I am in the planning stages of installing my own home alarm system and have some questions I am hoping some of the professionals in this group can help me with.
- An alarm technician my company does business with spoke highly of Ademco. From reading this group I know many of you use Ademco as well. Of all the current model Ademco's which one would be most highly recommended or conversely generally have the least problems associated with it. I am currently researching the Vista 10, 15 & 20 but I don't understand the main differences between them. From what I have learned I would need an Ademco 6139 or 6160 keypad to program any of these panels. What are the main differences between these keypads? I am more interested in whichever is easier to read and less confusing for my wife to be able to understand.
- If not Ademco I am open to any suggestions regarding other systems. My goal is to keep this system as simple as possible. I don't plan to have the system monitored. I am basically looking to know if someone has broken in when I am home so I can be ready to defend myself and my family. If I am not home I'd imagine the alarm would likely scare most burglars away and I have plenty of neighbors who are almost always home who I would hope would make the call for me. I would however like the system to have the capability to dial my cell phone so I would know it had been tripped. Is this something most panels would already have or something I'd need to add on.
- In keeping with my intention not to have this system monitored, once the alarm is tripped how long is the typical cutoff time for the system to sound until? If memory serves me correct when my neighbor's alarm has gone off when he was not home his alarm sounded for around five minutes. After this period of time is the system inactive, active and able to detect a different zone other than the one that was tripped or are all zones active again including the one that was tripped?
- Which systems (or which Ademco systems if any) have a voice alarm where when the alarm is tripped the system announces something such as "the police have been notified" or something similar. I would suspect this is an effective feature and I would think in the middle of the night it would be better to be woken up to that rather than an ear-piercing siren.
- How do security systems differentiate a security alarm signal from a fire alarm signal? Is the same "audible tone" generated when either is activated or are they distinct?
- The house is a cape style home with two finished levels and a full basement. The basement is wide open, measures 24' x 34' and the only entrance points are two small ground level windows and a steel bulkhead all along the same wall. I am wondering if the approach should be switches on all three, a beam sensor across all three or simply one motion for the whole basement and maybe reinforce the entrance points (i.e. bars on inside of windows.) My focus on this and really all parts of the system is highest reliability and on minimizing false alarms.
- While it would be great if I had the time and money required to alarm every window in the house I unfortunately have neither. I have a rear sliding patio door I believe would be a likely point of entry for a thief and I'd like to protect that with a glass-break detector for the door and a motion detector for that room as a back-up to the glass-break detector. Assuming I use a motion in that room I would want it armed at night. If I were to go in that room at night however I would set it off. Is it possible however to use a dual-technology peripheral for this one room and wire/program the system so that the glass-break detector is on a 24 hour zone and the motion detector is on an "away" zone or would I need to use two different peripherals for this?
As some general information I will be installing the system myself and I will be using 80% hardwired devices and limiting my wireless devices to those areas where running wire to them is either impractical or impossible. I plan to purchase the equipment from ADI through a neighbor who has an account there. I am asking these questions here rather than of him since he deals with ADI through his work as a commercial surveillance system technician and has very little knowledge of security alarm systems.
As professionals I value your opinion and appreciate your input. I will check this thread for replies but if you would rather e-mail a reply please feel free to do so.