Home Alarm Questions


Old 11-15-04, 08:06 PM
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Home Alarm Questions

I am in the process of researching my next security system purchases....

A little background, I need to buy systems for two small vacation homes. One system for my friend's home, which is already built... so he's interested in wireless. The other system is for the home which I am in the process of building, so hardwired is fine.

Both systems will have minimal inputs... probably two or three motions configured in one or two zones. No external monitoring is anticipated, though it would be "nice" if the system had the capability to call us with a voice message on alarm.

I feel totally comfortable spec'ing out and installing a hardwired system, as I have installed three systems in the past. But.... the wireless seems a bit confusing to me.....

When you purchase a wireless capable system, it appears that you need an expander module to receive the signals for the remote motion detectors... As an example I was looking at GE Caddx NX-6 and a Caddx wireless expander modules NX-408E.

1) Does the wireless expander module simply "plug into" the main board in the security panel via some sort of cable?

2) Is there any special configuration required, etc?

3) Does the wireless expander module and the main security panel have to be the same brand? i.e. does different brands speak the same language?

4) Is there any issues when selecting wireless PIR motion sensors.... i.e. will any brand of sensor work with any wireless receiver?

Also, are there any other "watch-outs" anyone can pass along that I may encounter in a wireless system that I haven't seen in a hardwired system.

Thanks in advance for all the help.

Old 11-15-04, 08:27 PM
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I'm not a Caddx expert, simply because I am not particularly fond of them, but I believe:

1) Yes, for the most part they just plug in as an expansion (more specifically, to the keybus just like a keypad)

2) You may have to do some programming to enable the expansion (or at least the zones), but it should be pretty simple - most panels will auto-recognize an expansion board on power-up

3) In general, yes, the expansion and the control have to be the same brand - at least, it's easier that way for the above-mentioned auto-recognize feature. There are ways to connect other brands, but they have to be certain types of wireless receivers.

4) Yes, again, you have to have the same brand wireless sensor as you have receiver - there are almost no exceptions to this. RF works over a certain frequency (like cordless phones - 433Mhz, 900Mhz, 319.5Mhz, etc.) so in order for the transmitter to work with the receiver, it must be on the same frequency (that just for starters, there are other issues too.)

Ease of programming is a major watch-out - you want to make sure you're not going to have problems programming the system once you've installed it. Personally, I don't like the Caddx systems for this particular reason. To me the programming is very cumbersome and antiquated (I programmed an old Moose system - 10+ years - today that programs similar to the new Caddx systems.) DSC is very difficult to program and the manuals are not very helpful. Ademco is fairly easy to program and the manuals are much better than DSC's (most are.) But, I personally like the GE Concord Express systems - they are extremely easy to program (they come out of the box pretty much ready to go) and they include a 16 zone wireless receiver. So, there's no additional programming required for wireless - just learn the sensors in. Not to mention, the manuals are very easy to understand. Pricing is much better than most systems with wireless also - most systems run over $200 with wireless, the Concord Express is about $150 with wireless and a programming keypad. I highly recommend it.

One thing I would also recommend is to read through the manuals of the systems you are considering - you don't want to order a couple of systems and find out the manuals are hard to read. You can get most of the manuals you need at http://manuals.safewatchservice.com

Let us know if there is anything we can help you with.
Old 11-16-04, 05:43 PM
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Thanks for all the info... it will help.

I was just beginnning my internet search and Caddx was one of the earlier systems I came across... so at your recommendation I will probably stear clear. Since the wireless system is for a friend... the easier to program the better. (he's also not as worried about about cost... so, a few extra dollars to make the set up easier... he will vote for)

As you indicated, my next step is to zero in on one or two sytems and look at there installation manuals....

Thanks again,

Old 11-16-04, 06:13 PM
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I work with the Caddx, a lot, and while I like them for the flexibility, they are not really DIY friendly, I'm a tech manual reading geek, and sometimes their wireless still gives me some problems.

For a basic, do-the-job system, the Concord Express isn't a bad choice at all.

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