Installing a DIY Burglar Alarm system

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DIY Alarm Install Guide:

Planning the Layout:

The most important step in installing your own alarm system is to plan correctly, This is
normally done by drawing a floor plan of the building, then you need to decide what areas to
cover with the alarm system. (Main entry points, rooms, windows and vulnerable parts of the
building, it’s also useful to walk around the building and look for these points) From that
information you can then decide what type of alarm panel and how many zones are needed.
(Always try to pick an alarm panel with extra zones to allow for future expansion).

Now you have the main alarm areas (zones) of the system decided you can think about where to
position the panel and/or remote keypad if used. You also need to decide where to mount the
sensors and the neatest and easiest way to run the cables back to the panel. You also need to
decide where to mount the bell box and internal sounders (if used).

Other things to think about:

Should the main panel (end station) be hidden just leaving a keypad on show? (Using a system
with an end station and remote keypad looks neater and is also more secure than leaving a big
metal box on the wall in full view.)

Consider fitting a few 12 volt Smoke/Heat Detectors in suitable locations as part of the Alarm System.
Try to mount the PIR’s in suitable positions to avoid false alarms from heaters, windows and
post coming through the letterbox, etc.

Mounting the sensors and Running cables:

Now comes the fun part, drilling the cable holes through walls and joists. Think about how
many cables will be running through that hole and therefore its required diameter, keep all
cable runs away from any mains wiring and do not use existing holes to push cables through
that contain mains cabling. The mounting of the sensors, speakers, keypad, bell box, and end
station should only be started after all cables are in place.

After running a cable to each sensor position leave a few spare feet to allow for final
positioning and stripping and terminating in case of any problems, usualy any slack can
usually be pushed back into the ceiling, at the other end (the end station) also leave a few feet of slack and label the cable before you cut it off the cable drum!

Wiring detectors/bellbox/panel etc

Lay a length of 6 or 8 core alarm cable (not BT cable) in a continuous run from each detector
to the control panel, leave plenty of slack at each end (this can be trimmed later when wiring). It is advisable to locate the cable as much as possible under the floorboards, but where this isn't possible you may need to wire along skirting boards or other suitable routes. Use cable clips to secure the cable in place taking care not to stretch or damage the cable. If you know nothing about electronics or wiring don’t worry its straight forward and easy to follow, most panels come with instructions to tell you what terminals do what. Try to keep the colour coding of the devices the same where possible (i.e. red and black for 12v DC power etc…) Then trim and terminate the cables at end station, you will find the labels on the cables come in very useful here! (But don’t trim the labels off!).


For most PIR’s you need 6 wires:- 2 for power (+ and – 12 volts) 2 for the alarm loop and 2 for the 24 hour tamper loop. (There are sometimes jumper links or switches inside to turn off  the LED and to enable Pulse count etc). For most magnetic door/window contacts you need 4 wires:- 2 for the alarm loop and 2 for the 24-hour tamper loop. For the bell box there is normally 6 wires:- 2 for + and – 12 volts “hold off”, 1 for bell trigger, 1 for strobe trigger and 2 for tamper. The speaker's (if used) can either be 2 or 4 wire devices :- 2 are for the speaker and the other 2 are for tamper (If used). The wiring for the remote keypad's (if used) can vary depending on make/model of system anything from 3 to 10 wires (usually no more than 6).

Bellbox

This should be mounted on the front of the building or a location where it will be in full view of neighbours and passers by, as the very sight of it would be a deterrent to many would be burglars. The bellbox should be placed high enough on the building to be out of easy reach.

Control Panel:

Ideally the control panel wants to be located fairly close to the main entry/exit point. It should be positioned out of reach of smaller children and close to a mains electricity supply. Do not fit the panel onto combustible material.

PIR Detectors:

Where possible it is advised not to mount standard PIR detectors where they might face sources of infra-red light emissions such as windows, fires, filament lamps, and heat sources such as radiators and heaters, as these could occasionally trigger the sensor causing false alarms. Also consider your PETS, consider other methods of detection to areas where pets/animals will have access during the times the alarm system is set. If PIR type sensors must be used then try to get the PET IMMUNE type.

Smoke/Heat Detectors:

Consider mounting at least a couple of Smoke/Heat detectors as part of your Alarm System, I'd recommend at least 2, one in the Hall and one on the Landing but every home is different so decide the best locations for your home. Try to fit Heat detectors in locations where smoke is an un-avoidable occurrence, such as in the Kitchen (You don't want the alarm going off every time you burn the toast).

Shock Sensors:

These are usually fitted to any area that access could be gained by forced entry such as door or window frames. Door contacts will only detect a door or window opening, if you fear access may be gained by kicking a panel out of a door or breaking a window then consider fitting shock sensors along with or instead of door contacts to the suspect area.

Door Contacts:

These are normally fitted to all external doors, but can be fitted to any vulnerable door or window as required.

Programming the system:

Now all there is left to do is programme the system, with zone descriptions, zone types, entry/exit time, bell time, codes etc…. To ensure all zones are functionally correctly you can usually enter “walk test” mode on the control panel. And to ensure the speakers, bell box and strobe all function correctly you can usually enter “bell test” on the control panel

To test your system the best way is to set it and try to gain entry without triggering the alarm system, if all has been planed and installed correctly this should not be possible!

Good luck and have fun!
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