My security alarm is getting long in the tooth. its 18 years old and the company is out of business. Two zones are broken and the battery won't recharge. Time for an upgrade.
The system has 16 hardwired zones. Each zone has NO sensors across a wire pair and a termination resistor at the end of the run. That way, a closed circuit is an alarm, a resistance value is normal, and an open is a zone fault. It sounds like today's alarms all work the same way.
I see three vendors, Ademco (Honeywell), DSC, and CADX (General Electric). Which vendor makes the best system? My first requirement would be ease of programming with a computer link and not have to buy a special programmer. Second would be possible future upgrades, especially cameras.
Any suggestions on where to purchase?So far, the best I've found is
P.S. It looks like I need to include a political comment to be part of this group. I'm holding my nose and voting for McSame. The evil of two lessors.
I wonder if Karl is doing the ADT thing for the equipment, or for the monitoring svcs.
My idea was to kluge something up web/phone-wise, so that your *neighbors* (and your own home) could be part of an *alert network* for your shop. I wanted to do this in my home amongst neighbors, but of course never got around to it. Pagers make this a no-brainer as well.
What exactly are you trying to prevent? How often is the event(s) possible or likely? How much will that event cost you? How much do you want to spend on preventing it? How much do you want to spend on monitoring the event and/or catching the tangos?
An alarm system is secondary to physically securing the area. My place is now almost break-in proof and it has video monitoring, IR and motion sensors, perimeter switches on doors and windows, lots of signage and roving armed guards. No events in about a year now.
If you let an alarm company decide a system on their own it won't be as good as with your educated input.
I get around the sensor problem; my system reports the sensors directly to my pager so I can judge wether the sensor is reliable or not. Some of my sensors are close to 100% and some are experimental, and it causes no confusion.
Free men own guns - www(dot)geocities(dot)com/CapitolHill/5357/
My biggest issue is fire. I've got heat sensors throughout. I want my local department to know before my neighbor calls saying fire is coming out the roof. I get a break on my insurance by having an alarm system.
I've also got freeze sensors, another big issue. I want the panel to call me on these zones, not the fire department.
Believe it or not, theft is at the bottom of my list. if you're a thief, there's way better targets than my site. I have enough sensors to stop the dumb ones. Its not cost effective to stop a serious dedicated pro. My place is right behind Randy's and Walter's. You'd best be quick and quiet. We are the best of friends and help watch each others stuff.
Again, I'm just wanting to replace the panel. I'm happy with the sensors I've got. Are there no "unmitigated experts" on this?
That one is simple - your Central Station needs to be on the ball. I'd rig up a "Vacation Switch" on the freeze sensors, and when you are home it sets off a local alarm to wake you up. Or you can put a
5-minute delay relay so it WILL call the Central Station if there is no response to the "silence" button.
But for those few times you go out of town for a few days, you switch it to a 24-Hour circuit on the alarm, and it sends a different zone code - which you told the Central Station about.
Sometimes you have to educate the monitoring center clerks rather firmly as to why it's important they follow the instructions and call you when they are supposed to, but they will learn. Had to do that with my "Low Battery" code when I found a pole-axed dead panel trying to leave the house - "Yes, we have been receiving the low battery code for weeks, but a minute later it always cleared itself so we didn't call..."
So much for the 'Battery Self Test on Disarm' feature, it finally got so bad it died before coming out of test mode...
When they get that 'freeze sensor' code they are to call you, and if there's no response start down a list of neighbors and friends till they get to someone who can handle it for you. (Come over and start the wind machines, or light the smudge pots, or turn on the sprinklers, or all of the above.)
Call your local alarm company and ask what panel(s) they have the remote programmers and other 'stuff' to support. The receivers can handle almost any panel, but if you want them to do the programming they have to have the right software and knowhow.
Me, I'd buy the alarm panel based on availability of the programming package to the end user IF they don't charge a bloody fortune for it. It's a whole lot easier working from a computer screen than from a
2-line 16-character display using Hex codes. Or worse my brothers' house, with a 4-character display.
Know anyone who still has Morse parts? They turned into Optex and then got out of the panel business.
I really don't want to rip out a perfectly good MDC-16, but I need to expand it to 24 or 32 channels for all separate zones (eliminates false alarm charges when you can prove multiple zone violations - or for finding the swinger) and split it for restricted access into just the garage and office areas.
I have a spare keypad (somewhere...) but not the expansion board.