Sometimes when I have some spare time, I peruse the various online support forums and answer alarm related questions for people around the world. Here are a few examples. Note these questions are copied directly, without editing. - KeepSafe Systems installs services and provides Security Alarm System monitoring services for security alarm systems in the Vancouver area of the Lower Mainland Fraser Valley British Columbia.

The KeepSafe Systems service area includes but is not limited to North Vancouver, West Vancouver, Richmond, Delta, Tsawassen, Ladner, Surrey, Cloverdale, Abbotsford, Mission, Aldergrove, Maple Ridge, Haney, Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam, Port Moody, Burnaby, New Westminster, Kamloops, Kelowna, Courtney, Comox, Nanaimo, Lions Bay, Squamish and pretty much everywhere in between.


What is a better home security alarm systems? Hardwired security alarm or wireless security alarm?


 Hardwired security alarms will always be superior to wireless security alarms. The simple fact being, modern airwaves are being increasingly cluttered with Radio Frequency (RF) Interference. This which interfere with wireless security alarm systems are many and can range from the simple high voltage power line to wireless routers and radio towers..

The thing is, wireless is highly unpredictable, particularly in security alarm systems. You may have a perfectly sound wireless security alarm system for years, then all of a sudden the neighbour 3 blocks away decides to purchase a ham radio. All of a sudden, the monitoring station is getting panic alarm, the police are being send on what appears to be a weekly basis and you have fines from the city for excessive false alarms.

Hardwired security alarm systems, on the other hand, are far more reliable in that they are not as susceptible to the problems of RF. Sure, if there is a strong source of RF behind a motion detector some of the older models may falsely activate. However this is simply fixed by replacing the detector with one with a higher level of RF Shielding.

Fact of the matter is, no security alarm system is entirely free from the possibility of false alarms. Hardwired security alarm systems are, however, much less prone to issues. Hardwired security alarm detectors are also universally compatible between hardwired security alarm systems; Wireless security alarm detectors typically only function with the wireless security alarm system for which they were designed - this can result in expensive system replacements if one wireless security alarm detector fails.

There is more information on the differences between wireless and hardwired security alarm systems on my website at There is an article entitled "the truth about wireless security systems" in the archive.

I hope this answered your question.



Can i use any Keypad with a home security control panel?

i want to play around with a security system off Ebay or somthing. was wondering if i have to use the same type of Control panel and keypad or can they be seaprate makes and models?


Nothing overly exciting to play around with. But then again I work on them every day. Of course there is the fancier panels, like the HAI Omni panel I am working on today (burg, Lighting control, temperature control, music distribution.... all from a touch screen)

To answer your keypad question. Nope, not interchangable. Some brand have the ability to change keypads between lines, but other than that you have to have the same keypad with the same panel.

Be careful when you are buying off Ebay, alarm panels have this tricky little feature called "Installer lockout" The less reputable of alarm companies enable this feature ensuring nobody can default the panel back to factory. Simply put, this means you're playing around would be very limited.




What is the best alarm system for my house?

Best Answer - Chosen by Asker

Being in the industry and NOT making money off this advice, my personal opinion might be slightly different than that of Jon. I do share some of his opinions but although simple noise only alarms are effective at warding off most, I have been to houses where entire panels have been ripped off the wall and nobody knew about it until they got home. Nothing worse than walking into a house with someone unexpected in it.

All that aside, most crackheads will avoid houses with stickers. The other advantages of monitored systems are insurance discounts, monitored smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.

As for what security system is best for your home, first of all I would say stay away from wireless. Although many sales people will tell you wireless security systems are superior to hardwire, they are just playing the numbers game. Wireless is easier and faster to install, therefor they can pay less money in labour and still get the monitoring account. Really a wine loose situation to their benefit.
Or there is more in the archive on my website at

The system you choose should really be customized around what you feel is important. The larger your home, the more zones and devices you need. A zone is an input on the panel which gets connected to a detection device (Which is basically a switch) Detection devices can be door contacts, motion detector, glassbreak sensor, smoke detectors etc. There is more info again on my website at Articles of particular interest would be protection 101 and False alarm info. There is also some tips and advice on some non-electronic methods to make your home less desirable to the crackhead element.

