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Thread: Cortex And Alarm Integration

  1. #1
    Automated Home Guru Geps's Avatar
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    Default Cortex And Alarm Integration

    Hi,

    I'm looking at my options in terms of Cortex and alarm integration.

    I'm very keen to keep the systems separate with the alarm reporting it's status to Cortex. I've just purchased a top spec commercial Honeywell Galaxy alarm with GSM module and reading through the literature now.

    One thing that strikes me is that both systems require the same sensors throughout the house - PIR and door contact. Obviously the alarm doesn't need quite as many sensors as Cortex but it seems logical to include them for use later should I need them.

    Rather than fitting two sets of sensors for both systems - surely I'd be better off fitting a single set and then connecting them to both systems.

    My questions are....

    Firstly has anyone done this?

    Secondly, is there anything different between an Idratek:

    http://www.idratek.com/products/catalogue/lps-002/

    an Alarm:

    http://www.qvsdirect.com/Honeywell-B...gn=weekly-feed

    and one typically used for lights:

    http://www.tlc-direct.co.uk/Products/SMSLFM360.html

    I'd be interested to hear from those that have two in the same room and find they can 'appear' on one and not the other.

    Cheers,

  2. #2
    Moderator toscal's Avatar
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    One way to do this could be to use something like this and then use the contact closures from the output to interface with the HA system. In theory you should be able to also assign the sensors to the infinite prime alarm panel as well.
    Another way would be to use RFXCOM and then interface this into Idratek .Don't know if would this be possibe. And then assign the relevant sensors to the alarm panel.
    IF YOU CAN'T FIX IT WITH A HAMMER, YOU'VE GOT AN ELECTRICAL PROBLEM.
    www.casatech.eu Renovation Spain Blog

  3. #3
    Automated Home Guru Geps's Avatar
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    I'm not sure if I've understood you correctly toscal...but I've already purchased the alarm.

    I can connect the sensors to both systems through relays and resistors etc but my question really is...is this a good way to wire everything up? And will performance be affected?

  4. #4
    Automated Home Legend Karam's Avatar
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    Yes you would have to isolate the Alarm inputs from the IDRANet digital inputs so probably the PIR driving a two pole relay would be the way (or optoisolators). This would ensure that The IDRATEK system see's each individual PIR or contact sensor.

    In terms of performance you need to consider the usage context. For an alarm the important thing is mainly to detect someone and not create a false alarm. So in terms of triggering it doesn't have to be immediate but can wait say for some pulse counts for example. Also for an alarm the important thing is really just to be able trigger once after the alarm is armed, in other words once you have detected the intruder your job is over until the alrm is reset. So battery saving methods used by wireless PIRs might include going to sleep for a while after the trigger event and maybe even not being active until armed.

    On the other hand, in an IDRATEK system speed of response of the PIR will be important if lighting automation is being implemented. The reason is that for lighting automation to be 'accepted' lights have to come on before you hit the furniture . It is therefore not uncommon to find both off the shelf AND IDRATEK PIRs in a given installation. More than one PIR in some rooms can give the benefits of speed of reaction plus coverage (eg. IDRATEK PIR in some module near doorway and off the shelf in corner ceiling mount). Outdoor PIRs are another example though these would unlikely be used for a standard dedicated alarm system input.

    So in a nutshell you can probably usefully use the information of the non IDRATEK PIRs so long as you isolate the two systems. But likely that you will need to augment with IDRATEK or indeed even other non IDRATEK PIRs for speed of response to room entry. Of course you can also additionally trigger your dedicated alarm unit from IDRATEK outputs, for example you could have IDRATEK based panic buttons or perhaps might want to trigger the alarm for other non standard alarm events e.g. overtemperature. And obviously vice versa i.e dedicated alarm triggering events in IDRATEK system.

  5. #5
    Moderator Kevin's Avatar
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    Good choice Geps ...I too have a Galaxy 60 alarm and some level of integration but not quite how I would like it to be. The alarm is professionally maintained and has policed response and so I have had to work within some guidelines that the installer would accept - perhaps these have some formal requirements that NACOSS, or whatever they are now called, insist upon.

    As you are suggesting , my ideal solution too would be a standalone 'approved' in line junction box for each PIR zone that allowed an isolated relay output but maintained absolutely the end to end zone wiring integrity for the alarm panel to support the tamper protection. I have a mixture of 4 wire and two wire PIR's - the latter using dual resistor EOL . Having a commercial/approved box that did this would make my installer comfortable rather than any solution I can implement. They are not open to piggybacking any wiring of my own on the zone inputs on a policed system. I have yet to locate such a product - surely it must exist....

