go over this in a second. But this is the bigger wired sensor. It's a 5816. It's a Honeywell sensor. And as you can see, it's a lot bigger than the mini. So if you guys-- the reason why it's so big is the internal switches. There are some wireless sensors that can act as wireless transmitters. So what that means is if you have a wired sensor out in the field, you're adding it, and you can't get it wired back to the panel that maybe three floors down or on the other side of the house. You guys don't want to have to do the wiring all the way back to the panel. You guys can always use a wired sensor, a 5816 or any sensor that has internal terminals. You have to look at the description of the sensor and you have to look at the capabilities. But some of them can act as the transmitter. So this wired sensor can actually send out its signal wirelessly through a sensor that has a wireless transmitter like the 5816. So this acts as both a wireless door sensor, so you can put the magnet next to the sensor, it'll open or close. Or if you have a recess sensor or any other kind of wired sensor, and then a magnet, you can also set it off like that as well. Now, this brings me to my next one. So far, the two sensors we've discussed have been wireless. What about our wired sensors? There are also wired recess. There's wired surface-mounted sensors. This is a recess sensor that actually goes on the inside of your door frame. And then the magnet would also be kind of like the same shape. It would go on the inside of your door. Now, these recess sensors, they're recessed, so they can't be seen. So those of you who are trying to get sensors that are hidden, that are not visible, you may want to look into recess sensors. However, keep in mind, this will require you to drill in. Drill into your door frame. If you're doing windows, if you're doing like sliding door, sometimes you have the metal bordering, so you have to make sure you're able to drill into that as well. And then these are wired recessed. We also have wireless recessed, which you're going to see. Some of these are pretty big like this 2-gig one. And again, all of these, they all have their-- they're all made in different manufacturers. So this is 2-gig. Honeywell has them, Qolsys has them, DSE has them, Interlogix has them. A lot of people have recessed sensors. This is just a 2-gig one that I'm showing you guys. You see, this is a lot thicker, a lot bigger than the wired sensor that I showed you guys. Now again, this recessed sensor is a wireless sensor. So there no wire that needs to be run to the panel or to a wireless transmitter. This is going to work with a 2-gig system wirelessly. You got the magnet. Magnet goes inside the door. The actual contact goes in the door frame. They connect, they separate to let the system know the door is open. Now, one second, so we've gone over many sensors. We've gone over the bigger wireless sensor. Some of them have internal contacts. We have wired recessed sensors, surface-mounted sensors. What about if you have overhead garage door? That's still a door. We have tilt sensors for those as well. So you can either do a tilt sensor, which if I open this up-- there's also different versions of this. This is a 2-gig one. You can see use Honeywell's 5822T which is a tilt sensor as well. And the way this works as you put it at the very top of the garage door and you put it upright. There's an arrow here that indicates the correct direction. You put it upright at the very top of the door. As the garage starts opening up, the sensor starts going horizontal, and that's what's going to let the sensor know that the door is open. So if you guys are trying to monitor your garage door, you guys can use a tilt sensor. There is also wireless garage door sensors. I'm sorry, wired garage door sensors that you can add. Again, it'll be the same concept. It'll be a big contact on the floor or on the side of the wall, and then the magnet on the actual garage moving part. And when it moves away, it lets your system know that the door's open. So as you guys can see, there's a whole bunch of different wired, wireless sensors, surface-mounted, recessed sensors, wireless sensors that have built-in contacts. Now, let's go ahead and talk about the radio frequency. Most of the ones I just showed you, these are all just normal radio frequency sensors that transmit at the frequency that the manufacturing company makes them at. Like Honeywell does 345 megahertz. Interlogix and Qolsys do 319.5. DSE does 433. 2-gig also does 345. So there's different frequencies that these sensors transmit at. But we also have encrypted sensors. We have the SIX series encrypted which Honeywell makes. The 128-bit AES which is Advanced Encryption Standards. We also have the Qolsys S-Line which is roll and code. We also have Power G which is DSE makes these for the Qolsys systems. Or the-- there are also the NEO systems as well that have the power to your receivers. These are also 128-bit AES encrypted sensors. So there's a whole bunch of different frequencies that you guys can get. If you guys are worried about anyone spoofing your sensors, you may want to look into encrypted sensors. But make sure if you guys are getting encrypted sensors, you guys get the correct panel. Only a select field panels can actually receive the signal of the encrypted sensors. Most of the panels like you see, the L-7000, GC2, GC3, most of these systems just work on the normal manufacturing company frequency. Now, let's talk about the programming of the sensors. These sensors can be programmed as an entry/exit, as the perimeter. They can be programmed as immediate panics. They can be programmed as interior follower, interior follower with delay. Different things like this. The entry/exit and the perimeter are the most commonly used one. The entry/exit, it's something that you would program a door that you enter the house through whenever you're coming back home from work, dinner. Whenever you leave the house, the door that you guys are going to be entering through is normally going to be programmed as an entry/exit. Why? Because entry/exits have a delay that allow you to open up a door go to the system and disarm it before the alarm goes off. Now this period of time can be adjusted and edited by you in the settings. So for instance, the front door sometimes is usually set to 60 seconds. If you guys have a garage door, it takes longer to park your car, exit, and do all of that. So you may want to set that as a longer period. So you may want to do two, three, four minutes as well. We also have perimeter sensors. These are sensors that as soon as you open it while the system is armed, it immediately sets off the alarm. Something that you can program as a perimeter is like a sliding door, a window. The reason why is when these systems are armed, you don't enter the house through a sliding door, you don't open up a window and into the house to the window as well. So you want to set these as a perimeter sensor. So if any of these ever get opened while the system is armed, the alarm immediately goes off. The interior follower are usually for motions but you can also set door contacts to interior follower. What this means is when the system is armed to stay, then any sensors programmed as interior follower, the system ignores them completely. So let's say you have a door sensor set as an interior follower and the system is armed to stay, which is what you guys usually want to use if you guys are staying in the house. So whenever you open up that door, it doesn't set off an alarm. So this was just a quick overview of the different kind of door contacts that you guys may see in some of the houses you move into. Or if you're looking at getting door sensors for your alarm system. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us that If you found the video helpful, make sure you hit Like underneath, subscribe to the YouTube channel, and enable notification so when we upload new content, you guys get notified. I'm Jorge, and I'll see you guys next time.