Estimate Request

Best time to contact you:


Basic Operation of a Typical Alarm System

January 20, 2011

A typical system will consist of perimeter protection (switches on all of the outside points of entry [all doors and accessible opening windows]) followed by interior trap zones, usually passive infrared sensors located in central common areas such as stairwells or halls or target areas like master bedrooms or offices.

The keypad(s) will display the status of the premises and the system. Once everything is secure (closed) a green ready light will display the ready to arm status. If the premises is not secure pressing the ready button will display any insecure points (open doors or windows) either by name or zone number or both.
A ready system can then be armed by entering the four digit master code (or a temporary secondary code) followed by one of the following commands:

AWAY – will arm all perimeter points and all interior sensors and allow
for an entry/exit time delay to exit and re-enter the premises

STAY – will arm only the perimeter points and will automatically bypass any interior zones to allow for movement inside the premises without triggering a false alarm. There is also an entry/exit delay in this mode as well

INSTANT – will arm only the perimeter points, will automatically bypass any interior zones and will eliminate the entry delay for additional protection

MAXIMUM – will arm all perimeter points, all interior sensors and will eliminate the entry delay as well.

A typical exit delay will allow for 30 to 60 seconds for one to leave the premises through the main access door. All other perimeter points will activate the alarm immediately without any delay. Upon returning to the premises an entry warning buzzer will sound to remind the user that the system is on and needs to be turned off.

If an alarm is tripped a loud local siren will ring to scare off an intruder and a monitored system will call the central monitoring station to report the alarm condition. The siren will automatically shut off after a pre programmed length of time and the system will then reset or bypass any insecure zone and then reset the rest of the alarm.

Other options on an alarm system may include the ability to bypass zones, program temporary codes or turn the chime feature on or off.

Most systems will also have a user activated panic alarm which can be programmed to be audible or silent if the system is monitored.

A typical alarm system consists of a number of different main components:

The Control Panel

  • This is the main “brains” of the system
  • A printed circuit board mounted in a locked steel cabinet
  • Hidden away and centrally located inside the premises
  • All other alarm components must be connected
  • Or communicate with the control panel
  • If monitored it must be hardwired to the phone lines
  • It is programmed like a computer as to the response of each connected device


The Power Supply

  • Is connected through a transformer to the premise’s AC power supply
  • Also contains a 12VDC back up or standby battery to maintain the system
    during a power failure
  • Monitored systems will also supervise the status of both the power
    and the backup battery


The Keypad

  • Allows the end user to control the alarm system
  • Has buttons (like a phone) to operate the system
  • Typically has a readout or screen to display information
  • About the status of the premises and the system itself
  • Is used to initially program the control panel during setup & installation
  • May have some additional end user programmable features
    (secondary codes, bypass or chime functions)


The Siren

  • A loud audible siren notifies the intruder that he has been detected
  • Is programmed to ring for so many minutes then automatically shut off and reset
  • Used to be located outside in a protective cabinet
  • Is now typically located inside but hidden out of sight


All of the above components are typically hardwired together but the following detection devices can be hardwired or wireless.



Wireless Detection Devices

  • Wireless devices require their own power supply (3VDC lithium battery) which is monitored by the system itself and will give up to 30 days warning of a battery requiring replacement
  • The device itself is also monitored and must report into the control panel at least once every 24 hours whether the system is on or not. This prevents a potential intruder from just removing a device during a store’s normal business hours if no one is observing.


Door/Window Switches

  • Switches on the outside points of entry will detect a door or window being opened
  • There is a wide variety of types of switches for many different applications


Passive Infrared Sensors

  • Located inside will detect movement through an area
  • Actually detect a change in temperature from a person’s body heat
  • Can be set up so that small pets will not cause a false alarm
  • Are mainly used as a back up system in case someone gets in undetected
    or remained hidden inside at closing time
  • Can be easily bypassed if the premises is to be occupied


Smoke Detectors

  • Provide 24 hour fire protection
  • Are always on, cannot be turned off or bypassed
  • Will ring the siren in a pulsed mode so the user can immediately tell the difference between a burglary or a fire alarm


Central Monitoring Station

Response options also need to be considered.

  • Will a loud siren scare off a potential intruder
  • Are there local noise bylaws that must be followed
  • Will local police departments responded to a monitored alarm system
  • Is security guard service already available to respond
  • Would response time be fast enough to be a deterrent to an intruder


Overhead Garage Openers

Losing a transmitter is no longer a problem with the access pro system. Instead of reprogramming every single transmitter, they can be deactivated or reactivated individual very easily

Honeywell Alarm Systems

October 28, 2010

Ademco (now Honeywell) is a high end quality manufacturer of alarm and security products that has been used by Northern Alarm Systems since it’s inception in 1974. We have always done high end systems that are specifically designed for each individual user and that has help our business grow and kept us busy during slow times.
Read more…