Motion Detecting Sensors Posts

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Hi DIYers! As you know, you can't have a security system without some sensors! Of course, with all the possible sensor types it can be overwhelming to decide which ones you really need for your system. While nearly every sensor type serves a purpose, these are the 5 we deem most crucial.

Alarm grid inside security stickers

5. Glass Break Sensors

Glass break sensors are used to detect broken windows and other glass break events. These devices have built-in microphones, and they actively listen for the sound of breaking glass. Most glass break sensors utilize a dual-sound detection method. This means that the sensor must detect both the low-pitched thud of an object striking against the glass and the high-pitched shattering of the glass itself. This helps prevent false alarms. Glass break sensors are perfect for monitoring for forced entry into your home. You can even use a single glass break sensor to monitor multiple windows in the same room!

2gig gb1 wireless glass break detector

4. Environmental Sensors

Environmental sensors include devices like temperature sensors and flood sensors. These sensors monitor for unusual environmental conditions that likely indicate a problem. For example, a flood sensor will let your system know if there is a water leak that could lead to expensive water damage. Meanwhile, a temperature sensor will monitor for unusually high or low temperatures that indicate a broken HVAC system. There are also many environmental sensors that can perform dual functions and operate as both temperature and flood sensors.

Honeywell 5821 wireless temperature sensor and water sensor exte


3. Life-Safety Sensors

Life-safety sensors are used to monitor for life-threatening environmental conditions, such as a fire or an outbreak of carbon monoxide gas. These include devices like smoke and heat detectors and carbon monoxide sensors. There are also special combination CO and smoke detectors that can monitor for multiple types of life-safety conditions. Enrolling properly functioning life-safety sensors with your system can mean the difference between life and death. And for fires, you will be able to ensure a faster response if one occurs while you are away. These are a must-have for any system.

Honeywell 5800combo smoke heat and co detector

2. Motion Detection Sensors

Motion sensors are some of the most useful sensors you can add to your system. These devices alert the system upon detecting a change in infrared (IR) energy caused by movement. There are also some motion sensors that use microwave radar technology in addition to passive infrared (PIR). You can install motions inside your home as interior sensors to determine if anyone gains entry while you are away. They are perfect for detecting general activity and movement in areas where none should be present. There are even pet-immune motion sensors so that you won't need to worry about your pets setting them off. Just make sure you choose the installation area carefully.

Qolsys qs1231 840 iq motion s encrypted motion sensor

1. Door & Window Contacts

Door and window contacts are the easiest to use and most effective sensors for any alarm system. They are used for letting your system know if someone opens up a door or window. These sensors usually consist of two parts, which are a sensor and a magnet. The sensor goes on the door or window frame, and the magnet goes on the moving part of the door or window. Opening the door or window will cause the magnet to become separated from the sensor. The sensor will detect this and alert the system. There are also recessed door and window sensors that allow for a more aesthetically- pleasing installation!

Honeywell sixct wireless door slash window contact for lyric con

Remember, our goal at Alarm Grid is to set you up with the perfect security system for your needs. We also offer top-quality alarm monitoring services that are great for pairing with a new or existing alarm system. If you ever need help designing or using your security system, or if you want to learn more about our monitoring services, please reach out to us! We are best reached by email at support@alarmgrid.com. Or you may call us at (888) 818-7728 during our regular business hours of 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Hi DIYers! Today, we're giving a quick lesson on Response Types, also known as Sensor Groups. Every sensor used with your security system will have one. It is important that you get these settings correct so that your alarm system responds appropriately when a sensor is activated!

Honeywell sixct wireless door slash window contact for lyric con


Starting with the basics, the Response Type is the setting that tells the system how to respond when the sensor is activated or faulted. Most Honeywell and 2GIG Systems refer to this as a Response Type. Other systems like the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus refer to this setting as the Sensor Group. For the purpose of this post, we will generally use the terms interchangeably. Just know that when we are talking about Response Types, we also mean Sensor Groups.

When it comes to sensors for alarm systems, there are many types. Some common examples include door and window contacts, motion sensors, glass break sensors, shock sensors, smoke detectors, carbon monoxide sensors, panic buttons, medical alert buttons, temperature sensors, and flood sensors, just to name a few. As a result, there are many Response Types as well. What you use for one sensor type is likely very different from what you would use for another, though there is some overlap from time to time.

Now, we're not going to cover each and every Response Type and Sensor Group here today. But what we will do is cover some general rules for Response Types so that you know a little bit more about them. If you do want some more extensive knowledge on Response Types or Sensor Groups, check the programming manual for your panel. We also have the following FAQs that you may want to check out:

With that out of the way, let's take a look at some of the most basic and general Response Types you will encounter.

