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Residential Security / Alarm System

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[OP]
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May 9, 2003
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Residential Security / Alarm System

A friend of mine is looking for recommendations for companies in the GTA who specialize in the installation of residential security systems? Requirements below:

1) Fully wireless system (basement is finished. No alarm rough in)
2) Un-monitored

I understand the upfront cost will be much higher (parts + installation). But the trade-off is no monthly fee.

Thanks!
15 replies
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Mar 17, 2006
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Why can't you just buy a kit and do it yourself?
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Mar 21, 2006
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konsensei wrote: Why can't you just buy a kit and do it yourself?
For the same reasons not everyone fixes their own car.
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Mar 17, 2006
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BuildingHomes wrote: For the same reasons not everyone fixes their own car.
When was the last time that you look into these security alarm system? Or are you just that incompetent?

Do you realize that it's only the matter of double sided taping the sensors onto the doors and windows? Then plug in the main hub to a electrical outlet? Then set up by either wifi or wired?
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Oct 22, 2007
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konsensei wrote: Do you realize that it's only the matter of double sided taping the sensors onto the doors and windows? Then plug in the main hub to a electrical outlet? Then set up by either wifi or wired?
Not all people are looking for a low quality alarm system, I certainly wouldn't want that type of set up.
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Maymybonneliveforever wrote: Not all people are looking for a low quality alarm system, I certainly wouldn't want that type of set up.
What is your definition of "low quality" alarm system? The one that can easily be done by yourself?

Have you seen the "high quality" alarm systems the professionals put in houses?
Deal Addict
Oct 30, 2006
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konsensei wrote: What is your definition of "low quality" alarm system? The one that can easily be done by yourself?

Have you seen the "high quality" alarm systems the professionals put in houses?
yeah without rough-in you have to you stick on sensors. In-laws just got one of those "high Quality" alarm systems installed and pay monitoring and it's just stick on sensors on every window/door.
[OP]
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May 9, 2003
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Question about DIY wireless systems:

1) Choices on AARtech are DSC, GE, Mobeye, Skylink, Smanos, and Visonic. Which brands are generally good? Which brands should they stay away from?

2) What type of batteries do the sensors (motion, door, etc) take?

3) These wireless kits run off of WIFI. Do they also need an internet connection? Or is a WIFI router all that is needed?

4) Do these wireless kits NEED to be monitored by a third party company? Or can the homeowner just "manage" the unit themselves?

5) Are the "head units" usually hardwired to power (AC)? If so, where are these typically mounted?

Thanks!
Deal Addict
Mar 21, 2006
4478 posts
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Burlington, Ontario
konsensei wrote: When was the last time that you look into these security alarm system? Or are you just that incompetent?
Suggesting I am incompetent in this area would be a poor decision.
konsensei wrote: Do you realize that it's only the matter of double sided taping the sensors onto the doors and windows? Then plug in the main hub to a electrical outlet? Then set up by either wifi or wired?
Not everyone wants to do this. Not everyone is capable of doing this. Not everyone has the time to do this. Not everyone cares to do this themselves.
Some people are even intimidated.
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Mar 21, 2006
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bizzyseller wrote: 1) Choices on AARtech are DSC, GE, Mobeye, Skylink, Smanos, and Visonic. Which brands are generally good? Which brands should they stay away from?
I can only comment on DSC, which is relatively easy to do, but I've also done it a hundred times.
bizzyseller wrote: 2) What type of batteries do the sensors (motion, door, etc) take?
It will vary per sensor. CR2025, AA, 3V Lithium are all common.
bizzyseller wrote: 3) These wireless kits run off of WIFI. Do they also need an internet connection? Or is a WIFI router all that is needed?
Wifi for the sensors or Wifi for the monitoring communications? I'm not aware of any sensors that work on Wifi, they are usually 400MHz range.
For any communication for monitoring, then an internet connection would be required.
bizzyseller wrote: 4) Do these wireless kits NEED to be monitored by a third party company? Or can the homeowner just "manage" the unit themselves?
Not usually required. But if 'managing' yourself, then you have to keep an eye on what it is telling you.
bizzyseller wrote: 5) Are the "head units" usually hardwired to power (AC)? If so, where are these typically mounted?
Yes they require power. You cannot run them on batteries indefinitely. If DSC then the main panel would be located somewhere convenient to power and any alarm wiring. If an All-in-One-In-The-Keypad, then that would usually go at a front door and you would still have to power it. All depends on the system you use.
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[OP]
Deal Addict
May 9, 2003
1697 posts
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BuildingHomes wrote: I can only comment on DSC, which is relatively easy to do, but I've also done it a hundred times.

