security alarm system is an important part of your home security plan. Contact Experts Know! If you would like to add your
question or suggestion, so that you can share it with our visitors in the future. |
Check back often as this list
will grow rapidly with the great ideas & questions from security conscious contributers from all over the world.
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
Q:- We just moved into a home that has ADT. We have not called to activate the system because we were happy with
the beep that occurred when a door was opened, but the beeping just stopped and we have no idea why. Is there a way to bring
that feature back without activating the entire alarm?
A:- Hi Katie, Yes the feature you are looking to
re-activate is called the "Chime" feature. You can turn it on and off at will. Many people like to leave it on all
the time. Most systems are set to toggle by simply pushing the "Chime" button and holding it for two seconds till
you hear the beeps. If this works it would be the same to de-activate it.
If that doesn't work than your
system is not programmed for 1 touch commands. In this case you hit "chime" and than your code to activate. Again
you would press "chime" and than your code to de-activate.
I implore you to read our articles and Q&A's
about monitoring your system. This feature is not to protect your property, as that what insurance is for. It is there to
protect you and yours at the worst possible time of your lives and many people just like you regret waiting for an event to
happen before activating monitoring, so they will be protected in the future. Experts feel that a system without monitoring
is like a door without a lock.
Three questions to ask yourself to help you decide for the right reasons:
1. Would you pay for monitoring and response after a home invasion that confronted you in the home?
2. What does a safe
neighborhood look like?
3. Many confuse a nice neighborhood for a safe one but if you were a burglar which type of
house would you break into?
OK enough hounding. I just want to make sure you understand how strongly I feel about
protecting families with every available tool. I'm always pro-active when it comes to life safety. I’m boggled by
the amount of people that have no problem paying for cable but can't justify monitoring.
Let me know if I
can answer any additional questions for you, Matthew.
Katie Responds:- Matthew, Thank you
for your help and advice. After reading your email my husband "caved" and agreed to activate our system. We are
grateful for the good you do and the service you provide to all. Sincerely, Katie
I have lived in this house now for nearly four years, it was a new build. It has an alarm system installed but we haven't
used it because of a Pet, now no Pet. It is a hard wired system with key pad and three passives and one entry contact with
outside bell. Quite a simple system but then it's a small house.
The only info on the control box is Ademco
Microtec. Since we had a power failure some time ago there has been a X and a solid dot flashing on the keypad and if I turn
main electrical supply off the sounder comes into operation which I can stop by entering my code. What I would like to do
is reprogram the whole system but with no manual that would be difficult, I have read your Q/A which I must say are brilliant
and have obviously helped many people any ideas how I should proceed. Any help you can give would be most appreciated. Roger
A:- Hi Roger, I'm happy you found my site useful as it was built for just that purpose. Ademco equipment is
an industry standard all over the world. A few years back the company merged with Honeywell and now all Ademco equipment is
marketed under the Honeywell name. Microtec is Honeywell's security division in the UK and Scotland.
system has two main components that would have markings on it. 1 is the keypad, this is the device that you put your code
in to operate the control. 2 is the control, this is a metal cabinet with the motherboard, receivers and wiring terminals
in it. Your system has a model number in it such as 4110, 4120, Vista 20 etc. These model numbers are often ended with a set
of letters or version number that marks its time of manufacture and programming options. You will find this model number on
the inside of the door of the metal cabinet, which is usually in a basement, closet, attic etc.
Once you locate
the number you can download a free copy of the installation and user manuals from this outstanding resource that was introduced
to me by a fellow Experts Q&A visitor. Let me know how it turns out or if there are any other questions I can help you
with. www.panelguides.com Regards, Matthew
Q:- I want to install 4 Garrison infrared perimeter beams on a IDS 800 panel.
Are most of these systems the same, ie do you use the same wire to the main panel etc. Do you have a generic install manual
of some kind for a similar system? I figured that I would be able to do this myself with some guidance. Best, Lucas.
A: Hello Lucas, Nice set of beams you have, they are built to military specs. and should serve you well. Yes your
IDS 800 will handle them well. Homerun each beam to the control if you can spare the zones. The IDS 800 has 8 and this way
you will know which has been violated and be able to bypass only one if a service issue should arise.
devices as NC (Normally Closed) I believe that's terminal 3 and 4 of your beams. Remember to series devices if you decide
to couple them together, to maintain a NC circuit. Paralleling them would throw the circuit open (NO)
I have e-mailed
you a user manual for the IDS800 and will continue to search for an install manual. Also I have attached a drawing of how
to wire in series. Good Luck.
Q:- Hi. I would really appreciate your reaction to two matters
that came up in a recent consultation with a dealer about a wired alarm system for a house we are building.
He said that casement windows do not need contacts, because it is impossible to open them without breaking the glass, so that
all we need is a glass break sensor – is it true we don’t need contacts?
2. When I discussed wiring
the screens so that the casement windows could be left open at night, he had never heard of them. I guess my second question
is whether I should even keep talking to this dealer. Thanks. Barbara.
A:- I don't like to push contacts
on windows unless you want to know if the kids are opening the windows. If any window is locked the burglar has to break them
to get in and a contact does nothing if they clear the glass and climb in.
Glass breaks are a much better device
however you will need one in each room with glass that is vulnerable. One device can listen to many windows if it is an open
concept within 25 ft of the device. Often you will save money and have better protection if you have many windows. Make sure
they are using the duel technology glassbreaks as opposed to single technology. The dual tech. devices listen for a thud and
than a frequency hit from glass breaking in the correct order and time constraints.
Screens are the ultimate if
you can afford them and you could back them up with door contacts and a motion detector or two. I have a link on this page
of a manufacturer that will build and sell them to you direct, but I would want my installer to know what they are doing if
they are working with them.
The casements crank out and the screens are inside so ventilation is no problem. If
you are going to wire for them it is a 22g. 2 conductor wire to each screen. I like to homerun such devices to the control
so they can be moved from zone to another as you wish. Also they would be easy to isolate if a service issue should arise.
If you do go with contacts on casements they often need to use surface mounted contacts. This is because the recessed
ones would get caught up in the cranking bars and mechanisms of the casements. If it were my house I would use screens strategically
placed for ventilation preferences, glass breaks in the other areas, door contacts on all perimeter doors, a motion on the
main floor and a keypad at my most used exit door and in the master. I would also contact an interior closet for a safe area.
It wouldn't hurt to talk to a couple of companies till you find the one that impresses you with their knowledge
and earns your confidence from the get go. Attached is a complimentary copy of my guide which contains enough information
for you to find a quality company. Hope this helps, Matthew
Q:- Bryan Asks, I am trying to
connect my alarm system to the phone to be monitored we have Verizon DSL. I have tried 2 different computer boards, and 2
RJ blocks, but for some reason after the system is tested it knocks out the phones in the house. I thought it might be the
signal generator for Verizon outside the house but it wasn't Verizon checked everything and said it was something i was
doing any suggestions on what else I could try to get this thing to connect without interfering with the phones.
A: Hi Bryan, It sounds like you have two separate issues. 1st is the matter of the DSL (Digital Subscriber Line).
You must put a DSL filter on this line in order for the receivers to get a clean signal. Do this first as the problem might
be that you are not getting a clean handshake and kiss-off from the monitoring station on your unfiltered DSL line, so the
system is stuck in the seized position.
2nd of all your system is programmed for line seizure. This is designed
for the system to shut down any devices that are using the phone line and release the dial tone back to the house when it
is done transmitting the signal. The way this is accomplished is you run the phone line from the source (the interface outside
of your house) to the control and then from the control to the first phone line in the house).
If you were set
up this way and then switched to DSL, your system is trying to seize the line but DSL is always on because it is broadband.
You would have to rewire for non line seizure by running a direct line in to the control from any source and putting your
DSL filter on the line. You should also reprogram the control not to attempt a seizure. Without inspecting your system this
of course is just my best guess but I think it is an educated one. Matthew
Q:- Could you please
tell me why, periodically, our security system goes off and the monitoring company says it is a fire code. This happened last
night while we were out and we quickly came home in a panic and there was nothing we could find. This past summer there were
several times when the alarm went off when we were having lightning storms and once a tree in our backyard was hit destroying
our sprinkler system control panel in a deck room. Also, once when the alarm went off, it was a fire code and a holdup alarm
both. This is becoming very frustrating and no one seems to know why it is doing this. Can you please advise. Thanks very
A: Hi Wendy, There are many variables as to why you fire system may be falseing. Anyone
that is telling you what is happening without inspecting the complete system is just guessing. Guessing causes frustration
and is not a solid service technique, so I would have a company that is able to give you factual answers look at it.
