Category Archives for "Security Systems"

How to Bypass a Zone on a Honeywell LYNX Touch

Bypassing a Zone

Arm your Security System from Ready State

In order to arm your Honeywell LYNX Security System, it will need to be in the “READY” state.  That means that all zones should be in their closed position.  ThisIntegrated Security System isn’t always possible.  If the main display says “not ready”, it means the system believes that one of the zones is in a faulted/open position. Pressing the zone icon will bring up a list of zones that are open.

  • Door or Window left open
  • Door was replaced
  • Sensor malfunction
  • Magnet fell off door
  • Wire got cut
  • Trouble or Alarm condition not cleared.

Bypassing a Zone

Bypassing the faulted zone will allow you to arm the security system while temporarily ignoring the fault.  In order to bypass the zone, you simply select the zone you wish to by-pass from the zones screen and press the bypass button. It will ask you for your 4-digit user code. The zone will now be bypassed for one arming cycle

Arming the Security System

With the ready light green, you may now arm the security sytem as usual.  It should be noted though, that once the system is disarmed, you will have to repeat the bypass process to arm the next time.  This is to prevent you from forgetting about the faulted zone.  It should also be noted that the bypassed zone is not protected while by-passed.

If you have any other questions about your honeywell security system, you can consult your Honeywell users manual, or call us at (913) 667-7500.  If you don’t have a user’s manual, send an email to operations@shieldkc.com and we will send you an electronic copy.

How to Silence Security System Siren

How to Silence Security System Siren without Passcode

When your alarm system goes off there are recommended ways of silencing the siren and cancelling the alarm.  There are situation though where the Siren won’t stop with normal means.  Such causes include:

  • Security System was powered off in alarm and when plugged back in the siren started
  • A power surge damaged system
  • System was armed accidentally and the user code is not known

Regardless of the cause, when that siren sounds, people are in a hurry to find a way to silence it.  In most cases, the following steps will work:

  1. For a traditional security system, find the alarm control box (figure 1), which is often hidden out of sight in a closet or in the basement.  It will usually be a large metal box with many wires running into it.
  2. Open the box with the key that should be nearby.  Some boxes are held shut with a screw.
  3. Remove either the red or black wire from a terminal on the security system battery (figure 2).  The battery will be a large rectangular object measuring roughly 4″ x 4″ x 3″
  4. Next Find the transformer (figure 3) that is plugged into the wall near the security system.  It is usually a tan cube about 3″x3″x3″ with a wire leading to the security system control panel.  Unplug the transformer.  Sometimes it will be screwed to the outlet in which case you will need to remove the screw first.

Once you have removed all of the power from the system, the siren will be silenced.

Note! Very often, people will call us to silence an alarm only to find out that it was not the security system that was making the noise.  It was often a smoke detector or carbon monoxide detector near by.

Important Note! If you are unsure of what you are doing, call your security system company to talk you through the steps to make sure that you have identified the correct components and are removing the correct wires, etc.

Figure 3: Security System Transformer

Figure 3: Security System Transformer

Honeywell Security Panel

Figure 1: Security Panel

Security System Battery

Figure 2: Security System Battery

How to Delete User on Honeywell Vista Security System

Honeywell 6150 KeypadHow to Delete User

From time to time there will come the need to delete a user from your security system.  This might happen when an employee leaves, switch baby sitters, or any number of other circumstances.

To delete a user from a Honeywell Vista 10p/15p/20p/21ip, you do the following:

  • Enter your 4-digit master code
  • press the 8/code button
  • press the 2-digit user number, example 03
  • press #0

Should you have any other questions, you can consult your honeywell user’s guide or call our Kansas City office at (913) 667-7500

How to Bypass a Zone on HoneyWell Vista Security System

Honeywell 6150 KeypadBypassing a Zone

Arm your Security System from Ready State

In order to arm your Honeywell Security System, it will need to be in the “READY” state.  That means that all zones should be in their closed position.  This isn’t always possible.  When you want to arm your system the green ready light should be illuminated.  If it is not, you can press the ‘*’ / Ready key to be told which zones might be faulted.  Armed with the zone number and the list of zones, you can investigate why the system believes that zone is faulted.  Common causes include:

  • Door or Window left open
  • Magnet fell off door
  • Wire got cut
  • Door was replaced
  • Sensor malfunction
  • Trouble or Alarm condition not cleared.

