Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Pages: [1] 2

Author Topic: Another newbie question - security system  (Read 24802 times)

Swedish Tennis

  • Newbie
  • Helpful Post Rating: 0
  • Posts: 7
Another newbie question - security system
« on: February 26, 2009, 11:16:40 AM »

Hi all,

First off, apologies if the regulars here feel this is another repeat newbie question, but believe me I have spent 2/3 days trying to scavenge through the forums for the right answers. Hope you folks will bear with me.

I am planning to setup a home security system and x10 looks promising due to its price. Currently I don't have any automation in mind, just a simple alarm/security system. The forums has helped me answer some questions but I have some more questions which I hope experts will answer.
I have yet not bought the system but am eying the 20 piece 3 alarm system

Horn/Siren
Is the bundled horn really that bad, looks like lot of folks are not happy with the default horn. Also, from many of the posts it seems that the extra power horn sold separately by x10 is not much better either. So the question I had was is it possible to hook an external siren/horn to the x10 system.
I don't mind if it shuts off after 4 mins (the intruder better be out by then :) ).
Some posts say I need a lamp module while other recommend a appliance model, what should it to be?

Strobe light
On similar lines of the external horn above, I would like to attach a strobe light to the system when it trips off.
Possible?

VOIP phone line
Will the system work if I hook up my vonage phone line to it? I can send faxes using my line, and some of the posts mentioned that if thats the case I should be good. Any thoughts?
Also I am confused about some posts mentioning that the intruder could defeat the call out system by just picking up any handset in the house.

PC always on
If I don't plan to use any automation, is there a need to keep my PC running 24/7?

Module limit
The description of the system on a site is a bit confusing. Is it
(16 motion sensors or door sensors) AND (16 lamp/appliance modules)
or
(16 senors and modules combined)

Disable code
Looks like the system doesn't have a facility to require a code before disabling the alarm.
Say if accidentally we leave one of the car keys (with the x10 remote) in the house and intruder eyes it, he could very well just disable the alarm.
I should have given the example of an accessible keypad instead of remote.

If you think, with the above requirements, x10 may not be the right fit for me, could you please recommend me another system that comes close?
I briefly read about the GE and Honeywell systems but haven't dug deeper.

Sorry for the long post but just wanted to make sure I have my bases covered :).

TIA,
ST


TIA,
ST
« Last Edit: February 26, 2009, 11:59:18 AM by Swedish Tennis »
Logged

Puck

  • Advanced Member
  • Hero Member
  • ******
  • Helpful Post Rating: 171
  • Posts: 1799
Re: Another newbie question - security system
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2009, 02:43:29 PM »

Welcome to the forum Swedish Tennis, and it's always good to ask question before buying something you are not familiar with. I take it you are referring to the DS7000 security system, so I will help answer a couple of your questions.

Horn/Siren
Is the bundled horn really that bad, looks like lot of folks are not happy with the default horn. Also, from many of the posts it seems that the extra power horn sold separately by x10 is not much better either. So the question I had was is it possible to hook an external siren/horn to the x10 system.
I don't mind if it shuts off after 4 mins (the intruder better be out by then :) ).
Some posts say I need a lamp module while other recommend a appliance model, what should it to be?

The sirens may not be heard by your neighbors, but they will surely let an intruder know they are detected. The DS7000 does not interact with any appliance module for security purposes; just lamp modules. However, be aware that the newer lamp modules with softstart may not flash correctly or even work properly in the event of an intrusion.

Quote
Strobe light
On similar lines of the external horn above, I would like to attach a strobe light to the system when it trips off.
Possible?

When the security alarm is tripped, it sends out a repeated signal of "All Lights On" / "All Units Off" commands; there is no commercial device that I am aware of that will turn on an external device such as a strobe light.

Quote
PC always on
If I don't plan to use any automation, is there a need to keep my PC running 24/7?

The DS7000 system does not use a PC for anything; there is no interface. The security sensors can interface with a PC through different hardware/software, which is not part of the DS7000 security system.

Quote
Module limit
The description of the system on a site is a bit confusing. Is it
(16 motion sensors or door sensors) AND (16 lamp/appliance modules)
or
(16 senors and modules combined)

The DS7000 has 16 zones it monitors; those zones can be either motion sensors (MS10A) or door/window sensors (DS10A).

