The Optima XM is quite an old alarm panel, nearly 18 years old, but the ones that are still going strong are quite reliable. ADE Ltd (Advanced Design Electronics) are now owned by Honeywell, and the newer Optima G3/G4 panels are sold under the Honeywell name. There was a version of the Optima that used a keyswitch, but soon got discontinued, due to the system being too easily overridden. Burglars could just rip the front off the panel and short the keyswitch terminals to disarm the alarm.

Alarms are technically nothing but switches (normally closed type) in a circuit, and faults that occur are usually down to old and/or incorrect wiring, or faultysensors/PIRs. Pressure mats can stick closed (normally open) causing confusing triggers. The Optima panels had a microcontroller controlling the timers, triggers, zones and keypad, so was a bit more complex. Under Kitamura Security we’ve done quite a few, and can perform board repair and NVRAM repair on the Optima

One of the most common faults with the XM I’ve fixed in the past is when the customer calls me out saying the alarm is stuck in Tamper or Attack. This is usually caused by:

A. Faulty PIR/door magnet/panic button connected to any zone

If a sensing device is faulty, and or shorting, this causes the tamper. The system thinks it’s being attacked. To correct this, check the PIR/magnet/panic button internally for any obvious problems, and re-check/reform terminal wiring. Make sure the wiring is correct. One side is power, and the other is the pulse sense line to trigger.

B. Faulty wiring

I’ve had alarms go into tamper because of damaged wiring running under carpets that has had weight on it. Lazy engineering! All wiring should not be routed in traffic paths, under carpets or furniture. When I fit a wired alarm, I route all cabling under floorboards, where it can’t be disturbed. Trapped wiring causes shorts of the pulse line and power line, that can result in damage to the control board.

C. Faulty panel tamper switch

The spring inside the panel door connected to the door tamper switch has been known to slip sideways and off the switch due to the pressure of the door when screwed shut, and vibration, causing the Tamper. No matter how many times you reset it, if this switch is open, it’ll stay in fault until the Engineer code is input.

Fault Isolation

To isolate a wiring or detector fault, follow these steps:

a. Turn off the mains to the panel, and disconnect the battery

b. Remove the panel cover and remove ALL zone wiring, making sure you label what goes where.

c. Place service links across ALL 4 zones (any open zones will result in a trigger as soon as power is applied). DO NOT CONNECT LINKS ACROSS STROBE, ADE SCB, BELL OR TRANSFORMER TERMINALS!! Power on, and if all is fine, disconnect power again.

d. Re-introduce zones one at a time until the problem re-appears. Perform necessary repairs to faulty zone(s) and retry.

e. (Optional) Reset NVRAM, and perform factory installation programming.

f. Perform full system walk test to verify correct operation of all sensors, programming and panel.

g. Make a note of all zones, and customer code, handing them to the customer after showing them system operation.

The system should operate as a “skeleton”. This is my term for the way I set the system up on the floor loosely on a fresh install to test before screwing everything in place and routing wiring. I simply connect a door magnet, PIR, strobe and siren, and test basic operation. If the system doesn’t operate like this, the PCB requires service, which I can do.

There’s a lot of hype on the internet saying, “The Optima is utter shite”. That is so so untrue. They’re just awful cowboy engineers and whizz kids saying that. I have intimate experience of the Optima XM, as my parents still use one after 16 years of service, and myself in my repair outhouse at home, and serviced regularly, they’re great alarms. Quite rare nowadays, but if you can get a spare one working, it’d be great to keep around. I’ve even brought electrically dead ones back from the grave, and one of them is still running lovely 6 years later.

You could say I love the Optima XM. I do, greatly, and always will. It has protected the people and property who own them flawlessly, and it’s a joy every time I get called to service one that’s been in since new 10 – 15 years ago. They don’t make ’em these days like they used to!

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133 Responses to “Optima XM – Constant Tamper”
  1. Craig Nicholson says:

    Hi there Tidosho thanks for the reply ,I checked the fuses and one looked blown so I have just bought some and it started to run off the battery when I had the power off so I’m assuming it is now working,originally I thought it was the battery so bought a new one but it seems to be running off the original battery but thanks for your time and providing diagrams you have been most helpful and informative cheers.

  2. Keith Turner says:

    My Optima XM is still giving sterling service – I do need to replace the battery – Thanks for an interesting & informative Blog given me more insight into my alarm.

