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How to Operate Your ADT Alarm System

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Muhammad Baballe Ahmad, Mehmet Cavas, Sudhir Chitnis, and Zhen-ya Liu.

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How to Operate Your ADT Alarm System – Learn how to operate your ADT security system with this step-by-step guide.


Welcome to ADT, a leader in home security technology! ADT offers a state-of-the-art alarm system that protects your home from potential intruders. The intuitive interface allows you to program your system according to your preferences and offers features that allow you to customize the security settings of your system.

This guide will detail how to set up, operate and maintain your ADT alarm system. By familiarizing yourself with the security components of the system as well as programming the various features, you can ensure the safety of your home and family. Learn how to determine the settings that are best for you and take advantage of all of ADT’s top-of-the-line features. After reading this guide, you will be an expert on operating and maintaining your ADT alarm system!

Setting Up Your System

Setting up your ADT alarm system is an important step in giving your home and family complete protection. ADT alarm systems can be customized to fit the needs of your home and family, and with the easy to use setup and installation instructions, it’s easy to get your system up and running quickly. In this section, we will go over the simple steps of setting up your ADT alarm system.

Check the batteries

It is essential to check and replace the batteries on your ADT system at least once a year. Generally, when you open up the main monitoring panel, you will be able to select the ‘test’ button. This will help to identify any of your connection issues, potential power outages and other such issues that may arise with your system. When testing the battery level of your system, if any problem occurs then it is important to replace it at once as this can prevent any misfunctioning of your alarm system during an emergency situation. It is also advisable to install backup batteries in case of a power outage. This ensures that even during a power cut off situation, your alarm system will continue running and alert you about any break-in attempts or other security threats.

Test the sensors

Testing your sensors is a vital part of setting up your ADT Alarm System and ensuring it’s properly in operation. To test, press the TEST button on your ADT Control Panel. This will cause all of the sensors that are linked to the system to activate. As each sensor is activated, a green or red light will flash in the upper right corner of the sensor. Depending on what type of sensor you have, these lights may indicate a different status.

A green light typically indicates that all is well with the sensor while a red light usually means there is an issue such as low battery or interference signals that need to be looked in too. If this is happening with any of your sensors it will be important to investigate that particular sensor further before you complete testing of all devices and fully activate your alarm system.

Set up the control panel

Setting up your control panel is the first step in getting up and running with your ADT alarm system. To correctly install the system and register it with ADT, follow these steps:

1. Mount the control panel – Choose a secure area for mounting your control panel. A properly mounted panel should be installed out of direct sunlight and away from any extreme temperature or moisture variations.

2. Connect the power supply – Plug the power supply into an AC outlet with proper voltage that is not connected to any other home appliances or switches. Your power supply should also be UL-listed or approved by a national testing agency for fire safety requirements.

3. Connect to a phone line – Run a telephone line from your modem to the alarm system’s digital communicator (if provided). If needed, use standard modular phone cords to connect ports labeled “LINE.” Make sure that no other telephone devices are blocking access between these ports, as this could cause communication issues with the system later on.

4. Install batteries – Insert new batteries into both the interior siren and backup battery location in the control panel (if provided). All other sensors, remotes, and keypads will require their own set of batteries that can be purchased separately from ADT authorized dealers or stores. These should be installed according to each device’s specific directions before they can become active in communicating with your security system as intended.

5. Register your system – Lastly, contact an authorized ADT dealer or representative to activate and confirm registration of your security panel on their monitoring service platform so that emergency personnel can be dispatched quickly when necessary

Activating Your System

Activating your ADT Alarm System is a simple process and can be done in a few steps. With the proper instructions and devices, you can begin utilizing the benefits of this sophisticated home security system. The types of devices and steps may vary, but here are some basic steps that you can follow to activate your ADT alarm system.

Enter your code

Once you have registered your new ADT alarm system, it is time to set up and activate your system so it can start providing security for your home. The first step is to enter your user specific Master or Duress code into the system.

