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Cultcab 05-27-2013 10:01 AM

Alarm System
 
Our home is about 15 years old and we're getting ready to replace all of the windows. I wired the house for an alarm system during construction and all of the windows have contacts tied in to our Ademco Vista 20 system.

Since it would be very difficult to try to use the existing wiring/contacts with the new windows, I would like to see if it's possible to use wireless contacts with this system.

Is this possible?

Windows on Wash 05-27-2013 10:06 AM

Probably not with the current mother board.

Call your security company and I am sure they can tell you what the compatibility options are.

md2lgyk 05-27-2013 01:57 PM

Talk to your security company. Explain what you're doing. It's possible since you're a long-time customer, they may upgrade you to a totally wireless system for little or no cost to you. Of course, you may need to extend your contract with them - their profits are in the monitoring service, not the hardware.

Cultcab 05-27-2013 06:37 PM

My system in un-monitored, so I don't have a company that I can work with on this.

gregzoll 05-27-2013 06:55 PM

They will just remove the old contacts, since most are held on either by screws or double stick tape. If glued on, you will have to purchase new contacts. Just make sure that you get the right ones, since some systems use Normally Open contact, others use Normally closed, depending on the system.

As for not being monitored, most systems are beyond their age and technology after 10 years. If you do replace with wireless, you then have to deal with batteries in all sensors, and the costs are more. http://www.smarthome.com has quite a few different systems, and also the parts on their site.

Windows on Wash 05-27-2013 07:29 PM

What are you existing window? Vinyl, wood, aluminum, etc?

ddawg16 05-27-2013 07:54 PM

Instead of worrying about the windows, go with motion sensors.

And since this is inmonitored, add some ip cameras along with a DVR that has Internet connectivity

The have some good cameras with motion features tha when combined with software will notify your smartphone when it detects motion. You can even watch it live.

gregzoll 05-27-2013 09:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ddawg16 (Post 1189059)
Instead of worrying about the windows, go with motion sensors.

And since this is inmonitored, add some ip cameras along with a DVR that has Internet connectivity

The have some good cameras with motion features tha when combined with software will notify your smartphone when it detects motion. You can even watch it live.

I can add to that, that I switched from using mangocam.com for a cloud dvr, to using a Lenovo ix2 NAS (Network Attached Storage) for my camera storage. There are two apps that are available for that series from Lenovo, but they are only compatible with the Axis cameras, and Panasonic, and a couple of others.

So any IP camera that is not on the list for Mindtree secure, or Axis, you are stuck using FTP to load the images to the NAS. I had to play around with the motion detection settings on all three of my cameras, due to two of them were getting to the point that they had uploaded over 32gb of data. Figured out what was going on, and got it down to around 400mb of data a day.

I would still if I ever get around to it, use Blue Iris, but that will mean running a dedicated machine for it, which I got rid of our old desktop, because I never thought of keeping it, so later on, may go with a small form factor or all in one unit, to run Blue Iris, if I end up wanting more features, but right now, just uploading any motion to the NAS is working.

The unit is 2TB mirrored in Raid 1, and if need be, I can always change over to 3TB drives if needing more storage, but right now I am set with what I have.

As for motion sensors on an alarm system, since the OP uses a non-monitored system, really it is no better than no unit at all, because the police are not going to respond to you calling them, telling them that your alarm on your home went off, unless you have video proof of a live feed, when you get the alarm, so with ddawg's suggestion, the two together work better.

But personally a dog is the best alarm system you can have. Our neighbors have stated, that when a vehicle pulls up in our drive, or the neighbor to the North of us, which their drive is within two feet of our house, our Golden goes nuts.

We also have the neighbor across the street has a German Shepard, who parents are retired police dogs, and he will even go nuts, if someone enters our drive, or is even parked in front of his house.

As they state, alarms and locks only keep the honest people out, and are only as good as the person who installed them, and uses them.

Cultcab 05-27-2013 10:21 PM

Thank you for all the great input.

I have two motion sensors that cover about 2/3 of the downstairs area. In our aluminum windows, we had about 20 normally closed contacts. We're replacing with vinyl.

Sounds like the general recommendation is to replace the window contacts with cameras, but because of the layout of our house, I would probably need about 5 cameras to have a good amount of coverage.