The DS7000 base station can control a single X10 house code. This house code can control modules with up to 16 different unit codes. You can have multiple modules with the same unit code, and therefore have more than 16 modules; you just lose the ability to control them independently.

Quote
Disable code
Looks like the system doesn't have a facility to require a code before disabling the alarm.
Say if accidentally we leave one of the car keys (with the x10 remote) in the house and intruder eyes it, he could very well just disable the alarm.
I should have given the example of an accessible keypad instead of remote.

Only the registered remotes can disarm the DS7000; there are no access codes or keypads available for this system.

Logged

tom j

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Helpful Post Rating: 16
  • Posts: 1270
Re: Another newbie question - security system
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2009, 09:45:13 PM »

humm......   >*<     Just Kidding!!!


Hi just to add to the really excellent job by Mr. Puck. I personally don't really care for the small powerhorns except for the bedroom I would definitely get the LARGE powerhorns they will literally wake up the dead, don't ask how I know this. Like I posted before I saw a bulgarlar interviewed on a local new channel and he said he broke into a house and the sirens were so loud he came in the back and right out the front. When my house was broken into a few years back they got nothing one reason was the blinking lights all through the house this happen at night and the three large powerhorns they ran into when they went after my stereo. x10 usually has a three for one sale 39 dollars this is an excellent addition to your security system, and don't forget to pay attention to your perimeter defences you really don't want them to gain access in the first place.


Tom j.
Logged

Swedish Tennis

  • Newbie
  • Helpful Post Rating: 0
  • Posts: 7
Re: Another newbie question - security system
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2009, 03:22:18 AM »

Tom & Puck, thanks for the replies.

Tom, so you think the large powerhorns are worth it? If I get 2 or 3 (as you suggested) can I hookup all of them to the DS7000?
Do they take up the sensor slots or the module slots?

I assume by perimeter you mean the door and window sensors, right?
Yes, I am going to make sure I use up all the 10 that come with the kit.

Thanks again ...
Logged

Puck

  • Advanced Member
  • Hero Member
  • ******
  • Helpful Post Rating: 171
  • Posts: 1799
Re: Another newbie question - security system
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2009, 09:06:02 AM »

If I get 2 or 3 (as you suggested) can I hookup all of them to the DS7000?
Do they take up the sensor slots or the module slots?

The power horns (and mini power horns) do not use up a sensor zone. They just plug in to an outlet and listen to the power line for the repeating signal of "All Lights On" / "All Units Off" on their set house code, which would be the same as the DS7000's. The DS7000 sends this signal out for 4 minutes after a security breach.

Therefore, you can have as many as you like plugged in around the house.

Quote
I assume by perimeter you mean the door and window sensors, right?

Generally you would want the door/window sensors to be your last line of defense. Automatic lights and possibly surveillance cameras around the perimeter of your house will act as a deterrent to keep a would be burglar away from your doors and windows.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2009, 10:44:55 AM by Puck »
Logged

tom j

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Helpful Post Rating: 16
  • Posts: 1270
Re: Another newbie question - security system
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2009, 01:37:17 PM »

Swedish Did that explin everything? like Puck said you can add as many powerhorns as you like they are not effected by the console. The console does send an "All Lights On" "All Lights Off" command when the alarm is triggered this is sent by way of your powerline to the sirens and other modules you might have. Once the sirens sence it, takes a few seconds they turn on and stay on until the signal from the console stops. I'll post the link for the 3 powerhorns for 39.00 shortly. Hope this helps.


Tom j.
Logged

tom j

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Helpful Post Rating: 16
  • Posts: 1270
Re: Another newbie question - security system
« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2009, 08:53:53 PM »

Here's the link for the LARGE powerhorns. 3 for 1 deal trust me you won't be sorry. I've seen similar products for 50 dollars apiece!


Tom j.



www.x10.com/products/ph508_ed_3f1.htm
Logged

x10dude

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Helpful Post Rating: 5
  • Posts: 120
Re: Another newbie question - security system
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2009, 01:21:47 AM »

My 2 cents..

I got just about everything X10 offers in January after reading pages and pages of feedback, reviews, etc. I ended up spending over a $1,000 dls and to this date, I am still having TONS of issues. I've spent hours and hours trying to debug and understand what's going on. Some things now work, but many still don't.

