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Security Wire what to use?

4393 Views 6 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  herdfan
Hi I am hard wiring all my security locations right now for our new home construction. I was originally told from a wire supplier to use a 22AWG 2 wire Z wire to run to all door sensors, motion sensors, keypads, sirens and fire alarms. After I made a few calls to security companies one company told me I should of used a 4 wire to each spot.

What is the required wire here? I will be using either a GE NEXT8E, GE CONCORDE or ELKM1 systems not 100% sure yet what will tie best in with my Crestron automation system. It would not be extremely tough to run a second wire but do I really need to?


Oil Country
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I would suggest that the system you are installing should not be an open issue as you should have hardware specified before designing and installing your wiring. That said, at least the ELK M1 keypads require 4 wires for the RS485 connection to the main security panel. The door and window sensors are typically 2 wires, if each zone is home run back to the central panel. One might use additional wires, so that the single cable can accomodate multiple zones of coverage. ie: you can wire the windows on a given room as one zone, and on the exterior door on another zone, and the motion sensor on a third zone. All via a single multiconductor cable running from that room back to the central panel.

Smokes and motion are typically more than two wires, but it depends on AC vs. DC power and what complies with your local code on how at least the smokes are interconnected or not.

Since your walls are still open, now is the time to square this away (as you know and are trying to do). You might even want to consider hiring a CI / security specialist to walk the plan with you as this all is very locality and system specific. You will kick yourself in the butt for not getting the appropriate wires in after the drywall is up.
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We run two wire to all doors and windows. Motion detectors require a four wire. Smoke and carbon detectors can be 4 or 2 of a different gauge.
Go with 4 wire so you can cover all your sensors with one type of wire.
Thanks for the help I am having a security expert come in on the project to give me some advice. I think I will pull a extra set of wires to the Smoke detectors, and motion sensors and main keypad. And will stay with 2 wires for the doors. does that sound reasonable?


Oil Country
Use 4 conductor solid for motion detectors and doors/windows. The cost between 2 conductor and 4 conductor is negligible. I used solid conductor copper because it made for a better connection when using beans, and the wire was easier to manage when wiring up panels or stuffing contacts into windows or doors. Most other alarm guys use stranded wire.

Run a CAT 5 to your keypad. Though they only use two pairs, one pair is data. Many alarm systems have a zone or two and a spare relay on the keypad.

You need to pick an alarm panel before you wire and decide of you''re going to wire for 2wire or 4wire smoke detectors. They need to be a larger gauge since they are typically looped, usually 18 gauge. You run from one panel to the first smoke, then to the next smoke, and on till the end. Do not do 4 or 5 smokes with a 22 gauge wire, that's to small gauge.

As for everything else except smokes, 'home run' all cabling. One wire for each door and window. This provides the most flexibility and serviceability, and no splicing will be done in in-accessible areas.
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Originally Posted by bigpapa /forum/post/12937682

'home run' all cabling....., and no splicing will be done in in-accessible areas.

"That's good advice" - Jimmy Dugan

The [email protected]#$ that wired my security system spliced a bunch of wires up in the attic and they would short and create keypad faults. I have found most of them I think. But there is one where anytime I go in the attic, under one of the floor boards if I step in the sromg place, it shorts and fault the keyboard.

If all wires were homerun, this would not be an issue.
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