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Security Alarm Systems FAQ's

Frequently Asked Questions for Alarm Systems.

What is a Control Panel?
Home Alarm Systems

A Control Panel is the brains of the security system. It controls the actions of your detection devices and stores the user codes. The Control Panel is to be located within the armed area of the house. Typically all wiring for the house will come back to the control panel and connect into the system.

Which Control Panel is right for me?

Generally the selection of the control panel is in line with the Budget and Size of the premises to be protected.
Typically most domestic system will have standard 8 Input connections for PIRs and Reed Switches. Depending on the type this number can be doubled by the use of resistors and wiring. Each alarm system has its limitations on how many inputs can be connected, if they exceed the onboard capacities then expansion panels can be added to the system to increase the inputs and outputs.

Various sensors connect to the control panel from locations throughout your home. If your security system is armed and the sensors detect a problem, they send signals to the control panel. The control panel automatically dials the central monitoring station or your mobile, where the proper authorities are notified.
In some systems like the Bosch 3000 and 6000 it can also send an SMS to your mobile with text information on what is happening on your system.

You operate your security system by entering your security code at the keypad. Generally located at entry doors, keypads can arm and disarm with push-button ease, and literally put security at your family’s fingertips! Good features to look for include illuminated keys to provide you with greater visibility at nighttime, easy-to-read English displays that spell out your system’s status at a glance, and one-touch function keys that provide single-button operation for arming, disarming or emergencies.
Keypads are also capable of displaying the time, temperature, conditions of the system and some systems like the Bosch Range can have built in Proximity readers which can be used to arm/disarm the system via a token. Keypads are not interchangeable via manufacturers as they rely on sending information to the control panel via an encrypted proprietary path.

What are Magnetic Contacts

Magnetic contacts are two-part devices used to safeguard windows and doors. One part of the contact is a switch installed in the window or door jam; the other contains a magnet and is placed in the window or door itself. Any noticeable shift in contact with the switch results in an alarm. Reed Switches as they are often called can be either recessed or flush mounted.
A Reed Switch is an expensive addition to an established house as cabling to windows and doors is labour intensive and difficult.

A passive infrared motion detector (PIR) is an electronic security device that detects intruders by "sensing" motion or body heat in the area being protected. Most PIRs are designed to be used when your family is away from home or when no one will be passing through the area "covered" by the PIR.

The term Dual Tech is short for Dual Technology, It uses a combination of both Passive Infra Red along with Microwave to trigger an alarm. Typically Dual Tech sensors have lower false alarms as they require both movement and heat in order to trigger the sensor to go into alarm.

The term Tri Tech is short for Tri Technology. It uses a combination of Passive Infrared, Microwave and advanced signal processing to trigger an alarm. Typically Tri Tech sensors are used to cover larger areas and for harsher environments.

Recent innovations in security technology have resulted in the creation of "pet immune" motion detectors-allowing dog and cat lovers to enjoy the same level of protection they would receive with a standard PIR. These state-of-the-art sensors provide "pet immunity" for animals weighing up to 100 lbs. Pet immune PIRs allow your pet to move about freely but can still detect an intruder’s movement. 

A PE beam is a Photo Electric
Photo electric beam sensors transmit a beam of infrared light to a remote receiver creating an “electronic fence”. These sensors are often used to “cover” openings such as doorways or hallways, acting essentially as a trip wire. Once the beam is broken/interrupted, an alarm signal is generated. PE Beams typically have both a transmit and receive unit wired back to the alarm.

"Acoustic" glass break sensors, usually mounted on ceilings or walls, work by "listening" for the sound of breaking glass in a window. "Shock" glass break detectors are mounted on the window and "feel" the shock of breaking glass. This kind of advanced wireless technology can provide shatter and shock protection for your windows, for often intruders are "sensed" and an alarm sounded while they are still outdoors. This is often enough to send a burglar running!

What is a Duress Button?

A duress button is used to trigger either silent or sirens when pressed to alert authorities, neighbours or family members that the person who pressed it is in trouble or fear of their life.
Duress buttons are typically installed in a discrete location out of the way of children and in an accessible location.

Since you own a smoke detector, you obviously realize what an important safety measure this device is. That’s good. Smoke detectors are highly effective in preventing loss of life and property. However, there are differences between the "stand alone" or battery-operated smoke detector you would buy at your local hardware store and one installed as part of your home security system.

