Honeywell HZ311 Zone Not Working – Fix It

For residential and commercial security systems, the ability to connect additional hardwired zones is often essential for protecting large premises.

The Honeywell HZ311 zone expander module provides an easy way to add 8 extra hardwired zones to a Honeywell control panel, allowing up to 16 total zones when combined with the 8 zones on the main board. 

However, these added zones relying on an external module can sometimes develop issues and display faulty behavior or seemingly stop working entirely.

Troubleshooting and fixing non-responsive zones connected through an HZ311 or other zone expander is a common task security professionals face.

When a zone wired to your HZ311 zone expander module is constantly showing a “not ready” or “fault” condition for no apparent reason, it usually indicates a wiring problem, device malfunction, or configuration issue.

Before assuming the zone itself has failed, there are some simple checks and tests you can perform to identify the cause and restore normal operation. 

Honeywell HZ311 Zone Not Working

Honeywell HZ311 Zone Not Working

In most cases, the problem turns out to be something basic like a loose connection, damaged wire, incompatible sensor, or incorrect zone programming in the panel.

Understanding the most common reasons zones connected to your HZ311 cease to function properly along with the proper step-by-step troubleshooting procedures will give you the knowledge to diagnose and fix these types of issues quickly whenever they pop up.

Common Reasons Why Honeywell HZ311 Zone Not Working?

  • Loose wire connection – If a wire has come loose from one of the zone terminals, it will cause the zone to show as not ready.
  • Faulty contact – The contact that triggers the zone (door/window sensor, motion sensor, glass break detector, etc) may be faulty. This is common if the contact is old or has been damaged.
  • Incorrect contact type – The HZ311 requires normally closed contacts. If you have a contact wired that is normally open, the zone will always show fault.
  • Damaged wire – The wire from the contact to the HZ311 may have a cut or short in it, interrupting the signal.
  • Wrong zone programmed – If the zone is programmed as a different zone type than what is wired to it, it can cause issues.
  • Power issue – The HZ311 requires 12VDC power from the alarm panel. If this power is interrupted, none of the zones will work.

Steps to Troubleshoot Honeywell HZ311 Zone:

  1. Visually inspect the zone wiring:
    • Make sure all wires are securely connected to the correct terminals.
    • Check for loose, broken, or corroded wires.
    • Verify the wire gauge is within specs (18-22 AWG).
  2. Test the contact:
    • Disconnect the wire from the HZ311 terminal.
    • Connect a multimeter set to continuity test across the contact.
    • Activate the contact and verify the meter beeps (closed circuit).
    • Release the contact and verify the meter does not beep (open circuit).
    • If the contact does not operate as expected, it will need to be replaced.
  3. Check power to the HZ311:
    • With a multimeter set to DC Volts, measure between terminals 1 and 2.
    • It should read 12VDC.
    • If not, check all connections between the panel and HZ311.
    • Make sure the polarity is correct.
  4. Re-program the zone in the alarm panel:
    • Access the installer programming menu.
    • Locate the zone programming.
    • Verify the zone type matches the contact wired to it.
    • Save changes and exit program mode.
  5. Test the end-of-line resistor:
    • Disconnect the zone wiring from the HZ311.
    • Connect a multimeter set to ohms across the zone terminal.
    • Reading should be the value of the end-of-line resistor (typically 4.7k ohms).
    • If not, replace the resistor.
  6. Reset the HZ311:
    • Power down the alarm panel for 30 seconds.
    • Power it back up and let the system initialize.
    • Check if the zone is still faulted.
  7. Replace the HZ311:
    • If you’ve confirmed the wiring, contact, power, and programming are correct and the zone still doesn’t work, the problem is likely a defective HZ311.
    • Replace it with a new unit and re-test.

Tips for Avoiding HZ311 Zone Issues

  • Use 18-22 AWG wire within recommended run lengths.
  • Ensure tight, quality connections.
  • Locate modules close to contacts to minimize wire runs.
  • Use shielded wire for longer runs or noise issues.
  • Don’t exceed contact current ratings on the zones.
  • Disconnect power before wiring zones.
  • Follow proper grounding and bonding procedures.

Regularly test zones as part of a maintenance plan.

