15 Jan 2018
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The Simon line of alarm systems originated about 2 decades ago in the late 1990’s. The original Simon was created by a company called ITI. Since then, there have been a series of company buyouts and mergers: from Sentrol to GE Security to UTC to Interlogix. Through it all, the Simon security system has survived and seen many new models. To us, this really speaks to how good the Simon really is. Currently, we carry 2 Simon models: Simon XT and Simon XTi-5.
In many ways the Simon XT and Simon XTi-5 very similar systems. In fact, as we will talk about, when you look at the behind the scenes features or foundation of the alarm system they are nearly identical. However, the two systems still manage to differentiate themselves by having very different user interfaces which we will focus on after looking at the similarities.
The Simon XT and Simon XTi-5 are both fully wireless alarm systems (with small exceptions). The first exception is the wire from the plug in power transformer to the Simon panel, of course. For the most part, this is the only wiring needed for your Simon alarm system. However, the both Simon panels are capable of utilizing up to 2 hardwired zones. And one of those zones can actually be used as an output. For instance, you can connect a relay with a power supply and hardwired siren to have a more powerful sounder than the one that is built into the panel. There are numerous other situations that the output can be used for. And if you are planning on using a telephone landline for communications, that would need to be wired as well. Everything else will be contained within the main control and communicate to other alarm components wirelessly.
Both alarm systems have a maximum capacity of 40 zones. All 40 zones can be wireless. And, as mentioned previously, the alarm panels have up to 2 inputs available for hardwired zones. But those do count towards that maximum of 40 total zones. So if you used 2 hardwired zones you would have 38 zones left that can be used for wireless sensors. 40 zones is plenty for almost any residential application and can be enough for small commercial installations. But if you have a large home with a lot of openings on the ground floor or a large commercial site, 40 zones can be eaten up in no time. For instance a home with 20 windows, 5 doors, 5 motion detectors, and 10 smoke detectors would completely max out the Simon alarm system. But that does not include anything like glass break detectors, temperature sensors, flood/leak detectors, et cetera.
The Simon XT and Simon XTi-5 are compatible with all of Interlogix wireless sensors. They have numerous options for nearly any sensor type that you might want.
Another aspect of the Simon XT and Simon XTi-5 that is exactly the same is the number of user codes. There 11 total user codes, 9 of which are suitable for day to day use on the alarm system: the installer code, master code, duress code, and 8 standard user codes. The installer code is generally only used to make the system altering changes such as changing timer lengths or adding/editing/deleting sensors. The regular user codes are just used to arm and disarm the system. The master code can function just like a standard user code, arming and disarming, but it also allows for surface level changes to the alarm system like editing user codes or changing the time and date. And finally the duress code is a special code that should be given to all system users in case of an emergency (if used). The duress code will seemingly function like any other user code, disarming the system when used for instance. But it will activate a silent alarm that will send an alarm signal to your central station or self-monitoring service.
And again, for most households the 9 main user codes are plenty. But if you have a business where you plan on giving everyone their own code, it may not be enough.
Another awesome feature that is shared between both the Simon XT and Simon XTi-5 is that both panels are fully compatible with Alarm.com Interactive Services. Alarm.com can add dozens of features to your regular alarm system and they are very flexible in that they have multiple plans so that you only pay for the features that you want. Not only that, but Alarm.com can be used independently for self-monitoring or with a central station for traditional monitoring.
They have 4 main service plans: Wireless Signal Forwarding, Interactive, Interactive Plus Automation, and Interactive Gold. Each service level has the features of the levels before it. Wireless Signal Forwarding is only for sending your alarm panel signals through the cellular communicator to your central station. Interactive gives you remote access to your alarm system. You can arm and disarm, change user codes, setup notifications, and use geo-fencing with your smartphone. Interactive Plus Automation gives you access to using the built-in Z-Wave communicator for home automation purposes. And finally Interactive Gold gives numerous features. There are other automation integrations such as Lutron. You can also get weather on the panel and severe weather alerts. Among other features.
There is only 2 things that need to be done to have access to these features. First you will need to add an Alarm.com cellular communicator, 600-1048-XT-LTE-VZ. This mounts directly inside the Simon panel. And second you will need to sign up for Alarm.com service plan as described above.
There really are not very many differences between the 2 panels. But the differences that are there are fairly significant. It pretty much comes down to the Simon XTi-5 having a touchscreen while the Simon XT has a more traditional keypad with LCD display. This obviously gives some advantages to the Simon XTi-5. It has a more modern look by having the 5 inch touchscreen with an intuitive graphical user interface that makes for a more pleasant user experience.
The other big difference is in programming. Although this also stems from the touchscreen. While the Simon XT is one of the easier systems to program, it just cannot compare to the ease of programming that is seen on all-in-one wireless systems with GUI and the Simon XTi-5 is no exception. The intuitive menus just make everything so much easier. The Simon XTi-5 can almost be programmed from start to finish without any instructions. Almost. But you will still need some minor guidance if you have no experience with Simon alarm systems.