Home Alarm system transformer question

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by a12548, Jul 10, 2018.

  1. a12548

    a12548 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2006
    Location:
    Florida
    My home alarm system has a transformer in the attic. It always felt very warm but not so hot that you cannot keep your hand on it. I replaced it, and it is the same. Given the extreme summer heat in my Florida attic, and since the pro installer installed it up there in the first place, am I okay as it stands or should I reroute the wiring into a living space outlet?
    ADT system w/ Honeywell 16.5v 40va and a Tripp Lite Isobar surge protector
     
  2. genmaster

    genmaster New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2017
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    It seems a little odd to install the main panel in the attic, especially because the printed circuit boards and their electronics generally don't like heat. Are we talking about an adapter type transformer plugged into an outlet? If so, is it plugged in completely, i.e. the connection is tight? How long ago was this system installed? If it's been there for several years, I'd have to wonder if the heat has caused an issue on the power supply or control board. Have you added any devices, like motion sensors which would have increased the load? Loose connections and increased load will definitely make it heat up beyond what it normally is. If a loose connection was the culprit, you may see discoloration or even some melting/deformed plastic. Just some things to check out before you start moving stuff.
     
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  4. a12548

    a12548 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2006
    Location:
    Florida
    Ah sorry I may not have been clear enough, no, the whole works of the alarm system is in a bedroom closet, only the actual 16v transformer is plugged into an attic outlet which is attached to a stud. It never malfunctioned, but felt very warm, so I replaced it with a newer model transformer with same specs thinking it was going bad, but alas, it also feels very warm. I am just wondering at what point does it go from normal heat dissipation to an issue.
     
  5. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2004
    Occupation:
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    Location:
    New England
    Transformers tend to run warm. They'll run warmer with the more power running through them. You might find that using a 60VA capacity transformer (or larger as long as the output voltage is the same, won't really matter except it'll cost more) might run cooler. WIthout knowing the quantity of devices plugged into your system and their types, you can't accurately add up the load and size the thing. Some transformer designs will run more efficiently than others, too.

    It would only be a problem if it is overloaded and then, it might start to melt if it didn't have any overload protection like a fuse or circuit breaker. Overload protection could be electronic, but since that costs more, isn't very common.
     
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  6. a12548

    a12548 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2006
    Location:
    Florida
    Thanks Jad for taking the time to explain it very well!
     
  7. JerryR

    JerryR Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2011
    Location:
    Florida
    Yep, these transformers run hot. I had one in one of my homes in the attic in South Florida. The Honeywell transformer may even discolor from the heat. My preference is ELK https://www.amazon.com/ELK-TRG1640-AC-Transformer-16-5VAC/dp/B0010PKVMQ/ they are rated slightly higher at 45 va, (16.5vac) and seem to hot but not quite as hot.

    That’s what I’ve used on 4 installations of homes I’ve owned in Florida. In my current home I have 2 of these. One for the main panel and another for aux power supply. I need an aux PS because I have 4 keypads, Honeywell VAM, 3 motion detectors, Envisalink IP communicator and a dual path IP/cellular communicator, all drawing power from the panel.
     
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