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Author Topic: Review of the SC1200, DS12A, and SH10A  (Read 5702 times)

BlueScreenOfTOM

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Review of the SC1200, DS12A, and SH10A
« on: September 22, 2012, 11:58:53 AM »

Since I read a ton of reviews before making my purchase, I figured I'd give back to the forum a little.

I recently bought a home security package featuring the SC1200 "Brain" alarm unit, a bunch of DS12A door/window sensors, and some other stuff including keychain remotes.  I gather from a lot of other posts that a lot of people purchase this unit to help protect their property when they're not home -- for me, it is the opposite, I want to be alerted if I AM home and someone decides they want to break in.  From what I could see, the SC1200 featured an entry/exit chime, which is great during the day, and also had Home and Away modes for securing the house when I'm home our when I'm out.  I also liked that it featured the dialer feature.

Hooking up the SC1200 was simple -- just plug it in.  Per the instructions, I placed the device in a central location in my house so none of the remote sensors are exceedingly far away.  Pairing with the DS12As was also simple, just put in the batteries, turn them on, set the SC1200 to "Install" mode, and trip the sensor in the DS12A.  I have a decent sized house (about 2300 sq ft, 3 floors including basement, drywall walls) and I have had no range issues.  All the sensors seem to work where I need them to.  Installing the DS12As was also dead simple, just screw it on.  I have molding on my door frames which I thought would be an issue, but it was no problem.  There's a gap of 1-1.5" between the DS12A and the magnet on the door, but that doesn't seem to be an issue and, so far, it has registered properly 100% of the time.

Unfortunately I could not use the built-in sensor with all my DS12As because some of my doors did not have space to mount the sensor, or, in the case of my sliding glass door, I didn't want to screw into the metal.  For these instances I mounted an external magnetic switch and connected it to a remote DS12A.  It is nice that you can add a second external sensor.  Following the guidance of some members of the board here, I ordered a few SM-431-T/W Seco-Larm external magnetic switches.  I wasn't sure what type of wire to use to connect between the switches and the DS12A, so I used some phone cord.  This combination worked, but phone cord was probably not the best choice as it was a real pain in the ass to strip the wires.  Setting this up was probably the most time consuming part of the whole process, but it is working now and has been working well.

I only really have two complaints with the system so far.  The first is that the built in alarm sound is not loud enough.  To try and fix this, I bought a SH10A external siren.  Unfortunately that isn't very loud either, but it does work.  My second complaint is that you can't call in and arm/disarm the system via phone if you have an answering machine.  It does work if you disable the answering machine, but despite what the instructions say, it will not work in conjunction with an answering machine.  These two issues are not deal-breakers for me by any means, and for the price I paid for the system I'm very happy with what I got.  I'd recommend this to any DIY-er who wants to play around with setting up an alarm.  I think as long as you don't come into it with the expectation that this system is going to match a multi-thousand dollar system from ADT, you should be happy with the results.
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BlueScreenOfTOM

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Re: Review of the SC1200, DS12A, and SH10A
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2012, 10:08:42 PM »

I thought I would augment my review with a few suggestions for future improvements on the next revision of the system, just in case any X10 employees are hovering around.  After owning the unit for about a month, here's my thoughts:

  • The powerhorns are neat, and I like that I can have multiple ones scattered throughout my house.  However, they need to be louder.  I haven't tried the PH508, just the SH10A, and it is really not much more than a minor annoyance rather than an ear-blasting pain in the butt.  As a side note, anyone know where I can get one of the older-model PH508 that doesn't make a sound when you arm/disarm the system?
  • Separate the system brains from the keypad.  Ideally, the "brain unit" would contain the dialer and a basic interface, and I could hide it away under a bookcase or in a closet or something.  It shouldn't make any noise, ever.  That way, should someone break in and destroy all the noise-making elements of the system, the dialer would still be functioning.
  • To expand on the last bullet, the keypad should be separate, and there should be multiple keypads.  Ideally I'd like a keypad by each of my doors, and one in my bedroom.  All keypads should chime on entry (if configured) and they could also contain sirens for when the system is tripped.
  • More sensor options would be nice.  I expanded on this in another post.  A flood sensor, temperature sensor, vibration sensor, etc. would be great.

I recognize that these suggestions would probably increase the cost of entry into the ecosystem, particularly the separation of system "brains" and keypads.  Personally I'd be willing to pay a little extra for this, but I know that might not be popular.
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EricInDayton

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Re: Review of the SC1200, DS12A, and SH10A
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2013, 11:54:26 AM »

I like these ideas - one to add - the core unit should connect to your home network via wired Ethernet or WiFi - so it could also email (or potentially SMS text) me alerts - my wife and I both have cell phones so we don't even have a land line any more (and therefore the SC1200 isn't connected to any phone line).  If it connected to the network it would increase the options for sending alerts.
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