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Alarm system?
Old 12-19-2015, 07:13 AM   #1
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Alarm system?

My 1 year old house is pre-wired for an alarm system. It has door, window, fire alarms, entry wires, control box wires, control wires for keypad, etc. But no system or keypads. I know there are many systems available for wired sensors but are there any that can also take add on wireless sensors? I would need to add motion detectors and possibly glass breakage sensors. I only want monitoring via my smartphone/texting/emails either cellular or broadband. I plan to do this myself and am very familiar with this type of work, just need to narrow down the systems.
Thanks!
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Old 12-19-2015, 11:57 AM   #2
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Hi folivier - I have the following system which supports both wired and wireless sensors:

Honeywell Ademco Vista-20P
Honeywell Ademco 6162RF Keypad/Transceiver
Honeywell IGSMV4G Internet and GSM Communicator

The communicator communicates via the Internet (when service is available) and switches to cellular when the Internet is not available. When both services are unavailable, the communicator sends a text.

The communicator requires an AlarmNet-i account, but you can still incorporate this into a "self-monitored" system like it sounds like you want. So yes, I believe there will be some charge for the AlarmNet, but it won't be as much as a full monitoring charge. That's what my research showed anyway. Here's a company with self-monitoring options (scroll down at the webpage to see the self options): https://www.alarmgrid.com/monitoring/ You can get it as cheap as $10 month. I use Honeywell's Total Connect 2.0 Remote Interactive Services app on my smartphone to be able to remotely arm/disarm plus all kinds of other features (cameras, etc.)

Good Luck with your selection. I am happy with this one.

Pete
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Old 12-19-2015, 01:59 PM   #3
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I have the Simplisafe system and love it. It is fully wireless and is priced well, prob. cheaper than trying to mix wired with wireless. It sends me a text and email with all activity and they call the house and up to 4 other phone numbers to alert you of break in, smoke, water or freeze alarm( $19. per month).
They are coming out with wireless cameras soon so you can moniter the house from your smart phone - great to check on your critters, kids or house sitter.
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Old 12-22-2015, 09:08 PM   #4
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I have Frontpoint. Communication to/from monitoring center is through the cell network, therefore not susceptible to wire cutting or the internet going down. Top-rated customer service.
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Old 12-22-2015, 10:08 PM   #5
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look at fortresssecuritystore.zendesk.com. These allow both wired and wireless. I would assume most wireless must be used with the same brand/product line.

just a suggestion
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Old 01-25-2016, 07:25 AM   #6
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Update, bought a Total Security system from Fortress ( thanks for the suggestion bingybear). It has 2 zones for wired sensors so was able to wire (in series) the doors as 1 and windows as 2nd zone.
I'm using T-mobile pre-paid $3/month sim card to self-monitor.
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Old 01-26-2016, 06:08 PM   #7
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Unfortunately, depending on where you live, an alarm system is almost a waste of money. In California where I live, burglary alarms are a low priority call for the PD. Getting a officer in the first hour is a good response. Most people breaking into your home are in and out in minutes. Just ask a cop when the last time they caught a burglary suspect in the act was. Almost never happens anymore simply because the cops are to busy.

For the money, your almost better off putting in a decent video camera system such as the one's from Costco. Besides getting a video of the suspects, they also work as a great deterrent.
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Old 01-26-2016, 06:40 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Drake3287 View Post
Unfortunately, depending on where you live, an alarm system is almost a waste of money. In California where I live, burglary alarms are a low priority call for the PD. Getting a officer in the first hour is a good response. Most people breaking into your home are in and out in minutes. Just ask a cop when the last time they caught a burglary suspect in the act was. Almost never happens anymore simply because the cops are to busy.

For the money, your almost better off putting in a decent video camera system such as the one's from Costco. Besides getting a video of the suspects, they also work as a great deterrent.
Alarms seem best suited to either alert you to an intruder if you are home or keep you from walking in on someone that entered your house while you were away. I never really thought of them as something that would get the police there quickly enough to catch someone. I would hope that they would also hasten the leaving of the perpetrator. The police may be an hour away, but I don't think anyone would count on that.
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Old 01-27-2016, 07:49 AM   #9
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And that's exactly why I wanted a self-monitored alarm. To wake me up if someone enters at night or alert me if someone enters if I'm out.
I can handle the situation myself in either case.
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Old 01-28-2016, 02:16 PM   #10
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Alarms seem best suited to either alert you to an intruder if you are home or keep you from walking in on someone that entered your house while you were away. I never really thought of them as something that would get the police there quickly enough to catch someone. I would hope that they would also hasten the leaving of the perpetrator. The police may be an hour away, but I don't think anyone would count on that.

