DIY home security system

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Tenesmus83
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DIY home security system

Post by Tenesmus83 » Fri Apr 19, 2019 9:27 pm

the monthly fees for these home security systems like ADT are charging for "professional monitoring" can really add up.
$50 per month x 1 yr = $600 x 3 year contract = $1800. Anyone have any experience with these DIY home security systems
where you self-monitor? My only issue is that I have sensors pre-installed in the doors and windows during the built of the house
and I don't know if I can I can wire the connections to a home systems that I buy.

randybobandy
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Re: DIY home security system

Post by randybobandy » Fri Apr 19, 2019 9:30 pm

No experience with the DIY method, but my answer is 2 German Shepherds.

I know some companies offer the door sensors, Ring included. No experience but a friend told me setup was super easy.

shiftleft
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Re: DIY home security system

Post by shiftleft » Fri Apr 19, 2019 10:03 pm

If you are some what handy and technical, lookup ademco vista 20p along with EVL4. Just completed an install on a prewired home. It will text/email me with no continuous monthly cost. YouTube is super helpful on the panel install.

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fortfun
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Re: DIY home security system

Post by fortfun » Fri Apr 19, 2019 10:32 pm

Do you really need one? I thought we did when we moved into our house 15 years ago but never got around to it. Here we are 15 years later and zero problems. The news/web/TV/movies do a great job making us paranoid. But you may live in a high crime area...

Smoke
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Re: DIY home security system

Post by Smoke » Fri Apr 19, 2019 10:43 pm

I put my own hardwired system in 14 yrs ago, I pay $20 per month monitoring including fire.
Same system still running. I don't recall how much but I do get a discount off of my home ins.
System components cost about $500 back then, similar current setups are still about the same cost for a DIY installation.
Arguing for the sake of arguing is something I am not going to engage in.

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Watty
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Re: DIY home security system

Post by Watty » Fri Apr 19, 2019 11:23 pm

You may be able to just use your current system but just turn off the monitoring .

It was with different company but I had a system like that and the way that it worked was after something like 3 years the system was yours so you could do that.

Be sure to check your local burglar alarm permit requirements.

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serbeer
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Re: DIY home security system

Post by serbeer » Fri Apr 19, 2019 11:50 pm

I installed Ring and very happy with it. At $100/year monitoring fee, which includes lifetime warranty for very inexpensive to begin with equipment, you cannot go wrong with it. The system is wireless, uses z-wave sensors, but I never had a problem with any of them, used the system for over 6 months now. I also had pre-wired sensor from old ADT system and simply left them in place where they did not get in the way, and took them off and just kept the wiring for the future needs if they did, like with motion sensors on the walls. The only drawback is that I'll have to replace the batteries every two years in each sensor, the app will tell me when there is a need, already had to replace one because it sits on external garage door and drained the batteries in this one sensor when the temperatures dropped to -25F outside this winter. The other sensors are within house itself and their batteries are still showing as full green after half-year.

When I leave the house I just say "Alexa arm away" and it activates the system.

I had one false alarm, because put motion sensors in high-sensitivity mode from default of Medium, and it proved too sensitive in main foyer which is bathed in sunlight on sunny day, and monitoring worked fine, called in police and all. I put this motion sensor back into medium sensitivity mode and did not have false alarm since.

With monitored smoked detectors, leak and temperature sensors for basement, fridge, kitchen sink, etc, and even alarm listener that I was able to locate and successfully test near my fire sprinklers activation alert system, I feel that Ring is exactly what I wanted. I did not buy any cameras yet, but if I do their cloud storage and monitoring is actually covered by the same $100/fee. It is truly a bargain.

I had to call several times for customer service and got through within 5 mins every time, it is available 24/7.

In short I am very happy but there are some things you need to be aware of:

Installation is not as fast as their ad shows, at least if you have 25 sensors and several keypads as I do. I really had to spend an entire weekend because I do not trust glue strips they provide and used the screws that they also provide instead. One door proved to be really difficult and took me half-day to create a custom mount for sensors on it and the other half-day and calls to customer service during this weekend was to install and test the listener for fire sprinklers. The other 8 doors were not a problem though--15 mins each and I was done and same for smoke detectors, keypads, and leak sensors, all of them done in another day of the weekend.