The downside to this is that since I travel occasionally, my wife likes to be able to turn the alarm on when she's at home. This works well since she can disable the motion sensor and just rely on the door/window contacts.

ddawg16 05-27-2013 10:30 PM

Cul....good reasons....but like Greg pointed out....a dog will do more than anything else.....and....when someone is home....bad guys don't bother...

For night time I would suggest motion sensing lights. If someone walks in the yard where they should not be...the light comes on.

Additionally, using something like Greg was talking about would actually let her see what is going on around the house. Feed the signal to a second input on your TV and she can look at the views in a PIP.

I'm currently working on a home grown DVR setup...one for the surveillance cameras and one for TV/movie recording. I found one software package that will handle the sequencing and recording of multiple cameras. I intend to setup a Win8 box with a couple of TB drives and a SSD for the OS. Another option is to use an NAS router like Greg is using but it would fall short of what I want....plus I'm not going to be upload to a cloud.

gregzoll 05-27-2013 10:36 PM

I have three cameras. One that covers the front, that looks out our front living room window, one that covers the back, that is on our garage, and the other that covers the hall entrance, and living room area. Of course, you would have to be really stupid to try to get into any of the houses in my neighborhood, even with most of us having dogs. There are some that have personal handguns, and will not hesitate to use them, if you try to get in, when they are home.

It is more like Russian Roulette in our neighborhood, because the crooks know that we protect our homes, but do not know which ones have the guns in them, because we do not advertise with NRA stickers, or signs that state the premise is protected by a licensed gun owner.

I have two signs on my house. One that states the house is protected by 24hr video surveillance, the other that states there is an alarm system in there. Again, Russian Roulette, because those risking it, also are watched by the workers across the street, that work at the sub shop, and are always outback, and can see anything from there, to down the street past our house.

As for your situation, it is up to you what you do, but five cameras is overkill, the alarm is again only as good as you maintaining it, and responding to the alarm when it goes off, or having someone go over there and check it out if it goes off.

gregzoll 05-27-2013 10:40 PM

ddawg, I can just pull our cameras up either on our iphones or ipad, or even my laptop to see the live feed. Lights, we use solar powered on the front of our house, and back on our garage, which will put out enough light, that the person will think twice. Also our backdoor has a LED motion light, with a low LUM "Nightlight" that is on all night, and then jumps to a higher LUM along with the two spots on it, and then we have the two garages on either side, that can pick up motion in our backyard, so that anyone in any of the three yards, have ended up thinking twice, because we have caught them trying to cut through the backyard of the neighbor to my left, and when our Golden was out back, just laying in wait, the person took off running, when she started to growl that "You do not even want to think about coming this way."

Windows on Wash 05-28-2013 06:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gregzoll (Post 1189179)
ddawg, I can just pull our cameras up either on our iphones or ipad, or even my laptop to see the live feed. Lights, we use solar powered on the front of our house, and back on our garage, which will put out enough light, that the person will think twice. Also our backdoor has a LED motion light, with a low LUM "Nightlight" that is on all night, and then jumps to a higher LUM along with the two spots on it, and then we have the two garages on either side, that can pick up motion in our backyard, so that anyone in any of the three yards, have ended up thinking twice, because we have caught them trying to cut through the backyard of the neighbor to my left, and when our Golden was out back, just laying in wait, the person took off running, when she started to growl that "You do not even want to think about coming this way."

Greg and Ddawg,

I am security and IT challenged.

Can either of you give me a crash course?

gregzoll 05-28-2013 08:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Windows on Wash (Post 1189287)
Greg and Ddawg,

I am security and IT challenged.

Can either of you give me a crash course?

1) Do not tell the wife what you spent on the equipment, 2) Make sure you have enough hair to pull out, when things do not sync right, and 3) When wife asks why you need all of this, tell her, that you are just trying to find another hobby.

I just basically jumped in full body on the IP cameras. Mainly I got them, due to after the last couple of break-ins one street over on the East & West of us, along with the neighbors across the street having their vehicle damaged by a hit and run, I decided to go with the cameras, so we could have a record of things going on.

