While wireless technology has made great strides in matching the effectiveness of hardwired technology, some people still consider hardwired contacts to be the most reliable. Such is largely due to the strong, uninterrupted communication that exists between the contacts and the control panel. Hardwired contacts also tend to be easier to shield from view (as is the case with recessed contacts) and certain types are even featured in very compact sizes which can be found to be as small as a mere quarter of an inch in length.
How Contacts Work
Each hardwired contact contains a reed switch and a corresponding magnet. Mounted on a door or a window, the part of the contact containing the switch is affixed to the stationary part of a door or window. The part of the contact containing the magnet is affixed to the actual moving part of the door or the window and, when properly installed, is aligned with the reed switch. When an alarm is armed, the opening of a door or window causes the contact’s magnet and switch to separate, which results in the triggering of the alarm’s siren or bell.
Hardwire Contact Types
While some contacts are mounted on the surface area of a door or window frame and, thus, called surface mounts, others are installed in such a way so as to appear hidden from casual view. This latter type, known as recessed contacts, requires the drilling of holes so that the contact actually fits inside of the structure it is being placed on. Recessed contacts also come in plunger or rollerball styles, which feature a part that is automatically extended when a door or window is open and retracts when it is shut. To view an example of a plunger contact, see the BR-1051 ⅜ inch Recessed Plunger Tamper Switch by Winn or to view a rollerball styled contact, see the BR-1032 ¾ Stubby Button Ball Reed Contact also by Winn.
Installing Hardwired Contacts
The instructions to install hardwired contacts are included with whichever contacts are purchased. Of course, our tech support team is always on call to answer installation questions and to help troubleshoot if there is ever a problem or issue that arises during the process. Some of the tools needed to complete an installation of hardwired contacts include solid station wire, tape, wire connectors, caulking, a putty knife, a drill and bits.
Selecting the Right Contacts For a System
When purchasing a new home security system, a certain number of contacts will automatically be included. Additional contacts will likely need to be purchased in order to properly secure all of the doors and windows in a home, though. One of the great things about installing hardwire contacts, however, is that there are a variety to choose from since they are all cross-compatible and there is no need to use a single manufacturer or brand.
Selecting the right contact primarily depends upon where it will be installed. For example, if installing a contact on a metal door, a ¾ inch contact is recommended. Customers installing a contact on a door hinge often choose to use a plunger contact. If installing one on a window, a person may opt to use a rollerball or a surface mounted contact depending upon individual aesthetic preference.
How Many Contacts Does a Home Need?
Every door and window in a home should have a hardwire contact installed on it. Homeowners should always remember to include sliding doors in the overall count, too. Depending upon a home’s size, this may end up being a lot of contacts, but it is important to avoid skipping a single door or window since each serves as a potential entry point for a burglar.
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