Splicing Alarm Circuits Guide

By: Ari Erenthal, Published on Apr 23, 2017

Alarm installers commonly connect multiple sensors to a single zone. They do this by splicing the wires together. In this report, we will explain how alarm technicians splice the most common alarm wires, including:

  • What a splice is
  • Common alarm wire types - solid and stranded
  • Splicing stranded wires
  • Splicing solid wires
  • Parallel splices 
  • Series splices
  • When to choose parallel splices
  • Two videos demonstrating splices

What Is A Splice?

To splice a wire is to touch the conductive portion of two wires together. This allows the electrons in a circuit to freely flow together. Alarm technicians commonly splice wires leading to different sensors together. This allows the sensors to share a single circuit. In theory, any number of sensors can be added to a single circuit. In practice, every sensor adds more resistance to the circuit. 

Common Alarm Wire Types - Solid and Stranded

Alarm installations commonly use a mixture of wire types, depending on the type of sensor and the type of circuit. Powered devices such as motion detectors and acoustic glassbreak sensors often use solid wires, commonly 4/22, with the detection circuit being carried on one pair of wires and power on the other. 

Magnetic contacts tend to be grouped together and need a wire that adds less resistance and is easier to splice, so alarm installers often use stranded 18/2 for these circuits. Sirens and strobes generate a large amount of resistance, and are commonly wired with stranded 18/2. 

Different Wires Are Spliced Differently

In order to make a permanent connection, wires are twisted together and then covered. Splices add resistance to circuits, especially as time goes on, because exposing the copper to the elements causes it to oxidize. Incorrectly spliced wires are a common cause of false alarms and other alarm malfunctions. In these two videos, we will show you some methods of splicing wires so that they will not have to be redone after a decade of use.

Splicing Stranded Wires

Stranded alarm wires, which tend to be thicker, should be bent over and then crimped. Splices in dry locations can be covered with electric tape. Splices in humid locations should ideally be soldered. We demonstrate this in the video below:

***** ********** ******** ******* multiple ******* ** * single ****. **** ** this ** ******** *** wires ********. ** **** report, ** **** ******* how ***** *********** ****** *** most ****** ***** *****, including:

  • **** * ****** **
  • ****** ***** **** ***** - ***** *** ********
  • ******** ******** *****
  • ******** ***** *****
  • ******** ******* 
  • ****** *******
  • **** ** ****** ******** splices
  • *** ****** ************* *******

What ** * ******?

** ****** * **** is ** ***** *** conductive ******* ** *** wires ********. **** ****** the ********* ** * circuit ** ****** **** together. Alarm *********** ******** ****** wires ******* ** ********* sensors ********. **** ****** the ******* ** ***** a ****** *******. ** theory, *** ****** ** sensors *** ** ***** to * ****** *******. In ********, ***** ****** adds **** ********** ** the *******. 

Common ***** **** ***** - ***** *** ********

***** ************* ******** *** a ******* ** **** types, ********* ** *** type ** ****** *** the **** ** *******. ******* ******* **** ******** ******************** ********** ******* ***** *** ***** *****, commonly */**, **** *** detection ******* ***** ******* on *** **** ** wires *** ***** ** the *****. 

******** ************ ** ** ******* together *** **** * wire that **** **** ********** and ** ****** ** splice, ** ***** ********** often use ******** **/* *** these ********. ****** *** ******* ******** a ***** ****** ** resistance, *** *** ******** wired **** ******** **/*. 

Different ***** *** ******* ***********

** ***** ** **** a ********* **********, ***** are ******* ******** *** then *******. ******* *** resistance ** ********, ********** as **** **** **, because ******** *** ****** to *** ******** ****** it ** *******. *********** ******* wires *** * ****** cause ** ***** ****** and ***** ***** ************. In ***** *** ******, we **** **** *** some ******* ** ******** wires ** **** **** will *** **** ** be ****** ***** * decade ** ***.