Bypassing a Zone

Bypassing the faulted zone will allow you to arm the security system while temporarily ignoring the fault.  In order to bypass a zone you first need to determine the 2-digit zone number for it as described above.  In order to bypass the zone, you simply enter your 4-digit user code, followed by the ‘6’/bypass button, followed by the 2-digit zone number.  After a few seconds the word bypass will appear and the ready light will illuminate, if that was the only faulted zone.

Arming the Security System

With the ready light green, you may now arm the security sytem as usual.  It should be noted though, that once the system is disarmed, you will have to repeat the bypass process to arm the next time.  This is to prevent you from forgetting about the faulted zone.  It should also be noted that the bypassed zone is not protected while by-passed.

If you have any other questions about your honeywell security system, you can consult your Honeywell users manual, or call us at (913) 667-7500.  If you don’t have a user’s manual, send an email to operations@shieldkc.com and we will send you an electronic copy.

Avoid Security System Scams

Door to Door Security Systems?

With summer comes many of the things be enjoy, but unfortunately, it also brings vans full of out of state door to door security system peddlers.  These “sales people” are looking to get you to make an uninformed decision on the spot, before you have a chance to check out their company or consult the Better Business Bureau.  Here are some tips to avoid being ripped-off:

  1. Don’t ever buy from them on the spot.  Get a quote in writing and then check out the company and call them back.  If you can’t reach a local office, then that should be a red flag.
  2. There is no such thing as a free security system.  You either pay for it up front and really own it, or you sign a long term agreement and pay for through higher monitoring fees.
  3. Don’t fall for the line, “We aren’t salespeople, we are from the marketing department and wanted to place a sign in your lovely yard, in return we will give you a free security system.”  That system will end up being far from free.
  4. Don’t believe them if they say they can get you out of an existing contract with no penalty.  They don’t know what is in your current agreement and they will say most anything to get you to sign.
  5. Don’t let them trick you into getting into your house.  They are often very hard to get rid of.  They are trained to not leave without a signed agreement.
  6. They sometimes pretend to be from other companies to get credibility.  Get their business card and offer to call them another day, after you have verified their identity with the company.

Security System Telemarketers?

Security System Telemarketers are usually third parties that get paid for each appointment they set.  They will often  use carefully worded scripts intended to trick you into agreeing to a sales call, or worse yet, to buy a system over the phone.  Here are some things to watch out for:

  1. They often will mention a major brand of security system that they sell, rather than the company that actually hired them
  2. They might say that you’ll be entered in a drawing for a free security system
  3. They might ask if you would be interested in learning more about a free security system
  4. They will usually ask if you have a current security system and if you are the home owner

Choosing the Best Kansas City Area Security System Company

The bottom line is that a security system is a very important decision and it should be designed during a professional consultation and installed and monitored by a reputable company that you can trust.  You should choose the security system company, don’t let them choose you.  Do your homework, so that when you buy, you are getting the peace of mind that you deserve.

Burglar cut phoneline, but security system had cellular backup!

Recently, our central station received an alert that an alarm had been tripped.  They followed their standard protocol of dispatching the police and contacting the business owners.  Now security system alarms and subsequent police dispatches are fairly common, but what makes this story different is that this client was broken into one month earlier and took then extra precaution of adding a cellular back-up communicator, in case the phone lines were cut again. In fact, we went one step further, we put an additional battery in the communicator so that even if the security panel was destroyed, the radio could send an alarm signal by itself.

Home owners that are concerned about their security can learn from this as well.  While traditional phone lines do a good job of economically sending us signals, they do have one vulnerability.  They are usually unprotected and can be cut.

Today, the majority of our clients no longer have a traditional phone line any more, and we receive calls every week from clients that want to get rid of their land-line service.  Those getting rid of land-line all together will need to opt for either internet or cellular monitoring.  Others who convert to a bundled voice over IP (VoIP) service do have a choice.

VoIP from major providers in the Kansas City area, such as AT&T, TWC, Comcast, SureWest and others can often transmit the alarm signals fairly reliably, but most security system manufacturers don’t guarantee compatibility.  The next issue is that of VoIP service in the event of a power loss.  You will want to know how long the phones will continue to work without any power, if at all. Finally, these VoIP services are still vulnerable to wire cuts, as were the traditional phone lines.

We recommend, multiple communication paths to help mitigate the risk of intentional or natural loss of communication.  Almost every security system manufactured in the last 15 years can be converted to cellular communication.

