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Discussion in 'Security Alarms' started by bit eimer, Feb 26, 2008.

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  1. bit eimer

    bit eimer Guest

    Hi people,

    I'm a newbie, playing with the idea of a DIY system. I'm a bit confused
    about the monitoring market - just saw a website for a monitoring service in
    northern CA with various plans (around 8 different ones).

    These plans each had an install-price and a monitoring fee. Not
    surprisingly, as the number of "included sensors" increases, the
    install-price increases. But what I don't quite get is that the monitoring
    fee also increases.

    Now in one case, I can see that the addition of cell-backup might increase
    the monitor's cost (paid to alarmnet or whoever). But otherwise, it seems
    like there really is no difference in the service provided.

    Is the monitoring cost variation due to:

    1) attempt to recapture some portion of the initial cost the equipment base
    2) higher average cost of maintaining that larger equipment base
    3) assumption that the customer is willing to pay more (monthly) for
    higher-end system
    4) something else

    TIA.
     
  2. 5. Greed. It's a racket. :^)

    Most honest alarm companies charge a flat fee for residential service. There
    may be an incremental cost for daily auto-test, a feature where the panel
    calls the central station every day with an "I'm OK" signal, because that ties
    up the receiver lines more, requiring more lines and more hardware for a given
    number of accounts. Other than that, very few companies charge extra for
    additional zones.

    A few companies charge an extra few dollars for fire monitoring although
    there's no real justification for doing so since the major portion of signals
    are burglary related -- not fire so there's no measurable incremental cost to
    the company. ADT used to (and perhaps still does) charge extra for fire.

    For monitoring DIY alarm systems, consider 911Alarm.com (crude website but a
    number of my DIY customers use them and say they do a good job) or
    NextAlarm.com (slick website, lots of options, but feedback has been mixed).

    --

    Regards,
    Robert L Bass

    ==============================>
    Bass Home Electronics
    4883 Fallcrest Circle
    Sarasota · Florida · 34233
    http://www.bassburglaralarms.com
    Sales & Tech Support 941-925-8650
    Customer Service 941-232-0791
    Fax 941-870-3252
    ==============================>
     
  3. Crash Gordon

    Crash Gordon Guest

    Most alarm companies charge flat monthly fee not based upon how many
    detectors you have, but there might be tiers of service ie; base monitoring
    + daily test, base monitoring + monthly test, monitoring with logged
    opening/closings, monitoring with supervised opening/closings + reports,
    option for radio backup...etc.

    DIYer won't have option to pay directly to Uplink, you have to have a
    wholesale account with them...probably same for any other radio system
    provider.



    --
    **Crash Gordon**






    | Hi people,
    |
    | I'm a newbie, playing with the idea of a DIY system. I'm a bit confused
    | about the monitoring market - just saw a website for a monitoring service
    in
    | northern CA with various plans (around 8 different ones).
    |
    | These plans each had an install-price and a monitoring fee. Not
    | surprisingly, as the number of "included sensors" increases, the
    | install-price increases. But what I don't quite get is that the
    monitoring
    | fee also increases.
    |
    | Now in one case, I can see that the addition of cell-backup might increase
    | the monitor's cost (paid to alarmnet or whoever). But otherwise, it seems
    | like there really is no difference in the service provided.
    |
    | Is the monitoring cost variation due to:
    |
    | 1) attempt to recapture some portion of the initial cost the equipment
    base
    | 2) higher average cost of maintaining that larger equipment base
    | 3) assumption that the customer is willing to pay more (monthly) for
    | higher-end system
    | 4) something else
    |
    | TIA.
    |
    | --
    | ...The Bit Eimer NAR 84054 L2
    | "My goal in life is to be the kind of person my cat thinks he is"
    | [remove keinewurst and reverse letters in domain to email me]
    | --------------------------------------------------------------
    |
    |
    |
     
  4. Frank Olson

    Frank Olson Guest


    1. Take out your local yellow pages
    2. Call three independent dealers and request their rates for
    monitoring & service
    3. Contact the local BBB and investigate your three choices
    4. Talk to your neighbors to see who *they* use and what kind of
    service that get
    5. Make a choice.

    Very few "online" stores offer a decent solution. Most try to "nab"
    your attention based on "the savings" you'll enjoy with the companies
    (or company) they push. Most professional monitoring stations will not
    accept "DIY" clientelle because of the obvious risk inherent in having
    someone that's not been properly trained "fat fingering" their alarm.
    Often times the "local" company offers the best solution at a reasonable
    price. You shouldn't have to pay "extra" for daily tests. My customers
    certainly don't and our rate has been unchanged for as many years as
    I've been running this business. Our initial contract term is 36 months
    after which the contract renews on an annual basis. We haven't raised
    our monitoring rates for ten years (and probably never will). And that
    is one aspect of any contract you should acquaint yourself with (renewal
    and cancellation terms and the rate increases. ALWAYS read the fine
    print and never accept what a salesman "says".
     
