Case Study – Portable Alarm System

A client inquired about purchasing an alarm they could take to install themselves in their home in Mexico where they reside during the winter. On two previous occasions they had alarm systems installed at their home but the intense heat and humidity that the area experiences in the summer months caused the systems to fail within 2 to 3 years due to corrosion of the components. They decided they wanted an alarm that they could install for the 6 winter months, then remove and transport when they returned to Victoria each year (the alarm is to protect them, not their possessions).

There are a lot of “all-in-one” alarm systems on the market which might be thought of as ideal for any “portable” or “self-installed applications”. These systems are based on a design where the control panel, wireless receiver, alarm communicator and siren are all built into one unit which you typically install on the wall near your entry door. There are several flaws with this design but the most important factor is the significant reduction in security that occurs when you place the control panel so obviously in harms way. In many cases when an intruder enters and the alarm siren is activated they will leave immediately, but for those who don’t the first order of business is usually to destroy the keypad or the siren.  With an “all-in-one” system destroying the keypad or siren will effectively also destroy the control panel and alarm communicator thereby disabling the entire system. This is the reason that proper alarm system design dictates that the alarm control panel and communicator are independent of the siren and keypad and are placed in a more discreet and secure location.

There are additional weaknesses of all-in-one systems including the big, bulky keypad/control and the multiple wires that must be run to the keypad for power and telephone (or internet connections). The backup battery is often smaller (and more expensive) than standard alarm system batteries as it has to fit in the “keypad” housing. In most cases all-in-one systems also lack some of the features and expandability of standard alarm systems.

Our recommendation for the client was the DSC PC1616 alarm control panel with the WT5500 wireless keypad, WT4901 wireless siren and DSCs wireless sensor range which includes door and window switches, pet friendly motion sensors, glassbreak sensors, and more. We prepared the main panel with a plug-in power supply, and built-in jacks for telephone and internet connections. The main panel could then be installed in any location where power and communication connections were available. The keypad, siren and sensors being wireless and battery operated are easily be fixed to the walls with 2 screws. When the system needs to be moved the devices can quickly be unscrewed and stored, or installed in another location. The wireless sensors use standard off-the-shelf batteries operated that typically last 2 to 3 years and can easily be replaced.

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