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Thread: X10 House Alarm Recommendation

  1. #11
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    Ok, so its down to two different models:-

    1. SC9000
    2. infinite Prime

    I still have a few questions before I feel I can make a decision and hope you can answer them:-

    1. Which would you say is the best one to go for as far as a house alarm that can have addons configured, ignoring anything X10 related, i.e. external alarm, carbon monoxide alarms etc?

    2. Which would you say give off least false alarms, which is easiest to configure and simplest to use?

    3. If I was to add the X10 module to the infinite Prime where/how does this get connect? Is this simply a wall socket that I can plug a lamp into that the alarm will talk to? If so how do I setup infinite Prime to control other lights around the house (can I use normal X10 units)?

    3. If I was to add the GSM module to the infinite Prime how does this install? Is it a software module that gets enabled and uses the same telephone connection as the PSTN (normal telephone) line?

    4. Will the infinite Prime not talk directly to my other X10 components without an addon?

    5. Is the SC9000 or infinite Prime more future proof as far as addons and X10 go?

    6. If I wanted X10 after purchasing an alarm, what would I need to setup basic control from my PC to turn lamps on etc?

    7. Will I be able to arm /disarm the alarm from my PC via a Web Browser?

    8. Should I be going for the infinite Prime Broadband? If so how much does this cost to purchase and is there a monthly fee?

    Sorry for all the questions. Hope you can answer them.

    Thanks
    Last edited by mdavenport; 15th December 2009 at 12:35 AM.

  2. #12
    Automated Home Sr Member jaffab's Avatar
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    Hi,

    Just to add to the advice you have already received, its worth pointing out that with any wireless alarm system (such as the SC9000), you need to be careful in turns of other household wireless equipment which can interfere with the communication between the sensors and the main alarm system. the top 5 devices which can cause a bad/loss of signal are:

    1) Wireless TV signal broadcasters (which send TV signals from 1 room to another)
    2) Stong wireless phones next to the sensors or alarms
    3) Weak batteries (you have already received good advice on this in an earlier post)
    4) Metal in the framework of the house
    5) Having the main unit too near big TVs

    Avoid the above and you should have no problems.

    Jaffa
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  3. #13
    Moderator toscal's Avatar
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    I would go for the Infinite Prime.
    As to false alarms many of these are actually down to installation of the sensors. Don't install PIR sensors above or looking at radiators. Also If a room gets a lot of sun this can cause the odd false alarm. Had one install where the hall way had a PIR sensor in it, and it got the sun all day and when a cloud passed by sometimes the PIR would trigger, took a week to find that one. Moving the sensor to the other end of the hallway solved the problem.
    Most modern alarms are really straight forward to install. It normally goes like this install panel,insert batteries into first sensor assign zone to sensor, trigger sensor etc. Now what they don't tell you is that you should now put the sensor back into its box, or cover the whole unit with thick card, to void it triggering again when you assign the next sensor.
    I find laying everything out on a table and assigning the zones at the table. Though if you have a sensor that is quite a distance from the panel then it might be worth assigning this sensor from its location to see if you get the OK from the panel. Many panel either have a percentage or Good, OK or Bad or similar signal strength indication flash up when you assign a sensor so you know if its got good communication with the panel anything on Bad or below 50% will be more prone to drop outs and potential false alarms.
    Re-read the manual before you start the install. Sometimes there is a time limit on certain operations and there is nothing more annoying than having the setting time out because you are reading the manual at the same time, and having to enter the config codes etc.
    The X10 module fits inside the the alarm panel. Same for the GSM there is space for both.
    Infinite prime is possibly more future proof.
    X10 software , the Active Home that comes with the CM11 or 12 is OK and the Active Home Pro that comes with the CM15 is better. Other software you might want to look at is Homeseer, www.homeseer.com . I use the Homevision unit www.csi3.com . This is an excellent piece of kit and has never given me any trouble.
    As for the broadband version of the prime, I think there is no monthly fee as it just connects to your router. So the only monthly fee is from your ISP, but I'm not 100% sure on this. Also if you want to access the system from outside of the house you would either need a fixed IP address from your provider or use something like http://www.no-ip.com/ its best to use one that is compatible with your router, as many routers can perform the log in automatically. Or another solution is to use www.logmein.com and log into your pc and control it from there. This is what I do with my Homevision unit.
    IF YOU CAN'T FIX IT WITH A HAMMER, YOU'VE GOT AN ELECTRICAL PROBLEM.
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  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by toscal View Post
    Why not go for an infinite Prime alarm with the x10 interface and gsm card this is identical to Marmitek Pro Guard system but cheaper.
    these are places you can buy the Infinite prime
    http://www.alertelectrical.com/Burgl...ts/default.asp
    http://www.tritonfiresystems.co.uk/b...FVtn4wodE17srA