    So my current solution is twofold. The Galaxy supports 'links' which basically are outputs on the panel that mimic zone inputs or can indicate states (eg area set, alarm, panic, entry/exit etc). You can 'link' a PIR zone input to an output and it reacts fairly fast but only after the trigger 'validation' time that is setup in the panel, including 'dual knock' if you use that. I've used these links but I ran out of available outputs and so the remainder of my zones I had to report using the RS232 interface but this is slow. Linked outputs introduce about 500mS delay but the RS232 ones can be 3 seconds or more depending on bus activity.

    Obviously this is OK for many applications but not fast enough for lighting activation on room entry. There's another slight issue too. Because I report PIR's three ways uisng IDRANet/Links/RS232 each with different response times then occasionally Cortex can get confused about room occupancy. The occupancy can get pulled back to another room based on a lagging PIR report or you can get phantom occupants detected within Cortex.

    My eventual intention was to use a Galaxy Ethernet module to get around all of this but it's one of those 'on the list' of projects. Also I have since found out that if you use IP based alarm signalling (GSM fallback) to your security control centre then you can't access the Ethernet interface locally as well - and you can't add two Ethernet interfaces , so I'm unsure which way to proceed.

    Finding that 'inline' zone box would be ideal or I shall probably just use the existing link/RS232 approach for non time critical PIR's with the faster/more sensitive IDRAnet sensors for others. If you are installing the alarm yourself then things are so much easier and you could piggyback onto those zone wires with some electronics.

    K

    PS How about such an inline PIR zone isolation box IDRATEK ? - or maybe I'll just wait for your Kinect sensor support - which could allow people tracking and even stationary / sleeping bods - see link ;-)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x--xlKWBTAE
    Last edited by Kevin; 7th January 2011 at 03:47 AM.

  6. #6
    Automated Home Guru Geps's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies, I think in light of Karam's comments it will be a case of purchasing sample units and testing them to see the differences....

    Kevin, I'm interested in how you have integrated your alarm?

    I'm DIYing it and have opted for the extra GSM module. Just been flicking through the 122page A4 installation manual! Apparently ADT have custom software flashed to them as it works out cheaper than having the installer change all the settings.

    From looking through both Idratek and Honeywell manuals the actual electronic circuit design is very straight forward and no doubt I shall be attempting to homebrew something suitable shortly....

  7. #7
    Automated Home Legend chris_j_hunter's Avatar
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    toscal's esp system looks good - combining fire & security & other risks, all into one - it's wireless, though - is there something like it, equally comprehensive, but wired - we've looked but not found anything ... ???

    or perhaps a range of sensors (magnet/reed-switch combinations are easy, but flood, CO, smoke, specialised PIR, etc) that could be more directly linked to Idratek modules ?

    actually, reed-switches aren't that easy, because of the wiring ...
    Last edited by chris_j_hunter; 7th January 2011 at 11:56 PM.

  8. #8
    Automated Home Guru Geps's Avatar
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    "toscal's esp system" - what is that exactly?

    Are flood sensors just water alarms or something more advanced?

    I really don't think it would be hard to integrate those sensors into modules....it's just a question of finding a suitable one/changing a couple of components.

  9. #9
    Automated Home Legend chris_j_hunter's Avatar
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    toscal (in his post of 6th January 2011 10:44 PM) linked to this :

    http://www.espuk.com/intro_rx8.htm

    which includes lots of sensors ...

    but you're right, some PIR & smoke & gas detectors have relay options, boat bilge pumps have water detectors operated by pressure-switches that could be used for floods, etc ... 'though the point of my asking was more to do with why go for separate systems when an Idratek set-up (with UPS) could do it all - are the discounts offered by insurance companies really so much ??
    Last edited by chris_j_hunter; 8th January 2011 at 04:31 PM.

  10. #10
    Automated Home Guru Nad's Avatar
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    Interesting thread here, this reminds me of what i was thinking through before i bought my alarm. I decided to go for a Texecom system because it allowed me to do a DIY installation of the alarm system and integrate with Idratek but keep it completely isolated.

    The Texecom has built in output connections which can be programmed to mimic the state of the input zones. So a PIR triggers, the corresponding output triggers too. It's probably worth while seeing if the Honeywell allows this function.

    Thanks to this i can use the alarm PIR (which is in every room), the DFP PIR and the PLT PIR to monitor a room. So far it works very very well! The next step i have planned is to get Cortex to arm/ part arm the system depending on floor presence, but the disarming will always have to be done via entry of alarm code.

    One thing to keep in mind is the use of automatic curtains with an isolated alarm system as you may end up with false alarms.

    Thanks,
    Nad

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