Power For Burglar Alarms

By: Ari Erenthal, Published on Jul 14, 2017

In order to operate, alarm panels require the high voltages found in electrical outlets be converted to the low voltages they run on. In this guide, we will examine burglar alarm power issues, including: 

  • Powering alarm systems
  • Choosing transformers
  • Dealing with DC voltage
  • Dealing with AC voltage
  • Outlets for transformers
  • Check for class 2 rating

Powering ***** *******

*** ***** ***** *******, typically *** ***** ** powered ** *** ********'* electrical ****** **** *** panel **** ******** *** wired ******* ********* ** it. ** ********, ** a ******** ***** ******, *** panel ** ******* ** the ********'* ********** ****** but *** ********** ******* are ********* ******* ** batteries.

***** ****** *** ********* low ******* (********** **.****), requiring ************ ** ******* and ******* ***** **** the ********'* ********** ****** which ** ** * much ****** **** *******.

Transformer **************

***** ****** ********** ******* a ***********. *** ***** that ** ***, ********** must ****** * *********** that **** ** ********** with *** *****. 

************ ******** *******, ***** ** ******* from *** ********'* ********** supply, ************** **** ********* ****. The******* ************* ** *** ******* ****** it ** ***********, *** the********* ************* ** *** ******* after ** *** **** transformed.

************ ******* ***** ******* *** secondary ********. ************ **** in *** **, *** example, **** ******** **** their ******* ******* ****** as 120VAC ** ** **. 

*** ********* ******* ******* from *********** ** ***********. In ***** ** ****** the *********** ***********, *********** should ***** *** ***** spec ***** ** *** the ******* ***********. ***** panel ************* **** ******* the ********* ******* *** not *** ******* *******, as *** ******* ******* depends ** *** **** voltage ******** ** *** country *** ***** ** being ********* **. 

************ *** ********* **** alarm ********* ************, ********** supply ******, *** ******** stores. **** ******** ***** in ***** **** $**-$**. 

Dealing **** ** ******* - ****** ** ********

**** ******* **** ** voltage, *********** ****** ** take **** *** ** mix ** *** ******** wire *** *** ******** wire. Applying *** ******** **** to *** ******** ******** on * ****** *** cause ****** *** ******* or *** ****** ** fail. ** ************ **** terminals ****** + *** -, ***** **** ** matched to *** + *** - terminals ** *** ****** or *****. *********** ******** use *** ***** *** the ******** **** *** black ***** *** *** negative ****. 

**** ************** ** ****** ******** ***********. ** ******** *** polarity ********* ******* ** current **** ***** ** one *********, ****** *** ******* a ******** **** *** a ******** ****.

Dealing **** ** *******

** ********, ** ** not ******** *********. ** transformer ********* *** ******** not ******, *** *********** often do *** ****** *****-****** AC ********. 

Outlets *** ************

**** ******** ** ****** for *** ***** ***** transformer, *** **** ********* considerations ***:

  • ****** ** ****** ****** 50' ** *** *****, to ******** ******* ****
  • ****** * ****** **** duplex ******, ***** ****** *** transformer ** ** ******* to *** ******
  • ** *** *** ** outlet ********** ** * switch, ** **** ***** ***** the ***** ** ** powered ****
  • ** *** *** ***** ******, ** ***** ******* could **** ********** *** 
  • ** *** *** ** outlet ********** *** ********** such ** *************, ******* machines, ** ****** *** conditioners. ***** ******* *** sometimes ***** ********* ******** and ******** ** ******* heavier *****, ***** ***** be ******* ** *** transformer ** ***** *********. 

******* **** ****** **** duplex ****** ***** *********** to ****** *** ******, preventing **** **** ***** easily *********. ***** ******* *** secured by * ***** ** the ****** ** *** cover, ***** ****** **** *** outlet. ***** ************ ******** have * ***** **** enough ** ***** *** outlet. 

Check *** ***** * ******

**** ************* ************ * ***** ************ (** ****-*), *** ** is *** ******* ** for ** *** ** threaten ** **** ** electrical ********** *** **** of ***** * ************. *** majority ** ***** ************ are ***** ** ***** 2. *******, ***** **** ************ sometimes ***** ** ************* and *** ***** * rating **** ***** **** it. Class * ************ *** ***** that *** ******* ** power ****** ********** **** enough ** ** ****** from ***** ********* ********** safety *********. 

Comments (9)

I know this article sounds basic but I will provide a question I have been asked by installers many times.

"Can I use a 40VA instead of 20VA"?

Yes you can use a 40VA instead of a 20VA. The voltage to the panel will still be the same you would just be able to draw more current from the transformer to convert the AC to DC. Of course if a panel asks for a 20VA transformer then that is calculated based upon how much current can be drawn from the panel based how how many devices and the siren. Basically you would just not use the total load the 40VA transformer would be able to provide. I guess the situation you are referring to would be either a blown transformer on a service call and all they had was a 40VA transformer with the same voltage or perhaps a take over situation that already had a 40VA transformer in place. 

The VA rating should be in the range given in the manufacturer’s specifications. Too low of a VA rating may cause the transformer to overheat and fail. In addition the voltage may drop off when the current draw is above the transformer’s rated load. If the VA is above the manufacturer’s specifications, the panel is not properly protected in the event of overload or fault.

 

 

One thing to add to this Ari is if you are installing a burg system in a house in the basement and it is not a dedicated outlet make sure the one you are using is not controlled by a GFCI outlet somewhere else in the house. Too many times over the years before realizing to check every GFCI in the house that I had plugged in the transformer in the basement not realizing it was controlled by a GFCI on an outside circuit or one upstairs in a bathroom. No rhyme or reason why either. Most of the time the customer doesn't know where all the GFCI outlets are. Also you are right about not plugging them into the same outlet as a refrigerator. Typically when you screw the transformer into the outlet you have to unplug whatever else is plugged in until the transformer is securely attached and it is easy if you are in a hurry not to plug the refrigerator back in and nobody wants to to get the bill to replace all the frozen food. 

This quality report was brought to us by Ari ;)

Just to add to this GFCI is required in damp or wet locations (basement etc.) per the National Electrical Code which makes it difficult sometimes to find a suitable plug in location but there is an exception to the NEC in regards to alarm systems which allow a dedicated Non-GFCI outlet.  NEC 210-8a(2) and 210.8(a)(5) in the 2011 version of the NEC.   

Agreed Christopher. Just like a sump pump single outlet which is typically installed on the joists. I haven't been in the residential side for a while but some friends of mine told me many of the builders were putting an outlet like this near the breaker box. 

I always like installers to check with the customer first before choosing the outlet where they will power their equipment. Outlets can be in short supply, particularly in older buildings, and permanently taking one out of service without asking can create real problems. (Some transformers are outlet hogs and can block adjacent outlets in addition to their own.) 

Second, I always like the installer to identify the panel and electrical circuit that the chosen outlet is on. This should be written somewhere on the inside of the alarm control panel. A notation should also be made on the circuit breaker that controls the outlet itself. 

You should also check to see if it's OK to secure the transformer to the outlet cover plate. In our locale (Ontario Canada) this is a code violation as one of the purposes of a plug in transformer is the ability to unplug it.

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