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Topic # 220149 27-Jul-2017 21:34
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So, this is a bit of a long story I'll try and shorten it. 


3 Weeks ago the battery on our home alarm failed. It has happened before and last time I paid someone to come and replace it. Google showed me it's a common battery and it was beeping all the time, so over the weekend I went and got another battery. 


After replacing the battery which was 3 years old and was told it should last 5-7, the alarm said the timer wasn't set. After spending a lot of time looking and discovering my alarm is a knock off Paradox/Espirit 728 though a series of calls to different people, I managed


to find manual and set about setting the time. The process wasn't identical to the manual and somewhere in the middle of setting the time, which I did get eventually, I have somehow set my alarm zone two, to always on and instantly trigger, so if we go in the garage even with the 


alarm not armed, the alarm goes off. We couldn't figure it out and covered the sensor till we found a solution. A call to Paradox and another alarm installer company lets us know it's a knock off, unlicensed, was last sold 3 years before we bought the house brand new and basically they won't touch it. The strong recommendation is replace it, with a cost of between $600-700 including installation. Our alarm is not monitored. We don't really use it, because we can't remotely disarm it from the car and it's a real hassle. 


We don't have a copper phone line. 


I know we can get an IP module, this is of course extra, also we can get key fobs, also extra, touch screen keypad, $100 more seems worth it, suddenly it's $1300. Seems crazy, but for us, no point in having a $600 alarm we won't arm, so probably worth considering. 


The we get to thinking.. If the alarm goes off, the IP module will alert our phones, however chances are we would take at least 20 minutes to get home, by which time any thief in his right mind is gone anyway. If they took more than $500 worth of stuff, which wouldn't be hard, it's an insurance job. Insurance company doesn't care if we have an alarm. 


So now I am faced with a Dilema; Do we get a new alarm with all the features we want, use it, knowing it's probably not going to stop a thief any-way, or do we just disable the alarm and not worry about spending anything, or do I take the risk of spending $150 for someone to come out to potentially turn off the 24 hour mode and have a functioning non serviceable 12-year-old alarm we don't really use except when on holiday, which isn't monitored.




Thoughts? Is a house alarm actually any use? Other than scaring off less experienced thieves. It's a loud alarm, but experienced thieves will be quick to start with and probably wear ear protection. Our neighbours probably wouldn't even look over the fence if the alarm was going off. 





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91 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 1832603 28-Jul-2017 06:45
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As an experienced Ex alarm technician, I would recommend just taking the battery out of the alarm and not use it if you aren't prepared to pay for a genuine alarm system.


Having the outside alarm box on the outside of the house is often enough to discourage opportunistic thieves from having a go at your house.


I never came across a fake alarm panel in my years, but I don't doubt they exist.


I have one of the Paradox systems in my house with all the bells and whistles you mention (and a few more) and it serves me well.
I also have CCTV that I can remotely access and check on my house and see if any alarms are actual ones or false alarms.
I even have it connected to my doorbell!

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  Reply # 1832626 28-Jul-2017 08:22
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have you looked at morepork?  it has a monthly cost of $30, but if you sign up for 12months you get the starter kit (which covers most of what you need if not everything) for free.


the app is pretty great.  the best feature is how it works with the yale zwave locks.  being able to turn the alarm off when entering a code in that is brilliant.


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Spark NZ

  Reply # 1832630 28-Jul-2017 08:39
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I have often thought about getting some sort of alarm, but I always come back to the same conclusions as the OP. They cost heaps, and have ongoing costs for monitoring and response. But if you self monitor, the chances of getting home before the burglars have fled is low, and even if I did catch them in the act, what am I going to do? Risk being stabbed or beaten to stop them leaving?


For these reasons I have gone down an alternate path. I have a camera on the front of my standalone garage at the rear of the property which catches the back yard, rear of the house and driveway, and another on the side of the house which catches more of the driveway, front door and gate. The PVR is in the garage which I think would be pretty hard to get into (good door, concrete block, no windows). It's a Swann package with motion detect and it seems to work pretty well. I could possibly set up the networking so that I can receive the motion detect alerts and view live footage on my phone, but the manual makes that look like such hard work that I have done nothing about it. I have stickers on most of my windows and doors courtesy of Swann which state that the property is electronically monitored.


