Driveway and entry alerts are a great addition to any home or business. They can give you early warning of anyone’s approach so that you can be ready to give them the proper greeting. The potential uses for these alerts are nearly endless. They have obvious uses for homes when you want to know when someone pulls into your driveway. Or maybe put some on doors around your pool so you can hear when your kids go into the area. Or on the entry door to your store so that you can hear when a customer enters and you can then give them a quick and friendly greeting. Or possibly put one under your drive through so that you know when a customer’s car has pulled up.
We carry both
hardwired drive alerts and wireless drive – entry alerts. These allow for a wide array of installation needs whether you need a long or short range, indoors or outdoors. Many driveway and entry alerts are standalone systems like the STI-3360, House Safe, and Driveway Patrol. We also have a few from Resolution Products that must be used as part of an existing alarm system: DSC, Honeywell Security, 2Gig, and Interlogix. And then others can be used as either a standalone or hardwired to an alarm system: Mier DA-500, Mier DA-605, Seco-Larm, and Optex RCTD20U.
The method of detection for entry varies and each method has advantages and disadvantages. The first method is a classic magnetic contact switch that can be placed on entry doors to detect the opening of them. These entry chimes are generally limited to indoor applications, but they are very reliable at detecting an opening door. The next method of detection is infrared motion detection. These can be beam or fan patterns. They are also designed for both indoor and outdoor use. The benefit of IR detectors is that they can detect just about anything that moves by them. But these are also prone to false alarms since things like blowing leaves or an animal moving by could possibly set it them off. The third method of detection works great for detecting cars coming up the driveway. They use a sensor that measures slight changes in the Earth’s magnetic field that can only be caused by a large metal object moving by. As long as these sensors are installed correctly, they will almost never have a false alarm. The biggest key to installing these properly is that they must be placed in a way that they are completely stationary. Any change slight change in orientation could be perceived as a change to the magnetic field which would trigger the alarm state for the sensor. While these sensors are very reliable, they are also limited in what they can detect. They would not be able to detect a person walking up the driveway for instance… unless they happen to be wearing a suit of armor.
One of the first choices you will need to make is whether you want a hardwired or wireless entry detection system. For hardwired: Mier produces a line of hardwired driveway alerts that are designed to be directly buried: although they do recommend using conduit so that the wires do not get inadvertently damaged. These work as both a standalone system with its own chimes that are available. The control board also has both normally open and normally closed terminals that can be attached to an alarm system.
There are numerous wireless options as well. First, there are devices that use magnetic field distortion to detect passing cars. Mier Products also makes a wireless version of their Drive-Alert called the DA-605. It offers many of the same features of the DA-500 with two main differences: it does not require a hardwire connection to the main panel from the probe, using a wireless probe instead; and it requires using wireless chimes since it does not have an internal whistle. Resolution Products has wireless devices that pair with some popular home alarm systems and work in a similar way as Mier’s hardwired and wireless probes. The Resolution RE104,Resolution RE204, and Resolution RE304 do not need to be buried though. They recommend mounting them on a solid post a few feet from the driveway.
Optex, Seco-Larm, and Driveway Patrol all have wireless systems that can be used to monitor driveway activity remotely. These all work on a variation of IR beam technology and are suitable for outdoor use. They are also flexible enough to be used in other locations like an entry door. The Optex RCTD20U is a great starter kit. It has both the sensor and the chime, but more sensors can be added as well. It features a long wireless range of 2000 feet in open air and the sensor is adjustable to allow for both fan and beam style detection patterns. Seco-Larm’s E931S35RRQ is great for detecting anything crossing a specific line. It comes with three components. The first is the wireless chime speaker. Then the sensor that emits an IR beam. And finally it comes with a reflector so that you can really dial in the range of detection that you want. The Driveway Patrol offers a simple system for outdoor use at an amazing price point. It uses a classic fan pattern passive IR motion detector that works as both a driveway and entry detection system. HomeSafe also works using IR beams. It is only rated for indoor use however. This makes it an ideal choice to put at an entry or exit door to know when a customer enters. Parents can even use it to know when a child has left or entered a certain area.
STI-3360 and Sonic Entry use classic magnetic reed switch contacts to communicate wirelessly to a chime. They are both limited to indoor applications, but works wonderfully to announce the opening of a door. The STI-3360 offers a wonderful assortment of musical chimes to pick from which makes it an excellent candidate for commercial settings since it is not an unpleasant sound that may annoy customers.