Wireless Alarm Installation
The installation process has remained virtually unchanged in the last 25 years. In the days of hardwired systems a crew would consist of at least 2 men and the process would be to run all the wires connect the devices (doors, windows, keypad and motion detectors) and finally connect it all to the control panels and power it up. It was a time consuming process and was not efficient.
With the advent of reliable wireless peripherals (glassbreak detectors, motion detectors, smoke detectors and keypads) as well as concealed wireless door and window sensors, the process can be altered to minimize on site time and maximize efficiency.
On my installations, I do all I can to minimize wire running. The devices that I know I need to hardwire are siren, keypad, AC power and phone line. I eliminate phone wire with a GSM Radio/Cell monitoring device, and eliminate keypad and siren wiring if I use a self contained control/keypad unit (Ademco Lynx, GE Simon etc.). My preference is to use a control that has detached keypads and sirens. This gives me better ability to have multiple keypads and better distributed siren penetration.
In new construction, I can usually prewire the system in about 2-3 hours. (I put the main control in the structured wire center or add an additional structured wire box for the controls. I have the electrician put an outlet into my box and also run an extension of the 110V smoke detectors to my box so I can incorporate the smoke detectors into the alarm system with a 110V fire relay module. (i.e Firex 499) I run a 4 conductor wire for each keypad back to the control and also a 2 conductor wire to each siren location. I use single gang boxes for each device so that I don’t have to worry about the sheet rockers covering my wires. (sometimes I will pull additional runs for future keypads and leave them in the walls if I feel that the customer may realize later on that they had not anticipated the need for another keypad. Be sure you know where the wire is and leave some extra slack to help you find it with a toner later on if you need it).
Program and hook-up the alarm components before you go to the installation. It is best if you can also use a computer to upload your programs (this gives you the ability to troubleshoot and remotely program the system after installation). Programming can be done at the shop (I do it in my basement) Make sure everything works properly. Any equipment that doesn’t work properly can be replaced from your working stock and prevent trips back to the job site during the installation. This will make your installation run much more smoothly and faster. If something on the job-site doesn’t work, you know it is something you have done in the hook-up of the components and not the equipment.
Almost any system can be installed in one day by one person using these techniques. Install the main control, keypads, AC power and sirens first. After you have the main control working install the wireless door, window, motion detectors and smoke detectors. You can test each device as you install it.
Make a couple of one page instructions to give the customer:
- A short guide of how to arm and disarm the alarm system
- A list of phone numbers for the central station and the customer account number.
Also include e-mail addresses, fax numbers and phone numbers for the customer to call if they need service.
Show the customer how to turn the alarm system on and off. If you try to teach them everything they could possibly do with the alarm you will be there for hours. The customer can receive additional training after they have used the alarm, but generally after they are familiar with it they can use the user’s manual for most functions.
I can’t stress enough to keep it simple. The more prepared you are when you reach the customers for installation, the more impressed they will be with you and your company, and that’s what gets referrals!