    This is the uk company site http://www.espuk.com/

    Also the prime can use a special wireless alarm box for outside so it only needs a mains connection. The sc9000 cannot use an external sounder. There are x10 activated sounders that would need say a dummy bell box to put it in.
    I don't recommend the SC9000 as a security system. When we have installed these in the past we normally tell the client that its a programmable home automation controller with basic security functions. The other problem with the sc9000 is that when you need to change the batteries in the sensor, unless you can change them very very quickly you have to delete the sensor from the panel then once the fresh batteries are installed you the re-assign it to the same zone. With most other wirless alarm systems you don't need to do this.
    Battery type is very important. I always recommend Energiser lithium batteries or simialar, if the sensors use either AA or AAA batteries.
    Toscal,

    Hi. I took your advice in the end and went for the Infinite Prime with External Sounder and GSM Module as I won't have a PSTN line connected to this.

    I installed the alarm today and have powered up, registered the PIRs and magnetic door switch. I have done the signal test and get 4 beeps to indicate best signal. I have also done the PIR jumper walk test (Service menu, transmistters, test etc..) and these all worked fine. I do have a few issues and was hoping you could advice me on, they are:-

    1. After setting the alarm and then dis-arming it, I get the message "DISARMED.. SYSTEM TROUBLE" on the front panel. When I click the DOWN ARROW it reads "MEDIA LOSS PSTN MODULE". Could this be as I don't have the PSTN phone line connected? If so how do I prevent this error from showing in the future?

    2. I tried fully arming the alarm whilst I was in the house so I could set it off via the PIR motion sensors to prove they are setup and working ok. I left it 2 minutes before walking into the hall way where all the PIRs are currently sat on the table. I managed to walk past all of these several times without the alarm going off? Surely this can't be normal? I have P Count set on the PIRs to (2P) using the jumper on pins 2 and 3. I also have mode set to NORM using the jumper on just pin 3. Any ideas?

    3. I have the GSM card preinstalled. I inserted my Orange UK SIM that has £15 credit on there. There is no PIN code on the SIM and can put this in a mobile phone and make and receive calls. When the SIM card is in the Alarm I went to the installer menu, selected 7 (service) and 9 GSM signal test. Nothing came up on the screen, however the alarm did 4 very fast quite beeps. What does this mean? Why will my GSM module not give me a signal test? I have also tried a UK O2 SIM card without PIN and the same thing happens? I did notice that in one of the other menus the GSM PIN code is set by default to 0000. Does this mean there isn't a code set or does this mean I need to set a code on my SIM to 0000 to get this to work?

    Sorry for all the questions but the UK support here is limited to Mon to Fri 9-5 which is when I am at work so can't really call them.

    Thanks

  5. #15
    Moderator toscal's Avatar
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    Answer to:
    Q1 yes thats the telephone line. you can choose whether the system employs cellular or PSTN communication.
    To program a Vocal Message account’s communication interface:
    1. From the Programming menu, select Communications, Accounts [951].
    2. Select a VM account (4-6).
    3. From the account’s sub-menu, select Interface [#2].
    4. Select either GSM or PSTN.
    Oh and then there is the line monitor
    To program the Line Monitor setting:
    1. From the Programming menu, select Communications, Comm. Options, Line
    Monitor [95401].
    2. Select Enabled or Disabled.

    Q2 This may be a height issue, and where abouts on the table where the sensors, if they are not on the edge of the table you might not get much in the way of detection. If the table is very shiny then you may get reflections which will confuse the sensors. IF you are walking straight towards them then this tends not to trigger them very effectively. The best method to test them on the bench is to cover them with the box they came in then when ready to test lift the box and wave your hand about 30cm in front of them.

    Q3 You need to set a pin code for your sim, its set to 0000. I wouldn't choose 0000 but something else.

