12 M VOLUMETRIC LENS – Standard lens used on PIRs. Gives full room coverage made up of 24 beams.
20-MINUTE CUT OFF TIMER – Standard timer built into all bell boxes. Used to ensure that bell box stops once it has sounded for 20 minutes. It is set at 20 minutes to comply with The Environmental Noise & Pollution Act 1987. 15 minutes is now the norm for bell on operation.
3- WATT STROBE – This is a U-shaped strobe, used on some bell boxes. It is not only brighter, but will also last approximately 2½ times longer than the l-watt version.
30 M LENS – This is an optional lens available for some PIRs. The angle of coverage has been made narrower which in turn sends the PIR beams further (30 metres). Suitable usage would include corridors.
ABS – Stands for Acrylo-nitrile Butadiene Styrene. This is a soft plastic, which is generally used for PIR mouldings.
ACCESS – This zone type is also known as a walk through zone. It is particularly useful if, when entering the premises you have to pass a PIR to get to the control panel. It will only allow you to walk past if the entry/exit zone, i.e. the front door, has been opened first. If any other means of entry is used it will trigger an immediate alarm condition
ACPO – Association of Chief Police Officers
ADVANCED TEMPERATURE COMPENSATION – This is a feature found on some PIRs. It will adjust the threshold levels on the unit, as the background temperature of the room changes, i.e. through heating coming on. This helps to prevent false alarm activations that can be caused by temperature changes.
ALARM ABORT – This is an ACPO recommendation, to reduce false alarm calls to the monitoring station. This feature is built-in as standard to certain panels. If when coming into your premises you accidentally trigger a sensor, this will send a signal down to the monitoring station, which would automatically be treated as an alarm activation. The abort facility allows you to cancel this, by sending a second signal to the monitoring station. You do this by re-entering your user code, within a programmable time window.
ALARM B -This is an ACPO recommendation, to confirm those alarm signals sent to the monitoring station are the genuine article. This is also known as sequential verification. This feature is built-in as standard to some panels. It works by sending two signals instead of one, within a 30 minute time window. Two different zones must trigger this signal, to verify that it’s not a faulty unit, but a genuine alarm condition.
ALERT – This zone type would be used for monitoring of a freezer in a supermarket for example. In the un-set condition, if the freezer failed it would activate the internal -sounders. In the full-set condition it would notify the monitoring station, via the communications equipment. One thing to note is this zone type would never activate the external sounders
ALERT KEYS – On some control panels and remote keypads, there are alert keys. Dependent on which panel you use, it is either fixed on keys 1 & 3, or programmable. If these keys are pressed simultaneously it will activate the external sounder. It also saves the engineer having to use a zone on the panel itself for a panic attack button.
ANTI-MASK – Anti-mask is a feature built into a number of detectors that recognises if someone is try to mask the detector, effectively jamming the beam array to prevent the detector picking up motion. If an attempt to mask the detector is detected, the alarm will be activated.
ARC – Alarm Receiving Centre. A secure location where signals are monitored 24hours a day.
AUDIO VERIFICATION – This is another means of confirming an alarm signal to the monitoring station, in line with the ACPO policy. It works by having microphones situated around the premises. When the monitoring station receives an alarm signal they can ring though to the premises, which in turn will switch the microphones on and allow them to listen quickly to any activity.
BACK TAMPER – Available as standard on the majority of bell boxes. The tamper generally comes in the form of a micro switch. If an intruder attempts to pull the unit away from the wall, the tamper will activate causing an alarm condition. All NACOSS customers use rear tampers in line with their procedures.
BELL DELAY TIME – This is only recommended for use on an alarm system with communication to a monitoring station. It is a programmable time that delays the bell box from activating in the event of an intruder activation. The signal to the monitoring station still goes out immediately, but any bell boxes or internal sounders will not go off until the delay time has elapsed. This means that there is more chance of the police actually catching the intruder, rather than just frightening them away.
