Napco system questions

Have a question or want to start a discussion? Post it! No Registration Necessary.  Now with pictures!

Threaded View
Long time customer moved into house containing Napco  8-zone Panel,
two GEM-RP1CAe2 Keypads, and all windows and doors contacted, several
CO's, System Sensor SD's, motion detectors, and six or eight zone
modules positioned adjacent to the panel mounted in the basement.

Due to a lack of time to inspect the entire system on all floors, I do
not have enough information to prepare a proposal to replace the
operating  system with one which she is familiar, or to tell her to
keep the existing system; hence the need for a few answers from you
Napco installers.

The Zone modules I assume are Napco's 8-zone units.  I have a copy of
the zone list, which lists 96 zones, a few of which are spares.

Since the panel (forgot to get model number, but was installed within
the last two years) is 8- zones, how are the zone modules configured?
Does each contact, CO detector, Motion detector, get home-runned to
the zone module adjacent to the panel, or do some installers mount the
zone module close to the windows or doors, for example, and run one
cable to the panel?

Or can the output of an 8-zone module be fed to another 8- zone
module, before it finally gets connected to the main panel?

Do all the zone modules connect to a specific set of terminals in the
panel, or are the outputs of the zone modules connected to one of the
eight zones?

Though she has been instructed by the company that installed the
system, she still says the system is too complicated, and does not
think the Keypad is user friendly.  Her previous home contained a
Caddx/GE NX8E panel and 8-zone LED Keypad.

She would like to switch to an NX8E system again, but I told her that
she would need two LCD Keypads, but in terms of operation, all else
would be pretty much familiar to her.

If the devices on all levels of the house are home runned to the
basement zone modules, then my work of converting to GE would be
relatively easy.  If there are some zone modules mounted on other
levels of the house, with only the outputs homerunned to the basement,
I will tell her to keep the system.

Also, is there a way that I can determine if the system is connected
to any home-automation devices?  I do not want to replace the zone
modules and panel, only to find later that one or more home-automation
devices don't function.

Thanks.  Charlie

Re: Napco system questions
Quoted text here. Click to load it

What is this... the White House?  Unless by a "few spares" you mean 60, how
many zones could one possibly use for a house.  Really though, how big is
this place?

I would have a very close look at the system and make sure it'll work with
the new panel.  I'd especially be concerned about it's power requirements.
It would be ridiculous not to homerun everything in the house to the main
panel area.

Although I don't know what the limit is for either of these panels as far as
number of zones, I'm going to guess you've hit it or are getting close to
it.  You could also try panelguides.com if you don't have the Napco manuals.

I just hope the wiring in the panels is all neatly laid out for you.  Have
fun :)

- Chris


Re: Napco system questions
There is an Altronix power supply adjacent to the panel.  Don't know
exactly how it is used.

Per the 96-zone printed list: Five zones of smoke and heat detectors;
two sump pump zones, three motions; sixty-three windows; eight doors;
eight CO detectors; seven spare zones.


Quoted text here. Click to load it

Re: Napco system questions
Quoted text here. Click to load it

Considering most of this isn't powered afterall, it may not be part of the
system (the CO's may change that though).  Sprinklers, door bells, vacuum
system, etc.?

If it is, I would expect to have a wire from the power supply to each panel
(assuming the zones at that panel need power), supplying power to those
zones instead of the panel.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

That all makes sense right up until you mention 63 windows.  Actually, the 2
sump pumps and the 8 CO's seem a little much too.  I'm guessing this place
could be turned into a hotel if you really wanted to.

On second thought, 3 motions?  Must have been a cat farm in there.

- Chris


Re: Napco system questions

Quoted text here. Click to load it

I've done residential systems with more than 80 zones plenty of times.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

There are many situations where home running every sensor is not the ideal
solution.  Napco zone expansoion modules are designed to be located anywhere
along the databus.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

Assuming it's a P9600, the system can handle up to 96 zones.  There's also a
bigger brother, the X255 which can handle hundreds of zones.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

Agreed there.  :^)

--

Regards,
Robert L Bass

==============================>
Bass Home Electronics
DIY Alarm and Home Automation Store
http://www.bassburglaralarms.com
Sales & Service 941-870-2310
Fax 941-870-3252
==============================>


Re: Napco system questions
On Jun 4, 10:04BF=BDpm, cha...@shore.net wrote:
Quoted text here. Click to load it

Hi Chalie,

Much of what you are asking are things that would have been done as
decided upon by the installer but I'll give it a try.