 

Home Security Cameras

Kansas City homeowners are becoming evermore proactive about protecting their homes and families.  One step in this evolution is the use of video surveillance.  There are 4 main reasons that people choose video surveillance:

  1. Deterrent: Security cameras are an excellent deterrent.  Most trespassers and would-be intruders want to avoid being seen at all cost.  The presence of security cameras sends a strong signal that security is taken seriously at that home and that the cameras are probably just the first line of defense.  The risk of being apprehended is certainly enough of a deterrent to discourage many intruders.
  2. Apprehension: Security cameras are also an important tool in apprehending wrong-doers.  Some clients who have an ongoing problem with crime prefer to use covert cameras to catch the perpetrator in the act so that they can be prosecuted.  This is often a case in stalking scenarios, or ongoing disputes.  In the latter case, often vandalism is being done at night and the home owner wants to prove who is doing it.
  3. Peace of mind:  Being able to check in on your home while you are away offers a great deal of comfort to some.  Perhaps making sure their pets are OK or just to make sure that everything is normal.  A camera outdoors even gives one the ability to watch the kids playing in the yard from a TV, computer or smartphone.

Part of the reason for the surge in popularity is the dramatic drop in prices as well as the introduction of smart-phone and internet access to these systems.  A traditional system will be composed of a digital video recorder (DVR), a power supply, and cameras.  The DVR will normally have 4, 8, or 16 inputs on it where the camera cables are to be connected.  It then has a hard drive, just like a computer, on which the video is stored.  There is usually an ethernet port so that the video can be viewed over the internet as well.

Selection and installation of the security cameras is what determines the value of the surveillance system.  There are many different factors that influence the selection of security cameras. Some of the factors that effect camera selection include the lighting, resolution, distance, mounting conditions, temperature, and vandalism risk.

Security camera selection and installation are where the complexity lies and often relying on a video surveillance consultant and a professional installer can help produce the desired results.

A new security camera solution that is gaining popularity is called hosted video.   With hosted video surveillance, there is no need for the DVR.  Instead, the video clips are stored on the internet (Cloud) each time a selected event, such as motion is triggered.  The recording can also be triggered by security system events such as opening a door or disarming the system.  Such a feature would be valuable for making sure that latch key kids arrived home safely.  You could have a video clip emailed to you each time the door was opened while you were away to know who was coming and going.  This video/security integration is also available on the traditional DVR based systems described above, but require outputs from the security panel to be wired to the DVR to trigger.

The video clips are stored on the internet and can even be automatically emailed.  For small systems, this is very economical because the home owner avoids the expense of the DVR.  Many of these cameras also can be connected via ethernet or Wi-Fi, to make installation even easier.

Wireless Security Systems versus Cellular: Which is better?

In our many conversations with home owners, it is apparent that there are a lot of confusing and conflicting terms out there used to describe wireless technologies used in todays security systems.  The purpose of this post is to help clarify the terminology to help people better research their security needs.  There are four common wireless uses within todays security systems.  I will describe each below:

  1. Wireless devices: When installing a home security system, we often find that it is too difficult to get a wire run between the security system and particular location within the home.  In these cases, there is usually a version of the contact that is capable of wirelessly transmitting signals bach to the security system.  These devices are then battery operated and can last up to 7 years between battery changes.  When the battery starts to get low, many security systems will inform you.
  2. Cellular monitoring: Cellular monitoring is a wireless network that has been put in place to allow security systems communicate with central monitoring stations, even when a traditional phone line is not available.  These are often used when no land-line service is available at a property or when the owner would like additional protection in the event that a phone line was cut during an intrusion.  These systems require a cellular communicator that is attached to the security system.
  3. Z-wave wireless control: You may start to here of a security system being able to control light, thermostats, garage door, and door locks.  One of the more new technologies used to accomplish this is call Z-Wave.  Z-Wave is a wireless technology used for home automation and has been integrated into several brands of security systems.  With this technology in place, you can program events such as turning on the lights and turning up the thermostat when you return home.  Or to even have those lights on a timer.  To implement this, you need a z-wave communicator in your security panel and you need some z-wave light switches or outlets installed within your home.
  4. Smart-phone apps (Cell phone control):  Many people ask for cell phone control and by that they are referring to apps made for most popular smart phones that can communicate with their security systems.  These apps basically give the user access to most of the functions of their home security system, even while they are far away.  Most of these apps require that either cellular or internet monitoring be installed on the security panel.