I went for the home automation "everything", 8 cameras, 7 floodlights, 2 DS7000 (one for backup), 16 window sensors (turned out not to be enough), about 10 transceivers, chimes, motion sensors (eagle, eye, alarm), all the software they offer, and much more!

In retrospect, I should have just invested a bit more and bought a "real" security system and should have looked for a "real" home automation system - not something from the 1970's that can't deal with today's houses without so much adaptation.

If price is your driving factor, then it is cheap. Just remember, you get what you pay for. At the end, "cheap" is actually more expensive - from my personal experience.

With all that said, if you're the techie type of person, and you have lots of time in your hands, this is the system for you because, honestly, it does get addictive. Once you get one thing going, you want something else to work so you expand!

If you're just after the alarm, you need to consider the following:

* the powerhorns do sound loud IF YOU'RE STANDING NEXT TO THEM. Of course, depending on the size of your house, this may or may not be an issue. I have 5 large powerhorns, 1 small powerhorn, and the system's alarm. When my system went on the other day, my friends laughed and called it "loud crickets". We were in the house watching the superbowl. Granted, my house is over 3000 square feet. On the other hand, I have a friend who got the 99 dollar package and uses it for his condominium and loves it (about 600 square feet.) I'm still looking for an outdoor siren. I've bought one, but still have no way to get it going reliably, so I use ANOTHER alarm system (built into the house) as a backup.

* if you decide on using lights as part of your alarm system (to get them to flash on/off, which I highly recommend), you will need to invest more than what the "total" package includes. Very likely, you will need noise filters, replace your lamp modules with ones that support flashing, use expensive lights (that waste a lot of energy because the basic X10 system doesn't deal with compact fluorescent lights, which is what I had in my entire house.) Yes, I had to get filters for all of the circuits where I wanted to keep those lights instead of paying 300+ a month for electricity. oh, and I got high amp filters for my gaming computer, large TV, fridge, etc. They were all blocking the DS7000 from turning on/off the lights and powerhorns. Yes, even your furnace or your cable signal may block the DS7000 from turning on/off lights

* the DS7000 is very flimsy. The first day I got mine, the 10 cent antenna on it snapped. I had to replace it with a VHF rabbit antenna (30 dollar). Good thing because now, it can reach all my window sensors (again, it has to do with the size of the house.)

* you'll need to secure the alarm remote when you leave it behind. yes, you already know, there's no keycode panel. Personally, I had to buy a lock box (50 dls more), which I bolted down to a secure place

* the keychain remote is HUGE!!! - twice the size of a car remote keychain (uses 2 AAA batteries). If you put it in your pocket, you will most likely activate the system more than once. I can't personally can't stand it. I have 5 of them, but don't ever use any!

hmm.. I'm sure I can go on and on, but I think this is enough for now.

Good luck,

Frank
« Last Edit: March 04, 2009, 02:55:03 PM by x10dude »
Logged

HA Dave

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Helpful Post Rating: 175
  • Posts: 7127
Re: Another newbie question - security system
« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2009, 11:18:51 AM »

My 2 cents..
I got just everything X10 offers in January ....... I ended up spending over a $1,000 dls and to this date, I am still having TONS of issues. I've spent hours and hours trying to debug and understand what's going on.
I went for the home automation "everything", 8 cameras, 7 floodlights, 2 DS7000 (one for backup), 16 window sensors ........ about 10 transceivers, chimes, motion sensors (eagle, eye, alarm), all the software they offer, and much more!

Frank

Wow Frank.. an impressive amount of stuff!

A few of us here at the forum has made an effort to read every post ever posted here. I can only recall a couple people's posts that they "grew-up with X10".... people that had learned about X10 from a parent. Virtually all of us discover and learn about the use of this technology alone and by ourselves. All most of us have for support and information... are these forums.

I can't count the number of times I've read posts like yours. Where a user jumped with both feet... dug deep into their pockets.. and purchased an OVERWHELMING amount of stuff. Many of us remember that feeling. I can't tell you (because I can't remember) how many times I've reassured a poster that if they stick with the thread... we will get everything working.

I had once considered a tag line like: X10 isn't Plug'N Play... But it does work!

Sure... there is a learning curve. And by your post I get the impression that your learning about the technology... and the X10 addiction. I don't warn people that the technology is old... as if old is bad. If old was bad... I'd warn people against using electricity (it's older than X10). X10 has been around a long time... because it's a heck of a lot of FUN... and it WORKS. If you search, read, and post about your "issues"... I am sure they can all be resolved in one way or another.

