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Looking for a DIY Alarm System
Old 02-12-2011, 01:33 PM   #1
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Looking for a DIY Alarm System

The house I bought has an old hard wired alarm. The manual is dated 1989, it's an Ademco Vista 4130xm, 4140xm series. Either the motion detector or alarm panel is having issues. If I set it to "stay (motion sensor doesn't arm)", it decides on it's own to go to "away (motion sensor arms)" sometimes at night (it gives us a chime warning when this happens). My son triggers the motion sensor to disarm the panel on the 1st floor, so we tend to almost never set the alarm to "away" at night, but we should. So the current sensor location needs to move. I also feel there's a big "gap" in motion sensor coverage that I think a 2nd sensor would correct. My motion sensor is above the front door/garage entry and points to the hallway/stairwell and a portion of the LR. If you broke in via a back window w/o opening an entry door, you could walk through my DR, Kitchen, Family Room, basement and part of the LR without being detected. I figure it's time to consider replacing this one with a wireless unit instead of repairing the control panels(2), motion sensor and backup battery (it's dying). Wondering if anyone has done a wireless install that they would recommend. I really just want to monitor the 1st floor, I have 5 entry doors (front,garage,basement,back,family)door if you include the cellar and 2 motion sensors should be plenty to cover it all. Also, I don't need to have this connected to a central monitoring service either. Any recommendations?
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Old 02-12-2011, 05:59 PM   #2
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I have had this since September and am pretty happy with it. I got a $48.00 per year insurance discount by getting it. If you get it, mention me (Contact me and we'll exchange info) and we both get a free month of monitoring. It seems to work. I like the email on arming/disarming/powerfail/alarm/test/etc. function. It's cellular based so you don't need a phone line and if the burglar cuts the phone line it won't matter.

Mike D.

http://simplisafe.com/wireless-home-...ature-overview
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Old 02-12-2011, 09:36 PM   #3
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X2 on Simplysafe! I love the system! Extremely easy to self install, buy as little or as many window/door/motion sensors as I need, a low $14.95 monthly plus its both a wired and wireless system. Only downfall for me was the built-in siren wasn't loud enough so I purchased one of their louder additional sirens.
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Old 02-13-2011, 09:22 AM   #4
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Thanks for the suggestions. I checked out the website provided and the system looks promising. I like the fact you're not required to buy monitoring if you don't want to. Based on the items they sell, it doesn't look like they offer fire or carbon monoxide sensor add ons. Also, when you put a sensor on a window, it's just to detect if someone pries open the window, but not breaking the glass? This is when the motion sensor makes more sense to me. Motion sensors appear to be a bargain ($30) compared to the Ademco system ($80-90).
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Old 02-13-2011, 10:06 AM   #5
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I believe they are supposed to be coming out with a fire/smoke sensor 2 or 3rd quarter of 2011, as well as a glass break sensor last quarter of 2011 or early 2012. This is according to feedback on their customer forums. One thing to note with the motion sensors, the range isn't as far as they were ATD system that was in this house when we bought it, so if you have a very large room put it where it'll cover the entrance or consider 2 sensors. Only place where I ran into this issue was our 2 car garage, no issues with rooms in the house. Even if you have to buy two sensors to protect a garage, you're still coming out cheaper than buying 1 sensor from another company.

The only "quality" issue I ran into is it seemed I got a bad batch of lithium batteries, out of the 14 sensors I have 4 of them went dead within 2 months. Simplisafe replaced them for free. The system will tell you when a battery needs to be changed. I purchased a pack of 24 lithium batteries on Amazon for about $15 so I'll have some handy when they need replacement. Consider using 3M mounting tape instead of the tape they supply for areas where there is a lot of moisture or temperature swings, as the mounting tape they supply tends to not hold up well in these situations. We had the alarm go off once when a sensor magnet fell off a window in the garage during a cold spell!
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Old 02-13-2011, 10:44 AM   #6
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Good to know about them adding a fire.smoke sensor. I read something about an updated system with more options coming soon on Facebook posts. I may have to add 3 motion sensors if the range isn't long enough, one hallway path I was trying to cover spans 3.5 rooms. I'm not too concerned about someone getting into the garage, I'd rather sensor the garage entry door into the house, so temperature wouldn't be an issue for me. I'm not sure why they decided on lithium batteries, since regular AA or AAA batteries will last longer than 5 years now. Wonder if it's faulty Energizers that were the issue? I was never a fan of lithium batteries. These photo batteries look to be the same size as 2 AA's, can you interchange these? If so, they'd be cheaper to replace/maintain.
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Old 09-19-2014, 03:21 PM   #7
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Just thought I'd bring this thread back to life. Any recent experiences with Simplisafe? I'm looking at it to replace the expensive ADT wired monitoring I have now. I have visited their site and like the flexible options, but want to find out about more current experiences.
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Old 09-19-2014, 06:58 PM   #8
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After our home was broken into a few weeks ago, DH & I looked into alarm systems. A friend pointed us to this article, which discusses the types of home security systems available now, and gives a glowing review of Frontpoint.

