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The old alarm monitoring thread was not updated since July 2011, and I thought it would be helpful to start a new one with updated information and better deals. Old thread here: http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/hot-deals/421296/

You can switch your current alarm monitoring service and save some money. Both SmartHome.com and alarmrelay.com charge $8.95/mo with a one-time $35 setup fee. Much better than ADT's $35/mo and I've heard worse from other companies.

Links:

http://www.alarmrelay.com/
http://www.smarthome.com/alarm.html

Alarm Relay advertises on the http://www.diysecurityforum.com/ forums and are highly rated and respected there. Their ad on the diy forums site takes you to http://www.homesecuritystore.com/alarm-monitoring/ which is the same company as alarmrelay.com. I called them to find out how the switching process goes. You fill out their form online, and they call you within a couple of days to walk you through the programming.

I am going to switch tomorrow and will update this post on how the switch goes.

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Thank you Hypnosis4u2nv...glad I found this post.
Looks like I will order Eyez-On Envisalink from here
Gives the option to... (more)

imtiaz78 (May. 21, 2013 @ 12:15p) |

That would be the IP monitoring option that I mentioned which AlarmRelay also offers. You buy the board, then buy the m... (more)

EradicateSpam (May. 21, 2013 @ 12:40p) |

I didn't see this mentioned anywhere but for those of you who have an Ademco alarm system and are interested in reactive... (more)

jplee3 (May. 21, 2013 @ 1:13p) |

Some forums for additional help:

www.diysecurityforum.com
www.diyalarmforum.com
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We're definitely going to look into this. ADT raises its prices every year, and we are now up to $53+ every month. Thanks, OP!

MrLincoln said:   We're definitely going to look into this. ADT raises its prices every year, and we are now up to $53+ every month. Thanks, OP!wow..what a huge ripoff.

How does this work?
Will I need a new control box?
I thought ADT and Brinks etc... "lock" the controller
once you cancel there service??

How's the service

It seems the land-line is required no cell uplink. In TX - take a look at Smith Thompson Security. $17/month, pay for 11 get 1 month free. Cell-uplink, decent support - $39 service call. For me it beats having $15+/month for the homephone.


Ademco "1393" key
Disclaimer
How does it work? In about 1,000 different ways, few of which are intended to be favorable to the homeowner.

The best way for you is for:

1. you to own the equipment (meaning the installation cost was about $1,000 or more),
2. for your initial (typically three year) monitoring contract to have expired leaving you on a month-to-month basis,
3. for your contract to NOT have an automatic-renewal clause unless you opt-out in a specific way by a specific date (many of the more sleazy alarm companies do this),
4. for the alarm company to NOT have locked the box with a physical key that you don't have,
5. for you to have both the user manual and installer manuals for your control box,
6. for the alarm company to NOT have set a secret code for access to the panel settings, and
7. for your current company to gracefully allow you to leave without continuing to bill you, charge your credit card or debit your checking account for months to come.

Good luck getting all of that. If you are lucky enough to, you can transfer without problems.

Guidance on these items:

1, 2 and 3: If you fail any of these three, you are scr*ewed, at least until your contract runs out. READ IT, be aware of the cancellation provisions, and act in time at the next renewal point.

4. All alarm control panels by a given manufacturer use the same key. That is, they are all keyed-alike. Probably over 50% of household panels are Ademco (now owned by Honeywell) brand, and almost all of them use the "1393" key. Your neighbor probably has one you can duplicate. Or, you can buy a key for your brand on FleaBay for under $10 with almost a 100% certainty that it will fit. Note that some alarm companies private-brand the panels, but you can still probably figure out who made the panel by looking at the manual, the inside of the keypad, or the transformer block.

5. Almost all alarm control panel manuals can be found for download on-line. Search on Google for (brand) (model) Installation manual, Ex: Ademco Vista 10-P Installer manual Alternative search: (brand) (model) Programming manual. You will need the installation/programming manual to set up the new monitoring company, and for future use. Alternative: buy one on FleaBay for a few bucks.

