Honeywell VISTA: Program Wireless Sensor to 6160RF

Looking to add new wireless sensors to your Honeywell VISTA home security system? This video has all the information you’ll need.

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The 5811 wireless door and window sensor from Honeywell is a commonly used sensor that many home security systems employ to monitor different zones controlled by the system. This particular sensor features a surface mount, slimline design that can be mounted to any window or door in the home or business.

In the video, you’ll first learn how the 5811 sensor works, and how to go about installing these sensors on your VISTA 20p, 21ip or 15p home security system. Typically, the sensor itself is attached to the moving part. For example, it may be attached to the window or door itself, while the larger contact attached to the non-moving part, i.e., the door jamb or window frame.

However, if that’s not possible, you can switch the orientation of the two parts and attach the larger contact to the door or window and attach the sensor to the non-moving part. If that’s the case, you’ll want to be extra careful not to slam that particular window or door as it’s easier to damage the sensor that way.

You’ll want to make sure that the sensor is centered in between the two tabs that are located on the larger component as those two tabs denote where the read switch inside of the sensor is. If the sensor isn’t between those two tabs when the door or window is closed, it may malfunction now or in the future.

The first step the video will have you follow is to enter into programming mode by using your installer code. If you don’t have your installer code handy, there’s a workaround you can learn about in another Alarm Grid video. Next, the video explains how to enter the zone programming menu, which will allow you to add wired or wireless sensors to your Honeywell VISTA system.

Keep in mind that to access the zone programming menu, you’ll need an alphanumeric keypad, like the 6160 series. While it’s technically possible for fixed English keypads, you won’t see any display at all, which will make it extremely difficult to see what you’re doing in the different menus of the system.

You’ll then learn how to program your new sensor to the proper zone, as well as set the proper zone type for the new sensor. Zone 01 is the most common type of zone, and it’s used entrances such as doors or garages. The zone you set for your new sensor will determine how the system behaves when the sensor is tripped. For example, since zone 01 is used for entrances that are often opened or closed, programming the sensor on zone 01 will provide you with a 30-second entry delay whenever the sensor is tripped.

Once you’ve followed the steps outlined in the video for programming how you’d like your new 5811 sensor to work, Frank shows you how to exit the different programming menus to return to the home screen for your keypad.

Once you’ve completed programming and ensured that the sensor is working properly, it’s time to install your new 5811 sensor to your door or window.


Hi, DIYers, this is Frank at Alarm Grid, and we're back in the Alarm Grid lab. We're working again with the Vista keypads, specifically, the 6160RF, and that's connected to our Vista 21IP. OK, we're going to work today on programming the 5811 wireless door-window contact. So this is a slimline door-window sensor that has-- it's a surface-mount contact, and there's a magnet included, has to be within a half an inch of the contact, which is the larger unit with the battery in it.

And the magnet usually goes on the moving part, the door or the window, and the larger contact itself would actually go onto the window frame or the door jamb. In some cases where you can't fit it, that's fine. You can put it on the door if you need to with the window. Just keep in mind, you shouldn't really slam those windows or doors, because over time, that can jostle the electronics in here and damage it. So you want to always have the magnet within the two tabs here, because that's where the read switch is inside the case.

So on the back side, we have the seven-digit serial number. And we'll go ahead and use that to program the sensor in the *56 zone programming sub menu on the 6160RF today. So the first thing you need to do is address your keypad and enable the RF receiver. Once that's enabled, which you've already done in another video, we can pop into programming and program the zone.

So we're going to enter our installer code which is 4-1-1-2, followed by 800. Again, if you have a different installer code, you just enter that here. We're using the default on ours. It'll say Installer Code 20. That lets you know that you've made it into programming. If you do not see that, then you're not using the right code. You can use the backdoor method if you need to. We have another video on our channel with that. But for now, we will just assume that you do have your installer code and move forward.

So the programming menu, to do any zone programming at all will be the *56 zone programming menu, OK? So this is basically if you need to add any wired or wireless sensors, you're going to get into this sub menu. Now, it's required to use an alphanumeric keypad, OK? So that means any 6160 series, whether it be the V, RF, or the 62 or the 62RF, any of those keypads will allow you to get into the *56 menu. Technically, you can get into this the *56 sub menu on the fixed English keypads, but you will not be able to see anything. Hence, we don't recommend it, and you really shouldn't do it. So if you need his program a zone, especially a wireless zone, we usually recommend using a 6160RF keypad. If you only have touchscreen display keypads, same thing really, you want to be in the habit of using a 6160 keypad. So we'll assume you have all that, and we'll move forward.

When you first enter *56, it's going to say Set to Confirm. You can just go ahead and hit 0, and that'll jump you into the zone-number field. This is where you enter the number of your zone. Now, on a Vista panel, the first open slot on a Vista 15P, 20P, and 21IP will be zone 9. So zones 1 through 8 are mapped to the eight hardwired zones in the alarm cabin itself, OK? So the first open zone outside of that that can be changed to an RF zone type or input type is zone 9. So we'll go ahead and hit 0-9, and then to move forward and continue through any of the fields in programming will be a star key.

