Security Tip

Since most alarm keypads have panic buttons, consider adding an easy-to-reach keypad console in your bedroom.






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Security Alarm Keypads

Not Just Another 'TV Remote'


Next to the control panel, security alarm keypads are the most important component in any security system.

The alarm keypad, sometimes called a security alarm console, is the focal point of your home protection system, as well as to a rapid-response monitoring center (if you have opted for one).

Gone are the old days of inserting and 'turning a key' to arm and disarm your burglar alarm. On the contrary, just like the keyboard is to your home computer, alarm keypads function as the interface to all your installed security devices.

All alarm functions, as well as system status, can be observed and controlled through alarm keypads. Using buttons and simple numeric codes, they are used to arm and disarm the system, check the back-up battery, and verify that all zones are clear and operational.

Types of Alarm Keypads

The security system keypad is not only the most visible, but is also the component with which you will interact most. There are many styles, and a wide range in the level of sophistication. So let's look at some options:

1) Like other security system equipment, there are both wired and wireless alarm keypads. And many security systems can accommodate a mix of both types. Since you'll want the keypad and central control station installed in separate places, a wireless keypad can be especially convenient.

2) The most basic are the LED alarm keypads. Colored lights indicate alarm status such as 'ready', and 'armed', or a security zone that is open or alarmed. If your system has only 3 or 4 monitored end-points, a simple LED pad is acceptable. But the more sensors you plan to monitor, the more you'll want a an intelligent interface.

3) The most feature-rich are the alphanumeric alarm console keypads, which use an LCD to present simple English phrases ( i.e. "back door open" ) about system status. They are also programmed to walk you through the installation process, and some are designed as touch-screen keypads.

How It Works

The keypad is the security system's command center. From it, you control the system's function-arming and disarming, and reviewing past alarm activity. Most When the alarm is 'active', the security keypad beeps when the door is opened. That beeping reminds you to turn the system off, and is programmed to last 30-60 seconds before the security system goes into alarm.

This delay is essential to give users time to turn the system off, thereby preventing false alarms. At the end of the pre-alarm delay the beeping stops, the siren sounds, and the control starts the process of sending the monitoring center an alarm message.

Generally it takes between 10-60 seconds to send the alarm message, which consists of electronic data. The keypad beeping starts immediately whether you have opened the door or whether an intruder has forced the door open.

Home Alarm Keypad Placement

Avoid the integrated alarm panel keypads (control panel and keypad in the same unit). With the alarms that have been designed with all three of these devices combined into one piece of equipment, all of them are exposed to tampering.

The best security systems are installed with the three most important devices installed in different locations throughout your house:

1) The alarm system keypad is located near a main door,
2) The siren is often in a central location of the house where sound can travel well, and
3) The main control station is hidden in an area not quickly discovered by an intruder.

Multiple alarm keypads provide the greatest flexibility for those entering and leaving the house. As many as 30 home security keypads can be connected to the main control panel, and are typically placed at one or more of the following locations:

* Front door
* Master bedroom
* Back of house or patio door
* Inside garage door

Even if you only have one keypad console, it should be placed as close to the most frequently used door. An infrequently used door can be put it on its own delay zone and have a longer entry time to get to the keypad from that door.

In summary, burglar alarm keypads have a great deal to do with making your security system convenient for the whole family. In order to get one that is intuitive and easy for everyone to use, don't be afraid to spend a few more dollars.

You'll also want to read more about alarm control panels. Additional buying tips can be found in the sections on home burglar alarm equipment, and home security alarms.