Home Forums Hot Topics Fixing what installer broke. Crooked or just dumb?

This topic contains 7 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Alisapar 4 months, 4 weeks ago.

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    I recently contacted Xfinity Home(Comcast) to take over monitoring for my fully functional hardwired (Brinks/ADT)BHS4000 security system. They sent over a subcontracted tech with a Vista 20p whose first move was to look at where all the door sensors were mounted. He then starts looking at things around the house asking me
    “What do you want for that?”, “Thats nice, how much did that cost?”, “How did you move that in here?”. Before he even looks at the panel says, “I may not be able to finish today, I only have 1 resistor.”
    Then he starts poking around in the panel and I hear loud “pop..Pop,pop,scratch”. I instantly know what that is and run into the room and say “stop that please! You are destroying my speaker”. He says “Your siren is broken. See… pop..Pop” as he applies 12V from the battery to my speaker wires.
    Him- “And there is something else wrong with your system, there are no resistors in the panel”.
    Me- “There shouldn’t be. They are End Of Line resistors. They should be at the end of the line, at the contacts”.
    Him- “Does your system have those?”
    Me- “You are the installer. Find out then you can tell me.”
    Him- “How do I find out?”
    Me- “Put your multimeter on the wires from the door and read the resistance.”
    Him- “I don’t have a multimeter.”
    At this point I leave the room to bite my tongue.
    He then tells me that the Vista 20P cannot be connected to a smoke detector. I need an upgraded panel for that.
    I suggest that maybe he should go get the right panel because the salesperson said it would be no problem to take over my smokes. He eagerly leaves and tells me that someone will be calling to reschedule the install. The earliest time was 4 weeks later. Only after he leaves did I notice that he left the existing system unplugged. I plug it back in and the system will not arm. Faults on every zone.
    So now I am stuck with a broken system that cannot be armed, leaving my home vulnerable. Then I start wondering why he spent so much time looking at my belongings, but had no interest when I offered to show him where to purchase them online.
    The next tech shows up weeks later and tells me he is “not allowed to take over a system with faults, or repair an existing system.”
    So what now? I decide to do the changeover myself. I discover the siren is indeed destroyed, and all my door and window contacts read 0 Ohms whether the doors are open or closed. I still haven’t tested all the glass break and motion sensors. So my questions are:
    1. What did he do to break my door and window sensors? If he applied 12v from the battery with no resistors, would that have welded the reed contacts closed?
    2. How do I replace the existing recessed contacts? I tried prying with hardened picks, but they didn’t budge.
    3. Is this installer crooked or just dumb? I set up increased surveillance till the system is repaired, but now this guy has been in my house and left the system in a disabled state he knew would take some time to repair without mentioning it to anyone.
    4. Could he have also damaged smokes, GBD, and PIR sensors by applying 12v battery current to the contacts?
    5. What is my recourse? Comcast says I “chose” not to have a system installed by them, so they are not liable. Funny. I would cancel all my Comcast services if they weren’t the only way to get decent internet here.



    All of the hardwired devices on your BHS4000 can be connected to either a DSC or Honeywell alarm panel. The smoke detectors should be 4 wire smoke detectors and can be connected to almost any burglar alarm panel. The BHS4000 has a siren driver on the board and the speskers speakers will require a siren driver to operate if you replace the panel. You will need to replace The control panel and keypads. If EOL resistors were used you will need to locate and replace them with the resistors required by the new panel. If your brinks panel used any wireless devices I believe that Brinks used Honeywell wireless devices and if you don’t want to replace them you will need to use a Honeywell panel. Unfortunately The panel’s programming cannot be changed by anyone other than Brinks/ADT.

    My preference is for the DSC PC1832 or PC1864 panel.

    If you decide to try and repair your system yourself you can get support and help with upgrading your system on this forum.

    Regarding question #3 I have found that quite a few ( but not all ) Cable technicians suffer from the ID10t problem

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 6 months ago by  dilligaff.


