Perplexed at burglar alarm malfunction


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Old 05-12-21, 05:32 PM
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Perplexed at burglar alarm malfunction

I got a GE alarm system inside my home. It uses wireless motion sensors that send a signal to a console plugged into my land line telephone jack, Then I program in a phone number to receive an alert if an intruder is detected.The system is 16 years old.

Today I raced home after I received an alert message on my work phone. Everything was normal. Nothing out of place. No signs of forced entry.

There are no animals or people in my house when I'm at work. Could the alarm be set off from an insect crawling on the sensor?
 
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Old 05-12-21, 06:14 PM
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Sometimes insects can get inside. The older units were strictly infra red so it needs heat to activate.
How's the battery.... due for change ?
 
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Old 05-12-21, 08:05 PM
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I'm not getting any low battery beeps or chirps. But it wouldn't hurt to reset, reprogram and test the system. The phone company has repaired the landline parts outside the house 4 times in less than two years. Could faulty phone company equipment somehow trigger the alarm system to make an outgoing alert phone call?
 
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Old 05-12-21, 09:20 PM
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The phone line would not cause a certain point to go into alarm.

I've seen many problems with wireless devices. Yes.... they are supposed to tell the panel when they are low. Most do and some don't. I use high end wireless with Bosch systems. Usually I'll get a low battery but not always. Sometimes I'll get a low battery from a particular device and then after resetting the panel I'll see several low battery issues.

I have seen some wireless motion detectors trigger an alarm on a low battery. Since the motion detectors see a lot of activity.... their batteries go dead the quickest.
 
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Old 05-13-21, 06:27 AM
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I got a GE alarm system inside my home.
Does the control console have a model number, or any identifying nomenclature? GE had more than one model 16 years ago.

It uses wireless motion sensors that send a signal to a console plugged into my land line telephone jack,
Does it also have sensors on any doors or windows?

Then I program in a phone number to receive an alert if an intruder is detected.The system is 16 years old.

What kind of alert does it send? All professional-grade systems of that era send alarm signals that specify a specific sensor (e.g., "Dining Room Motion") that make troubleshooting hella easier.
Also, there are different kinds of "alerts", including "Low System Battery", "Sensor xx Trouble" (where "xx" is usually a two-digit number corresponding to a particular sensor/transmitter), or various other Trouble codes; as well as actual Intruder Alarm alerts.


Today I raced home after I received an alert message on my work phone. Everything was normal. Nothing out of place. No signs of forced entry.
What kind of Alert did you receive? Was it actually an intruder alarm? Not knowing more about your syst4em, I don't even know if your alert came directly to your cell phone from your home console (which was rare 16 years ago) or from a Central Monitoring Station (much more common).

There are no animals or people in my house when I'm at work. Could the alarm be set off from an insect crawling on the sensor?
Now here's the rub: There are a whole list of possible causes for "Unexplained Alarms" (commonly called False Alarms), a list too long to get into here here without narrowing the field a little. Which is why I'm asking what kind of Alert it is to, and IF it's an alarm, if you can narrow it to a specific sensor, which any decent Alarm System of 16 years ago was capable of.

Professional techs on here could write a short book on possible causes of False Alarms, and the causes vary with different devices (there is more than one kind of "motion sensor", and all are different from the different kinds of door/window sensors).

A little more information, please. Help us to help you.
 
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Old 05-13-21, 09:49 AM
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I'll try to answer all your questions when I get home form work tonight
 
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Old 05-13-21, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by PJmax

Originally Posted by bluesbreaker
There are no animals or people in my house when I'm at work. Could the alarm be set off from an insect crawling on the sensor?
The older units were strictly infra red so it needs heat to activate.
If you can track down which sensor triggered, consider aiming an old cellphone / camera at the sensor and taking a time lapse video. I' is not beyond the real of possibilities that when the sun is at just the right angle, you're getting a reflection that triggers a sensor - e.g. postal truck pulls up to the mailbox and the reflection of the sun JUST hits a heat sensor.

Also check whether there have been any break-ins or burglaries in the neighborhood.