  5. bit eimer

    bit eimer Guest

    Hmmm, so what does that same "no-DIYs-here" monitor do when a client appears
    who either wants to transfer from another service or has bought a house with
    an existing installation? Does he

    1) respond with "not interested"
    2) inspect the installation for conformance to his standards
    3) assume that the installation is acceptable

    It would seem #1 and #3 would be not in the monitor's best business
    interest. OTOH, if he chooses #2, why would that not work for a DIY
    installation?
    The worst that can happen is that he says "oh crap, another fat fingerer"
    and reverts to #1.

    BTW, I'm not trying to be argumentative here (or trollish). But the
    post-construction installations (ones with smoke detectors) that I have seen
    in our neighborhood don't come anywhere near meeting current building codes
    (not that they are required to do so), so I am suspicious about what I would
    be told I "needed" from my local vendor.

    Also, if I am being sold a system, I would like to be able to enhance it
    with standard accessories in the future. I shouldn't think this would make
    it a DIY installation (or am I wrong)?

    TIA
     
  6. Crash Gordon

    Crash Gordon Guest

    Here's what we would do:

    Inform the client that we "may" be interested in monitoring/servicing their
    account based upon our inspection of the system. That there is a $xx.xx p/hr
    to inspect the system and that a portion of the fee may be waived if we
    decide to do business with them (or vice versa).

    If they agree then we inspect the system and give them a proposal to bring
    the system up to our standards if need be - most of the time this is no big
    deal.

    Once in a while we the system is such crap that we walk away from it.

    Once we are engaged in monitoring the system we DO NOT ALLOW ANY
    modification to the system either physically or programming by the client.
    If we should part ways...then we return the system programmatically to allow
    the client to **** it up any way they please.



    --
    **Crash Gordon**






    |
    | > Most professional monitoring stations will not
    | > accept "DIY" clientelle because of the obvious risk inherent in having
    | > someone that's not been properly trained "fat fingering" their alarm.
    |
    | Hmmm, so what does that same "no-DIYs-here" monitor do when a client
    appears
    | who either wants to transfer from another service or has bought a house
    with
    | an existing installation? Does he
    |
    | 1) respond with "not interested"
    | 2) inspect the installation for conformance to his standards
    | 3) assume that the installation is acceptable
    |
    | It would seem #1 and #3 would be not in the monitor's best business
    | interest. OTOH, if he chooses #2, why would that not work for a DIY
    | installation?
    | The worst that can happen is that he says "oh crap, another fat fingerer"
    | and reverts to #1.
    |
    | BTW, I'm not trying to be argumentative here (or trollish). But the
    | post-construction installations (ones with smoke detectors) that I have
    seen
    | in our neighborhood don't come anywhere near meeting current building
    codes
    | (not that they are required to do so), so I am suspicious about what I
    would
    | be told I "needed" from my local vendor.
    |
    | Also, if I am being sold a system, I would like to be able to enhance it
    | with standard accessories in the future. I shouldn't think this would
    make
    | it a DIY installation (or am I wrong)?
    |
    | TIA
    |
    |
    |
    |
    | --
    | ...The Bit Eimer NAR 84054 L2
    | "My goal in life is to be the kind of person my cat thinks he is"
    | [remove keinewurst and reverse letters in domain to email me]
    | --------------------------------------------------------------
    |
    |
     
  7. Frank Olson

    Frank Olson Guest


    Sounds about right. One thing I would add. The "standards" includes
    things like end-of-line supervision relays for four wire smokes. You
    have no idea how many installations I've see where these have not been
    installed (either from pure laziness or lack of knowledge - you pick).
    In most instances, take-overs are a nightmare because once you find one
    thing "wonky", invariably another will become obvious as well. Trying
    to explain to the client (diplomatically) that the last alarm company's
    installers were "idiots" is pretty difficult. Often times the client
    has chosen the installing company. "I'm afraid you were stupid, Mr.
    Customer, in choosing these idiots to install your alarm."
     
