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Thread: Integrating Loxone and an alarm system

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    Automated Home Jr Member
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    Default Integrating Loxone and an alarm system

    The weakness of Loxone appears to be its functionality as an alarm system. Does anyone have any thoughts on integrating it with a 3rd party alarm?

    I'm thinking it would be fairly easy (?) to pick up a few basic signals from most alarm systems on Loxone's digital inputs - alarm/disarm/bell ring and I've heard people talk about connecting two systems in parallel to PIR sensors (so that both Loxone and the alarm would read the movement signal).

  2. #2
    Automated Home Jr Member philipp.schuster's Avatar
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    Hi b33k34,

    Of course I am biased, but I am using Loxone very successfully as my alarm system. I have 2 zones upstairs and downstairs with dual trigger motion sensors and also reed switches in windows and doors. When I go to bed only the downstairs zone is armed, when I go out both are armed. The alarm system has multiple stages:
    1. Silent alarm (only some inconspicuous LEDs light up and I get a text message in case I forget to disarm the alarm)
    2. Optical alarm (all lights go onto full brightness and all light switches get locked, i.e. no turning lights off)
    3. Audible (sound bombs in the house go off - really unpleasant high pitched noise)
    4. Remote Alarm (my wife and I both get a call on our mobiles)


    What do you perceive as the weakness in the Loxone alarm?

    If you want to integrate with other alarm systems, then you can of course do so in multiple ways:

    1. Simple I/O
    On most alarm panels you can program some of the dry contacts (relays) to close on different events. As such you could use:
    - One digital input on the Loxone system to pick up the status of the alarm (armed/disarmed)
    - A second digital input to pick up whether the alarm has been set off
    - One digital output on from the Loxone system to Arm the alarm panel

    Note: Disarming a NACOS/NIS alarm panel via a simple contact closure is not permitted. If you do not care about NACOS/NIS you may consdier it, but beware that this is very easy to tamper with.

    2. RS232
    For many alarm panles you can get an RS232 module, which can then be used to communicate with a Loxone RS232 Extension. Some alarm systems that I know have been integrated are Texecom Premier and Pardox EVO. On both panles it is possible to arm/disarm the alarm, pick up the state of the alarm panel (if armed/ disarmed from one of the keypads) and of course also pick up if the alarm has then been triggered. Further it is also possible to receive an RS232 message when individual PIRs have been triggered, so that you can use these for lighting control when the alarm is disarmed.

    3. IP
    I know that Texecom and other manufacturers also make IP modules for their alarms to communicate with them over IP, but unfortunately I have yet to hear from someone that has managed to get a proper manual for the IP module with command codes... It seems that the development and production of the IP modules is often outsourced, since the required expertise do not exist within the alarm companies, which in unfortunately seems to lead absolutely appalling documentation.

    Hope this information helps you.

    All the best,

    Philipp
    Home Automation Enthusiast and Head of Loxone in the UK.

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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by philipp.schuster View Post
    Hi b33k34,

    What do you perceive as the weakness in the Loxone alarm?
    It looks like you can do some cool things with Loxone but fairly complex to set up and requiring a lot of inputs and outputs. Lack of tamper protection, lack of keypad inputs. One Wire iButtons might be a nice arm/disarm funciton but I'm thinking of using those for gate access and not sure I want to disarm the alarm at the same time. Standalone alarms look remarkably cheap and give a level of resilience. Integrating a relatively low cost alarm seems to give the best of both worlds.

  4. #4
    Automated Home Jr Member philipp.schuster's Avatar
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    Hi b33k34,

    Thanks for the feedback. I guess it depends what it is you are looking for in an alarm system and how you envisage using the alarm. The great thing is that you have got choice


    My reasoning for only using Loxone was as follows:
    To me the lack of keypads did not matter, because I did not want an extra panel on the wall anyhow. I disarm my alarm using the mobile app or via a sequence of presses on a light switch, since I have not had a chance to fit iButton readers yet.

    You can implement tamper protection if the sensors you are using have got the connections for it. Some of mine do, others don't and a simple "AND" block combines all the signals and notifies me if a sensor goes offline, i.e. is tampered with.

    Since I already had PIRs for the lighting and window contacts for the heating, so using them for the burglar alarm just seemed logical and did not require any extra inputs.

    All the best,

    Philipp
    Home Automation Enthusiast and Head of Loxone in the UK.