BELL ON TIME – This feature is programmed into the panel by the engineer. It is the length of time he wants the bell box to ring for, in the event of an alarm condition. There will normally be a backup 20-minute timer built into the bell unit itself, but this will only be used if the power between the panel and bell is severed.
BLANK END STATION – This phrase applies to any control panel, which does not have a keypad on-board to operate engineer and user functions. It will come in the form of a polycarbonate or metal blank box. All programming functions will need to be done from a remote keypad
CALL PARKING – This is a means of preventing telephone calls on a shared line being blocked, done in conjunction with BT star services, which is similar to call waiting. It works by parking any incoming calls, while it sends the signal out. It is recommended that this be used with a Speech Dialler or digital communicator so, in the event of an alarm, the communications equipment has no problem dialling out.
CEILING MOUNT BRACKET – This is a standard bracket for use with most of our PIRs. It would be mainly used when it is difficult to mount the PIR in the corner, in particular when there is coving in-situ.
CHIME – This zone control is mainly used on shop doors. It is used to indicate when the door is opened. It does this by emitting a duo-tone, which can be done by either the panel or internal sounder. Chime can be used on any zone, with most control panels. Other uses may include the chime being used in conjunction with a PIR at the top of the stairs, to notify when small children are at risk from falling.
CLEANER CODE -This feature is available on some control panels. It allows one to allocate zones to a user code so that, when a code is entered, only the zones allocated will un-set. All remaining zones on the system will still be fully active. Useful applications would include a bank where it would be possible to alarm the safe room whilst leaving the office area un-set to allow the cleaners to do their job.
COVERED PCB -This is a lacquered PCB with a cover secured over the top of it. This will give some formal weather protection, but is by no means as effective as encapsulated modules
CREEP ZONE – Creep zones can be found on the majority of PIRs. PIRs send out a series of beams to give full room coverage. Creep beams are sent out just in front of the unit, to pick up on an intruder trying to tamper with the unit itself.
CURTAIN LENS – This is an interchangeable lens available for all of our PIR units. It changes the beam pattern to a straight vertical coverage, used across a doorway for example.
DB OUTPUT – The sound output from all sounders, internal or external are measured in decibels. By law this cannot exceed 125dB.
DIGI CHANNELS – The channels on the digi or digicom (digital communicator) are used to send information from the panel to the monitoring station. This information will notify them of the type of alarm condition, i.e. intruder, fire, etc. The panel/digicom used determines the number of channels available for this purpose.
DIGI PROGRAMMER -This tends to be a hand held unit in the style of an LCD keypad. It enables the engineer to programme the digi, prior to it being installed. The benefit of this approach is that the alternative is to purchase a chip from the monitoring station, with the programming on. This chip creates further additional costs for the installer.
DIGITAL COMMUNICATOR – Otherwise known as a digi or digicom. The communicator is there to transmit the alarm signals to the monitoring station; it does this using DTMF, (telephone talk). The only time the communicator will transmit to the monitoring station is in an alarm condition or on a test call. The most common communications protocol is BSIA Fast Format.
DUALTECH – A Dualtech is a dual technology detector which uses both PIR and microwave technologies to detect movement. For the detector to alarm, both the PIR and microwave technologies need to detect movement, thus reducing the risk of false alarms.
DURESS CODES – This feature is available on some control panels, and is used in conjunction with either a digital communicator or a STU. If you are under attack, and are being forced to open the premises, there are two ways of activating a duress signal; either through a dedicated code or by upping the first digit of your user code by one (for example, if your code is currently 2345, you would input 3345). This will still un-set the system but at the same time send a duress signal to the monitoring station, so that they can alert the police. The major benefit of this feature is that the signal is sent out but the bells are not activated and intruders get panicked, which can make situations worse.
EMI – Electro Magnetic Interference. This type of interference can be generated by computers or microwaves, and can cause major problems to any electronic circuit board. Manufacturers take this into consideration when designing products, to ensure EMI does not cause damage to the product’s working functions.
