Newbie/Smoke Detector/General Questions
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8 posts in this topic

Howdy!

 

I am really excited to see that there is an online group like this for Iris!

 

This is my first post in the forums, so please forgive the massive amount of ignorance I am about to spew. 

 

Background: We currently live in a rental home, and are in the process of finishing a new-build home. I was interested in a home security system with the option of expansion that was relatively easy. Also, living in a rental home I wanted something that was wireless (fewer holes to fix) and somewhat portable, so that we could take the system with us when we moved into the "real" house. (This was several months-to a a year ago when we moved into the rental.) 

 

Iris seemed like one of the better solutions just based on price/ease of obtaining additional devices for the system. I actually bought the more expensive package (Smart Kit?), and immediately sold the thermostat on ebay because we didn't need it for the rental house. I never put up the motion sensor because the ratings weren't so great on it, and everyone seems to think they are garbage. (If anyone wants a deal on a new/still in the box motion sensor, PM me, and for a few bucks and shipping, it can be yours!) So in addition to what came with the box, I did get several more contact sensors (I believe we have around 9) and an additional keypad so we wouldn't be running through the house to disarm the system if we happened to come in the back door. I also bought the utilitech siren, as the keypad's "siren" is a joke. 

 

At any rate, now that we are getting ready to move, and the house is almost done, I am looking at a further investment into Iris. At first I was just interested with security, but now I am thinking I would like to add some devices for the purposes of home automation. I was hesitant to pay the monthly fee to get the expanded services because I wasn't sold on the reliability of the system, but I have yet to have any false alarms or huge bugs associated with the functionality of my system. Lowe's did randomly send me a new range extender awhile back, and I replaced the original one. Not sure what that was about but I never had any issues with the first one.

 

The new house, per code, has a wired system of FirstAlert/BRK (120VAC, DC b/u.) smoke/CO combination units. These are located in the bedrooms and hallways.

 

QUESTION 1: I see that Lowe's does offer Iris compatible DC only units that can be added to a system. That's wonderful/fine/dandy but I don't really want to replace 5 perfectly good (and AC primary powered) smoke/CO units. Is there a unit that I can buy that is 120VAC (or even battery) that will make all of the units "talk" to each other, and also talk to Iris? I also am planning on installing two additional battery/Iris Compatible units where I feel there is a coverage gap in the new house.  I don't mind forking over the cash to switch out one of the hardwired AC units for one that will link to the existing system, AND to the new Iris alarms/the Hub, if that means that the result is "One goes off, they all go off, or at least talk to Iris and make the sirens go off as well/AND blast my contacts list."  I have researched this topic through google, but can't seem to find a straight answer. I am sure y'all can probably answer this. If this has already been answered, I apologize, and please do tell me what to search for to find the solution myself!

 

QUESTION 2: This is pertaining to magic rules: It appears as if I can tell a smart plug to turn on if an alarm is raised. Will the plug shut off once the alarm has been canceled? For example: Let's say I wanted to put a small 120V electromechanical siren in my attic near an external vent that would turn on via a smart plug when the alarm was set off..I want it to make some noise for awhile, but I would rather it not keep going off until I manually went an shut the plug off with the app/computer or even by hand. If this is possible, then great! I think it would be something that I would want to try out for awhile first before committing to it. The last thing I need is it randomly deciding to turn itself on when I am home, or worse, when no one is home.

 

That's pretty much it for now. I am really interested in getting a thermostat again, getting a compatible sprinkler controller, and hopefully eliminating the need for a bunch of new window contact sensors by installing some glass break sensors (available just in time for the new house!) and also perhaps a switch or two that would control a few lighting circuits in the home for various reasons. I also had a special circuit built for Christmas lights that I think a hardwired smart switch or outlet could be useful for. Would be nice to have the lights remotely operated during the holidays, and the regular landscape lighting for the other parts of the year.

 

Thanks for the help, sorry if these have been questions that get asked all the time, and I appreciate ANY input y'all can give.

 

Glad to be here,

 

 

Travis

 

 

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Question 1

 

I don't think Iris can help you there.

 

Question 2

 

There are multiple rules available to do this. You can use the "when a smart plug has been on for 5, 10, 15, 30 minutes or one hour" turn it off or use the "when a sensor has been activated control a device" and turn it on for 30 seconds, 1, 2, 5, 10 minutes.

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I would just pre-wire the new construction for the regular Alarm System like DSC 1616 (costs about $150+ for the set). You can Self-monitor DSC if you really want to or have it monitored by the alarm company. Your house resale value would improve cause it would be pre-wired for burglar/fire :)

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Thanks for the replies! I had a feeling that there wasn't going to be a good way to get the smoke alarms to talk to iris, but it was worth a shot. 

 

In response to xKing: The house does come with the alarm infrastructure pre-wired, but I wasn't too impressed with what the contract alarm company had to offer. It might be worth looking into if they offer any upgraded systems than just the standard. The 2GIG stuff looks pretty neat.

 

Again thanks!

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Thanks for the replies! I had a feeling that there wasn't going to be a good way to get the smoke alarms to talk to iris, but it was worth a shot. 

 

In response to xKing: The house does come with the alarm infrastructure pre-wired, but I wasn't too impressed with what the contract alarm company had to offer. It might be worth looking into if they offer any upgraded systems than just the standard. The 2GIG stuff looks pretty neat.

 

Again thanks!

 

For your original question #1 - I agree with scunnyngham, there's nothing you can do with your existing 120V smoke alarm network to integrate it with IRIS.

 

If you look around the alarm system community you can find some pretty decent deals on monitoring companies - I'd stay FAR away from contract alarm services from ADT, etc.  In my opinion, nothing beats a good 'ole hardwired system, and if you have a home already pre-wired for it, why not make use of it?  In addition to what xKing recommended, which, is a terrific panel, I'll also throw in the Honeywell Vista 20P alarm panel as well - it's a hybrid (wired, wireless-capable) panel that has better support for home automation down the line and probably easier to program for DIYers than the DSC.  Since you have an IRIS system the home automation angle may or may not matter to you as much for alarms, but now you have the information.  In either case, both are truly excellent brands with a fantastic feature set.

 

And since you have pre-wire, I'd stay away from 2Gig.  Both DSC and Honeywell panels accomplish almost all if not more than what 2Gig units can do.

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In response to xKing: The house does come with the alarm infrastructure pre-wired, but I wasn't too impressed with what the contract alarm company had to offer.

 

Check out Smith Thompson. I use them and very happy - $17/month, no contract. You can install your own system and have them monitor it or have them install it. Leave security to the system which is designed for security and leave home automation to Iris :)

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My house was pre-wired with the smoke/co that will set all of them off if one goes off. I just put an Iris one on the second floor by the wired one at the top of the stairs and second one on the first floor by the one closest to the stove. You don't even notice them side by side after a while. The wired gives full coverage throughout the house if something were to catch fire while I was home and the two Iris detectors would alert me while away.

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