  3. Les Jones says:

    Hi Tidosho, My mother has an Optima XM ,which has worked fine for many years but has now developed a problem.When she tried to enter her code to arm the alarm,zone one flashes and beeps as normal (front door open) but straight away zone 2 & 3 start flashing and beeping aswell.We have visually checked the sensors (one is a pressure pad on the landing) and everything seems ok. Any ideas ? (PS the battery was replaced about 12 months ago) Les jones

    • Tidosho says:

      Can you take a look at my article on Optima burnt resistors, click HERE, and tell me what your mum’s looks like under the cover? If it looks fine we’ll try something else.

  4. Ian T says:

    Thanks for the blog entry, nice to find someone with a bit of sympathy for older electronics, as I do. Just got home from my neighbour’s house looking at his Optima XL6 panel, which seems to have a tamper fault, but I don’t know the normal indications to be sure.

    His tamper LED is flashing once per second while the alarm is unset, but goes out while set. I linked the tamper loop out to disable it, but the loop resistance was 38 Ohms and I doubt that is a problem. Usual thing, a few internal sounder indications while unset and a LED that points to a fault.

    Can you help me with the panel’s normal behaviour please, as the manual seems to be pretty poor in that regard.

    Many thanks,


  5. Martin says:

    I’ve been to a relations home which has the Optima XM installed, there in no door contact on the backdoor, the window fitters kindly took it away with them when they installed the new one. The only problem they have at the moment is when there is a power cut all is fine, but as soon as the power comes back on the alarm goes off. Any information that can help would be grateful thanks.

    • Tidosho says:

      Hiya Martin,

      The alarm going off after a power failure is most certainly a faulty battery in the control panel, they’re widely available from electrical shops.

  6. Martin S says:

    A relation of mine has the Optima XM the alarm goes off when the power comes back on after a power cut. They have no door contact on the backdoor as the window fitters took half of it away with them when they installed the new back door. any idea what could be wrong.

  7. Alan says:

    I have a old optima alarm. I fit it myself must be 20 years ago. But now for some reason at 1am in the morning it starts to bleep ( I don’t now how it how’s it’s 1am in the morning) the alarm is not set a matter of fact it’s not been used much over the years. Iv never had to take the front off. It’s alway worked on the odd occasion it’s been needed, still got the original battery.
    Could someone advise me what now started to go wrong.
    Many thanks.

  8. Paul says:

    I have an optima XM6 and recentley when i returned from holiday i noticed the alarm bell was flashing when i entered my house house the alarm didnt respond and was locked on tamper and i cant reset and no buttons are working i tried turning electricicity off and on again the alarm went off so i put in the code and its just locked to tamper again any thoughts thanks.

    • Tidosho says:

      Hi Paul,

      As mentioned in the article, you have an open Tamper loop. The Tamper loop is wired to the casings of PIR’s and door magnets, your bell box cover etc, so if a cover is removed the alarm locks out in a full alarm condition, with the keypad locking out. The Tamper loop should not be normally open, check that PIR cases are closed properly, that your bell box cover is secure, and that door magnets aren’t dislodged, making sure that the microswitches the covers activate are operating mechanically with a clicking sound.

      If those are OK you’ll need to have your system wiring checked over by somebody, I can’t give specifics without seeing the system.

  9. Paul Parker says:

    Tidosho. I have the old Optima XM (20yrs old). The control panel has started to omit a beep approx every 90seconds. I have pressed the reset button but it continues to beep. We did have a problem with the electricity suply to it but I think that was sorted. I was waiting to see if the fault was because it was on battery back up but it has beeped now for over a week. Any other ideas. Thank you. Paul.

  10. alan alex says:

    I tried to shorten the entry and extend the bell time on my Optima XM control box. Then It wouldn’t set. ( I now suspect I didn’t follow my manual’s exact directions )

    I then replaced the control box battery as it was fitted in solve the problem. It sounded when I removed the front cover; tamper mode worked,

    Now it wont stop sounding when the new battery is connected although the Tamper LED is not on. When I put the cover back on whether the power is on/off and I put my code in it continues to sound! How is this cured please?

    No2 Question: Where can I obtain a Keypad Rubber cover with the numbers on? Mine is worn out.

  11. Cat says:


    After a power cut the keypads on my optima xm6 alarm won’t work (power light and tamper light on)- I have replaced the battery but still problem remains.

  12. suki says:

    Hi, after a power cut the keypads on my optima xl 6 aren’t working. All lights are on. I’ve also changed battery. I set alarm but no noise on key pad . Can anyone help
    . Cat what do you mean by tamper button sorted. I’ve done all manually checks but can’t hear the internal sound.

