DIY alarm wiring & sensors


Staff member
So I am to run my own alarm wiring in my house while my basement hasn't been finished yet, and started to wonder what the standards are for running/attach these wires through the studs etc, and what the recommended method is of installing these magnetic reed switches on windows and in door frames. Any tips/tricks and suggestions would be appreciated.

PS my tip: label all your wiring. Use a piece of scotch tape, wrap it around the wire, write with pencil on it, rinse and repeat or use a CD Marker sharpie, which tends to have a very fine tip.
Duct tape.... Any do it yourselfer will tell you that if you have ductape you can do anything.

Actually my sugestion would be to run 4 conductor wire if you only need 2 and 8 if you only need 4... You never know what additions you may be adding to all those windows. Even better run conduit. Yes its expensive but so is sheet rock plaster and paint when you have to cut holes in the wall to fish extra wires through. Hide he coduit junction boxes behind the couch or tv low to the floor. put a box at every right angle.
And don't forget to run a pair for you ADICON net (You're an Ocelot owner now, aren't ya?) You can have modules or extra Ocelots/Leopards scattered around the house one day... Much easier to route a twisted pair all through the house now than have to run sensor/relay wires to a central location later. Running this extra twisted pair for ADI stuff is easy too, because it can be daisy-chained, meaning you won't have to run a single pair to each room, just one pair that runs does a lap around the house... you could add another pair for 12V DC or whatever too.

I've been doing a lot of wiring lately myself. Let me get this straight, you can add all of the ADI modules in on the same pair if the are around the house? For instance all of the bobcats?

Also, is it too picky what gauge of wire?

Please let me know - thanks!
Cable ties. I'm not a big duct tape fan (what kind of engineer am I?) - it's too messy. But cable ties...cable ties are cool.

Anyway, as far as wiring goes, there are plenty of arguments for and against star (home run) vs. daisy chained configurations. If I had the freedom to run as much wire as I wanted, I'd go with a home-run configuration when possible. If you want to daisy chain, then have several daisy-chained runs leaving one location rather than one big one running back and forth through the house.

Many older houses have multiple dead phone outlets because phone wiring was almost always daisy chained - and once one link was broken you lost all others on the chain.

As far as connecting the ADI stuff, you should find out ahead of time whether it's advisable to run a star/home-run configuration. I believe that they use RS485 for the connection between boxes. You can run into problems if you try and use a star configuration for this - you need to correctly terminate lines and even then might have problems. So, for this you might need to go with daisy chain. However, you can "fake" a star configuration by running signals out to the device on some wires in a cat5 and then back to home on the other wires. You end up with something that looks like a star but is really a big daisy chain.

These same considerations come up with 1wire networks (by the way, if you're running wire, I'd run some for 1wire if you haven't already - it's definitely the cheapest way to put temperature and humidity sensors everywhere). 1wire is designed for daisy chaining, but you can sometimes get away with running a star configuration.

Anyway (again), the best thing to do is just run lots of wire. You'll always find something to connect with it.

Oh, and cat5 should be fine for RS485 (between ADI boxes). If you're also running power, you may need to worry about voltage drop along the wire (it's a long resistor) and the total you're trying to draw through it. If you are driving a bunch of relays or something similar, I think local power would be called for.
What ever you do be sure to take pictures. I love to learn from other peoples expense. Please document all screw ups so that when i go to build my house i dont have to make the same mistakes :D
AutomatedOutlet said:
...Let me get this straight, you can add all of the ADI modules in on the same pair if the are around the house? For instance all of the bobcats?

Also, is it too picky what gauge of wire?
Martin, you can put all the ADI stuff on one continuous pair of wire. I think most folks use CAT5, becuaes the twisted pair is more RS-485 friendly.

If you use CAT5, you can put data on one pair, power on another pair and still have two-pair to spare. I've also seen where people put data on one pair, and then spread the + and - over the remaining 3 pair... in fact that might be the prefered methos,especially if you use a strand of each remaining pair for + and the other strand of each pair for -, I think this method is less likely to generate noise becuase each pair is then "neutral."

So you could have your stuff wired like this:

This is the good way:


I think I read it's actually better to wire them in a daisy-chain versus wireing them from a central point, like this:
Bobcat===Ocelot===Leopard       <=This is the bad way
Wow, thanks John. I almost did it the wrong way!

I do have all of the contact sensors homerun back but that's OK - that's where my SECU16 will be. Just planning on where to put some bobcats.

Thanks again!