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Old 04-29-2011, 08:31 AM   #1
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How do you protect a power shut off from turning off alarm?


I am planning to buy a personal alarm and/or cameras as precaution when I'm away from my house. I was thinking: anybody with a half wit can easily locate the breaker box on the side of the house and turn it off.

So what do people usually do about this? Lock it? Battery?

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Old 04-29-2011, 08:57 AM   #2
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How do you protect a power shut off from turning off alarm?


by personal alarm do you mean an alarm system for the house? An alarm system has a battery backup that will continue to power it if the ac power goes down.

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Old 04-29-2011, 09:39 AM   #3
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How do you protect a power shut off from turning off alarm?


As stated, most alarm systems have a battery backup, but is your breaker panel actually on the outside of your home? Not that it is unheard of, but a typical installation has the meter on the outside of the home, and the main panel inside of the home.
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Old 04-29-2011, 10:22 AM   #4
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How do you protect a power shut off from turning off alarm?


Please post the model or a picture of your system. It really depends on what kind of alarm system you have. For example a honeywel vista 15 or vista 20, has a 16.5V transformer plugged into the wall, then there is a box that contains the brain of the system that usually goes in a closet or basement. this box contains the brain of the system. The main board in this box converts the 16.5v AC (actually in the neighborhood of 14V) to 12v DC current. The vista system will have some leads coming off of the board just above the first two terminals on the left (these are the terminals where the 16.5 AC power is). They are a black and a red wire with a small metal "plug" on the end. These attach to a lead acid battery that is usually located in the lower right side of the box.

The vista alarm is pretty common, but yours may differ. Like some of the other posters said, most alarms are setup to take a battery backup, you probably just need to replace the existing battery.
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Old 04-29-2011, 11:32 AM   #5
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How do you protect a power shut off from turning off alarm?


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Originally Posted by kmc View Post

So what do people usually do about this? Lock it? Battery?
yes and yes (use a UPS)
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Old 04-29-2011, 11:54 AM   #6
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How do you protect a power shut off from turning off alarm?


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As stated, most alarm systems have a battery backup, but is your breaker panel actually on the outside of your home? Not that it is unheard of, but a typical installation has the meter on the outside of the home, and the main panel inside of the home.
Probably just a meter main. My house has one because the panel inside is 30 feet from the meter.
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Old 04-29-2011, 01:39 PM   #7
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How do you protect a power shut off from turning off alarm?


Keep in mind that power is only half the battle. Most phone lines and/or cable feeds are exposed and easily cut. If you're serious about this, most alarms have internal batteries, auxiliary equipment (cameras, etc.) will need a UPS (a small one is probably okay), and you'll need to protect your exposed outside wiring...
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Old 04-29-2011, 02:46 PM   #8
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How do you protect a power shut off from turning off alarm?


I live in so cal. We do things differently here. Don't know why, but the breakers are outside here. Most homes I have seen one in is this way. Kind of dumb imo. Maybe it's a fire thing (or an ice thing on east coast). I'll look at the ups option.
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Old 04-29-2011, 02:55 PM   #9
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How do you protect a power shut off from turning off alarm?


Where I live we don't put our breaker panels outside.
Padlocks and battery backup either in the alarm or as a UPS or both.
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Old 04-29-2011, 06:02 PM   #10
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How do you protect a power shut off from turning off alarm?


I love this "Where I live" argument. I have done electrical work both in Cali and Colorado. In Cali most breaker boxes were on the outside. Here NONE of the electrical panels and mounted outside. I wonder why?
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Old 04-30-2011, 08:05 AM   #11
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How do you protect a power shut off from turning off alarm?


Same conundrum with a receptacle mounted ground hole up or down...
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Old 04-30-2011, 01:11 PM   #12
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How do you protect a power shut off from turning off alarm?


To avoid major hassle, just do your research before you buy an alarm. You obviously want one with a battery backup. But you also want to check how long they last. I worked for an alarm company for a while, and in some of the systems we used the backup only lasted 4-6 hours, whereas others would last for 18 hours. Slick is right about the telephone lines, most security systems use your telephone line to communicate. Though if you want cameras they communicate through your internet, which will use either the phone line (DSL) or cable. Both your phone lines and cable lines are probably super easy to interrupt. Now most systems that involve cameras have magnetic door sensors and motion sensors that will operate somewhat independently of the cameras, and will communicate with a "cell unit", which is just a dedicated little cell phone that your security system can use for communication. What all this means is that your cameras will stop working as soon as your internet service is cut off (cut cable or phone lines), but the security system watching the doors, windows, glass break sensors, and passive infrared motion detectors will still work fine.

Now here’s what I've seen. People who rob random homes are stupid, usually junkies. People who know enough to cut the power, phone and internet don't rob homes but businesses instead. If a home gets robbed, and a lot of valuables are stolen, it is usually someone that the homeowner(s) know like a junky friend/relative or a former significant other, and with these people a security system won't do jack.

Honestly I think the best security system for your money is a dog, and descent door locks. If you really want to deter criminals put an NRA sticker on your car and park it in your driveway, that oughta do the trick .

There are tons of options that fit your description. Just be sure to do your research and ask the right questions when you’re looking for something. Talk to a technician, not a saleman. Also try to think like the person your trying to deter.

Last edited by edkern; 04-30-2011 at 01:13 PM. Reason: grammar
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Old 04-30-2011, 01:33 PM   #13
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How do you protect a power shut off from turning off alarm?


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I love this "Where I live" argument. I have done electrical work both in Cali and Colorado. In Cali most breaker boxes were on the outside. Here NONE of the electrical panels and mounted outside. I wonder why?
At at least two of the houses I lived in in Colorado they had the service panel on the outside, at one I'm pretty sure that all the houses in the sub division were the same way since there were only a handful of styles of houses all built by the same company. But a majority are on the inside in Colorado.

But here in Oklahoma, almost every service panel is outside. Or at least a disconnect.
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Old 04-30-2011, 09:11 PM   #14
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How do you protect a power shut off from turning off alarm?


tongue firmly in cheek

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