Thinking of installing myself...

I've just recently started looking into home security systems. I have an ADT guy coming tomorrow, and have a call into a local security company.

When I built my house, I wired up for pretty much everything but a home security system (big mistake I think). So one of the things I'm considering is wired vs wireless.

Is this something I can do myself? I'm a amateur with residential wiring (done some but not a ton), but completely in the dark on home security systems.

Are there any sites out there that could give me some basic information and point me in the right direction??


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Don't do it!!! The thing that matters most is getting a skilled installer. The gear is all pretty much the same (ruling out over the counter junk) but you need some one good.

Trust me; I have been installing for 16 years I started with home alarms now I do airports. Get a known company and don't go cheap on the motion sensors.

Reply to

You can DIY if you don't mind spending a little time learning about the various options and how/where to use them. It's not rocket science. The wiring is 2 and 4-conductor stuff. Programming the system can be a mild pain but I know thousands (quite literally) of DIYers who have done it.

I own one of the largest alarm stores on the web catering to DIY homeowners and businesses. I have information on most of the major brands of alarms which professional installers use. I've been in the business for over 29 years and am willing to spend as time explaining what to use, how to install it and how to configure the system.

Note: You'll find some folks who install for a living insist that no one but them (of course) can possibly install a proper alarm. The average education level of alarm installers is about half-way through the 11th grade. There's nothing particularly complicated to the job if you stick to basic protection -- magnetic door & window sensors, "dual tech" motion detectors, perhaps a few glass break detectors if the location is right for them, etc.

You can also install smoke, heat and carbon monoxide detectors if those are a concern. There are protocols to follow when installing fire protection but the ones that apply to most single family residential alarms are easily learned in a few minutes.

Browse my website and/or give me a call if you'd like to discuss your plans.

Reply to
Robert L Bass

Perhpas some knowledge of NFPA 70, Ohms and Kirchoff's Laws and Resistance and Voltage Drop would help. Proper wire sizing and Load calculation for battery Backup comes in to play, also.

Plenty- ask a Professional, Licensed Installer on this group.

Note: You'll find some folks who install for a living insist that no one but

Going to the library, reading a book, and installing it yourself- even if it works- does not mean its installed safely! The average education

You'll also find individuals with College Degrees, and Industry Specific Training as well as Licensed Teachers. There's

Do you understand the technologies and how and where to properly locate the devices? If you do then go ahead- consider any False Alarm Prevention?

Be careful- Are you aware of the wiring requirements? What about how they wil be reported to Central Station if you choose that? There are protocols to follow when installing fire protection but the

Most Local Laws allow you to install Battery-Type detectors in your own home- some prohibit "System -Type" to be installed by ANYONE othe than A Licensed Alarm Professional. If your considering 3rd Party monitoring- who will you get to monitor a system that they didn't install-or the liabilities that may occur?

Reply to
Mike Sokoly

And it has **THE LARGEST** BBB record on the web. Check it out... BBB's Actual website

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Reply to

Watch your credit card with this scammer. Look waht happened to this guy's card. There were others.

"Consumer: Beware"

From (Brian Karas)

Well, I said I wouldn't respond to your continued misunderstanding of MIME and VCards, and I don't intend to address that here, but you make a couple of statements that really irked me, the biggest concern is the last comments you made...

As I've pointed out before, you alone have swayed my opinion of you. If you search through DejaNews to about 12-15months ago you'll find a post in comp.home.automation where I publicly and strongly defended you when someone else called one of your PR: type posts spam. I've disagreed with you, and made mention that you have a thin understanding of the Internet and Usenet, but I've also said publicly that I believe you are very intelligent in your trade. Recently a topic or two has come up in misc.homeowners about alarm systems, and I've referred one or two people to your website. If you call my disagreement with you abuse or slander, so be it.