ENCAPSULATED BI-MORPH SENSOR – A bi-morph sensor is a wafer thin piezo element. When the element trembles through vibration, it activates an alarm condition. It is normally encapsulated to protect it from damage caused on installation
ENCAPSULATED PCBs – Encapsulated PCBs are manufactured by taking a PCB, giving it a formal lacquer coating and enclosing it in a plastic module. To further enhance this, silicone sealant is put around the edge of the module, which makes the unit totally airtight. The major benefit of this is the protection it gives from moisture and dust ingress, the biggest cause of bell box failures. Encapsulated PCBs will outlast Open or Covered PCB’s every time.
END OF THE LINE RESISTOR – This style of wiring is available for use on many control panels. It is the most secure form of wiring available and makes it virtually impossible for an intruder to compromise the system. It also provides a means of extending the number of zones on some panels at no extra cost. This is done by converting the individual tamper zones into alarm zones, and then using two types of resistors to differentiate between an alarm and a tamper condition.
ENGINEER CODE LOCK-IN – This is a feature designed to prevent unauthorised engineers taking over maintenance contracts. They would normally do this by down powering the panel and reverting it back to factory defaults. If the lock in feature has been used, the panel will still go back to default but the engineer code will stay locked.
ENTRY/EXIT – This zone type is linked back to the main entrance point, e.g. front door. Whether the product used is a contact or a PIR, when the detector is activated, the timer will start. The engineer programmes the timers for entry and exit.
ESCORT MODULE – This is an accessory for the DSC range of control panels. This module enables one to speak to the control panel, through any telephone. It does this by using its voice library of 180 system words and 241 library words. Another feature available is the adding of up to 32 x X10 plug-in devices, which are linked to household appliances. These modules can be can programmed so that the panel switches these appliances on and off at certain times.
EVENT LOG – Many of the higher end control panels have an event log built into them as standard. This is used to record all system movements on a rotation basis. The panel used will determine the log size. It tends to be insurance companies who specify specific sizes, but only on commercial applications.
EXIT TERMINATOR – These can come in many guises, such as keyswitch or pushbutton formats. The user still enters their user code when leaving the premises, but the system will not final set until the exit terminator has been activated. One thing to note is that the system cannot be un-set via the exit terminator.
EXIT TIME – This is the time needed by the user to leave the premises. Factors to be taken into consideration are the agility of the user and the location of the keypad in relation to the exit door. The engineer programs this time.
EXPANDER CARD – The expander card enables the engineer to increase the zones available on the control panel. They are small PCBs, with a number of zones on each card that can be plugged onto the panel itself, or mounted remotely.
FACTORY DEFAULT – These are the settings put into the panels when they are being manufactured. These are set to enable the manufacturer to test the products on the production line. Every panel of the same model will have the same default settings. From there, the engineer can leave the settings as they are or change them to suit the installation.
FIRE – This zone type is used for any smoke or heat detectors. When activated it will cause a full alarm condition, whether the system is set or un-set. One major benefit of using this zone type is that it changes the noise the external sounder produces, into a pulsed sound. This should alert anyone nearby that it is not a normal alarm condition.
FIRST TO LATCH – This is used in conjunction with latch, which is when there is more than one detector on a zone. It enables the engineer to identify which one of the units was activated first, which can be very useful when trying to determine the point of entry. The LED of the unit that went into alarm first will permanently flash. The LEDs on the remaining units will stay constant.
FRESNEL LENS – This is the lens on a PIR. It is called a fresnel lens due to the grooves cut into it. It is these grooves that create the beam pattern. There are 4 main types, which are: 12 metre, 30 metre, Pet Alley or Curtain.
FRONT TAMPER – You will find a front tamper on the majority of the products manufactured. This is put in place to stop intruders trying to disarm the product itself by removing the front cover. The tamper generally comes in the form of spring or micro- switch.
FULL SET – This is the mode when all zones are active. The only time you would normally have a system full set is when you are not on the premises.
