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Author Topic: False alarm question  (Read 1918 times)

gizmo17

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False alarm question
« on: January 05, 2010, 08:05:04 PM »
Hopefully one of you can help me with this situation.
The past 2 days I had my hard wired alarm go off in my basement zone. Curiously, both days it went off at 7:57AM. The first day I thought maybe something fell over in my basement, a cardboard box not placed securely or something similar. But after checking, everything seemed to be in order and after it went off the 2nd day at the exact time, something's screwy in my alarm setup. The basement zone has window contacts and a motion detector I added a little over a year ago. I included it on the same zone logic being that if I'm in "stay" mode, I'd still want my motion in the basement to be active. I've been thinking about this all day and can't think of a logical reason the alarm would go off at the same time. The monitoring company suggested an electrical surge, maybe just a wild guess on their part. I've checked the motion for spider webs etc. didn't see anything. The area the motion is pointing towards does have windows, but sun doesn't come in that side until the afternoon.
Any suggestion/ideas are appreciated.
Thanks!

Static

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Re: False alarm question
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2010, 08:15:31 PM »
Have you confirmed that the alarm actually went off or are we basing everything on what the monitoring station says? Were you home at the time? If not, does your keypad show a memory for the basement zone?
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KSSPA

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Re: False alarm question
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2010, 08:54:49 PM »
This is a prime example of a good reason to keep each sensor on its own zone. It makes issues like this much easier to figure out. The motion really should be on its own zone and programmed into the proper zone group to be active in stay.

Still, the most likely culprit is the motion

Are there any other hard wired motions on the system?

Something is happening at that time to affect the motion, however unrelated it may seem.



gizmo17

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Re: False alarm question
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2010, 09:24:17 PM »
Yes, I was home both times it went off. The second day I thought it seemed to be about the same time so I asked the monitoring company and they confirmed it was the same time (alarm relay - great company by the way, call within 10 seconds!).
I wasn't aware you can have an active in stay mode, the techs i spoke to when i installed the panel didn't mention this. They did say "usually you wouldn't mix sensors" but after explaining the reason why I was doing this they said should be fine. There are 2 other motions on the system and those are connected properly.
To test the system, I later put it in chime mode and heard the chime go off 2 times. So either something is wrong with my motion or there are some big bugs crawling around my basement.
Thanks

Static

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Re: False alarm question
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2010, 10:17:25 PM »
Quote
To test the system, I later put it in chime mode and heard the chime go off 2 times.
This is an excellent way to troubleshoot. Also a very good "early warning" system; if you hear a chime when nothing's moving, there's a false alarm waiting to happen.

Simple place to start: Hang a towel or something similar over your motions so they won't detect you're walking around. Then with your chime on, go and inspect your contacts and splices. Rattle your windows, jiggle wires, give the motion a gentle thump. If the chime sounds, you could very well be zeroing in on your culprit.

Even better is to do as KSSPA says and zone everything out by themselves. Then when something happens, you know where it's coming from.
I have all the answers . . . some of them are correct.

MmmDee

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Re: False alarm question
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2010, 11:12:45 PM »
Of course you made sure heating vents, fans, pets aren't influencing the motions, right?   If the motions are pointing toward windows, nothing's happening outside that would trigger, right?

KSSPA

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Re: False alarm question
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2010, 11:16:09 PM »
If its been working in its current location for over a year its unlikely the cause is something that was pre-existing. It's seems its something recent

KCTech

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Re: False alarm question
« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2010, 04:06:37 AM »
Do you have a programmable thermostat for your HVAC?  The reason that I ask, is that I do run into problems with motions this time of year.  People set their heaters to come on at a specific time (ie; 65 degrees at night, 72 in the morning, etc.).  Since motions sense a rapid temperature change, like body heat, it can set them off when a heater comes on and blows 85 or 90 degree air across it's field of view, when it HAD been seeing 65 degrees.