Here are some possibilities to consider:
If you have a smoke detector tied to your system it is designed to
have a red light latch on and stay that way until reset from the keypad. This way if you have multiple detectors you can see
which one violates. Check for a solid (Not Flashing) red light on your detectors before resetting your alarm. If you find
one and it is on and there was no smoke or fast temperature change, that is your bad device and needs to be replaced.
If you had a lightning storm that caused a power surge this past summer and it sent a fire code and a panic code for
no reason, I would suspect the possibility of damage to the brain of the alarm system. Since you have it monitored you can
get the date and time of that alarm and report it to your homeowners insurance as damage. This type of damage often shows
up intermittently as you explained and is hard to detect because everything looks normal when it is checked. One thing is
for sure, the system should not be doing what it is doing and if it persists I would change the fire device 1st and the control
Also if your system is hardwired and not wireless have someone check the attic if available for critters
chewing on the wires. I have seen this before and it is easily solved. Critters seem to love chewing on wires and will short
the system when they are doing it at times. Your fire system is always on and a momentary short on the wires will cause this
type of problem.
Q:- Hi, I am doing some research for my sister who lives in Oakland, CA. She
would like to have a security system installed on her cottage, but doesn't have the funds to pay for the monthly monitoring
that ADT requires. Is there a service where they will install the devices, have them run off of house power and have simply
have big bad alarms go off for 20 minutes or so if there is a break in? Thanks for any information you can give us, Laurel
A:- Hello Laurel, Although Experts Know! advises against not having monitoring, the answer is yes. Any installer
would be happy to do it in return for a service call fee. You can ask any local company for a service call to hook up a "Local
I know you say your sister can't afford monitoring but I think she can't afford not
to have it. If god forbid anything happened to her you would wish you had reprioritized something else and got the needed
help when needed. Many will spend whatever it takes after an incident! Remember alarms are not to protect property as much
as they are to protect families.
My home alarm bell won't shut off. It started up a few days ago and I had to unhook power to shut down. I replaced the
battery but still same problem. Since then I have unhooked all wires in the panel for both keypads and all zones. Soon as
I apply power same problem. One keypad is also dead but other one will all light up soon as I connect to panel at the box
once power is connected. Is there anything you could suggest for this unit? It is a DSC PC1000. Also I notice the newer systems
like a 632 or 832 require a power transformer producing 16V. The current transformer I have is hooked on side of my house
power panel and produces 18.5V when I tested it. Can I use the old one with the 632 or 832 or should I get a new 16V if I
need to replace the board. Thank You, Ray. |
Hi Ray, Sounds like you experienced a
voltage spike to the control. If after powering down and back up again the bell circuit continues to be violated, that is
most likely your problem.
All systems are susceptible to this type of damage.
It is important that you gain the most out of the engineered multi stage transient lightning protection by properly grounding
your system. In the past alarm companies would run a ground wire to a cold water pipe or use no ground at all. These days
we know it is best to run your Alarm, Electrical, Phone and Plumbing grounds to the exact same point on the electricians grounding
stake. This prevents the phone line and plumbing system from being a natural path for voltage spikes.
you do replace your control with a higher end DSC system, I would recommend the 832. With this system you gain "Event
Logging", Multi language readout, Alpha readout capabilities with an alpha keypad, and system partitioning. With the
832 you can add an alpha keypad so that you have alpha readout and event logging and still use your existing keypads as additional
keypads. It sounds like one of yours has been damaged and one may still be working.
should always use the recommended voltage transformer with the control you choose as different controls draw more current
than others. Most new controls come with a new transformer. Q: Hello - I am purchasing a used home that has an ADT system already installed. The home has been vacant for
a few months, and the alarm system is no longer being monitored. Is it possible to have the alarm system set a local alarm
(horn, siren, etc) off in lieu of having the system monitored by a service? Thanks, Joe
A:- Hi Joe, Yes
your ADT system can be set up by any local tech. to be a local alarm only. You would have to pay a tech. to reprogram the
system so that it wouldn’t go into a trouble condition when it looks for a dial tone.
I would not recommend
such a setup as it would be like having a house without a door in the doorframe. Instead I would get an ADT authorized dealer
to add some additional equipment to the existing system and program your system all for no charge in return for the monitoring
service. (You may have to pay a $99.00 activation fee!)
This way you will have a better system than you already
have, lessons on how to use it, a warrantee on all of the equipment, a move policy, an insurance discount on your homeowners
and most important the help you need when you need it. I have attached a complimentary copy of my book that will help you
understand what your system will do if monitored.
Remember the system is not just to protect your property. Through
ambush codes, police, fire and medical panic buttons along with an early warning if someone is in your home, you will protect
yourself and your loved ones. Regards, Matthew
Thanks for the info! I'll call a dealer
when we take possession of the home. Joe
Linda Comments: I too have an APX alarm
security system. I want to disagree with the comment that they are the same as ADT or Monitronics. I have found that they
have much better response times, customer service and repair service. I was a long time Monitronics customer, but was disgusted
by their poor service. Monitronics was poor in all categories, but APX has pleased me in all categories.
Hi Linda, Thank you for visiting the Experts Know! website. I'm glad you are happy with your APX system and appreciate
you taking the time to boast of the quality service you are experiencing with them. Our site is for consumers and our “Alarm
Q & A” format allows all visitors to gain knowledge from each others experiences.
As per Experts comment
about APX being similar to Monitronics and ADT, our reference is to the marketing concepts of all three and their ability
to provide a low or no cost system, in return for your monitoring agreement.
Experts has received many positive
customer comments about APX and their ability to provide quality customer service in the past few months and it seems that
they have found a way to keep that consistent, as we have heard nothing negative to date about them.
Q: I was wondering if having call notes on the same phone that my ADT security system uses
would affect any call that needed to be made to the command center by the system, if in fact there were messages on the phone
causing the alert to beep and thereby depriving the system of a dial tone for a short period of time. Thanks
A:- Hi Donna, Your call notes mailbox should not affect your transmission line at all. But you raise an astute and
very interesting question.
Your ADT system should be set up for what is called "line seizure" this
would prevent any event with the phone line from interrupting a needed dial tone for the control panel. The main phone interface
is run directly to the control and relayed back to the first phone in the home or business. When the alarm is violated the
relay closes, seizes the line for its own use and then releases when finished.
A way to check this is to open
the phone line and then set off your alarm. The phone should go dead within 15 seconds because it is seized. Let the alarm
sound for about 30 seconds so that they don't receive a restore signal, the monitoring station should call you and ask
for your password. (Be sure to hang up the phone after it goes dead so they can call you)
If during this test
the phone line stays open and you hear the alarm trying to dial out on it, you will need to have the phone line wired properly
by your installing dealer in order to gain protection in this area. The only equipment needed is an RJ31x jack (about $5.00)
and an installer that knows what he/she is doing. They may charge you a service charge depending on how long it's been
since you were installed, but charge or no charge it is worth having. In my opinion a quality dealer would have made sure
this was in place on every installation. Let me know how it turns out, Matthew
- THANKS! We recently signed up for a system and monitoring by APX ALARM - still don't know a lot about them but they
seem to check out (comments on them?).
My home was prewired and set up with a DSC system, APX replaced it with
an ADEMCO/Honeywell VISTA-20P. They added a few wireless devices (fobs, fire and 2 Motions) - the question is whether I can
replace the 20P's with ADEMCO's 6270's? I don't believe that APX carries them (although I don't know if
they would install them for us?), but I can get them (eBay or elsewhere) and easily install the keypad myself.
Do I have to do anything special with the monitoring people when I install it? Thanks! Again Great site! – Sam
A:- Hi Sam, Thank you for your nice comment about the Experts Know site. I built it for the consumers of home security
systems, so it is always nice to hear from those that appreciate it.
Your alarm company APX Alarm is a national
company with 80,000 clients and memberships in all the appropriate professional organizations. They have been around since
the late 90's and promote free installs in return for monitoring agreements as do some of the largest security firms in
the world. They certainly did right by you in their choice of installing the Vista 20P, as it is one of the controls recognized
as on the highest end of the quality spectrum. It cost them more to put in than many of the other choices available to them.
The Vista 20P now supports up to (2) 6270 or 8132i Graphic Touchpad's. You can find them on E-Bay as you
already know or you can buy direct from sources such as: www.safe-mart.com or www.homesecuritystore.com
Q:- Dear Sir, We had 5 windows replaced and a security repair company came and replaced the 5 switches and a
glass breaker. I was charged 175.00 for parts, 10 dollars a switch and 125 dollars for the glass breaker. The repairman was
in our home for 70 minutes and the bill was $272.25.
