pir false alarms


we have an alarm for 2,5 years now. It is a Rokonet system. The PIR detector's used are Pyronix Magnum Ultra.

It worked fine for more than 2 years, but last summer we had false alarms almost once per week. Always on the same sensor. Sensor was replaced by the installer, but next night there was again a false alarm.

The Pir is now replaced by a dual detector, and this detector seems to work well.

The next week we had false alarms with both the two other PIR's. So they are also replaces by dual's.

Now it has worked fine for 3 months. But the installer sends us a bill for the replacement of the first detector. And i think another bill for the two others will follow. Together this is the 25% of the price of the system! I do not think this is normal after 2,5 years. (The warranty of the system is 1 year, but on the pyronix site i read the pir detectors come with 5 years of warranty)

I want to argue with the installer but first i want to learn more about the problem. So i have some questions:

Is it possible that a fly triggers the pir? Can this problem be due to bad adjustment of the pir or the use of the wrong lenses? Can the reason be in the rokonet system instead of in the PIR's? Any other ideas???

Thanks in advance... Joble

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I know it seems confusing when one looks at the original price of installation. Is your system being monitored? If so, some in the industry will discount to initial price of the system and make up the rest of the cost over the length of the monitoring arrangement. Secondly, the dual tech motions can be two to three times the cost of some of the single technology PIR's.

I do not think this is normal after 2,5 years. (The

That is probably the manufactures warranty which are misleading if you don't really read them. It is not "over the counter" exchange through the distributor in most cases. Over the counter warranty exchange is relatively short. 30 days is normal. After that, it most likely would be a technician taking it down, paying for shipping, sending it to the manufacturer, possibly a bench charge if nothing is found to be wrong, shipping back, a technician coming back to re-install either the new one, the repaired one or the same one if the manufacturer could not simulate the problem through testing. The manufacturer (no matter which one) will not pay for the technicians labor, travel, overhead, etc. even if the warranty is honored. The one year warranty, the installation company gave you, is from them and usually will cover parts and labor. Two different type of warrantys coming from two different entities. Manufacturers warranty's are not as great as they sound.

Being in the trade, believe me, we appreciate that.

Not familiar with this particular PIR but will try to give some insight for you to make your decision. You mentioned that the PIR worked well for a couple of years. If a fly is a concern, I would think that the PIR has seen a fly or two over those two years without tripping. It is possible but not probable a fly would set off a PIR.

Again, the PIR was fine for an extended amount of time with the existing settings and lenses. Unless you made some changes to the environment (area) the PIR is located in, which could effect the PIR's intended use or settings, this shouldn't be the problem. Changes could be very suttle, or simply adding a piece of furniture or wall hanging could be enough. The lens will change how the PIR is viewing the area, but unless it is dirty, greasy, cobwebs, paint spray, etc. or again making a change to the area, this should not be a problem either. Did someone try to clean the lens with a harsh cleaner of some sort?

Not if the new Dual Tech's are working fine. The only device that may cause you problems is the battery. If it is not holding the system up during a power fluctuation, the motions can false. Do you have power problems in your area periodically? Have you had any since the motions were changed to see if the new ones are effected by power outages? When was the last time you had the battery changed? Dual techs, because of the microwave, are a little more power hungry. Adding a battery with a little more Ah (amp hours) is advisable especially since I don't know what other power devices you have on the system.

It sounds like whatever was happening, it was effecting the passive infrared portion of the detector. By adding the dual tech (addition of microwave and passive) it is overcoming the problem. It makes me think that something changed to effect the passive. It is not likely that three motion detectors will go bad weeks apart. See if anything changed in the home, not that it matters if the problem has been resolved, but for your comfort level. Look for something, take the blinders off, that occured just prior to your first false alarm.

Reply to
Bob Worthy

Some adjustment to the invoice to take the 5 year warranty on the detectors may be arguable. The cost for the service visits (labour portion) is predicated on the company's standard rates and I doubt you're going to get them to budge. However, you can point out that when the one unit started falsing, they should have replaced all of them at the same time (or at least given you the option during the service visit in which the first was replaced). You may be able to negotiate with them on that point.

Yes. It is possible for insects to trigger a PIR, particularly if the units aren't sealed properly and they wind up inside the unit.

Without actually viewing your installation, I doubt anyone here will be able to answer that. There are some considerations required for detector placement and they're pretty "standard" across the board. They include such obvious things as:

Don't have the detector "view" a window (particularly one that the sun shines in to); Don't point it at hot air vents or curtains that might be subject to movement; Don't point it at a ceiling fan; Adjust the lens (most often the board) so that it's not viewing "infinity"; Ensure large pets (or even small ones) don't get much closer than 10' from the sensor (if you have to, block the lower lens elements, or the detection zones that are viewing couches or other tall objects they might jump on), even on so called "pet immune" detectors.

I've had instances where a wire's come loose. Make sure all the wire terminations are tight (on both ends). This is something the tech should have checked first.

Reply to
Frank Olson

I used to repair security systems and I'll say that motion detectors have a long history of having false alarm problems.

The dual techs are a wonderful solution to these false alarm problems. I have them in my house and have never had a false alarm.

The question is if the salesman advised you to purchase these before you purchased your system?

If I went to a car lot and was offered a Chevy or a Mercedes, then decided to buy the Chevy and had problems, I would not expect to be able to return the Chevy and have them give me a Mercedes!

