Finding my security system

We bought a new house a few months ago. It was only yesterday that I noticed our sliding door in the back has a sensor on it with an ADT logo. It has a wire from it that goes up in the wall, but that's the only trace i've been able to find. I know it can't be TOO old, because the back of the house (where this is) is part of an addition that was put on. I've never had anything like this before, so I don't know even where to look about to find where the control panel once was. I'm interested to know though, because I've been considering getting a system anyway, and this would be great (cheaper) if there's more. Would I be able to call ADT and could they tell me what once was here?

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You could call ADT but they'll probably only be interested in selling you a system with a multi-year monitoring contract. If that is what you want then by all means call the. Just make certain that it is the

*real* ADT and *not* one of their Authorized Dealers. ADT corporate generally does a decent job. A good many of the authorized dealers (third party companies who sell whatever they want and then sell the monitoring contract to ADT) have been sued by attorneys general in various states for everything from bait and switch to illegal (fraudulent) advertising.

If you only want a "local" alarm (one that makes noise but is not monitored), you'll likely need to find where the wires come together yourself. If there's an accessible attic, try looking around for a bunch of small gauge cables similar to telephone wires. They're often terminated in a utility room, bedroom closet, the basement or the garage. If you spot them in the attic, look where they disappear into the top of a wall. They may be just hanging inside the wall below. If there are multiple floors below the attic, you may find them terminated above a drop ceiling in the basement or anywhere below the point where they disappear into the wall.

If all else fails there's a tool called a "tone set" which you can use to trace wires through walls. It's a 2-piece kit consisting of a tone generator and an inductive pickup sensor. You clip the tone generator to one end of a pair of wires and turn it on. Both pieces run on 9-volt batteries. This places a distinctive, warbling tone in an electromagnetic field around the wire. The inductive pickup tool has a tiny amplifier and a piezo speaker in it. When you're within several feet of the wire the speaker will sound. The sound gets louder as you get closer to the wire. Basically, you just walk away from the starting point where the tone generator is, waving the pickup tool back and forth along the wall. With a little practice you'll locate the other end of the cable. The rest of the wires will usually terminate in the same location.

Decent tone sets cost around $70 or $80 but you can probably pick one up on eBay for half that.

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