The internet says a switch is 2 dollars and a glass breaker
is 21 dollars. These are between 500 and 600 percent markups. How would you rate this company on their 70 minutes in our home.
A:- Hello, The prices you paid are considered fare. The $10 per switch is low end as most charge $25.00
and up. The glass break is mid priced, as I have seen them go for $159.00. As per the cost of materials , the contacts are
2-4 dollars each and the glass break is dependant on the sophistication of the chosen model. Although I have seen the lowest
end models sell for around $30 the better units cost about $65.
Since alarm companies are in business to make
a profit, I think that you paid fare market value. As per the service charge for labor, You paid what is considered usual
cost. $75.00 for the first hour with a 1 hour minimum and then billed in 1/2 hour increments for any portion of a half hour
stay, seems to be the industry standard for quite some time now.
Although I don't see what you paid as a
great deal or discounted price, I would not feel that I was gouged. Today's alarm company has to pay top dollar to keep
a quality installer on payroll as there is a great shortage of trained personnel.
Matthew, Since our last contact, things have changed. Our new house is almost finished and now is the time to install the
system. Alarm Force has changed its tune, now they're telling me they don't have any one to install the system since
we're located outside of their service area and since the system is so easy to install, I can do it myself, plus they're
charging me as you said, for everything including the delivery of the system and a year service pre-paid, total cost $967 |
I like the two way communication system they have. Is there any one in the Jefferson area, NC that you can suggest
for this type of system? Please if possible let me know. I have learned more than a few tips from your book and am confident
that I know what I want. Thanks for your time, Oscar
A:- Hi Oscar, I would use the questions you have
learned to ask in Experts guide and call Monitronics, an ADT authorized dealer and or Brinks. All 3 offer 2 way voice promotional
systems at little to no charge in return for your monitoring agreement. It is simply a matter of negotiating the most and
best quality equipment and the best price for any additional equipment you need.
With ADT just fill out the internet
offer on Experts referral offer on page 10 of this site. An authorized dealer will contact you with an Experts Quality estimate
and of course without obligation or charge.
If you want to talk to a top quality independent who may be able to
help you or refer you to someone in his network call Keith Grayer at ABC Alarm Solutions in Charlotte, NC he is tops in the
P.O. Box 217219 Charlotte, NC 28217
Tell Keith you have been educated by Experts Know! as he is on board with what we teach.
I will be here for you as questions arise as it is always my pleasure to help. Regards, Matthew
We had an individual come to our door from APX Honeywell who wanted to install an alarm system in our home for free. Is this
a scam or is this a quality alarm system? If they're going to use the same wiring I currently have for my 14 year old
system, is it really worth trying? Lisa
A:- Hello Lisa, APX is a legit company who offers systems door
to door. They are no different then companies like ADT and Monitronics in that they are willing to give you a system in return
for the monitoring contract which is for 36 months.
Honeywell is the manufacturer of the controls and components
that they install. The important thing is that the company APX is the mastership that buys the agreement, but the dealer that
sells and installs it is an independent. You want to know about the installing company.
I have attached a copy
of my guide on how to tell the difference and what questions to ask. It shouldn’t take long for you to read through
and make the best deal you can, instead of settling for a lesser system or one that doesn't fit your lifestyle.
As for using the old wires, this is common practice but you want a written estimate of all that's included and
what it will cost to repair any additional wires and parts above the promised system. If you are careful, they will not be
in a position to take advantage of you and you will be happy with your new system.
Proper research and asking
for what you need could get you a pretty nice system for very little out of pocket. Let me know if you have additional questions.
Q:- My alarm company was out to do some updates to my system and they discovered that my
alarm was not connected to my phone line. The alarm company tech said that the wrong filters were on the line. How is that
possible when the last time the phone company was here was 2 years ago when I installed DSL? Wouldn't my alarm company
be alerted if my phone line was disconnected? I've been paying a monthly charge and I feel that either the phone company
or my alarm company should reimburse me since I was not getting what I have been paying for. Not sure which one is at fault
A:- Hello, I can understand your frustration however you have nobody to point fingers at in this
situation. When you add DSL to your phone line it is important that you contact your alarm dealer to notify them, so that
you can have a DSL filter installed. You would have known this much sooner if you have a regiment of testing your alarm system
monthly. To test you call the monitoring station and tell them you are testing your system. They should ask you for your code
word and how long you will be in test. After you set off the alarm, let the siren sound for at least 15 seconds. Shut your
alarm down with the code, and call in to see if the test signals were received. Don’t forget to tell them you are done
The phone companies are starting to tell people of the need for filters as a courtesy these days but
are under no obligation to do so. If you read the agreement on your alarm monitoring, you should be able to find wording that
states you will call if any work is done to your phone line and you will test your system monthly.
all rejoice in the fact that you did not find out about this when you were in a life safety crises and remember, you would
have paid for monitoring and not needed it even if it was working. Now that you are educated in this arena, it can never happen
again. Please test your system often! Regards, Matthew
Q: Hi, Looking for some help regarding an Alarm Manufacturer or Alarm Company that offers
the Windows Screens for sale. I live in the Chicagoland area, I had a rep out to my house late last year from Alarm Company
ADT and he stated that they no longer offer Window Screens for Security due to problems with them. Can you point me to someone
else that offers them and support them? Thanks so much in advance, Darren
A:- Hello Darren, Smart move
looking into alarm screens. If you can afford them, they are my favorite perimeter device. It is important that you understand
the difference between your local corporate dealerships and your local privately held alarm dealers. You mentioned that an
ADT guy in your town said they don't do screens anymore because they are too much trouble. We have no way of knowing but
my guess is he was from a privately held ADT authorized dealer. His dealership makes money by keeping it simple and signing
customers up for 3 years of monitoring in return for the basic equipment. Since they don't do screens, he says they are
too much trouble as a ploy to look ethical. Believe me that ADT corporate or one of its quality authorized dealers would very
likely have the desire to sell you screens.
There are likely several ADT authorized dealers in your town. The
ones that have the training and talent to build, install and monitor your screens are the ones that also do custom systems.
No matter if it’s a well recognized name or a company you never heard of, you don't know the abilities of the alarm
dealer till you ask them some questions.
I would check your local yellow pages and call some of the dealers that
do CCTV, intercoms, access control, gates etc. because they are more likely to do more than the most basic systems. Even if
these companies have a recognizable name attached to them, they could be a name brand dealership program and a custom alarm
dealer at the same time.
You can also have the screens made and shipped direct, thus cutting out the middle man
as alarm companies rarely make screens themselves and use these companies also. Any alarm company worth earning your business
would be more than happy to run wires to or put a transmitter on your existing screens.
Once you pick a company,
check for membership with a recognized industry association like NBFAA (National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association), State
regulatory commissions (Most states require licensing for alarm companies), and the BBB (Better Business Bureau). Links to
these are always on The Experts Know! Website home page. http://www.expertsknow.com
Here is an Experts Know recommended
screen manufacturer that you can order direct from.
National Security Screens
Rd. Suite 100
Woodbridge, VA 22192
Ask for Steve as he loves educate on all aspects of security screens. Let me know if I can assist
any farther. Regards, Matthew
Q:- Howdy, Should we home run a 22/2 to each door of a French
door set? Or, should we home run to one door and jump a wire to the second door so they are in series? Thanks, Tony
A: Hi Tony, I would series the the second side of each french door as you would want it on the same zone as the
other side anyway. Matthew
Q:- I recently bought a new home. The house is “pre-wired”
for an alarm system. The company drilled 3/4" holes in the door jams and sills of my house and I can see the wires in
the holes. I would like to install 3/8" magnetic contacts. Is there some sort of plug that I can use to insert the 3/8"
reed switch into and then insert this 'plug' into the 3/4" hole? Where could I get them? Thanks, Jay
A: Hi Jay, You can buy the 3/8-inch press to fit contacts, retail from places like radio shack or wholesale from
The Security Store (link provided on the bottom of the landing page of “The Experts Know!” web-site). They are
about $3.00 each. (Contact & Magnet are a set)
Twist and tape the individual wires of the contact with the
2 conductor wires at each of your pre-wired points. Continuity does not matter as this is a circuit wire and has no voltage.
Use quality electrical tape to wrap individually and than as a whole (keep it tight so it fits down in the hole)
These contacts come in white and brown. Save the magnets, as they will have to be glued with silicone in the window frames
or placed in the doors of your home to close the contacts.
Since your pre-drilled contact holes are 3/4”
they do sell the 3/4" plastic plugs with a 3/8" hole in them. They are called "Steel Door contact Spacers"
If you already have the 3/8" contacts that would be the way to go. If you don't already have the 3/8" press
to fit contacts, then you should be advised that they sell a 3/4" press to fit contact.
