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Newbie has Couple of Questions on Home Security


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#1 zebmina

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Posted 01 October 2011 - 08:22 AM

Hi All:

I am quite a newbie to this forum, and was looking for sticky notes, but haven't found them, so my apologies...

Q1. Are there any stickies for home security, like a set of tutorials? I know the basic concepts, but the vast array of products confuses the bejeezus out of me!

Q2. I want to add a home security system to an existing home (2-floor) with 1 large slider, 2 entry doors, 2 fixed windows panes, 15 casement windows (all Anderson). I am inclined to ignore the upstairs level.
I would like to use wireless only because it would be much simpler (not having to run wires is important to me!).

If possible, I would like to be able to monitor/control the alarm system and devices such as lights from a remote computer or smartphone.

My assumption is that I will need 15 wireless window contacts (I've read some about the kind that I can mount inside the window frame and jamb), 2 door contacts (wireless as well), and several glass-break sensors.

I think I will probably want several PIR sensors as well.

It's an open floor plan, with the sliders and one door, along with 7 windows comprising the family room and kitchen, then a separate room with 4 windows, another room with 2 windows, a 1/2 bath with 1 window, and a mud room with 1 window.

I would love to get some guidance on the type of system (kit?) that I could get that would allow me to secure these things.

Your comments, thoughts, guidance, links to reading material, etc. are greatly appreciated.

Regards,

Zeb

#2 Lou Apo

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Posted 01 October 2011 - 09:09 AM

Home security only, or home automation? If all you want is a security system, DSC makes systems that would cover your house for a couple hundred dollars.

Wireless sensors will add to the cost. I'm not a big fan of wireless, they are impossible to hide, need to have battery changes, and just are more prone to problems. But if that is what you have to do.. .

#3 zebmina

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Posted 01 October 2011 - 06:39 PM

Home security only, or home automation? If all you want is a security system, DSC makes systems that would cover your house for a couple hundred dollars.

Wireless sensors will add to the cost. I'm not a big fan of wireless, they are impossible to hide, need to have battery changes, and just are more prone to problems. But if that is what you have to do.. .


Thanks a bunch for your response! I poked a bit at DSC, and am interested in learning more about what they offer. Are there any resources that you could point me to that I could use to learn more?

Basically what I am looking for is for home security, although from what I heard/read, I should be able to turn on/off devices such as lights/fans from a web browser? At least that's what I'm hoping for (I suppose that crosses the line into HA, but I am not looking at audio/video/appliance control, as much as lights, so I guess it's a subset of HA?).

Which DSC system would you say comes closest to addressing my needs? To reiterate, door/windows/PIR/glass-break, notification to cell phone or alternate phone, use of web browser to arm/disarm, turn lights on/off.

Are there any well-known dealers that can provide technical know-how and support?

Thanks again.

Zeb

#4 russvan

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Posted 01 October 2011 - 09:27 PM

Today you can get fully concealed wireless door and window transmitters made by a company called Ion-Digital. They make a plunger switch (called the Plunger) and a magnetic switch (called the Micra) Battery life if 5+ years using a coin cell CD1620 lithium battery. They have both types of switches in 5 wireless protocols

GE - Plunger-G and Micra-G
DSC - Plunger-D and Micra-D
HAI - Plunger-HAI and Micra-HAI
2Gig - Plunger-2G and Micra-2G

and Honeywell(Ademco) 5800RPS (Plunger) and 5800Micra

Switches are available at most distributers. Google the switch name to find available sources. I have been installing alarm systems since 1969 and using these switches since 2004 and I don't even hardwire doors or windows in new construction anymore.

AlarmProfessor.net

#5 Work2Play

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Posted 01 October 2011 - 11:14 PM

Just keep in mind, the difference between wired vs. wireless is close to 10x the cost. For a retrofit that's less of an issue but for places where wiring is easy, like a pre-wire, wired is always better. It never needs battery changes; can run 30+ years without issue or maintenance; and it responds quicker.

The one advantage that those iON Wireless sensors offers is that you never have to drill through the second (and more important) sill plate so you're not creating a moisture path into your home. That said - it is totally possible to have all-wireless and completely-concealed sensors; there's not a single one visible in my house.