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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by philipp.schuster View Post
    Hi b33k34,

    To me the lack of keypads did not matter, because I did not want an extra panel on the wall anyhow. I disarm my alarm using the mobile app or via a sequence of presses on a light switch, .
    That might work. Maybe we'll talk offline about the button sequence nearer intallation.

  6. #6
    Automated Home Jr Member philipp.schuster's Avatar
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    Sure, no problem. Feel free to get in touch with us at any time if you have got queries like this.
    Home Automation Enthusiast and Head of Loxone in the UK.

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    Moderator toscal's Avatar
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    One idea I was going to use with my Homevision, but now may try with a Loxone miniserver once I get nearer to getting one.
    Its to try an connect an RX8 or similar to the inputs. This gives you 6 wireless alarm zones one contact for arm/disarm and another is reserved contact for panic with the key fob and 2 trouble/tamper zones. It uses the Infinte prime series of sensors and key fobs.
    So options for the Loxone are quite varied. My only concern would be during a power outage, but I guess a small UPS would take care of that.
    Last edited by toscal; 14th January 2013 at 06:26 PM.
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  8. #8
    Automated Home Jr Member philipp.schuster's Avatar
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    The Miniserver uses around 120mA at 24V, so a tiny 24V UPS will be fine to keep it running. Of course you will have to consider Extensions and auxiliary components like PIRs as well in your power budget.

    I am using a 230V PSU myself so that some other bits of equipment like my router also stay powered up during the outage. This allows me to be notified via email about the power cut and more importantly in the event of an alarm during the power cut I still get a call.
    Home Automation Enthusiast and Head of Loxone in the UK.

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    Moderator Kevin's Avatar
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    I'm one of those using a dedicated external alarm panel with my HA system. It has all three of the interfaces Philipp mentions, RS-232 serial, dry contacts and Ethernet and I use the first two. In my case there's an intermediary box of tricks I programmed to handle presenting this information via IP but I would foresee no problems supporting an external alarm directly from a Loxone mini server.

    Dry contacts are the easiest approach but that can be costly if you have lots of zones, as alarm panels are actually very low cost. The serial option would be better for larger systems and might also allow more functionality e.g. some aspects of partial setting maybe. Ethernet can be quite a bit more complex as some of the protocols are very involved, and information hard to come by. I have always intended to connect via Ethernet but that languishes a way down on my 'ToDo' list as it looked like being a large project. If your external monitoring or maintenance is also via IP then you need to ensure you won't disrupt this service. Having an externally maintained alarm may well prove troublesome in terms of programming access too, depending on the company involved, however I guess most readers here will likely self install or have engineer access after an install.

    Although I started with Ethernet connection ambitions I changed to RS232 as it was an easier solution but then found that the serial reporting of the zone activations (PIRs) lagged the event by several seconds. This is really deficiency of my alarm system (Honeywell Galaxy) where the interfaces for IP and RS232 are really bolt ons to an older non automation aware alarm architecture. The zone activation messages are essentially really printer output log messages that are pushed out the RS232 interface which has to be sent over the very slow alarm communications bus. I'm pretty sure more recent alarm panels will be far quicker in their response either over RS232 or IP. So I also use dry contacts which do respond very quickly (instantly) where I need - for example for room occupancy detection on person entry. I have another little box of tricks that takes 16 dry contact inputs and just sends a reporting message on Ethernet for this . This IP information is much easier to handle than the full blown alarm protocol.

    So the Loxone could handle either approach (integrated or external) depending on your view on how secure and functional a system you need. Dedicated keypad support may sway you although I believe you can get keypads that could be interfaced to Loxone via RS-232 or RS-485. You could even implement a dual alarm system where primary security is a dedicated panel but secondary 'automation' features implemented on the mini server. I use a similar approach at night time with downstairs/perimeter protection via the night set on the full system but have a secondary automation for upstairs that allows walk paths say to the bathroom and controls lighting. If the sensors are tripped in an order not matching to a walk path then a local internal alarm condition is raised.

    K

  10. #10
    Automated Home Legend chris_j_hunter's Avatar
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    we found the costs of a fire-alarm system with fire-panel pretty cost-effective, and took advantage of a relay-board option to provide dry-contacts to link into digital-inputs on our HA system, to usefully enhance the user interface ...

    the fire-panel has battery back-up, as does the HA ...

    seems a v.robust approach, failure-wise ...

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