It will vary per sensor. CR2025, AA, 3V Lithium are all common.

Wifi for the sensors or Wifi for the monitoring communications? I'm not aware of any sensors that work on Wifi, they are usually 400MHz range.
For any communication for monitoring, then an internet connection would be required.

Not usually required. But if 'managing' yourself, then you have to keep an eye on what it is telling you.

Yes they require power. You cannot run them on batteries indefinitely. If DSC then the main panel would be located somewhere convenient to power and any alarm wiring. If an All-in-One-In-The-Keypad, then that would usually go at a front door and you would still have to power it. All depends on the system you use.
Thanks for the very detailed response. After some research, they have decided to go with a DSC Alexor system because its "main brain" can be put away from the front doors (making the system less susceptible to smashing the system offline). A few followup questions below in relation to the DSC Alexor.

1) Aartech.ca offers "programming" of all of the devices for your system. This costs $50. How easy is it to DIY? My friend likes the idea of convenience, but understands its also important to understand how to DIY in case things go wrong. System will consist of 5 door/window sensors, 2 motion sensors, 1 outdoor siren, 5 glass break sensors, 1 keyfob, 1 wireless keypad.

2) What is the reliability of the DSC Alexor unit?

3) Are there any recommended "online/using internet" monitoring companies that would support the DSC Alexor?

4) Aartech.ca carries a line of "Resolution" branded sensors that are DSC related. They are the same price as DSC products, but have much better batteries. Is it better to stick with DSC? Or is Resolution better?

Thank you in advance!
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Oct 22, 2007
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BuildingHomes wrote: Not everyone wants to do this. Not everyone is capable of doing this. Not everyone has the time to do this. Not everyone cares to do this themselves.
Some people are even intimidated.
Thank you for the reply as I don't think I could have said it so eloquently. In my case, I wouldn't want it done this way as that's not how I would do my install.
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Mar 21, 2006
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bizzyseller wrote: Thanks for the very detailed response. After some research, they have decided to go with a DSC Alexor system because its "main brain" can be put away from the front doors (making the system less susceptible to smashing the system offline). A few followup questions below in relation to the DSC Alexor.
We've done a few of the Alexors, but it's not our primary model as we mostly do new construction and run wiring around.
bizzyseller wrote: 1) Aartech.ca offers "programming" of all of the devices for your system. This costs $50. How easy is it to DIY? My friend likes the idea of convenience, but understands its also important to understand how to DIY in case things go wrong. System will consist of 5 door/window sensors, 2 motion sensors, 1 outdoor siren, 5 glass break sensors, 1 keyfob, 1 wireless keypad.
If you've done it hundreds of times it's easy. But I remember when I was first starting and trying to figure out the menu structures for DSC with its inconsistencies was annoying. Only thing worse to program would be a Nortel Merridian.
bizzyseller wrote: 2) What is the reliability of the DSC Alexor unit?
The ones I have installed have all been running fine for the last few years. Just make sure to change the batteries in the sensors when they tell you to.
bizzyseller wrote: 3) Are there any recommended "online/using internet" monitoring companies that would support the DSC Alexor?
I have no input on who to use for monitoring, however please be advised that the Alexor has no keybus to wire up an EyezOn module. They only work with PowerSeries panels.

bizzyseller wrote: 4) Aartech.ca carries a line of "Resolution" branded sensors that are DSC related. They are the same price as DSC products, but have much better batteries. Is it better to stick with DSC? Or is Resolution better?
I have never used them, but feel quite comfortable using only DSC wireless products together.
Audio - Video - Data - Security - This is what I do
Deal Fanatic
Nov 11, 2008
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I'm going to steal this thread since it answered a lot of my questions.

Is it only Aartech.ca that offers kits? I see that Tri-ed and ADI doesnt sell to the public. Is there anywhere else?
Deal Addict
Mar 21, 2006
4478 posts
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Burlington, Ontario
Kits for what?

TriEd and ADI are wholesale distributors and correct do not sell to the public.
Audio - Video - Data - Security - This is what I do
Sr. Member
Sep 14, 2003
671 posts
386 upvotes
Toronto
If you have an unfinished basement, it makes sense to go hardwired. Old-school, reliable, and you won't have to replace batteries (either all at the same time, or when they randomly run out of juice.) The downside of course is much higher installation cost or your time if you're DIY. My system is remotely monitored via cellular and I'm planning to buy an AD2USB add-on to hook into home automation.

FWIW, a professionally-installed and monitored alarm system cost is also offset by a discount from your home insurance as well.

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