31 Jul 2012
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As more and more homeowners are wanting to install their own system, they start to ask questions on what type of system to get. Most Do-It-Yourself people are wanting a wireless alarm system. Lets get one thing straight, no professional grade alarm system is completely wireless. What I mean by that is, you will have at least one wire (18/2) needed to power your system.
This goes for any wireless system. you will also need a phone line to your system, if you plan on the system calling out. If you don't have a land-line then you could always go with GSM or IP communication. I have worked extensively with four (4) wireless home security alarm systems. They are the Honeywell Lynx (R, R2, Plus, and Touch), the DSC Alexor and DSC Impassa, as well as the GE Simon XT. Below is a quick review and my personal opinion of each one.
Honeywell Lynx Series
This is a great system for self-monitoring.
You can program a number for the system to call. When the system calls you, it has a voice recording saying, "Alarm, Front Door, Alarm, Back Door, etc..." It tells you exactly what zones had been tripped. The new Touch Series (Touch Screen) has a real nice look. The touch screen makes it easier to program the system. It is really difficult to hook any hardwired sirens to this system because the outputs are such low voltage, but it can be achieved with a relay and a power supply setup. Honeywell does make a wireless indoor siren for this system, but not out-door.
The Lynx Plus would be the easiest to hook a hardwired siren up. There is a hardwired low-draw, low current siren, GE 13-950 or Wave2-Ex, you could use (for Lynx Plus only). The Ademco / Honeywell Lynx panels are all self-contained. This means the main brain of the unit, indoor siren, and keypad are all in one unit. The body of the panel is strong and sturdy and is high in quality. On a scale of 1 to 10, I rate the Lynx Plus an 7.5, and the Lynx Touches an 8.5.
DSC Alexor (PC9155)
The Alexor is a great system.
Unlike the Lynx, the Alexor has a main brain and panel that can be completely hidden. You can place the panel in a utility closet, hall closet, etc.. If a burglar were to break in, they could not disable the system by hitting the keypad, unlike the Lynx panels. The system is great if you plan on having monitoring. I have been able to find a good monitoring service for $8.95 a month.
The DSC Alexor can be used for self-monitoring, but when it calls you, it does not inform you of what zone has been triggered; it only gives you DTMF tones. This DSC system along with the Impassa are the only two wireless systems that have a compatible outdoor siren. The Wt4911 comes with a built-in Blue or Red strobe light and a temperature sensor, which will allow the keypad to display the outside temp. The Alexor is made great and is one of my most favorite systems.
On a scale of 1 to 10, I rate the Alexor an 8.5.
The DSC Impassa is great and just like the Alexor, however, the Impassa is a self-contained unit (just like the Lynx). The main brain, siren, and keypad are all in one unit. This system will also work with the bi-directional key fobs, outdoor wireless siren, as well as all other DSC wireless devices. On a scale of 1 to 10, I rate the Impassa a 7.
GE Simon XT
The GE Simon is a self-contained unit, just like the Honeywell Lynx and DSC Impassa. The GE Simon has the ability self-monitor as well.
If you want an outdoor siren, there is not a wireless one, but there is a hardwired low-draw, low current siren, GE 13-950, you could use. The GE Simon has had a higher failure rate for me. The body and plastics appear to be flimsy and more easily broken. I have had many customers return the GE Simon XT due to poor quality and failure. On a scale of 1 to 10, I rate the GE Simon a 4.5. Overall, if you want monitoring, I'd suggest the DSC Alexor and if you plan on self-monitoring, I would suggest the Honeywell Touch (L5000 or L5100). Both Systems are great and I would put either system in my home at anytime.