Security & Fire Protection Systems/FBII 4600DL star XL2-silver
QUESTION: We took over this alarm installed in our house which we have been told by our alarm company is very old. They keypad is at our front door. The problem we are having is that we want the lounge zone on at night when we are sleeping but in the morning we have to pass the lounge zone to get to the keypad to disarm the alarm. The alarm goes off straight away before we even get to the keypad. We are told we cannot set a delay for the lounge zone to give us enough time to get to the keypad. WE have also been told we cannot move the keypad to our bedroom and we also cannot add a keypad in the bedroom as the alarmpads have been discontinued. I live in South Africa.
Is this true?
ANSWER: Hello Sherry, and thanks for your question.
I think -- based on what you wrote -- that in large part, that the dealer you spoke to is correct.
Your panel does date back to the late 1980's, and there is no reliable source of replacement parts or new keypads. So adding a keypad is probably not an option, unless you could find a used (and reliably working) keypad on, say, eBay.
I think the dealer is incorrect in saying that the lounge zone cannot be put on a time delay. The dealer may be reluctant to try reprogramming the system, or may not have the proper code to do so. But the lounge zone could be physically transferred to the entry-exit zone with some simple rewiring in the control panel. You should ask the dealer about putting the lounge zone "in series" with the entry-exit zone. If your dealer is savvy, he/she will know what I mean by "in series."
I hope this helps -- and if there are any follow-up issues, please send another note, and I'll do my best to help.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Hello Dave
Thank you very much for your assistance. If they are not able to change the time delay, I assume we can move the keypad instead? The one supplier told me these alarm system are sometimes locked for altering. Is this true? How do you unlock it?
Hello again, Sherry.
I'll answer in reverse order... Yes, systems can be "locked" to prevent the programming from being changed. When a panel is new from the factory, it comes with an installer's code that allows the installer to set up the programming. Since every panel shipped has the same code (4600 for your panel), any installer from any company (or even any burglar who read the manual on the Internet), would know a working code for your system. Because of this, when the installation is complete, the installer changes that code. If the record of the new installer's code isn't available, then the system cannot be unlocked for reprogramming. I suspect this may be the case because of the age of your system, and the fact that alarm companies come and go... so if the say they cannot reprogram the system, I'd believe them.
Now, as to moving the keypad... it depends on how the lounge zone is programmed. I suspect that it's a motion detector, and that it's programmed as an INTERIOR zone. The other zone types for your system are ENTRY/EXIT, and PERIMETER, and each of these behave differently. For example the ENTRY/EXIT zone always allows you time to get in and out. A perimeter zone gives you no time for exit or entry -- it sounds the alarm instantly when the system is armed.
The INTERIOR zone works differently. When you arm your system, the exit delay is applied both to the ENTRY/EXIT zone and the INTERIOR zone. This assumes that you might trip a motion detector on the way out.
Once the system is armed -- the exit delay having expired, the INTERIOR zone will sound the alarm instantly, unless the EXIT/ENTRY zone is violated first, in which case the entry delay is applied.
So what this all boils down to is this. If you move the keypad to your bedroom, and set the system there, you'd be able to exit your house okay. You'd also be able to successful disarm the system when you return. But if you're staying in the house, there will not be an entry delay available when the lounge zone is tripped. You'd have to turn the system off in the bedroom before going past the lounge, else there would be an instant false alarm, just as you have now.
No matter how vigilant you are, this is a recipe for false alarms, so I understand a vendor's reluctance in moving the keypad. In short, I think it could be moved, but it's not a really good idea. And there may be other aspects to the system design that I do not know (and could not without inspecting the system and its layout).
I apologize for the lengthy explanations, and if I've caused confusion, let me know.