Go answer your e-mails that people constantly complain about you not answering. Or fix your e-mail system, you seem to have plenty of time and technology to keep up with Usenet posts. I'll give you a hint, the people e-mailing you _WANT_ to hear your opinion... You find my public posting of you disagreeable, and I'll admit that I sometimes, or even often, may take a strong stance against your opinions. I may be completely blind to your side, but I haven't considered any of my posts unsubstantiated attacks on you. I have sided against you, and tried to give relevant data to back up my arguments, perhaps I could have been more eloquent. Had I been just some guy making random slanderous attacks on you, I might understand why you'd simply delete any mail with my name on it, however, you did not see fit to delete the orders I've placed through your website?

Yes, for those still following along I've ordered about $500 worth of components from Robert in the last few months. I'm a telecommunications geek by trade, and an Automation and cabling installer alongside my 'day job' I've recently begun to pursue alarm systems as a branch of my private business. My biggest alarm installs have been assisting others, and/or my own house. When I had to buy some products recently I went to

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because of price, not because Robert is my best friend, but because despite my disagreement with him I felt he had an efficient online store and I wanted to 'reward' his efforts with my business. I could have gone to any number of local places and received identical equipment at competitive prices, but I didn't.

After ordering some Napco equipment, I had some questions about the automation and X-10 add-ons, basically I wanted to know the differences between them, etc., as his website didn't really clarify this. So, I sent him an e-mail, which as I mentioned, and he confirmed went unanswered.

So Robert, your overall stance seems to be that you will help any DIY'er so long as they _publicly_ agree with you. However, should someone do a moderate amount of business with you and later disagree with you, all support is cut off, eh?

This is what your actions and words state, and I caution anyone who orders from you that you have a strange way of doing business.

This would almost seem like a complete story, but there is a bit more to it...

When I buy things via the Internet I use a debit card as a credit card, as a small security measure, should the number fall into the wrong hands I can easily minimize my loses and cancel the card without disrupting the rest of my finances, however it's sometimes a less than perfect way to transact business. During a a recent order with Bass for about $380 there was some difficulty in processing the card. There was more than enough funds in my account, but the bank didn't authorize the card on the first try. Robert (and/or his wife) e-mailed me directly with questions/concerns about the card. After verifying my address the order still wouldn't go through, so his wife resorted to calling me on the phone to clear things up, which we did. This process probably took about 4 days to a week and resulted in about 4 e-mails back and forth and a couple of voice mails. During this time Robert had to be more than aware of who I was, as I had posted other 'nasty' public disagreements with him, but no mention was made in the e-mails or phone calls that he would provide no support after the sale.

I hope this message serves to warn some of those who might consider giving him some business, or otherwise putting their faith or trust in him...

Robert has also publicly stated that he doesn't take things too seriously, and is quick to make amends, however I'd have to doubt this...

Robert, I'm sure my $500 didn't buy you an Armani suit, or allow your family to take a tropical vacation, but perhaps you should state somewhere on your webpage that you only support those who support _you_ with words rather than dollars.

I do apologize to all the others that have had to sift through these constant small wars and battles

Brian@ 'at' @Karas. 'dot' .com. Return address munged to prevent SPAM... SOHO DataComm wiring, FAQ's, etc:

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Reply to

Mike, He's a knucklehead that sells alarm parts. Don't waste your time discussing proper installations with him. BTW, I have another tech who is ready for Levels I thru IV Certification and I am NOT sending him to NAAA. Do you know of anything in my neck of the woods that he can attend on weekends? Email me a # where I can reach you on Sunday so we can chat about it. BTW, in another thread we discussed cell backup in NY, and my opinion is our coverage sucks here. What's your opinion of the coverage?



Mike Sokoly wrote:

Reply to
Everywhere Man

The only things he needs to know about NFPA72 for a DIY residential alarm are were to put smoke detectors and where and how loud the sirens need to be. He'd need to know Ohms laws to calculate wire sizes if the job was a large, commercial structure. I've installed hundreds of residential systems and smoke detectors were *always* wired with 18/4 (I use it even for 2-conductor smokes just in case I need an extra loop later). Burg circuits invariably use 22/4 (same rule of thumb with 2-wire magnetic sensors). Transformers and sirens use

18-gauge, stranded cable. The ground wire is usually 14-gauge, stranded with a green jacket. Like I said before, this isn't rocket science.

