Well it has been sliding into our national contiousness for decades. What's that you say? Most home owners know about security systems for residential homes, but fewer know about home automation systems and exactly how they might fit into a new or remodeled home. To be honest, any home automation system designed for the residential and small business market that is worth it's salt will have a UL approved security system as part of the program.
Anybody who knows me or has followed my informational advice knows that when I recommend a security system it is generally one that is robust enough to also provide home automation features. But this time I want to put out as much information about the security components of a truly modern system as I can.
What is a Security Alarm System?
There aren't many people who are not marginally familiar with a burglar alarm system even if they have not actually been the individual arming and disarming the security system on a day-to-day basis. Most of us know that a burglar alarm consist of a main electronic controller which is normally mounted in a closet or perhaps in the garage. The system is linked to a telephone line so that it can dial out to a monitoring company in case of a burglary or fire. And of course all types of security devices are connected to this security controller which when violated cause the security system to go into the ALARM mode.
One of the questions asked of me over and over is, "What happens if the power goes out?" The reply is that all systems have a 12Vdc battery to provide emergency power during a power outage for whatever reason. Some installers double up on the number of batteries to deliver additional time in case the power is out for awhile. With the power essencial for sirens, color touch screens, DC security devices as well as multiple security keypads, the norm is about thirty minutes of additional operational time before the security system goes dead. If however, the reason for the power failure is that a bad guy cut off your house power, there is ample operational time to call out to the monitoring company.
Keep in mind that power in the range of 56Vac is provided constantly on the line by the telephone company even though the electrical grid is down. What most consumers do not realize is that if they have elected to have their telephone service provided as an additional service by their local cable company, when the power goes out so does the telephone service.
The Telephone Line
The telephone service, which enters the house from the outside world, is first connected to a device known as a RJ-31X. This component is also where the security system ties in to attain its connection to the outside when an alarm occationally takes place. It permits the telephone line to be seized anytime. The ramification is that if you are self involved in a lengthy conversation with one of your friends or relatives during a time when an alarm happens, you will be cut off right in the middle of your conversation as the RJ-31X will allow the security alarm controller to call out on the telephone line.
Police and Fire Departments
Everybody knows that if an alarm has been armed in the AWAY mode and a burglar breaks in a given home, the security system will go into the alarm mode. What many consumers do not know is that if a home owner is wise enough to install monitored smoke detectors, that the system will also call out to the fire department as well. This feature can and certainly has saved lives. Many times people don't wake up during a fire until it is too late as they are rendered unconscious by the noxious smoke generated during the fire. When you have a monitored smoke detector the fire department is called and will respond to your fire alarm. The next thing one realizes is that they are being aroused and rescued by firemen. The same cannot be said about standard smoke sensors installed by an electrician or procured at Home Depot.
There are many types of security devices used in a alarm system. The most routinely used device is a magnetic contact installed in windows and doors. They do not require electrical power, however they will notify the main controller when a window or door is opened.
The second most preferred device is the powered motion sensor. There are two conductors which provide 12Vdc power to the sensor and two cables which are linked directly to one of the security zones on the main controller. These days there are two technologies at work in the motion detector. The first is called passive infrared, which is another way of saying it will recognize body heat. The second technology is a Doppler shift which means that the detector senses movement in the area it is safeguarding.
Glass Break Sensors
Another well utilized device is the glass break detector. It is also wired much the same way as the powered motion detector. This device is mounted near solid glass windows and doors and will go into the alarm mode when it hears glass breaking.
Although these powered devices can be utilized in a multitude of ways they are not used as much as I suggest for two reasons. The first reason is that they are a little bit more cost prohibitive than other typically used devices. The more likely reason they are not utilized more often is that many security installers don't know how to install them. They need to be installed on solid mounting surfaces so that there is no blowing in the wind and they have to be calibrated both visually and electronically.
Get Command Of Your Expenses
The keys to this technology are capability and cost. The definite best way to control these concerns is to install the security system yourself. To install one of these systems you will need to procure an installation book on installing a specific system. Believe it or not, it's not all that hard to install the system. You simply need to know exactly what equipment to purchase, what connectors to install, how to mount the equipment, and how to power it up and program the system. If you did not recognize the significance of what I expressed earlier, now is the time to grasp the magnitude. Once the security devices and the security controllers are installed, the software does the configuration setup for you. That is what I am trying to say. Even though this is spectacular technology, it is really simple to install.
Installing Numerous Systems
It has been my experience that when customers are contemplating one technology for their new or remodeled home, they are probably considering other systems as well. It would be in your best interest to have installation eBooks on each system you would like to include in your project. Read them all then procure your electronics, special tools, and cabling so that they are all on the job site in advance of your scheduled start date.
Unfortunately I am confined in this article from explaining further about a security system. However, today I was able to at least acquaint you with the components of a system and lay the ground work for a more in depth educational article about the many ways a security system can be wired to take advantage of the available technologies and therefore render a customized system for each home owner.
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