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Post new topic   Reply to topic  Vonage® VoIP Forum - Vonage News, Reviews And Discussion » Fax - Tivo - Alarms
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2005 7:50 pm    Post subject: How to properly wire an alarm for use with Vonage Reply with quote Back to top

Mods might want to sticky this, since it seems to come up a lot.

I just rewired my whole telephone system, because the original wiring was probably older than me and had all sorts of spaghetti and splices and whatnot.. I had a lot of air and crosstalk in the lines, and it caused all sorts of havoc with my alarm system not being able to handshake with the monitoring center when it dialed out (even though it seizes line 1, the interference from line 2 still killed it). So I decided to just rip everything out and start new.

First of all, use only CAT5 cable. CAT3 (regular phone wire) isn't twisted pair. Twisted pairs cancel out interference and crosstalk. Second, use "home runs" (bring all extensions to a central location), don't splice or run jacks in series. Third, use a punch-down block, not a screw-type block for the distribution center. Punched connections are more reliable, and it looks a lot neater. If you don't want to completely rewire, you may still be able to improve the quality of your line, provided you have a place where most of the wiring comes together.

Security systems use an RJ-31X jack almost all the time. This is a special "insert loop" jack, which provides a means of disconnecting the security panel from the phone system quickly without having to physically rewire. When I say "insert loop" (anyone who knows studio recording equipment knows this term), I mean a jack that has both an input and an output circuit, which, when the jack is empty, are internally connected. This is the RJ-31X jack that I pulled out from my existing phone wiring:

If you'll notice, there are two little circuit traces, with the jack's pins resting on them. One connects red to blue, the other connects green to gray. Red and green are called Ring and Tip, and connect to the TelCo's wiring. Blue and gray are called R1 and T1, and connect to the house wiring. What this does is when the jack is empty, connects the TelCo right to the house wiring, but when a plug to the security panel is inserted, the pins move away from the contacts, and sends the phone signal out through the red/green pair, through the panel, and back in to the house wiring through the blue/gray pair. This configuration allows the panel to seize the line, cutting off all other phones on that line, so an off-hook phone or call-in-progress doesn't impede the panel from calling out.

Now, if you are lucky, your alarm panel was installed very close to where the phone lines come together, and you will have the RJ-31X jack as the "distribution block". In this case, you will have a very easy job, and you will only have to run a single (CAT5) cable, from that point to wherever your Vonage adapter is located. You will also have a pigtail coming from the alarm panel, which connects to that jack. If the pigtail is made from modular cord (the flat gray stuff), it must be replaced. More on that in a bit.

If your phone block is not near the alarm panel, and the RJ-31X jack is "remotely installed", or the panel is hardwired (no jack), don't fret. That just means you need to run 2 cables instead of 1. Again, one from the distribution location to where your Vonage adapter is located, and also one from the distribution location to the alarm panel.

This is the cheapest, and coolest punchdown block I've seen.. It is designed to be used with the Leviton Structured Wiring System, but as you can see, it works just fine by itself:

It's the Leviton 1x7 Security Module, available at Home Depot for about $25. As you can see, it supports up to 4 lines to 7 locations, and has the RJ-31X jack built right in. They also sell an expansion board, which can support up to 9 more locations, in case you need it. All you do is match up the color pairs to the block, and use the included tool to punch the wire down. Then you just trim off the excess.

The punch blocks are color coded for CAT5 wiring, which is:
Line: tip/ring (I only show the predominant wire color, not the tracer [painted stripe])

1: white/blue
2: white/orange
3: white/green
4: white/brown

If you have older existing wiring, those colors are as follows:
Line: tip/ring
1: green/red
2: black/yellow
3: either blue/white (3 pair wire) or brown/orange (4 pair wire)
4: blue/gray

The top set of contacts is labeled "From Demarc". You are going to run a (CAT5) cable from this set of contacts to a CAT5 jack where your Vonage adapter is. By using a CAT5 jack on that end, you will have access to all 4 lines via jack splitters if you need them now, or in the future. You can plug a regular single phone line into a CAT5 jack with no problems. This is the jack splitter I use, which allows access to lines 1 and 2. If lines 3 and 4 are needed, Leviton makes a splitter (which is also available at Home Depot, in the same section) which gives you single jacks for all 4 lines.:

The jack splitter is only necessary in a 2 line case because the Vonage adapters can't put 2 lines out to a single port.