I guess I am also lucky in that I have a couple of additional vehicles, so even when my girlfriend and I are both at work, there is always at least one car in the driveway. I switch the vehicle I take to work all the time depending on my mood, so if anyone was 'casing' my house, they would never have 100% certainty that A) there's no-one home, and B) that "that car must be a spare cos it's always there and never moves".


So I have a reasonably strong deterrent factor in the vehicles and CCTV cameras. While the picture quality is probably not good enough to actually identify the thieves, it would at least provide assurance to my insurance company as to the validity of any insurance claim.


While I could close and padlock my gate, I feel like that just advertises the fact that no-one's home, so I never close my gate, even when I am out of town.





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  Reply # 1832644 28-Jul-2017 09:15
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Neighbour has alarm system that has false alarmed so often that I don't think anybody pays it any attention now. He also has 4 cameras on his street level garage that initially clearly identified who was breaking into his trade vehicles. Recently all he got was proof the vehicle was broken into and what was taken. The guy must have worked out where the cameras were and turned his back to all of them.

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  Reply # 1832646 28-Jul-2017 09:17
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It's worth noting we also a have a German Shepherd. He's getting older though, so I wouldn't count on him being around much longer than 3-5 years and as much as we love him, we won't get another dog. 

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Master Geek
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  Reply # 1832668 28-Jul-2017 09:49
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I am not sure who your insurer is, but ours waives the excess if our alarm sounds when there is an actual break-in?


Which really means that the alarm is only to stop any intruders from spending too long in the house and destroying/defacing it. We have had one burglary and one attempted burglary. Both through old leadlight windows (apparently a favourite due to ease of entry). The first they were inside for 20 seconds, couldn't get out of the doors or windows due to deadbolts and so only grabbed a ps4 and few games. Only went into the lounge didn't check any bedrooms due to the noise and alarm going off.


The second they broke the other leadlight window next to the first (which is now plain glass) poked their head in - alarm started instantly and they left with nothing. Guards arrived as we were away on holiday and the guards patched up the window with cardboard and checked the area.


In each case the alarm stopped anyone from wanting to spend time searching around the house and defacing it. I have heard horror stories of houses being turned upside down after having hours to search/eat/drink.


I believe the reason they even chose our house was a combination of leadlight windows and that the alarm siren box is partially hidden so hard to know the house has an alarm (despite the stickers)



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  Reply # 1832678 28-Jul-2017 10:01
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We went through this recently following a burglary and went with a multi-zone alarm. 


The cop who came to the house to investigate the burglary thought the best defence is security lights (night-time), followed by an alarm.  It depends on your neighbourhood but in ours an alarm will definitely attract attention.


He didn't think much of security cameras as most burglars now wear gloves and cover their faces.


He gave a dogs mixed review, especially those left outside at night.


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  Reply # 1840294 6-Aug-2017 23:47
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In the end, we opted for the MG5050 with a touchscreen 5" pinpad, 2 remotes and the IP module. We are pretty happy with it overall. The touchscreen is nice, and the App is very slick and fast. It cost a lot, but I'd have to say on the balance I just couldn't get my head around no alarm, and didn't see the point without the IP module and Remotes. 





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  Reply # 1840308 7-Aug-2017 07:22
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Thoughts? Is a house alarm actually any use? Other than scaring off less experienced thieves. It's a loud alarm, but experienced thieves will be quick to start with and probably wear ear protection. Our neighbours probably wouldn't even look over the fence if the alarm was going off. 



I use a house alarm system at a house I only spend two days at every couple of weeks. It is connected to a Morepork account and I get notifications on my phonein seconds if anything is triggered. 

I have HD IP cameras inside and out. I wouldn't bother with the alarm at all without cameras. They let me see what's going on and if I need to I can call the police right then and there....and send them photos or video of what was happening as the system automatically records and saves if triggered. The system is on a UPS, so even if the mains go out for 24 hours, my alarm system and cameras and Internet mobile broadband router still have power. That has happened, by the way....and it works. 

I never thought of alarms as stopping thieves. For me it's about knowing a theft is underway and taking action....and having some images to pass to police or insurance company to aid in any investigation. 

I'm on a high fibre diet. 


High fibre diet

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