Alarm newbie seeking expert advice - currently using Honeywell 15P

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  #1  
Old 04-19-17, 02:44 PM
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Alarm newbie seeking expert advice - currently using Honeywell 15P

Hello everyone, I finally decided to register after lurking for a while and this is my first post. I have gone over the stickies and I am looking for some expert advice.

I currently have a First Alert FA148CP with a Honeywell WA15P-6.1 chip which was professionally installed around 2009 when the house was being built. Initially we had monitoring via a land line but ended up ditching the monitoring and the land line and currently just use the alarm as a noisemaker.

My goal is to end up with a system that has the following capabilities.
- multiple users can arm/disarm with a smart phone app OR via text
- recieve automated text alerts to multiple phone numbers of a breach
- add several wireless keyfobs which will allow me to arm/disarm and make the bell ring (serve as a panic button)
- integrate my existing wired smoke detectors for text notifications in case of fire when I am away
- potentially add some wireless sensors if need be (the system is currently all hardwired)

Is this all possible to do with a self-monitored system? Can I buy a module that I can use with a prepaid GSM/SIM card? I do not want to rely on wifi and I do not want another landline or VOIP.
I see monitoring available via AlarmRelay.com for $8.95, can I integrate that down the road if I wanted to?

In the future I would like to add three or four exterior cameras that I can check with my phone. This is a completely sperate project but I thought it would be good to mention in case that helps to dictate some of the alarm equipment I buy now.

Thanks for your help and i will post updates as I work on the system based on the suggestions I recieve.

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  #2  
Old 04-19-17, 05:34 PM
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Ok, you are looking to squeeze a lot of blood from that stone...

The system you have, while capable and flexible, is still an entry level alarm system. It is also, being First Alert branded, possibly lacking some of the standard features of the base Vista 15p model (You usually can't tell unless you try to use or activate the feature).

"My goal is to end up with a system that has the following capabilities."
- multiple users can arm/disarm with a smart phone app OR via text

There are aftermarket modules that can do this with a standard Vista panel, if the FA firmware isn't too far off of the base model, it would work for you as well.
See this thread: http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...larm-help.html

- recieve automated text alerts to multiple phone numbers of a breach
- add several wireless keyfobs which will allow me to arm/disarm and make the bell ring (serve as a panic button)

If your wireless receiver has the capacity, your panel will take up to 8 keyfobs without eating into the available wireless zones.

- integrate my existing wired smoke detectors for text notifications in case of fire when I am away

That's generally a no-go. Single-station interconnected smoke alarms and alarm systems are not really a good mix (for a number of reliability reasons). It's better to add a few strategic wireless smokes to the system.

- potentially add some wireless sensors if need be (the system is currently all hardwired)

You can either swap the existing keypad for a RF receiver model, or add a wireless receiver your system has room for 26 wireless zones.

VISTA-15P

Cameras are independent of the intrusion alarm. There are ways to somewhat interconnect them, but it's always an apples/oranges sort of thing.
 
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Old 04-19-17, 06:00 PM
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It looks like there are at least three fire zones that were pre-wired (the red jacketed cables in the unused bundle). Do you know where the other ends of them are? Hardwired system detectors are going to be cheaper than wireless and a bit more reliable since there are no batteries to maintain (although you will need to upgrade the panel's backup battery to at least 7Ah).

As far as cameras, the best route would be to run Cat5e cable through the attic to your desired camera locations and install PoE (Power Over Ethernet) capable IP cameras, a small PoE switch, and a Network DVR (NVR). Otherwise with any other type of setup (including "wireless") you will need to have a 120V power source at each camera location to plug the cameras in. PoE allows power and data to be sent through the single network cable. I have installed dozens of systems this way and it produces the best quality pictures with the easiest local/remote monitoring. I am very fond of Hikvision brand cameras, they are great quality, reliable, and relatively cheap. Dahua is another good one. Stay away from brands like Foscam, Swann, Lorex, ZModo, and other REALLY cheap brands (especially "no-name" stuff on ebay). They have buggy firmware, security issues, and their technical/customer support is virtually non-existent.
 

Last edited by taz420; 04-19-17 at 06:21 PM.
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Old 04-19-17, 10:11 PM
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Hey folks, thank you for the fast replies!

MrRonFL,

Ha ha blood from a stone! And I hear what you're saying about not knowing exactly what variation First Alert panel may have from the standard 15P. That being said, if it makes everything else easier can I simply upgrade the chip and/or panel or? But I also appreciate the ability to save money and use the existing panel..

I was actually looking at that thread you mentioned prior to posting but wasnt sure how much difference it made that the other poster had a 20P chip..
I looked up these two links from the thread you mentioned:
https://ipdatatel.com/products/
EnvisaLink 4 – Control Your DSC & Honeywell Security System From Your Smart Phone | EyezOn

Are these what you refer to as a wireless receiver? Is this also called a communicator?
The ipDatatel products look like exactly what AlarmRelay.com rebrands and sells on their website. Also I am no longer interested in AlarmRelay.com now that I know the actualy cost of monitoring with Total Connect is about $25. I would like to self-monitor.

The thing I dont understand about these devices is how they communicate with me. It looks like the EyezOn EnvisaLink product connect with an ethernet cable via the web and the ipDatatel product uses CDMA via Verizon. I dont have a ethernet cable anywhere near the panel and I get my internet via a coax cable. How does the verizon connection work?
Is there a GSM device that uses a SIM card to communicate with me?

