Security System + Power Outage = All kinds of errors

Background: House built in '09. Some “On-Q” security system with GE Keypad and Honeywell 747 siren (rebranded by Ademco).

We lost power around 1 am yesterday night. Parents woke up to hear keypad beeping. Bypassed it. Went back to sleep.

Fast forward to the next day. I get home from school, greet my dog and whatnot. All of a sudden I hear some loud crackling noise from the laundry room area. Confused, I investigate. I find the keypad flashing “Fire” rapidly and the yellow service light is on. Obviously my house wasn’t on fire, we don’t even have a smoke detector hooked up to the security system (unsafe I know). I hear the crackling noise from the ceiling, and look up to find that it’s coming from the 747 siren. My dad later told me that a transformer blew from the power outage, and the system was relying on slowly depleting battery power. I believe the crackling was caused from the siren (set on Woop btw, not constant beep) not getting enough power to fully function. Could it be that the siren wanted to sound but didn’t get enough power from the system, so it kept burping in and out? Or could the power outage have blown the siren to where it didn’t function properly? I’m curious about this.

Is your security system hooked up to some sort of surge arrester circuit? There could have been a power spike before the outage.

Back in the early 2000’s, the On-Q systems were re-branded HAI systems, and HAI is now Leviton. They must have changed brands since then because the HAI systems don’t have a red and yellow LED on the keypads. If you take a picture of your keypad and post it on here, someone on here could probably tell you what brand the unit REALLY is (I doubt On-Q manufactures their own panels).

But anyway, I would say your panel isn’t getting primary AC power. After you lose the primary power and the system is running off battery, when it gets to the point the battery gets depleted and it’s below the voltage threshold for the system to operate, the system will either shut off completely or start acting weird. Having the couple of lights flashing on the keypad in an unusual manor and the siren making strange noises is typical of what you can get from a panel that is not getting enough voltage. You should unplug the battery immediately.

You do have a transformer somewhere that converts the 120VAC power to 24-16VAC that the panel can use. It’s rare for those transformers to fail just on their own. Usually the internal fuse blows due to someone shorting out the wires on the secondary side of the transformer (the 24VAC side) or the possibility of an internal short on the panel board itself. Unfortunately, the fuse is non-replaceable and the transformer must be replaced. There is one brand that I know of that has a self resetting circuit breaker instead of the fuse, Elk puts it out. I would recommend that one. So before you replace the transformer, meter the wires going to the panel and make sure they are not shorted.

If the transformer is not getting power (90% of the time that’s the problem anyway) I would check the circuit breakers. It could also be plugged into a circuit that’s protected by a GFCI, so check them to make sure they are all reset.

I just guessed it was On-Q because the metal cover over the panel on the wall says On-Q on it. The keypad looks like this:

And my dad already unplugged the battery, so all the info I have about it is that the transformer blew somehow. He’s more electrically talented than I am, I don’t like to mess with wires and stuff :mrgreen:

Not sure if it is, most likely it would be though.

Looks like a GE security system - although I’ve never seen that version of keypad before. I’ve only seen the LCD versions.

On Q is basically a “structured wiring” system. You home run everything back to the cabinet: TV cables, telephone cables, network cables, speaker wiring, etc. Good idea in principal but they tend to get cluttered and disorganized as more and more hands get into them. I home run everything in my house to a patch panel and mounted all my devices such as amplifiers and network switches to a plywood board. Not pretty but easier to work with!

Update: I overheard my dad saying he’s gonna call the security company to look at upgrading the system. Here’s what the system looks like now:

[attachment=2]Keypad.jpg[/attachment]Security Keypad


[attachment=0]On-Q.jpg[/attachment]On-Q Panel Thing

And a motion detector that I will have to add in another post because file limit of 3.

And here’s the motion detector (smoke detector is on its own interconnected system):

When (if even) my system gets replaced I will update you all with pics.

Looks like your typical household security system. Word of advise from someone who was once in the home security industry… Make sure he doesn’t get roped into those free or reduced cost systems. The monthly monitoring will cost you DOUBLE what it will cost if you just went with a small local company who does alarms and paid outright for the system. Monthly monitoring should be around $20 a month with no contract. Aye Dee Tee for instance will charge someone $35+ a month plus commit them to a 3 year contract. But that’s just my opinion…

Also, I thought I remember them not recommending mounting smoke detectors in the corners like that. Something about them being in a dead zone? But can’t find that information, maybe they changed it. But when you leave it to an electrician to install life safety devices…

My dad is very cautious when it comes to buying large things (cars, pool, and this case). And we were gonna move the smoke alarm when the molding was being done to allow for a full molding with no cut out as you see there, but it never happened.

It used to be you couldn’t mount any detectors within 4" of the wall but that changed, it now only applies to heat detectors, not smoke detectors.

Security tech came today. He replaced the transformer, and the only thing left is a new battery. No system replacements in the near future :frowning:

Why do you spell it out? O_o

If I type out the three letters, the forum censors it out for some reason, like this:


If I remember correctly, it’s censored to prevent the bad press the company usually gets on the site, as well as the older DFA site that no longer exists, from showing up when the company name is searched.

Yeah that’s exactly why I have a word censor on that acronym.

Funny… But lookong on my phone, Tapatalk didn’t censor it.