  13. Gavin says:

    Hi my alarm has developed a noise coming from the outside box that’s on the side of building it sets ok and still goes of but when in standby mode it’s like it’s a very distant noise going of.

    • Tidosho says:

      Hi Gavin,

      That sounds like a faulty sounder. If they get moisture inside them they’re known to make noise as they have a control circuit inside them, it may be defective.

  14. Mark says:


    I have an XM6 which has done sterling service. After a recent power cut it wouldn’t reset and as you might suspect, the back up battery was rather dead. So, I replaced that but when I power up the internal alarm goes off, I have am power light, but no other response (including no response to the keypad).

    I tried the reset process (linking 13 and 23) and the only difference is that all the zone lights come on briefly before reverting to the above situation (power light and internal alarm speaker only, zero other response).

    I have looked at past posts and completed a visual check of the board, including under the keypad.

    Any clues gratefully received, or alternatively do you do reconditioned boards?



    • Tidosho says:

      Hi Mark,

      The panel going into full alarm on power restore is normal, however the keypad lockout isn’t, it should still respond to keypresses. The reset procedure is terminals 9 & 19, so if you HAVE joined 13 & 23 you may have shorted something.

      Try resetting it with 9 & 19, it should then revert to factory code of 0123. The problem with the resistors and rectifiers is they don’t always look visually bad, and test good outside the circuit, but they break down under load in the circuit. I responded to your other comment, I don’t have any repaired boards in, only faulty ones, and only XM 4 zone boards. If I repair one I’ll give you a shout.

      • Mark says:

        Oh! The instruction for the XM6 that I have clearly say 13 & 23! I had read elsewhere that the XM4 used 9 & 19 but because of the extra 2 zones the XM6 used 13/23 (eg adding 4, which makes sense)

        To verify, 13 and 23 are labelled PR+ and Bell +; terminal 9 is actually a zone connection…. sorry to query this but can you confirm whether it’s 9 & 19 or 13 & 23 for an XM6?

        Noted re no working boards right now – I suspect that there’s a customer waiting here if that helps your motivation!



  15. Phil says:


    We have an old Optima alarm which was working fine until randomly going off internally only in the night.we reset it but the tamper light is on.

    I’ve replaced the battery as it was old but all zone lights are on and panel tamper light is also on and the key pad also seems to be locked.

    Can you help?

  16. Steve says:

    Hi Tidosho, I wonder if you could help with a tamper fault on my Optima XM? The internal alarm will go off every few days or so and can be cancelled by inputting the user code – the tamper light shows and is extinguished when the reset button is pressed. The system is also restored and will work OK for a few more days. I’ve replaced the control unit battery ( it was 3 years old ) and visually checked the 2 fuses, both look ok. I have checked all the PIR covers and the panel door switch, all appear to be ok and have not been disturbed recently. The weird thing is, removing any of the PIR covers does not trigger the tamper alarm, apart from the control unit cover.
    Also checked the terminals for loose connections, etc. All appear to be ok.
    Before I get my meter out and checking for shorts/open circuits, would you have any advice to point me in the right direction – I must be missing the obvious. Any info gratefully received.
    One more thing, we had an extra room built and I was advised to add a 5th PIR in series.

    • Steve says:

      Update. Should have checked more closely before creating comment. In the the control box, tamper loop wires have been removed from terminals 11 & 12 (marked TAMP) and replaced with a shorting link. Makes sense why no internal alarm is triggered when a PIR cover is removed. Would it be wise to replace the external bell battery as I think that this is the original. The system must be 25 years old, I suspect.

  17. bill podmore says:

    i have OPTIMA XM6 tamper alarm goes off every so often some times when another mains object is switched on but not all the time have just replaced the battery many thanks Bill

    • Tidosho says:

      Hi Bill,

      This sounds like the transformer may be defective, and current inrush on your mains is causing the voltage to dip too much for it to sustain. I’d have it checked by an electrician. The battery should prevent the alarm being affected once it is fully charged.

  18. Dennis Major says:

    Hello Tidosho
    I have read your blog as I have the keypad lock out but the power and day LEDs still on.
    The attack button was never fitted and the tampers on the PIRs look like they are not wired in.
    Would you get the tamper fault with both these LEDs still on and more importantly if I take the cover off without being able to put the engineer code or any code in the alarm will sound continually especially if I cannot find the fault?
    Any clues would be appreciated.