Here is Security
Stores information on the press to fits that fit your pre drilled holes.
SD70 - Steel Door Contact and Magnet
3/4" Diameter Contact and Magnet for Steel Doors. Rugged one piece construction.
Hi~ I am hoping you can help me. I have lived in my house for almost four years. We had an alarm system put in when our home
was built. For a variety of reasons, I delayed having the alarm company come out to show us how to set it up and tell us about
monitoring. (I really don't want to have it monitored--I just want to hear the beeps when the doors open and close and
I want to be able to set it myself.) |
I have called twice to see if I can get someone to come out for my "free"
instruction appointment, and they tell me that because I did not call before my one-year warranty was up, they will charge
me $99.00 just to come out. I think that is ridiculous. Do you have any do-it-yourself instructions for how to turn on my
alarm? There is no power to it right now. Thanks for your help. Katherine
A: Hello Katherine, The Alarm
Company is not out of line in what they quoted you, since you are not providing them an opportunity to earn your business
through the monitoring services. What type and model alarm do you have? Were there any books or program instructions left
behind? If you don't have them I can help you find them through my sources and get them to you at no charge.
You would have to open the control cabinet and plug the battery terminals in. You would also have to make sure that the
transformer is plugged into a power outlet in your home and wired. Sometimes all this is done and the power switch in the
control has to be pushed to the on position.
After the unit is powered up you would have to load a master code
and program the chime to the on position from your keypad. This is not a huge task if you are good at reading tech. manuals.
Hope this helps and let me know if I can assist you with any additional questions, Matthew
I have a wireless alarm system. I live near the ocean on a hill in Nassau Bahamas, so the salt content in the air is very
high. The frames for my alarmed windows are constantly corroding. What can I do to stop this? It seems I'll be replacing
the screens every year at this pace. James
A: Hello James, Interesting question you raise.
I love it when a question causes me to do some research. Here are my findings.
I spoke with Steve at
National Security Screens. They manufacture a fiberglass and Teflon screen that is weather resistant in salt conditions.
His screens average 15 years in your conditions. Go to the website for more info about them.
13002 Occoquan Rd.
Woodbridge, VA 22192
If you did not want to replace your screens, I would recommend a periodic cleaning and spray with
a corrosion protection product. Here is one I like.
Great Lakes Corrosion X
248-207-6464 (Mon-Fri, 8 am to 5pm EST)
Please leave message if no answer, we will promptly return
Here is a manufacturer of metallic but non-corrosive screens in the UK
The chrome stainless steel mesh, a strong but relatively thin material, means it is less likely to rust than similar
competitive products. Salt spray corrosion tests on ordinary galvanized products show they fail due to the exposed steel created
by the punching process. With Griffin Guard punching has no effect on the integrity of the chromium product. www.access-security.co.uk
Hope these answers help to point you in the right direction, Regards,
Comment: In one of your responses to a customer’s question you suggested that they contact
alarm.com for monitoring. Alarm.com is not a monitoring facility they only provide cellular backup, Internet interactivity
and message forwarding via email and voicemail messages. They do not dispatch or even have live operators. Ronald
Reply: - Thank You for your clarification on Alarm.com available services Ronald! I wanted to mention Home Security
Store to her as a low price do it yourself monitoring option, but I had Alarm.com on the brain.
Q: - I am interested in activating an existing alarm system. I have had three estimates from ADT, Guardian,
and Brink’s. Two questions, first, should I get an estimate from anyone else? Second, which company has the best response
time? Guardian expressed that theirs was 14 sec compared to ADT's 2-3 minutes. Can you elaborate? Thank you in advance.
A: Hello Angela, Usually 3 bids will give you the direction you are looking for. If you wanted
to get a few more I would consider Alarm.com & Monitronics.
ADT is the largest of all alarm companies in
the world. If you take the next 14 companies and put them in one basket, they are 40% the size of ADT. ADT has 5.5 million
subscribers and 22.500 full time employees. They have a 60 second guaranteed response average, and accomplish that by having
5 major monitoring facilities spread all over the USA. They have the employee power to handle the volume.
is the second largest, with 1 station near Dallas, Texas. They have 3000 full time employees and 921,000 subscribers. Brink’s
is a household name as well, and are known for providing a quality service.
Guardian is #12 and has 1 station
in Pittsburgh, PA. They have 376 full time employees and 140,000 subscribers. The industry average for dispatch is 13 minutes.
I find it hard pressed to believe that Guardian could boast a dispatch time so much better then the dealers who have the manpower
and facilities to stand behind such a claim.
Let me know if I can help you with any additional questions during
your research. Matthew
Q: I'm considering getting a cat but have concerns that it will
set off the motion alarm even if I purchase pet immune detectors. I have heard that if they jump on furniture or countertops
that they can set them off. From what I understand cats like to do this. How can I have a cat and a working motion detector
system? Please explain if this is going to be possible. Sadly, if I have to make a choice, it is going to be my alarm system.
A:- Good News Monica, The cat gets to come live with you! Pet immune motion detectors work just
fine with one cat. The detectors are pet immune on the middle and lower levels of beams. The only beams that the cat can get
into, that will set off the alarm, are the highest beams. These beams are about 6ft high. Your alarm company will be restricted
as to what area these high beams hit, so that your cat can't enter a beam when it gets up on ledges or high furniture.
This will still allow a nice trap on the interior of your home, while you are out. If your alarm dealer is not talented enough
to mask certain high beams from obvious cat hot spots, find one that is. I can assure you that I have placed hundreds of pet
immune motion detectors in homes with one pet. I have always had success with these properly installed applications. If you
have or plan more than one pet, you will have to use the alternative, "Glass Break" detectors in your home.
I am installing wires in new construction for a future alarm system. Do I need a separate wire from each window/door to the
master alarm location, or can I wire multiple locations in series then back to the box? If it is one wire for each opening,
I will have about 15 leads going to the central alarm location. John. |
A: - Hi John, I would home-run
each door, creating the ability to have different time delays and chimes. You can run windows in series, but remember to break
them by room, so you can define openings, violations and bypass zones.
Anything you home-run can be put in series
at the control, giving you flexibility as you expand your system. The average system comes with 8 zones out of the box and
can be expanded to 32.
Windows & Doors 22G. two conductor
Motions & Glass-breaks & Keypads
22G. four conductor
Smokes 18 G fire wire
Sirens 18 G two conductor
Mark location of each wire on
light color electrical tape at a place on the wire, that you will not cut off when tying into control.
8 or 12 conductor up to the attic for future upstairs expansion.
Ground to the electricians ground stake 18G.solid
Run a four conductor stranded out to the telephone interface.
A 2nd keypad in the master is always
Q: Here is a question I bet you've never had.
We have an existing log home. We were not advised to have our logs pre-drilled for an alarm system and we could not afford
a system when our home was constructed. We would like to have one installed, but the entire downstairs is solid log. The upstairs
is framed and sided with log siding. We need a creative approach to an affordable alarm system- possibly part wired, part
wireless. I have contacted many alarm companies that have no idea what to suggest. How about you? Thanks- Brenda
A:- Hi Brenda, I live in Colorado in a log home myself, so your question is not new to me. In my home I trenched
for the wires with the chinking and re-chinked over the wires. The logs can be carved flat in the places you want to mount
the keypad, motion detectors etc. You can mix in a receiver and wireless components in the places you just can't get to,
but you want to use the best equipment money can buy when it comes to wireless. The wham bam thank you ma’am companies
will not know what to do for you, because they don't run many wires. The custom independents in your area that have creative
wire technicians will have no problem helping you get it done properly. Regards, Matthew
My business phone lines are easily accessible by a potential burglar. How will a break-in message get to me or my monitoring
service if there is no phone service?
A:- Hi Dave, You will be notified if you are on the premise
when the phone line is cut if you have a line fault monitor on your system. This will sound the siren so that you and the
potential burglar will be warned.
As far as having it monitored, You can add a cellular backup communicator.
(This is what most jewelry stores, banks etc. do) When the phone line gets cut the signal goes out over cellular networks.
Many cities also have long range radio communications available. (This signal goes out over a digital radio transmitter)
Another way and the most expensive of the three is a McCullough Loop. (This is a line that is monitored at the central
station at all times.) When the power goes down on the phone line a dispatch is made.
You can check out cellular
communicators at the Security Store Link on the front page of our Experts Know! Alarms web-site. Also check out long range
radio at the following link: Radio Alarms
Q: Hi, after having my van broken in to I would like to know if there is a detector that
would work outside, wired in to my house alarm. Something like a beam that could be set up between my two fences. Geoff
A:- Hi Geoff, There are driveway alert motions you can put outside, that will let you know someone has entered your
area inside the house. These are never tied to your home alarm system as they would cause many false alarms if a child or
animal crossed the beams.