Also, cellular backup in their system, which is based on AT&T network, is on a single red bar most of the time (out of 4). Rarely it goes to 2 yellow bars. Maybe it would be better if I moved it to the 2nd story of the house, but I want base station connected to router by Ethernet cable, not WiFi, and the router is on the 1st floor. I do not think 1 bar is a problem, as long as it stays connected, 1 bar is good enough. All it needs to send over cellular is alarm signal if router is cut off Internet. If I lose connection while rebooting router, I get the message about Ring switching to cellular backup and then back when the router comes up, so I think I am fine despite a single bar though I tried moving base station around on the same bery large office table and that did not seem to have any effect, whether it is next to wall or windows, etc.

I still plan to add 3 external cameras and electronic door locks to the system, they all work together, covered by the same fee, and controlled though the same app.

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FrugalInvestor
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Re: DIY home security system

Post by FrugalInvestor » Sat Apr 20, 2019 1:52 am

I use Wyze Cams which are about $25 each with no fee for immediate (app) notification and 2-week cloud storage of 'event' recordings. The cameras can also accept local SD cards for local storage of event or continuous recordings. Next month Wyze is also introducing a Wyze Sense kit including two door contacts and a motion sensor also for about $25 per kit.

Once I receive the Wyze Sense kits I'll have a nice basic security system for around $150 and no monthly fees.
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mancich
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Re: DIY home security system

Post by mancich » Sat Apr 20, 2019 5:05 am

FrugalInvestor wrote:
Sat Apr 20, 2019 1:52 am
I use Wyze Cams which are about $25 each with no fee for immediate (app) notification and 2-week cloud storage of 'event' recordings. The cameras can also accept local SD cards for local storage of event or continuous recordings. Next month Wyze is also introducing a Wyze Sense kit including two door contacts and a motion sensor also for about $25 per kit.

Once I receive the Wyze Sense kits I'll have a nice basic security system for around $150 and no monthly fees.
+1. This. We use (4) Wyze cams and you really get a lot for so little money. They're also coming out with exterior cams this year, in addition to the sensors. Their cams have been great. Plus night vision and 1080p, and 2-way sound

TheOscarGuy
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Re: DIY home security system

Post by TheOscarGuy » Sat Apr 20, 2019 6:30 am

randybobandy wrote:
Fri Apr 19, 2019 9:30 pm
No experience with the DIY method, but my answer is 2 German Shepherds.

I know some companies offer the door sensors, Ring included. No experience but a friend told me setup was super easy.
:D
I thought the same, but the wife disagreed. We went with golden who likes strangers more than us :wink:

I would advise simplisafe + wyze cams. They work for me, and are the cheapest option out there. It is a combination of paid (simplisafe) and buy once monitor yourself (wyze cam) solution, and has worked well for us.

tmcc
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Re: DIY home security system

Post by tmcc » Sat Apr 20, 2019 6:52 am

If you're OK with up front investment, you can build a robust home network server for TV streaming and for home security use. You can use MS Onedrive to archive event recordings. Blueiris software is like $60 for a perpetual license and IP cameras are $50-200 each depending on features. Hi res (720p) security camera is CPU intensive so if you skimp on the server, you may not get the results you want.

You must then also wire Cat5 or cat6 cable to each interior/exterior location that you want a camera. You could also go with wifi but wifi can be disrupted/jammed. If you're actually concerned with security, you have to wire it.

Up front costs can be around $3-3.5k (server, hard drives, processing, software, RAM) but then you have full control of everything for nothing per month but what the power usage costs you. if you buy a used server on ebay, you may be able to get it all done for $1,500 + wiring.