Entry/Exit: An Entry/Exit Zone is used for coming and going. This is almost always going to be a door that you use to enter and/or exit your home or business. When this zone is faulted while the system is Armed Away or Armed Stay, you will need to Disarm your system within a preset Entry Delay period, or else an alarm will occur. Additionally, if your system has Auto-Stay Arming enabled, then you will need to fault an Entry/Exit Zone during the Exit Delay countdown when Arming Away, or else the system will revert to Armed Stay instead.

  • Common Sensor Types: Door and Window Sensors for Entering/Exiting the Building

Interior: An Interior Zone refers to a sensor that can trigger an alarm while the system is Armed Away, but not while the system is Armed Stay. The idea here is that when your system is Armed Away, there should be nobody inside the building, and faulting an Interior Zone would mean there is a security breach. But when the system is Armed Stay, there is still someone inside the building, and you want them to be able to move around freely. A very common sub-type of an Interior Zone is an Interior Follower Zone. The "follower" portion of the name refers to the fact that the zone will not cause an alarm if the sensor is after (e.g. it follows) an Entry/Exit Zone. The reasoning is that you may need to fault an Interior Zone to get to your system and Disarm after faulting an Entry/Exit Zone.

  • Common Sensor Types: Interior Motion Sensors, Interior Door and Window Sensors

Perimeter: A Perimeter Zone is a very secure sensor. If a Perimeter Zone is faulted while the system is Armed Away or Armed Stay, then an alarm will occur immediately. You should only assign a Perimeter Zone to a sensor that should absolutely never be faulted while the system is Armed. Perimeter Zones are commonly used for Window Sensors (unless you like to climb in through the window!), as well as Glass Break Sensors and Shock Sensors that indicate forced entry into the building. Some panels also have a similar Response Type called Day/Night. This Response Type is the same as Perimeter, except that a Day/Night Zone will also trigger a Trouble condition if the sensor is faulted while the system is Disarmed.

  • Common Sensor Types: Window Sensors, Glass Break Sensors, Shock Sensors

24-Hour: A 24-Hour Zone is the most secure Zone Type available. This is a sensor that should never be activated, unless there is an emergency or something seriously wrong. There are many sub-categories of 24-Hour Zones, including 24-Hour Burglary, 24-Hour Fire, 24-Hour Carbon Monoxide, and 24-Hour Auxiliary. Since these are very secure zones, you will likely want to provide special instructions regarding these zones for the central monitoring station. This way, the operator will know how to respond when they see the alarm come through. For example, if you give your Flood Sensor a 24-Hour Auxiliary Response Type, you will want the operator to know that it isn't an emergency medical alarm! The 24-Hour Auxiliary Response Type is often used for both environmental sensors and medical sensors, so you will want to provide specification.

  • Common Sensor Types: Smoke & Heat Detectors, Carbon Monoxide Sensors, Panic Buttons, Medical Alert Buttons, Flood Sensors, Temperature Sensors

Of course, this is just a small list of the available Response Types and Sensor Groups. But you will usually find Zone Types just like these no matter which panel you use. If you want to learn more about Response Types, you are welcome to send us an email at support@alarmgrid.com. We will check your email when we have an opportunity and reply back as soon as possible. Remember that our support hours are from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Hi DIYers! Some of the most important sensors used with alarm systems are passive infrared (PIR) motion detectors. When installed properly, these devices do an excellent job of detecting any motion that can occur inside a home or business. They are critical for a complete security setup.

Honeywell sixpir lyric smart sensor motion

But while motion sensors provide many great benefits for alarm systems, they are also some of the most prone to experiencing problems and issues. These problems are usually the result of PIR motion sensors being mounted poorly and/or in unsuitable locations. Problems may also occur if a motion sensor is ever used in an improper application or setting for its intended use.

By obtaining a better understanding of motion sensors and how they operate, a user is less likely to experience reoccurring problems with their PIR motion sensor. Just a few tips and general guidelines need to be followed. It all comes down to installing the motion sensor correctly, selecting a good location for the device and choosing the correct type of PIR sensor. If these three tips are followed, then a motion sensor will be much more likely to work properly.

First, it's a good idea to understand what a motion detector is trying to accomplish and how it works. The goal of a good motion sensor is to detect the motion of a human intruder, while also ignoring unimportant sources of motion, like a ceiling fan, curtains or a pet. But this is easier said than done. If a motion is too sensitive, then false alarms will occur. But if it isn't sensitive enough, then it won't detect intruders.