The Best Home Security System | The Sweethome

The review article also discusses the pros & cons of other security system providers, including SimpliSafe. (FWIW, SimpliSafe was rated very highly as well, with a couple of caveats.)

We looked into a couple of other systems but we ultimately decided to go with Frontpoint. We've had the system for two weeks now and we're very pleased with it. The system was fairly easy to set up, and the phone support has been outstanding. We opted for the mid-tier Interactive plan at $43/mo which provides remote access via the web & smartphone; there's an upper level plan that provides video monitoring and home automation but we decided we didn't need that.
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Old 09-19-2014, 08:41 PM   #9
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I use NextAlarm.com. They have a wireless system that looks pretty good. I have no experience with it. I installed my own hard-wired system using a GE panel. I have used NextAlarm.com for about 10 years. They do a good job of assisting with technical issues, etc. I use their self-monitored service. They also have a monitored service for $17.99 per month. I think you can connect your ADT system to their monitoring service if you like.
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Old 09-19-2014, 09:03 PM   #10
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What is wrong with getting a 50 pound dog?
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Old 09-19-2014, 11:30 PM   #11
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What is wrong with getting a 50 pound dog?

Wow, what a great idea! Wonder why we didn't think of that?!?

Oh, now I remember -- it's because we don't want a dog.
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Old 09-20-2014, 05:05 AM   #12
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What is wrong with getting a 50 pound dog?
Allergies, home modifications costs, and maintenance costs.
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Old 09-20-2014, 06:53 AM   #13
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Allergies, home modifications costs, and maintenance costs.
Vet costs are way up. The cost of feeding a big dog could be a setback. But they are a lot more fun than my alarm system.
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Old 09-20-2014, 08:01 AM   #14
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My two Bassett Hounds strike fear and terror into the hearts of all thieves! Riiiiight. And just spent $300 curing a flea hot spot on one's butt! The Cone of Shame is finally off so she's more threatening than with it on! The house is safe!
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Old 09-20-2014, 09:01 AM   #15
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What is wrong with getting a 50 pound dog?
A friend of mine did that after his home was broken into. Insurance paid replacement cost for everything, so he had all brand new stuff.

Got the dog, the dog chewed up a lot of that brand new stuff, dug up the yard, had to have expensive surgeries, and bit a neighbor. And when we would be out, they had to leave to early to let the dog out. Lotsa downside.

-ERD50
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Old 09-20-2014, 09:27 AM   #16
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Two small Yorkies and a shotgun or handgun seem to work around here.
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Old 09-20-2014, 10:06 AM   #17
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I suppose drop cam might suffice as a security system, but I don't think it alerts police/fire, only you, although I might be wrong:
https://www.dropcam.com
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Old 09-20-2014, 10:51 AM   #18
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I suppose drop cam might suffice as a security system, but I don't think it alerts police/fire, only you, although I might be wrong:
https://www.dropcam.com
We looked at dropcam too, it's a nifty device. There might be ways to incorporate it into a monitored system but I didn't look that far into it.

We decided to go for a monitored system, since we like to get out of Dodge. If we're away and the alarm is triggered, the alarm co will first attempt to contact us via our cellphones, but if we don't respond (say, if we're out of cell phone range, which is likely since we often go places that don't have cell reception), they'll then immediately contact our police.

Meanwhile the 50-pound dog would be sitting in a kennel, not doing anyone a helluva lot of good.
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Old 09-20-2014, 11:14 AM   #19
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What is wrong with getting a 50 pound dog?
I tried that first. But he didn't weigh 50 lbs anymore when I got back from my 6 months in Florida.
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Old 09-20-2014, 12:23 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosie View Post
After our home was broken into a few weeks ago, DH & I looked into alarm systems. A friend pointed us to this article, which discusses the types of home security systems available now, and gives a glowing review of Frontpoint.

The Best Home Security System | The Sweethome

The review article also discusses the pros & cons of other security system providers, including SimpliSafe. (FWIW, SimpliSafe was rated very highly as well, with a couple of caveats.)

We looked into a couple of other systems but we ultimately decided to go with Frontpoint. We've had the system for two weeks now and we're very pleased with it. The system was fairly easy to set up, and the phone support has been outstanding. We opted for the mid-tier Interactive plan at $43/mo which provides remote access via the web & smartphone; there's an upper level plan that provides video monitoring and home automation but we decided we didn't need that.
What a great article - thanks so much for posting!

Burglaries are up in my part of the city, so has got me thinking of getting a DIY security system. This article has very good info in it!
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