It's pretty simple stuff. Insert magnetic contacts in door and window frames. Install pet resistant motion detectors in corners facing into the room (ie, not at the windows) and not facing onto stairs or furniture onto which Fido is likely to jump when the postman passes by. Install glass breaks (if using these) on any wall or ceiling opposite or adjacent to protected windows.

Install a minimum of one smoke on every living level (ie, not the attic or garage). Place one inside each bedroom (new construction). Place another outside the bedrooms and within 12 feet of each bedroom door. Stay outside and

5' or more away from a bathroom with tub or shower and kitchen /laundry rooms.

If the furnace is separated from the rest of the basement, install an ROR-135 (not required but good to do) there. Install a smoke at the top of every stairway but at the bottom of the basement stairs. Some locations can serve more than one rule. For example, if the 2nd floor bedroom hallway isn't very long you can install one smoke there to fulfill the per floor, top of stairs and outside bedroom requirements.

Now he does. False alarm prevention might best handled by someone other than an alarm installer. The industry standard has been 98% false alarms for years. The problem is compound -- poor quality equipment, bad installation practices and lack of proper client training. The latter is apparently the greatest issue since the vast majority of false alarms are caused by user error.

One of the advantages of DIY is that the client becomes much better educated about his alarm system, how it works and how to use it, than he would if he paid a professional to install it for him. It's somewhat analogous to learning to get around a strange city. When I started spending time in Brazil the first thing I did was buy a car. Salvador is an ancient city and the winding streets are confusing even to the locals. So I bought a map, asked directions from people who have been here for a few years when necessary and started out. In short order I got to know my way around town better than many locals (who invariably ride buses or taxis).

I explained that in one short paragraph above.

Most of the alarm systems I sell online to do-it-yourselfers have software to facilitate programming. The selection of whether to be monitored is the client's choice. With a professional installation the choice is usually limited to "Do you want it monitored" or "Go away. We won't help you."

That is categorically false. Please don't muddy a good thread with that sort of false claim.

In the USA anyone can install smoke detectors, system or stand-alone, in his own home. Only those who do this for pay are required to be licensed. The licensing statutes are designed to protect the public from unscrupulous or incompetent contractors. They are not intended to prevent people from doing their own work.

There are numerous options. One of them is a company called NextAlarm. They offer UL-listed monitoring through a network of associated monitoring facilities around the country. IIRC, they charge $8.99 a month (less than a third what many professional installers charge) for the same services the pros use.

Note that most independent alarm installing companies do not operate their own central stations. The work is farmed out to large, regional central stations (aka "third party monitoring" companies). The CS charges the dealer anywhere from $2 to $7 a month for their services. The CS usually provides the dealer with professionally drawn contracts which protect both dealer and CS from liability if they screw up. Some will accept the dealer's own contract if it has the proper verbiage. The dealers then resell the service which costs them $2-7 a month for anywhere between $20 and $40 a month to the public.

This makes a very nice source of recurring monthly revenue for the dealer. After a few years a dealer may have several thousand accounts, each profiting him $13 to $38 a month. This makes a very strong incentive for the dealer to discourage people from DIY and for insisting that all their installations include a multi-year monitoring contract.

The above isn't a slam against dealers. It's just a factual explanation of the monitoring profit center and why it motivates those who sell installed systems. The problem for the consumer is that the dealer may or may not be very talented. His crew might be well-trained or they might be hacks picked up at the unemployment line. The problem is that the customer has no way to know whether the dealer in his living room is a good guy or a dolt. Most are decent, honest people and most try their best to provide good service. Others unfortunately are quite the opposite.

At least with DIY the customer knows that the person doing the installation is only interested in doing the best job he can.

Reply to
Robert L Bass

You make some very valid points, Mike. There is some "science" involved in installing alarm systems. My wife was home the day the crew arrived to install ours. She was not only impressed with the efficient manner in which the cable was routed to the different protection points, she was amazed at how they managed to get it into places we both thought would be next to impossible. Not only that, they were able to identify some incorrectly wired outlets that the previous homeowner had had installed and which our inspector missed.