A PIR motion sensor works by taking a reading of the infrared (IR) energy in a room and detecting any significant changes in IR energy that occur. All people, animals and objects give off some amount of IR energy. When a person, animal or object comes into the field of view of the motion sensor, it causes a change in detected IR energy. Once the motion sensor has detected enough of a change, it will send an alert to the alarm system to let it know that motion is present. The alarm system will then respond accordingly based on the programming settings.

Honeywell 5800pir od wireless outdoor motion detector exterior

But most users wouldn't want a motion sensor to activate because of very tiny changes in IR energy. This would cause too many false alarms on the system. That is why motion sensors usually have sensitivity levels that can be adjusted through an adjustable pulse count. The pulse count determines how large of an area needs to experience a change in IR energy before the motion will activate. A higher pulse count will mean that a wider change in IR energy is needed to activate the motion detector, thereby making the sensor less sensitive. Likewise, a lower pulse count will increase the sensitivity. Many motion sensors also have lenses that can be swapped out to provide the optimal view for the device.

But it's important to remember that a PIR motion sensor will only work if it can "see" the movement. That is why it is critical that a motion sensor is mounted at a height where it can properly detect a human intruder. A hypothetical scenario is to imagine a motion sensor that is mounted too high up. In that case, a person could just duck down and move below the field of view without setting off the motion sensor.

Most motion sensors are mounted at a height of about 6 to 8 feet high. This should allow the device to detect any human moving in the room. For optimal coverage, we generally recommend mounting motion sensors in the corner of a room. But mounting height becomes even more important for "pet-friendly" motion sensors. The goal of a pet-immune motion sensor is to detect the motion of a human walking upright, while still ignoring the motion of a small animal walking close to the ground.

Users should realize that pets can still set-off pet immune motion sensors, even if the pet is within the suggested weight limit. But the goal is to prevent this from happening. By setting up the motion sensor correctly and by making it impossible for the pet to get within the field of view (FOV) of the motion sensor, false alarms are much less likely to occur because of the activities of pets.

Interlogix 60 807 01 95r wireless saw pet immune pir motion dete

If a user intends on using a PIR motion sensor in a home with pets, they should first make sure their PIR motion detector offers pet-immunity. A pet-immune motion sensor features a lens that is designed to detect the motion of a human walking upright, while ignoring the movement of pets closer to the ground. If a motion does not have this special type of lens, then it will still see a pet moving throughout the room.

Second, a user should make sure that their pet is within the listed weight limit of the motion sensor. The idea here is that pets that weigh more are usually larger in size. So if a dog is 60 pounds, it is estimated that it will be large enough to set off a pet-friendly motion sensor for pets rated for up to 40 pounds. Of course, the pet-immunity values provided from motion sensor manufacturers are rough estimates. But these values should still be taken into account when planning.

Third, the motion sensor should be mounted at a proper height. It will need to be at a height where it can still detect the movement of a human, while ignoring the movement of a pet closer to the ground. Generally speaking, 7.5 feet high is a good height for accomplishing this. But this height can vary for different sensors. Also, the motion sensor should be mounted at a proper angle. If it is facing at too low of an angle, a pet might still set it off.

Finally, the motion sensor should not be facing any "obstacles" that a pet could climb on top of to get within the FOV of the sensor. Even if the motion sensor is mounted at a good height and at a proper angle, a pet can still manage to set it off if it is able to get up high enough. For example, a pet could climb on top of a sofa or walk up the stairs and get within the motion's FOV. For that reason, motion sensors shouldn't be mounted facing furniture or a stairway if pets are present.

Honeywell 5800pir res wireless pet immune motion detector close up

There are also a few general guidelines that a person should follow when choosing a location for a PIR Motion. Remember, these devices respond based on changes in infrared energy. By installing a PIR motion near a vent or an air duct, the flow of hot or cold air could result in false alarms. A similar principle can be applied for appliances such as stoves and refrigerators. It is also advised that users do not install motions facing windows, as heavy sunlight could cause the device to activate. Additionally, motion sensors tend to work poorly in environments such as bathrooms, garages and attics, since they tend to feature high levels of humidity and/or dust. A user should also avoid mounting a motion sensor facing a moving ceiling fan or curtains, as this may result in false alarms.

Some users may also overlook the type of PIR motion sensor that is being used. Not all motion sensors are created equal, and there are many types of possible applications. For one, there are residential versus commercial motion sensors. Residential motion sensors are typically less sensitive and better-suited for homes and apartments. Pet-immunity features are usually only found on residential motion sensors. On the other hand, commercial motion sensors are usually more sensitive and feature lower pulse counts. A commercial motion sensor will also typically feature a larger FOV, making it more suitable for commercial settings.