  • Check the panel programming – Make sure the HZ311 is enabled and properly identified in the alarm panel programming. If it’s disabled or the wrong module type is selected, it could prevent the zones from working.
  • Try a known good zone – Wire a new contact that you know works to the troubled zone terminal. If it works, it points to an issue with the existing contact or wiring.
  • Look for shorts – Use a multimeter to check each zone wire for shorts to ground or other wires. Any shorts could cause zone faults.
  • Check resistance – Verify the resistance on each zone wire back to the panel is within specs. Too high of resistance can prevent proper zone operation.
  • Monitor zone current – Use a clamp meter to measure the current on a zone when activated. If it’s too low, there may be a wiring issue.
  • Inspect contacts and wires – Carefully examine contact switches, motion detectors, door contacts, etc for any signs of damage, corrosion, loose wires, or other issues that could cause interference.
  • Try replacing the module – If you’ve tested everything else thoroughly and the issue persists, replacing the HZ311 module itself could be the solution.
  • Update the panel firmware – On some panels, a firmware update from Honeywell can fix compatibility bugs with expansion modules like the HZ311.
  • Check grounding – Improper grounding anywhere in the system can cause electrical interference that prevents zones and other devices from working reliably.
  • Isolate from possible interference – Ensure alarm system wires aren’t bundled with or routed near any AC power, motors, fluorescent lights, or other sources of electrical noise.
  • Call tech support – If all else fails, contact Honeywell tech support for additional troubleshooting assistance. They may be able to isolate the issue based on the panel type and specific conditions.

Properly installing and maintaining an HZ311 module and its connected contacts goes a long way in preventing zone faults and issues.

Following this troubleshooting guide will help identify and resolve any problems that arise with zones on the HZ311 not working properly.

Zone Wiring Best Practices

  • Use 18 AWG or thicker wire for power and data connections.
  • Use 20-22 AWG for zone wiring runs.
  • Do not exceed 1000 ft wire length from the HZ311 to the contact.
  • Ensure tight, high-quality connections to zone terminals.
  • Run zone wires through conduit for protection.
  • Use shielded cable for long wire runs.
  • Follow local codes for wire types and installation methods.
  • Do not run unprotected wires near high-voltage sources.

Common Zone Contact Types

  • Normally Closed (NC) – Closed circuit when inactive, opens when activated. Most common.
  • Normally Open (NO) – Open circuit when inactive, closes when activated.
  • End-of-Line Resistor (EOLR) – A resistor wired across the zone to allow for supervision. Values generally range from 1k to 10k ohms.
  • Double End-of-Line Resistor (DEOLR) – Two resistors that allow the panel to detect zone faults and tampering.

Ensure the zone programming matches the contact type wired to the zone.

Advanced Diagnostics

Many Honeywell panels provide advanced diagnostic features that can help identify zone issues:

  • View loop resistance – Panels like Vista 20P allow viewing the zone loop resistance value.
  • Resistance tolerance – The loop value must stay within a specified range, usually 200-1400 ohms.
  • Current measurement – Some panels can measure the actual loop current for each zone.
  • Short circuit detection – Panels can detect shorted zone wires by measuring 0 resistance.
  • Tampers – Faults from cover tampers on contacts are identified.
  • Communication – Modules like the 7847i can monitor bus communications.

Power Supply Considerations

The HZ311 requires 12VDC power from the alarm panel. Calculate the current draw:

  • 20mA x 8 zones = 160mA for the zones.
  • 10mA for the module itself.
  • Add an extra 100mA buffer.

So around 300mA total. Make sure the panel power supply has enough current capacity. The power wires need to be a heavy gauge like 18 AWG. Watch for voltage drop over long power wire runs. Proper power is critical for reliable operation.

