Powermax Alarms

Frequently asked Questions

The following questions/answers may help you to understand the Powermax System.

Q How easy is it to install the systems?

The physical installation is easy - the devices on the sytem are simply fixed in their desired positions - no wires, no mess no fuss.

The Quick-fit kits are supplied with the detectors, fobs and siren all pre-enrolled into the system and will basically work straight out of the box.  Once the basic kit has been installed the system can be programmed to meet your specific needs - such as part sets, timers, telephone numbers and messages.  The PowerMax system is a feature-packed system and can be programmed to operate in sophisticated ways.  If you have a browse through the installation manual, you will get an idea as to what can be achieved.  However, do not be put off by what may seem to be complicated - it's not.  Installation as a basic alarm system is easy.

Q Do you offer technical support?

Yes, we give technical support for installing and programming the PowerMax systems by telephone (01942 20083501942 200835)or e-mail through the 'Contact' link at the top of the page.

Q What is the wireless range of the PowerMax systems?

Visonic quote approximately 100m line of sight for devices other than the keyfobs (20 metres).  In reality it is probably safe to work on a range of around 30-50 metres.  The only reliable method of determining whether the wirelss communication will be OK prior to installation is to use a signal strength tester - something beyond the scope of the DIY installer. In our experience, there are no communication problems in normal brick/stone built properties, metal is the material that is most likely to cause problems and as such transmitters and receivers should not be fitted near large metal objects or structures. 

Q What is the battery life of the detectors etc?

The battery life of the various (non-rechargeable) battery operated devices connected to the system depends on the usage.  However, Visonic have estimated that the batteries should last between 2 - 3 years under normal operating conditions.  The devices on the system will give warnings as to when the batteries require replacement.

Q How many wireless sounders can I connect to the system?

The MCS710 and its AC counterpart have been discontinued and were initially replaced by the MCS730.

As of late 2014 the MCS730 has been discontinued and replaced by the MCS740 which is compatible with the Express, Complete and Pro models.  The MCS740 actually uses the original MCS730 PCB but is supplied with a different battery and backplate.  Unfortunately the original reasonably-priced EVE battery will not physically fit in the modified backplate of the MCS740.  The battery for the MCS740 is very expensive, although Visonic claim that it has a longer life (up to 5 years).

As of Spring 2015, the MCS730 AC is still available, and is supplied with the original EVE battery.

Powermax Plus - You can connect a maximum of TWO wireless sounders (MCS700 or MCS710 - later Plus models can use the MCS730 or MCS730AC) to the Powermax Plus system.  You can also connect one hard-wired sounder to the Powermax Plus system.  The Powermax plus does not support the MCS720 internal sounder.

Powermax Complete, Pro and Express - You can connect a maximum of TWO wireless sounders (MCS730AC, MCS740 or MCS720) to the Powermax Complete system. You can also connect one hard-wired sounder to the Powermax Complete system with the use of the Expander.

Our currently supplied kits are supplied with the MCS740 sounder and new battery.

Q What is the difference between the 'Plus', 'Complete', 'Pro', and Express?


See the Comparison Table


Operationally, there are only minor differences between the systems.  Physically, the Complete and Pro models have a more modern design and also have their supply transformer fitted within the panel.  In reality, many installers do not fit the panel where it is readily seen, because, once programmed, there is little reason to access the control panel on a daily basis.  The setting/unsetting of the panel is normally carried out using the wireless keyfob(s), or even the telephone.

Also the Complete and Pro models can be fitted with an internal GSM module whereas the GSM module for the Plus is a boxed model fitted external to the panel.

The 'Complete' model needs to have the expander fitted if a hard-wired external sounder is to be installed.

The Pro model also has an in-built proximity reader - although why anyone would prefer this to the wireless keyfob is a bit of a mystery - except perhaps where children are using the system and it is a lot cheaper to replace a lost prox tag than a keyfob.

Q How secure and reliable are PowerMax wireles systems?

From a security point of view, wireless systems can never be as secure as hard-wired systems as they can never achieve a security grade above Grade 2 - read our article on security grades.  All the PowerMax systems are Grade 2.  They are fully supervised systems - the devices on the system are constantly monitored and will report Jamming, low battery etc.  CAUTION; beware of cheap wireless systems as sold by large DIY stores - they are not as secure, do not have good transmission ranges, and are not usually fully supervised.  The PowerMax systems are used by professional installers including NACOSS registered installers.

From the reliability point of view, the PowerMax systems have excellent transmission strengths and in general will exceed 30 metres through walls and glass.  Metal structures in the transmission path can cause problems. Rpeaters are available to boost the signal strength over long distances or where the transmission/reception is poor.

Q What can the hard-wired zones be used for?

The hard-wired zones are EOL zones - i.e. they have a two-wire connection from the detector and use resistors (supplied) in the circuit to differentiate between alarm signal and tamper signals.  Note: if a hard-wired sounder is connected to the control panel and the sounder's tamper circuit is used then one of the hard wired zones is used for the sounder's tamper.  Also note that more than one hard-wired detector can be connected to a hard-wired zone, however if powered hard-wired detectors (PIRs, Vibration etc.) are used there is a limit to the amount of power (100mA) available from the control panel to power these detectors.  Typically PIRs require around 15mA and Dual Technology PIR/microwave units around 25mA.  If the 100mA is likely to be exceeded then an additional power supply can be used to power the detectors.

Q Can I fit a hard-wired sounder to the system?

Yes, the Powermax plus and Pro control panels have terminals for connecting a hard-wired sounder, the Powermax Complete requires the expander module., the Powermax Express has no provision for fitting a hard-wired sounder.  Most SAB type sounders can be connected provided that the current drain is not greater than 550mA in alarm.  The sounders we recommend are the Texecom Odyssey range and the CQR Multibox range.  These are listed under hard-wired sounders in the category list.  The connection diagram is in the Manuals section of this website.

Note:  the Powermax 'Complete' model requires the Expander unit to enable a hard-wired sounder to be connected - refer to the Manuals.

Q What is the difference between the MCT302 & the MCT320?

The MCT302 is larger than the MCT320 however the MCT320 does NOT have a Hard-wired input.

Q How do I ascertain which frequency my existing Powermax System is on?

Visonic have used 4 different requencies at various times and locations.  These are (MHz) 418, 433, 868, and 869.  Modern systems (typically less than 4/5 years old and in the UK) use 868 and this is now what is supplied in the UK and central/northern europe.  Some devices are still available for the older frequencies, more so for the 433 range.  In order to determine the frequency of your system, the first place to look is on the label on the back of a remote keyfob or keypad.  The next place to look is on the rear of the control panel.  Another way is to retrieve the serial no of the control panel using the panels on board menu, and to then call Visonic who should tell you the frequency of the panel.  The Visonic website is www.visonic.com.





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