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  • Questions from someone new to security panels

    I have ancient experience with alarm systems, but not much current.

    I am considering a DSC panel with the Envisalink IP board and this plug-in.

    I have a number of questions, whose answers are not readily apparent to me. I plan on mostly hardwired door/window and motion sensors, but also may add some wireless.

    My questions really are about the suitability of this as a non-security interface with HomeSeer.
    • Can individual sensors be used as devices for triggers in HomeSeer, even if the security system is not armed. For example if I want to control interior or exterior lights by motion sensors, regardless of whether the system is armed or not?
    • Can each sensor be a device in HomeSeer and if so is this a product of panel programming or the way the plug-in works?
    • Same with door or window sensors.
    • I asked this question in another thread, can I expect much delay between a motion sensor or door switch report to the panel and the device in HomeSeer being updated?


    I guess I am wanting to understand how individual channels in the security system are represented in HomeSeer devices.

    My goal is to add an independent security system, but have full time HomeSeer integration on a channel by channel basis.
    Randy Prade
    Aurora, CO
    Prades.net

    PHLocation - Pushover - EasyTrigger - UltraECM3 - Ultra1Wire3 - Arduino

  • #2
    I have a DSC PC1864 panel that I use with the IT-100 serial interface and Blade's DSC plugin. The plugin will create each zone as a device. I went with the 64 zone model so that I could put each individual door, window, and motion sensor on its own zone. With that setup I can use HomeSeer to trigger events. for example, if my wireless motion sensor in the family room trips at night it will turn on a light for 3 minutes. Events will fire and you'll get status from the panel even when the alarm is not armed. Response time is very fast.

    Is your home pre-wired for an alarm? Most (all?) home alarm installers group sensors into a small number of zones with the sensors wired in series. So one zone might actually cover several windows. My house was pre-wired this way, but since everything home runs back to the panel it was easy to rewire so each sensor has its own zone.
    HS Pro 3.0 | Linux Ubuntu 16.04 x64 virtualized under Proxmox (KVM)
    Hardware: Z-NET - W800 Serial - Digi PortServer TS/8 and TS/16 serial to Ethernet - Insteon PLM - RFXCOM - X10 Wireless
    Plugins: HSTouch iOS and Android, RFXCOM, BlueIris, BLLock, BLDSC, BLRF, Insteon PLM (MNSandler), Device History, Ecobee, BLRing, Kodi, UltraWeatherWU3
    Second home: Zee S2 with Z-Wave, CT101 Z-Wave Thermostat, Aeotec Z-Wave microswitches, HSM200 occupancy sensor, Ecolink Z-Wave door sensors, STI Driveway Monitor interfaced to Zee S2 GPIO pins.

    Comment


    • #3
      Each physical device has a coresponding device in HS3 and you can get status on them any time. I have never armed my panel. That's how the plugin works.

      I already mentioned my experiences with cheap DSC PIRs in the other thread.


      Working now. I can respond tonight in more detail if need be.
      Originally posted by rprade
      There is no rhyme or reason to the anarchy a defective Z-Wave device can cause

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by rprade View Post
        • Can individual sensors be used as devices for triggers in HomeSeer, even if the security system is not armed. For example if I want to control interior or exterior lights by motion sensors, regardless of whether the system is armed or not?
        Yes, the sensors will report their status to HS regardless of whether the system is armed or not. I'm using my own DSC system mostly to use the sensors as triggers for HS.



        Originally posted by rprade View Post
        • Can each sensor be a device in HomeSeer and if so is this a product of panel programming or the way the plug-in works?
        • Same with door or window sensors.
        Each sensor is a Zone for the security system, and each zone is represented as a device in HS. All zone devices have only two possible status: Opened and Closed. But of course you can rename the zone and the status to anything you want.



        Originally posted by rprade View Post
        • I asked this question in another thread, can I expect much delay between a motion sensor or door switch report to the panel and the device in HomeSeer being updated?

        .
        For door/window sensor it's instant, for motion sensor there is a small delay inherent to the sensor itself.

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks for the answers. That was what I needed. I am very happy with the DSC devices interfaced with Arduinos, but I think as long as I am putting in security devices, I ought to consider building it out as a security system, even if I don't plan on arming it at this time.

          As to the question of pre-wiring - my home is not wired for any security system. I am in the process of adding hard wired motion sensors throughout. My door and window sensors are Z-Wave right now and I will have to change those out if I graduate to a fully functional security system.

