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Discussion in 'Security Alarms' started by Michael B. Baker, Jul 22, 2004.

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  1. DIY security systems add confusion to the market

    ST. PAUL, Minn. - Installers may have been wary of security systems sold to
    the do-it-yourself market in electronic and home improvement stores in the
    United States, but the moderate success of the program may calm some
    anxiety.

    Michael B. Baker, SET
    Michael Baker & Associates, Inc.
    Fire Alarm System Design and Plan Review
    PO Box 737
    Gladstone, OR 97027-0737
    503-657-8888 v
    503-655-1014 f
    ET News(sm)
  2. RH.Campbell

    RH.Campbell Guest

    Very interesting article !! I do think they are right on the money. DIY is
    and probably always will remain a small segment of the total marketplace.
    Most clients don't want nor have the ability or inclination to install their
    own systems. To date, most DIY systems sold in such places as Home Depot are
    without dialers, and as such are not technically up to what would be
    required for a monitored system, although the GE systems coming on line for
    DIY'ers clearly are good equipment. I would be more concerned about the mass
    marketing of monitoring along with these, since the bottom feeders in our
    business like ADT would quickly jump in and would be concentrating on
    selling their poor and overpriced monitoring to subscribers who don't know
    how or where to shop around for superior and less costly services. Its a
    shame, but there is very little out there to educate clients on the hidden
    traps in our industry (Ralph Nader, where are you when we really need

    From a conventional dealers point of view, it would mean we would have to be
    (or should be) more careful in hooking up these systems since there is no
    assurance of proper installation techniques (although in my experience,
    DIY'ers are pretty careful and capable people who only need assistance in
    programming generally speaking....). And since most of this stuff ends up
    being wireless for the most part, installation technique is not a large

    Bottom line, for those dealers most concerned about RMR generation, this
    will only increase that part of the market, but probably will have little to
    no impact on the number of professionally installed systems sold.

    Home Security Metal Products
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  3. RH.Campbell

    RH.Campbell Guest

    Well....considering that 85% of the North American security market is held
    by independants, I'd say that leaves lots of room to shop.....

  4. RH.Campbell

    RH.Campbell Guest

    Too bad ! He should have stuck with what he was good at......being a
    consumer advocate !!

  5. Norm Mugford

    Norm Mugford Guest

    Mr. Bass said:

    "I've replaced a few DIY systems from RatShak."

    Out there replacing systems without a license, Mr. Bass?

    Norm Mugford
  6. Gus

    Gus Guest

    People like me want to do their own system because local companies in
    this area want $400-$600+ to prewire a new house - 4 windows and 2

    I have many years in electronics and electrical work and understand
    the concept of an system system. However I do have a hard time
    finding product information on what equipment is used and why.
    There is very little description of products so a person can make a
    reasonable choice as to what to use.
    I find it strange that sellers of equipment make no effort to
    interpret the terms used in their products like the pannel.
    Ex: some panels allow zone doubleing --- great! but what the hell does
    that mean? Is that an internal function that does not require
    additional equipment, a firmware function, or some kind of expander

    Some systems hint that they are for DIYers so I guess I will go with
    one of them and immediately wire the doors and PIRs and figure the
    rest from there.

    Alarm DIYers don't have the cornor of stupidity.
  7. RH.Campbell

    RH.Campbell Guest

    RHC: Yes, while Home Depot sells a line of DIY panels without dialers, I
    have observed that Radio Shack (in Canada anyway) sells Ademco equipment to
    the DIYer. I often wonder how they handle questions about programming etc
    that are bound to arise. But since most of them don't end up monitored, even
    full of errors they likely will work for their intended "local" purposes...
    RHC: Quite right !! I should have mentioned that !! Techniques related to
    the best model of contacts to use in various door / window configurations,
    placement of motions when pets are present, and proper wiring routing and
    placement are several of the situations that quickly come to mind. None of
    this is learned in any books, but comes about through experience over many
    actual installations. While none of this is "rocket science", it still
    requires a measure of experience to do correctly. I had the occasion to go
    back to one of my earliest installations the other day, and was somewhat
    taken aback by my wiring techniques within the can. While they were
    acceptable from a false alarm perspective, they clearly weren't up to the
    acceptable level of work after many years of installations. We all learn
    techniques as we go, over time !! I have been called upon to monitor a few
    self installed DIY systems. By and large, they are adequately done, but
    usually far too complex in the wiring. Several had huge crossconnect panels
    unnecessarily installed which only increased the number of "break" points in
    the overall wiring. Needless to say, I inspected them, and then hooked them
    to the station, but I don't give my usual trouble free installation
    guarantee on these puppies !!
    RHC: Could be ! But I'll bet dollars to doughnuts their motive has more to
    do with selling more of their product than it has to do with what is best
    for the consumer. Even a company like Paradox Security Systems (a company I
    have the greatest respect for) are coming out with a wireless panel (it's
    being trialed in Europe as we speak....). As the growth in residential
    alarms continues unabated (at least for the next few years until the
    integrated home automation market catches up), all the manufacturers are
    jumping on the bandwagon to build products easily sold to the DIY market.
    Quite coincidentally, that also caters to the professional "lick and stick'
    crowd who then don't have to hire competent techs to install, while also
    keeping their upfront costs down. Plus, it allows them to mass market to the
    public to sell more of their ridiculously overpriced monitoring contracts,
    which is what most of them only really care about anyway. So we'll likely
    see more of the opportunistic long term contract nonsense (ie: on those
    occasions when the client has paid a full market price up front.......)

    Rather than seeing a trend away from the "free system" installations that is
    predicted by many in the market, I see this trend by manufacturers towards
    development of this kind of easily installed wireless equipment as actually
    encouraging it. Overall, while it will probably increase the numbers of
    alarm systems in the market, it will IMO cheapen the quality of coverage
    downwards from the ideal full perimeter system to the two doors / one motion
    type of system. But "c'est la vie"; the market usually adjusts towards what
    the consumer wants, even when it can be against his best interests. And if
    the truth be known, this configuration does work adequately in a lot of
    residential situations. This will be mitigated by the certain fact that DIY
    will always remain a very small part of the overall market place, just as it
    is with all other trades (the Home Depots of the world not
    withstanding....). And I certainly don't see any market leadership or
    consumer education by those market leaders like ADT who should be IMO taking
    some responsibility, but instead only care about their bottom line (their
    idea of "education" is the two hours of "how an alarm system works" security
    training before they inflict their hoards of sign carrying "free system"
    salesmen on the dining public......

    Kind of makes me glad I'm approaching the end of my tenure in this

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