6. Even if your sleazy alarm company set a custom programming pass code, there is always a "back door" way to bypass the lockout. For example, (thanks to the manual I found with the step above), to gain access PROGRAMMING MODE in a locked-out Ademco Vista 10 panel, first try the default code 4 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 8 + 0 + 0. If this doesn't work (because the sleazy installer changed the 4112), then disconnect the panel power (must pull the transformer block AND disconnect the battery), wait 10 seconds, then power up and press [*] and [#] at the same time, within 50 seconds of powering up. This information is in the installation/programming manual, as well as the other programming info that you will need.

7. Cancel the contract exactly how it says to, and on time. Keep records of everything you do, including mail return receipts. If they keep charging you, treat them like any other crook: dispute with your bank, file complaints with your state consumer protection agency, file complaint with the BBB, etc.

As a final note, ADT *will* sometimes roll back a price increase. The only reason I am still with them is that I pay $18/month. Every time they try to raise my rate, I call and tell them I have an old (key word OLD) contract with a fixed rate. If you argue enough, they will give in. Over the years, ADT has bought up so many local alarm companies with so many different contracts that they have no idea what your contract says, or even where to find it in their Indiana-Jones-style warehouse.

Now, have at them!

I have Alarm Relay. I moved into a home that had monitoring with their builder's company. I asked them for the code, they offered to program access for me for a fee. I found manuals online and the default codes worked. I reset the system to block their access, did my research, and then went with Alarm Relay. The $35 fee gives you setup over the phone, so you need to have panel access.

In the second year the fee goes to $9.95 a month, then $10.45 in year 3 and beyond, based on annual payment, so you are locked into a year at a time. Support is excellent, as is response to an alarm, they call quickly. In addition to POTS monitoring, they offer cell for an additional fee and their Alarm Relay Internet Module (ARIM), which monitors over the web, which you buy for $144, with no additional monthly fee. Monitoring includes fire and things like co2.

Their service is designed for the do it yourselfer, if you need help they refer you to independent installers.

For the really cheap people that don't want the security that monitoring brings to your family, it also saves me more per year on my homeowner's insurance...

Could somebody also help with the equipment? where can I find quality equipment and can i install most of it by myself. thanks

Aren't these their regular prices?

I have an old Brinks system (circa 1995) that has a red light turned on but it doesn't do anything.
Previous home owner didn't use the system and I don't have a user manual either.
Does anyone know how to activate it ?

paribest said:   Could somebody also help with the equipment? where can I find quality equipment and can i install most of it by myself. thanks
The alternate website that OP mentioned for alarmrelay.com, http://www.homesecuritystore.com, sells hardware. I seem to remember that I found cheaper prices on Ademco/Honeywell equipment somewhere else, though. It's been a few years since I upgraded my system, but I think I may have just bought through Amazon.

If you're thinking of building or upgrading a system you should definitely check out the http://www.diysecurityforum.com/ site that OP mentioned. It was a great resource when I added key fobs for my house, and while I'm fairly technically inclined I was a total noob on alarm systems and our existing system didn't have an alpha-numeric panel (which makes the programming a little more interesting). Anyway, very knowledgeable and helpful people on that forum. If you're reasonably technical, between downloading/reading equipment manuals and asking questions at diy you should be okay.

fattysaver said:   I have an old Brinks system (circa 1995) that has a red light turned on but it doesn't do anything.
Previous home owner didn't use the system and I don't have a user manual either.
Does anyone know how to activate it ?


Is there a part number on the controller board of the Brinks system? If so try Googling it for manuals. That's how I got started when I wanted to upgrade my system without overpaying the installer for a few key fobs.

Everything worked out great with my install aside from the cops showing up at 10PM. Apparently I got a little over zealous showing my wife how well the new fobs worked. After a couple of hits on the Panic buttons (which I cancelled instantly each time) our monitoring company didn't even bother calling the house, just called the cops right away.

Makes sense in hindsight. Lesson for anyone upgrading a monitored system themselves, call your local police to let them know before you do any testing. Fortunately the police in our area allow a few false alarm calls before they start fining you, but from what I've heard this isn't the case in all areas.

Simply call your monitoring company and put the system in "test mode", don't call the police.

Are you saying that these two companies will charge $8.95 for monitoring if you already have equipment installed? http://www.alarmrelay.com/
http://www.smarthome.com/alarm.html

If I do not have equipment installed then from where I start? Which equipment and from where to buy?

