Reasons Why the Wired Alarm Contact on A Door May Not Work
In this video, Joe explains why a hardwired door or window contact may not be working properly. One of the most common reasons is because the sensor and magnet are not aligned properly. Another possibility is that the sensor was not wired properly or because the wire from the senor has been damaged.
Door and window contacts are some of the easiest sensors to use with security systems. They consist of two parts, which are a larger sensor and a smaller magnet. The sensor is installed on the door or window frame, while the magnet is installed on the moving part of the door or window. There is a small metal reed switch inside the sensor. When the magnet is separated from the sensor, the metal reed switch is released. The sensor then knows to let the system know that the door or window has been opened.
With a wired door and window sensor, you need to run a wire from the alarm control panel to the sensor. If the wire ever becomes cut or damaged, then it will prevent the sensor from working properly. In that case, you would need to replace the wire with a new one. Another possibility for a faulty door and window contact is that the sensor and magnet are not properly aligned. If that happens, then the reed switch will remain released even when the door or window is closed.
You must remember to test a door and window contact sensor after one has been installed. This is the best way to make sure that the sensor and magnet are properly aligned. You must also make sure that the sensor and magnet are close enough together. Most door and window contacts will allow for a maximum magnet spacing gap of one-half to three-quarters of an inch. This will depend on the sensor itself, the strength of the magnet, and the type of surface the sensor is mounted on.
[SWOOSH] [CLICK] Hi, DORs. Joe from Alarm Grid. And today, we're going to talk about why you're wired door or window contact may have stopped working. I have one of those right here. And just to go over how these work-- this is the contact side. This is the magnet side for this particular model. The way this works is there's a magnetic switch inside of this unit. When the magnet gets close to it, it closes it, telling the alarm system that the window or door is now closed. When the magnet moves away from it, the switch opens, telling the alarm system that the door or window is now open. Pretty simple, but there's a whole bunch of reasons of why these could stop working. One of the more common reasons is that the magnet is simply installed in the wrong spot. These contacts, the reed switch, the recommended installing place for the magnet is on the opposite side of the reed switch. And the reed switch is only on one side of the contact. So for this one, as we have our terminals on this side, the reed switch is pointing on this side, which means when we install it, we want to play our magnet next to that reed switch. If we had our magnet on the wrong side of the contact or anywhere else around it, it may not work. And you're going to want to fix it anyways because it's not really secure installation. Another reason that these could stop working is perhaps the wire going back to the alarm system has become damaged. This can happen from rodents or environmental issues. Maybe somebody was doing some work in the house, and they cut it, whole bunch of different reasons can have that happen. But if the wire is chomped from here back to the panel, it's not going to work properly with your systems. I do want to mention one particular distinction between wired contacts and wireless contacts, and it's something that you can run into when you're installing them. Wired contacts-- usually you're going to know which side the contact point is on. The contact point is where the reed switch is activated when the magnet gets close to the contact. And it's going to be the opposite end of these terminals. These terminals are where the wire connects to the contact. So when you're mounting it, looking at just the design of this one, you're going to know that the magnet has to go on this side. Now, this may change from contact to contact. If you do check the installation manual, you will see exactly where the reed switch sits and where the magnet needs to get close to it. I say this because on a wireless contact, you don't have any of those terminals around the contact, so you may not know at first glance where the reed switch is on the device. The reason that this is important is that if the magnet goes to an area where the reed switch isn't located, you're not going to close the contact, and it's not going to work properly for you. On a wireless contact, many of them have little bumps as indicators where the reed switch is. On this guy in particular, I have two little indentations right here, and that tells me that the magnet has to line up with these bumps when I install it to get it to close when it gets close to the magnet. Again, if you have any questions about where the reed switch is on a wireless contact, check the installation manual, and it will tell you where it is in the device. It's a good thing to know if you're looking for it. Another important thing with all contacts is the gaps spacing. Gaps spacing has to do with how far away the magnet has to be to the contact to get the reed switch to activate in the contact. Basically, what this means is how close does this magnet have to get to this contact to get it to close so that the system thinks that this zone is closed. This changes from manufacturer to manufacturer. Usually, it's somewhere around a quarter of an inch. But I can't say that for certain for anything because this changes from device to device and from manufacturer to manufacturer. So again, make sure that you check your installation manual for this if it is a concern. If you're getting your magnet pretty close to the contact when you're mounting it, you can rest assured that it's going to work just fine. But again, if you're on that edge, or if you want to check to see what the gaps spacing actually is, definitely check out the installation manual, and the information should be there. As a final point of why the contact could stop working, perhaps something in programming on the panel changed. If you went into your panel, and you were editing some stuff, and you accidentally edited the contact programming, there's a chance that it's not going to work anymore, which would make you think that the contact is broken when it's really just programming. That's the issue. If you have your system, and you are managing it by yourself, just check your installer guide or your installer manual and go through the programming steps to check the fields for the contacts to make sure that it's set up correctly. If you do have your system monitored by an alarm company, there's a good chance you could call them up and just say, hey, can you help me confirm that my programming from my contact is correct? If you do have some wired alarm contacts, though, that are giving you trouble, feel free to give us a call at 888-818-7728 send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or head to our website www.alarmgrid.com. If you did enjoy the video, feel free to subscribe. And if you want to be notified when we post future videos, hit the notification button below, and we'll send you an update when we do so. Thanks for watching, and have a great day.