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Thread: false alarms

  1. #1
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    false alarms

    So i decided to upgrade my alarm system... separate my garage and outbuilding ...got a quote from an alarm company ...for just under R 20 000 for a keypad ...an expander and a couple of PIR sensors ... i could rewire my whole house for that amount of money ( not really).. i decided to go do a basic and advanced training course on how to do it myself... so far it has cost me R4000 in total for the latest top of the range modern system which even allows me to control my wifes hair iron which she forgets to switch off... from anywhere in the world ... so long as there is sun to charge the batteries or the the power hasnt been off longer than 3 days or telkom line hasnt been stolen again or the LTE sim dongle isnt connecting ...you get the idea.


    Back in the day... alarm systems came free with the armed response (thats what they advertised) it was included in your monthly contract... nothing is free in this life ...they would fix and maintain it for "free" ...unfortunately this is no longer the case ...i have customers who have paid in excess of R30 000 for an alarm system to be fitted and a monthly fee which grows annually to a point ...that unless you approach the company will just keep growing... until you notice specials running for R350 and realise you are up to the R900 per month mark because you have just been paying by debt order worry free... mine has just been reduced back to R380 per month.

    False alarms... something that is more common than hijacking... house invasion.. and murder all put together... it is one of the most complained about topics with regards to alarms systems... in fact to a point that i have customers who have just given up and switched the system off.

    Which takes me back to all my issues and how the technicians tackle the issues... i am yet to see a technician run a "soak test" ... do a wire resistance test... never mind pull out a laptop and link a serial cable to the main board to download and view the event log ... it more like a doctors visit ...take this and if it doesnt work we will bill you for another visit and try something else...eventually we will find the problem and still send you the bill.

    Something else i hear often... we will get the office to update the system.. due to the lack of experience or knowledge of what is becoming more technical advanced system ...which requires the technician to sit in training for at least half the course ... where you cant just rely on a default setting. ...sometime we find simple issues like a PIR which requires being changed to entry /exit or follower zones for example where something (a wall) has been moved and now the PIR detects movement when the away alarm is set on the keypad.

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    Interesting... i see there is an association which regulates and manages the standards ...SAIDSA ...i am going to stop right here... before i get myself into trouble again

    For those who are not aware ...a company which performs any type of installation ...maintenance or response etc (bylaw 25)...must be registered with SAIDSA ...if not your insurance claim could be rejected (another excuse for insurances to get out of paying claims )
    Last edited by ians; 12-Sep-19 at 06:47 AM.

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    Diamond Member adrianh's Avatar
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    Interesting. I had a new alarm fitted about a moth ago. We have 9 cats and the cats trip al the PIRs. I looked the manufacturer up and it seems that they supply different PIRs for houses that have animals. The PIR is not supposed to be triggered by a 23kgdog. I looked at my sensors but there is no way to tell which model was fitted by looking at the casing (they all look the same) I asked the installer to come sort it out but they are missing in action. I also hate the keypad - we now live in a world of touch screens and there should be no need to program an alarm with beeps and bleeps and flashing leds.

    Don't get me started on technicians - so called car mechanics, laser technicians, cnc technicians ... you name it - there are very very very few who actually know what they are doing. I had a "refrigeration technician" come look at my fridge one day. He cut the compressor pipe and let all the refrigerant out to see whether the refrigerant had leaked out. After her refilled it he started opening up the wiring junction box and then asked me if I had a pice of flex and a plug. I asked him what for - he said that he was going to wire the compressor up and plug it it to see if it works. I decided at that point to ask him to put everything back as he found it and to hit the road. They guy didn't have a voltmeter (I don't think he actually what it is) - he didn't test the thermostat or anything - just started destroying stuff.