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papiper
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Re: DIY home security system

Post by papiper » Sat Apr 20, 2019 7:17 am

I also have Ring now (and Lowe's now abandoned IRIS before that). You probably won't be able to find a DIY system that works with your prewired system. The sensors on something like Ring are very easy to install but are visible - about the size of a large pack of chewing gum on the frame of the door.
Last edited by papiper on Sat Apr 20, 2019 6:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

whomever
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Re: DIY home security system

Post by whomever » Sat Apr 20, 2019 8:40 am

My only issue is that I have sensors pre-installed in the doors and windows during the built of the house
and I don't know if I can I can wire the connections to a home systems that I buy.
You can have 'traditional' systems monitored for under $10 a month - alarmrelay.com is one such vendor.

Traditional hardwired systems consist of a central control unit and then remote sensors. The hardwired remote sensors usually have a pretty simple interface - essentially whether the circuit is open or closed.

My understanding is that the proprietary vendors, like perhaps ADT, make their control units incompatible with the industry standard monitoring protocols, but you can install a traditional control unit (like DSC, Honeywell, etc) that will connect to the existing hardwired sensors and them talk to one of the traditional cheap monitoring companies.

I have installed my own system that way, and configuring the control unit has a steep learning curve. What I would suggest is finding a local alarm company - not one of the nationwide proprietary ones - and ask what it would cost to install a new control unit configured to connect to one of the cheap monitoring services. The hardware to do that should be a hundred odd bucks, plus whatever their labor is.

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RickBoglehead
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Re: DIY home security system

Post by RickBoglehead » Sat Apr 20, 2019 8:57 am

For those that don't know, your homeowner's insurance should offer a discount for a central station monitored alarm system. Self-monitoring doesn't get you a discount.

Burglary and fire protection monitoring are normal. Check into whether other forms of monitoring provide additional discounts, such as water leak, freeze, etc. 1 year of monitoring with Alarm Relay (first year is $8.95 x 12 = $107.40) was not only covered, but we made a profit by monitoring additional things. Note that CO monitoring does not provide a discount, because your homeowner's insurance doesn't insure a life, it insures a structure and possessions which CO doesn't harm.

Our insurance company has recently toughened what it allows a discount for. Use to be an alert that there was a water leak, now it requires an automatic shutoff of water also.

Note also that Alarm Relay's cost per month is $8.95 for the first year ONLY. Then it's $9.95 a year, then $10.45 a year in the third year, and it stays there. This requires a POTS (plain old telephone system) connection. When we dumped our phone line we installed a cellular device on our alarm system (had to buy that), and it adds $10 per month to the alarm monitoring. Our system has no smart phone interface, and cannot be armed or disarmed remotely (it's 14 years old).

We have Simplisafe on our cottage. Uses entirely wireless sensors, keypads and sirens. No contract, monitoring is $14.99 or $24.99 a month. You have use only Simplisafe's hardware, so existing sensors would be irrelevant.

Just like there are financial forums like Bogleheads.org, there are forums for other things, including home alarms. This is not the place to gather much knowledge, I would recommend https://www.doityourself.com/forum/elec ... evices-87/, http://www.shieldlab.com/forum/index.php?topic=35906.0, and https://forum.smarthome.com/forum.asp?FORUM_ID=11. Note that some of these forums are owned by companies selling equipment.
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tibbitts
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Re: DIY home security system

Post by tibbitts » Sat Apr 20, 2019 8:59 am

randybobandy wrote:
Fri Apr 19, 2019 9:30 pm
No experience with the DIY method, but my answer is 2 German Shepherds.

I know some companies offer the door sensors, Ring included. No experience but a friend told me setup was super easy.
Security isn't necessarily improved by German Shepherds; if they are kept inside, where they would be likely be the most effective at defending property against intruders, they would likely be killed if a fire happened, and you wouldn't even know that was happening. So most people would still want a security system.

I pay too much for my monitoring, and it's kind of a miracle that the system is still working with no maintenance after more than a quarter of a century. I didn't know that electronics would be so reliable. My motion sensor became unreliable last year, and I've had to change my fire sensor, but the panel and controls are original.

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mikestorm
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Re: DIY home security system

Post by mikestorm » Sat Apr 20, 2019 10:19 am

I have the same setup as OP and we went off professional monitoring to self monitor. Basically in lieu of the professional monitoring, in the attic and basement of my home we have two large siren speakers. The system functions in the home like it did before, but when the alarm trips, rather than communicating with alarm company, a loud siren goes off in the home. It's designed to wake up the house and spook whoever's not supposed to be in it. Think car alarm for your house.

