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What’s the difference between the PGMs on the DSC PC5204 and the DSC PC5208?

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Both the PC5204 and the PC5208 are output modules. But that is pretty much where the similarities end.

We will start with the PC5208 low current output module. The PC5208 has 8 low current programmable outputs. Each of these are limited to a maximum of 50 mA. The total across all 8 outputs cannot go higher than 250 mA. That is not the only power draw consideration that you need to take into account though. Because the PC5208 actually pulls power from the main alarm panel through the keybus, the total power draw cannot exceed 700 mA for everything connected to the main panel keybus and auxiliary power. Due to the current limitations of the PC5208, it is often only used with relays to act as the on and off switch on another circuit. But it can be used to power things like status LEDs or very low draw piezo sirens. Or it can even be used with something like a garage door to trigger opening or closing.

The PC5204 on the other hand has 4 high current programmable outputs. But not only that, the board is also a power supply module that can provide up to 1 amp of current. Because of this it requires its own PTC1640 power transformer. It will also need a 12 VDC backup battery in case the AC power goes down. In addition, you will most likely want a PC5003c to house the PC5204 and backup battery. Output 1 on the module is designed to be used for a bell output. It is limited to 700 mA of current. Output 1 does not have to be used for a bell output, but it is supervised which makes it a good choice if needed. Also if not in use you will want to put a resistor across it to avoid a supervision trouble. The PGM outputs on the PC5204 do not need to be used. It can be used solely to provide constant power to devices such as keypads or motion detectors.