Many years ago our area had a rash of organized "social engineering" daytime burglaries of some very high end homes. The thieves were well organized, and rented a plain-vanilla delivery truck like Amazon uses. They drove around while the passenger fired paintball rounds filled with water- which of course triggered the alarm system. After several days of "false alarms" many frustrated home owners disabled their "defective" alarm systems.
They thieves kept driving that same route, shot paintballs to trigger the alarm, then waited at the end of the cul-de-sac. Until eventually nobody showed up.
Then the fake delivery guy walks up with a sawz-all in a carboard delivery box, cuts through the deadbolt, and opens the door while his assistant wheels a dishwasher box into the house.
They then fill the big box with all the jewelry, money and electronics they can find, roll it out and onto the truck, then drive away.
 
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Old 05-13-21, 05:17 PM
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@Hal_S: That must have been back in the days of the vibration/shock-type glassbreak sensors.

Never liked any of those things. Although some vibration-sensing systems were better than others, I never found any that could be adjusted so that they reliably triggered when glass was broken, but couldn't be made to false, in the real world.
And don't get me talking about the Ademco 9's! Sales dep't sold them as "glassbreaks" but they were never supposed to be anything but shock sensors for solid walls.

Thank Technology for reliable acoustic glassbreaks!
 
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Old 05-13-21, 08:58 PM
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Ok, I made some observations after work tonight and I'll try to answer your questions

1. It's a 2004 GE Smart Security system with serial# 417 1845 0002991

2. The alert I received yesterday (and again this afternoon) is an intruder alert for sure
It is programmed to call the work phone in my office. The alert message is an
electronic voice recording

3. This alert came from the console plugged into the landline phone jack at home. This is a not a paid monthly monitoring service. I installed this system myself in 2005. I never had a problem or false alarm till now

4. I checked the wall mounted motion sensors for insects or spider webs. I did not see any.

5. I have a couple miniature curtains in the windows. I checked to see if the air conditioning currents are making these making these rustle. I did not see any movement

6. I did notice there is a venetian blind pull string and small handle that sway a little bit in the A/C air currents

7. I disconnected the console and plugged it in again. I pressed system status and it returned a voice recorded message of SYSTEM 40 IS OK.....SYSTEM LOW BATTERY.

7.5. I tested the infrared motion sensors and door magnetic sensors tonight. I was able to trigger all of these by playing the role of intruder


8. The console circuit board has a small battery to power the system in case of power outage.
I've known that battery is dead for years. But I had trouble reaching it before.

I was able to reach the circuit board tonight. Photo attached. I think I should replace the circuit board battery first. If you expand the pic, you can see a pill-shaped battery with the word SUNNY in the upper right corner. Is that the back-up battery? And how do I remove it? You can see I scratched the circuit board trying to remove it
 
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Old 05-14-21, 04:30 PM
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If I am remembering rightly, these "GE Smart Security" system were a first generation Simon with a few features disabled. They sold them in home centers for a couple of years: See if this manual is a match: http://www.alarmhow.net/manuals/UTC/...%20Rev%20J.pdf

Your back up battery is behind a plastic cover in the base. Follow the red and black wires plugged in next to your terminal strip. The device in the upper right is a semiconductor device, and prying it off the board isn't great idea.

As far as your false trip from the motion detector zone, virtually any perceptual change in temperature with relative motion can do the trick, including insects moving inside or on the lens of the motion. A sudden beam of sunlight hitting a cool surface can do the trick. Most often, these kind of environmental activations aren't easy to duplicate, or catch, unless it's a pattern.

Finally, motions glitch. They are the largest source of false trips out of all intrusion alarm devices.
 
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Old 05-14-21, 07:24 PM
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That round silver part is part of the front end of the receiver. It won't like get pried on.
 
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Old 05-15-21, 04:51 AM
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... including insects moving inside or on the lens of the motion.
A spider on the lens would be similar to Andre the Giant at normal detection distance. Spider webs can be hard to see, so you should check regularly.
 
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Old 05-15-21, 12:45 PM
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Around here, a common culprit is silverfish. Little suckers can get into amazingly tiny openings and gaps.
 