After.. you've completely resolved your issues... I hope you stick around to encourage and help others.

Logged
Home Automation is an always changing technology

Swedish Tennis

  • Newbie
  • Helpful Post Rating: 0
  • Posts: 7
Re: Another newbie question - security system
« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2009, 02:37:32 PM »

Hi All,

Thanks for everyone's valuable input (sorry for the late reply, had internet issues :( ).
x10dude, I too had the same feeling about the X10 security system when I read through all the posts on the forums. Looks like its a all-or-nothing love/hate relationship that people have developed with X10 products.

On a side note, I was also looking at the honeywell Ademco Lynx system (it has the keypad I like :) ). If I just buy the sensors & modules from x10 (they are cheaper than the ademco ones), are they compatible with the Lynx system?
Tom/Puck/Dave - Do you know if this combination works (I guess asking about non-X10 products on this forum could get me in trouble :), but I am still daring it) & would you recommend it?

Also, any comments regarding Lynx vs GE Simon XT?
Thanks :P
« Last Edit: March 04, 2009, 02:48:01 PM by Swedish Tennis »
Logged

x10dude

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Helpful Post Rating: 5
  • Posts: 120
Re: Another newbie question - security system
« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2009, 03:48:10 PM »

Hey Dave,

You're absolutely correct about the fun, the challenge, the addiction, and the learning curve. However, I'm not saying that "old is bad". Note that I said "something from the 1970's that can't deal with today's houses without so much adaptation."

My comment didn't state that it was impossible to get it to work. I simply said that it needed a lot of tweaking for today's houses. Most houses nowadays have cable/DSS, microwave, fridges, extra freezer, range stoves, multiple TVs, 1 or more computers, wireless Internet, cordless phones, heating furnace, hot tub, sauna, A/C (central or otherwise), etc., etc. - ALL of which will potentially disturb X10 and render it useless. When X10 was invented, very few of these "interference hogs" existed. Thus, the challenges.

Yes, I dove in head-on and all the way. I like challenges, but my original intent was to get something that worked as advertised. I didn't mind spending the time designing the best environment possible as long as it all worked as expected.

For example (I believe you've been on the thread,) the latest AHP is SOOOO buggy that I can't even keep it running for more than 1 or 2 days tops. I went back to earlier releases and discovered that my cameras are now useless. Now, is this fixable? Of course not - unless I write my own AHP replacement (including device drivers), which I can do (I'm a software engineer), but that goes well beyond my original plans. All I can do now is wait for X10 to get their software development process/quality act together (hopefully soon.)

In the meantime, I tossed the X10 cameras to the side and bought a "real" video surveillance system (dedicated 16 professional CCD day/night camera system), which I can see over the internet w/out exposing my PC to hackers, get email/SMS messages from, back up to FTP, etc. Granted, it cost way more than those cheesy, unsecured (2.4ghz frequency exposed to anyone with receiver) X10 cameras, but it would have cost me less had I not purchased the X10 cameras at all.

As for the other issues I'm dealing with, we'll just have to see what I end up doing. For now, I'm willing to invest more time into it because of my own curiosity and desire to know what works and what doesn't.

Thanks,

Frank
Logged

x10dude

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Helpful Post Rating: 5
  • Posts: 120
Re: Another newbie question - security system
« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2009, 05:18:10 PM »

Swedish,

Like you, I looked around for compatible systems for a while. In fact, I'm still looking because I have children who bring their friends over. Obviously, I can't give them all keychains or have a single remote with no security simply lying around to be pressed on/off by anyone. That's why, in the mean time, I went to the lockbox approach. It requires that they have a key to be able to turn on/off the alarm - definitely not the most appealing solution, especially if they lose the key.

Unfortunately, with everything I've read, I haven't found a system that's compatible with X10's window/door sensors, which by the way, are surprisingly well made and, as you know, very inexpensive.

As part of the stuff I bought, I even bought the interfaces to other systems, but unfortunately, they're not compatible with my existing (built-in) alarm.

At the same time, it looks like the most compatibility you will find will be at the X10 protocol level (over the wire - not wireless, which is what the window sensors use.) So, if you get a system with an X10 "plug-in", you'd be able to get the on/off lights, but that's it. If that's the only thing you're after, that might do it for you.