If you would like to put a wireless dual technology motion or glass break detector
inside your van, it can be tied to your home system and work within 500 feet of your home. (sorry I'm not up on metric
If your home alarm is hardwired you will need a wireless receiver to capture the signal from your
motion or glass break detector. If it is wireless it already has a receiver, but you have to use the same brand wireless device.
Here is a link for driveway alarms: Driveway Alarms Hope this helps!
Q:- Hi, I have an existing intruder alarm system. After an electrical storm,
one of the passive movement sensors still picks up movement (and its light comes on) but does not show this on the key-pad.
However, its tamper switch lights up that zone on the key-pad when activated by removing the sensor cover. There is a resistor
connected where the sensor cable connects (like all the others).
Can you say: is the sensor or the resistor or
that zone on the key-pad faulty? Stuart
A:- Hello Stuart, Check to see if the damage was done to the
detector relay, detector power, control panel, and then the resister, in that order.
1st get a meter and see
if the relay on the detector is working. place it on the green and white NO or NC (depending on which way it was wired) circuit
at the detector and see if it changes when you move your hand in front of the detector.
If that does not work
check to see if there is power (VAC) at the detectors black and red wire terminals. (If no power, check power supply fuse
2nd check the Circuit in the control by removing the motion circuit wires and placing a jumper between
the zone circuit that the motion was tied to the control. Does placing the jumper on and removing it, change the status light
on your keypad? If this works, replace your resister.(take note of the color bands on it for replacement) If not, series the
motion onto a zone that is working and bypass the bad zone on the control.
Hope this helps, Matthew
Q: Hi- I have a detached garage (about 10' away from my home), the garage has only 1 entrance (door) and
no windows. I would like to put an alarm in that would sound a loud siren if someone were to get in through the door (don't
need police to be called as they are 20 min away anyway) and by that time the neighbors or me will be there with guns drawn!
I have heard that motion detectors don't work well if it gets cold and my garage is not insulated. Also, I don't mind
a hardwired system as my garage is unfinished and wiring would be easy.
The only thing that worries me is that
if they were to break in, my box is right next to the door. I’m not sure if cutting the wires would stop the alarm from
working. Also, I really want to avoid any falsies, as waking the neighborhood and family up at 3 AM needlessly wouldn't
make me any friends! Any help would be great! John
Hi John, The range on quality wireless equipment is
approx. 250' I would put the control and siren inside the house with you, and place the wireless detectors out in the
garage. If motion is your device of choice a dual technology detector works on Passive Infrared and Doppler technology. During
very cold and hot periods the PIR will go to sleep but the Doppler will still look for air movement. You can also use door
contacts alone since you have no windows. Cutting an alarm wire would violate the control as if the break in had occurred.
Consider using a strobe light outside to let the burglar know that they have violated a system and not disturb your neighbors.
I like the DSC 1555 or 832 and the Ademco Vista 10 or P20 systems. These parts are very inexpensive and available from the
Security Store. Home Security Store Hardwired equipment is less costly, but why not have the system in your house and add devices to protect it from uninvited
quests as well.
Q:- Travel alarms are an important thing to pack. The hotel rooms have no
policy of changing the locks after the last occupant vacated the room. Most rooms are easily entered as a result. Do you have
any recommendations for security in hotels?
A:-I travel often, I always lock my valuables in the office
safe when I'm out of the room. I use the manual door latch when I'm inside the room. I purchased a travel air volume
alarm at the link below, it works great! detects an opening of any door or window and sounds off when there is a change. I
can set it to just flash a light also.
Q:-Do you know how to change the alarm code on a Astec alarm? I recently bought an
apartment and I dont know the code for the alarm. The guy who had it before me has forgotten the code. Thanks
A: -All control panels have a way to boot the memory to factory conditions by following the instructions in the book.
This will allow you to enter new codes. Every system is different so you need to locate the installers book from your alarms
manufacturer. AlarmsBC.com has a great site with all the manuals they have been able to collect posted for download.
I was wondering what the best wireless home alarm is out there, Maybe GE? I would rather buy my own system, so that I will
not be locked into a monitoring contract. Then I could use it just when I go on trips or just use it for a month or two. If
not what system could I use that would maybe call my neighbor or my cellphone. I really only need an alarm a few weeks out
of the year. Thanks, James
A:- If you have decided that you are interested in protecting your things and
less interested in protecting yourself and your loved ones, I would advise you to reconsider your security plan. However here
are my thoughts for your consideration.
GE is a relatively new player in the wireless alarm scene, however there
are many alarm dealers putting their trust in it due to the companies solid reputation in the electronics industry. Ademco
has been in the business the longest and DSC has some great user features and longer distances on the transmitters. Whichever
system you decide to go with I would advise you to look for a few "must have features."
components such as control, keypad, siren etc. will avoid loosing all, if the keypad is smashed off the wall.
2. Licensed frequency on the transmitters and receiver, as to avoid common frequencies like 900mg.This will avoid interference
from other household devices.
3. Polling capability will enable the control to check if the devices such as contacts
and motion detectors, etc. are working. The less expensive units are operating on blind faith and may give you a false sense
With wireless equipment there is a large range of quality out there. I can simplify your search
by assuring you that when it comes to wireless security equipment, you usually get what you pay for!
this company’s product: Alarm.Com It seems to be just what you say you are looking for. I have no personal experience with it other than being intrigued by
the research I have done on the offer, and a feeling that they are going to do well filling a niche, that you seem to be leaning
Keep in touch, as I am interested in the success or problems that are born of your research, so that
I can continue to help others with theirs. Matthew
Q:- I have a vista 20-se system that was put in about 5 years ago. My township did an inspection and
found that the system was not grounded. I see the ground terminal is empty and was curious if you know how this system can
be grounded safely. Thanks, Keith
Hello Keith, Alarms are best grounded to the exact spot
and clamp that the electricians ground to on the grounding stake outside the house (often by the phone interface). You should
use 18 G. or lower solid wire.
Many alarm companies run the ground to a grounding clamp on the closest cold water
pipe. Although this is a qualified ground it is improper in my opinion and does not offer the best transient lightning protection.
Thanks for visiting the web site, Matthew
Q:- I have a Brink’s security
system model BHS-2000F and I hate the touchpad. You can’t push a button without a beep. If your code is four numbers
you have to listen to four beeps and then there is the very loud, long, annoying beep that happens when you hit the set button
to alarm the house.
Is there any way to bypass this beeping sound so we can push the keypad buttons silently? I mean my cell phone
doesn’t beep when I am dialing a number, my garage door buttons don’t chime when I push them, why in the world
does every keypad in my house have to chime with every number I use to set the alarm? It drives me crazy!!! Thank you so much
for you time, Adrienne
Hi Adrienne, Brinks has their systems built for them exclusively. This assures that they are proprietary systems and nobody
else can get their hands on the programmers needed to make any changes. Some of their models can be programmed to not allow
the keypads to beep during pre-selected hours. Others don't have this option.
If you call Brinks then they can make this adjustment for you
if your system allows it. Nobody else but Brinks should have the programmer needed to do it for you. If you want to disable
the beep permanently, you can take the keypad off the wall and snip one of the wires that goes to the piezo speaker just under
the little sound hole on the keypad cover.
Remember that if you do this it will not count down your exit time audibly or remind you to disarm when you come
in. You will also not be able to tell if there was a violation audibly from that keypad before entering the premise and looking
at the keypad.
also put a piece of electric or duct tape over the sound hole reducing the volume of the beep to an acceptable level.
Best Regards, Matthew
Q:- I live in Sunny California
and it can get pretty hot in my attic. However, that would be the best place for me to put my control unit. I was told that
the components might stop working if it gets too hot. Is this true? Do I need to worry about this? Thanks. John
A: Hi John, I have installed hundreds of controls
in the attics of Houston early in my career, without any problems. The only other components I would consider putting up there
is the transformer and a 190 degree or hotter rate of rise heat sensor.
I will admit I hated servicing alarm systems that were in such places as that is where you
have to go to troubleshoot the devices that are down in the house. and would prefer dropping the wires into a closet whenever
Add a contact
to the closet door to add a safe zone that also protects the control if you like. You can create a secret bypass switch out
of a normal light switch, so you can enter the safe closet at will. Best, Matt
Q:- Hello Experts, Just curious on what you know about
CPI Security. They are based here in North Carolina and are in a lot of the new home Builds in the area. They seem to be on
the up and up but any information is appreciated. Thank You. John R.