If somebody breaks in, hit them over the head with it!

gamebeaross said:   MrLincoln said:   We're definitely going to look into this. ADT raises its prices every year, and we are now up to $53+ every month. Thanks, OP!wow..what a huge ripoff.

your peace of mind cost a lot more than that. Car insurance. Umbrella insurance and all that.

I have geoarm and I'm happy with them.
Their website is www.geoarm.com
Their service starts at $10 a month.

I bought the Honeywell Lynx 5000 with their interactive service. I can use my android or iphone to arm or disarm the system.

This is the regular price. I have been with them for over two years. I got a call once when all power outage was there.

We have no phone line, and paying extra for cellphone monitoring seems silly when internet is always on. Is this "$149" Internet Module from Alarm Relay the best deal for broadband/IP monitoring? Anyone have any other recommendations?

If your home is wired already, installing a new board in the old box is really easy. Just label the wires. Remove from the old board. Install a new board that works with Alarm Relay, Geoarm, etc. Program the board with the help of whomever you subscribe with. No more $53 bills. You can get system boards at Geoarm.com or Safemart.com. Good instructions can be found online with a few simple googles.

Another alarmrelay happy customer. Doing GSM cellular only as I still use Vonage, costs me $264 for the year (prepaid). I went for a DSC Alexor. To me, it was the best split wireless system (ie control panel separate from keypad) but that's also user friendly. The Alexor (so far - haven't checked in a while though) is locked to use connect24 service and therefore you have to use their own SIM and pay about $10 a month extra in addition to what landline monitoring would cost.

Note - this unit only has ONE phone jack, so you can't add your own GSM box ($50-$80 chinese and a $100 T-Mobile prepaid) to do cellular backup.

I bought a kit (with GSM only - should have spend the extra and gotten internet - oh well) at fleabay, then flipped the included contacts as I wanted low profile ones. I got those, plus smoke detectors and Plunge-D contacts for the doors at the homesecuritystore.com

If you would have an independent installer set you up (ie you pay just a per hour rate) then you would probably want to go with an Ademco Vista 20p wireless.

Two sites I recommend: diysecurityform.com and diyalarmforum.com

Dotbody said:   We have no phone line, and paying extra for cellphone monitoring seems silly when internet is always on. Is this "$149" Internet Module from Alarm Relay the best deal for broadband/IP monitoring? Anyone have any other recommendations?

Internet always on? who's your provider, comcrap? they do tests every week around 2am - you want the alarm to start beeping that it lost internet? Also, burglars know to cut phone wires before breaking in - today they cut any coax coming into the house, or if you have fios, the fiber.

Of course, if they want to come in, they will have a cell jammer, but they need to guess where the panel is to get close to it.

Best option is to have all three.

There's a couple of sites that dedicate to self or live internet monitoring. They sell options to add to your own system as well. myvirtualmonitoring.com and youralarm.com are a couple.

how about a security system that emails/texts/calls you on your cell

so no monitoring needed for any $ per month?

rsuaver said:   Internet always on? who's your provider, comcrap? they do tests every week around 2am - you want the alarm to start beeping that it lost internet?Interesting theory... At any rate, I certainly would want to disable any "internet disabled" alarms, since downtimes are bound to happen.

My opinion on security is that there comes a point where the cost to reduce risk surpasses the need. I could sell my car and buy an Excursion, I could armor plate my exterior drywall, I could buy three different monitoring solutionsóeventually the cost outweighs the practicality.

We use a company called USA Fire & Burglar, and it's been $12.50/month for 10+ years. I can't believe the prices some of these companies charge. If there is a USA in your area, I certainly recommend them.

Ah, looks like this is going to take a lot of research. I was leaning towards SimpliSafe, but I think you are locked into their service. While it is reasonably priced now, I'd like flexibility in case they get greedy (or more likely, acquired by someone like ADT). The only plus for me is that with a townhome, I don't need too much equipment. Two doors, and then I could probably get away with pet-safe motion sensors for front and back rooms that have multiple windows. I would like to be able to put a camera in eventually, but I can do that with a NAS too. The big thing is I would want cellular capability, don't want to rely on Fios for my security system.

mrkk said:   how about a security system that emails/texts/calls you on your cell

so no monitoring needed for any $ per month?


