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Monday, December 26, 2011

Home Security System - Part 1

Link to Part 2 of this article.

Home Security System Part 1
When we lived in Brandon, FL, we had a home security system, and kept it armed every single day.  That system was damaged when we had a lightning strike 50 feet from the house - it welded 'closed' all of the magnetic sensors throughout the whole house!  So, if you opened a window or door, with the sensor being welded closed, the open door or window could not be detected.  I turned in my claim to the insurance company and they paid me directly the fee quoted by a couple of security companies for repair.  Seems like it was about $1,600.  That was a lot of money looking straight at me, so I had a choice: pay some other people to affect the repairs; pocket the money and don't repair the system; pocket the money and repair the system myself.

I decided it was at least worth taking a look at to determine whether or not I could repair it myself, and it wouldn't cost me anything to look, nor would it increase the repair bill, so I took a look.  This was pre-internet days, so no access to information much during that time for things like this.

Each window had a small magnetic sensor that had been drilled and inserted into the window or door casing, while a magnet had been glued directly opposite the sensor onto the sliding portion of the window or swinging part of the door.  Opening the window moved the magnet away from the magnetic sensor, which cause the contacts within that sensor to become electrically 'open', and the alarm was triggered!  Just that simple!  The sensor was easy to removed, so I took one out and took it with me to Radio Shack, who I knew had a few alarm systems.....they had it, and they were cheap - like $3.00 or so each!  So I bought enough for the house, went home and enlisted my young daughter to help me, and we spent the rest of the day replacing sensors....all of them.  Next I pulled the mother board and went to an alarm company, and they sold me a replacement mother board, along with the installation manual - and that manual is important because it tells you how to set up the mother board. I went  back home, swapped out the mother board, powered it up, did the setup on the motherboard, and bingo - we were in business!  With just a couple of hours of work, plus maybe $200 or less in parts, $20 for my daughter, and I had completely repaired our alarm system, and had pocketed almost $1,400!

When we moved here to Alpharetta GA in 1995 from Brandon, our home was under construction.  I was presented with a contract for an alarm monitoring company and alarm system.  I turned it down - it was out of reason, and felt I could purchase a system later.

When we moved in and were settled, I noticed an alarm box in the basement.  When I opened it up, I was shocked to see a motherboard and all the sensor wires had been pulled.  They weren't connected but were ready to be connected.  The best news was - this was the same system I had repaired in Brandon Fl!

So, you guessed it - it sat there for the next 16 years, and I never got a round tuit (tuits come in round, left and right - as in 'round tuit', 'left tuit', and 'right tuit' - I keep all the 'tuits' hidden from my wife, then I can say - " I will do that as soon as I can get 'a round tuit', and since I know where all of them are, I never get one!).

Link to Part 2 of this article.

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