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Old 01-13-2011, 03:03 AM   #1
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Alarm Contact Wiring


I have a house with this type of contact on each of my windows:


http://www.homesecuritystore.com/p-2...d-contact.aspx

I have been trying to determine the fault for one of my zones and determined that the wire from the contact to the alarm panel is physically broken about 8" from the contact. The contact is located on the bottom of the window. From what I understand, this system was installed after the house was built, but not be the previous home owner, but rather by his tenant.

I need to fix this window's contact in addition to add a few other enhancements to my system. I was wondering if anyone could give me a hint on how this contact was originally installed without requiring sheetrock removal. The outside of the wall is brick, so it's unlikely that it was accessed from that side. The inside of the wall is sheetrock with decorative molding, so I doubt it was disturbed. There are 3 windows directly adjacent to each other and each of the contacts is at the bottom of the window, so the wire had to come from the bottom, but there is probably short studs underneath the window since the bottom of the window is approximate 1' from the floor. I just don't see how they were able to drill a hole in the bottom of the window, snake a wire horizontally to the side of the window and then up the wall into the attic. Of course, it would have been easy during the original build of the house, but after the sheetrock and molding was up, I have no idea how they managed it. I spent a few hours in my attic last night tracing down the wiring and as far as I can tell, it goes down on the left side of the group of three windows, so it has to somehow go underneath the windows and through the short studs that are underneath them.


Last edited by diy-581; 01-13-2011 at 08:26 PM.
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Old 01-14-2011, 05:05 AM   #2
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Alarm Contact Wiring


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Originally Posted by diy-581 View Post
I just don't see how they were able to drill a hole in the bottom of the window, snake a wire horizontally to the side of the window and then up the wall into the attic
those alarm installers are devious.

have you tested the connections at the contact?
what are your chances of pulling out the contact in question, tying on some string, and attempting to pull the wire out and the string in, to the next point of access, be it the next window contact or the attic? thus allowing you to reverse the process to install new wire.

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Old 01-14-2011, 10:27 AM   #3
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Alarm Contact Wiring


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Originally Posted by Saturday Cowboy View Post
those alarm installers are devious.

have you tested the connections at the contact?
what are your chances of pulling out the contact in question, tying on some string, and attempting to pull the wire out and the string in, to the next point of access, be it the next window contact or the attic? thus allowing you to reverse the process to install new wire.
The way that I determined that the wire was broken near the contact was to remove the contact from the window (it was just set in there with some silicone gluing it in the hole in the bottom of the aluminum frame of the window). As such, I cannot get the end of the wire nearest the contact. If I had the end of the wire (and assuming it wasn't stabled to the studs or something), I could easily either splice in another piece of wire or use the existing wire to pull a new wire up into the attic. Unfortunately, that is not the case, so I'm wondering how the original installers managed to do it so that I can do the same thing. I've run my share of electrical, network, and phone cable through walls, but I've never put an outlet underneath a window, so I've never had to learn how to perform this particular trick.

I'm assuming that the window framing is something like this:



As such, there's at least a king stud, trimmer stud, and maybe a jack stud that the wire goes through before it heads upwards into the attic. I can see how it might be possible to access the broken wire by removing the trim around the window on the outside of the house and maybe even physically removing the entire window, but that's just a bit extreme just to fix an alarm wire. And that still doesn't tell me how they installed it initially. I seriously doubt that they removed the entire window just to install an alarm wire and contact.
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Old 01-14-2011, 10:35 AM   #4
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Alarm Contact Wiring


If you cannot get at the wiring near the contact, how did you determine that it is broken 8" away?

Alarm installers have techniques, and tools. Long drill bits are one tool I've seen them and also telephone and cable TV installers use.

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Old 01-14-2011, 10:37 AM   #5
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Alarm Contact Wiring


I would hazard the removed the apron (the molding below the stool) and the left side casing to give them access. Even if that is not the way they did it, that is the way I would get access for the repair.
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Old 01-15-2011, 04:07 AM   #6
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Alarm Contact Wiring


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If you cannot get at the wiring near the contact, how did you determine that it is broken 8" away?
I removed the contact that was siliconed into the bottom of the window frame and when I pulled it out, I ended with about 8" of wire connected to the contact and a frayed end where it had somehow been cut / broken. There was no resistance to the pulling of the wire, so that did not break it.
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Old 01-15-2011, 06:10 PM   #7
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Alarm Contact Wiring


Is there an unfinished basement underneath the window in question? Can you see the wire where it exits from either the attic space or the basement and goes to the alarm panel? If there is unfinished space underneath then I usually use a 3/8" x 54" bit and drill down through the window stool and bottom plate until it exits into the basement/cellar. The long flexible bits have a hole in the tip of the bit where you attach the wire to and pull it back up through the hole that you just drilled. From there the contact gets wired to the individual conductors. To go to the attic space you can sometimes remove the window casing on one side and on the bottom, drill up from the space along the side, and run the wires up.
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Old 01-16-2011, 12:51 AM   #8
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Alarm Contact Wiring


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Originally Posted by teamo View Post
Is there an unfinished basement underneath the window in question?
Nope... Around here, basements would become indoor swimming pools soon enough...

I find it hard to believe that they would remove the window casing in order to run the wires since it was a renter that was doing it instead of the owner...


Last edited by diy-581; 01-16-2011 at 12:53 AM.
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