As I indicated, the savings on my homeowners' insurance each year is greater than the cost of monitoring, so why wouldn't you monitor?

"Subscribe to this topic", don't need it today but will in the future. I have a builder system from 2004. I would probably replace the whole system when I need a security system.

EradicateSpam said:   As I indicated, the savings on my homeowners' insurance each year is greater than the cost of monitoring, so why wouldn't you monitor?

Going to shop home owners. Have to see if it offsets the cost for me.

Dotbody said:   We have no phone line, and paying extra for cellphone monitoring seems silly when internet is always on. Is this "$149" Internet Module from Alarm Relay the best deal for broadband/IP monitoring? Anyone have any other recommendations?

It's $144, not $149.

Whether it's the cheapest or not is really not the issue, since alarm monitoring has other benefits including notifying police or fire if the system is triggered. You need to look at:

- Annual monitoring cost plus the cost to add broadband (this module is a one-time purchase).
- Quality of broadband monitoring - i.e. is another solution as good from a reliability standpoint. The ARIM monitors continuously and if the signal is lost then it triggers the monitoring station to contact the homeowner.
- Some internet solutions are not reliable. VoIP has many issues with the transmission of data. If you adopt a solution that your monitoring company doesn't endorse, they may ask you to sign a waiver.
- You also want to ensure they are a UL certified central station, and of course check the company's BBB rating.
- I also ensured that there isn't any company that passes along the info to them. For example, if you get certain cell monitoring, it goes to that company and then they send it to the alarm company. To me, that's risky.

VicVinegar said:   Ah, looks like this is going to take a lot of research. I was leaning towards SimpliSafe, but I think you are locked into their service. While it is reasonably priced now, I'd like flexibility in case they get greedy (or more likely, acquired by someone like ADT). The only plus for me is that with a townhome, I don't need too much equipment. Two doors, and then I could probably get away with pet-safe motion sensors for front and back rooms that have multiple windows. I would like to be able to put a camera in eventually, but I can do that with a NAS too. The big thing is I would want cellular capability, don't want to rely on Fios for my security system.

Where did you see this?

I was looking at their offering too, but they don't (currently) have glass breaking sensors.

Does anyone know if the Alarm Relay pricing is the same if I have low temperature, smokes and water leak sensors on my system? Iím getting wacked by ADT for $51 a month and just came off contract. I called Alarm Relay and their sales office isnít open until 11 EST. I have no patience.

EradicateSpam said:   

As I indicated, the savings on my homeowners' insurance each year is greater than the cost of monitoring, so why wouldn't you monitor?


I guess that depends on what you pay for monitoring.

My feeling has always been, if you live in a residential area and only have a bugular alarm, you can get by without monitoring. the siren is usually enough to scare off the casual thief unless it's know that you have massive amounts of cash on hand or there is a contract on your life. when they hear the siren, they assume that the police have been notified and your neighbors will be looking out the window, so they quickly move on

if your smoke and CO2 monitors are wired into your panel, monitoring is a must in my book, since you aren't going to scare flames or gas away by making a lot of noise

One question on smokes. An ADT tech told me that they will never stop monitoring my smokes even if I go off contract. They made a decision from a liability perspective to notify the local FD if the equipment is in place and signals. Does anyone know this to be true?

FattestGuy said:   Does anyone know if the Alarm Relay pricing is the same if I have low temperature, smokes and water leak sensors on my system? Iím getting wacked by ADT for $51 a month and just came off contract. I called Alarm Relay and their sales office isnít open until 11 EST. I have no patience.

They're in California, and the sales office only works normal business hours.

I monitor smokes and co2, I believe they don't care what you monitor in a home including a sprinkler system. As long as your system can monitor it, they'll monitor the alerts.

freakinout said:   EradicateSpam said:   

As I indicated, the savings on my homeowners' insurance each year is greater than the cost of monitoring, so why wouldn't you monitor?


I guess that depends on what you pay for monitoring.