It'll show you here the summary of what it's showing now with the zone number, zone type, partition, the response here, and then and then you can see RF in the loop. So we'll just star through, you don't need to do anything on that for now. The second thing here, so it says zone disabled right now, a 0-0. This will be the zone type, OK?

So there's a few different zone types for door and window contacts for the 5811. You can set it to anything you'd like, but the most common ones would be 0-1, and that would be your entry-exit 1, so that would be for a front door, maybe a garage entry door, or any door that you'd use to enter and exit the home. It's going to allow you to-- when you enter and the system is armed, it will give you by default a 30-second entry delay. And on the way out after you are inside, it will give you 60 seconds to exit the space. So we'll assume that this is for an entry-exit door.

Just so you know, we can do 0-3 for perimeter. That's the second most common type of zone type for the 5811. And basically, this is a parameter zone if you think about a perimeter being an instant zone, so a window, maybe a door that you would not need to enter or exit to the secured premise. So we'll set it back to 1 so we have a delay on it, because I'm going to be putting this on our front door. So then we would star.

The partition, now, we're not going to get too deep into partitions right now. We only have a single partition here, and most commonly, there's only single partitions. If you were running a multi-partition system, you could put in the Partition 2 or 3 here, 3 for the common if you did have that. For now, we're just going to keep it on Partition 1 and hit star. And it's showing the report code now.

So Contact ID is the language that most central stations would require you to set your system to and the one that we use here at Alarm Grid. All you need is anything but a 0 in that first field. So this is the first partition, the second partition. We don't need to report the second partition, so having the double 0s is fine. We do want to report Partition 1, so having 0-1 is also fine, and we can just hit star here.

Now we have the input type. So it already knows-- it already happened to choose RF Trans as Input 3. If you were to put a 1 here-- let's see here-- it already actually knows that we have this as a RF sensor, so we're just going to keep the 3 here and go ahead and hit star, and that will accept that and show the seven-digit serial number, OK? So you can manually enter this in just by looking at the back side of the sensor. And there's an A for alpha and then a seven-digit number beneath the barcode.

So basically what we can do here is-- well, as I went to go manually enter that in, because I faulted this zone, it actually just entered the serial number automatically. You can hear it chiming again. So that's another way to do it and actually, probably the best way to do it. On certain sensors, like motion detectors, it's a little easier to manually enter. But in this case, just by removing the magnet away from the unit, we've now tripped the device three times, and you've heard that triple beep now, and it's already moved over to the loop number. And now you can do it one more time, and it'll actually lock it right in. You hit the star key.

Now, the 5811 uses Loop 1. Other sensors may use different loops. So that's why auto-enrolling is good, because it'll actually learn the loop number as well. If you do that with the motion or smoke or thing like that using the tamper, you want to make sure to reassign the loop, but we can get into that later. For this one, we now have the summary screen with the proper info.

You'll see it's slightly different than we had before on the summary screen when we first entered. And it'll say Program Alpha. You could hit a 1 and go into this custom alpha field, where you could give it a description as far as a name and how it enunciates on the system. An Alarm Grid, we offer free programming to our customers. So if you do have monitoring with us, you can send us a list of your zones, and we'd be happy to program the alpha descriptors for you. It is a little bit easier on our remote programming interface rather than doing it on the system here manually. So feel free to do that. Otherwise, you can go into the alpha field and customize your alpha descriptor there. For now, we'll hit 0 for no, and it'll jump back to the Enter Zone Number.

Now, this is really important so you don't get stuck in a loop here in the sub menu. So when it says Enter Zone Number, you're back at the entry point to this sub menu, which is the *56 menu. So in order to get out of this, to get back out to the first level of programming, to kind of the main menu of programming, you would just hit 0-0. You'll see it say 0-0 to quit there.

Now we're out. It's back to enter star or pound. If you had any other programming to do, you could go ahead and hit star in the command to get into that field and make the adjustment. Otherwise, you can hit *99 to exit programming, and that will basically exit us out, and now we're back at the screen. We can go ahead and toggle chime real quick by entering our master code followed by 9. Anytime you exit programming, it will automatically disable chime, so you always want to re-enable that after you exit programming.

Now we can take our 5811 and do some testing here. By removing the magnet from the contact, you'll see it says his star for faults, and you're hearing the other voice panel that is connected to the same panel here enunciating. And yeah, basically, we're shown faults here now. You can hit star on the keypad. It'll say Fault 9, and that is zone 9, the sensor that we just programmed.

So we can go ahead and close up our keypad, and that's how you program your RF transmitter, specifically, the 5811 contact to your Vista 20P, 21IP, or 15P using the 6160 keypad. If you have any other questions for us, you can email us at and subscribe to our channel.