Top critical review
44 people found this helpful
Better than nothing....
on May 23, 2010
The purchase of this product was a knee jerk reaction/purchase to being broken into last fall. The choice of having nothing vs having to subscribe to an alarm service was not pleasing. A relative has a similar DIY alarm system and said they were happy with it and this provided a middle ground.
As stated, the instructions are a little hard to digest at first, but once you understand it, it's fairly easy to program the unit and sensors. (The picture shows the alarm having an extendable antenna as well as the sensors, but the unit received did not have any.)
The supplied no name batteries didn't last very long. The one motion sensor that is in a high traffic area died with in 3 months and the replacement battery is not doing so well (brand name). So don't be surprised if you have to replace the 9V battery twice or three times a year in high traffic areas. The remote control battery is an odd ball size that I only found at Radio Shack (didn't look online, it was actually stocked). I purchased extra motion sensors and the door sensors I have not mounted yet. Keep extra batteries for the sensors around and check the sensors that they are working.
The unit is suppose to have a battery backup, but I have yet to see how that works. If you have to manually switch it over, then it's pointless (only skimmed the manual). I unplugged the unit expecting it to keep "alive" and it went off. If I want it to last/work during a power outage, I might as well get an uninterrupted power supply they use for computers. Also, when the unit is plugged into the phone line and you are using it, it makes a beeping or chirping noise that is heard. If the phone is plugged into the unit, it actually hangs up on you! Factory says this isn't right, but I don't want to sent it back and NOT have protection.
I purchased two units, giving one to a friend who has experienced multiple break-ins. Since then, he has been broken into once since it was installed. The unit did call him and his kids and he called me to check his home (less then 5 min way). He also did not use the door sensor, only relying on the supplied motion alarm. The alarm will scare people off, but be warned, there is still time between activating and actually getting someone there- at least 5-7 min or more. If you want a faster response time, then pay for a monitored alarm service. (Or purchase the external siren to alert neighbors quicker.) Once I walked into my house forgetting to disarm the unit with the remote control, it went off using the motion sensor and called me with in 5-7 seconds of going off. I test my sensors at least every 3-4 months to make sure they set the unit off and to make sure it calls me.
I have experienced one false alarm. The unit went off and called. Upon inspection of home, the unit reset it's self (I didn't memorize all the codes for remote operation)- all doors and windows were secure. Unit was still armed when entering (used remote to disarm). It is unclear if it was a malfunction, or if the motion sensors detected a movement. We have never had any issues with drapes and heat vents in the past, but we suspected it. Unless someone was trying to jimmy a sliding glass door and brushed up against the blinds creating movement(?)- but I have not tested that idea.
It was recommend by local law enforcement that an external audible siren be also used. The internal alarm and unit going off is enough for 'noise' inside the home, but for an alarm to work effectively, an external siren is suggested to alert neighbors of any problems. (I maybe ordering more internal plug in sirens or one or two external battery powered sirens.)
Would I recommend this alarm? Yes and no. Does it work... yes, but not perfectly. Are there better out there, I'm sure there are. Do your research, see what is available. I have it already, so I'm making do.
(Alarms are just one tool to help secure a location. It is not a substitute for not having good door locks/dead bolts. Next step in home defense is to install cameras to record the exterior and any visitors. That way, intruders 'risk' being identified if they try.... Multiple layers of protection will HOPEFULLY deter intruders from choosing your home. And yes, dogs are part of that layer also!)
IMPORTANT NOTE---- IMPORTANT NOTE
IMPORTANT: When using an alarm system that does NOT call a security monitoring service, DO NOT tell people that. It's better to make people think it is a MONITORED service. If you tell "friends" and the word gets around, the wrong people could find out. And then the wrong people know that they have "time" before someone actually shows up. Right?