Can I program with a DSC PK5501?
The short answer is: yes.
It is difficult and not recommended to program your DSC PowerSeries using a PK5501 or an RFK5501 keypad. For much of the programming you will be doing it ‘blind.’ This means that you will not be able to see what you are entering or what section you are in. The keypad does give you a few clues, but they are not super helpful for the most part.
Visually you will get 2 things. First, you will be able to see the lights on the right side of the keypad to see how deep into programming you are. For instance you will have the red lock lit up solid initially. Then once you go into a section it will start to flash. If you go deeper it will continue to change. This is alright to know, but if you enter section 002 instead of entering section 001 on accident it will look exactly the same. The other thing you will see is a little more useful. Whenever a section has toggle options, you will be able to see what options are turned on by the small numbers appearing on the screen, 1 through 8.
The keypad will also give you some audible clues for programming. This can come in 2 to 3 short beeps or a long beep. The short beeps indicate a valid entry. A long beep indicates an invalid entry. Remember though that because you cannot tell exactly where you are in the programming, just because it likes what you entered does not mean that you entered the right thing.
One of the biggest reasons that we do not recommend programming on this style of keypad, whether you are experienced or inexperienced, is that you cannot go back through to check your programming. For example, if you think you accidentally might have entered a wrong number on one of your zone definitions, you have to go back and reenter all the data. But if you had a PK5500 or similar keypad, you could go back to your zone definitions programming section and scroll through the data without making any changes to it. This will allow you to actually verify that the programming is correct as needed.