Panel Zone Programming

Here is how to program zones on some common Honeywell panels:

VISTA Series Panels:

  • Enter installer programming field *56
  • Select menu option *56 > 1 > 1 for zone programming
  • Enter a 2-digit zone number
  • Select zone type – most are type 3 for NC contact
  • Enable/disable any advanced options like EOLR

LYNX Touch Panels:

  • From the Tools menu select Program > Zones > Zone Type
  • Pick the zone number
  • Select contact type Normal Closed, EOLR, etc.
  • Adjust other parameters and settings

Pro Tips:

  • Refer to the panel programming guide for details
  • Default programming works for most basic zones
  • Match programming to the wired contact
  • Enable supervision and end-of-line resistance for monitored zones

Trouble Conditions:

Here are some common trouble messages and their meaning:

  • Zone Fault – Usually signals an open circuit from a severed wire
  • Zone Tamper – The zone cover is removed to expose wires
  • Loop Resistance Too High – The zone wires have too much resistance
  • Low Current – Not enough current is being drawn by the zone
  • No Response – The zone is not communicating with the panel

Zone Supervision:

To monitor zones for faults, enable supervision in the panel programming:

  • End-of-Line Resistors – Allow the panel to detect removed resistors.
  • Tampers – Detect removal of contact coverings.
  • Response Time – The zone must be restored within the timer or trigger a fault.
  • Sensitivity – Minimum current needed to activate the zone.
  • Auto-Mapping – The panel learns zone resistance values.

Properly configured supervision will catch zone faults quickly.

Adding an End-of-Line Resistor:

End-of-line resistors (EOLR) allow supervised monitoring of zone wires.

  • Wire an EOLR across the zone terminals.
  • Typical values are 4.7K or 5.6K ohms.
  • The resistor should match the panel supervision specification.
  • Detects if the zone circuit is cut or tampered with.
  • Use 1/4-watt resistors or greater.
  • Ensure the resistor is securely installed.

Compatible Sensors and Contacts:

Most dry contact-style security sensors will work with the HZ311. Some recommended options:

  • Honeywell Door/Window Contacts – Easiest to integrate and compatible
  • Honeywell Glassbreak Detectors – Tested with the HZ311
  • GE/Interlogix Door Contacts – Widely used, reliable contacts
  • DSC Door/Window Contacts – Choose dual-balance models
  • Bosch Glassbreak Sensors – Work with HZ311 according to spec sheet
  • 2GIG Door/Window Sensors – Popular Z-Wave sensors integrate well

Avoid contacts meant for higher voltage or current. Stick to standards 18-22 AWG wire.

Application Examples:

Here are some example sensor installations with the HZ311:

Perimeter Doors

  • Use a Honeywell SiXMINICT Door Contact wired normally closed
  • Enable Double EOLR supervision in the panel
  • Program as Zone Type 3

Motion Sensor

  • Connect a DSC LC-100-PI PIR Motion Detector
  • Wire power from Aux power output
  • Use normally closed alarm contact to HZ311 zone
  • Program as Zone Type 16 for interior motion

Garage Door

  • Install an Interlogix 1078CDoor/Window Contact
  • Mount strategically on the door frames
  • Wire the NC tamper circuit back to the HZ311 zone
  • Program it as a type 5 zone for tamper monitoring

Glassbreak Detector

  • Connect the Bosch F220-B6P Glassbreak sensor
  • Follow the recommended wire gauge and runs
  • Set Zone Type to 21 for a 24-hour audible glass break
  • Enable EOLR supervision

This covers some of the key factors to consider when installing and programming devices with the HZ311 zone expander module.


When troubleshooting an HZ311 zone that is constantly showing a fault or not ready condition, there are a few common things to check. First, thoroughly inspect the zone wiring visually and test the continuity of the contact or sensor that is wired to the problematic terminal.

Loose connections or faulty contact are often the reason a zone is not operating correctly. Also, verify the HZ311 is receiving the required 12VDC power from the connected alarm panel and that no wires are damaged or shorted.

Another important step is to check that the zone programming in the alarm panel properly matches and supports the type of contact that is wired to the HZ311 zone. If the contact is normally closed but the panel is expecting a normally open type, it will think the zone is faulted.

Testing any installed end-of-line resistors is advisable, as a damaged or miswired EOL resistor can indicate issues. If the contacts and wiring check out, resetting the HZ311 module itself and updating the panel firmware can resolve problems in some situations.

It’s also critical to eliminate sources of electrical interference that could disrupt zone operation. This means ensuring proper grounding, separating low voltage wires from AC power, and routing wires through conduit.

Advanced diagnostics like viewing zone resistance values and technical support from Honeywell can be very helpful in isolating difficult HZ311 issues as well. With systematic troubleshooting focused on the most common points of failure, it is usually possible to get Honeywell HZ311 zones running smoothly again.