Re the RF Keypad for wireless sensors I would prefer to make a modification in the panel to accomodate this since I have two keypads already that I would like to keep consistent and it just seems cleaner to keep everything in the panel? Or maybe upgrading both keypads is the way to go?

taz420,

Good call on the bundle of unused wires - I checked the labels on them and found the following:
1 large white wire: unlabeled!
3 red wires: 2nd Floor Smk, 3rd Floor Smk, garage heat
3 blue wires: 2nd Floor GB, Down GB, Back Door KP
2 flesh color wires: E/E IR, 3rd Floor IR

What woud these wires potentially facilitate? My father built the house and he is known for putting extra wires and pipes in walls for future expansion so I'm sure he had something to do with it but since he died I can't ask him.
The house is three stories and the garage is on the ground floor so I would assume there is a heat sensor of some kind in the garage. GB is glass break but since the wires are not connected does that mean they are not active when the alarm is armed? What could "KP" stand for? And what could those two flesh color wires be?

Awesome info about cameras! The PoE sounds really cool! Now I am excited about getting this alarm squared away so I can move on to the cameras! More on that later..

Thanks guys!!
 
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Old 04-19-17, 10:35 PM
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One other thing maybe worth mentioning..

I got an estimate from an independent alarm contractor to update the system to connect to his central station and this is what he suggested:
Replace control panel with 20P
Addition of Honeywell GSMX4G cell based communicator
Addition of Honeywell 5881ENL wireless receiver
Addition of 5804 wireless keyfob
Addition of Kidde 120X smoke detector relay

This estimate was based on one phone discussion and the same pictures of my panel that are above so he may or may not have caught on to that bundle of unused wires. Also obviously now I am looking for a self monitored configuration. Also a different alarm expert I spoke to in the past lead me to believe I could possibly just replace the chip instead of having to rewire the entire panel, is that true?

Thanks again!!
 
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Old 04-19-17, 10:40 PM
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The cables are not connected so it's unlikely that they actually have devices on the other end. Are there any blank plates in the ceilings on the 2nd/3rd floors and garage?

KP would be keypad.. Is there a blank plate in the wall near the back door? Maybe the wire is coiled up inside a closet near there?

E/E IR and 3rd Floor IR would be for motion detectors. I don't know what E/E is (Entry/Exit? Like somewhere it could see the front door maybe?) Again, I don't know how you would locate these cables if they don't end up in a blanked off box. You could get a tone tracer set and sweep around in logical places and see if you can find the signal...


Addition of Kidde 120X smoke detector relay
The fact that he would do this makes me question his credentials and knowledge. Any installer with any brains would NOT interconnect single/multiple station smoke alarms (the hardwired electrical kind you have) with an alarm panel. It's not "legal".
 
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Old 04-19-17, 10:51 PM
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I am very fond of Hikvision brand cameras, they are great quality, reliable, and relatively cheap.
I've installed many of their systems and I agree. Excellent bang for the buck. I don't even use a separate PoE switch... I use their NVR's with it built in. Very cost effective.


Addition of Kidde 120X smoke detector relay
There is a problem with this and Mr Ron was alluding to it. This device allows the wired smoke detectors to send a fire alarm signal to the alarm panel. Here's the problem.... if there is no AC power.... this device won't report a fire.
 
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Old 04-20-17, 03:43 AM
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Here's the manual for the system: http://www.nationwidesecuritycorp.co...all-Manual.pdf

A lot of the answers you are looking for are buried in that.
 
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Old 04-20-17, 10:48 AM
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Anyone have any advice on my earlier questions..?
From what I can tell the only difference between the 15P and 20P is more zones which I don't think I necessarilly need.
A guy I talked to years ago said I should "upgrade the chip", is this possible without replacing the panel? He said something about how the 6.1 would limit my abilities, does that make sense?
Which wireless receiver would you recommend?
Does anyone make a communicator that I can place a SIM card in to program to dial and text me?
I dont understand about the connectivity of the two communicators that were mentioned above (Eyezon and ipDatatel)..

taz420 and PJmax,

I will figure out where those wires lead and report back.. It's good to know that the wiring already exists for potential expansion of the system, i just need to find it!
Good to know there is a consensus on the Kidde 120X - I will stay away from that.
Also I will definitely start looking at the Hikvision brand offerrings.. Thanks!

MrRonFL,

I looked through the hard copy manual I have and I also checked the link you said. This has lots of valuable setup and programming info but it does not speak to what equipment to add on to make the alarm do what I want it to do.

Thanks everyone for helping!
 
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Old 04-20-17, 03:20 PM
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Just spoke to ipDatatel tech support re their communicators. They say that I will be unable to use or activate their communicators without going through an alarm company. Then I spoke to someone in their customer service department who said they could sign me up for $7 per month plus a $20 monthly surcharge for going direct to them and this would be for a self monitored system.
Anyone have experience with them or am I missing something?
 
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Old 04-25-17, 02:37 PM
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Just looking for a simple way to do self monitoring with the 15P.. Anyone know of a GSM device that I can use with a prepaid sim card?
 
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Old 04-25-17, 03:13 PM
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I don't know of any cellular options that allow for a pre-paid SIM but there are options to get Total Connect 2.0 service without central station service as a no-contract, low rate service if you added an AlarmNet communicator (GSMX4G or GSMV4G or iGSMV4G for instance) to your system.
 
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Old 04-25-17, 03:33 PM
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What company would you recommend for the low rate service? Most all the companies I can find are $30+ per month. Thank you!
 
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Old 04-25-17, 03:53 PM
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I just sent you a personal message but if you google "Total Connect 2.0 Service", I'm sure you'll find some good options.
 
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