Last bit of advice, try to find a local company with a proven track record. Companies listed as "authorized dealers" typically sell their monitoring accounts to the head company usually leaving you with a poor level of service.

Good Luck

Asker's Rating:
5 out of 5
Asker's Comment:
Thank you so much! Both you and Jon really heleped me out! God Bless!



What is the likeliness of a criminal continuing the crime when an alarm system goes off?


Best Answer - Chosen by Asker

It depends where they are when the alarm sounds. If they are already inside and there is something small and easy to grab they will do so. If, on the other hand, the alarm goes off prior to entry (ie glassbreak detectors) they are less likely to enter as glass has to be cleaned out of the way etc.

Of course, this also depends on whether an item is chosen or not. Take for example a cash register with the cash drawer left in and locked. You can pretty much be guaranteed that the little S*&T will run in and grab it. It is all about reducing temptation and pre-entry detection (check out protection 101 at ) The likelyhood of smash and grabs is drastically lower on residential over commercial.

Phone line cutting is always a possibility, however with cellular back-up available most will cut the lines then wait to see if there is a response. If not, they thrash the alarm panel and clean the place out.
(I've seen that happen to a neighbour of a commercial client. My client had Cell back up and was left alone, the place next door wasn't)




I have a wireless router in my home. Will it interfere with my alarm system that communicates wirelessly?

It only communicates with the doors and the windows, and calls via landline if someone is breaking in. Will these two systems interfere with one another.

My wireless router is through verizon and my alarm system is ADT. Thanks!


Best Answer - Chosen by Voters

I know DSC uses 433 at one point I believe they were playing around in the 900MHz range. I will have to check what Ademco uses (These are the to systems typically used by ADT). Check the inside of a contact as well as the back of the router.

In my opinion, even if the frequency doesn't match your router there are still plenty of things out there which can interfere with your wireless security system (Both inside and outside your home). As for the opposite frequency thing, I don't know where you heard that but in 20 years in the industry I have heard no such thing. Wireless security is wireless security which is crap. I have written a number of articles on the topic which can be found in many places online including
Unfortunately the security alarm industry has become increasingly numbers based. The more accounts the better at all costs. Wireless security systems are easy to install, therefor they win out in the numbers game. Hardwire security systems will always be superior.

With your system, if it is set up properly, it will indicate detector supervision loss. In which case your keypad should beep. Of course with wireless being flawed in nature, many shady companies are disabling supervision entirely because they know it will cause costly service calls. All for the might dollar, the industry makes me sick sometimes. Now comes the hate mail. :P




Security system needed to keep teen in, and others out.?

My teen is sneaking out. We are researching security systems, but need input on what systems other people have used that were effective and not effective. Preferable systems that allow more than one access code, and controls when those codes can be used.

I am curious about thoughts on security cameras at entryways as well. My fear though, is spending money on cameras that get stolen or destroyed by a BB gun or slingshot.

I read that some systems have window sensors that can be bypassed easily using glue, or strong magnets, etc. Is there any truth in that?



Best Answer - Chosen by Voters

I installed a similar system a number of years ago, except it was designed to keep a wandering alzheimers patient in. The system was set up as a regular alarm when it was armed, but during certain armed periods, windows would set off a buzzer in the nurse's room. This way a late night adventure would not result in the neighbours being disturbed with a siren.

Typically you would install window contacts on the windows, there are also window screens available in which the window can be opened for fresh air and the screen provides the security. As far as bypassing with gum and a strong magnet, can't say I have ever seen that work. The thing is, magnets are polarized. If you introduce the wrong polarity it will effectively cancel the field out and the alarm goes off.

