The Texecom Premier Elite series of alarms can be programmed using Windows software called Wintex. This makes setting up these alarms far easier than using the keypad menus – they have hundreds of options and settings.
Texecom sell two products to connect to these alarms using Wintex – PC-COM (a serial port adapter ~£20) and USB-COM (a USB to serial adapter ~£35) . I strongly suspected these were just serial TTL converters, but I was concerned that there might be some jiggery pokery stopping this from working. Some software requires very specific VID (vendor ID) and PID (product IDs) on the USB device. Some software uses custom drivers. Others use microcontrollers and obfuscation to make sure you buy the genuine product.
As an avid hardware hacker, I have a lot of USB to TTL serial converters. The most useful (and reliable, in terms of drivers) are FTDI cables based on the FT232R chips. Genuine cables are ~£14, breakout boards can be as low as £2 on eBay. So let’s try and get connected to the Premier Elite 12-W using this cable.
There are two ports on the Premier Elite board – Com Port 1 and Com Port 2. These are 5 pin Molex connectors with only 4 pins populated. There didn’t seem to be a direct pin-out in the manual, so from the manual and with a multimeter we have:
Pin 1 – 12V
Pin 2 – nothing
Pin 3 – GND
Pin 4 – Receive
Pin 5 – Transmit
Signalling appears to be 5V. So, get out the 5V FTDI cable (they come in different voltages):
Pin 1 – GND
Pin 2 – Don’t care
Pin 3 – Don’t care
Pin 4 – Transmit
Pin 5 – Receive
Pin 6 – Don’t care
We then need to connect transmit to receive, receive to transmit, and common ground. This terminology might be at odds with alarm equipment – RS485 buses often label one wire “T” and it means transmit on the master, receive on the slave. I suspect this simplifies wiring as you just connect all “T” wires.
So, to connect the two:
Texecom – FTDI
Pin 3 GND – Pin 1 GND
Pin 4 Receive – Pin 4 Transmit
Pin 5 Transmit – Pin 5 Receive
Just be cautious of the 12V on pin 1 of the alarm board – sending this up the chuff of your PC will result in damage.
Find out which COM port the FTDI cable is using (generally go into Device Manager, and it will be listed there).
Go into Wintex and change the PC-COM port to this COM port:
Connect, receive settings, change settings, and monitor Ricochet devices to your heart’s content!