  8. bit eimer

    bit eimer Guest

    Well that sounds fair enough - especially the last sentence. :^)

    I assume that same process would apply even to DIYs? (perhaps on the
    condition you have a good "feeling" about the guy's competence on the phone
    before-hand)

    TIA

    --
    ....The Bit Eimer NAR 84054 L2
    "My goal in life is to be the kind of person my cat thinks he is"
    [remove keinewurst and reverse letters in domain to email me]
    --------------------------------------------------------------


     
  9. Frank Olson

    Frank Olson Guest

    We've never provided "straight monitoring service" to any client. There
    is always a full service contract in place and the system must meet our
    installation standards. It's one of the reasons I don't believe
    companies like 911 or NextAlarm (monitoring agencies that will never
    actually *see* your system) can offer the highest level of security (or
    service). The relationship between an end-user and a monitoring centre
    should always include a professional (licensed) service agency to ensure
    the level of service to both the central station and the customer is the
    best it can be. You get what you pay for. You'll find that some online
    stores are willing to issue "insurance certificates" based on the fact
    that you've "paid" for the monitoring service they "recommend". They
    have NO IDEA that the system is even properly installed (you could just
    as easily set it up on your workbench).

    Didn't think you were being either.

    We would never tell you you "needed" something unless it was an
    end-of-line supervision relay for your monitored smoke detectors, an
    additional power supply (because the Nimrod installer didn't know how to
    calculate the current requirements) or a larger transformer/battery. If
    you opted *NOT* to have what we recommended installed, we would simply
    "walk away". We're in a position to be just as "choosey" as our
    customers are. :)

    When we're called in to pre-wire a home, it's pre-wired for a complete
    perimeter system. This gives the client the option to upgrade their
    system as their budget allows (and with no pressure to do so). When you
    properly explain the differences between the two systems, most
    homeowners will opt for the best. It's surprising how quickly our
    customers come up with the extra cash. :)

    http://www.yoursecuritysource.com/alarmoverviewfaq.htm
     
  10. Crash Gordon

    Crash Gordon Guest

    I'm only diplomatic if I knew the last company :)

    --
    **Crash Gordon**






    | Crash Gordon wrote:
    | > Here's what we would do:
    | >
    | > Inform the client that we "may" be interested in monitoring/servicing
    their
    | > account based upon our inspection of the system. That there is a $xx.xx
    p/hr
    | > to inspect the system and that a portion of the fee may be waived if we
    | > decide to do business with them (or vice versa).
    | >
    | > If they agree then we inspect the system and give them a proposal to
    bring
    | > the system up to our standards if need be - most of the time this is no
    big
    | > deal.
    | >
    | > Once in a while we the system is such crap that we walk away from it.
    | >
    | > Once we are engaged in monitoring the system we DO NOT ALLOW ANY
    | > modification to the system either physically or programming by the
    client.
    | > If we should part ways...then we return the system programmatically to
    allow
    | > the client to **** it up any way they please.
    |
    |
    | Sounds about right. One thing I would add. The "standards" includes
    | things like end-of-line supervision relays for four wire smokes. You
    | have no idea how many installations I've see where these have not been
    | installed (either from pure laziness or lack of knowledge - you pick).
    | In most instances, take-overs are a nightmare because once you find one
    | thing "wonky", invariably another will become obvious as well. Trying
    | to explain to the client (diplomatically) that the last alarm company's
    | installers were "idiots" is pretty difficult. Often times the client
    | has chosen the installing company. "I'm afraid you were stupid, Mr.
    | Customer, in choosing these idiots to install your alarm."
     
  11. Crash Gordon

    Crash Gordon Guest

    Yes I take on DIYers accounts, but to be honest they are usually ones that I
    usually helped along throughout the entire design/installation process.

    I don't EVER takeover accounts that have equipment that I hate to work with;
    I'll recommend replacement if it's justified or recommend another alarmco
    and say goodbye. I'm going to one this afternoon, it has a panel that's 8
    yrs old, another highly reputable local alarmco has been there already and
    are perplexed and have walked on it. I don't like the panel that's there and
    we already know it's old, there's a problem on the fire circuit, it's
    probably locked and the home has been remodeled and partially rewired by the
    dreaded electrician. I already *know* this will be a be a replacement &
    remodel of the system.


