What is Loss of Supervision?

What is loss of supervision malfunction and how can it be fixed?

Loss of supervision occurs when the panel doesn’t receive a “check in” signal from the sensor. This can be caused by a few factors, from a simple low battery to environmental issues that are more troublesome to pinpoint.

When was the last time you changed the sensor’s battery?
Loss of supervision can be caused by a dying or otherwise low battery. As the battery drains, the RF signal isn’t quite as strong and won’t travel as far when compared to a fully charged battery. You’ll want to test the strength of the battery to confirm before replacing a potentially good battery. Always make sure you use the factory recommended battery and that the batteries are new!

Once battery failure has been ruled out, you likely have an environmental issue causing the loss of supervision. You’ll want to check the sensor’s distance from the panel. The maximum functional distance of a typical sensor is around 350-600 feet in an open air environment. However, in a home with electrical devices, metal pipes and other obstacles that the RF signal must travel through, that distance will certainly be muted.

To troubleshoot, start by checking that the sensor’s installation point is within 100 feet of the panel. You can try to clear a loss of supervision by simply tampering the sensor to refresh it’s status at the panel. Should that fail to resolve the issue, try moving the sensor’s install point, even if
its just a couple inches. Keep in mind, window and door sensors can have loss of supervision issues if they are mounted on metal frames, which can be a common building material for those locations.

If moving the sensor is not an option, or environmental factors are out of your control, you can try
installing a wireless signal repeater. The repeater will receive a weak or low-level signal and then re-transmit it at a higher level so that the signal can cover a greater distance without signal degradation.
Make sure you obtain one that is compatible with your panel’s wireless sensor protocol, or a universal one such as the Resolution Products RE524X. Note that these devices typically do not repeat the signal of a life safety device and will not work with encrypted sensors.

If you have an IQ Panel 2+, consider PowerG sensors considering their greatly improved range (~2000 ft).

It should also be stated that using more than one repeater in a location can create a feedback loop wherein a sensor reports opening, the repeaters pick up that signal, then transmit it to the panel and to each other, then repeat the same signal they just sent and received.

Discovering the exact cause of a loss of supervision issue can be a bit of trial and error but typically the issue will be resolved by following the above steps.