The panel that you are talking about is probably the Napco Gemini
9600. That is .... if you are accurate in saying that there are close
to 96 zones used. The  basic 9600 is an 8 zone panel which can be
expanded with EZM 8's ... 8 zone expansion modules. The GEM-RP1CAe2
keypads also can be used as zone expanders. Four additional zones per
keypad. Exactly how they are wired is kind of hard to say but the
EZM's must be wired into the four wire keypad bus. Kepads and EZM's
can be wired in series or in parallel to the keypad bus and thus can
acutally be mounted anyplace in the building as long as the four wire
keypad bus is there. From that EZM-8, eight zones of the system can be
terminated there. Each EZM is given an address by the use and
placement of jumpers located under the cover of the EZM modules. All
the zone expansion devices must be addressed in sequence so by
interpreting the placement of the jumpers in each EZM module will
allow you to determine which module corresponds to which 8 zones in
the system. The zone expanders in the keypads are addressed at each of
the individual keypads. You can get installation instructions from
Napco's web site along with user manuals.

How the zones are wired would have been up to the installer. Most
desireable is a separate home run for each device, but hardly anyone
does that. Usually powered devices are wired per zone. Most of the
time installers will group windows in a particular room to one zone.
Maybe doors might be on seperate runs also. But it's up to the
installers, how it's done.

From your description it seems that all the modules are near the main
panel.

Whether there are home automation devices on the system or not ... if
there is no additional relays or modules attached to the panel, my
guess would be no.

I don't understand the reason for changing the panel. If her old panel
was an 8 zone ...... any manufacturers panel .... and she's trying to
compare that to an installation that requires almost 96 zones ....
it's not going to make any difference WHAT kind of new panel you
replace the Napco panel with ........... she's STILL going to have a
problem understanding it. You can't compare an 8 zone panel to a 96
zone .... ANY .... manufacturers panel and think it's going to be just
as easy to operate. I can understand that if you are not familiar
enough with the Napco panel to explain it to her,.... but to just
change it out .... at HER expense .... to a panel simply so that you
CAN explain it to her .... just doesn't seem to be the right thing to
do .... to me. Either learn the Napco panel or see if you can pay
someone who knows the system to explain it to her, while you pick up
the monitoring. I'm sure someone would take a $100.00 to spend an hour
or so explaining the system to her ...... properly.

That is .... if you have the dealer codes to get into programing ....
etc.

I've been installing Napco for about 30 years and I never have a
problem teaching anyone ..... including elderly people ( that is ....
older than me. ) how to use it.

Also, doesn't she have a monitoring agreement with the installing
company?  If so, she might be obligated to complete the contract with
them before she could change companys ...... anyway.

You didn't say where you are located. Maybe someone here is close
enough to you to help you out.


Re: Napco system questions
wrote:

Quoted text here. Click to load it

Thanks for the detailed response, Jim.

Money is no object here.  She and husband and child moved to a bedroom
community north of Boston a few weeks ago.  Their Boston condo, at the
low-numbered end of Commonwealth Ave, is on the market; and real
estate at this location goes for very big bucks.


There are only two Keypads in the house, one near the entry/exit door,
and one in the master bedroom on the second floor.  To determine how
the various doors/windows, etc. are configured with the zone modules,
I will need to re-visit the house.

Regardless of the number of zones, I can program the NX8E so that when
she leaves the house, she simply pushes the EXIT key, arming the
entire system.  When she returns she enters her code.

At night she would push the STAY key, which would arm the system and
automatically bypass one or more interior zones.

These two actions are what she finds easy to do.  Does the Napco
keypad offer the same features?  Or does she need to perform
additional procedure with the Napco pad?

Do installers typically mount the EZM8 modules in a closet, or under a
window, etc., rather than home-running the 8 cables to the EZM8
mounted close to the 9600 panel?