    I have a 1300 B3 Ford Laser that nobody seems to be able to fix either. It spent months at Motolek and they can't get it working. A couple of people have looked at it and nobody seems to know whats wrong with it. The car doesn't want to start - we changed the distributor, plug leads, plugs and even removed the immobilizer relay. I can't find the original transformer coil and a bottle coil doesn't work. Motolek said that if they pulse the coil then it runs. I think that it must be a faulty crank position sensor. My Clio does the same thing when the crank sensor gets dirty but nobody has been able to confirm this and I can't work out if the car has a hall effect crank position sensor and where it is located.

    Anyhow - I long for the days when you could take your device to the technician down the road and he not only knew what he was doing he also loved his work. Today everybody grudgingly do as little as they can get away with....
    “The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe.
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    Diamond Member Justloadit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by adrianh View Post
    I also hate the keypad - we now live in a world of touch screens and there should be no need to program an alarm with beeps and bleeps and flashing leds.
    I think you are being overly optimistic here , would they be able to understand the screen prompts?

    The problem with touch screens is the cost. Still not low enough for general purpose use.
    Don't confuse cell phone screens (billions sold) to industrial equipment, they do not fit the same environment.
    Also the companies are making big fat profits on the equipment they sell, adding a touch screen would reduce the sales due to the high end price.
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    Quote Originally Posted by adrianh View Post

    Anyhow - I long for the days when you could take your device to the technician down the road and he not only knew what he was doing he also loved his work. Today everybody grudgingly do as little as they can get away with....
    edited...



    Fortunately i have one of those technician who lives down the road ...he is an elderly fella and knows everything about everything... from fixing his car to repairing sensors on his gate and lots in between...in fact we are busy looking into a few problems at the moment where an insurance company has rejected a claim for a power surge ...blown crap out of everything...small print on both properties dont include power surges only lightning (it doent surprise me ...we talking about insurance companies who pay more money to claim assessors than they do in claims) something i have learnt ...take note ...an assessor is sent to find an excuse to get out of paying the claim...beware of what you say to them...they record what you say and anyone else in the area at the time... you will notice they take pics of the stuff and collect telephone numbers of others around and will use it against you
    Last edited by ians; 12-Sep-19 at 08:16 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Justloadit View Post
    I think you are being overly optimistic here , would they be able to understand the screen prompts?

    The problem with touch screens is the cost. Still not low enough for general purpose use.
    Don't confuse cell phone screens (billions sold) to industrial equipment, they do not fit the same environment.
    Also the companies are making big fat profits on the equipment they sell, adding a touch screen would reduce the sales due to the high end price.
    R900 gets you a network module which connects to an app which allows you to control your alarm system from your smart phone tablet etc (touchscreen) ...you could mount a tablet against the wall and link it to your network.

    The new remote access and ease of use comes with price ...so you can arm and disarm ...trigger gates ...security lights ...even switch your pool pump on and off from your alarm system...just make sure the firmware is suitable (especially if using and old tablet)

    however TAKE NOTE THIS IS VERY VERY IMPORTANT ...it also comes with the ability to bypass zones...so you sleeping and have your stay arm on ...the cat jumps into the garage and sets off the PIR ...not problem you pick up your phone open the app ...see zone 3 has been violated ...you bypass it reset your alarm and go back to bed... your garage is cleaned out ...your vehicle broken into...bicycles stolen off the wall etc etc ...no problem you have insurance ... the insurance company send the assessor who requests the event log from your response company... sorry for you mate.

    You away on holiday ...2 days into your holiday ...you get a call from the armed response company...they check...all clear ...an hour later ...again they check...all clear...and so it goes on ...you have a smart app the armed response company was so proud to offer you as part of a deal...you go onto the app ...bypass the zone ...get home after your enjoyable holiday... your safe have been removed ...the house has been robbed ...no problem you are insured... assessor requests your event log... oooops.