Oh, I forgot to mention in my last post that I'm still looking into the VOIP connectivity with the DS7000. It's looking promising. I should have that tested either today or tomorrow.

I hope this helps,

Frank
Logged

HA Dave

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Helpful Post Rating: 175
  • Posts: 7127
Re: Another newbie question - security system
« Reply #12 on: March 04, 2009, 06:57:00 PM »

.. Note that I said "something from the 1970's that can't deal with today's houses without so much adaptation."

My comment didn't state that it was impossible to get it to work. I simply said that it needed a lot of tweaking for today's houses. Most houses nowadays have cable/DSS, microwave, fridges, extra freezer, range stoves, multiple TVs, 1 or more computers, wireless Internet, cordless phones, heating furnace, hot tub, sauna, A/C (central or otherwise), etc., etc. - ALL of which will potentially disturb X10 and render it useless. When X10 was invented, very few of these "interference hogs" existed. Thus, the challenges.

Just how young are you?

I graduated from high school in 1970... so I have a pretty good memory of what we did and didn't have around the house. We didn't have computers... or wireless Internet. But we had everything else... and more.

The problem with ALL OWNER INSTALLED SYSTEMS are.. you are your own engineer, designer, installer, and service technician.
Logged
Home Automation is an always changing technology

Swedish Tennis

  • Newbie
  • Helpful Post Rating: 0
  • Posts: 7
Re: Another newbie question - security system
« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2009, 07:13:11 PM »

X10Dude, you are the ma... dude!! :)

Hearing your story looks like its either X10 products all the way or go with the expensive components that work with Lynx or Simon :(.

I still am inclined to go with an X10 system but just not too comfortable reading all the feedback and experiences (e.g. yours :) ).
Damn, I will hate myself if I end up paying some monitoring service the money.
Logged

x10dude

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Helpful Post Rating: 5
  • Posts: 120
Re: Another newbie question - security system
« Reply #14 on: March 04, 2009, 08:13:25 PM »

Swedish,

My first alarm system (in the early 90's) was a wireless 24-hour monitored system, which (at the time) cost me $4,300 to buy & get installed. Then, I had to sign a multi-year contract to get it monitored ($30/month). Because I'm the type of person who really doesn't care to change stuff all the time (lack of time mainly), I stayed with them until about 4 years ago. Then, I moved into a new home and because I live in a quiet suburban area and nothing had happened in the neighborhood for the last 15 years that I had lived here, I just left the built-in alarm system and didn't even bother to turn it on all the time.

My house was broken into about 3 months ago while my family and I were sleeping upstairs. I've gone through hell and back dealing with all the stuff that was stolen (id theft, etc.)

I was very tempted to go back to the 24-hour monitoring system, but that didn't sound like much fun. Then, I decided to take this seriously and did LOTS of research. I wanted home automation, security, surveillance, remote access, notification, expandability, "coolness" factor, etc. The closest thing that came to delivering all this was X10, thus my being here.

Of course, conceptually anything is possible, but in reality things are different.

I must admit, though, that I've taken this "ride" as a challenge and I'm determined to make it work the way I want it. In the process, I've discovered that there's much to be desired in the world of "security" systems - honestly.

There's NO ONE solution that will offer everything you need or want. However, the more options something has, the more difficult it may be to integrate, manage, or deal with. That is the case with X10.

Granted, as a techie, I was sooo pleased when I got my lights to turn on/off the way I wanted them. I get this "cool" feeling when I press my TV/audio/PC/cable/x10 remote control to turn on/off lights/TV/cable/audio/PC jukebox.

If the X10 products were more robust and easily integrated, I'd be that much happier. I think they have a good concept, they just lack in the delivery. The only problem is that they own the intellectual property and can do whatever they want with it.

As Dave stated, this has been around for a while and there are add-ons after add-ons that will do all sorts of cool stuff. But not until wireless electricity becomes a reality, we're stuck to this slow moving dinosaur that has a large group of followers.

Whether I end up using everything that I bought is still TBD. You might find me on eBay selling it by the pieces or you might find me embracing it so much that I might get on the add-on bandwagon, or who knows? I might even decide to compete with them and come up with something to bring more excitement into this industry..

good luck.. happy trails..
Logged
Pages: [1] 2
 

X10.com | About X10 | X10 Security Systems | Cameras| Package Deals
© Copyright 2014-2016 X10.com All rights reserved.