Further Adventures With ADT Pulse - Updates

Hope you had a great weekend. It was quiet at the AAAD house - not only was Saturday our first day in nearly 2 weeks with no houseguests, and the baby slept almost all the way through the night.

Which meant that Sunday was a good day for some home projects! 

Until I tried to disconnect my ADT Pulse Gateway, got careless, and crashed the whole system....
If it's been quiet on AAAD lately, it's not because we've been slacking off. Quite the opposite! We tore down and rebuilt the washing machine!

A few months ago, we realized that our Whirlpool Cabrio washer was failing. 
  • First it was incredibly noisy on the spin cycle. 
  • Then, it started spraying some oil and grease around in a circle underneath. 
  • Finally, water started leaking out around the center shaft. 
We tore the entire washer apart, identified the problem, and put it back together with a new bearing kit -- to no avail. Apparently, the washer was done. 

We replaced it with an Electrolux EIFLS55IIW, which is pretty great so far (even though installation has been a bit of a trial, HHGregg....)

And yesterday, we found a great Craigslist buy - a Pottery Barn Bedford cabinet piece for $40 which matches our current home office setup. 

This additional piece will be able to store (and hide away) a printer, some of the networking boxes we've accumulated, and all of their wires. (i.e., cable modem, ADT Pulse Gateway - and soon, a dedicated VOIP box so I can go back to using my own cable modem and stop renting.) Clean office!

However, hiding these boxes away inside a cabinet meant disconnecting and reconnecting a large number of cables. 

And I got careless.  

Connecting Your ADT Pulse Gateway

First off, if you're ever disconnecting and reconnecting a device with a lot of wires, take a quick "before" photo of the configuration. 

It takes literally no time, and it could save you hours of effort. 

I was trying to move fast, probably a little sleep-deprived, and skipped this step. 

Bad idea. 

The ADT Pulse system requires a few components to be able to talk to each other. The keypads are hardwired into the main switchboard, as is the Gateway. The Gateway can talk to your network, and allow control via internet-connected devices. 

TL;DR version - there are telephony wires involved, with all that that entails. And I popped them out, without noting which color wire was attached to the TX+, TX-, RX+ and RX- ports. 


4 ports. 4 color-coded wires (Black, Light Blue, Red, Yellow.) Absolutely no markings on any wires. 

I took a shot at reconnecting - just hoping that they'd work in any configuration. Nope. The security system worked, and could be armed by the keypad, but it could NOT be controlled via Pulse. 

Pulse was reporting the keypad as "Offline" - I'm guessing this is b/c the Gateway wasn't able to communicate with the system. 

I got ADT on the phone. They instructed me to go to the main switchboard in the basement, pop it open, and see which colored wires correspond to the TX+, TX-, RX+ and RX- ports down there. 

Aha! Simple enough. Downstairs, it went like this:
  • TX-   Blue
  • TX+  Yellow
  • RX-   Black
  • RX+  Red
So, just match them up with the corresponding port upstairs, right? Wrong. 

The ADT tech told me that I'd have to reverse the polarity - that TX- in the basement should be TX+ upstairs, and so on. 

So, I tried:
  • TX-   Yellow
  • TX+  Blue
  • RX-   Red
  • RX+  Black
This was incorrect. More on that later. 

At this point, the ADT tech was flummoxed. We rebooted the entire security system. Nothing. Rebooted the wifi network. Nothing. 

He determined that a technician would have to visit, at a cost of $138.99.  No WAY I was agreeing to that. 

I'd try every color-coded wire combination first! (I'm no mathemagician, but it seems to me that there should be 24 possible combinations. 4*3*2*1. Right? That would take an hour, tops, to figure out.)

But first - to the internet! 

Not surprisingly, there was very little in the way of instruction re: telephony wire connections on a Netgear ADT Pulse Gateway device. 

There was, however, the occasional schematic for installing DIFFERENT types of telephony devices. And I figured one thing out: 

TX means "transmit". RX means "receive". 

And suddenly it all made sense. The TX wires were SENDING data to the switchboard. The RX wires were RECEIVING data from the switchboard. 

The plus and minus signs were just indicating which data connection was involved. It could have been "A" and "B", but they went with + and -. 

So, TX+ needed to be connected to RX+, not TX-!

I went with this configuration:
  • TX-   Black
  • TX+  Red
  • RX-   Blue
  • RX+  Yellow
And just like that, the whole system came back to life!

Still, this 3-hour journey could have been avoided, if I'd taken my own advice and simply photographed the wires before popping them out of their jumper locations.

Some good came from this, though - I learned that I can control GE Jasco Z-Wave light switches with my ADT Pulse system - and that they can be automatically triggered via schedule.

I'm going to get my exterior lighting to turn on automatically, sooner rather than later. 


  1. I stumbled onto this post due to the same issue- my Pulse and system were just installed Saturday and worked for about... oh 24 hours? Lost the broadband connection last night at 5 pm. Tried the wire switch above- didnt work. But I was excited someone was so close to the same issue!
    Been on hold with ADT ASAP (is this a joke on the consumer?) for 1 hour and forty min with no person speaking to me yet...

    1. Sorry that we didn't have *exactly* the same issue.... It's fun to read these old posts.

      For what it's worth, in the 2 years since I wrote this, our Pulse has worked with no issues.

  2. It's amazing how you fixed everything! I only can remake things I post at inkbotdesign.com/nasa-logo-design, and such household things are too complicated for me.

  3. my god man you saved my butt when i accidentally unplugged everything. I followed ur directions. WORKS GOOD NOW!! whew.... and before my parents found out lmao.. they woulda freaked out..lol

  4. Wow, just found this post. I need to move my gateway and was concerned with removing these wires. Photo definitely the right way to go. Are any special tools needed to remove and then place back into the gateway? I've never worked with this type of connection before.