If you want codes to have certain access restrictions such as time of day etc, you need to get a system with access control and scheduling features. Personally, I like the Paradox EVO series. These panels are loaded with features and do include the ability to schedule the working time of codes. Nice price point too and not made in China.

With teenagers, I know there are a few issues, another fun thing to do (Now I'm sounding like a sadist) is to program the system to disconnect all phones except for 1 at a certain time. This eliminates the problem with noisy middle of the night calls out.

With camera's, damage and theft is always a concern. I have seen it happen and if a person is determined enough they can always try. The best thing is to get vandal proof camera's and mount them high up and out of reach. You could also go for hidden camera's... hard to steal what you can't see. The one problem with pinhole camera's is image quality. For more info on camera's you can check out the surveillance section of my website at There is also some information on other security related topics. The archive in particular is full of alot of older stuff and rough articles which have yet to be proof read and catagorized.... Lots of idea's just too busy with installations. (No this is not an invitation for website designers)

One last suggestion, stay away from wireless. Aside from being faulty by nature, these are fairly easy to defeat from the inside.



How can you hook up your vonage telephone to a security system?


Best Answer - Chosen by Voters

Dial tone has nothing to do with it. The problem comes with the VOIP bandwidth being clipped. Traditional copper is analog which is ideal for frequency based transmissions like Alarms and faxes. Of course, nothing in telecom is anaolg anymore but some companies are better than others. Hence the term managed networks. As for the alarm panels, all dialer based alarm panels communicate in the same manner and are subject to the same frequency based problems.

I have several customers who have tried various forms of VOIP. The only on I have seen to be reliable most of the time is the Cable versions. Locally it is Shaw, in the US Comcast and others should be similar. Vonage never worked.

Before I say anything about connecting the panel to the phone I should say CALL YOUR ALARM COMPANY. If you insist on doing it yourself, please make sure you test the alarm afterwards. The phone line is the lifeline of your alarm and should not be messed with. Doing so may also void any warranties.

As for the actual connection. Telephone consists of two wires (tip and ring) in most cases polarity does not matter, but Tip is positive and Ring is negative. On a standard cable Ring is red Tip is green.

OK, that aside. the incoming line from your VOIP router should be connected to Tip and Ring on your alarm panel. Tip1 & Ring 1 are for the house phones. This way the alarm panel can isolate the incoming line from the house phones to ensure there is no interuption. I would also suggest you have a battery back-up for your router and modem. Otherwise your phone will die with the power.

Of course, all that being said I would suggest you stick to a standard POTS line or at least get cellular or IP back-up. Personally I prefer cell as it is not reliant on the modem power or internet which does still go down alot.

Here is an article on the topic




Advice on improving home security?

After a few car robberies where the keys have been obtained by gaining entry to the house, i am worrying as i have a car thieves would love. I'll give an overview of what i have now, basically i just need to make it hard to force entry.
I have a patio door on the porch that deadlocks then the main front door with a normal Yale latch/lock and a 5 level lock also. House is alarmed with PIR's in main areas. Back door which is in kitchen has a five lever lock and a small latch at bottom of door, this door has 6 glass panes in, whether these can smash easily, i don't know. I have CCTV ( cheap system - quality not great) looking down the side of the house, this is how you get to back door. I also have 4 PIR security lights around the house.

Can i improve anywhere. My main worry is that back door?


I would change lock cylinders to high security type such as Medeco, Assa Abloy, or Schlage Primus. Standard lock cylinders can be picked of "bumped" open fairly easily.

The weak spot on any door is usually the door frame at the jamb. If you have not done so already, install a reinforced strike plate that is fastened all the way into the stud adjacent to the door, rather than just to the door frame itself. This should be done on all exterior doors.

The back door that has the glass panes is also a vulnerable spot. Consider replacing the door with a solid wood type; if you can't do this, consider installing expanded metal over the windows on the inside of the door.

