Everything you need to know about older Radionics panels

(Please keep in mind this page is a draft, there will be additions and revisions over time, however the information here is still accurate)

So let's say you're an alarm collector looking to buy a Radionics alarm system, and don't know what's involved with it. Or you are just wanting to know more about them in general, well in either case you've come to the right place. I have had years of experience with lots of Radionics systems and have studied them greatly, so this page will be a collection of useful information and things that everyone should know about these systems before buying them.

Before anything else, let's make a few things clear about these systems. First off, they are definitely not very friendly to collectors, I highly suggest you don't get into these unless you are really dedicated to them and are ready to accept a challenge. Second, these panels are some of the most complicated systems in the industry, programming them is not at all as easy and simple as others are. A lot of technicians hate them for this reason, but once you're used to it, it's not all that bad. Third, even though different models of these keypads can look very similar, such as a D360 and a D620, they aren't always compatible with the same panels, so make sure to ensure the keypads that you get are compatible with the panel you have.

With that out of the way, let's get started. I'll be covering the more common panels (7000/9000, 4112/6112, 8112, 2212) here initially, but will add the older ones like the 4012/8012 later on. Radionics model numbers all start with "D" and then have up to four digits. If I reference a 5200 programmer, or a 7212 panel, I am really referencing a D5200 or D7212 respectively. Keep in mind that there are a lot of Bosch branded Radionics panels, if the model is the same, its the same panel. A Bosch 9412G is no different than a Radionics 9412G in terms of functionality, I will be referencing them all as Radionics in this page.

*** A brief history of Radionics, Inc ***

Radionics Inc was incorporated on June 23rd, 1975, with their headquarters located at 1800 Abbott Street in Salinas, California. Radionics would bring large improvements to the fire and security industry, including more detailed and faster reporting to central stations, remotely programmable panels, and other features that no other brand included. Radionics was a division of Detection Systems Inc, and eventually was merged out to Bosch Security Systems sometime around 2001, where their popular 9000 series panels were improved upon over time to become the GV4 panels and eventually discontinued in 2019 in favor of the newer B series. Radionics had popularity in the commercial and high security market where large numbers of points and areas were needed on a security system, and also had success in their smaller panels which are still common in residential and small business applications.

Radionics panels are some of the most resillient panels around, there are still original Omegalarm systems in use today.

*** Different panels and their features ***

Before you buy one of these systems, it is good to know which panels have which features. I will be mentioning which of these panels have a "datalock" feature and which programmers work with them, this is important and will be explained later on.

The 4112 and 6112 panels are older panels that are intended for smaller applications, they do not support an addressable bus, and support up to 16 zones using an expander. These panels can be programmed using the 5100 and 5200, and do not have a datalock.

The 8112 is an older panel which has several different variants supporting different features. These panels were the first to support the ZONEX bus for expansion and addressable points, and were popular for large installations. They also can use the Modem II format to report expanded data to 6500 and 6600 receivers. These panels can be programmed using the 5100 and 5200, only the very latest versions (G2) have a datalock.

The 7112 is a rather uncommon panel that was not very successful. This panel has resemblance to the popular 7000/9000 series panels, but is much different than them and is not a system I would recommend to start out with. This panel can be programmed with the 5200 and does have a datalock.

The 2212 panels are smaller panels designed around residential and smaller commercial installations. These panels are simpler in programming, but still include a wide variety of features. They can programmed with the 5200, or optionally from the keypad, and do include a datalock.

The 7000/9000 series panels (7212, 7412, 9112, 9124, 9412) are by far the most popular Radionics systems and are still very common. These systems support a large number of addressable points, access control, multiple partitions, scheduling, and much more. They can be programmed with the 5200 and do include a datalock. The 7212B1 and 9112B1 are earlier releases of this series and are slightly different in operation and programming to their more common counterparts.

*** Compatible Keypads ***

Getting a keypad that's compatible with your panel is one of the things that causes trouble for collectors with these systems. Here I will list the keypads compatible with several common panels.

*** Programming and passcodes ***

As I mentioned before, Radionics panels generally aren't keypad programmable, with one of the few exceptions being the 2212 panel. The 2212s keypad programming menu must be enabled first, and you must also have its installer code to access it. For most other systems, there are two options for programming them, one being a handheld programmer, and the other being the downloader software. Handheld programmers such as the 5100 and 5200 connect directly to the panel through a dedicated port.

The original downloader software is called RAM, standing for Remote Account Manager. It has several versions, the most common being RAM II which runs on MS-DOS, and RAM IV running on Windows. RAM V was being developed when Radionics became Bosch, and has been renamed to RPS. It is available for download on the Bosch Security website for free. I will be referring to it as RPS in this page, older versions of RAM may not support everything that RPS does. RPS can connect to the panel either by a direct connection module (9133DC) connected to the panel, over the network through a DX4020 module installed at the panel, or over a telephone line using a modem. All versions of RAM require the security block (5370), however RPS permits you to connect to the 4112/6112 panels and the new B series without the security dongle being installed.

There are two important passcodes on these systems for programming, the datalock and the RAMlock. The RAMlock code is sometimes called RAMpass, RAM passcode, RPS passcode, etc. I will be referring to it as the RAMlock within this page. The RAMlock is 6 hex digits (4 on older panels), and is set to 999999 by default. The datalock is a decimal number ranging from 1 to 65535, and is 12345 by default. Both the RAMlock and datalock are required to connect to the panel from RPS, however to connect with a handheld programmer only the datalock is required. Older panels do not have a datalock, but every remotely programmable panel will have a RAMlock. If the panel does not have a datalock, you can always use a programmer to connect to it even if the RAMlock is unknown, making it easier to reprogram used panels.

