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Smoke Detectors

Smoke detectors are a key component in the detection of fires. Some use the ionization method to sense the presence of smoke, and others use photoelectric sensing. Smoke detectors are either physically wired to the alarm control box or can relay via radio the detection of a high concentration of smoke particles.

Other Instrumentation

Heat detectors, manual pull stations, and sensors which detect the flow of water through a sprinkler system are some of the other devices used in a fire system.

Taking the mystery out of buying an alarm system


By definition a burglar alarm system is a series of sensors designed to detect, deter and report an unwanted intrusion. The electronic "brain" that processes the message from the sensor is called the alarm panel. To access the alarm (turn it on or off) a key pad or key switch is used. The device which sounds the alarm is called a horn, bell or siren, and the device which reports the alarm to an outside source for response is called the dialer, radio or communicator. These are the components of almost every alarm system.

Perimeter Sensors

Magnetic contacts detect the opening of a door or window on the perimeter of a protected premises. There are different types of contacts relating to size, color and mounting specifications. However, they all share a basic technology of breaking or creating an electric circuit which sets off the alarm.

Protection from intrusion

Perimeter protection is the most important function of any security system. Sensors installed at every vulnerable door and window will immediately detect a break in. Opening a protected door or window activates the sensor, which causes the system to sound a loud and instantaneous alarm.

Alarm screens are also perimeter devices. When the window screen is removed or cut in order to gain entry, the change in that circuit sets off the alarm. Screens allow you to keep windows open while keeping the alarm system armed.

Space Detection

This family of devices use a wide variety of detection technology to detect an intruder within a defined space. Space detection may be used in conjunction with perimeter devices for a greater level of security.

Passive Infra Red, known as PIR, is the most popular device used for space protection. It works by sensing rapid changes in temperature in a defined area. For example, a human body at 98 degrees goes into a room that is 75 degrees, causing the PIR to register the difference in temperatures to set off an alarm.


Protection from within

In the highly unlikely event an intruder gets past the perimeter system, interior sensors will pick up his presence. These use passive infrared motion detection technology, which is difficult if not impossible to fool. Motion detectors are ideal for installation in hallways and other main access ways.

There are different PIR's to address the size and shape of the area covered. A PIR can be set up so as to avoid a given area within the space to be watched over. For example, a "pet alley" allows household pets to go into a room with a PIR without setting it off.

Motion Detectors sense movement in a defined environment using passive or active microwave energy. They measure the rate of movement to report an alarm.

Glass break detectors offer added protection.

Sound Discriminators "listen" for the sounds of breaking glass and other sounds associated with forced entry.

Dual Technology is the term designated for more than one space protection technology used in the same device. Dual technology is used to limit the potential for false triggering from an environmental source.


  • UL Listed: Household Burglary/Fire UL1023/985


The control panel is the "brain" of the operation which takes the input from the sensors and decides what to do about it. This is the heart of your alarm system. It controls when and for how long the siren will blast, when to communicate to the central station, and so on.


Here are some components and features common to most control panels: Keypads allow you to do more than turn the system on and off. They display the status of the system, enable you to change arming levels and view the last event that took place. Keypads come with either LCD or LED displays. An LCD display provides information in English, whereas the LED indicates the data via light sequences. Most keypads also have manual buttons for a user to indicate a fire, forced intrusion and/or medical emergency.


Zones are functions or electrical circuits (loops). The more zones a control panel has the greater the number of sensors to be individually reported. With smaller capacity panels, an alarm installer would group sensors on the same zone.


Zones can be programmed to suit the sensor. For example, a zone can be set to delay response or instantly activate the panel. A delay zone would be used on a front door to allow the user to enter and exit without setting off the alarm.The zones used for smoke detectors are usually instant and for 24 hour response. This means that the fire system is working even if the control panel is not armed.


Grouping zones that are similar allow you to create arming levels. This means that you can keep parts of the system working while eliminating areas that are in use. A business may keep the storage area armed even during operating times. A homeowner might arm the perimeter and turn the space detectors off for security while at home.

The alarm control requires power to operate. This is accomplished by house current filtered by a power supply and back-up rechargeable battery. The battery maintains the operation of the system during power interruption. These batteries are either 6 or 12 volt. The capacity of the battery is rated in ampere hours.


The alarm control may be programmed for audible and silent functions. Many panic alarms are set up as silent so as to not create further stress, whereas a perimeter system will be set to power a bell or siren.


The best made and designed burglar alarm systems are only as good as the response to that alarm. Therefore a key component of any system is the communicator. Here are some of the most popular reporting devices available for homes and businesses.

The touch of a button on the miniature pendant transmitter sends a coded message over toll free telephone lines to our regulated emergency communications center.


A table top console instantly relays your emergency call through telephone lines to our 24 hour, 7 day a week, professionally staffed monitoring station.


If you are unable to answer when contacted, life safety professionals are summoned. Responsible parties of your choosing are then notified of the situation to further assist you. Independent living means taking the risk out of being home alone. Use the Amcest Network Locator to choose among the thousands of PERSYS alarm representatives in the Amcest database.

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