    The prime has one of the few GSM modules that actually requires a pin code.
    IF YOU CAN'T FIX IT WITH A HAMMER, YOU'VE GOT AN ELECTRICAL PROBLEM.
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  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by toscal View Post
    Answer to:
    Q1 yes thats the telephone line. you can choose whether the system employs cellular or PSTN communication.
    To program a Vocal Message account’s communication interface:
    1. From the Programming menu, select Communications, Accounts [951].
    2. Select a VM account (4-6).
    3. From the account’s sub-menu, select Interface [#2].
    4. Select either GSM or PSTN.
    Oh and then there is the line monitor
    To program the Line Monitor setting:
    1. From the Programming menu, select Communications, Comm. Options, Line
    Monitor [95401].
    2. Select Enabled or Disabled.

    Q2 This may be a height issue, and where abouts on the table where the sensors, if they are not on the edge of the table you might not get much in the way of detection. If the table is very shiny then you may get reflections which will confuse the sensors. IF you are walking straight towards them then this tends not to trigger them very effectively. The best method to test them on the bench is to cover them with the box they came in then when ready to test lift the box and wave your hand about 30cm in front of them.

    Q3 You need to set a pin code for your sim, its set to 0000. I wouldn't choose 0000 but something else.

    The prime has one of the few GSM modules that actually requires a pin code.
    Thanks for the reply.

    Ref Q1, do I have to do these settings in order to get the GSM signal test working? Also will this supress the PSTN error going forward?

    You mention select a VM Account. What is this?
    Also you talk about Line Monitor. What does this do? Does this allow me to dial into the house to listen?

    With regards to Q3, I have since set a PIN code on the Alarm and set the same code on the SIM (by putting it in a mobile phone and setting it the same as the alarm). But still when I do the GSM Signal test its just takes me back to the GSM signal test menu and never shows me the signal. It also does 4 very fast beeps. I have had the cover of the alarm and when putting in the SIM card an orange light does light up on the GSM card and then after about 30 secs to 1 mins it starts to flash every 1-2 seconds.

    Could this GSM module have a fault? It looks like it isn't installed as GSM signal test doesn't do anything...

    Thanks

  7. #17
    Moderator toscal's Avatar
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    you have to specify a phone number for each VM account( vocal message account).
    To edit a Vocal Message account’s telephone number:
    1. From the Programming menu, select Communications, Accounts [951].
    2. Select a VM account (4-6).
    3. From the account’s sub-menu, select Phone Number [#1].
    4. Enter up to 16 digits. Use the (looks like a bulb) key to enter “*”, “#”, “,” (pause), “T” (switch to DTMF tone dialing), “P” (switch to pulse dialing) or “+” (international code). and use the bulb with a cross on it to delete if youmake a mistake. Make sure you are on DTMF for the GSM.
    5. Press (the tick) when you have finished editing.

    Line monitor monitors the phone line to check that its still connected.
    What you are talking about is 2 way audio.
    To program the Two-Way Audio option for a VM account:
    1. From the Programming menu, select Communications, Accounts [951].
    2. Select a CS account (4-6).
    3. From the account’s sub-menu, select Two-Way Audio [#3].
    5. Select Enabled or Disabled.

    Have you tried putting the cover back on after inserting the sim card. (I think the flashing is to say its ok.) And trying the gsm signal test.
    IF YOU CAN'T FIX IT WITH A HAMMER, YOU'VE GOT AN ELECTRICAL PROBLEM.
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  8. #18
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    Hi,

    There is another option. You could go for a Visonic Wireless Alarm system, they are really quite good and they have built in X10 control. So when the alarm goes off it can send X10 commands. You can kit out a 4 bed house for about £500 including the X10 interface. Best of all, if you then buy something like an RFXCOM receiver, you can sniff the RF packets and get them into any application you like.

    What do you want to be able to do with the X10 aspect of the alarm?

    I use a Visonic system and its fantastic. I've not once had a false alarm in over a year.

    Zion.

  9. #19
    Moderator toscal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zion2 View Post
    Hi,

    There is another option. You could go for a Visonic Wireless Alarm system, they are really quite good and they have built in X10 control. So when the alarm goes off it can send X10 commands. You can kit out a 4 bed house for about £500 including the X10 interface. Best of all, if you then buy something like an RFXCOM receiver, you can sniff the RF packets and get them into any application you like.

    What do you want to be able to do with the X10 aspect of the alarm?

    I use a Visonic system and its fantastic. I've not once had a false alarm in over a year.

    Zion.
    Hmm he has already bought the Infinite prime hence the last couple of questions. Anyway thanks for your input, the RFXCOM is certainly an excellent piece of kit.
    IF YOU CAN'T FIX IT WITH A HAMMER, YOU'VE GOT AN ELECTRICAL PROBLEM.
    www.casatech.eu Renovation Spain Blog

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