FULLY PROGRAMMABLE ZONES – On most panels, the zones are fully programmable to a number of zone types. This gives the engineer total flexibility when designing the system.
GALVANISED STEEL – This is the material we use for most metal bell boxes. The benefit of galvanisation is that it prevents the steel from rusting or swelling. It gives the metal a mottled appearance.
GLASS BREAK DETECTORS – Glass break detectors are activated by detecting the noise made by breaking glass. There are many advantages to using these detectors, they are visually more appealing, they are less expensive to install/maintain, and they are less prone to service problems. One of the major advantages of using this type of detector, however, is that the burglar is detected before he enters your home not after, as is the case with motion detectors.
GRAPHIC ANNUNCIATOR – This is a DSC product, which can be used in conjunction with their PC4010 and PC4020 control panels. It provides a schematic layout of the premises, showing where an alarm occurred. The annunciator comes with a software package to enable one to design the layout to match one’s premises; one then uses LEDs to identify where the detectors are situated.
HIGH PROFILE – This phrase is used when referring to bell boxes. A bellbox is said to be high profile when it is a deep box. This styling tends to be used on commercial applications, as it provides a good visual deterrent.
HOME AUTOMATION (OR DOMOTICA) – This is term used to describe the functions available for controlling domestic appliances (e.g. heating, lighting, curtains) either automatically or remotely. This has grown from the American intruder market, where end users want the control panel to not only deter intruders but to also control the whole house, for example switching appliances or the heating on. In the UK market, the security system is still currently seen purely as a means of providing a deterrent.
ID BISCUITS – These are numbered chip devices, used in conjunction with ID Wiring, to identify the different sensors. They come in a hard wire format. The red packs are numbered 1-10, blue are 11-20 and the green 21-30, and these are then wired into the detectors to identify them by number.
ID WIRING – This style of wiring has become very popular with certain installers over the last few years. The major benefit of this style of wiring is that savings are made through shorter cabling. It works by taking a single cable loop around the building, with the sensors all wired onto it. The sensors are identified using the ID biscuits.
INTELLIGENT RE-POWER – This feature appears on Speech Diallers. This acts as a back-up should all power be taken away from the unit. When power is re-applied, it will be restored in the status that it was in before the equipment went down. For example if it was in the on status, it will come back up as on.
INTERNAL SOUNDERS – There are many different types of internal sounders available. They are more likely to be used on large premises to make sure everyone can hear that there is an alarm condition.
LAST CALL LOG – This feature is available on some speech diallers. It is a log that stores the last telephone number dialled and the last message given. LATCH – Latch is used when we want to wire back more that one detector to a zone
LCD – Liquid Crystal Display. This is used on many keypads and control panels. It tends to be preferred by both the engineer and the end user. The keypad offers full 32-character English text display, which is very easy to understand.
LED – Light Emitting Diode. LEDs are used on many control panels, keypads, bell boxes, etc. They are used on the panels as an indication of the function being used. On bell boxes they are used as a visual deterrent.
LIGHT PIPE – This feature is available on some PIRs. It is a clear section at the top of the unit, through which we can see the LED. On a standard PIR the LED is behind the lens, which can be difficult to see when you are a long distance away from the unit.
LOOK DOWN ZONE – This feature is available on some detectors. These units have a lens on the bottom of the detector through which a beam is sent. This gives greater protection by stopping attack from beneath the unit. This is also a useful feature if using PIRs on a stairway.
LOW PROFILE – This phrase is used when referring to bell boxes. A bellbox is regarded as low profile when it is a slim box. This styling tends to be used on domestic applications, as it does not stand out too much.
MAIN USER – This user option is available on a number of control panels. This priority level is able to set, un-set, part-set, test, remove zones and reset after an alarm (if this feature is programmed by the engineer).
MICROPROCESSOR WATCHDOG – The watchdog is there to look after the functions of the microprocessor chip. It is constantly monitoring the chip to ensure there are no problems. If there are, normally the microprocessor is restarted.