Now, the CAT5 jack on this end will not follow a standard color code. It will closely resemble the T568A code shown on the jack, in that the blue pairs are correct. But if you need 2, 3 or 4 line capability, you will have to change the positions of the orange, green and brown pairs for it to work correctly. I will use a slash (/) to indicate the stripe wire:

For Orange, you just swap the position of the orange wires. Solid for stripe and vice versa.

For green and brown it's a little different:

T568A Jack pin color: Wire color

green : green
green/ : brown
brown: brown/
brown/: green/

This is the only part of the setup which will not follow a standard color code. Everything else does.

Once you have this jack wired, connect the Vonage adapter (and jack splitter if necessary) using regular phone cords.

Ok, now if you followed this correctly, you should have working Vonage phone service to all of your jacks. Congratulations! If any jacks do not get a dial tone, check to make sure the wires are solidly punched down. If ALL jacks don't get a dial tone, then make sure you followed the color code for the Vonage jack correctly.

Now that you have a dial tone, it is time to connect your alarm. If your alarm panel pigtail is made from CAT5 cable, simply plug it in and you are done. Call your monitoring station and tell them you need to run a test, and make sure they get a signal.

If your panel is either hardwired (no pigtail), has a modular wire (flat gray/silver stuff) pigtail, or is no near the distribution block, you are going to have to make a new pigtail. If you have an RJ-45 crimper and know how to use it, you probably don't need any further explanation from me. (If you don't know what a crimper is, don't sweat, I'll get to you in a minute) Run a CAT5 cable from the alarm to the distribution block, and crimp an end on it, arranging the wires as follows:

Pin 1: Orange
Pin 4: Blue
Pin 5: White/Blue
Pin 8: White/Orange

At the alarm panel, find the phone terminal block:

This is a DSC Power 832 panel, but yours will also have a block with the same labelling. Connect as follows:

Ring: Blue
Tip: White/blue
R-1: Orange
T-1: White/orange

Plug in the RJ-45 plug into the security jack inthe distribution block, and you are done.

If you don't have a crimper, don't go buy one just for this, because they run $20-30. Instead, just go buy a CAT5 network cable, in whatever length you need to get from the panel to the block, and install it. At the alarm panel side, cut the plug off, and strip the outer jacket. Now, look at the plug you just cut off, with the wire coming out the bottom, and the clip down. If the first wire to the left is white/orange, then connect the wiring to the alarm's phone terminal block as follows:

RING: Blue
TIP: White/blue
R-1: White/Orange
T-1: Brown

If the first wire to the left is white/green, then connect to the alarm phone terminal block using this color code:

RING: Blue
Tip: White/blue
R-1: White/green
T-1: Brown

The reason for this is that there are two standards, T568A and T568B. B is much more common, but A is still used. With a pre-made patch cable, either standard will work in any jack, but since we are using it for a different purpose, the difference would mean nothing would work if you used the wrong color code.

Again, once you have it connected to the panel, connect the plug to the Security jack on the distribution block and test the system.

Once I did this, I did not have to do anything else to make my alarm communicate properly. Since my bandwidth saver is already on max quality, I didn't need to add *99 to the dialing prefix, but you may have to. I also did not have to call Vonage to change the packetization level.

I am using a Linksys PAP-2, with a Linksys BEF-SR41 router, and Motorola SurfBoard 5100 cable modem. When you have your security system connected through Vonage, it is EXTREMELY important that you have all of your equipment on the largest UPS backup that you can afford. I have an APC 1500VA unit, which powers all 3 devices for over 6 hours.

Good luck.

Matt Cool

Last edited by TaZMaNiaK on Tue Mar 01, 2005 2:45 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2005 7:58 pm    Post subject: Excellent Post Reply with quote Back to top

Excellent post, yes I will sticky this - Thank you.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2005 8:18 pm    Post subject: out of curisioty Reply with quote Back to top

I was wondering if you could tell me if i were to just finish the alarm box setup and not rewire the house how i would do that.

I have setup a friends that did not have an alarm system. All i did was disconect the wires in my phone box outside and plug in my phone adapter to one phone jack and the rest became active. I did not have to rewire anything. All i need to know is how to set up my adt to work right if possible.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2005 8:21 pm    Post subject: No Dial Tone Reply with quote Back to top

This post is amazing. I just need a little help on something more basic.