A:- Hello John, CPI (Crime Prevention
Inc.) is a large alarm company based in Charlotte, NC with large offices in 3 additional locations around the state. My research
shows that they own their own UL listed monitoring station and have active memberships in all the proper industry organizations
such as the National & State Alarm Associations, National Central Station Association and the BBB.
proud enough of their installations to guarantee that you will never have a false alarm fine or they will pay it! Their BBB
report shows a satisfactory rating which is it's best recommendation. More important is the fact that any complaint that
was listed was resolved promptly, which shows concern over customer care.
They have been in business for 31 years
and registered with the BBB since 91. They have many charitable community associations which show them actively returning
to the community. They have 315 employees and have each registered with the State Private Protective Services. This means
that their employees go through extensive background searches.
CPI is very active in the Builders Association
and this is why builders use them in new construction. Although I have no direct knowledge of this company other than the
research I have done, I would consider doing business with them based on the information I have gathered. They seem like they
are capable and have a large enough presence to be worthy of the business they do in NC. Regards, Matthew
|I am considering three different security companies. They are Brinks, ADT, & Slomins Shield. I wanted to
know, from your professional opinion, which company is the best to go with and the reason why you think this. I have just
heard mixed reviews from a lot of the neighbors, so your input would help a lot. Thank you, Bob
A: - Hi
Bob, There are too many variables involved in order for us to pick one of the three out of a hat. Here are some facts that
will tell you why it is important to review the best offer from each and make an educated decision.
and ADT work off Corporate Sales and Authorized Dealership Programs. These “Authorized Dealers” are independently
owned and operated alarm companies who sell the monitoring contracts they sign up to ADT or Brinks Corporate. Out of these
two choices Brinks are mostly corporate owned offices around the country with a smaller number of authorized private dealerships.
ADT is mostly authorized dealers with corporate presence in the larger cities. (In the residential market)
has 5 monitoring stations around the country and so has always had a built in redundancy system due to the multiple stations
and that is considered a good thing. Brinks have always had two monitoring stations in Texas and has just opened a third in
a different state.
Both ADT #1 in the Nation and Brinks#2 in the Nation, are only as good as the independent
dealer that installs you if using an authorized dealer. I know of some that are the finest and only deal in top quality equipment
and service and some dealerships with both that frankly are disgraces to the industry. In either case you get quality monitoring,
so the work to be done is finding out what quality equipment and install your local dealership is willing to supply you with.
The more you know the more you get, that's why I'm attaching a copy of my guide to knowing the difference, to this
response. When you deal with the corporate offices of both, you get consistency in the proprietary equipment you get, as opposed
to the authorized dealers who choose which equipment they like to work with. However with the best authorized dealers you
might even get better equipment.
Slomins is a family owned business out of Hicksville New York that works the
Eastern Seaboard. They are actually a Heating and Air Conditioning company that had the forethought to offer alarms to their
very large customer base. Since then they have grown tremendously and are #6 in the Nation as per SDM's Annual top 100
alarm companies report. That is outstanding for a company that started out as a heating fuel company in Long Island NY and
must be due to their mom and pop mentality, driving their growth. They are installing aprox 30,000 new customers per year.
They have 2 monitoring facilities in Connecticut and Manhattan.
ADT & Brinks ask for a 36 month contract
for monitoring (24 in California) with a move clause that will give you a like system if you move after 6 months in return
for a new agreement. At that time you are no longer responsible for the old agreement. They cover the whole country and many
other places as well. Slomins asks for a 5 year agreement and has a fee for moving within that time period if you will be
moving in their service area.
After considering these differences, you should simply negotiate the best quality
equipment you can with each. I would also check the BBB for the performance of the installing authorized dealership you are
After all that is sorted out, all three can provide you and your loved ones with quality UL listed
monitoring at anywhere from $25.00 to $39.00 per month. All 3 would be willing to give you free equipment and install in return
for your monitoring contract and a $99.00 activation fee in some cases.
I hope this helps you make the best decision
for you. I am unbiased when it comes to what neighbors are saying because the odds are good, that if they are complaining,
they didn't make an educated choice and were taken advantage of. Knowing what your possibilities are will get you the
best from any company you choose to deal with. All of these 3 are capable of pleasing you. Regards, Matthew
Q:- How long have Alarm Systems been around? Do you have any information on the earliest Systems? Any information
you can share with me would be helpful. Afolagbade
A:- Hello Afolagbade, Interesting question you raise!
Security alarms have been around for centuries in one form or another. The earliest ones were simple strings ran across doorways
with cans or a bell to advise the resident of a violation.
Many persons built steps leading to the home with
a burglar step of a different and unexpected measurement every so often in the sequence, this would cause anyone who was not
use to going up and down the steps to trip and hopefully make noise.
Farmers and ranchers incorporated certain
animals into their security plans. Geese are famous for making noise when someone comes around.I guess that's a big reason
that many cultures employ dogs as house pets these days.
The earliest modern system to the best of my knowledge
began simultaneously with the invention of the telegraph system over 120 years ago. American District Telegraph would expect
a signal to be sent from banks and other guarded facilities on the 1/2 hour. If the OK signal was not sent on time the Sheriff
would be dispatched (also via telegraph) to the site. This early company is still in business and goes by the acronym ADT.
In more recent years, simple relays were used to design systems that would cause a closing of an electronic circuit
if a device opened or closed. The invention of the microchip and the processors they control have changed the industry in
ways we could have never imagined just a few years ago. I hope this information helps you with your research.
Q:- I am replacing the storm and screen windows in my house and just heard about window screen alarm systems.
Where can I find out more about this type of system? Eileen
A:- Hello Eileen, Window Screens are one
of my favorite alarm devices. I posted an article about them, and you can read it on our alarm articles page. (7th article
down) Alarm Screens After you read it I will be happy to answer any additional questions you might have.
I have 5.8ghz cordless phone with answering machine. The phone works fine but when you try to leave a message the caller only
gets squeaking high pitch noise instead of greeting message before they can leave a message. I have a home security system
and I was suspecting that may be the reason for the trouble, is this possible? Mieko
Yes it is possible Mieko. The way to check is to go to the alarm control (Main Box) and unplug the phone cord from the jack
that was installed next to it ,or in it. Make a call to your answering machine from a cell phone or other line, if the problem
still exists, it is your phone and not the alarm. If it goes away I would suspect that you added DSL to your phone service
after the alarm was installed. You will need a DSL filter installed at the alarm control if this is the case.
DON'T FORGET TO PLUG THE ALARM PHONE JACK BACK IN!
there any alarms on the market that will not only set off an alarm
but also take still or video picture's when activated.
To me this would make sense, so that the Police have a better chance of getting the sod's.
I know this question
comes from little ole New Zealand, but hope you can help out. Cheers, Greg
Greg, This technology has been around for quite some time and is very affordable. You can now purchase a combo video camera
/ motion detector and transfer the picture over your PC to the monitoring station and or police. Here is a link to a nice
example of some of the great products that are available for you. Video Motion Detectors I like the units that look like a clock or an air purifier (Very James Bond Like!) These units are even wireless.
PS: What does sod’s mean? Matthew
Thanks heaps for the reply, FYI- Sod's
I think stems from a sod of dirt, so used to describe a useless piece of dirt. Cheers, Greg
Matthew, What is your suggestion for home alarm system that will work best with VoIP? I am using ADT now and I just change
my phone to VoIP and realized that my ADT system doesn't work with VoIP. Could you give me your suggestion? Thank you.
A:- Hello Julianto, The best system I have found to use when using VoIP does not depend on phone
lines of any type. Check out their site at Alarm.Com to see if service is offered where you live. If you are not in an area that they serve, look into one of the alternative
sources such as cellular communicators or separate phone lines with minimum usage, for whatever system you choose. VoIP is
not a dependable service for alarm communication yet. I suspect that this will change as new technologies are discovered in
the near future. Another company that is taking the lead on the Alarms & VoIP battlefield is NextAlarm Read about them at this provided link.
Q:- I have an existing Ademco 4140xmp wired system
that came with the house I bought. I am tired of running to the keypad to disarm/arm the system and wanted to use a wireless
key fob. Can this be done and is it a DIY job? –Tom |
A:- Hi Tom, If your Ademco
4140 xmp system is already wireless, you will simply need an Ademco brand wireless remote. If your system is hardwired you
will need both a wireless receiver and remote. Note: If there are wireless transmitters on your doors, it would be probable
it is already wireless. Either way there are programming sequences that are necessary to get your system to recognize the
desired functions of the remote, such as on, off, on in the stay mode and panic. If your alarm is being monitored, there are
also programming entries needed for reporting of the panic modes. All the programming manuals are available if you are savvy
when it comes to reading and understanding technical manuals. If not, you would be better off having an alarm dealer do it.