Story time:

I ran into a situation one time where a guy kept having false alarms on his motion, on a system that had been installed for around nine months.  I cleaned it because it had spiderwebs around it.  Next day, he had another false alarm.  I replaced the motion.  I had asked him on both occasions if anything in the room had changed at all, and he said "no".  He had more false alarms the next two days.  I went out to replace the wire and when I arrived he told me that he DID move his console TV to the left about six inches, right before he started having this problem (daylight savings time, he had a glare on the TV during his favorite show, so he moved the TV  ::) ).  We moved the TV back, and viola!--No more problems.  There was a HVAC vent behind the TV, and when the heater kicked on, it was directing hot air differently than before, in turn, setting the motion off.

I wouldn't have believed it if it wasn't there in front of me.

This story always comes to mind when I hear of a motion falsing for no apparent reason.

KCTech
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It's better to have a security system, and not need it, than need a security system, and not have it.

gizmo17

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Re: False alarm question
« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2010, 07:31:07 AM »
Thanks for the replies guys, I appreciate it.
I made sure after the first false alarm that there isn't anything that would move unexpectedly, no pets. This is in the basement so there isn't any heating there. There is  ductwork for the HVAC for the first floor and that's scheduled to go on at 7:30 AM. The windows have blinds on them so I don't think there is something outside setting it off. I also thought maybe sun was coming through the windows illuminating dust particles, probably a far stretch, but the sun doesn't shine on that side of the house until the late afternoon.
Yesterday night, I bypassed the basement motion hoping it won't go off this morning. Well it didn't go off...but that's because my wife shut it off when she left for work which is before 7:57.
If I can't figure it out I'll probably replace the motion (the chiming when I was home tells me something may be wrong with it) and eventually buy a zone expander and put the basement motion on it's own.
I dug out the instructions for my motion (the one that came with my NX-8 panel), it doesn't look like there's anyway to adjust the sensitivity of these things is there?
Out of curiosity, how reliable are motion detectors? Is it "normal" to have false alarms? As a consumer, I've had motions in several homes and never had an issue with it malfunctioning of causing false alarms.

KSSPA

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Re: False alarm question
« Reply #9 on: January 06, 2010, 08:41:51 AM »
Properly located and installed motions really shouldn't ever false. What type of "motion" do you have? Is it PIR, dual tech, RCR ?

Just out of curiosity, is the clock on your programmable stat accurate? It isn't off by about 27 minutes by any chance is it?

MmmDee

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Re: False alarm question
« Reply #10 on: January 06, 2010, 08:46:56 AM »
If the HVAC duct runs in front of the motion's view, perhaps as the duct heats up, the motion perceives that as a warm body... maybe it takes 27 minutes for the duct to heat up sufficiently to appear "human"  ;D  With the weather colder in many parts of the country, I suspect your basement is likely colder too and therefor a larger temperature differential between ambient basement air and the duct.

I've had motions in our house working well for a year, but just recently (2 nights ago in fact) I had a couple of false alarms that I've attributed to a heating vent being readjusted.

gizmo17

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Re: False alarm question
« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2010, 02:28:08 PM »
I just took another look, the ductwork runs across the motions field of view about 5 feet away. Maybe that's my problem! It has been very cold here in NJ lately and since most of my basement is above ground, it probably gets even colder than usual.  Maybe I'll reactivate my motion and try to see when the chime goes off if the heat is running.
The motion is a PIR one I believe, it came with the NX-8 (Sentrol PI-6000 motion sensor).
There goes my theory about the spider or house centipedes commuting to work across my motion every morning!  ;D

Natethegr8

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Re: False alarm question
« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2010, 04:42:39 PM »
Oh how I hate the PI-6000 motions.  Those things false more than Nixon!  Try a Bosch dual tech.

KSSPA

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Re: False alarm question
« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2010, 07:43:21 PM »
I haven't used the PI=6000 since I started using Bosch dual techs several years ago, but I always liked them.and the optex r40.

However neither can come close to the Bosch dual techs for false alarm immunity

 

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