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Old 05-17-21, 09:37 AM
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I replaced all sensor batteries this weekend. I know now that coin cell battery is not the back up battery.
I could have damaged the electronics board when I scratched it.

I am waiting for tech support to tell me where the back-up battery is on the board. Then I'll test again.
Ron mentioned silverfish. I see lone silverfish in my house all the time. These things are famous for crawling up
high on walls

I also ordered a few standalone motion sensor alarms that make a loud noise. I'll get back to you guys later
 
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Old 05-18-21, 04:26 PM
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I replaced all the sensor batteries. But I have not replaced the backup battery inside the console.
I'm still getting one false alarm every day.

I know that backup battery is dead. I located it inside the panel. Could that be causing the false alarms?
 
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Old 05-18-21, 04:32 PM
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No, a low battery on the main console will not cause a wireless transmitter zone to false alarm.
 
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Old 05-18-21, 11:56 PM
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Ron, the instruction manual link you included is not for my alarm system, although it is very similar. But thanks for sending it. I still have the GE manual for mine.

Since these false alarms started for the first time after 16 years of use, this tells me there is something wrong with a sensor or the electronics board
 
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Old 05-19-21, 02:14 AM
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Far more likely to be the transmitter, than the receiver.

Yes, there were significant difference between these models and the regular Simon units. As mentioned, they had a number of features common in the regular models that were not enabled, or greatly simplified. For whatever reason, despite having archives of nearly all of the system manuals they produced; the GE/UTC website has nothing for this variant.
 
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Old 05-19-21, 08:53 AM
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I'm going to remove the programmed phone number from the memory so I don't keep receiving false alerts.

Then I'll use the system as a loud motion sensor alarm only with no outgoing alert capability till the batteries die. When that time comes, I'll dispose of the system. I already have standalone motion sensors on order. And I'll look into purchasing a new security system also.

When I remove that phone number from the system memory, it needs to be replaced with something. Is it ok just to use '1' or '5' ? I just want to make sure the system doesn't call random phone numbers and bother people.
 
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Old 05-19-21, 07:44 PM
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It's possible that there's actually nothing wrong with the system components. I've seen instances where a "sudden" series of unexplained alarms is caused by a motion sensor doing what it's actually designed to do.
Sometimes the IR environment shifts slowly over a long time until one day it reaches a threshold that starts a PIR falsing. It seems sudden when that happens, but it was building incrementally over time.
Has anything changed that you know of? New curtains, rearrangement of furniture or new furniture, any kind of renovation, etc?

You said, "I'm still getting one false alarm every day."

(1) Do the false alarms occur at (or at about) the same time every day, or are they completely random? Sometimes a pattern will give a good indicator of what to look for.

(2) I'm not familiar with your model, so I'm curious: Is there any way to tell which sensor is causing the alarm? If you can narrow the problem down to a single sensor (as with the Simon), then finding the cause becomes easier.


 
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Old 05-21-21, 08:07 AM
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I did all the troubleshooting and all I got back was the low battery notification on the back-up battery which I knew about anyway. Even if it was a bad sensor, they probably don't sell those anymore for this old system
The false alarms usually go off once a day. It could be morning or afternoon.

As far a changes in the infrared environment, I've given this a lot of thought and I can't think of anything that might have changed except a Venetian blind pull string that sways a little bit in the air conditioning air currents. But it's always done that.

I'll try a few other adjustments inside the house and observe this a little more
 
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Old 05-21-21, 03:10 PM
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The transmitters used for these are the same used for the current production Simon and Concord systems.
60-807-01-95R
 
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Old 05-25-21, 10:15 AM
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Thanks very much, Ron. When you say transmitters for the part number below, do you mean the motion sensor
that sends the wireless signal to the landline console? I wouldn't want to replace any sensors unless I am sure there isn't anything wrong with the electronics board.

I installed 4 brand new GE motion sensor alarms this past weekend. . These don't send out any alert notification. These just make a very loud noise that drive an intruder from the house unless he has hearing protection.

I'm still using the old security system as alarm only for now unless I come to a conclusion on the malfunction

 
 

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