Approx cost of DIY: Remote- $ 30.00 Receiver- $ 75.00 Approx cost of alarm dealer install should be: $ 275.00 Place where
you can purchase on line: Home Security Store
I’ve got a defective 3/8 door contact, do you got a trick to remove it? Thanks, - Luc
A:- Hello Luc,
Pry up with a tiny flat head screwdriver just enough to get a pair if 5" diagonal cutters around the cylinder. If it
will not budge, screw a small sheet metal screw into the top of the contact, enough to use it as a leverage point to pull
up on. Careful not to cut wires low enough so that you will have a hard time putting the new contact on.
Q:-Great Website - THANKS! We recently signed up for a system and monitoring by APX ALARM - still don't know
a lot about them but they seem to check out (comments on them?). My home was prewired and set up with a DSC system, APX replaced
it with an ADEMCO/Honeywell VISTA-20P. They added a few wireless devices (fobs, fire and 2 Motions) - the question is whether
I can replace the 20P's with ADEMCO's 6270's? I don't believe that APX carries them (although I don't
know if they would install them for us?), but I can get them (eBay or elsewhere) and easily install the keypad myself. Do
I have to do anything special with the monitoring people when I install it? Thanks! Again Great site! – Sam
A:- Hi Sam, Thank you for your nice comment about the Experts Know site. I built it for the consumers of home
security systems, so it is always nice to hear from those that appreciate it. Your alarm company APX Alarm is a national company
with 80,000 clients and memberships in all the appropriate professional organizations. They have been around since the late
90's and promote free installs in return for monitoring agreements as do some of the largest security firms in the world.
They certainly did right by you in their choice of installing the Vista 20P, as it is one of the controls recognized as on
the highest end of the quality spectrum. It cost them more to put in than many of the other choices available to them. The
Vista 20P now supports up to (2) 6270 or 8132i Graphic Touchpad's. You can find them on E-Bay as you already know or you
can buy direct from sources such as:Home Security Store
Q:- I am interested in installing security window film (4-6 mil)on
my home that will provide a few more minutes of delay should an intruder attempt to break through a window. I am also considering
having glass break sensors added to the current system. My question is: How will the sensors capability be affected by the
security window film, which holds broken glass together. Will the sensors still be able to detect the glass breaking?
A:- It is my experience that the window blast film needs to
be hit very hard several times to break through and is a great deterrent. Glass breaks come in several forms. If you are using
audio sound discriminators that listen to the frequency of breaking glass milliseconds after a thud, you would most likely
loose effectiveness by applying the film. It is not the glass hitting the floor that makes a frequency hit as much as it happens
at the point of shatter. The film would likely muffle the cracking enough to prevent a proper frequency hit.
If you are using the shock sensors that detect vibration of the hit glass, the vibration would be enhanced by the need to
hit harder to break the film. This would allow a technician to tune the shock sensors low, so that false alarms could be avoided
during storms, etc. I would choose audio, without film 1st and shock, with film second.
I was looking on your website and I have been doing some research for my job. As far as the technical side of things why is
it that an alarm system cannot communicate over a VoIP system? And what is the filter that some alarm companies require? What
does it do? I have been working with our Comcast Digital Voice product and have had many questions about alarm systems and
why they need this filter.
It is a true VoIP network from
the embedded multimedia terminal adapter to our system then if needed goes to the telephone switched network. It never touches
the open internet it stays on our own private network. I have been encountering more and more issues with security systems
and have no one to go to for technical info that knows these systems and how they work. As well if you have any questions
that I can answer about CDV please let me know and I can answer them to the best of my knowledge. Thank you for your time
and hopefully your answers. –Tyrell
the Comcast digital voice product, the cable system works just fine with a DSL filter. This filter simply reduces any static
on the line that may interfere with a digital signal being communicated to the receivers that decipher them. This is true
of all DSL lines. On the true VoIP product that does take a digital signal and repackages the signal for broadband and then
re-opens the digital packet on the receiving end there is liability in a few areas.
1st of all the signal comes
through most of the time, but when there is a lot of activity the signal slows down just enough to distort the signal every
so often. Since there is a possibility of the signal not being received when it may be a true emergency, no responsible alarm
company would be willing to accept the signal.
2nd problem is in the use of line seizure. The phone lines are
set up to be seized when the alarm needs a dedicated dial tone. This assures a clean line with nothing else attempting to
use it, and distorting the signal. As cable is always active, there are many things between the alarm and receiving station
that can place chatter on the line. Also the ability to shut down the line is destroyed by the fact that it is always on and
no relay exists that would allow the alarm to shut it down, for its own use and nobody else's.
I hope this
answers you question and I will hold on to your name as offered, should a question arise that can be handled by your expertise.
Q:- I would like to get a home alarm system. However, I do not have a phone line. We have cell
phones and high speed internet (through the cable company). What are my options for a home security monitoring system? Thank
A:- Hello June, If your cable company provides a DSL service and not VoIP, your alarm can
be monitored with just a DSL filter on the line. If it is VoIP (Voice over internet protocol) it can't be monitored properly
over the internet. You can add a cellular communicator to your system, however you will have to purchase the additional equipment
and pay an additional monitoring cost. You can also order a minimum use phone line from your local Bell Co. and use it only
for the alarm. If you are in or near a major city, some alarm companies monitor with long range radios. These are all of your
options! Regards, Matthew
| Q:- Sir, I have
read some of your articles with great interest. Your knowledge of the industry is indeed unquestionable. I must pose a question
however. You speak of alarmed homes being bypassed by potential intruders. If this is true, it can only be true IF a would-be
intruder knows the alarm is there. He can only know it is there by SEEING the visible external components of the alarm system.
This is restricted to a siren box and warning signs/ stickers. It is my observation that a large number of the "free"
alarm systems have no external siren, hence no siren box. |
Many alarm owners (from my research), choose not to have warning signs /stickers, in the belief that it somehow denigrates
the visual presentation of their properties. Often when warning stickers are affixed to windows, they are in the bottom or
top corners of windows as though housebreakers are dwarves or giants, rather than at average eye level.
My research suggests the industry is re-active rather than pro-active. Your
average alarm salesman knows all about his equipment, how and why it works, and how it and the monitoring company ,will react
in the event of activation. He knows little or nothing about deterring the event, which is, in my opinion, the major factor
in crime prevention. The contractors who install the equipment, rarely consider the visual presentation of the externals...I
have seen siren boxes "hidden" by down pipes and foliage, or worse still down the side of the house, and it appears,
in many cases ,that convenience of installation is more important than high visual impact.
My observations are based on the industry in Australia, however my research on the web,
does`t lead me to believe that there is any great understanding of the power of deterrence that an alarm system is properly
installed for visual impact. I conducted an experiment by installing 100 alarm boxes and signage at homes with a high rate
of domestic break-in. My only weapon was visual impact to DETER break-in.
Over a period of 2 years not one of these 100 homes suffered a break-in. During the same period 6 alarmed
homes did suffer a break-in, (reported to police). My investigations showed they all had poor (or no) visual presentation
of their siren boxes and/or signage. My conclusions are that an empty siren box and good signage is far more effective than
a poorly installed alarm system at preventing home break-in.
Monitoring is only reacting to an event that has already occurred and will add something only if mentioned on signage. A 2
colour a4 sign saying ...."WARNING...rapid armed response to monitored alarm activation" along with artwork of a
man in a uniform with a gun proved to be a good deterrent. The general public have no idea of deterrence as a frontline crime
prevention tool...it is up to the industry to exploit this powerful tool when selling and installing an alarm system by ensuring
the client understands the vital importance of supporting the system with high impact visual presentation and highly visible
signage....your thoughts please. Regards... Nick
A:- Hello Nick, Thank you for your thought provoking
contact on the use of visual deterrence as it applies to the electronic security industry. I am interested in what capacity
you served as you did your 2 year control on the use of visuals and lack there of. Are you an independent who has interests
in security or an alarm dealer yourself?
I will agree with you about the lack of knowledge that a typical alarm
salesperson possesses, when mass marketing their products. It has always made me feel that they are degrading an honorable
profession in order to turn a fast buck. This is precisely why I became a consumer advocate. An educated consumer has the
ability to recognize a quality dealer of alarm systems while holding a spotlight on those that are one dimensional.
The best systems are the ones where you don't put all your eggs in one basket. As your study has proven to you,
a well thought out and balanced group of visible deterrents is and always should be the first line of defense when designing
a security plan. Here in the States the FBI statistics on the test you did is that you are 400% less likely to be a victim
of a break in, if you have a security system. This means that 1 in every 400 burglaries have occurred in a home or business
with a system.
