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Alarm code: regular, master, or others?

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This topic contains 2 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Security Professional 5 years, 10 months ago.

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  • #8610 Reply


    This may be a system-dependant question, but I’ll ask anyway: what are the various codes associated with a home security system?

    In our home (a rented house), we have a DSC Power 832 system. There is the “normal code” we use to arm/disarm the system.

    There is another code (I forget the name) which has more “power” than the regular code. I’ve never used it, but I know it exists.

    Lastly, there is the elusive “master code”. I know about this because when we moved in, we considered switching monitoring companies. The new monitoring company required the “master code”, which we do not have. The original monitoring company would only provide the master code after a service call (for which they charge $95).

    The point of my question is this: in the future, when I actually buy my next house, I want to know all relevant codes up-front, so that I am not held “hostage” to any monitoring company.

  • #8611 Reply

    The master code (MC) is for adding and removing the user codes, plus other functions, this code is for the owner/landlord of the house, the owner with the MC can add and/or remove the user codes, this is for when someone moves into their rental house, they can put in the renters user code so they can arm or disarm the system, after the renters move out, the MC can be used again to remove the renters code so that they can’t come back after new renters move in, and use their old code to break into the home.

    Odd that the monitoring station wanted the MC, I’m sure you told them you were renters…

    As for the MC, it isn’t something the landlord should give out, it is for them, and them only.

    I hope this helped.

  • #8612 Reply

    The Master Code is given only to the owner(s) of the alarm system. Since you are renting the property, you will use a User Code which will be programmed by your landlord using the Master Code.

    A User Code cannot be used to program other codes. Only the owner of the alarm system who has the Master Code can program other User Codes.

    In order to switch monitoring companies, the new alarm company has to have the Installer’s Code which is used by the installer to re-program the alarm panel to send signals and transmissions to their monitoring station.

    If the alarm company does not know the Installer’s Code, they can reset the alarm panel and then completely reprogram the alarm system as they wish.

    Some alarm companies put what is known as “an Installer Lock-out” on the panel to try to discourage their clients from doing business with a competing alarm company.

    If there is an Installer’s Lock-out on the alarm panel, then the new alarm company cannot reset the alarm panel – they MUST know the Installer’s Code or they have to change the alarm panel’s main board.

    If you are the owner of the alarm system, you would obviously know the Master Code. Also, if you decide to have your alarm system monitored, you should have the alarm company specify in writing that they will not place an Installer Lock-out on alarm equipment that you own.

    The better alarm companies that provide great service so that they keep their customers satisfied for many years have no need to place Installer’s Lock-outs on their alarm panels in an attempt to keep clients.

    Also, be aware that some alarm companies will sell you proprietary alarm equipment that was made exclusively for them (so that no other alarm company can program it).

    I am of the opinion that if the client owns the alarm equipment, then the client is free to do business with whomever they choose. I do not sell proprietary equipment. I change the Installer’s Code, but I do not place an Installer’s Lock-out on any of my clients’ alarm panels.

    Charging clients to remove Installer’s Lock-outs from alarm equipment that the clients own DOES NOT give the alarm installing company a good reputation, as I’m sure that you will now tell your family and friends to avoid this company.

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