Question Alternatives to contact sensors for home alarm systems.

minesuch

Novice Member
Hi all,

Does anyone know of any alternatives to traditional magnetic contact sensors for a home alarm system?

Currently have a Yale system with PIRs and contacts on all doors and windows but it's become unreliable over time so I'd like to replace it. The system has the ability to "Home Arm", whereby only the contacts are armed so you can be protected whilst in the home and not set off the PIRs.

I've just had new windows and doors installed and I'd like, if possible, to not have to use contacts going forward. Is there anything on the market that would protect a door/window with something like perhaps a laser or infrared beam or grid? A professional installation would be ok. I'm prepared to pay whatever it takes to not have contacts on each opening. I still want the ability to arm the alarm whilst I'm indoors without it activating on my own movement. In this scenario, the only thing that should set it off would be the opening of a door/window.

I hope my question is clear enough.

Thanks.
 

minesuch

Novice Member
Thanks for the suggestion but from looking at how these work, I don't think they'd detect if a window or door was forcibly opened without breaking the glass, as in with a crowbar for example.
I really need something that triggers if a threshold is crossed.
Thanks again.
 

minesuch

Novice Member
Because it's a feature on my existing alarm called 'Home Arm' that I'd like to carry over. It's so that you can monitor all doors and windows whilst still being active inside the home, or while you sleep.
 

Fabien

Active Member
Minesuch - Are you able to elaborate why you dislike door / window contacts? Is it that they are surface mount? Or are wireless and unreliable?

In order for you to achieve decent perimeter security to allow for 'Home Arm' (or Night Mode) you would actually be adding more cumbersome technology such as IR barriers / Laser Tripwires that ultimately would be more visible (and therefore easy to bypass)

There are many options when it comes to door/window contacts... Flush / Surface, Wired / Wireless, Magnetic / Switch etc so hopefully there is something that fits the bill.

One issue you may have with not having contacts on at least the Front Door (Exit) is that the current alarm exit timer will have to 'timeout' in order to arm (as opposed to using the door contact to register you have left)

If you are really against this technology then there are other (more expensive) technologies such as RF Tomography (e.g. Xandemhome) that may do what you want, however the fact door contacts were used on alarms 50 years ago and are still in use today kinda tells you something..

Hope this helps..

Fabien
 

minesuch

Novice Member
Minesuch - Are you able to elaborate why you dislike door / window contacts? Is it that they are surface mount? Or are wireless and unreliable?

The primary reason is ergonomics. The way my windows are built would mean using roughly an inch of shims to bring the magnets flush with the switches and even then, I'd still be left with a wide gap as the frames are bevelled and don't allow placement of a surface mount switch close to the edge.

The second reason is that the ones I currently use have given me loads of false tamper signals over the years despite being seated correctly.

The third, less important reason is aesthetics. Especially with the messing around I'd need to do to get them flush and minimize the gap distance.

I've found some recessed wireless contacts, the 5800micra (they're installed in the frame and invisible and would be perfect) by Honeywell but they don't seem to be available in the UK. Obviously I could order them from the US but I'm not sure if the control panel and siren they're compatible with is suitable for UK use. Honeywell support are no help as they only deal with trade enquiries.

The Xandem Home system looks interesting. Do you know if you can arm and disarm individual floors with the app? If that's possible, I could just have the ground floor covered while I sleep. The cost isn't actually unreasonable and I'd be prepared to pay it.

Edit: I've just seen that you need one kit per floor and you can indeed arm and disarm each kit from its respective interface. Now to see if I can find a supplier in the UK.

Thanks for your reply.
 
Last edited:

Fabien

Active Member
I looked at them a while back (think either the 2GIG or DSC alarm supported them) however they worked on an rf frequency not licensed in the UK

Xandem is US so a bit of a pain with their sockets, however they do a DC version that might work with the suitable transformer

If you want to go down the home automation route at anytime (turning lights on when you return home as you come through the door etc) you might want to ditch you Yale alarm and take a look at these door / window contacts

Strips smart home sensors for DIY consumers - Sensative

They are Zwave (and run neodymium magnets I think - solving your gap issue) and will talk to most automation hubs which in turn could run your alarm giving you app alerts and remote control capability etc

Just a thought

Fabien
 

Barry_

Well-known Member
Those strips are interesting!!
 

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