We're very impressed by the level of professionalism demonstrated by the company and I have no regrets. The extra expense incurred by hiring a professional company was well worth it. I had been contemplating doing it myself as my company has accounts with all the major suppliers, but decided against it. I don't enjoy crawling around in attics as I've had to on occasion in my job.

I'm not certain where Mr. Bass gets his information regarding the "average educational level" of individuals in the alarm profession, but it's been my experience that most people you meet these days have Grade 12 or better. I've sat in on many job interviews and helped in short-listing applicants.

I visited Mr. Bass' website for the first time this morning to see what it's like. I'm running Windows 98SE on my home computer and had to fight through seven different pop-up windows just to view the home page. They all had to do with a program called WinFixer which I wasn't interested in installing. It was annoying to the point that I didn't bother clicking on any of the menu items because I just didn't want to go through all that again.

Of even greater concern is the possibility of having to return items that are either not working or require warranty service. Find a local dealer and save yourself the headache of having to keep all the boxes and packing materials, the extra steps and expense involved in shipping something back for refund or credit, and the possibility that the warranty may not be honoured because the equipment wasn't installed by a qualified individual. I remember what I had to go through when I purchased a telephone online that had a defective nine button. I shudder to think how long someone would have to be without an alarm system if the common control went on the fritz, or if the keypad stopped working. The company we use has a four hour response time guarantee, and all their vans carry replacement parts.



Reply to

"That is categorically false. Please don't muddy up a good thread with that false claim".

In B. C., you can't "pick up" a "hack" from the unemployment line and put them to work the same day. They have to be screened by having a criminal back-ground check done, and then licensed. A number of jurisdictions are starting to require at least the back-ground check. I run a security information site with links to many state sponsored initiatives.

In B.C. the apprentice technician must either have three years of documented work experience and pass an exam before they can receive their "Technical Qualification" (TQ). The only way to get around the three year requirement is to go through the BCIT course which gives them a 1.5 year credit.

In BC, (and many other jurisdictions) installers are "TQ'd" and licensed by the Government. "Dolts" are on the unemployment line, have moved back home with "Dad", sell a plethora of equipment online that they either wouldn't recommend installing themselves (or have never installed), and/or post huge PR and HTML files to Newsgroups from Brazil.

Frank Olson

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Reply to
Frank Olson

In fairness, I've known damn few alarm installers who knew Kirchhoff's Laws. Or needed to.

- badenov

Reply to
Nomen Nescio

You obviously didn't read the fine print in your contract. The four hour response time has nothing to do with getting to your house in four hours. The actual response time depends on how often the service guys visit the "counter" to read the "urgent service" bulletins tacked on the cork board over the coffee machine. Speaking of which I found a bunch on the floor behind the refrigerator from November 2003. I better get on those.

As for the vans... wait till you see the Smart Cars. I figure we'll be able to carry at least twenty spare Loxxon boxes in the trunks. Larry and Jim say "hi" and are still raving over your wife's chocolate chip cookies. :-)

Frank Olson

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Reply to
Frank Olson

Talk to the people here (except Bass) to find a good reputable company. An alarm system is not really a DIY project. Period. It requires a certain knowledge of building construction, the electrical codes, policies of the local AHJ, and some fairly specialized skills to really do right. Learning as you go, despite what Bass has to say, is not really the way to go. Now I will admit that I am no longer in the field as a service or installation technician (1980 to 2000, Sylvesters Security Alarms, Santa Maria CA, Now part of HSM). The company that I am now employed with sells equipment to dealers, to be installed. Don't just get your estimate from ADT, (Although ADT is a good place to start) also get a few quotes and evaluations from some of the local dealers. As far as a site to start with, I would start with the BBB and find out who has the most satisfactory record resolving service and installation issues. There are good companies out there and then there are hacks. You have to decide who you trust, and who can give you the most responsive service. Watch out for those trying to sell you a bill of goods. There is a difference between having a security system and having an "alarm". If you are also wiring your house for fire, this is a life safety issue and should always be left to a professional. Wireless is just not a good choice for a fire detection system. A competent installer will put in a good system, with a minimum of damage to your residence/business. Also, just as a side note, a DIY system may not reduce your homeowners insurance rates as much (if at all) as a professional installation would. There are a million good reasons for a professional install, and just as many reasons to not do a DIY job. If you plan on being monitered, also take the central station into consideration, and research the resonsiveness, equipment used, training of operators into account. Does the installation company also sell monitoring? Do they own their own central or do they contract out to a national? Is the central station UL listed? Is the installation company licensed, are the installers and service techs bonded? Are the installers factory trained? Does the company have a current and valid contractors license? All things to consider when choosing a company to handle your security.