My feeling has always been, if you live in a residential area and only have a bugular alarm, you can get by without monitoring. the siren is usually enough to scare off the casual thief unless it's know that you have massive amounts of cash on hand or there is a contract on your life. when they hear the siren, they assume that the police have been notified and your neighbors will be looking out the window, so they quickly move on

if your smoke and CO2 monitors are wired into your panel, monitoring is a must in my book, since you aren't going to scare flames or gas away by making a lot of noise


Yes, it matters what you pay. My analysis was based upon paying $10.45 a month, $125.40 a year for AlarmRelay. My insurance company, AMICA, gives the following discounts:

- 2% for smoke detectors in the home.
- 5% for central monitoring of police or fire
- 10% for central monitoring of police AND fire

I net about $100 a year with the discount less Alarm Relay's monitoring cost.

Okay, question. I just bought a house that has an ADT alarm system (main box (includes the "cellular" module), sensors on doors, not sure what else). Who owns this? Is this a part of the house or does ADT own it? Can I use this equipment with Alarm Relay?

I took the plunge last year to install my own security system in my home.. I found that that the installers around my area would charge double what HomeSecurityStore.com would sell the equipment for and then they would lock you in for a minimum of 2 years at $30 a month average monitoring.. It just didn't make any financial sense to have them install and monitor.. I eventually settled for the DSC 1616 system with wireless motions, door sensors, smoke alarms, flood sensors and remote keyfobs.. The toughest part of the installation was running the wires for the two keypads and the siren to the panel.. I did get into some problems with the programming but HomeSecurityStore.com has lifetime technical support on what you buy and they helped me out a few times while I dialed in the programming on my system.. I would recommend you get at least one alpha-numerical message keypad for your system to help with the programming..

I only do cellular monitoring since I have VoIP and my cable lines are easily accessible by the driveway and if cut I would lose phone and internet.. My cellular monitoring was setup through YourAlarm.com and they seemed to offer the best rates when you purchased an annual commitment in advance.. I also added a Eyez-On Envisalink module to my panel for $99 which allows me to control and monitor my system through any internet enabled device free of charge..

EradicateSpam said:   mrkk said:   how about a security system that emails/texts/calls you on your cell

so no monitoring needed for any $ per month?


As I indicated, the savings on my homeowners' insurance each year is greater than the cost of monitoring, so why wouldn't you monitor?


thats a good point

my house is new, built in 2008
came with security system, it says quantum on the control panel,
inside the board is this most probably http://www.dsc.com/index.php?n=products&o=view&id=1
All the windows/doors are secured, so it chimes when you open any of them

I am guessing I can activate this for monitoring

Hypnosis4u2nv said:   I eventually settled for the DSC 1616 system with wireless motions, door sensors, smoke alarms, flood sensors and remote keyfobs..
...
I only do cellular monitoring since I have VoIP and my cable lines are easily accessible by the driveway and if cut I would lose phone and internet.. My cellular monitoring was setup through YourAlarm.com and they seemed to offer the best rates when you purchased an annual commitment in advance..


how much are you paying monthly?



I remember this came up in clark howard

http://www.clarkhoward.com/news/clark-howard/homes-real-estate/s...


also see - A Security System that Calls You!


http://home.comcast.net/~ronlarnold/protector%20plus/protector%2...

Skipping 166 Messages...
I didn't see this mentioned anywhere but for those of you who have an Ademco alarm system and are interested in reactive monitoring (where you'd just get alerts/notifications via emails/cellphone/whatever, you could pick up an ad2usb (google it).

The caveat is that it will take some level of programming/hacking to be made useful. It's basically a USB keypad interface (wired onto the panel just like you're connecting another keypad), so it can send/receive signals between the panel and the computer it's plugged into.

In my case, I hooked it up then plugged it into an old Linksys NSLU2 (running a Linux distro). There's a simple program called "ser2sock" written to communicate with the ad2usb. From there, the possibilities are endless (at least, if you're a developer/hacker or just plain interested). I had mine outputting all events to a log, and then I have ossec monitoring the log to send alerts via email and even texts (probably could be more straightforward if you just program these eventhandlers into ser2sock, etc). Actually the whole rig is currently down because I was having networking issues. Obviously, it's as 'redundant' and 'failsafe' as you make it haha. But pretty cool if you're interested in tinkering.

You can also interface to the ad2usb via ser2sock, so you can send equivalent keypad commands, etc. Pretty nifty.



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