Splicing ******** *****

******** ***** *****, ***** tend ** ** *******, should ** **** **** and **** *******. ******* ** dry ********* *** ** covered **** ******** ****. Splices ** ***** ********* should ******* ** ********. We *********** **** ** the ***** *****:

[***************]

 

Splicing ***** *****

***** ***** *****, ***** tend ** ** **** thinner,*** *** * ********** (sometimes ****** *******) ** ***** *** ******.

* ********** *** **** accommodate *** ** ***** 22 ***** *****, ******. When ******** **** ** more ***** ***** *****, use *** **** ******** methods ** ******** ******.

Parallel ****** ****** 

*** *** ******* ** joining ******** ******** ** a ****** ******* *** parallel *** ******. ******* can ****** ** ******* ******** **** ********** **** *****. ******** using ******** ******* *** called ******** ********, *** circuits ***** ****** ******* are ****** ****** ********.

****** ** ********* **** for ********** * ***** number ** ******* ** a *******. ** ** faster *** ****** ** wire **. *** ******** is **** ****** ********** a *** **** ********** if *** **** ******* are *********. ** * ****** ******, one *** ** *** pair ** ***** ** spliced ** *** *** of *** **** ****. This ***, ** ****** how **** ***** ** wires *** ***, *** end ** **** *** wires **** *** ****** to ******* ** *** screw *********. ** *******, you **** **** ** legs ******* ** **** other. **** ***** *************** simpler, ******* * ********** can ****** **** * single ****** ** *** circuit ** * ****.

** * ****** *******, the ***** **** **** branch ** *** ******* **** be ******* ******** ***** two ***** *** ******* ** anything *** ****. ***** single ********** **** ** connected ** *** ***** terminals, ***** *** ******* 'hang' ** *** ***, not ********* ** ******** but **** *****. ** matter *** **** ******* and ***** *** ********* ** the *******, ***** **** ****** be **** *** **** ** connect ** *** ******** and *** ** ******* to *** ********.

******** ** ********* **** for ********** * ***** number ** ******* ** a ****** *******, ** for ******** **** **** lots ** *****. ** greatly ******* *** ****** of **********, ******** ***** large ******* ** ******* to ** *********. *******, it ** ****** / more *********** ** *********, will *** **** ** done ***********, *** ** more ********* ** ************ later **.  

** * ******** *******, all *** **** ** the **** ***** *** simply ******* ********, ** that *** *** ** with *** ***** **** twists. **** *** ** a ********* ** ******* to ***** *********. ** order ** ************ *** wire ***** ** * branch ** *** *******, a ********** **** ***** **** the ****** ******. 

Parallel ******* ***** **********

*** **** ******* *** branches ** * *******, the ****** *** ********** will **. ***** * parallel ****** ******* ***** resistance **** * ****** circuit *****. ** ********, * parallel ****** ******* **** pathways *** ********* **** a ****** ****** ****.

**** *** *** *.**Ω ********* ***** ** series:

**** *** *** *.**Ω ********* ***** ** parallel:

When ** ****** ******** *******

****** ******** *** *********** for **** ***** ************. They *** ****** *** faster ** **** ** and ****** *** ****** to ************. ******** ******** are ********* **** *** resistance ***** ** *** high *********. 

***** ********* ******** ******* the ****** ** **********. An **** *******, ***** is *** **** ** resistance, ****** ** ***** *********. However, ***** ****** **** have *** ******* ** measure ** ***** ** too **** **********, ***** could ******** ** ******* by ** ******** ** circumvent *** *****. **** ** known ** *********** ****. ** ***** ** use **** *******, ** alarm ******* **** ** within * ********* *****, no ****** *** ** lower. Parallel ******* ****** ********* **** there ** *** **** resistance ** * *******. *** **** ********** ** an ***** ******* ** commonly ****** ** ****** a ***** ****** ** sensors ** * ****** circuit.