To be honest, I can't really recommend a company, or a particular brand of equipment. Working for a manufacturer of security equipment, I have to not "play favorites" to any particular dealer, nor any particular brand of equipment. Anything I post could have the potential for being construed as coming from the company and not from me in particular, and I am not here to push our equipment, though I am rather fond of it.

Note to Bass: I have you kill filtered, so don't bother to respond to this. You have Detection Systems equipment listed for sale on your web site. You should at least let your customers know that the DS line of panels are obsolete and there is very little in the way of replacement equipment should something break. The DS line of motion sensors have been rebranded, or just plain phased out. If you are going to sell obsolete equipment to people, tell them.

Reply to
Mark M.

Funny how numerous anonymous posters have suddenly appeared in ASA lately. The odds that this character actually works for a manufacturer are about as slim as you getting a straight answer out of these morons.

Reply to
Robert L Bass

Yeah... Real funny. Like all the guys posting into the Group requesting DIY specific information... So many aliases, Robert... Who ya gonna choose next?? Why not work a bit more on that excellent customer support you're always crowing about. Funny how in the last

*year* there's been 16 new complaints filed at the BBB about that (your much vaunted customer service). That's actually pretty pathetic!

Frank Olson

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Reply to
Frank Olson

oh so the reason the manufacturers instuctions tell you to calculate battery load is only there to wipe your ass with?

So it's not neccessary to understand whether a PIR works better across the detector beam or that a microwave detector works better towards and away? Just put em in the corner cause all perps walk to the corner! No need to know what the range of the glassbreak is- ignor the part where the manufacturer says test with THEIR tester. Heavy curtains on the windows- Nah won't affect them just put em on the opposite wall.

Ah, in NY its within 4 feet-but then again he's a homeowner, he doesn't need to follow any rules. I don't know about Brazil, but up here you had better put them where NFPA 72 says- or you don't get a C.O.


So you don't sell anything but "Quality" equipment? Or is all if it "poor"? You validate my point- proper client training. Ditto for many so called "Installers" too.

Oh, so he doesn't have to be concerned with proper wire size for long runs, whether or not to use FPL wire for smokes and heats- twisted pair

22/2 is fine.

No, most UL Central Stations Won't monitor a system installed by an unqualified individual- somthing about liability- is he properly trained and qualified to be able to change programming? Might fing that in NFPA

70- sorry don't need to follow that!

Care to substantiate that here in NY?

You are categorically incorrect! Apparently you are ignorant of Local Codes in some jurisdictions-

Some people will do anything for a $!

Not all dealers insist on multi-year contracts.

Yes he may be interested in doing the best he can, but does he have the knowledge to do it and do it correctly?

Reply to
Mike Sokoly

Pardon me. I missed the comment about battery load calcs. In the 24 years I installed professionally, I did hundreds of my own installations and countless more takeovers. With the exception of a few extremely large systems that I did, every professional installation in a residence that I ever saw had either a single 12 Volt x 4 Amp Hour or 12 Volt x 7 Amp Hour battery. Not one professional installer does battery load calcs on residential systems. What I did notice was that *most* systems installed by the larger companies and *all* systems installed by the so-called "authorized dealers" were underpowered, using the smallest, cheapest battery they could find. I've actually found panels with

1.2 Amp Hour batteries in them.

So tell me how hiring a professional installer is going to improve on telling the customer to use a 7 Amp Hour battery?

Just to clarify things, if the DIY client happens to have an exceptionally large home or the system will have more than a few keypads, I often instruct them to get either an extra battery, wired in parallel or an auxiliary power supply.