    Dilligaff, most of what you say is true, but I believe that Brinks used a _modified_ Honeywell RF Receiver that made it proprietary. Probably changed the data format between Receiver and Panel so that only a Brinks panel could understand the receiver. However, I believe the sensor/transmitters were standard and compatible with standard 5881 or 5882 Receivers.
    I’m also not sure that Brinks smokes aren’t a proprietary model–I seem to remember some thread describing a 3-wire hookup on those smokes….? Not sure, that was awhile ago. Most of us don’t have much experience with Brinks for the simple reason that we couldn’t read or change the programming or take them over, we had to switch them out. By some quirk of faith, I never had to switch out a Brinks system in my 40 years doing this.
    I’m a little more sympathetic with the Cable technicians because I used to work for people who would send me out to work on brand new equipment I’d never seen, with no manual and no warning that it was new. My (educated) guess is that the cable compan(y/ies) aren’t bothering to train their installers in alarm technology and expect them to learn it on their own time–with no incentive to the techs to do so.
    So I don’t blame their incompetence on Cable technicians for not knowing how to work with alarm systems: They’re different fields. I blame their management for sending them out and not hiring actual alarm techs to go with them and/or train them if they’re going to get into the alarm business.

    This kind of use of untrained techs caused so much false alarming back 25 years ago where I am (Wash.DC area) that it was driving police depts nuts and MD and VA finally passed legislation that companies who installed or serviced alarm systems, AND their employees had to be trained and licensed (in MD) or registered (in VA)–_everybody_ in the company, including office staff who have access to alarm system records (“circumventive information”). I hated the regulation at first, but now I have to admit that it has eliminated a lot of bad installations by electricians, et al, who don’t understand alarm systems but did them anyway as a side business; and almost invariably did them poorly.
    Sounds like the OP needs some similar legislation in their state.



    The installer works for a security company. It was FST or something like that, I cant remember exactly. The security company was subcontracted by the cable company for this job. The installer told me that he had personally gone through several days of additional training when they took on the Xfinity Home contract. He said that he had “plenty” of experience installing alarms and cable equipment. I got the impression that he had worked for the company over a year but I can’t remember if he said that or I inferred it from his apparent confidence. I do not have any RF devices and I want it to stay that way. Our neighborhood watch and my own eyes have witnessed multiple people prowling the neighborhood in vehicles with laptops. Parked in front of 1 house, then another till a garage door opens or a car unlocks. That ended up being the deal breaker. Xfinity REQUIRED a WiFi PIM that sends all arm/disarm signals over the air. No one could tell me what level, if any encryption was used on these signals. Also, they insisted that they would only allow WiFi surveillance cameras used with their system, not any type of wired even if I buy and install them myself. I don’t want to broadcast the inside of my house to the street. That seems the opposite of security. Now I worry that the guy I entrusted to make my family more secure, will have his buddies come back and rob the place.
    Update: I was able to get out a few of the recessed door switches and dissect them. There were no EOL resistors, the glass capsules inside ruptured and the contacts are stuck together on the 2 units I was able to remove. Unfortunately the others went up inside the doorframe out of reach while trying to pull them out. This seems like it had to be deliberate. So there is a new argument in favor of EOL resistors as current limiting devices to protect the switches.



    Sometimes the only way to remove a recessed contact is to drill an 1/8 inch hole in the contact and then put a #6 screw in it and pull the contact out. This will damage the contact and you will need to install a new contact.

    You may be able to get at the pushed-in contacts by removing the trim around the door or window, drill a hole that will be hidden by the trim and fish the wire out of the wall.



    dilligaff, Thank you. I was drilling the contact, but pushed too hard and that’s what got it up there in the first place. But removing the trim and putting a hole behind it is just the trick I needed to fish it back out. Was able to grab the wire with hemostats, pull it out the new hole, tape a toothpick to stiffen the end of the wire, then put it back in with the hemostat and push the toothpick through the original hole.



    Hi…i am a new user here. As per my knowledge the smoke detectors should be 4 wire smoke detectors and can be connected to almost any burglar alarm panel. The BHS4000 has a siren driver on the board and the speskers speakers will require a siren driver to operate if you replace the panel. You will need to replace The control panel and keypads. If EOL resistors were used you will need to locate and replace them with the resistors required by the new panel.




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