MILLIAMPS – There are 1000 milliamps in 1 Amp. Every technology attached to a security system draws current, and this is measured in milliamps, for example: a control panel generally has a 1 Amp power supply built into it, from that we need to deduct the power need for every PIR, Shock sensor, Bell box etc. If we took a basic system in normal mode it would be drawing approx. 550 milli-amps, but in alarm condition this I could jump up to about 900 milli-amps.
MIRROR OPTICS – Mirror optics are used in some detectors, where a concave mirror is used to focus the infra-red energy, rather than a Fresnel lens that is normally used. The advantage of mirror optics is that the infra-red energy is more accurately focused, increasing the quality of detection.
MULTIPLE TRIGGER INHIBIT – This feature is found on a Speech Dialler. It is there to prevent two messages being sent out at the same time.
ONBOARD KEYPAD – This refers to any control panel with a keypad built into it. All programming is done from this point. Depending on the panel being used, one may also be able to use remote keypads as well.
OPEN PCB’s – These are lowest specification PCB’s available. It is a board with a formal lacquer coating, which gives it some protection from outside extremities, but is definitely not recommended for use at coastal sites, where a high amount of salt air will corrode the unit very quickly.
PAGER + FACILITY – This feature is now available on some Speech Diallers and the Digis. In the event of an alarm condition the units can send a message to a numeric pager.
PA OR PANIC ATTACK BUTTON – This is a button that is mounted at easy-to-hand around a house or building, which can be pressed in the event of a person being threatened or attacked. It will generate a full alarm condition, whether the alarm is set or un-set.
PANIC – This zone type is available for use on most control panels. It is recommended that this is used when attaching panic attack buttons to a system. It will generate a full alarm condition, whether the alarm is set or un-set.
PARTITION – Partitions in a panel allow a number of completely separate alarm systems to be controlled from the same panel. This means that, if one partition is inserted in a panel, this will allow two completely separate alarm systems (i.e. separate users, separate, detectors, separate zones, different settings and part sets, etc.) to be run from that panel. This feature tends to be used in applications such as shared accommodation or apartment blocks when one panel can be used for alarm systems in a number of different apartments/premises.
PART SET -This is the mode that will set part of the alarm system, automatically isolating a zone or zones where people may still need to move around. On all panels there are a number part-set suites available, and these can be linked to any number of zones. Part-set tends to be used in situations such as isolating the upstairs of a house at night, to allow people to walk around freely, whilst leaving the perimeter and downstairs areas fully alarmed.
PART SET EXIT TIME – This is very similar to the normal exit time. The part set exit time is the time needed to get from the control panel to your isolated area, when part-setting the system. Again it’s a countdown timer; the time programmed by the engineer depends mainly on the agility of the user.
PASSIVE INFRA-RED DETECTOR (PIR) – This is the standard detector used on most systems. PIR detectors are electronic devices that detect an intruder by sensing his body heat when he enters or moves around the area of protection. The device consists of a mirror or lens that can focus the energy, a thermal sensor to detect the energy, and associated electronics to analyze the information. The mirror/lens divides the area of coverage into multiple zones of detection. This can be visualized by holding your hand out and spreading your fingers. Each finger represents one optic zone of the detector. An actual PIR detector actually uses much more than 5 zones of detection, and some models can detect motion up to 200 feet from the unit. The PIR can only detect motion within one of its zones and is most sensitive to motion across the zones since this is what causes the greatest change in energy.
PERIMETER SYSTEM – Sensing devices that are located on exterior doors and windows that will activated an alarm if triggered.
PET ALLEY LENSES – This is an interchangeable lens available for use with some PIRs. It changes the beam coverage to start the detection at mid room level. This is to allow small pets to walk around under the beams.
PET IMMUNE DETECTOR – There are several so-called “pet immune” detectors on the market. With the ones tested so far, they are pet-immune but only in certain conditions. There is no true pet immune detector yet available, which would disregard an animal no matter what its size or distance away from the PIR. The best way to overcome the problem of pets is to use perimeter protection instead.