    --
    **Crash Gordon**






    | Well that sounds fair enough - especially the last sentence. :^)
    |
    | I assume that same process would apply even to DIYs? (perhaps on the
    | condition you have a good "feeling" about the guy's competence on the
    phone
    | before-hand)
    |
    | TIA
    |
    | --
    | ...The Bit Eimer NAR 84054 L2
    | "My goal in life is to be the kind of person my cat thinks he is"
    | [remove keinewurst and reverse letters in domain to email me]
    | --------------------------------------------------------------
    |
    |
    | | > Here's what we would do:
    | >
    | > Inform the client that we "may" be interested in monitoring/servicing
    | > their
    | > account based upon our inspection of the system. That there is a $xx.xx
    | > p/hr
    | > to inspect the system and that a portion of the fee may be waived if we
    | > decide to do business with them (or vice versa).
    | >
    | > If they agree then we inspect the system and give them a proposal to
    bring
    | > the system up to our standards if need be - most of the time this is no
    | > big
    | > deal.
    | >
    | > Once in a while we the system is such crap that we walk away from it.
    | >
    | > Once we are engaged in monitoring the system we DO NOT ALLOW ANY
    | > modification to the system either physically or programming by the
    client.
    | > If we should part ways...then we return the system programmatically to
    | > allow
    | > the client to **** it up any way they please.
    | >
    | >
    | >
    | > --
    | > **Crash Gordon**
    | >
    | >
    | >
    | >
    | >
    | >
    | > | > |
    | > | > Most professional monitoring stations will not
    | > | > accept "DIY" clientelle because of the obvious risk inherent in
    having
    | > | > someone that's not been properly trained "fat fingering" their
    alarm.
    | > |
    | > | Hmmm, so what does that same "no-DIYs-here" monitor do when a client
    | > appears
    | > | who either wants to transfer from another service or has bought a
    house
    | > with
    | > | an existing installation? Does he
    | > |
    | > | 1) respond with "not interested"
    | > | 2) inspect the installation for conformance to his standards
    | > | 3) assume that the installation is acceptable
    | > |
    | > | It would seem #1 and #3 would be not in the monitor's best business
    | > | interest. OTOH, if he chooses #2, why would that not work for a DIY
    | > | installation?
    | > | The worst that can happen is that he says "oh crap, another fat
    | > fingerer"
    | > | and reverts to #1.
    | > |
    | > | BTW, I'm not trying to be argumentative here (or trollish). But the
    | > | post-construction installations (ones with smoke detectors) that I
    have
    | > seen
    | > | in our neighborhood don't come anywhere near meeting current building
    | > codes
    | > | (not that they are required to do so), so I am suspicious about what I
    | > would
    | > | be told I "needed" from my local vendor.
    | > |
    | > | Also, if I am being sold a system, I would like to be able to enhance
    it
    | > | with standard accessories in the future. I shouldn't think this would
    | > make
    | > | it a DIY installation (or am I wrong)?
    | > |
    | > | TIA
    | > |
    | > |
    | > |
    | > |
    | > | --
    | > | ...The Bit Eimer NAR 84054 L2
    | > | "My goal in life is to be the kind of person my cat thinks he is"
    | > | [remove keinewurst and reverse letters in domain to email me]
    | > | --------------------------------------------------------------
    | > |
    | > |
    | >
    | >
    |
    |
     
  12. bit eimer

    bit eimer Guest

    Crash:
    Oh Crash, what an excellent segue for my next query.

    I have 18 2-wire homeruns covering all doors and windows plus 2 overhead
    garage doors. Concealed mag/reed contacts on the doors, non-concealed
    mag/reed contacts on the windows, floor-mounted Amseco sensors on the garage
    doors.

    Also have 7 4-wire homeruns to various keypad-height locations around the
    house.

    Am considering the following as a startup system:
    Vista-20P panel
    6160RF keypad

    Future upgrades possible:
    - up to 10 2-wire smokes (2W-B or 528BXT?)
    - 7845i-GSM
    - 2x keyfobs; 5804E?
    - 7x rf GBD; 5853?
    - CO sensor; suggestions??
    - rf motion sensors; 5890PI
    - 3x rf flood sensors; suggestions??

    So, is this type of equipment generally acceptable (assuming correct
    installation)?

    Oh, and here's an off-the-wall question: I have a sauna that cycles between
    85 and 100 deg C (185 to 210 deg F) when operating. Two or three times, the
    controlling thermostat has "stuck" and the sauna heated up to around 105C
    before it finally tripped. Of course, there's a backup thermal cutout on
    the heater, but I would be more comfortable if I had a wireless temp sensor
    that would trigger at 105C (220F). Is there anything available for which I
    could "dial in" the trip temp (and would withstand these high-temp
    conditions)?

    TIA
     
  13. Moose panel....

     
  14. alarman

    alarman Guest

    2nd best.
    js
     
  15. Crash Gordon

    Crash Gordon Guest

    A lot to put on a 20P (I hate zone doubling so I wouldn't use this panel if
    I were selling this system).