I probably have spent around $500 in the three cameras and the NAS storage. I figured out that spending $40/month, I could save that money and invest in my own localized storage, instead of paying someone else to hold the info, and risk having their system unavailable at some time down the road.

Also another reason I went with local storage, was after we had issues with our U-Verse connection, I lost five days of footage on the cloud storage, and one of the still series I needed, showed a drug deal going down in front of our house, which I needed to give our Neighborhood Police Officer, and now we did not have that, so that made me decide to purchase the Lenovo ix2 storage unit.

You can integrate cameras and alarm unit together, with iPhone or Android interface, but they get more costly, because they are specialized, or you can roll your own, but then you need to make sure that you have the storage setup to mirror any data, in case you loose a drive or the computer you are using to control everything.

The newer alarm systems have Cellular uplink rollover, and digital phone link, now, so systems are becoming more in par with the way things are heading. I think that with at least a site like smarthome.com, you have a all-in-one place, that you can see everything there is available, to build your security system as small or large you want.

Unless you are in a really high crime rate area, I would stick with the alarm system you have, and if you just want to keep track of the comings and goings for deliveries when away, or starting to see a rise in houses or vehicles getting burglarized, then add in a camera or two.

The one on my garage is a Foscam FI8905W, the one in my front window is a Foscam FI9821W. I had to add a Okeba IR light below the window, because with the windows on our house being tinted, and that the IR lights on the camera will reflect back on glass, even if it is not tinted, the external IR helps. That with the solar power light that is right above the camera mounted above the top of the window, so it also lights up our front walkway, where we have a step from the drive to the walkway.

The camera for watching the living room area, hallway entrance, and front door, is a Trendnet TV-IP751WIC, mounted in a way, that it catches those areas, and is wifi, so only wire is the power cord. The garage is also wireless, but they have a unit that is POE (Power Over Ethernet), so if you do not have a power outlet close enough, you can power it over the Cat-5e or Cat-6 line that runs to it, but again, need a switch capable of POE also, so add in some money.

Just even having a sign up that says "Security system" or "Video Surveillance" is enough a lot of times, to turn someone away, because they do not want to risk finding out if there is those items in the building or not.

ddawg16 05-28-2013 09:25 AM

This is one site of many selling alarm hardware....spend some time and browse the equipment...it starts to give you and idea of what you can do.

Just to explain one thing...NAS means Network Attached Storage. It's sort of like a scaled down home server. Take a router (including wireless)....give it a couple of USB ports or SATA ports...a few smarts...and you now have a and Ethernet router/switch/wireless access point that also has 1 or more hard drives on it. It means anyone who is allowed to connect to your home network can now have a shared hard drive.

In Greg's case, he is using that NAS as the storage for his security camera's instead of a DVR.

Each NAS has certain features...some of which allow him to also upload data to an external drive (cloud).

Be aware that for remote access your going to need a DNS (Domain Name Server). Some camera companies give you one for free...in other cases you have to pay a monthly fee.

Getting smart phone access typically requires a subscription to a service that will make it available.

It's sort of like the DVR menu you get for cable or dish...your actually paying for that menu. If you try to hook up a DVR without cable or sat service...no menu. You can go with a TIVO...but you need to pay a monthly subscription to get that menu.

Greg knows more about the internet side of it than I do...I'm still learning.

Here is the link to one program that I'm pretty sure I'm going to buy...but I wouldn't mind Greg's input on it..

http://www.argussurveillance.com/

One last thing.....

For now I'm using the Lorex wireless setup. I have two wireless camera's and a monitor. The monitor looks like one of those digital picture frames...but has a SD memory card in it (16g). What I like about it is that it's easy to install and the cameras have sound. As soon as I'm done with construction I'll be installing wired cameras along with the DVR....the wireless cameras are going to get re-tasked...one will go up into the 2nd floor of the garage so we can keep tabs on the kids and the other will go to the front door.

Here is a sample of how well that camera works...this was about a year and a half ago...we got burg'd before Xmas...after that I bought the Lorex. Then a few weeks later we noticed that our recycling stash was going down...this is what it caught...note...this happened at 8:15 in the morning...I edited out the 3-5 min he was back there before my wife realized what was going on.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZL8C-7UrMNg


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