PGM – This is a programmable output available on many control panels. It acts like a light switch. If it were programmed for Bell, which would mean that, when the bell box is activated, it would switch on whatever is connected to it, e.g. trigger a relay to activate floodlights or cameras.
PIEZO SOUNDER – The piezo sounder is used on the majority of external sounders. The sounder consists of an electronic piezo element, called a Piezo Transducer, which gives a very high-pitched output. The benefit of this is that it is low cost and loud, the disadvantage is it is not directional. Police and ambulance sirens also use this type of sounder.
PLAYBACK FACILITY – This feature is available on Speech Diallers. It allows one to listen to the messages recorded onto the unit.
POLYCARBONATE – This is a very strong and resilient plastic that is used for both bell boxes and control panels. It is, to a certain degree, fire resistant as well. To comply with BS4737 regulations, 3mm thick polycarbonate needs to be used.
POTENTIOMETER – A potentiometer is an adjustable resistor which is used for applications such as a volume adjuster on some control panels and a sensitivity adjustment on shock sensors. It has a small wheel that controls the level.
POWER SUPPLY OR PSU – Power supplies are used to give the right voltage and current required to power all technologies on an alarm system. There is normally a power supply built into all of control panels that are 12 volt rated. However, additional PSUs are also sold that are boxed in either polycarbonate or metal enclosures. These tend to be needed for larger systems
PRIORITY LEVELS – These are the differing levels of access given to the users of a control panel. On all panels there is a minimum of Master, User & Set levels available.
PROGRAMMABLE DIAL ATTEMPTS – This feature is used on both the Speech Dialler and the digi. A specified number of dial attempts are programmed into the module to ensure the unit will try a telephone number several times, in case it cannot get through first time.
PT E/E – This zone type is probably one of the most useful zone types available. It is a two in one zone. It acts like an access zone in full set, in that it will allow a person to walk through as long as the entry/exit zone is opened first. In part-set it acts like an entry/exit zone starting the entry timer as soon as it detects a person. It is suitable for use in open plan rooms.
PULSE COUNT – This is available on both some PIRs and shock sensors. Pulse count is incorporated to try and prevent false alarm activations. It will count a number of activations before going into alarm. For example, if a PIR is set at pulse count 3, it would have to see movement in three zones of the detector beam pattern before it would go into alarm.
PYRO – A pyro or pyro element is the thermal sensor that is used in infra-red detectors (PIRs, Quads and Dualtechs)
QUAD DETECTOR – A quad element detector is a type of PIR where four infra-red sensors are built into the detector, increasing the accuracy of detection compared to a normal PIR.
RE-ARMS – It is always recommended to use re-arms. In an alarm condition, after the programmed bell ring time, the bell box will go quiet. If this feature is activated, the panel will automatically re-set itself, ready for action, so if there is still an intruder on the premises or someone re- enters the building, they will be detected and the bell box will be re-activated. Generally, 3-5 re-arms is the normal setting, i.e. the panel will automatically reset 3-5 times before the system needs to be manually reset.
REDCARE COMPATIBLE – Redcare is the best communication format available to send messages between the premises being monitored and the monitoring station. Any panels that have a communication output can take a Redcare STU. The only potential problem is that the STU may not fit into the panel itself, and so has to be mounted in a separate enclosure.
REDCARE STU (SUBSCRIBER TERMINAL UNIT) – This is the communicator used for the BT Redcare system. There are only two manufacturers of STUs, Versus and Digital Audio (DA). They both do a very similar job. The benefit of using a STU over any other form of communication is that it offers permanent monitoring between the premises and the monitoring station. This means that, if there were any problems, e.g. cut phone line or an alarm condition, these would be noticed by the monitoring station within seconds.
REMOTE RESET – This is a feature that allows the monitoring station to reset the control panel remotely, by sending a signal down the telephone line. This is done only when there has been an alarm condition, rather than a tamper condition.
