Alarm System for New Construction

Posted on
Tue Feb 08, 2022 7:29 am
boisy offline
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Posts: 160
Joined: Jun 25, 2013

Alarm System for New Construction

Hi fellow Indigo'ers,

I'm researching security system solutions for a new home. The plan is to have wired sensors (no wireless) to a panel that I can then interface into Indigo. Looking at the plug-ins page, I see several choices:

- DSC
- ELK M1G
- Honeywell TC2

Some questions surrounding these solutions are:

1. Which is the most robust/best solution for a wired security system that will handle door states, glass breaking sensors, and smoke/carbon monoxide e sensors?
2. How do I interface each of these systems into my Mac running Indigo?

Another thought was just to use an Arduino Mega 2560 with a sensor shield and write my own custom alarm code on there, then interface it to Indigo (I've done that before on a small scale with success).

Thoughts?

Posted on
Tue Feb 08, 2022 8:02 am
FlyingDiver offline
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Posts: 5848
Joined: Jun 07, 2014
Location: Southwest Florida, USA

Re: Alarm System for New Construction

Concord 4 is also supported with a plugin I'm maintaining (but did not write). That's what I have. It uses a serial connection to a 4-way USB to serial cable. I did have to install a ground isolator in the serial connection to keep it from faulting.

ELK is very much DIY friendly, as I understand it. DSC is also very popular. Both of those also use serial connections, I believe.

I don't know anything about the Honeywell system.

I really don't see the advantage of trying to roll your own security system. The basic panels aren't that expensive. And trying to roll your own control keypad seems like a lot of work.

joe (aka FlyingDiver)
my plugins: http://forums.indigodomo.com/viewforum.php?f=177

Posted on
Tue Feb 08, 2022 8:07 am
boisy offline
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Posts: 160
Joined: Jun 25, 2013

Re: Alarm System for New Construction

Thanks for the reply.

I wasn't aware of Concord 4. I'll have to check that out.

Agreed that a dedicated alarm panel has its benefits. Rolling your own is fun too, but not as "tidy."

As far as keypads go, I don't want any. I want to use my iPhone to arm/disarm exclusively. That makes the Ardunio-based roll-your-own solution a little bit easer to tackle.

Posted on
Tue Feb 08, 2022 8:19 am
FlyingDiver offline
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Posts: 5848
Joined: Jun 07, 2014
Location: Southwest Florida, USA

Re: Alarm System for New Construction

I can do that with my system using the alarm.com integration. I use it that way sometimes. I think that uses the cellular communicator I have installed, since I don't have a usable landline.

You won't be able to use any commercial panel without at least one keypad. They're required for programming the system. You could hide it in the same closet as the panel.

Also depends on if you're planning on having a commercial monitoring service. I pay about $20/mo for that including the cellular plan for the communicator. The discount on my home insurance pays for that. You won't be able to get that with a DIY panel. You should check with your insurance agent about that for the new house.

joe (aka FlyingDiver)
my plugins: http://forums.indigodomo.com/viewforum.php?f=177

Posted on
Tue Feb 08, 2022 8:19 pm
Dual offline
Posts: 231
Joined: Feb 05, 2019

Re: Alarm System for New Construction

I rolled my own. I use all Z-Wave devices. At this house I have:

- 9 contact sensors
- 3 keypads
- 27 motion sensors
- 2 sirens
- 1 beeper
- 4 tilt sensors

My custom programming uses:
- 7 timers
- 113 triggers
- 15 action groups
- 4 variables

I use both email and Pushover for notifications.

The system can be controlled through an Indigo control page and the keypads.

Why do my own? Several reasons:
- it was an enjoyable challenge
- it works the way I want it to not the way some alarm company thinks it should
- I have no dependency on any other company or person … just Indigo
- it works without need for any connection (internet or phone)
- I believe in KISS and DIY
- fully customizable

One example of where I dislike traditional alarm panels is with motion detectors. One motion goes off and the system alarms. I have it programmed to require two motions within a set time before I will trigger the system. I can come up with any combination of sensors tripped to require the alarm to trip. And I can change it anytime.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Posted on
Thu Feb 10, 2022 11:38 am
jltnol offline
Posts: 793
Joined: Oct 15, 2013

Re: Alarm System for New Construction

I've been very happy with a DSC panel and a Envisilink. Works perfectly with Indigo. AND, you can utilize their monitoring services which is much cheaper than anything else I've tried. Nothing ever happens alarm wise, but occasionally something will accidentally trip the alarm, and 100% of the time, I get a text message from Indigo with info about what happened before anyone from any alarm monitoring service has called.

I'm pretty sure the Envislilnk works with different panels as well.

Lastly, since you have new construction, I'd urge you to go with a wired system as opposed to wireless sensors...

Posted on
Wed Apr 27, 2022 7:04 pm
boisy offline
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Posts: 160
Joined: Jun 25, 2013

Re: Alarm System for New Construction

Surfacing this thread again, we're getting close to construction, and I've altered my philosophy a bit.

At our current home, I've successfully engineered an Indigo-based alarm system. Here's the device mix:

  • Motion detection states using Homeseer Z-Wave flood light motion sensors
  • Motion detection states using cameras with SecuritySpy and piping motion events into Indigo via plugins.
  • Garage and gate open/close states using Insteon I/OLincs
  • Magnetic door sensors wired to an Arduino that send state via UDP to Indigo plug-ins by Flying Diver

I'm using Python scripts to process this mix of sensor data to provide a very customizable and robust system that also uses Pushover push notifications and emails to alert me when sensors are tripped.

I've added a control page to set the alarm to one of fours dates: Stay, Away, Night, and Disarm, and track these states with Indigo variables.

I'm doing all of this without an alarm panel, and I really like it. As Dual said, it's completely customizable.

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