To enter your code, press the ‘Program’ button on the keypad. This action will cause ‘[Code]’ to show on the display. Now use the corresponding number keys to enter the 4-digit Master or Duress code that you set when you registered with ADT. Once you have entered all 4 digits, press the ‘#’ key and then again press ‘Program’. You should now see a message that reads: ‘System Ready For Use’.

Your system has now been activated and is ready for arming and disarming with your user-specific code(s).

Choose your desired settings

Once you have registered your system online, it is time to start Preparing to Change the settings that match your safety and security needs. You can choose a variety of settings to give you full control over the notifications, responses and behaviors of your system. This includes setting up scheduled armed periods when you are away, as well as allowing access to authorized users such as family members or pet sitters. You also have the option of turning on special pre-set modes for when you are going on vacation or leave for extended periods of time. In addition, you can choose the type of response (audio or video) that will be triggered and how long it will take for an alert message to be sent once an alarm has been activated. After Preparing to Change your desired settings in the user interface, simply activate your system and enjoy peace of mind in knowing that it’s monitored 24/7!

Activate the system

Activating your system is an essential step for setting up your ADT Alarm System and ensuring that it is running correctly. Follow these simple steps to activate your system:

1. Ensure all sensors are in place and securely mounted on the predetermined surfaces.
2. Double-check that the batteries are installed properly and within the voltage range given by ADT.
3. Turn on the main control panel to standby mode, often indicated by a green or blue light on the face of the panel itself (refer to product manual for specific instructions).
4. Arm or activate your system by entering your passcode either with keypad entry or using a separate remote control device (if included).
5. Monitor any alerts via email, phone call, text message or mobile app (if enabled).
6. If you have any troubleshooting concerns during activation, please refer to Product Support Section of the ADT website for assistance or contact an ADT representative at 1-800-ADT-HOME(1-800-238-4663).

Deactivating Your System

Deactivating your ADT alarm system is an important part of keeping your premises secured and your family safe. As such, it is important that you know how to properly deactivate your system so that you can do so whenever it is necessary. This guide will provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to successfully deactivate your ADT alarm system.

Enter your code

Before you can deactivate your system and arm it in the “Stay” or “Away” mode, you must enter your personalized four-digit passcode. Entering the wrong code will set off an alarm, so be sure to enter the right sequence of numbers associated with your system.

To deactivate your ADT alarm system, press “Off” on your control panel. This will cause a chime to sound and the Zone indicator lights will flash for each zone left open by doors, windows or other sensors that were activated prior to disarming the system. If all zones are secured (closed) and no smoke detectors have been activated, the control panel should beep once, which indicates that you have successfully disarmed the system. If a sensor has been triggered, stay put until an operator can verify there are no problems with your home security setup.

Choose your desired settings

Once you have armed your system, you can deactivate it with ease. To do so, press OFF on the ADT security panel – located on the front of the panel – and enter your four-digit code. Now you can choose from a range of settings to get everything just right for your specific needs. Read on for details about the different settings that are available.

-Stay – This setting is best if you will be moving around but staying at home, such as when sleeping or working from home. With Stay mode activated, interior motion sensors are not active; all doors and windows must remain closed for Stay mode to be effective.

-Away – When away from home for extended periods, Away mode is ideal. All zones of your security system will be monitored automatically while this setting is active.

-Chime – Chime mode allows each monitored window or door with a MAGNETIC CONTACT to have an audible chime each time they are opened or closed while the alarm system is deactivated. This feature can also be used when children come and go through monitored doors during the day while not compromising your safety and security protection (an arm / disarm code may still be necessary).

-Test Your System – If desired, you can test all components of your alarm system and ensure that it works properly by selecting Test Your System option in the menu when deactivating your system. Do keep in mind that any false alarms that occur during testing may prompt a response from one of our operators and would result in applicable fees being charged accordingly.