Re: Napco system questions
chasbo@shore.net wrote:
Quoted text here. Click to load it

The P9600 will do the same thing.  If you call, I'll be happy to explain in
detail how to set it up.  Also, if the master code is still in the panel
(printed label on the mnetal cover which protects the CMOS chip), you can use
Napco's Quickloader program to test, diagnose and service it.  The software is
a free download.  If you need help using it, I'd be happy to teach you.  It
takes about 30 minutes to program a large system from top to bottom.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

Napco can be programmed to arm using a single keypress.  If no door is opened,
the system will arm in "stay" mode (no motion detection).  If a door is opened
during the exit delay, the system arms normally.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

She can do it with one keypress if she likes.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

They can be mounted anywhere along the databus.  Precisely where varies from
installer to installer and from one premises to the next.  There's a way to
make the EZM-8 modules beep so you can locate them.

--

Regards,
Robert L Bass

==============================>
Bass Home Electronics
DIY Alarm and Home Automation Store
http://www.bassburglaralarms.com
Sales & Service 941-870-2310
Fax 941-870-3252
==============================>


Re: Napco system questions
"Robert L Bass" wrote...
Quoted text here. Click to load it

Now that is a nice feature.  Hopefully others will do the same at some point
(DSC, pay attention).  It's always fun to do a service call on a place
you've never been to with new owners who have no idea what an alarm panel is
other than that thing beeping by the door.

- Chris


Re: Napco system questions
"CH®IS" wrote:
Quoted text here. Click to load it

Yep.  I get a lot of calls from people whose alarms are "ringing" and they
have no idea how to operate them.  Usually it's someone who bought a house
with an existing alarm.  I ask them which control panel they have and almost
invariably they describe the keypad.  Napco has had these features for many
years.  I doubt DSC pays attention to anything other than what Tyco says.

--

Regards,
Robert L Bass

==============================>
Bass Home Electronics
DIY Alarm and Home Automation Store
http://www.bassburglaralarms.com
Sales & Service 941-870-2310
Fax 941-870-3252
==============================>


Re: Napco system questions
Robert L Bass wrote:
Quoted text here. Click to load it


Actually DSC remains one of the most feature rich alarm panels out there
when you compare similarly priced panels from other manufacturers.  It's
a heck of a lot easier to program than Napco.

Re: Napco system questions
"Frank Olson" wrote:
Quoted text here. Click to load it

I kind of agree, but not entirely.  I suspect it's mostly "easier" because you
use it more often than Napco.  I've programmed so many Napco systems that I
can (and often do) walk a customer through programming a system without even
opening the program on my PC.

OTOH, the few DSC systems I ever programmed were so simple (there were less
options) that they could easily be configured from the keypad.  Even after
many years working with Napco, I never program them from the keypad.

As to feature-richness, Napco has (I forget) 61 or 62 individually selectable
per-zone options.  That's 2^^62 possible ways to configure each individual
zone.  There are hundreds of options, selectable and adjustable features,
timers and so forth for the system as a whole.  I don't believe DSC's
residential panels even come close.

--

Regards,
Robert L Bass

==============================>
Bass Home Electronics
DIY Alarm and Home Automation Store
http://www.bassburglaralarms.com
Sales & Service 941-870-2310
Fax 941-870-3252
==============================>


Re: Napco system questions
wrote:
Quoted text here. Click to load it

Well I've used both quite a bit and Frank is correct, DSC panels are
much easier to program than Napco....or Honeywel, or Moose, or FBII l
for that matter. Napco obviously recognizes this if you look at the
changes they made over the last few years concerning keypad
programming which is something that 90% of installers do. And last I
checked DSC didn't come with 2 different program manuals depending on
what keypad you have

Quoted text here. Click to load it

And in the time it takes for you to pull up Napco's software and
connect to the panel I'm out of DSC programming showing the customer
how the system works. In a typical installation most of the defaults
work just fine. DSC's download software is far quicker and easier to
use than Napco's (who still haven't figured out how to make a decent
interface), I'm sure your "team" is at the ready to fix that.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

It sounds like you haven't played with DSC in a while. It helps to
play with the stuff instead of just listing it on the website


Re: Napco system questions
"mleuck" wrote:
Quoted text here. Click to load it

Translation: DSC panels are simple and feature poor by comparison.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

Since I primarily sell to DIYers, that's not an issue for me.

Quoted text here. Click to load it
what keypad you have...