          To Colin: I am very happy with the "cheapo" DSC PIRs. At 6 for $48 they are quite a bargain. My pet is a 66 pound Airedale Terrier



          and the sensors can be set to be reasonably responsive to people and to ignore her. The relatively cheap Bosch PIR only devices are very pet immune because they have a little optical flap that limits the vertical coverage of the sensors. If I see false triggers by the dog, I may switch to the Bosch devices in key living areas.
          Randy Prade
          Aurora, CO
          Prades.net

          PHLocation - Pushover - EasyTrigger - UltraECM3 - Ultra1Wire3 - Arduino

          Comment


          • #6
            Ok 2 more questions:

            DSC vs Ademco - any compelling reason one is better than the other?

            Envisalink 3 vs Envisalink 4 - any reason not to get the 4?

            Edit: Found the answer to the module differences. Essentially minor, but not worth an upgrade. Buying new you might as well get the 4.
            Last edited by rprade; December 15th, 2015, 06:11 PM.
            Randy Prade
            Aurora, CO
            Prades.net

            PHLocation - Pushover - EasyTrigger - UltraECM3 - Ultra1Wire3 - Arduino

            Comment


            • #7
              A DSC panel will be cheaper and you will probably find more information floating around on how to program them for this reason. Programming one of these panels is NOT intuitive. Once you get the hang of it though it's no big deal.

              Are you using the DSC Lc-100-pi PIRs? That's what I've got. When my dog was younger the lowest pet immune setting was fine. Now in one room he can make the lights turn on. I'm wondering about the Bosch devices you've been mentioning. It looks like they have a sensor on the bottom so, theoretically, they could be mounted above a door and catch someone entering a room. True? If so, how well does the bottom mounted sensor work? For me the biggest issues with turning lights on via motion sensor is entering a room. It's very hard to place a motion sensor in such a location that it can see you as soon as you enter the room but can't see through the door and turn the associated light on when you walk by. I keep a spare 100' of 4 conductor cable that I wire to the panel and haul around the house to test sensor placement. I use a duct tape loop to temporarily fasten the sensor. I have had to move a few several times after some weeks of duty. There appears to be no good solution for my bedroom as the entrance is blocked by a bump out closet.

              As I have said, I see next to no delay with the cheap DSC PIRs. I have experimented extensively with this. When you configure them there is a red light which comes on upon sensing motion. I haven't been able to identify any significant (more than a fraction of a second) discrepancy between the light coming on and HS3 running an event. Although maybe the delay of a second is the norm and I'm just awesome. Everyone, let us not rule this last possibility out!

              Originally posted by rprade
              There is no rhyme or reason to the anarchy a defective Z-Wave device can cause

              Comment


              • #8
                Oh, One more thing.

                The statement made by Spud earlier "Each sensor is a Zone for the security system" is not entirely correct. Let me explain: Multiple sensors of any wired kind can be on the same zone if wired correctly. For example, my children have a rather large playroom with a somewhat abnormal geometry. One motion sensor wouldn't cut the mustard for keeping the lights on. I have three in that room. Two of them are ceiling mounted jobs (You can occasionally find great bargains on Paradox ceiling mounted PIRs on ebay!) and one is a regular DSC. All wired as one zone. If any one closes the zone closes. But in general, one motion sensor will cover a regularly shaped room. The alarm install folks poo poo this wiring technique because it makes troubleshooting difficult. If my playroom "zone" is always open or always closed three devices and the associated wiring between them would need to be tested. Here, at home in my house.... I am unconcerned. I built it. I can get to all of the wiring. I can pull any of the devices out of the circuit at any time and the rest will still function as normal.
                Originally posted by rprade
                There is no rhyme or reason to the anarchy a defective Z-Wave device can cause

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by S-F View Post
                  A DSC panel will be cheaper and you will probably find more information floating around on how to program them for this reason. Programming one of these panels is NOT intuitive. Once you get the hang of it though it's no big deal.

                  Are you using the DSC Lc-100-pi PIRs? That's what I've got. When my dog was younger the lowest pet immune setting was fine. Now in one room he can make the lights turn on. I'm wondering about the Bosch devices you've been mentioning. It looks like they have a sensor on the bottom so, theoretically, they could be mounted above a door and catch someone entering a room. True? If so, how well does the bottom mounted sensor work? For me the biggest issues with turning lights on via motion sensor is entering a room. It's very hard to place a motion sensor in such a location that it can see you as soon as you enter the room but can't see through the door and turn the associated light on when you walk by. I keep a spare 100' of 4 conductor cable that I wire to the panel and haul around the house to test sensor placement. I use a duct tape loop to temporarily fasten the sensor. I have had to move a few several times after some weeks of duty. There appears to be no good solution for my bedroom as the entrance is blocked by a bump out closet.

                  As I have said, I see next to no delay with the cheap DSC PIRs. I have experimented extensively with this. When you configure them there is a red light which comes on upon sensing motion. I haven't been able to identify any significant (more than a fraction of a second) discrepancy between the light coming on and HS3 running an event. Although maybe the delay of a second is the norm and I'm just awesome. Everyone, let us not rule this last possibility out!