Another common issue is to use an indoor motion sensor in an outdoor setting. Outdoor rated devices feature rugged exterior casings that protect the devices from exposure to rain, wind, dust and extreme temperatures. If a user tries to use an indoor motion sensor in an outdoor setting, then it is very likely that the device will become damaged due to environmental exposure. And while a user can use an outdoor motion sensor indoors, this is usually not recommended because outdoor motions are considerably more expensive. Make sure that the motion you use is suitable for the desired environment.

Interlogix tx 2810 01 4 internals wireless outdoor pir motion de

Following these tips will help ensure that your PIR motion sensor works properly and doesn't cause you problems. When used properly, these are great devices that do an excellent job of keeping homes and businesses secure. You can buy motion sensors of all types on the Alarm Grid website!

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If you are just beginning the process of looking for an alarm system, answer these really simple questions, and you'll be well on your way to finding what works for you.

1) Do you want a wired or wireless alarm system?

Honeywell L5100

We highly recommend going wireless. Our two biggest selling wireless systems are the L5100 and the L3000. Both of these systems are great. The only differences between them really, is that the L5100 has a beautiful touchscreen that the L3000 does not and the L5100 can be used as a home automation controller as well as a security system.

On the wired side, our best selling units are the VISTA 21iP and the VISTA 20P. The difference between these two systems is that the 21iP has a built-in IP module, and the 20P requires that you purchase one (the 7847i) separately. After you've done your research, if you are excited about the VISTA panels, but like the benefits that a wireless system can offer you, you can add a 6160RF keypad with integrated wireless receiver to your VISTA panel and turn it into a wireless system.

2) How many doors and windows do you want to protect?

Honeywell 5811Honeywell 5816

If you need three or more door and window sensors, and you have decided that a wireless system is for you, check out our L5100PK and L3000PK. They are the most cost-efficient way to get the sensors and system you want. If you need additional sensors, you can add more 5816s or 5811s. The 5816s are thick and boxy, the 5811s are thin like a wafer. Both are good, but we a lot of users prefer the look of the 5811s.

If you want wired door and window sensors, we have tons of those. Look through our selection, and pick the ones that you like best. They all work well, and each of them perform a slightly different function.

3) How many motion sensors do you need?

Honeywell 5800PIR-RES

A lot of people do not install motion sensors. They are a good way to add an extra layer of protection, but oftentimes, the door and window sensors are good enough. If you just need one motion sensor, the kits I wrote about earlier are great. If you need more, the kit is still good, but you'll need to grab some more 5800PIR-RES motion detectors individually.

4) What kind of communication do you want your panel to use?

If you add alarm monitoring to your system, when a sensor is tripped, your security panel will send a signal somewhere. Now, if you have Total Connect service, it will go to AlarmNet and send you an email and / or a text. If you are connected to a central station, it will also go there.

How does the signal get from your panel to the central station or AlarmNet?

Good question. The signal can be delivered in three basic ways. First, you can have your system use your land line to report the alarm signals to the central station. All Honeywell systems, wireless and wired, have a built-in phone dialer so nothing additional is needed. That said, no one has a traditional phone line anymore. Also, you can't get Total Connect using a phone line. Therefore, other communication pathways are more popular. If you don't want to use the phone line, the most popular communication pathway is over the internet. While the L5100 can be hooked up through ethernet with the iLP5 module, the more common way to hook up an L5100 to the internet is by using the L5100-WIFI module. The L3000 needs the 7847i-L for internet monitoring and the VISTA panels use the similarly named, but very different 7847i. The L3000 and VISTA panels do not have a WIFI option and require an Ethernet cord to be strung to the router. The final communication pathway is over cell towers. Basically, when you purchase one of Alarm Grid's monitoring plans that include Cellular Communications, you are buying an AT&T cell phone plan for your system. We handle the SIM card activation and billing so you don't have to worry about a separate cell phone bill. Your system will then send out a signal using the wireless GSM network (which is often regarded as the most reliable pathway). The L5100 requires a GSMVLP5-4G to accomplish this, the L3000 needs a GSMVLP4G installed, and the VISTA panels need either the GSMV4G or the GSMX4G (see our FAQ on these communicators if you want to understand the difference between the two), unless it is a VISTA 21iP which requires the VISTA-GSM4G.

It may come as a surprise for anyone who is just starting their search, but those are really the four basic questions you need to ask yourself. Once you have taken inventory of your door and window sensors, motion sensor needs, whether you want your system to be wired or wireless, and what sort of communication pathway you think sounds most attractive give us a call or chat with us. We'd love to help you.


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