#6 zebmina

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 06:51 AM

Russvan, Work2Play: Thanks both for your suggestions. I agree (even as a newbie) - wired would be preferable, but it will probably be a pain to run wires now (although I am willing to be shown otherwise!), which is why for planning purposes I was thinking about wireless sensors.

This helps me address the issue of door/window sensors. As far as the Control Panel is concerned, the suggestion was to use DSC. I am unclear what accessories I need to enable self-monitoring and powerline device control (specifically I am trying to put together a detailed parts list so I can start pricing this out). I definitely want to be able to monitor via a web browser, and be notified by email/phone (although I would like some flexibility to use a monitoring agency), and I want to be able to turn on/off lights/fans using a web browser.

Any ideas/suggestions are gratefully appreciated.

Zeb

#7 DELInstallations

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Posted 04 October 2011 - 08:02 PM

Given your list for dabbling into self monitoring and integration, I'm afraid you'll find the DSC product line lacking in it's features based strictly on the pricepoint.

#8 Work2Play

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Posted 05 October 2011 - 12:32 AM

If you want light control and web access, have you considered an M1 or EZ8? They seem a little pricey at first but for what they can do they're pretty slick.

Also - for dealers - call the CT vendors like Automated Outlet; or one that's rarely mentioned here is Home Controls - they're a pretty large outfit and they have good technical resources... I used them long before I heard of Cocoontech (before Cocoontech came to be, I believe).

For some reason I missed that this was a retrofit... if the walls are up, then it's way easier to go wireless... although there are definitely tricks for running wires where you have to... I have a 2-story on a slab, no basement - and I was able to get wires everywhere I wanted them ultimately; but not without some effort. In my opinion, wireless is absolutely fine for everything except motion - the options are very limited; and because of how wireless motion sensors work (to conserve battery) they suck for automation. For those, I'd figure out how to run the necessary wires if I were you.

#9 zebmina

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Posted 10 October 2011 - 02:39 PM

My apologies for my tardiness is responding, but was traveling on business and really tied up!

I have also looked at the M1, and the geek interest in me has definitely been piqued.

I neglected to add (in my initial assessment) thermostat control. I have a heat pump with a electric heat bar, so I need to replace my current thermostat with the proper communication thermostats that would allow me to step up the temperature in small increments (to avoid having the heat bar kick in -- learned the hard way when I saw my electric bill one month; prior to that I used to be a good citizen and lower temps down to 62 at night, raise it to 68 in the morning; now I just leave it at 68).



As I looked at the M1, I think I need to have the following:

M1GSYS4S
M1XEP
M1XRF2H
I also read somewhere about the need to have a serial interface to be able to control the thermostat?

Assorted wireless door and window contacts, break-glass sensors

Either wired or wireless motion sensors depending on how much work it is to run wires.

Anything else that I must have?



I hope to not use wire runs because this is a retrofit, but In understand the rationale for handling motion sensors differently, although it's now a toss-up because of the number of motion sensors I was planning on adding. It seems to me that for optimal security, one would have to add multiple motion sensors. If I were to have wires run for the motion sensors, is it recommended that I run home runs for each sensor? It would seem to me that in a retrofit, it would make more sense to do home runs...

I am kind of running up against some pretty tight deadlines, and want to get this stuff nailed down in a week or so so I can install and configure before the end of October! Hopefully I'm not going to be in a major bind!

Regards,

Zeb

#10 Work2Play

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 04:23 AM

I lived with heatpumps for about 7 of the last 10 years... I actually was quite happy with my HAI Omnistat where I could change the increment for aux-heat to 5 degrees rather than the standard 2. Then again, as long as I had a heat pump I just left it set the way I wanted 24/7 and didn't bother with setbacks. The Omnistats supposedly have more intelligence built in too where you can say you want the house at 73 by 5:00PM and it'll intelligently learn the characteristics of your HVAC system and "learn" how long it takes to get it up to that temp and start accordingly... I'm not entirely sure how this works in conjunction with the aux heat setting but it's worth a look if you care about setting back temps.

The XRF comes in an H or G version - depending on if you want GE or Honeywell; not sure if that was a conscious decision - it sure seems like GE is more popular.

For motions - if they're security only, then wireless is fine - but, there don't seem to be as many options for dual or quad technology sensors to help prevent false alarms. For automation, wireless motions are sub-par because of the battery saving timeouts they use - they're basically useless for automation IMO.