Deactivate the system

Your ADT alarm system is inactive when the green keypad light is constantly on. If a red light is present, the system is active and will sound an alarm if there are any unusual motions or sounds detected. To deactivate the system and turn off any alarms that may be triggered by unexpected movement or noise, simply follow these steps:

1. Enter your code. This code should have been provided to you at installation of your system and you will need it each time you deactivate your system.
2. Press and hold the off button for two seconds until you hear a single beep tone from the console inside your home indicating that the system has been successfully deactivated.
3. Lock all windows and doors as you normally would when leaving your home to ensure maximum security while away from home.

It’s important to remember to reactivate your alarm system once you have returned home or when leaving for extended periods of time if desired, otherwise your alarms may not sound in response to unauthorized access attempts which could lead to undesirable consequences.


It is wise to troubleshoot your ADT alarm system before calling a professional. This can save you time and money, by quickly fixing any issues you may have. Troubleshooting can help you identify and fix any technical problems with your ADT alarm system. In this section, we will discuss some of the common issues that you may experience with your ADT alarm system, and how to troubleshoot them.

Check the batteries

The operation of your ADT alarm system depends upon having functioning batteries that are properly placed in the device. If you’re having difficulty with your alarm system, the first thing to do is check that the batteries in your control panel and motion sensors are working correctly.

To check the battery in your control panel, you will need to open it and locate the voltage meter. This can be either battery powered or wired into your home’s electrical supply. The voltage of a new battery should read at least 9 volts, however ADT recommends using batteries at 12 volts for optimum performance. If it reads lower than 9 volts, replace your batteries immediately as this may be causing system failures or false alarms.

When checking motion sensors, you should also look for signs that indicators such as LED lights flash when a door or window is opened or closed to avoid false alarms. The LED lights are easy to spot – just follow the wires leading from each sensor and make sure they are flashing appropriately when opened or closed. Once you have replaced any weak batteries, make sure all sensors within range of your control panel have a strong signal before resetting your system – otherwise its accuracy can be compromised and false positives might still occur until you do so.

Test the sensors

The completion of a successful sensor test is essential to achieving maximum security protection with your ADT Alarm System. Testing the sensor typically requires you to walk around each room in the building, pointing the remote control at each sensor. This will help ensure that each of your sensors is properly aligned and sending accurate signals, and will also allow you to make sure there are no false alarms being triggered.

Before testing your sensors, refer to the user manual for step-by-step instructions on how to operate your specific model, including how to arm and disarm it. If some sensors are not responding when the system is armed or disarmed, check if batteries need changing or make sure it is installed properly. Also ensure that motion detectors are set up at a suitable height where pets or wind drafts can’t activate them. Once all changes have been made, retest the system as described below:

1. Activate the alarm by pressing “Arm” on the remote control or keypad
2. Wait 15 seconds while not disturbing any of the sensors
3. Open a door/window and wait for 15 seconds – an alert should sound
4. Close door/window and wait for another 15 seconds – an alert should sound
5. Repeat this process for every openable entrance into your home (doors & windows)
6. Once complete, deactivate the alarm by pressing “Disarm” on remote or keypad
7 Repeat steps 1-6 monthly

Reset the control panel

To reset the control panel of your ADT Alarm System, you will need to open the control box first. To do so, unplug the power adapter from the wall outlet. Once open, you can then press and hold one of three reset buttons for at least five seconds and release once you have finished. Depending on which kind of control panel you have, it might require either pressing the RESET button found inside or holding down a RESET/tamper switch on either side of the box’s outer cover while plugged in.

Typically, the panel will restart and then try to communicate with any connected sensors attached to your system. After completion of that process it should display a status code telling you whether or not there is an issue with any sensors or if everything is operating correctly. If all systems are operational, your alarm can be activated or deactivated as needed depending on your security requirements.

How to Operate Your ADT Alarm SystemCheckout this video:

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