Unlike other manufacturers Radionics panels do not have any way to reset them to default, the only way to do that is to load a default account in RPS or a programmer, and then upload it to the panel. Again, there is no jumper, key combination, replacement chip, special passcode, or any other method used to reset the panels program to default.

Most newer panels like the 7000/9000 series, the 8112s, 7112, and a few others utilize a lithium battery on the panel board to keep their programming. This was done because large capacity EEPROM memory was expensive at the time, and the lithium batteries would last many years assuming the panel is powered 24/7. Though the problem is, most panels by this time have been sitting long enough that their lithium battery has died, even if they're new in box. When the lithium battery dies in these panels, their entire configuration is erased, including the RAMlock and datalock. They are reset to an invalid value that requires special methods to restore, thus locking out the panel. This is a common problem for collectors since most the panels you can find will be locked out and cannot be programmed. For panels that have a socketed lithium battery, it is safe to replace it as long as you do it while the panel is connected to both AC and battery power, GV2 panels can have their lithium battery replaced while powered off as long as it is done quickly. Always make a backup of your panels configuration before replacing the lithium battery. The lithium battery in these panels lasts years with the panel powered off, and lasts a very long time with the panel powered on. Both me and Norb at Obsolete Radionics can recover panels with a lost datalock or RAMlock, depending on the vintage of the panel and what type it is, it may be possible to do this remotely over a phone line. If you run into this issue, either by a dead lithium battery or just previously being locked out by another company, contact Norb at Obsolete Radionics and he can help you out. One thing to note in regards to the lithium battery, if you have a panel that is locked out but partially functional, removing the lithium battery will not fix it, it will only make the problem worse. A dead lithium battery is recognized by the keypads displaying "CALL FOR SERVICE" and the panel seeming totally unresponsive, it will not function correctly until it has its memory restored and has a default program uploaded to it.

*** The 5100 and 5200 programmers ***

The 5100 and 5200 handheld programmers are used for locally programming several panels. The 5100 programmer is much older, and hard to get parts for, I suggest you get a 5200 if anything because they cover everything the 5100 does and are much more intuitive. The 5200 programmer has "handlers" which are basically applications that the programmer runs to support different panels. The idea was that as more Radionics products were released, new handlers can be downloaded to the programmer instead of having to swap ROM chips or send the programmer back for upgrades.

The 5200 programmer contains lithium batteries that preserve its memory, just like the 7000/9000 panels. Once these batteries die, they must be replaced and the programmer will lose all of its configuration, handlers, and passwords. This battery unfortunately is soldered in, but replacements are still available. Once this is done, the handlers can be copied back from another 5200, or from my recreated Radionics Handler Update System, which is accessible to the programmer over a phone line at +1(304)451-7092. Information about the server and a list of handlers is available at a www.protostarlabs.net/handler.

*** So, where do I get started? ***

This is a difficult question, however I have a few recommendations for good panels to start out with and how to go about getting them programmed. A few good panels to start out with are the 7212G, 7412G, 9412G, 2212, and the 4112/6112. The most important part is that you get a panel that is not locked out, and doesn't have a dead lithium battery if applicable. The 2212s are great simple panels to start with, assuming you can find one that is unlocked and has keypad programming enabled. Their keypad programming is an obvious appeal, since you wouldn't have to dump a lot of money into getting a programmer or the security block for RPS. The 6112 is also a pretty easy one, if you can get a 5100 or 5200 programmer, you can program the 4112/6112, no exceptions. There's no datalock on the 4112/6112 so you don't have to worry about that when using a programmer, however the hard part with these is that compatible keypads are almost unobtainable now. The 7212G, 7412G, and 9412G are great since they have a socketed lithium battery, which can be replaced easily. If you can get one of these boards that is unlocked, thats perfect. Norb also sells most of these panels on his site, he refurbishes them and ensures they are unlocked and in working condition. In terms of programming these, the 5200 is definitely recommended, however if you are not intending to program it often, you could see if a local alarm company will help you out and let you borrow a 5200 programmer. Whatever you do, don't just buy any panel and expect it to be unlocked and in working order, make sure the seller knows the codes, or has had it reset.

*** Other tips and tricks ***

In this section, a long list of random unorganized bits of information to keep in mind that I think may be useful to someone...

Thanks for visiting, feel free to contact me on Discord (KJ7BZC#6500) for any suggestions, clarifications, or questions that this document did not otherwise address.

One other thing I must mention here: I have previously unlocked and programmed a few 7000/9000 panels for people over a phone line, but this is something I only do for close friends. Unlocking panels and programming them takes a lot of time and effort, I simply cannot do this for everyone, alarms aren't my only hobby and I need time to focus on other things too. For this reason, I request that you don't ask me to unlock and program panels for you, I will more than likely say no. I offer it to my close friends, not to everyone. Eventually I may list a few panels on Ebay under the username "radionics6500", If you come across them, they will be refurbished and unlocked, and likely include programming service as well. Otherwise, if you need to have a panel unlocked or programmed, I suggest you contact Norb at Obsolete Radionics, he offers programming as a service, along with the panels that he sells on his store. Thank you for understanding.

Keith Herbert (KJ7BZC) - 08/14/2022 22:16