Anatomy of a Wired Alarm Panel - Retrofit Alarm Kit

Common wired alarm components


1. Alarm box or alarm cabinet. The metal box that holds your wired alarm equipment.

2. Alarm panel. The circuit board that functions as the brains of your wired security system. All device and zone wires, along with electrical and battery backup wires connect to the panel.

3. Battery backup. The extra battery located inside your alarm panel which supplies power temporarily if the electricity goes out.

4. Transformer / power supply. This is the device that plugs into your wall outlet to supply power to your alarm panel.



5. Contact sensor zones. A zone is a closed wired loop that contains one or more devices. Zones are used as a way of grouping several sensors or devices together for efficiency. Contact sensor zones are two-wire zones with one or more contact sensors.

6. End of line resistors. Small wires with resistors on them used to reduce the flow of electricity, indicating the end of a zone.

7. Terminal. A connection point that secures the wires to the alarm panel. It will often hold each wire in place with a screw or a clip.

Wire nuts or wire connectors. (Not shown) Small plastic pieces secured over the end of any connection between two wires for safety.

Note: Each alarm panel will look different depending on the brand, model, location of the alarm panel, size of the home, security components, and other factors. Your panel may look different, but it will likely have the same components and work the same way. If you are not experienced in wired alarm equipment modification, we recommend that you consult a professional.


Optional wired alarm components

These items may be connected to your wired alarm panel, depending on your specific configuration. All of these items require an external power source to work properly:

  • Motion detectors
  • Carbon monoxide detectors
  • Smoke detectors*
  • Glass break sensors
  • Indoor or outdoor sirens
  • Keypads


Supported sensor types

We suggest using the Ring Retrofit Alarm Kit with wired door and window contact sensor zones.

Ring Alarm cannot activate wired indoor and outdoor sirens, or wired smoke or CO detectors.* If you see these on your Alarm panel, please do not attempt to add them to the Retrofit Alarm Kit.


Please Note: Traditional wired alarm systems are often wired to include multiple door and window contact sensors within a single zone. This means that the settings for a wired zone will likely include several wired contact sensors. When you add a wired zone to your Ring Alarm, customized settings will apply to all sensors within that zone.


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* Smoke and carbon monoxide monitoring is not available for commercial properties. See Ring Alarm licenses at:​

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