** *******, **** ******** can ****** ***** * few *******, **** ***** with **** **** ****. In ******, ** ********* can ******* *** *** doors ** * ****** zone, *** *** ******* on ******* ****, *** the ****** ********* ** a ***** ****, *** so *****. *******, **** is ***** ** *********** *** of ***** ** *****. The **** ******* *** on * ****** ****, the ****** ** **** be *** *** **** to ****** *** ***** device ** ******* *** zone ** ** ****. If *** *** ******* in * **** *** on * ****** ****, the **** **** **** to ***** *** ** them before ***** **** ** arm *** ******. ** a **** ***** ** keep * ****** ****** open ***** ****** *** rest ** *** ******, they would **** ** ****** all *** ******* ** the ****, ***** ** a ****** ******** **** than ****** ********* * single ******. ** ******* station ***** ** ******** police ** **** ** the ****'* ****, ****'** only ** **** ** give * ***** *********** of *** ******** ** the *******, *** * specific ********. ** *** other ****, **** ****** can **** ****** * limited ****** ** ***** out ** *** ***.

***** ********** *****, *******, requires ********** *** ********** zone *********, ***** *** to *** ********* **** of *** ************, *** can ********* ******* *** installation of * ******** *** ** there ** *** ****** room ** *** ***** panel ***. 

*** ******** ** **** to ******* ******* ** a ****** **** *** when ** ******** ******* **** separate zones *** ** **** answer, *** ******* ******* **** experience.

Comments (11)

Aww man, what happened to the good ol' 'Twist n Tape'?

Sure, if you don't mind going back for a service call every decade or so. Less if it's a harsh environment. 

Sure, if you don't mind going back for a service call every decade or so.

RDR - Recurring Decennial Revenue 

Well, there are real consequences to false alarms. More and more jurisdictions are enacting false alarm fines.

Just as worryingly, a flaky alarm zone could make a subscriber to just stop using their alarm out of convenience. Now they're no longer protected. If they get robbed and the zone was bypassed or the alarm wasn't armed, what happens? Your company gets a bad rap, that's what, because you've just taught all their neighbors that an alarm won't protect them from robbery. 

And if the user gets into the habit of not using their alarm, they'll start wondering why they're paying for monitoring. Now your attrition rate goes up. Best case scenario is you get to fight an uphill battle to convince them to retain their monitoring subscription, starting with diagnosing and repairing their alarm for free. Worst case scenario is your customer retention tricks don't work and now they go badmouthing you to all their friends and social media connections. 

The problem with bad splices is that they cause alarms to malfunction in unpredictable and erratic ways, at a random time in the future. And the user doesn't know that it's due to installer error, they just know that sometimes the alarm goes off for no apparent reason. Alarm must be broken, right?

Bad splices are bad for business. 

Bad splices are bad for business.

Sure, but a well done western union splice, even if not soldered is

  1. Stronger than the wire itself
  2. Improves electrically over time, due to cold metal flow

Though I concede U1 might not have had the WU in mind when he said twist and tape.  It is a bit of a skill and is slower than other methods.

 

I use to do this, but with solder and heat shrink. I would also tin stranded wires for panel terminations.

In practice, every sensor adds more resistance to the circuit.

Doesn't it depend on whether it is wired in series or parallel?

Good question. The sensor by itself adds resistance to the circuit. That resistance can be reduced by wiring it in parallel, but that's a function of the circuit design. But it is factually true to say that every device attached to a circuit slows the current down, which is why you need to make the decision to wire in series or in parallel. 

The sensor by itself adds resistance to the circuit...

To me, that's a strange way of putting it, in that adding usually implies aggregation, not isolation.  But I'm probably just looking at it too hard :)

I can agree it adds a resistor to the circuit (in the ordinal sense).

But it is factually true to say that every device attached to a circuit slows the current down...

How do you mean "slows down", as in actual time of something?

Sorry guys I know that's the way you guys like to do stuff in the states. But here in Australia it's one device per zone(unless its zone doubled) and solder and heat shrink. In my opinion this is the best way to splice.

Not alowed in Belgium, one zone is one detector. Only exception are magnetic contacts, you can have five of those on a single zone (basically to accomodate a single window with different panes).