    We went on holiday ... i got the insurance company to send someone around (you pay them to every month for the service use it) to go through my house and advise me of anything that might be wrong ...ie alarm system type ...armed response company (we even tested the system to make sure the response company sent a vehicle and found my house)...security gate type and location...locks on the doors ...you name it we went through everything... i had to make a few adjustments...and notes ...for example where there are no secuirty gates the alarm had to have door magnets and PIRs. and armed.

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    Make sure you get a copy of the commissioning sheet (like a coc) from the alarm installer ...with all the details about your alarm... right down to the volt drop check at each device ...cable resistance tests... they should be verifying your system is installed correctly and all the tests have been carried out

    if you own the system and it is not on loan from the alarm company ...you can request every detail about the alarm ...including the installer code and download code.

    if you have a false alarm issue ...make sure they link the alarm to a laptop via a serial cable (if a serial plug is available ...most new system do) ...and check the system is functioning correctly... check that the technician has done a soak test to prevent future false alarms ...make sure they test the cabling etc etc.

    make sure the technician/ company is registered.

    Hopefully a person who is experienced in this field can correct me and steer us in the right direction if any statements i have made are false or misleading.

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    Like in the electrical industry ...there are a few requirements which allow you to register and work in the industry.

    As an individual you have to do a 5 days course (R 400 ) with an accredited company ...once you have pasted the course you then become a grade E technician ...which allows you to work in the security industry (cctv and alarm installations etc) ... so all the hours and days ...wasted doing IDS basic and advanced courses mean nothing other than that i have a certificate that acknowledges that i have completed and courses and passed the exams (they require an 80 % pass rate)

    Once you have completed this course you... then have to register with PSiRA (R 220 once off)

    If you decide to register a company ...you have to get a grade B and pay PSiRA (R 6250.00 registration and R310 P/A )

    I almost forgot ...then as a company you can register with SAIDSA which is there to protect you ...they are like the ECA for the electrical contractors.

    Lets look at this as a customer ...each business must be registered:

    The electrician

    The electric fence installer

    The CCTV installer

    The gas installer

    The alarm installer

    The plumber

    The fibre line installer

    The network installer

    Have i missed anyone?

    So there is hope for the customer enforcing all these rule and regulations.
    Last edited by ians; 12-Sep-19 at 02:43 PM.

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    Diamond Member adrianh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Justloadit View Post
    I think you are being overly optimistic here , would they be able to understand the screen prompts?

    The problem with touch screens is the cost. Still not low enough for general purpose use.
    Don't confuse cell phone screens (billions sold) to industrial equipment, they do not fit the same environment.
    Also the companies are making big fat profits on the equipment they sell, adding a touch screen would reduce the sales due to the high end price.
    Yes I suppose you're right. Maybe I just get annoyed because I have to deal with another manual filled with codes and nonsense when I want to perform basic tasks. I'm getting to old to study badly written manuals - I want to have simple interfaces, touch, go and forget :-) (I conned my wife into learning all the appliances with that one - I "could never" work out how to operate the washing machine or the stove...)
    “The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe.
    If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened.
    But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.”

    ― Friedrich Nietzsche

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    As I scratch in this rats nest...

    A few this which stand out.

    panic buttons connected to remotes... from the few event logs downloaded from alarms system in the past 2 weeks the panic is the most frequent false alarm ...my advice remove the dedicated panic button and rather setup the panic button to be any one of the buttons on the remote held in for longer than 3 seconds.

    beams are next in line as the most frequent false alarm... make sure you dont have all the beams on one zone ...make sure the correct cables a re selected... the volt drop is checked and the cable resistance...if you have cats ...suck it up cup cake ...you gona have to grin and bear the false alarms... or instead of arming the beams to set off the siren... rather set a chime to notify you with a delay to activate the siren.

    i am gona test the ipad/tablet idea (my phone is already setup)... gona download the app to an old tablet (make sure the app supports the tablet software version) mount it the wall somewhere convenient... my alarm system is already setup to control my lights (instead of occupation sensors) ...open my gate...garage doors etc... switch on security lights around the property.

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