I am not getting a dial tone throughout my house when the Vonage PAP2 is attached directly to my Leviton Bridged Punch-down. The same one that is in the picuture except minus the security feature.

I only removed the line from the phone company, and put a CAT5 wire to the punchdown for:

Then put on a RJ11 Connector on the other side with:
setup in the middle 4 pins. I have also tried using a standard phone wire to the punchdown but still had no sucess with a dial tone. My system only works if I hook up one phone directly to the adapter.

Any help would be appreciated with a basic wiriing question I am sure.

Thank you,

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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2005 2:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Hello, and thanks for all the info on this forum. I just rewired with cat5 from my phone adapter (linksys RT31P2) to my leviton security module and back to the telephone jack. Phone works fine. My question is: As I was removing the old phone wire I cut it to feed the new cat5. When I did, I got a 'Tamper' alarm. I assume this is to provide info that the phone line was cut. Can I use two wires of the new cable to provide function to this zone? Right now the two wires to this zone are twisted together completing the circuit. Or is tamper protection really needed anymore?

Thanks for any info,
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 04, 2005 3:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

This is a very comprehensive post and thank you for that. Right now, I am only interested in getting my alarm working and using only one line from Vonage. Is there a way to just skip using the punchdown block and wiring one CAT5 cable out of the alarm panel to the Vonage box? Your help is appreciated!
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2005 2:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Great post!!!! May I suggest something a bit easier for folks to understand? Take the Voip output pair DIRECTLY to the ACP (Alarm Control Panel) from the Voip device.. Read the wiring diagram posted on the back of the cover. Put the Voip line on the "IN" or "Telco In" terminals and then run the a pair from the "Out" terminals to the phone co. protector. This will feed the entire home with Voip service. Make sure you lift the phone co. drop!!

Just a little hint for your alarm system. Run a pair of wires from a zone with nothing on it to your protector and down or up your drop wire (buried or aerial). Program the zone as a 24 hour instant zone. Splice the pair so you have a closed loop and tape it BEHIND the drop. If someone cuts the wire thinking they are disabling your dialer, the alarm will sound BEFORE they do damage trying to break in and the monitoring company will get your alarm, thanks to your Voip service. If you have wires that are cut including your cable or DSL, at least the siren will sound.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2005 11:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Great Post.
I'm planning on buying this module, but I have a question

If I take a standard 2 or 4 wire cable out of my TA how do I wire this into the demarc block? It's pretty easy using a Cat 5 cable, but I'm not sure where to wire it from an rj11 connector. I want to make two lines available and I believe this connecting block can handle four. Correct?
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2005 2:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Your Voip adapter replaces your incoming Telco feed, so from the adapter, wire the tip and ring to the block as though it were the Telco. Put line 1 of the adapter on the Telco Demarc Blue pair, and if you are using Line 2 of the adapter, put it on the Telco Demarc Orange pair. The Telco Demarc is the top-most punch down block. The phones you want to use are then connected one each to the 7 punch downs block below the Telco Demarc. Phones for Line 1, go to the Blue pair, Phones for line 2 go to the Orange pair.

If you are looking for a cheap and convenient way to convert from an RJ11 flat cable, buy a modular punch down female RJ11 (sold along side the Leviton punch down blocks). Plug the RJ11 cable into the Voip adapter on one end, and into the RJ11 female modular connector on the other. Use a piece of Cat5 and punch it down to the back of the female connector, and then punch down the other end to the panel. If you have a crimper, you could also just crimp an RJ11 male plug end to a piece of Cat5 and the other end would punch down to the block. If you don't have a crimper, the modular female RJ11 connector is cheaper.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2005 2:24 pm    Post subject: DSC832 Reply with quote Back to top

I've got the same alarm system as original post but it is not connected to a monitoring company. Voip is working fine but had to disconnect the alarm to get a dial tone. I managed to get the alarm to stop beeping but can't get the trouble light off which is of course the alarm system and nothing to do with Vonage. All of my wiring is Cat5 but the alarm plug is a cat5 cable plug and will not plug in to Vonage adapter - too large. Any hints or ideas? I've downloaded and read the alarm manuals without success getting light off so just connecting the thing should get the trouble light off. I'm too lazy to dig as deep as the original post.
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