Be sure that your alarm system has a very loud sounder both inside and outside of the home. The inside sounder is particularly important as it will intimidate the intruder and make him want to spend as little time in the house as possible.


silvaconsultants has some great pointers. Just to add a couple of things. Make sure the screws on your strike plate as well as the hinges are long. The typical 3/4 pieces of junk make it easy to boot a door in. Also strengthen around the dead bolt and make sure you have a long deadbolt. A good way of extending the bolt length is to get a pipe which fits around the bolt and drilling it into the wall beside the door. This way when the bolt slides into the pipe, you have basically extended the deadbolt length to the pipe length. Also, reinforce the frame around the door so the frame cannot be spread.

As for electronic security, you may also want to look at installing glassbreak detectors, these are great because the alarm goes off before the crackhead actually makes it into your home.

I have some more tidbits in the protection101 article of




What is the BEST Home Security to use?

My home was almost broken into, and now I'm worried all the time while i' m at work. So please suggest something cause I've never had to choose home security before.


Best Answer - Chosen by Voters

The system you choose should depend entirely on your needs. Personally and professionally I would strongly recommend against wireless security systems. The reason being, the technology is flawed by nature. As a last resort, I guess it is better than nothing if it is impossible to run wires. However, in almost 20 years in the industry I have never seen a job where wire runs were impossible. For more information on wireless security systems check out the archive on my website at or

I know choosing any product or service can be difficult if the technology is foreign. I find a little simplification of alarms in general can be of help to clients. An alarm in its simplest form consists of a control panel similar to a computer, which has sensors connected to it (window contacts, motion detectors, glassbreak detectors, smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors etc.) The entire system is controlled by a keypad. How the zones react and what signals they send to the monitoring station is entirely programmable.

Choosing who installs your system, well now that can be about as fun as a root canal. I would suggest you ask around locally, try to find a company which is small enough to care but big has been around long enough to ensure you will continue to receive the service you were promised. I would avoid "Authorized dealers" as this typically means they sell their monitoring accounts to the host company. I really hate it when consumers are treated like commodities. I have written a little bit about choosing an alarm company in the false alarm section of

Aside from electronic security, there are several things you can do in and around your home to make it less inviting to the crackhead sector of society. Once again, feel free to check out protection 101 at for a little more information on securing your home.

I know I really didn't give you any specific companies, but I hope this will help you in your decision making process.

Good Luck



Could a home security system interfere with my home theater system?

I recently installed a wireless home security systems (ADT), and now I am noticing a clicking emanating from my home theater system. I am wondering if it is caused by the new security, and if so, how can I fix it?

A bit of detail on the clicking: it is similar to, but not the same as, the phone interference caused by certain (GSM) phones.


Best Answer - Chosen by Asker

This is one of the many reasons I stay away from Wireless Security Systems. The thing is, the industry is well aware of the problems wireless security systems cause. Unfortuntately the ease of installation and quick monitoring revenues tends to win out over providing a decent system.

I'm not going to profess to being an expert in home theatre, I don't know where the interference is entering the system. If you have RF audio or video transmission I could see that as the culprit. As for changing the frequency, I don't know if this can be done but if so, that might just fix your problem.

Another solution would be to block RF out of the media room, although costly, metal walls might do the trick.

Honestly, I would suggest you contact the company who sold you the system. If you are positive the alarm system is causing the problem, they can test it out by powering the ENTIRE system down. This includes the wireless door contacts, motion sensor and anything else that would be sending that pulse. If the problem goes away, tell them to make the system go away. Opt for a hardwired security system. Yes there is more work involved in the installation, but the quality is better.




What could be the cause of false alarms in a home alarm system (installed by a company, not a do it yourself)?

No pets on the premises.


Best Answer - Chosen by Voters

Many things can cause false alarms. The first thing to look at is the source of the false alarm.

If it is a motion detector, you might have a bug in the sensor or the sensor could have gone bad. Motion detectors also are prone to environmental issues (Particuarly the cheaper ones) Drafts, sources of heat and direct sunlight on the lens can cause problems.


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