Basic Alarm System Terminology

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    Access Code/User Code – A four-digit (usually) code that allows a user to turn an alarm system on (Arm) or off (Disarm). It may have other permitted functions, but usually cannot do things like change access codes or access programming modes.

    AHJ/Authority Having Jurisdiction – The local authority that has jurisdiction concerning the operation and installation of alarm systems. Some locations regulate security and/or fire alarms more stringently than others.

    Arm – To turn the security system on. In general, all zones have to be secure or bypassed in order to arm most current systems.

    AWG – American Wire Gauge is the common standard for measuring wire diameter. Larger numbers represent smaller diameter wire, and vice versa. A cable is usually described by its AWG size followed by the number of wires (conductors) it contains. For example, a cable listed as 22-4 is a four-conductor cable made up of four wires, each 22 gauge (most system makers specify 22 gauge as the minimum for their systems to be installed to UL standards).

    “B” Connector – A small insulated connector used to join and insulate two or more wires at a splice. The stripped ends of the wires are placed inside the connector, and it is crimped with pliers or (preferably) a crimping tool. The connectors are often call “beanies” or “chicklets” by installers.

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