So in your case, you should certainly pay the difference in cost between the PIR's (Chevy) and the higher priced dual techs (Mercedes). That is a no brainer.

And if you were offered the opportunity to purchase these in the first place, then I think you should pay for the time the repair guy spent switching out your detectors.

The one year warranty has expired, so that is that.

If you want to argue for any reduction in cost, I would look at it like they do for a tax situation. (Useful life.) The PIR's have a 5 year life per warranty. Divide the cost of the PIR's by 5. You used them for two years, so deduct that. Then ask for a credit for the remaining three years.

So if PIR's cost $50 total. This would be $10 per year. Deduct $20 for the two years you used them. Ask for a $30 credit.

However your beef is with the manufacturer of the PIR's. They will come back and say their warranty only covers repair. If the problem was with the batteries, this may not be covered and they would do nothing. I don't know if they would cover shipping or not.

So at best I would expect to get 3 repaired PIR's back from the manufacturer, then sell them as used and get whatever that amount may be.

So far as your alarm company goes. If they did not advise you to get the better quality detectors before you purchased your system (if they were available at the time), then they could be nice and give you free labor for replacement and credit you for the initial cost of the PIR's. (But they don't have to.)

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I have never seen or heard of one of these Pyronix Magnum Ultra brand detectors before. I would think that if a fly could trigger that detector then you would have a whole different set of problems. Birds, bats, rats and other pests yes; flies I would have to say unlikely.

In a word yes. But only showing up after over 21/2 years of working properly probably not. (If it was armed even semi-regularly) I looked it up and it says the Pyronix Magnum Ultra has a pulse count feature. The customer didn't mention if any adjustments were tried there. Also it appears that the lens can be masked, but the end user says nothing about trying masking, or if there was a problem that needed to be masked.. I don't know what catch performance the end user was looking for, but if pulse count didn't solve it, and dual tech did, then that may indicate some problems. What global changes were made in the house? Did the customer take to installing mobile art? Installed a new heating system perhaps? Did a neighbor take up a new ham radio hobby? If all three detectors failed in a short span of time and they were all installed at the same time it may indicate a bad batch lot came from the factory. That isn't unusual. A call to the factory rep with the serial numbers could answer that. It could be too that the whole Pyronix Magnum Ultra line shows that kind of problem and the installation company is moving customers experiencing problems to a better solution. It could be that the tech wanted to use pulse count and the customer wanted max catch performance. It could be (most likely) that these are very inexpensive detectors that tend to fail over time and can't handle certain environmental problems. If the end user wanted to have an answer to the false alarm riddle instead of just a solution AND was willing to pay for tech time to get it then he didn't get what he wanted. If he wanted a good solution and not an answer to the riddle (to save money) it seems like he did get one. For the very small delta these days in single versus dual tech it seems the customer may have ended up with better detectors for the long run. I don't think the customer is necessarily getting short changed by the company giving him service. If he received a one year waranty from the service company and completely understood that up front why expect 5 years now and feel somehow cheated? If he wanted 5 years coverage he should have purchased a maintenance contract. From the company's view single tech motion detectors are so cheap now I doubt anyone would even bother to send them back for repair. And the company probably has learned its lesson with using this brand/model and doesn't want them anymore either. In short with such limited information there is nothing the customer mentions that in my mind points to a fault with the installation company. Pay the bill and move on, or ask for a maintenance agreement and have the bill and the service portion retroactively applied to the maintenance agreement if the company will accept that compromise.

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Reply to
Roland Moore
1--Yes it is possible for a fly to trigger a PIR (more likely is a spider though)

2-- Yes bad adjustment could increase the likelyhood of this, But not very likely in your case as it has been fine for over 2 years.

3--Yes wrong lenses could increase false alarms if not suited to the location, But not very likely in your case as it has been fine for over 2 years. (also for non standard lenses to be fitted in this sensor the installer would have had to order the lenses seperately and exchanged them for the standard lens fitted the sensor when supplied).

4-- Yes the problem could be the (I assume you mean Rokonet CONTROL PANEL) when you say System. But this is also very unlikely as the Dual-Tec Sensors seem to have cured the Problem.

The most likely cause is Insects or Environmental, this seems to be backed up by the fact that Dual-Tecs have cured the problem.

As for the Manufacturers 5 Year warranty that would only apply if you removed, sent back, & re-fitted the sensors to Pyronix yourself, all this being your own time and cost. Plus if the sensors were not faulty you could be charged for the testing. If they were replaced they would only be replaced with the same model of sensor, and it would appear that that probably would not cure your problem.

As for the cost of the 3 sensors being 25% of the System cost,

1-- Costs increase over 2 years. 2--Dual-Tecs are 3-4 times the price of PIRs. 3-- Bulk buy (complete Systems) are bound to be considerably cheaper than seperate items (work out the price of a car by the spare parts) plus you have travel costs and extra labour to consider as well.

The installer has every right to charge you for replacing an item that is out of the standard 12 month warranty that he supplied. (you go down to a chain store PC supplier and try to buy a system that includes the Manufacturers 3 year warranty on the Monitor, or the Manufacturers 2 year warranty on the Motherboard or the Manufacturers 5 Year warranty on the Hard Drive, etc etc)

WHY WHY WHY did you not have your alarm system Maintained under an all inclusive maintenance contract then none of these problems would have been at your cost.

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