As per outside siren boxes, they are seldom used here due to noise ordinances preventing the
use of them. While they are handy on farms and ranches to notify an owner in an outbuilding that there is a problem, they
would be a nuisance in a neighborhood and might cause a response in a neighbor to investigate, bringing them into a life threatening
situation. Today's systems are mostly designed as life safety devices and should notify an owner of an attempt so that
they can prepare to defend themselves, while hopefully scaring off the burglar, as they know that they have been detected.
This is the thought behind a loud interior siren.
Studies show that professional signs and stickers that match,
have a valid phone number or license number on them and are placed properly, are always beneficial to both the company that
insists they are there in order to place a system and the home or business owner that displays them. Any company that doesn't
explain this in detail with a potential consumer, is most likely a poor quality company that hires untrained consultants and
is only concerned about making another recurring revenue account.
Studies also show that the best placement
for a sticker is bottom center of every few windows, on all sides of the premise. When placed in the corner the sticker blends
in with the window frame. When placed on the bottom, the eye always goes there to see if the window is closed tightly. A yard
sign should be visible from the road and not hidden. As a replacement to the siren box, I like a visible strobe light. This
device will latch on after an alarm has cycled, informing a returning home or business owner that there was a violation and
preventing entrance into what might then become a dangerous confrontation. Of course exterior lighting plays a large role
We must be careful to realize that your thoughts on visual deterrence as an effective and well
designed first defense are both correct and necessary, however if used as a stand alone system (due to it's effectiveness
and low cost) ,will leave life safety issues vulnerable and without protection should an attempt be made anyway. I have learned
in my career that the burglar is somewhat predictable and can be deterred, but the sexual predator is both abundant and without
concern of the usual deterrents. I would like to post your comments and our responses on our site as I feel that it would
be helpful to our visitors. Thank you again for making contact.- Matthew
Response:- Hi Matthew, Please feel free to use my observations on your site if you so wish. My findings came
as a result of market research in a feasibility study of entering the industry about 9 years ago. I found a large number of
alarm owners who didn`t bother to activate the systems, other than when away for extended periods. They were scrupulous for
the first year or so, and then complacency appeared to set in.
Initially I planned to set up a business that merely "advertised" the presence of an alarm system with signage,
siren box and strobe light (the bits a potential intruder expects to see on an alarmed home). My 100 installations were done
at cost to provide data on the effectiveness of deterrence as a legitimate weapon in preventing home break-in. In fact I offered
a money back guarantee in the event of a break-in occurring as a means of monitoring those installations. Believing I was
onto a winner I set about marketing my low cost "alarm system" that had zero operational problems, zero false alarms,
and zero ongoing costs, yet was highly effective at deterring home break-in.
My biggest problem was getting people to understand the concept of deterrence, they seemed unable
to get beyond the "bells and whistles" of an alarm system. In the end I gave up and created a niche business upgrading
the visual impact of existing alarm systems for existing alarm owners. I have managed to create a successful business doing
what the alarm companies should have done when first installing the systems. I put up siren boxes and strobe lights where
there are none...They are not connected, being there only to send a message to potential intruders. I affix warning signs
and stickers that tell the potential intruder the system is monitored, whether it is or isn`t.
In my travels I am constantly amazed by the ignorance of established and respected alarm
companies, in their knowledge and application of deterrence principles. Until the industry understands it as I believe I do,
I will continue to educate alarm owners in how to maximize the effectiveness of their systems by spending just a few more
dollars on "advertising" its presence. At least in this way, it is still providing a powerful deterrent, even when
not switched on.
Matthew, I take onboard your comments
about alarms being primarily for personal safety....Australia does not yet have the problems you confront in the USA...alarms
are still primarily installed for protection of property rather than the persons. Home invasion is still fairly infrequent
and sexual predators entering the home are not common. I`m sure they will become a problem in the not too distant future.
Australians do not have the right to bear arms as
you do....the policy here generally is, don`t resist, give them what they want. Response times here vary greatly, my observations
are that commercial clients have priority. Domestic security patrols are a new thing here, but struggling to get off the ground.
A general apathy exists "it will never happen to me" is the all too common attitude. I find it easier to deal with
people who have already spent the money on alarm systems and simply add on my deterrence package where applicable. It`s largely
an educational process, but suits me, because I am, as I suspect you are, a teacher at heart. Regards, Nick
Q:- I am a fire investigator in Houston Texas. It has been asked of me many times in building fire that have
no heat and smoke detector if the infrared motion detector should have detected smoke, flames or falling objects during the
fire. If you have any insight on this I would certainly appreciate your input. Lloyd|
A:- Hello Lloyd,
I served many years myself as a firefighter, with Klein
TX VFD. Over the years I have been asked this question many times by homeowners looking for ways to save money by not investing
in a system monitored smoke detector. First I will give you a basic rundown on PIR technology.
Infrared Motion Detectors - These detectors are also known as PIR detectors. The technology they utilize is “passive
infrared”. The device is mounted on a wall or in the corner of a room. It sends invisible fingers out into the covered
area in several layers.
The top layer goes the furthest and averages about 60 feet straight ahead and 35 feet
on the sides. The center layer of beams spreads the area about mid way and the bottom layer sweeps the room closest to the
These beams individually measure the infrared temperature of what ever they land on and look for a clash
of temperature against that point. For example if a beam lands on your couch and knows what temperature it is, when you walk
in front of the couch your temperature is different and causes a violation. You would be hard pressed to match the temperature
of everything in your home as you walk about and that makes motion detectors hard to compromise.
to fire: It is possible that in the earliest stages of the fires development that the scenario you outlined in your
question would trigger a violation. It is more likely however not to violate due to the fact that the operating range of the
average PIR Motion detector is 30F to 110F. If the motion detector finds itself in conditions outside of this temp. range,
it will go to sleep, as it can no longer recognize the defining temperatures of each beams landing point. As you and I know
the extreme temps. that occur in a house fire, it is likely that the temps are way outside the working range of the device
by the time things start falling in that room. If the fire started in the room that the device is protecting and the alarm
is armed, you would have a high probability but no guarantee of violation.
As an investigator you should keep in
mind that 60% of alarm owners don't arm their systems all the time, due to poor training by the installing alarm company.
As opposed to fire devices such as smoke/heat detectors which are armed 24/7 a motion is only on while the system is on.
Motion detectors are wired NC which means "Normally Closed". The device is a closed or shorted circuit and
the relay opens the loop upon violation. This makes it highly improbable that the relay will open if the device melts. A smoke/heat
on the other hand is wired NO "Normally Open" and will most likely short in the event of a fire melting the device.
A fire device will detect rising heat and smoke long before getting to the melting point. A motion device detecting heat signature
clashes is a crap shoot due to the rapidly declining range of normal operating conditions in the average fire.
Q:- I am building a new house and want to know if I can wire my garage doors for security contacts.
There are a total of three of them. Also I have French doors in the master leading out to the patio. I was told I can wire
one home run to the door and wire them in series...if this true...how do I wire in series...thanks for your time.
A:- Hi Jeff, Yes you can wire you Overhead
Doors (OHD) and regular garage doors alike. If you are talking about the OHD's I like the contacts to be about two ft.
up on the right side track (looking out). Run an 18 or 22 G. two conductor wire to the first one. Leave about two feet of
extra wire to work with. Run an additional wire to the next one. ( It will be seriesed before putting the contact on.) Repeat
process to each door from the last. The contacts on the OHD are metal cased and have large magnets (so that the steel track
will not keep them from working properly). They are called Overhead Door Contacts.
Remember: Your garage door when
opened, will be activating your entry delay of the system. In order to eliminate a too long delay time, you will need a way
of turning your system off sooner. Key chains and a wireless receiver or a keypad run into the garage will solve the problem.
If you are running a keypad it will be a 22 g. 4 conductor run to the control panel. To wire in series to an existing
contact circuit, cut only one side of the existing 2 conductor and tap onto each side of the cut side with the new wire.
To do it with new runs, let’s assume our wires are black and red. Tie red of one wire to black of the next,
tie black of that wire to red of the next etc. When you are done you have a daisy chain and you will tape each tie individually
leaving only the ends to be tied to the wire that goes back to the control. This is a series circuit and will leave your devices
NC (normally closed) which means that the circuit will be closed until something violates it (like opening the door) and then
it will open. The alternative is a parallel circuit. All reds tied to reds and all blacks tied to blacks. This circuit is
NO (Normally Open) and will be sitting open in normal conditions and close or short when it is violated. Most burglary devices
are wired NC and most fire circuits are wired NO. I hope this helps and I haven't confused you.