                  The Bosch does not have a bottom facing sensor, it just has one. The Bosch lower cost PIR only has a little mechanical flap that optically masks the lower portion of its vertical field. The Tritech units use pulse count or other electronic means to provide pet immunity. I'll see if I can get some pictures of the PIR - it will make more sense.
                  Randy Prade
                  Aurora, CO
                  Prades.net

                  PHLocation - Pushover - EasyTrigger - UltraECM3 - Ultra1Wire3 - Arduino

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by rprade View Post
                    The Bosch does not have a bottom facing sensor, it just has one. The Bosch lower cost PIR only has a little mechanical flap that optically masks the lower portion of its vertical field. The Tritech units use pulse count or other electronic means to provide pet immunity. I'll see if I can get some pictures of the PIR - it will make more sense.

                    OK. I thought you had been speaking of something like this:
                    http://smile.amazon.com/BOSCH-SECURI...bosch+tri+tech
                    Originally posted by rprade
                    There is no rhyme or reason to the anarchy a defective Z-Wave device can cause

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by S-F View Post
                      OK. I thought you had been speaking of something like this:
                      http://smile.amazon.com/BOSCH-SECURI...bosch+tri+tech
                      That is the Tritech model I have on the driveway. If I understand their model numbering, that is the 40 foot model. The ISC-BDL2-WP6G is the 20 foot model. Otherwise they're the same.

                      I'll take the cover off one and get some pictures. The single PIR sensor is angled down. The Tritech models have the microwave antennas built into the vertical circuit board. The "window" on the bottom may be to provide more vertical visibility to the angled sensor.
                      Randy Prade
                      Aurora, CO
                      Prades.net

                      PHLocation - Pushover - EasyTrigger - UltraECM3 - Ultra1Wire3 - Arduino

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I would like latitudinal data on the performance. Otherwise I'll just stick with what I've got as it works as best as possible. I might take this particular topic to CCT.... Since that's where all the nuts and bolts questions from here go.......
                        Originally posted by rprade
                        There is no rhyme or reason to the anarchy a defective Z-Wave device can cause

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Sort of an off-topic question. I've seen those DSC sensors on eBay for cheap. What gauge cabling are you using? Cat5 is getting to be fairly thick when bundled up in my hai panel.

                          Sent from my Xoom using Tapatalk
                          HS3Pro Running on a Raspberry Pi3
                          64 Z-Wave Nodes, 168 Events, 280 Devices
                          UPB modules via OMNI plugin/panel
                          Plugins: Z-Wave, BLRF, OMNI, HSTouch, weatherXML, EasyTrigger
                          HSTouch Clients: 3 Android, 1 Joggler

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by rmasonjr View Post
                            Sort of an off-topic question. I've seen those DSC sensors on eBay for cheap. What gauge cabling are you using? Cat5 is getting to be fairly thick when bundled up in my hai panel.

                            Sent from my Xoom using Tapatalk
                            I am using 22 gauge security wire. It is not twisted pair, it is four conductors in a white sheath. Pretty much the same as the old telephone wire we used when there were wired phones.

                            I bought 1000' shipped for about $40.
                            Randy Prade
                            Aurora, CO
                            Prades.net

                            PHLocation - Pushover - EasyTrigger - UltraECM3 - Ultra1Wire3 - Arduino

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by S-F View Post
                              Oh, One more thing.

                              The statement made by Spud earlier "Each sensor is a Zone for the security system" is not entirely correct. Let me explain: Multiple sensors of any wired kind can be on the same zone if wired correctly. For example, my children have a rather large playroom with a somewhat abnormal geometry. One motion sensor wouldn't cut the mustard for keeping the lights on. I have three in that room. Two of them are ceiling mounted jobs (You can occasionally find great bargains on Paradox ceiling mounted PIRs on ebay!) and one is a regular DSC. All wired as one zone. If any one closes the zone closes. But in general, one motion sensor will cover a regularly shaped room. The alarm install folks poo poo this wiring technique because it makes troubleshooting difficult. If my playroom "zone" is always open or always closed three devices and the associated wiring between them would need to be tested. Here, at home in my house.... I am unconcerned. I built it. I can get to all of the wiring. I can pull any of the devices out of the circuit at any time and the rest will still function as normal.
                              I have a couple of zones that are wired the same way, since they are NC devices, they are in series.

                              That said I understood Spud to really be saying each Zone is a device, how I wire that zone is up to me.
                              Randy Prade
                              Aurora, CO
                              Prades.net

                              PHLocation - Pushover - EasyTrigger - UltraECM3 - Ultra1Wire3 - Arduino

                              Comment

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