Casi-Rusco Systems - What To Do With Them?

A few years ago 'Picture Perfect' and 'Secure Perfect' Casi-Rusco platforms were discontinued. And if I have my story straight, the brand merged into GE Security/Interlogix, UTC bought GE Security, and the Casi-Rusco name disappeared.

A number of 'retrofit solutions' have been offered (ie: Middleware, AMAG/G4S, Lenel - also a UTC brand, and other 'Mercury-based' platforms), but these solutions represent new, additional cost.

The integrator I worked for never carried Casi-Rusco, so that market is cloudy to me. There has to be a large (huge?) number of Casi's legacy installed base who are doing nothing but trying to keep what they have working.

Do you see end users holding onto their Casi systems? What is the reception like to 'upgrade/retrofit' kits?


Casi was as good and as big as Softwarehouse during it's time. The one quirk I remember is the door relays had a negative sourcing switch into an input instead of the normal positive relay therefore requiring rewiring at the door reader, if Casi Rusco, and the power supplies need changed back to the positive source. We had a large enterprise level customer that required us to change all the Casi readers to HID and had to install a module at the reader. The Casi cards were too expensive.

GE has a track record of taking good usable products then forcing the end user to upgrade to something else that is supported. I have personally been through those changes with GE and their ITI brand. I don't see anyone hanging on to their Casi systems because of lack of support.

Brian there is really no way to continue as is unless you don't plan on adding any additional doors. There are a whole TON of people claiming they can take over the system for little or no cost, but they can't. We have heard from and talked to at least fifteen companies all claiming they can, they can’t. Mainly due to the number of wires that Casi required at the door were/are less than everyone else. So, if you are like us and only ran the wire you needed with no extra, you will need to run more to do held open/forced open. All of the larger folks (150+ doors) in Michigan that we have spoken to and met with including the colleges and auto companies have gone with Lenel due to them having the cleanest change over.

We are looking at from 500K to a little over a million to switch everything from CASI to Lenel because we are on an older version of CASI. It is going to be a pain, but luckily we have plenty of spare parts (that they are not making any more) so we can drag this out for a few years. Many were not lucky enough to have their own parts supply.

Wow, Ross. That is a real example of 'grudge spending'!

Is Lenel/UTC 'sympathetic' to your situation and working with you on Casi support during the transition?

Since I'm not familiar, and don't want to look it up, how did Casi wire compared to other systems? I know there was one GE system that only used four wires to the door and then split things off from an interface box. Is that the one we're talking about?

I am curious about that as well. I've read that Casi used 'f/2f' and 'supervised f/2f' communication protocols, but I'm unclear on the resulting functional and wiring differences. It appears to be similar to Wiegand?

I think it all stems back to the days of Cardkey (before my time here). At that time they ran six wires to all the doors. We have been running eight wires for years now, but all those legacy doors with six are still out there. We got into this because at the time GE said “We can make Cardkey doors work with only six wires so go with us!” Just like all the folks are coming out of the woodwork now…… I will talk to my systems guy to get the in depth specs and issues you guys are looking for. He has a few wiring diagrams that would help explain all the issues WAY better than I can.

Casi systems could be designed a variety of different ways. They offered two types of reader boards, the 2RP (two-reader) and 8RP (eight-reader). The 2RP could use either a standard Wiegand reader or Casi's own proprietary reader that used the F/2F protocol. Door switch and request-to-exit inputs were wired back to the controller just like with any other system. So in most cases, customers that have Casi systems that use 2RP boards and Wiegand readers can convert to another system with relative ease.

The 8RP board could only be used with Casi readers using F/2F and required that door switch and request-to-exit inputs be wired to the reader, not the controller. This allowed the use of less wiring and much more density in each controller (up to 16 readers). Customers who have Casi systems designed using 8RP boards and Casi readers face a challenge when trying to replace their systems, as in most cases there will not be enough wiring between the door and the controller to allow the use of another system.

I have looked at several of the Casi "conversion" solutions being offered by several of the manufacturers and none look very appealing. It seems to me that by the time you change everything that needs to be changed you might as well be better off starting with an entirely new system.

Here is a link to the Micro 5 installation manual.

Here is the HID interface board I mentioned.

Here is the model 940 reader install manual.

Here is the Micro J box installation manual

We are using M5, 8RP, WIU4, DI & DO. The wiring is actually very similar to Ccure Istar controller (with RM4, I8, R8) and ProWatch where all the cabling home run or can be home run. We are a big time user for PP and now going through the same drill.

Michael has provided the most accurate description of casi systems. One quick comment tho, the 8RP board can be used with HID readers using weigand interphace units which comes in two models 4 state and 2 state supervision. If there is some one with the need for casi documentation, please let me know and I can probably provide

I've got a Customer that over the course of 24 years has a compilation of all aspects of Casi-Rusco / GE-Interlogix / UTC / Lenel platforms; and to your question posed above, "Do you see end users holding onto their Casi systems?" I can tell you they're fighting tooth and nail with Band-Aids, duct tape, and bailing wire, to keep this system operational across a multi-state enterprise system with 31 locations.

They've spent incredible sums of money and they continue to invest as they expand with new locations. They put up with an incredible amount of downtime frustration as all the various pieces/parts continue to "try" to work harmoniously. We've made our recommendations for a new system; we even took them to the ISC West show to introduce them to alternative solutions, but to date, they continue their marriage to the hybrid they currently have.

They're now talking about wanting to integrate video; this may provide the impetus to move into a more contemporary system. We'll see.

Undisclosed, sorry to hear that! What do you think are the main reasons sticking with their current system? High cost of switching? Fears of disruption during a migration?

Although the Customer hasn't really confessed their concerns; what I can gather from all our discussions is a combination of costs, their federal regulations regarding archiving, disruption of down time, the comfort of a system they've been familiar with for so many years; combined with a true lack of knowledge of access control, and a resistance to change brought on by that lack of understanding.

In sales; the safest decision, if you're unsure about anything, is no decision at all. Given the fact that the hybrid will never marry with the video integration their interested in; it'll be a battle between the comfort (if one wants to think of it as that) with the current system; and their desire to integrate video with the access control.

Some new players are on the horizon and I'm optimistic the new perspectives will result in a more serious discussion of what's best for them in the long run.

Changing out a large-scale access control system is no trivial matter. In addition to the cost, there are often political ramifications in going to your boss and telling him that you need to completely replace a system that you purchased (in your boss's mind) just a short time ago.

Keep in mind that most big systems are built incrementally, so while the initial system may have been installed ten or more years ago, some buildings may have been added at considerable expense just recently. Rightly or wrongly, most senior managers seem to be OK with replacing the company's desktop computers every three years or so, but expect to get decades of life out of their security systems.

These political ramifications can have an impact on the way that decisions are made: many times facilities or security managers find it much more palatable to go to their boss with a proposal to "upgrade" an existing system rather than to purchase an entirely new one. I have had clients pay more to upgrade than replace for this very reason.

"I have nad clients pay more to upgrade than replace for [political ramifications]."

It's sad, but I believe it!

We are in the midst of doing a facility by facility retrofit for a municipal customer that has legacy Casi-Rusco systems. Aside from trying to keep them running, there isn't much you can do with them.