Bob Dolph Answers Questions About Old Alarm System Manuals and RJ31X Jacks

Q: I find myself at times servicing an old alarm system that has long gone out of business. The manufacturer is no longer in business and I desperately need to reference an installation manual to make repairs. Any suggestions on finding these old manuals?
A: Yes. There is a Web site called Tech Manuals Online that archives many old and current security system manuals. They charge a small fee for accessing their database but, if you service older systems on a regular basis, it is well worth it.

Q: I serviced a customer’s alarm system the other day and found the phone company, who had recently serviced the system, unplugged the RJ31X jack. This customer does not want to pay extra for system polling from the central station and feels that the alarm system should have known the jack was left unplugged. I agree with the customer but am not sure what I can do for them. Any suggestions? Because the house phones go through the jack, I thought it would leave the customer’s phones disconnected if the jack were left out.
A: First, an RJ31X jack has an internal shorting bar designed to restore the house phone connection when the jack is removed. This allows the customer or, in this case, the phone company to remove the jack if a problem were suspected with alarm system and still have the house phones work. The problem with this, as you have found, is that nobody knew the jack was still out and the alarm panel would not have been able to report the alarm company or at the least report the problem to the customer. The RJ31X module has a built-in tamper connection. If you place jumper across terminals two and seven, the blue and orange wires can be treated like a normally closed loop. If you hook these up a 24-hour supervised loop in the alarm panel, you will get a trouble if the RJ31X is removed. Now, the alarm system owner will get an indication that something is not right with the system if the jack is not replaced by the phone company techs. See April 2003’s Tech Talk for more on RJ31X phone connections.


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