Tips & Tricks – Part III

Glenn Hultz by Glenn Hultz | 08.26.2013

Wireless technology has come a long way and can be a very reliable, robust and cost-effective solution.  In some cases, it may even be your only viable option.  Wireless questions can also generate their fair share of calls to tech support, but in most cases the answers are easy to find. You just knew this was coming… so I’ll go ahead and get it out of the way – please consult the installation instructions for your particular receiver and/or transmitter. Now, let’s review some common questions:

My Keypad Says E4 (or E8 or RCVR SET UP ERROR)
I wanted to tackle this issue first because for some reason it always seems to be a point of contention. Displays of E4, E8 or RCVR SET UP ERROR mean you have more wireless zones programmed than your receiver can support.  I want to be very clear about this – there are in fact too many wireless zones programmed.  On a keypad, enter your installer code plus # plus 3 and put yourself into Transmitter ID sniffer mode.  This command is the same for virtually all of our panels and will cause the panel to display any zone with a transmitter ID – and the culprit is usually a forgotten keyfob zone.  So, if you want to delete a wireless zone and the keypad asks “Delete Zone?”, you must answer “Yes.”  If you don’t, the zone is ignored by the panel but the serial number does not get deleted, thus causing an E4, E8 or RCVR SET UP ERROR at some point in the future.

I Have a “Check” on a Wireless Zone
Assuming the zone is programmed correctly, there are only two possible reasons for a wireless check and neither one of them is a low battery condition – it’s either a supervision or tamper issue.  If you reset the panel by going in and out of programming and the check re-appears almost immediately then it must be a tamper issue.  Why? The supervision process takes 12 hours (by default) and not enough time has elapsed for the zone to go back into check.  Using the Go/No Go Test command, installer code plus # plus 4, is absolutely crucial when installing wireless devices.

Wireless 101
I’m going to go through the rest of this on a rapid-fire basis to get through as many as I can.  This is by no means a comprehensive list of how to fix every wireless problem you may encounter, but I do believe that the information will be very helpful in most situations:

  • If you have a wireless zone that will fault but not restore, it could actually be a range or interference issue, but more often than not we find that the wrong loop has been programmed.  Check the loop first and if that isn’t the issue you can troubleshoot further.
  • If you keep getting a low battery condition, make sure you’re using an approved replacement battery and not a generic equivalent.  Remember, replacing the battery on a transmitter that is in a “check’ condition is only going to mask the real problem.
  • Make sure you’re using the correct input type of 3, 4 or 5 – 6 is for serial polling loop devices, not wireless.  It’s important to note that not all “button” transmitters use an input type of 5 (Button RF) so make sure to refer to the installation instructions.
  • If you’re not getting status on a bi-directional device, make sure you’re using the correct House ID in the device as well as the panel.  Try to avoid using the default House ID of 10 – I suggest deciding on a “pet” House ID for your company and using that particular ID when necessary.
  • If you’re still not getting status on a bi-directional device, the next likely suspect is dipswitch 6 on your 5883H – it needs to be turned on.  Don’t forget that bi-directional devices typically have a lower range when it comes to getting status so range can be a factor.
  • Speaking of range, wireless transmitters can also be mounted too close to a stand-alone receiver – think of it as trying to understand what someone is saying while they scream directly in your ear.  In fact, try to avoid mounting any device until you can verify proper operation.

I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but at the same time I want to stress how important it is to consult the installation instructions, especially when it comes to the mounting and placement of wireless devices.  You want to avoid putting yourself behind the eight-ball before the installation ever begins.  Follow some basic guidelines and you’ll be racking up plenty of satisfied customers.