"Stand alone" detectors are not connected to other detectors or warning devices. A smoke detector connected to your security system offers more protection because it is monitored by a central station. If fire strikes, the detector sets off an alarm and sends a signal to the control panel. The control panel dials the central station, where the operator notifies the fire department. Only central station monitored smoke detectors provide automatic notification of authorities when you or your family are asleep, not at home or unable to get to the phone.
What is wireless Security Devices, Do they really work well, and are they easy to use?

Yes on both counts! Technological breakthroughs have led to the development of wireless electronic security products, and their effectiveness has been proven time and again over the years in millions of installations. Their rock-solid stability and long battery life make them a popular choice among homeowners and dealers alike. They give installers the flexibility they need to overcome obstacles like brick walls, cement floors and cathedral ceilings; and no drilling holes preserves the beauty of your home and results in cleaner, faster installations.
Folks today enjoy the convenience of remote control devices, and the security industry has responded! User-friendly wireless products provide the dual benefits of superior performance and ease of operation. Wireless keypads allow you to activate and de-activate your security system with the touch of a button, and can even be programmed so that a young child can operate it with ease.
Homeowners especially love wireless keys! Similar in size to a remote car alarm key, they fit right on your keychain, and the press of a single button lets you control your system, lights and appliances-eliminating the need for codes. This is especially great if you and your family enjoy spending time outdoors. Relax by the pool, garden, barbecue and entertain, or play with your kids in the backyard-enjoy extra mobility without compromising your safety!

The down side is wireless detection uses batteries and these will need to be changed every 12 Months or when they run flat.

What is Access Control?

Access Control is the ability to permit or deny the use of a particular resource by a particular entity. Access control mechanisms can be used in managing physical resources logical resources or digital resources. Electronic Security within an access control system which concerns the managing of possession and location of small assets or physical (mechanical) keys. Access Control Systems are typically scalable to suit the amount of doors. Access Control Systems can also be tied in with the building security system making a total security solution.
What is Biometrics?

Generally, the study of measurable biological characteristics. In computer security, biometrics refers to authentication techniques that rely on measurable physical characteristics that can be automatically checked.

There are several types of biometric identification schemes:
  • face: the analysis of facial characteristics
  • fingerprint: the analysis of an individual’s unique fingerprints
  • hand geometry: the analysis of the shape of the hand and the length of the fingers
  • retina: the analysis of the capillary vessels located at the back of the eye
  • iris: the analysis of the colored ring that surrounds the eye’s pupil
  • signature: the analysis of the way a person signs his name.
  • voice: the analysis of the tone, pitch, cadence and frequency of a person’s voice.
Though the field is still in its infancy, many people believe that biometrics will play a critical role in future computers, and especially in electronic commerce.

Currently the most common form of Biometrics is Finger Scanner. The most common one we work with is the Biolock from BRS Systems which can work in both network and stand alone mode.

What is a proximity Reader?

A Proximity Reader allows you to present a Card or Token in proximity of the reading device. The Card or Token is read which sends a signal to the intrusion panel which checks the credentials and then disarms the system. If the prox reader is linked with an Electronic Strike then it can turn off the alarm and open the door at the same time.
What is an Electronic Strike?

An Electronic Strike replaces the catch in the door and wires to an access control system to the pickup power on the electronic strike. When a user at a card reader presents a valid card then the lock is sent power which opens the catch and allows a user to push the door open.

What is a Magnetic Lock?

A magnetic lock is typically placed above the door which holds the door shut in normal operation. When a user at a card reader presents a valid card then the locks power is taken away which opens the door and allows a user to push the door open.

A press to exit button as it suggests allow users to press a button which in turn sends a message to an Electronic Strike or Magnetic Lock telling it to open up.

A piezo siren is typically installed indoors in close proximity to the entry thus making it uncomfortable for the intruder via a loud unpleasant sound. A Piezo comes in two types a Surface mount (AKA Top Hat) and a Flushmount. Piezo sirens typically is around 110dB at 1m.

Battery backup is there for when your system looses the supply from the energy provider. The backup battery should last at minimum 3 hours realistically. Most manufacturers state that it will last 7.5 hours but that would be under no load or very little connections.

How often should I change the battery?

The standard AS2201.1 states that the battery should be changed at least once a year. If your panel doesn’t use the battery due to no power outages this is a good idea. If the battery is used more for prolonged periods than at the end of the event the battery should be changed.

Need an alarm service or looking to install contact CTC Communications 1300 552 282.


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