Integrating with an old wired security panel

Posted on
Mon Aug 05, 2019 9:15 am
eightball offline
Posts: 44
Joined: Oct 17, 2011

Integrating with an old wired security panel

As always, thanks for the advice and experience.

Here's what I'm trying to do:
Revive/integrate an old wired security system into an indigo/insteon/z-wave setup.

Here are my questions:
1. Searching old board posts it seems like a bunch of folks are having success with DSC Powerseries panels. Are these still the best bet? Anything easier/newer more DIY friendly?
2. What's the minimum equipment setup necessary (outside of sensors)? I think what's existing in the house is a bunch of door/window hardwired sensors that are all homerun to an old Brinks(?) panel. Assuming no new sensors (for the moment) - I'm assuming equipment needed would be panel, battery backup, keypad, some interface module between indigo and panel. Is that right?
3. Who makes the least hideous keypads? Is it possible at this point to forgo a keypad and link directly to iPhones? Or single keypad in closet and iphones for daily use?
4. What should I know going in? Any huge errors to avoid? Anything you wish you'd done?

Again, thanks for the help,

Anthony

Posted on
Thu Aug 08, 2019 2:25 pm
johnpolasek offline
Posts: 869
Joined: Aug 05, 2011
Location: Aggieland, Texas

Re: Integrating with an old wired security panel

The house I bought 5 years ago had magnetic reed switches in all the windows and doors (22 total) but had never had a panel installed. I got Karl's pIBeacon plugin https://forums.indigodomo.com/viewforum.php?f=187 originally to set or clear a pushover alert from the motion sensors and lock or unlock the z-wave locks on the doors when nobody was home or a beacon on our keyrings approached a door, but a $40 rpi3 has 24 direct contact IOs that I could tie into the window and door switches and it works perfectly... The 3 is now up to $50 on Amazon with power supply and case thrown in, but if you're not scared of a bit of soldering, there is the rPi0-W that comes for half that and has all the same IO but no slip on connector, and it works fine out in the garage so the house alarm doesn't lock the place up when we're working out there.

Posted on
Fri Aug 09, 2019 2:41 am
agame offline
Posts: 242
Joined: Jul 13, 2017
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Integrating with an old wired security panel

I've done similar and swapped proprietary hardwired alarm systems for DSC panels interfaced to Indigo.

The DSC plugin, coupled the Envisalink board added to the DSC panel, works well and is completely stable. It exposes all the device states, and provides access to the usual end-user controls including arming & disarming. One limitation is that the DSC can't see other sensors you might add natively to indigo over time...however wiring one of the relay outputs on your DSC board [controllable by Indigo] to a spare input, its also possible to create a 'virtual' sensor .... for instance, enabling the alarm to respond to z-wave door sensor being tripped.

Its debatable whether a 'traditional' alarm system is really necessary...but there might be stability, usability, or insurance-related arguments in favour. If its just using the sensor inputs, various other I/O options like that described above are worth considering.

Posted on
Fri Aug 09, 2019 9:49 am
neilk offline
Posts: 148
Joined: Jul 13, 2015
Location: Reading, UK

Re: Integrating with an old wired security panel

agame wrote:
I've done similar and swapped proprietary hardwired alarm systems for DSC panels interfaced to Indigo.

The DSC plugin, coupled the Envisalink board added to the DSC panel, works well and is completely stable. It exposes all the device states, and provides access to the usual end-user controls including arming & disarming. One limitation is that the DSC can't see other sensors you might add natively to indigo over time...however wiring one of the relay outputs on your DSC board [controllable by Indigo] to a spare input, its also possible to create a 'virtual' sensor .... for instance, enabling the alarm to respond to z-wave door sensor being tripped.

Its debatable whether a 'traditional' alarm system is really necessary...but there might be stability, usability, or insurance-related arguments in favour. If its just using the sensor inputs, various other I/O options like that described above are worth considering.


I agree the DSC/Indigo combination is excellent, for me having a dedicated alarm panel that functions independently of Indigo but is seamlessly integrated is the way to go. Same approach for heating with Evohome. I also like the fact that the envisalink provides monitoring and alerting separate to Indigo, for example when the "phone home" heartbeat drops with a lost connection you will be notified.

From a DIY perspective the DSC is a little daunting, but lots of solid online information both on hear and in the wider security forums. Once you get your head around the setup it is not too bad, and even a few people on here are pretty knowledgeable (I would pitch in to help).

In my setup I re-used the existing PIR room sensors, entry door switch and panel wiring. I purchased the DSC touch screen panel that looks pretty cool but is not cheap with a wired traditional keypad for the upstairs in the master bedroom. You would also need the interface board (in my case the envisalink) to connect to indigo. Bear in mind the envisalink needs an ethernet connection, but you can connect it to the key bus of the alarm (used for the keypads and any expansion modules) so depending on the wiring you may be able to place it near an existing network port. In my case an spare cable ran to the loftspace and I was able to connect the keypad and envisalink to that as well as a zone expander.

Envisalink comes with an APP and you can arm, disarm etc with that as well as check zone status, logs and with notifications. You can also do pretty much all of that within Indigo, we certainly arm via the Alexa plugin and extensively use triggers from the PIR sensors.

Posted on
Sat Aug 10, 2019 3:26 pm
howartp offline
Posts: 3635
Joined: Jan 09, 2014
Location: West Yorkshire, UK

Re: Integrating with an old wired security panel

Ooooooh!

I’m a DSC user, and never thought about putting the Envisalink remotely on the bus!

It’s currently in the panel, with a very poor powerline ethernet link - I was planning on wiring some cat5 to the cupboard where the panel is, but it’s not the easiest route.

(ps - yes I’ll certainly help with DSC)


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

Posted on
Sat Aug 10, 2019 3:52 pm
berkinet offline
User avatar
Posts: 3341
Joined: Nov 18, 2008
Location: Berkeley, CA, USA & Mougins, France

Re: Integrating with an old wired security panel

Note that Brinks, ADT, and many other “security” companies do not actually make panels. They just slap their name on panels from the major manufacturers. So, I’d say your first task is to figure out what you have and if it is already serviceable for your needs. .

Posted on
Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:44 am
jltnol offline
Posts: 405
Joined: Oct 15, 2013

Re: Integrating with an old wired security panel

The house I bought a few years ago had an old dysfunctional wired panel and I had my alarm guy put in a DSC panel, with the Envisalink board. As I recall, I actually hooked up the Envisalink my self. Super easy. AND I like the fact that it is wired to the LAN, so I don't worry so much about the occasional intermittent WiFi issue. My alarm guy said the wired systems were much better than the wireless ones.

My old house had a Vista panel, and I used a small USB device to connect it to Indigo. Both were very solid, and I never really had a problem with either. I didn't try to add "devices" in indigo, and as far as I remember, there isn't a way to for a sensor connected to Indigo to trip the alarm on the DSC panel... but it's been 2 years since I set it up, so I can't promise that to be true... At any rate, DSC and Envisalink are great!

Posted on
Sun Aug 25, 2019 10:40 am
Dual offline
Posts: 117
Joined: Feb 05, 2019

Re: Integrating with an old wired security panel

I am in escrow on a house purchase. In my current house I have z-wave motion and contact sensors. I have programmed an Indigo based custom alarm system I am happy with. I prefer to not have a DSC panel or any other with proprietary parts. From reading above the Raspberry Pi sounds like a good solution for me, though I have no experience with it. I will order one and play with it. I’m confident the Indigo community will help me when I stumble. Any advice up front? I believe the current system is Honeywell. Photos attached.
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