I augmented it with a Nest Hello. We're pretty happy. We don't think the value add of professional monitoring overcomes the expense.

tibbitts
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Re: DIY home security system

Post by tibbitts » Sat Apr 20, 2019 10:54 am

mikestorm wrote:
Sat Apr 20, 2019 10:19 am
I have the same setup as OP and we went off professional monitoring to self monitor. Basically in lieu of the professional monitoring, in the attic and basement of my home we have two large siren speakers. The system functions in the home like it did before, but when the alarm trips, rather than communicating with alarm company, a loud siren goes off in the home. It's designed to wake up the house and spook whoever's not supposed to be in it. Think car alarm for your house.

I augmented it with a Nest Hello. We're pretty happy. We don't think the value add of professional monitoring overcomes the expense.
That's useful for the case when you're home, but doesn't get you the insurance discount, and doesn't help when you're away - or if there's a fire.

whomever
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Re: DIY home security system

Post by whomever » Sat Apr 20, 2019 11:13 am

"That's useful for the case when you're home, but doesn't get you the insurance discount, and doesn't help when you're away..."

(emphasis added)

In this day when a burglar doesn't know whether an alarm uses a cable or cellular to contact the alarm company, I'd think it would take a brave burglar to hang around and see if the police show up or not. They could, but my sense is that run of the mill burglars would just move on to another house. It would certainly interrupt more burglaries than not having an alarm at all :-)

(I'm speaking of burglary here; an unmonitored system isn't going to do anything for fire/water leak/freezing)

Topic Author
Tenesmus83
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Re: DIY home security system

Post by Tenesmus83 » Sat Apr 20, 2019 1:00 pm

Since my house has sensors pre-wired, I would really like to take over the control panel. Anyone have experience
doing the wiring of your own system? Then use wifi to self-monitor all of your sensors via your app.

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DanMahowny
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Re: DIY home security system

Post by DanMahowny » Sat Apr 20, 2019 2:07 pm

randybobandy wrote:
Fri Apr 19, 2019 9:30 pm
No experience with the DIY method, but my answer is 2 German Shepherds.
Very nice.

I have 2 working line German Shepherds. And both are protection trained. We do one hour of bite work every Saturday morning.

When they hear a noise, the female goes to investigate, and the male stands next to my wife.
Funding secured

randybobandy
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Re: DIY home security system

Post by randybobandy » Sat Apr 20, 2019 9:23 pm

DanMahowny wrote:
Sat Apr 20, 2019 2:07 pm
If you have the time I would greatly appreciate if you were able to post a picture of the two. One day I will have a beautiful German Shepherd, preferably two. Presently I move too much due to work (6 moves in 10 years) for it to be fair to have one.

-RandyBoBandy

drawpoker
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Re: DIY home security system

Post by drawpoker » Sat Apr 20, 2019 9:44 pm

DanMahowny wrote:
Sat Apr 20, 2019 2:07 pm

...have 2 working line German Shepherds......both are protection trained.......When they hear a noise, the female goes to investigate, and the male stands next to my wife.
Okay, then, just what is it that You do.... :?:

tmcc
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Re: DIY home security system

Post by tmcc » Sun Apr 21, 2019 5:58 am

drawpoker wrote:
Sat Apr 20, 2019 9:44 pm
DanMahowny wrote:
Sat Apr 20, 2019 2:07 pm

...have 2 working line German Shepherds......both are protection trained.......When they hear a noise, the female goes to investigate, and the male stands next to my wife.
Okay, then, just what is it that You do.... :?:
not a concern, that's why he got the dogs! 8-)

shiftleft
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Re: DIY home security system

Post by shiftleft » Sun Apr 21, 2019 6:04 am

Tenesmus83 wrote:
Sat Apr 20, 2019 1:00 pm
Since my house has sensors pre-wired, I would really like to take over the control panel. Anyone have experience
doing the wiring of your own system? Then use wifi to self-monitor all of your sensors via your app.
I just did this. See my earlier response.

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