Addressing a Sensor Failure

Tips for taking care of your sensors.


September 22, 2020

3 106 Addressing-a-Sensor-Failure-Home-Security-Systems Desktop (2)

2020 Update

The most important part of a home security system is making sure it is working properly. You don’t want to find out too late that your sensor failed. Scroll down for a sensor test to ensure yours are working. 

One of the most common home security devices is a sensor. Sensors help connect various entry points or hazards around your home to the central panel that communicates with the monitoring facilities to keep you safe. When a sensor fails, you might be unsure how to fix it. In this post, we will discuss the various reasons why a sensor might fail and what you can do to fix it.

A “sensor failure” happens when the control panel loses communication with the sensor. When the control panel realizes the disconnect, it announces a “trouble condition” by beeping and/or illuminating a solid “system status” button. By pressing the “status” button, the control panel will tell the homeowner what sensor has gone into failure.

Why is my sensor failing?

There are three main reasons why a “sensor failure” occurs:

  • Dead or Low Batteries – The typical battery life for a sensor is between 2-5 years, depending on the amount of usage. If you are experiencing a “sensor failure” and you have had the sensor for more than two years, it is recommended that the battery on the sensor be replaced.

  • Distance – All sensors must be placed within 100 feet of the control panel to communicate properly. Because of the distance requirement, we recommend the control panel be placed in a centrally located area of the home.

  • Interference – This is usually caused by a large appliance or another wireless device being near the control panel or the sensor. It is recommended that any appliances or wireless device be at least 7 to 10 feet away from the control panel or sensor.

Things that could cause interference:

The following list includes common causes of interference:

  • Interior Concrete Walls

  • Large Appliances

  • Large Metal Objects

  • Large Mirrors

  • Large Screen Televisions

  • Metal Doors/Windows

  • Metal Stud Construction

  • Metallic Wallpaper

  • Wireless Doorbells

  • Wireless Gaming Remotes

  • Wireless Routers

  • Wireless Telephone

The easiest solution is to move the object causing the interference. If that is not possible, then try moving the control panel closer to the sensor.

Once we have looked at each reason, it will be important to perform a “sensor test.” This will test the communication between the control panel and the sensor. Remember to press the “status” button and take note of the sensor(s) that is in failure.

Perform a sensor test by following the steps below:

  1. Scroll up/down until the screen displays “System Tests” and press the “OK” button

  2. Enter your 4-digit Master Code and press the “OK” button

  3. Scroll up/down until the screen loads and press the “OK” button

  4. The screen will prompt you to trip all of the sensors.

  5. Open and close the sensor that is indicating “sensor failure”

  6. Once the sensor is opened and closed, the display will show the sensor number and the packets the control panel has received from the sensor. We are looking for the packets to equal between 4 and 16 to have optimal communication.

  7. Repeat steps 5 & 6 for each sensor that is in failure

  8. Once all the sensors have been tested press the “OK” button 5 times to exit the test.

If you have checked for the three causes for failures, performed a sensor test, and the condition still exists, contact Brinks Home™ for further assistance.

Krista Bruton is a DFW-based writer who covers smart home security and consumer protection.

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