REMOVABLE PCB – On several units the Printed Circuit Board is removable. This is done to make installation of that product easier for the engineer.
RESTORE – This is an ACPO recommendation. It is very similar to Alarm Abort. The main difference is that, to utilise Alarm Abort, you have to designate a channel on your communicator. With Restore, the message is sent on the same channel as your alarm signal. When the system is un-set a Restore signal is sent, to the monitoring station, which will clear the channel. This does rely on the monitoring station being able to take this type of signal. Installation companies will either use Restore or Alarm Abort but not both on the same system.
RFI – Radio Frequency Immunity. Radio waves are generated by the use of mobile phones, police or taxi radios. This type of interference can cause a multitude of problems to the electronics used in alarm products, mainly resulting in false alarms. Manufacturers endeavour, at all times, to design equipment to guard against this interference
RS232 PRINTER PORT – This printer port is available on some control panels. It enables engineers and users to print off the panel log, onto a RS232 compatible printer. This type of port is common with the majority of printers available.
SAB – Self-Activating Bell. The majority of bell boxes available in the market work in SAB mode. This means that the bell box draws all it’s power from the control panel. The NIMH battery normally contained in the bellbox is there purely as a back up, should the power between the panel and bell be cut.
SAB/SCB SELECTABLE – This option is available on several of bell box units. It is there to give the engineer more options, and can be particularly useful if using more than one bell box
SCB – Self-Contained Bell. There are very few bell boxes available on the market that work purely in SCB mode. This means that the bell box receives its quiescent current and trigger from the panel, but when an alarm is activated, the bellbox will draw power from its own on-board battery. Such bellboxes will generally be used when using more than one bellbox on a system, to keep current consumption from the panel to a minimum.
SCREW TAMPER – A screw tamper option is available on nearly all bell boxes. The tamper rests on the cover screws of the unit so that, if the screws are loosened, it will cause a tamper activation. This feature offers greater protection from would be intruders.
SEALED OPTICS – This feature is available on some PIRs. There is a plastic moulding built into the front cover of the unit which, when matched up to the base unit, seals the pyro. This seal then prevents spiders, insects and other foreign bodies getting onto the pyro, resulting in an alarm condition.
SELF-TEST FACILITY – This is a feature common on the NAPCO range of PIRs and Dualtechs. The unit, if for example left alone in an office over a weekend, will automatically test itself every 11-16 hours. This facility is achieved by placing a resistor by the side of the pyro element.
SEPARATE FULL AND PART SET EXIT TIMES – This feature is available on many control panels. The time needed for someone to leave the premises in full set mode tends to be longer than the time someone needs to get to an area that has been isolated in part set mode. Being able to programme both times separately means that the times can be set to suit the application.
SERVICE TIMER – This is an optional feature available on some control panels. It is a means of guaranteeing maintenance and also payment for the installation. The timer can be set from 0-98 weeks (99 turns the feature off). Most engineers will set the timer to 52 weeks, for yearly maintenance. Using this example, two weeks prior to lock (week 50) the panel will advise the customer to call the engineer, advising them every time the system is set or un-set. If, during this time, they decide not to contact the engineer, on week 52 the panel will lock out. This will leave them unable to use the alarm system until the engineer has been out to service the system and reset the timer.
SET ONLY CODE – This is a user priority level. With this code type the user can set the alarm system only. May be used for a cleaner.
SETTING CONFIRMATION – This confirmation, that the system is set, can be either visual via the strobe on a bellbox or audible via the bellbox sounder. This feature has become more popular recently due to the re-introduction of exit terminators for NACOSS companies. It also gives the end user the peace of the mind that the system has set.
SETTING MODES – This defines how the system is set. The options available are: Time, Entry/Exit Door, Time or Entry/Exit and Exit Terminator. Time tends to be the most popular option used
SILENT PART SET – This feature is available on most control panels. If the engineer has programmed this, when someone part-sets the panel, it will not emit any entry/exit tones. This is particularly useful if there are children in bed and there is a risk that setting the alarm system will wake them up.