Reply to
Robert L Bass

If Bass could actually become an authorized dealer of our equipment, he may have been able to talk to me in Tech Support. But I know that he is not a supported dealer. (and probably would not be able to meet the criteria) But to be called a moron in a roundabout way by him is a backward compliment. The company I am employed with does not sell through distribution. We are high end, direct to authorized dealers. I posted today for the first time, after a 5 year absense from the group, and have been just lurking here reading for about 4 weeks now. You bore me, Bass. You consume oxygen and spew nonsense, and do a lot of damage overall. Others on this group may not know it, but have talked to me, through tech looking for support on our products. And we support all of our products, even our legacy products, some dating back 20+ years in age. So I know a little about customer service, dealer support, and what needs to be done to resolve issues. The name I post under is my given name, and the email address is live. I hardly seek to be an anonymous poster, I simply am not going to push my companys equipment in this forum.

Small Note to Frank: Thanks for the quote from RB. To be elevated to moron status by him means that I most likely struck a nerve. Keep quoting RB, I have him kill filtered so that he is invisible.

Reply to
Mark M.

In most residential apps the motion detectors should be installed facing diagonally across the protected room. That's why I usually tell people to put the detector in a corner facing into the room and not facing windows, etc. That way both the microwave and the PIR elements in the dual detector are likely to trip from a burglar but not from extraneous stimuli.

Speaking of dual techs (which I greatly prefer over single tech detectors anyway), no it is not necessary to worry about whether the PIR responds to tangential motion and the microwave element works best with motion toward or away from the detector. Since both elements are installed in the same housing, one is always optimized and the other never is. That's not a problem if you use a detector that's rated for the room size being covered.

Nope. Corner locations are often ideal because the detector can cover a larger portion of the room. Many detectors cover a 90º angle or close to it. Corner locations allow such a detector to cover almost the entire room.

From the Honeywell web page describing the FG-1625 (one of my favorite glass breaks):

"Mount the Detector Anywhere - Mounts on any wall, in the window frame, or on the ceiling, with no minimum range and a maximum range of 25? (7.6 m) to the glass."

Actually, I sell the tester on the same page as the sensors. The installation instructions recommend the tester.

"9. Testing the Detector - The detector should be tested at least once each year. Test the detector with the FG-701 Glassbreak Simulator. The model FG-700 Glassbreak Simulator can also be used if it is set for the tempered glass sound. Other simulators will not give accurate indication of range."

The detectors come with easy to read instructions about placement, testing, etc. For example:

"2. Choosing Mounting Location - The preferred mounting location for the device is on a wall or ceiling, opposite the protected glass. For the best detector performance, select a mounting location that is: ? within 7.6 m (25 feet) of the protected glass; ? within clear view of the protected glass; ? at least 2 m (6.5 feet) from the floor; ? at least 1 m (3.3 feet) from forced air ducts; ? at least 1 m (3.3 feet) from sirens or bells greater than 5 cm (2 inches) in diameter. ? between the protected glass and any heavy window coverings that may be present.

Alternatively, when heavy window coverings are present, the detector can be mounted on the frame of the window.

Avoid mounting the detector on the same wall as the protected glass, on free-standing posts or pillars, or in rooms with noisy equipment (air compressors, bells, power tools, etc.), if this equipment is operated when the detector is armed."

The instructions show how easy it is to test a given location before running a wire:

"3. Testing Mounting Location With 9V Battery You may test the detector in the desired mounting location before drilling/wiring. If the 9V battery cannot supply sufficient power, the detector will not operate and the red and green LEDs will flash on/off. Follow the procedure described in ?Testing the Detector? (next column) to confirm proper operation."

Perhaps the reason you don't believe that a DIYer can do this is you don't expect them to read the instructions. I must admit that it is a good idea to read the directions which come with the equipment. Not doing so can lead to errors and systems that work as poorly as some of the professionally installed systems that my DIYers have had to replace.

Reply to
Robert L Bass

Jim sez dat doin woik

Reply to
Mark Leuck Forums website is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.