Security Monitoring: You shouldn’t have to worry

As I talk to multitudes of people about security, I occasionally run into those who’ll say that a monitored security system won’t prevent an intrusion.  Actually the last person to say that was a close friend.  I think that statement is wonderful, in that it shows that he was trying to think like a criminal in order to protect himself.

First of all, I guess I would have to agree with my friend, since the yard sign and the window decals are really the only portion of the system that is designed to deter the intrusion.  The siren is the next line of defense in that it may discourage entry in the case of a glass break detector, or at least prompt a rapid departure once the intruder determines that the police are being dispatched.  There are a multitude of other critical benefits that security system monitoring provides though.

Probably the easiest way to describe the value of monitoring is with some of the questions that a monitored security system would answer.  I will include some questions that would also be answered when email alerting is added to a modern security system.  Adding video surveillance would answer even more questions, but will be saved for a later discussion.

  1. If a fire starts in your home while your are away, how long will it take before your neighbors see it and call the fire department?
  2. If a fire started in your home while you are away, who will rescue your pets?
  3. If your basement starts flooding while you are away, or even asleep, will someone contact you?
  4. When you come home, is there a chance that you will be walking in on a burglar that had kicked in your back door?
  5. Is everything OK at your vacation home when you are away for the winter?
  6. What time did your child come home from school and disarm the security system?
  7. Did you remember to close the garage door when you left?
  8. Did you remember to arm the security system when you left on your trip?
  9. Are your senior parents able to summon help when they need it?
  10. If a relative with Alzheimer’s was to wander off, do you have a way to locate them?
  11. If your mother wasn’t moving around her home as she normally would, could you tell?
  12. If carbon monoxide levels rose in a home where the inhabitants couldn’t hear the siren or couldn’t get out of the house alone, how would help be summoned?

The technology exists today to monitor all of these conditions and allow you to not worry about them.  The benefit of monitoring is two fold, first it gets help summoned sooner, and second, you don’t have to wonder if everything is OK.

It is only natural to worry about our families, homes, and businesses when we can’t be there, but electronic monitoring can go along way to reduce the worry.

The Challenge: I believe that almost anthing can be electronically monitored.  Try to stump me with your toughest monitoring challenge.  I’ll post your question and my attempt to solve.  We’ll let a jury of your peers determine whether I’ve solved the challenge, come close, or crashed and burned.

Activating Existing Security Systems – What to Look Out for

As we continue to conduct numerous security inspections, we’ve noticed a disturbing practice, that we initially thought was an isolated event. The practice is to take a good comprehensive multi-zone hardwired system and turn it into a quick cheap system.  In this posting, I’ll discuss what to look out for and why.

Security Principle:  In general, the more zones in your security system, the better.  Multiple zones give responders more specific information as to the location of the intrusion.  More zones also gives you the ability to tailor the behavior of your security systems in different situations.  It is expected that all of the doors would be on different zones.  That way the central station could inform police as to which door of the house had gone into alarm.  Cleary information on where motion or glass breakage occured would be just as vital.

Dangerous Shortcut:  A number of companies, touting the benefits of an all wireless security systems, are actually doing it because of the time and money they save on installations.  These companies, in some cases, have gone into a home with eight hardwired zones of security and disconnected all the wires.  They then tie them together into two or three groups and attach each group to a wireless transmitter as a single zone.  This turned a high quality hardwired system into a two or three zone system that leaves the police guessing as to the part of the house where a break-in occurred.

The Solution:  Fortunately, in most cases, the situation can be reversed by putting a new panel where the original system was and reusing all of those valuable hardwired zones.  A wireless receiver is then added to the system so that additional detection equipment can easily be added to the home or business.  Such equipment includes wireless smoke detectors, wireless remotes, wireless carbon monoxide detectors, flood detectors, and more.

Final Note:  If a security sales person seems anxious for you to make a decision, its usually because they don’t want to give you time to make an informed decision.  You should always make a security investment on your terms and only when you are comfortable that you know the facts and are happy with your decision.

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SHIELD Security Systems | 7111 W. 151st Street, Suite 30 | Overland Park, KS 66223 | (913) 667-7500
SHIELD Security Systems
| 7275 W. 162nd Street, Suite 105
| Stilwell, KS 66085
| (913) 667-7500