Number of Zones On a Wireless System Cannot be Increased
In this video, Michael from Alarm Grid explains why the number of zones on a wireless system cannot be increased. The maximum number of zones that a system can support is based on the firmware of the system. This information is hard-coded into the system's logic, and it cannot be changed or increased. That is why it is advised that a user gets a security system with more zones than they think they will need. This will make it easier for them to expand upon the system if they ever want to do so. Once a user runs out of zones, they will need to replace the entire panel if they want to upgrade.
A wireless system will readily support wireless sensors. This is because a wireless panel will have a built-in wireless receiver that will allow compatible wireless sensors to interface with the system. All the user needs to do is auto-enroll these sensors based on the enrollment process for the panel being used. Each sensor function will take up one (1) zone on the system. This means that every sensor will use at least one zone. If a sensor has multiple functions, then it might be enrolled to multiple zones, with each zone using a different programmed serial number.
Hardwired sensors cannot readily interface with wireless alarm panels. A wireless panel may have one or two on-board zones for support normally closed contact sensors, but that is the only wired sensor support available out of the box. The most common way to integrate a large number of wired sensors with a wireless panel is to use a wired to wireless converter. Wired sensors will connect with the converter module at its zone terminals. The converter unit will then send wireless signals to the panel on the behalf of the wired sensors. The wired sensors can then be enrolled with the system. When doing this, the system will see the wired sensors as wireless devices, and they will take up wireless zones on the system.
Hi, DIYers. This is Michael from Alarm Grid. And today, I'm going to be explaining why you cannot increase the number of zones on a wireless alarm system. Pretty much for any alarm system, the number of total zones that's supported, it's depending upon the system's firmware. The system's logic, so to speak. It only has space for a certain number of zones. And once you reach that maximum number of zones, then, you won't be able to enroll any more sensors with the system. Now, for wireless alarm systems, you're typically using wireless sensors. Pretty much every wireless alarm panel is going to have a wireless receiver built in. And then, you're finding wireless sensors that are compatible, that communicate at a compatible frequency, with that receiver. If you want to use wired sensors with a wireless alarm system. Then, pretty much in most cases, you're going to have to get a wired to wireless converter. This is because a wireless panel isn't going to have the onboard terminals for letting you set wired sensors. And also you're not going to be able to connect a zone expander, a hardwired zone expander, with the panel. So you're not really going to have a way to interface the wired sensors, unless you use a compatible wired to wireless converter, such as a Honeywell 5800C2W, a Qolsys IQ Hardwire 16-F. There's a PowerG wireless converter. So you need to find one that's compatible with your system. Some wireless panels will have a couple of onboard terminals for, normally, close contacts. So you technically can have one or two wired zones on the system, but not every panel is going to have this. And really, that's just a couple of zones and it's pretty limited on what you can do. You're usually only going to use some contacts with that. So if you want to add wired motions or something else, then, you won't be able to do that. You'd have to get a wired to wireless converter. And the way that those work, the wired sensors connect at the wired to wireless converter. And then, the converter module sends a signal to the panel on behalf of those sensors. And the system sees them as wireless sensors. And they do take up wireless zones on the system. So really, system's going to see those wired sensors as wireless sensors. So even then, you're still using wireless zones. And like I said, you can't exceed the number of total zones on the panel. The wireless zones, they're going to make up pretty much all the zones on a wireless alarm panel. So you need to keep that in mind. Now, a wireless sensor may take up more than one zone on the system. Usually, the general rule is one zone per sensor, but there are some sensors that will have multiple functions and they will take up multiple zones. An example of this, just one example, it's the Honeywell 5821, which is a temperature sensor and a flood sensor. So it uses up to three zones on the system. So it has a high temperature detection zone, a low temperature detection zone, and then, it also has a flood zone. So it's going to use three wireless zones, if you want to set full functionality for the Honeywell 5821. You don't have to use all functions, if you don't want to, but if you want to, then, they're going to take up three different zones. And one center, will use multiple zones. And the way that the zones are differentiated, they all use the same serial number, but you enroll them using different loop numbers. So when you're in programming for that zone, you'll set the appropriate loop number based on the function that you want to use. So that's how you get the one sensor to interface with the three different wireless zones. And it can vary depending on the sensor. Refer to the manual for the sensor to see the appropriate loop numbers and go from there. But in most cases, most wireless sensors will just have one function and they'll just use that one zone. But if you have a sensor that uses multiple functions, then, you'll need a zone for each function. So keep that in mind. And of course, you'll need to get sensors that communicate at the frequency that is compatible with your system. So if you have a Honeywell system, most of them will use 345 megahertz sensors, 319.5 is the Legacy Interlogix, Legacy Qolsys, 433 is Legacy DSC. So be sure to make sure that you get compatible sensors based on the system you are using. And then, as you enrolled them with your system, you can't exceed the number of total zones, because that's all the system Logic can support. You don't have any way of increasing that. So it's recommended that you get a system that can support more zones than you think you will need. So that way you're prepared in case you go to expand upon the system later. So that's actually one of the most important specifications for an alarm system, is the number of total zones. Just some examples, the old Interlogix systems, like I have the Assignment SDI right here. It can only do 40 zones. You get a more robust system, such as the Lyric or the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus, they can do up to 128 zones. So you'll get quite a bit more there. So it's recommended you get a system with more zones than you think you will need. Just in case you ever need to expand upon the system later. You may have not planned it, originally, but something may come along down the line and you need to add more sensors. So be prepared beforehand, because otherwise, you're going to be swapping out your entire system and that's pretty inconvenient. So that's why you cannot increase the number of zones on your panel, the max zones, that's all you get. So and the good news about a wireless panel is that they're all available from the start. You don't need any expansion modules. You don't have to add a wireless receiver, like you would for a wired panel, if you want to use wireless sensors. So they're all there from the start, it's just you can't exceed that number. So that's why you cannot exceed the number of zones on a wireless alarm panel. If you have any questions about alarm panels or alarm monitoring service, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you found this video helpful, make sure to give it a thumbs up a load to the video. And remember to subscribe to our channel for updates on future videos. We hope you enjoyed the video. Thank you.