The things you have to wire really are the keypads, speakers and sirens. I have strict beliefs on how/where keypads should be mounted, which sure made my retrofit more work - but, it's done.

And yes - homerun everything. Sure, with the databus you don't have to - but it's just easier that way.

For your parts list - do you want more keypads? What do you want for speakers - behind the keypads, or central in the house? You probably want a DBH Databus Hub to simplify wiring; and the M1XSP is required for an RS232 or RS485 Thermostat to connect to the panel. The KP2 keypad that comes with that kit looks great flush-mounted but that requires a separate back-box (looks great though).

Last - retrofit wiring sucks the more you think about it. When you stop thinking about it and just do it, it's really not that big of a deal. Anything is doable.

#11 zebmina

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 05:39 AM

Work2Play: Thanks! As I read more about this subject, I come up with more questions!

Just realized I should have asked this before... My sliders and doors are metal, so if I go wireless, I might have interference problems. Do the outside-mounted sensors work?

#12 Work2Play

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 11:18 PM

Yeah - the surface mount sensors should be fine.

#13 BigguyZ

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Posted 13 October 2011 - 01:09 PM

Not to thread jack, but I am working on a similar issue for my brother's house.

In his case, it was damaged severely by a tornado, and as a result it's not gutted. So wired is definitely an option. It seems like the ELK EZ8 does both security and home automation- is that correct?

If so, I think that'll be a good solution. Is there a primer on what I need? There seems to be a 100 variations on what you can buy just for the main controller, and I have no clue what they are.

Also, does the EZ8 allow you to control/ monitor issues remotely online or with an app (Android)?

I'm willing to do research, but a lot of these websites/ product pages are geared towards the distributor/ installer- not the DIY home owner. I just want security, light automation/ control, maybe door locks, and remote access/ control. Other features like cameras and garage door monitoring and what-not are nice, but not a primary concern.

Thanks!

#14 Lou Apo

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Posted 13 October 2011 - 01:47 PM

Not to thread jack, but I am working on a similar issue for my brother's house.

In his case, it was damaged severely by a tornado, and as a result it's not gutted. So wired is definitely an option. It seems like the ELK EZ8 does both security and home automation- is that correct?

If so, I think that'll be a good solution. Is there a primer on what I need? There seems to be a 100 variations on what you can buy just for the main controller, and I have no clue what they are.

Also, does the EZ8 allow you to control/ monitor issues remotely online or with an app (Android)?

I'm willing to do research, but a lot of these websites/ product pages are geared towards the distributor/ installer- not the DIY home owner. I just want security, light automation/ control, maybe door locks, and remote access/ control. Other features like cameras and garage door monitoring and what-not are nice, but not a primary concern.

Thanks!


This page gives a side by side summary. http://www.elkproduc...y_overview.html

I have an m1g, never used an ez8. I do believe the ez8 still has all the programming stuff the same.

With the walls opened up, just start pulling wires. You can decide on the panel later. You, no-doubt, will have a very limited opportunity to pull wires before they start putting the sheet rock up. It is always better to pull more wires than you need.

I suggest

1) one zone for each "bank" of windows. You may want to pull an extra wire to certain banks if you would like to be able to open one of them with the alarm on or in a night status but still have the others fully armed.
2) one zone for each door
3) one zone for each motion. consider if you want to use motion detectors/occupancy detectors or just motion/intrusion detectors. If you want occupancy, you will want a lot more.
4) consider water detectors. group water detectros together onto a single zone as it makes logical sense. Like you might have 3 or 4 in the kitchen, but I would still make it one zone.
5) consider if you want the system controlling the hvac. Pull wires to the thermostat location.
6) consider running conduit from floor to floor, attic to basement, closet to closet, AV area to alarm control closet, etc. some runs you might consider 1.5 in conduits, but mostly 3/4 is good.
7) I suggest arming upstais windows as well. Not so much to stop intrusion, but rather to alert you to the fact that something is open (approaching storm, leaving for the weekend, etc).

#15 BigguyZ

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Posted 13 October 2011 - 02:21 PM

When you say one zone- do you mean one wire run? So one wire per door, one per window bank? (I figure I can just use some phone or Cat5e/6 I have).




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