SOLID STATE – This refers to a type of storage used for voice or data on equipment and replaces the storage of speech on tape, which had a tendency to stretch resulting in the deterioration of speech clarity. With solid state storage, the speech or data is stored on a microprocessor chip that keeps all recording consistent.
STROBE SETTING CONFIRMATION – This feature is available on some control panels. When the system finally sets, whether by time or exit terminator, the strobe on the bell box will flash for 3 seconds. This is a visual confirmation for the end user, to reassure them that the system has set.
SURFACE MOUNT – Almost every electronic security product manufactured uses surface mount technology. This means that most of the electronic components are placed by machine, improving product reliability and production throughput. The surface mount machines used in the production process can place approximately 11,000-15,000 components an hour.
THERMAL NOISE ENVIRONMENT STABILITY – This has been built into PIRs to filter out certain thermal interference caused by items such as mains supplies, lighting, etc. This type of interference can cause false alarm activations.
TWIN-FLASHING LED – Twin-flashing LEDs are used on some bellboxes as a visual deterrent to any would-be intruder. Twin flashing LEDs are also sometimes used on dummy units, to make it look like a live unit. They also give indications to the engineer when servicing, and the bell box goes into Hold Off modefor example.
UPLOAD/DOWNLOAD – This facility is used on higher specification control panels. It provides a means of programming and monitoring alarm systems via a PC. To enable the panel to accept this type of information, a Digi-modem needs to be installed. Any information can then be downloaded from a pc, via a modem, over the telephone line, and into the control panel (or vice versa) within minutes. The major benefit to the Installation Company is that they can now programme systems in advance, and upload the programme settings once the system has been installed. This should also dramatically reduce the amount of site visits needed, as the majority of customer’s queries can be dealt with over the telephone.
USER – This refers to the end user of the alarm system.
USER CODE – This is a pin code used by the user to set or un-set the system. It tends to be a four, five or six digit code of their choice (depending on the panel used).
USER NAME ID – This feature is available on some higher specification control panels. Rather than just having the user listed on the log as a user number, their name can be entered making identification easier when reading the event log. It also personalises the alarm system.
VISUAL VERIFICATION – See Strobe Setting Confirmation
WALK TEST STATUS DISPLAY – This feature is available on many higher spec panels. This is an engineer feature making it easier to do a Walk Test of the system. When the engineer enters walk test mode, the panel will display all zones on the LCD keypad. The engineer can then walk around the premises and activate each zone in turn. When he returns to the keypad, the zones that are working correctly will have disappeared off the display. The ones still showing need to be checked and if necessary adjusted.
WHITE LIGHT FILTER – This term refers to the PIR’s lens. The whiter the lens, the better its immunity to sunlight and strong light sources such as car headlights. This has been a major cause of false alarms, and the vast majority of PIRs nowadays come with a pure white lens.
X-10 – X10 is a power-line carrier protocol that allows compatible devices throughout the home to communicate with each other via the existing 240V wiring in the house. Using X10 it is possible to control lights and virtually any other electrical device from anywhere in the house with no additional wiring. Modules can be bought that plug into a mains socket and will control lights and electrical appliances in any way that the user requires. Using X-10 compatible control panels that are connected to the phone line (via a digi), it is possible to remotely switch on lights and appliances via the Internet and even via a mobile phone.
ZONE – A zone is an area of a building defined within the control panel, which can be activated and deactivated separately from all areas of the building. This allows people to walk around in one area without activating the alarm whilst the rest of the building is protected by the system. Different panels allow a different number of zones to be programmed into them. In general the bigger the building, the greater the number of zones that would need to be programmed into the panel.
ZONE DESCRIPTORS – This feature is available on some control panels, and allows individual zones to be tagged with a text name. As a result, when reading the log, rather than seeing Zone 1, it is possible with these panels to insert the phrase ‘Front Door’, for example. This makes it much easier to identify which zone has been activated.