I'm preparing to move into a new apartment, and the time has come to choose a burglar alarm system.
Alarms have been a bit of a hobby of mine for quite a few years, so while I'm going into this with far less knowledge than most of the regular posters here who have years of professional experience behind them, I'd like to think of myself as one who possesses enough knowledge to design and install a limited system for a small apartment.
As a student, I lack the resources to contract this out to someone, so I really have no choice but to go the DIY route.
The building is of historical significance, and the lease does not permit hardwire systems so my initial inclination to pursue a Vista hardwire or hybrid system is going to have to be set aside.
My current options as I see them are:
- GE Allegro
- Ademco Lynx
- GE Simon
The DSC Envoy seems to have earned a place of infamy among both professionals and DIY-ers alike, so I have kept it off the list (no one even seems to sell it to DIY-ers anymore anyway).
The apartment itself has an open floorplan. The unit sits on the ground floor of a building, with the bedroom and living room side by side facing the street with two windows in each room. Directly behind these two rooms (no hallway between them) lay the kitchen/entry (two doors, one leading to the hallway, one leading elsewhere in the building) with a bathroom off to one side. The bathroom and kitchen also contain one window apiece that lead to a miniscule, fairly inaccessible courtyard.
It's not quite a "standard" layout by any means.
The openness of the floorplan and the wireless-only rule make system survivability a major concern of mine. The sheer number of windows and doors (6 and 2, respectively) is driving the budget for wireless sensors through the roof any way I look at it. Buying a separate keypad and a separate siren on top of that without any decent place to hide the all-in-one control is proving to be expensive and borderline futile.
I've personally used (but not installed) an Allegro before, and it's included separate DTIM is attractive when compared to spending an additional $100-ish to add one to an off-the-shelf Simon 3.
The Lynx, while a true "Squawk In A Box" at least offers the ability for a separate keypad, something the Allegro does not, as far as I know. Unlike the Simon 3 keypad (Wireless TouchTalk 2 Way RF Touchpad -60-924-3), the 5828V is capable of providing entry beeps, which along with bypassing the internal siren on the Lynx itself seems to offer a decent level of protection when taking into account the inherent limitations of the unit.
The Powermax has no ability to split the dialer and control panel, but as with the Lynx, it offers the user the option of a keypad. I'm not sure if the external keypad provides real-time audible system status upon a fault condition while armed.
I find myself leaning towards the Allegro or the Lynx. I had a solid trouble-free year with the Allegro that I used previously, but I'm concerned that the control/keypad would be obliterated too quickly after an intruder knocked down the delay door, and before the DTIM could receive the go-ahead signal.
The Lynx seems to be well-thought of when you accept what it is and the situations it is best suited for (ie: not a 20 minute, 3 sensor, trunk-slamming solution to a 3,000 sqft home), but in a small, open floorplan unit, the gigantic control panel might be a bit difficult to hide, even with the 5828V put in as a distraction.
I'm trying to maximize my protection while minimizing my costs (as I understandably have limited resources). I'm trying to decide wether spending the extra money on the Lynx + accessories is really worth it when compared to the Allegro which has a leg up on survivability from the get-go (yet will guide an intruder to the keypad).
I would really appreciate any opinions or suggestions that anyone could offer.