  19. Dennis says:

    Hi Tidosho – I have the same issue with the keyboard lock out but do not have the tamper or attack LED’s illuminated. The Power and Day LED’s are illuminated still as if it is in the normal mode but the keyboard will not work. Is this still a potential tamper fault as described above or something else?
    Thanks for any feedback you can give.

    • Tidosho says:

      Hi Dennis,

      Can you try an NVM reset for me, by jumpering terminals 9 & 19? You’ll need to reprogram it, I wrote a guide HERE. Corrupt settings have been known to cause lockout.

  20. Mark says:

    I disconnected bell strobe from outside bell box because plastic casing disintegrated.
    This has caused the anti tamper light to come on . The tamper light is now showing and the number pad is now inactive
    How do i get the tamper light to go off and reset alarm.
    The is a optima xm6

    • Tidosho says:

      Hi Mark,

      You’ll need to disconnect the wires from your bell box casing tamper switch, and twist them together. Or you can tape the switch closed. I suspect as your casing has disintegrated the switch isn’t being closed correctly.

  21. Mrs Kelly says:

    Hi Tidosho, I have had my optima xm for well over 20 years and it has never caused any concerns until now! we have fitted a new kitchen and the sensor on the window is not working and now we can’t use the alarm at all.

    We had to take off the window sill to move the wiring and think we damaged the shock guard! is it possible to still get these or do you have any other suggestions

    Many thanks

  22. Mark G says:

    Hi. I’ve got an Optima XM6 and it’s been disconnected from the mains for about 2 years. I’ve installed a new battery and switched it on and all seems fine and able to programme it except that when I go to enter the code to set the alarm it sounds and the zone 5 led comes on. Anybody have any ideas what could be wrong??

    • Tidosho says:

      Hi Mark,

      That sounds like your Zone 5 loop is open, it isn’t a tamper, otherwise the tamper light would be on. If it’s a door/window, check the obvious, and that the door/window is closed properly. Next you’ll need to check the wiring at the terminals of the zone device (magnet, PIR, impact sensor etc) and the zone terminals at the panel. If that doesn’t cure it then there’s a break in the wiring run between the zone device and panel.

      I’ve had systems where wiring has been run OVER floorboards rather than under, and the wiring has been trapped by furniture, floor traffic etc. It can be a nightmare trying to find a break, as they’re not always obvious!

  23. Christine says:

    Hi – after a power cut we have the following fault:
    All 4 x zone lights lit
    Power, Tamper and day lights on
    Attack light off
    Key pad frozen

    Could you talk us through how to sort

    • Tidosho says:

      Hi Christine,

      That sounds like more than a tamper fault, it’s an electrical issue with the regulators. I did an article on it, click HERE to read it.


  24. Ray Murray says:

    Have a wired door sensor at bottom of front door which has been knocked off by removal men wires snapped red blue black blue there are six screws in sensor which ones do the wires go in it is a wired optima xm

    • Tidosho says:

      I can’t tell you for sure. Different installers wire the colours differently. What I can tell you is that the zone terminals are the ones that have leads coming out of them, that is a reed switch. The tamper terminals are two of the other ones, look for two terminals that seem to be electrically joined. You’ll need to look under your panel cover to see which colour wires are the zone ones, and which are the tamper ones.

  25. Hi, I would like to know how to change a current alarm code to a new one, as I have just moved in to a new house.

  26. Sherri says:


    We have an Optima XM that’s suddenly stopped working, the only light lit is the red power light and the keypad has stopped working, please could you tell me what could be wrong and how I could get it working again.


  27. Anne says:

    Hi the instruction manual shows how to omit zones. Pretty straight forward but how then can the zones be added back in at a later date. Thanks Anne

    • Tidosho says:

      Hi Anne,

      Omitting a zone only omits it for that set cycle. When the alarm is put into Day and then set again, the zone has to be re-omitted, it isn’t permanent.


  28. Keith says:

    Hi can you tell me if I can a new key pad for my optima xm 6 zone alarm please and were

  29. brendandoyle says:

    Hi l brought my optima xm burglar alarm about 25years ago after we were burgled l installed it my self using the instruction manual I have used it every time l have gone out no problems so far great alarm would buy it again .

    • Tidosho says:

      Hi Brendan,

      They really are good alarms, they were made in the days when electronics were made to last, and be repairable. Give me a shout on here if you ever need it repairing, and I’m sure we can keep it running as long as you’re in the house ๐Ÿ™‚

  30. MALCOLM says:


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