Correct.  Napco makes manuals for each of their keypads.  The user manuals
describe how to operate what the system has in place rather than one generic
manual for all keypads like DSC.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

Radio Shack panels were quick to "program" too.  They also had almost no
features.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

Actually, DSC's software is among the slowest on the market.  It's also a
royal pain getting around the GUI, which was apparently designed by a team of
monk... er, we won't go there.  Napco's first attempt at Windows compatible
software was awful.  In fact, we did discuss working on it with them.  They
went there own way and, after a few tries, finally got it right.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

I've dealt with DSC for a number of years.  Their panels are simple to program
because they don't have the features many better models have.  Feel free to
claim whatever makes you feel good regarding my experience.  We both know the
truth, though you'll never admit it.


Re: Napco system questions

Quoted text here. Click to load it

so now you admit they don't install the systems you "sell" them?  what are
they just after the insurance cert?





Re: Napco system questions
wrote:
Quoted text here. Click to load it

Alternate Translation: Napco panels are harder to keypad program than
they need to be

Quoted text here. Click to load it

Thats too bad since any installer worth his salt should know how to do
that, it's also why Frank stated they were easier to program than
Napco

Quoted text here. Click to load it

I mentioned program manuals not user.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

True but that has nothing to do with DSC

Quoted text here. Click to load it

Napco's software is slightly better than it was initially however that
isn't saying much, as far as being slow you obviously haven't compared
the two software packages.

or timed how long it takes to connect to a Napco panel initially
or how slow it is to upload or download a full panel
or the fact you have to either keep the phone off the hook or invest
in a stupid phone module
or the fact you can't download while the panel is armed
or how the interface doesn't seem to handle resizing a window very
well
or how they still haven't integrated past panels like the 2600 or
1010LKDL.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

Um yea it sounds like you really know a lot

Re: Napco system questions
"mleuck" wrote:
Quoted text here. Click to load it

Accurate translation:  Napco panels are more powerful and feature rich than
the stuff you like.

Quoted text here. Click to load it


I make no claims about the worth of any other installer.  If you find it
difficult to program Napco that is of no concern to me.  All I care is that
their systems are so much better quality than DSC and that my clients are able
to program them without years of experience.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

That says nothing regarding value received by the client -- only that DSC is
simple to program.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

Sorry, I didn't realize that was your intent.  The answer, however, remains
the same.  Napco manuals are specific to the products being used -- not
generic like DSC.

Quoted text here. Click to load it


It is the logical extension of your argument that simpler (that is feature
poor) is somehow better.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

You're wrong on both counts.  Napco's current software is significantly better
than their first Windows app, which was plain awful.  The new app is easy to
navigate, doesn't lock up unless you really screw things up and has far better
helps.  It's still not perfect but that's only because my company didn't write
it.  :^)

As to comparing, you're wrong again.  I have and DSC's app is miserably slow.
There are other little bugs in DSC, such as CS comms failures if you leave the
pigtail plugged into the PC.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

My clients invariably use local connect.  It takes less than 10 seconds to
connect and download.  Even in local connect DSC takes a long time.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

A few seconds, even on a P9600.  Try that on the larger DSC.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

Oh, no.  Keep the phone off the hook.  How difficult!  :^)  Of course, that's
only if you're accessing the panel remotely.  Any decent alarm company
supplies its techs with laptops to expedite field service.  We did.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

You can indeed.  Napco allows you to fully control the panel via the software.
If it's armed, disarm it and then do the work.  Don't forget to re-arm the
system when you're done.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

You must not have tried it recently.  It works fine.  However, all of the
pop-up windows are already properly sized.  Whenever I use the software (more
than once a day usually), I run the app in full screen.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

They don't support antique stuff any more.

Quoted text here. Click to load it


If it makes you feel better to believe you know more than me, feel free to
continue.

--

Regards,
Robert L Bass

==============================>
Bass Home Electronics
DIY Alarm and Home Automation Store
http://www.bassburglaralarms.com
Sales & Service 941-870-2310
Fax 941-870-3252
==============================>


Re: Napco system questions
Robert L Bass wrote:
Quoted text here. Click to load it


I wasn't referring to things like zoning options, Robert.  The end-user
rarely sees these and most wouldn't understand what they are.  Ademco's
highest end system (the Vista 250) still doesn't have telephone line
monitoring.  This has been a "standard feature" on DSC panels from the
start (the only exceptions being the early "1000" and the "1500").  All
of their panels had "chime", bell supervision, and "quick keys".  For
the money (cheap), they had all the stuff the "big boys" offered (and
sometimes more).  If you take a look at the zone options menu, you can
program a number of features now that you couldn't do before.  They
remain one of the easiest systems to keypad program which probably
accounts for their popularity.

