Vista 20p - Bell Circuit Coding for Fire Zone Activation

Hey everyone. I’m a total novice when it comes to the Vista 20p and security systems in general, but I was curious about something: When I have a zone programmed as a type 9 (fire), the bell circuit is always coded to code 3 when it is activated. I want to use this panel as a primitive fire alarm system, but the alarms I want to use with it are self coding, and don’t work well when the bell circuit is coded to code 3.



As of right now, I have the zones programmed as a type 7 (24hr audible) so that the bell circuit outputs a steady coding. This works okay for my purposes of using it as a demo system, but I want to make this a realistic setup. So, I’m interested to know if there’s a way to have the bell circuit output a steady coding when a fire zone goes into alarm. Like I said, I’m a complete beginner with this panel, so I apologize if this is something that’s blatantly obvious.

Vista panels cant do that.


Forget what I said earlier because I just tested my commander 3 with my Vista20p system and It works fine. I recommend you do not set the coding on your device to code 3 when doing a fire alarm.



Note the bell output 12VDC not 24.

Yeah, I have noticed that alarms like the Commander 3 work fine since they sound as soon as there is power. However, most of my alarms (that can run on 12v) have a 1/2 second delay between when power is applied and when they start sounding. Since they have this delay, they cannot fully sound when the bell circuit is coded to code 3. If it’s not possible to change the bell circuit coding, I’ll probably just keep it on zone type 7 since it’s just going to be used as a demo system.

Cool. I’m fine with that.

Alternatively, you could get a Vista relay (you wire it up just like a keypad) and you could program it to activate on “Any Fire Alarm” and deactivate on disarm. IDK how much the relay costs, though. I automatically assume $50, but will have to look into it. I have a Vista 10SE, but I can’t use it due to the transformer not being grounded. I’m going to have to look at the model #s in the manual to give any definitive answer.


Question: what model are your self-coding alarms? If they have the option to disable the self-code then it would be in your interest to disable it.

I found the models for the relays and they are 4204 and 4229. Also, make sure the bell supervision jumper is cut as well, as fire bell circuits need to be supervised. Nonetheless, great question!

Gentex Commander 3, SpectrAlert Advance, Wheelock Exceder/AS, EST Integrity/Genesis



As far as I can tell, none of those have the option to disable self coding. I know 4-wire/horn only models of the Advance series have the option to disable self coding, but my Advance is a two wire horn strobe.

Thank you, I’ll look into it!

Spectralert Advance and Wheelock Exceder can definitely disable coding to Code-3. Set the alarms to continuous option - setting it otherwise will give you problematic results.

Yeah I’ve had them all set on continuous, but even still, most of them have that 1/2 second delay between when power is applied and when they start sounding. Although I have found that the Exceder, along with the Commander 3, does not have this delay when set on continuous.


What strobe setting do you have them on, and how do you have them wired up? The Exceder should sound instantly when power is applied and it’s set to continuous.


I know this is a little late but if you set the zone type as 07 aka 24hr audible alarm, it should just strait up give power and my spectralert advance now works on it correctly as seen in my video here: <LINK_TEXT text=“https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fkq0MQV … el=VRRyan6”>https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fkq0MQVPsBc&t=339s&ab_channel=VRRyan6</LINK_TEXT>


Yeah I did mention that the Exceder sounds immediately when set on continuous, the Advance does not. I have the strobe on 15cd, and I did see when selecting the candela that it can only do 15cd on 12 volts, but I never set it higher anyways. Also, I have the positive and negative on the panel go directly to the positive and negative of the alarm. I don’t have any other devices or an end of line resistor since I’m just using it as a demo system.


Your Advance, if a 2-wire model, should have an option to select between continuous and temporal. If 4-wire, the horn is coded by the power source.



How many devices are you hooking up at once?



I’m a bit concerned - the list you provided me here…


has 24 VDC devices - specifically the EST Integrity/Genesis devices and possibly the AS if it’s not the 12 volt version. I hate to ask so many questions, but it doesn’t add up to me. Could you clarify your setup for me please?

Yeah I have it set on continuous, but there’s still that half second delay from when power is applied to when it starts sounding.

Just one, but every now and then I’ll switch it out.


On the back of the AS and the EST devices, it says that they accept voltages between 16-33 VDC. I’ve metered the bell output and it’s close to 13 volts. They seem to work fine, though it’s probably not good for the alarms to be underpowered like that even by that margin. However, I usually only have devices properly rated to take 12 volts like the Exceder and Advance connected.