+1

I also think that anyone who breaks into your house will leave pretty quickly if an alarm is blaring. This limits how much stuff they can grab before they leave. I don't expect it to prevent a break-in, only minimize the damage.
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Old 01-28-2016, 05:46 PM   #11
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We have full replacement insurance. We were broken into once. TV, stereo, cameras, and other small stuff. We got all new stuff. Updated dvr, tv, and such. Does not do much for the thief in the middle of the night, but great for your stuff.
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Old 01-28-2016, 06:30 PM   #12
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In my last house I had a security system with an LED indicator on the garage. I had a key fob that armed and disarmed the system. The LEDs: Blue for 4 seconds meant the system had armed. Yellow for 4 seconds meant the system was just disarmed. Red meant the alarm had gone off in the last 7 minutes. I could also check the status on the internet and would get e-mail if the status changed. It also let me know when kids came and went. I just made sure the kids knew not to enter the house if the red LED was on. I basically always had a status of the house. I did not have a monitoring service. Never had a break in, so I don't know how that would have worked. Maybe the security stickers right next to the window security switches convinced would-be intruders the house really had a security system.
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Old 01-29-2016, 05:51 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Drake3287 View Post
Unfortunately, depending on where you live, an alarm system is almost a waste of money. In California where I live, burglary alarms are a low priority call for the PD. Getting a officer in the first hour is a good response. Most people breaking into your home are in and out in minutes. Just ask a cop when the last time they caught a burglary suspect in the act was. Almost never happens anymore simply because the cops are to busy.

For the money, your almost better off putting in a decent video camera system such as the one's from Costco. Besides getting a video of the suspects, they also work as a great deterrent.
Alarm systems though often can include smoke and carbon monoxide sensors, and the monitoring company will call the fire department. That's all I use mine for -- I never arm the burglar alarm part because apparently false alarms are common enough that the local PD fines homeowners for those.
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Old 01-29-2016, 07:05 PM   #14
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We've had an alarm system for 16 years. Once our back door wasn't closed correctly and blew open in the wind. The police were called and left muddy footprints all over, including the rugs. Oh well. We were grateful the alarm system worked. The sign alone is a deterrent. But the police show up when called. The instant hit button alarm sits on my nightstand. It works for us.


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Old 01-29-2016, 07:51 PM   #15
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Unfortunately, depending on where you live, an alarm system is almost a waste of money. In California where I live, burglary alarms are a low priority call for the PD. Getting a officer in the first hour is a good response.
That's about right. I'm a retired police officer and alarm calls were considered a pita call because there were so many false alarms and a total waste of my and other's time. After many years of lobbying the PD finally got a law passed that after three false alarms there were increasing fines for each false alarm. That helped with the repeat offenders but there were so many others it didn't make much difference.

I know of no event where a burglar was caught because of an alarm system.

When we moved to WV an alarm company salesman came to the door trying to sell me a system. I had to stifle the impulse to strangle the SOB.
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Old 01-30-2016, 09:21 AM   #16
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We consider ours part of the welcome wagon. I only need it to wake us or let me know it's been breached while I'm out. It can call LE too, not that I need it to.

Went off once, intruder trying to break in from the back porch. Not sure if my naked
a$$ or the 1911 scared him off, but he quickly left.
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Old 01-30-2016, 10:02 AM   #17
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Unfortunately, depending on where you live, an alarm system is almost a waste of money. In California where I live, burglary alarms are a low priority call for the PD. Getting a officer in the first hour is a good response. Most people breaking into your home are in and out in minutes. Just ask a cop when the last time they caught a burglary suspect in the act was. Almost never happens anymore simply because the cops are to busy.

For the money, your almost better off putting in a decent video camera system such as the one's from Costco. Besides getting a video of the suspects, they also work as a great deterrent.
I look at security system to be expense to protect my family from intruders. They can take all my stuff, that's why I have insurance. An alarm will deter the amateurs too.
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Old 03-01-2016, 10:23 PM   #18
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I have a security camera system and a wireless alarm system - the latter from Fortress Security. It's not monitored but it's my early warning system in the middle of the night should things go bump. Lost our 70lbs dog last year due to health issues, he was a great dog - and also an awesome early warning system and a deterrent.

FYI, SimplySafe was recently found to be very easy to tamper with using free downloadable software.
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Old 03-02-2016, 09:00 AM   #19
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FYI, SimplySafe was recently found to be very easy to tamper with using free downloadable software.
Do you have a reference? I couldn't fine anything with a quick search.
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Old 03-02-2016, 09:19 AM   #20
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FWIW, I entered the terms " simplisafe tamper hack " into the Google machine and this was the first entry it returned:

BREAKING SIMPLISAFE SECURITY SYSTEMS WITH SOFTWARE DEFINED RADIO
(dated Feb 23 2016)

The article provides an overview of the vulnerability, and a link to the original article which discusses it in much greater detail. I scanned through both to see if there was any mention of the vulnerability extending to similar systems such as Frontpoint. No explicit mention of other systems, as far as I could tell. But the subject matter is beyond my understanding so I'm not jumping to any conclusions - I'll leave that to others.
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