    You would put the temp sensor outside the sauna with a probe through the
    wall...that kind of heat/moisture would destroy a transmitter the first time
    out.
    Winland makes a programmable temp sensor hi/lo or old mechanical kind...not
    sure if it goes that high temp <--this is wired sensor & power 4 cond...or
    better yet 6.



    --
    **Crash Gordon**






    | Crash:
    | > I don't EVER takeover accounts that have equipment that I hate to work
    | > with;
    |
    | Oh Crash, what an excellent segue for my next query.
    |
    | I have 18 2-wire homeruns covering all doors and windows plus 2 overhead
    | garage doors. Concealed mag/reed contacts on the doors, non-concealed
    | mag/reed contacts on the windows, floor-mounted Amseco sensors on the
    garage
    | doors.
    |
    | Also have 7 4-wire homeruns to various keypad-height locations around the
    | house.
    |
    | Am considering the following as a startup system:
    | Vista-20P panel
    | 6160RF keypad
    |
    | Future upgrades possible:
    | - up to 10 2-wire smokes (2W-B or 528BXT?)
    | - 7845i-GSM
    | - 2x keyfobs; 5804E?
    | - 7x rf GBD; 5853?
    | - CO sensor; suggestions??
    | - rf motion sensors; 5890PI
    | - 3x rf flood sensors; suggestions??
    |
    | So, is this type of equipment generally acceptable (assuming correct
    | installation)?
    |
    | Oh, and here's an off-the-wall question: I have a sauna that cycles
    between
    | 85 and 100 deg C (185 to 210 deg F) when operating. Two or three times,
    the
    | controlling thermostat has "stuck" and the sauna heated up to around 105C
    | before it finally tripped. Of course, there's a backup thermal cutout on
    | the heater, but I would be more comfortable if I had a wireless temp
    sensor
    | that would trigger at 105C (220F). Is there anything available for which
    I
    | could "dial in" the trip temp (and would withstand these high-temp
    | conditions)?
    |
    | TIA
    |
    | --
    | ...The Bit Eimer NAR 84054 L2
    | "My goal in life is to be the kind of person my cat thinks he is"
    | [remove keinewurst and reverse letters in domain to email me]
    | --------------------------------------------------------------
    |
    |
     
  16. G. Morgan

    G. Morgan Guest

    They have expanders ya know.
     
  17. bit eimer

    bit eimer Guest

    Yes, I was planning to use the wired expander modules, not doubling.

    Are there "issues" with the 20P?
     
  18. G. Morgan

    G. Morgan Guest

    It is a great panel, I use them almost exclusively.

    Your list of devices:
    6160RF keypad
    Future upgrades possible:
    - up to 10 2-wire smokes (2W-B or 528BXT?)
    - 7845i-GSM
    - 2x keyfobs; 5804E?
    - 7x rf GBD; 5853?
    - CO sensor; suggestions??
    - rf motion sensors; 5890PI
    - 3x rf flood sensors; suggestions??

    Is going to be too much for the built-in power supply to handle, so you'll need
    to get an auxiliary p/s to handle all those devices (anytime you add cell backup
    to a v-20p you need aux-power).

    For the flood sensors I'd use wired Winland Waterbugs if you can get a wire
    there*. 528B series are great smokes. 5804 are versatile fobs. 5853 audio's
    work well. 5890PI PIR's offer good catch and false alarm immunity but do not
    use them in areas where pets are present, despite the PI designation.

    *For the sauna temp monitoring AND (3)flood sensors you can use one unit, the
    EnviroAlert® Four Zone Digital Environmental Monitoring Alarm EA40012 from
    Winland. Purchase the (3) waterbug sensors PN(M-001-0006) and the SS High Temp
    Thermistor Probe (32 to 299° F) PN(M-001-0081). You can locate the EnviroAlert
    anywhere and run your sensor wires to it, and have a 12v power source there too.
    Then if need be use wireless 5802 x-mitters to monitor on the V-20p.

    http://www.winland.com/EA400.htm
     
  19. G. Morgan

    G. Morgan Guest


    Make that the waterproof one:

    M-001-0087 Waterproof High Temp Thermistor Probe (32 to 299° F)
     
  20. alarman

    alarman Guest

    Which reminds me...not too long ago you could buy 22/6, and even 22/8,
    22/10, and 22/12 off the shelf. Now the counter geeks give me a blank stare
    when I ask for it. They don't carry it any more. They just say, "Oh, just
    pull 2 22/4's." Well, duh. I want the multi cables though. I like them for
    keypads and motions.
    WTF?
    js
     
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