Re: Napco system questions
On Jun 9, 8:47BF=BDam, Frank Olson
Quoted text here. Click to load it
BD
BDI

As is known here, I use Napco.  Through the years I've occasioally
attended DSC seminars and had to reprogram DSC panels. What I've found
is that the ones that I've run accross and have been demonstrated to
me at the seminars don't do everything that the Napco panels do.
That's not to say that one always needs to do everything that Napco
does .... either. But, if I have the choice, I'd rather have as many
options at hand as possible in the panel I'm installing,  Also, Napco
has a number of panels of lesser capability that certainly must have a
market too.

As far as ease of programing, I've been programing Napco panels for so
long that it doesn't present a problem .... to me. When it's explained
to someone how to do it, it's a logical way and anyone that I've
taught how to do it, doesn't have a problem with their programing.
It's all in the understanding of what the method is. Just like any
other panel, I guess there are some out there who have a problem with
it. I don't and never did. I just took the time to learn and
understand it.

So ... for me, it's not the programing ease or not, that makes me
avoid DSC. The total options available could be overlooked because, as
I say,  one doesn't use all the option the higher end Napcos have
anyway, but to me it's the cheapness in the quality of the DSC
producst that bothers me. Everything is so flimsey. Every thing is
made out of tissue paper. Metal, plastic, PC boards. Much too
delicate. Their flat transmitters .... if you open them more than 3 or
4 times, the case is ruined. You have to bend the cabinet doors so
they'll fit on the box. You put a little pressure on the screw
terminals and the PC board bends like it's about to crack.

I'm used to the panel I've been using for so many years so obviously,
I'm in no market to change but if I were, even though I don't like
Ademco/Honeywell documentation, I'd go with them as second choice, not
with DSC. As far as programing any panel. To me, someone looking to
change panel mfg should not let ease of programing take precedent over
what the panel can do and it's quality. One can always learn how to
program their panel of choice. It's just a matter of practice.

Whenever Napco has come out with a new panel or downloader program, I
take an entire day off ..... set it up on the bench and spend the
entire day programing and writing down questions that I have to ask
tech support .... in order to understand it. Trying to do it out in
the field is not the thing to do. After that ... it's just practice,
practice practice.

Those that are not willing to learn about what they do for a
living .....in order to obtain quality and more options,  that's their
problem. I guess DSC programing appeals to those that fall into that
category.

And I can appriciate that too. I just ran across a guy who's been
using Napco for about twenty years. I was talking about obtaining
signal strength for wireless transmitters when installing a system. He
asked ..... "How do you do that?"  I don't know if I siged and rolled
my eyes in my mind or on the outside, but I  told him to read the
f.....g  instructions.

Now that's my idea of a primary candidate as a DSC user.

Re: Napco system questions
"Jim" wrote:
Quoted text here. Click to load it

Absolutely agree, especially about having the options.  It's generally better
to have it and not need it than the other way around.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

Same here.  Years ago when Napco first came out with the MA-3000 I took the
2-day (or was it 3?) seminar up in Massachussetts.  A couple of techs there
didn't seem to grast it but all the rest had no problem at all.  Like
an6ything else, once you've done it a few thousand times it's a piece of cake
doing it again or teaching others to do it themselves.  Since that is at the
core of my business model, Napco's software is a major plus for me.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

Yep, that too.  When even the cabinets are kind of flimsy, the rest just seems
to be low budget as well.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

That's true for most techs but for me the programming app is very important.
I teach people to use the stuff almost every day so I want an app that's easy
to master.  Napco's current version of Quickloader (IMO) definitely fills that
bell.

Quoted text here. Click to load it
problem. I guess DSC programing appeals to those that fall into that category.

I don't think that's fair, Jim.  Some folks get used to DSC (as we are to
Napco) and simply continue using it in the belief that it's the best choice
for their business or (one hopes) for their customers.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

Naah.  He'd just bush that up, too.

--

Regards,
Robert L Bass

==============================>
Bass Home Electronics
DIY Alarm and Home Automation Store
http://www.bassburglaralarms.com
Sales & Service 941-870-2310
Fax 941-870-3252
==============================>


Site Timeline