IF you splice cables together: solder of tampered junction box

Login to read this IPVM report.
Why do I need to log in?
IPVM conducts unique testing and research funded by member's payments enabling us to offer the most independent, accurate and in-depth information.

Related Reports

Installation Course - Register Now on Aug 15, 2019
Register Now for the September 2019 Video Surveillance Install Course. This is a unique installation course in a market where little practical...
Biometrics Usage Statistics 2019 on Aug 13, 2019
Biometrics are commonly used in phones, but how frequently are they used for access? 150+ integrators told us how often they use biometrics,...
Milestone "GDPR-ready" Certification Claim Critiqued on Aug 12, 2019
Milestone is touting that its latest XProtect VMS is "GDPR-ready" with a 'European Privacy Seal'. However, our investigation raises significant...
Dahua Analytics+ Tested on Aug 07, 2019
Dahua's analytics have performed poorly in past shootouts. But now, they claim their new Analytics+ "algorithms significantly improve accuracy and...
Hikvision 4K Camera Shootout on Aug 02, 2019
With their latest Smart Series 5 cameras, Hikvision is claiming cameras "fully loaded" with "state-of-the-art technology for high performance and...
Responsibility Split Selecting Locks - Statistics on Jul 22, 2019
A heated access debate surrounds who should pick and install the locks. While responsible for selecting the control systems, integrators often...
History of Video Surveillance on Jul 19, 2019
The video surveillance market has changed significantly since 2000, going from VCRs to ab emerging AI cloud era.  The goal of this history is to...
New GDPR Guidelines for Video Surveillance Examined on Jul 18, 2019
The highest-level EU data protection authority has issued a new series of provisional video surveillance guidelines. While GDPR has been in...
Wyze AI Analytics Tested - Beats Axis and Hikvision on Jul 17, 2019
$20 camera disruptor Wyze has released free person detection deep learning analytics to all of their users, claiming users will "Only get notified...
HD Analog vs IP Guide on Jul 16, 2019
For years, HD resolution and single cable signal/power were IP camera advantages, with analog cameras limited to much lower resolution and...

Most Recent Industry Reports

TMA Apologizes to Amazon / Ring on Aug 23, 2019
Not only is Amazon / Ring making major incursions into the residential security market, the organization representing the biggest incumbents, The...
China Dahua Replaces Their Software With US Pepper on Aug 22, 2019
What does a US government banned company do to improve its security positioning in the US? Well, Dahua is unveiling a novel solution, partnering...
Security Integrators Outlook On Remaining Integrators In 2025 on Aug 22, 2019
The industry has changed substantially in the last decade, with the rise of IP cameras and the race to the bottom. Indeed, more changes may be...
First GDPR Facial Recognition Fine For Sweden School on Aug 22, 2019
A school in Sweden has been fined $20,000 for using facial recognition to keep attendance in what is Sweden's first GDPR fine. Notably, the fine is...
Anyvision Facial Recognition Tested on Aug 21, 2019
Anyvision is aiming for $1 billion in revenue by 2022, backed by $74 million in funding. But does their performance live up to the hype they have...
JCI Sues Wyze on Aug 21, 2019
The mega manufacturer / integrator JCI has sued the fast-growing $20 camera Seattle startup Wyze. Inside this note: Share the court...
Dahua 4K Camera Shootout on Aug 20, 2019
Dahua's new Pro Series 4K N85CL5Z claims to "deliver superior images in all lighting and environmental conditions", but how does this compare to...
ZK Teco Atlas Access Control Tested on Aug 20, 2019
Who needs access specialists? China-based ZKTeco claims its newest access panel 'makes it very easy for anyone to learn and install access control...
Uniview Beats Intel In Trademark Lawsuit on Aug 19, 2019
Uniview has won a long-running trademark lawsuit brought by Intel, with Beijing's highest court reversing an earlier Intel win, centered on...
Suprema Biometric Mass Leak Examined on Aug 19, 2019
While Suprema is rarely discussed even within the physical security market, the South Korean biometrics manufacturer made global news this past...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact