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Using ADT Alarm system without service

lailanis 2,062 441 July 6, 2016 at 12:48 PM
Hi
I hope some guys here may help some as I'm not sure how to proceed
I moved to a new house that had ADT alarm system, on our 1st day a saleman from safestreets (ADT authorized dealer) came in and wanted us to activate the system, to make it short, we did accept and people came in and activated it, my wife was here but not me, I'm not sure what they did. now we have the voice alarm everytime door/windows is opened.
We decided to cancel after 2 days, we got our money back. but safestreets said they will come and take the equipment, I called them to inquire what they will collect because I was worried they will take all equipment that house has (keypad, sensors etc..) they said no but just a cellular module that they installed when they activated the system. my wife thinks they just played with settings and put in some codes but did not install anything inside the main unit but she's not sure.
my question is what is the cellular module they are talking about? is it 3gvlp-adt that I can see inside or just the sim card?
Do you think that 3gvlp-adt was installed by them or it was there and they are trying to take it still?
my last question, is how can i keep the alarm like it is set up now (voice etc..) without monitoring? I read stuff about codes etc but not sure how to do it
Thank you all for your help

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#2
Quote from lailanis View Post :
Hi
I hope some guys here may help some as I'm not sure how to proceed
I moved to a new house that had ADT alarm system, on our 1st day a saleman from safestreets (ADT authorized dealer) came in and wanted us to activate the system, to make it short, we did accept and people came in and activated it, my wife was here but not me, I'm not sure what they did. now we have the voice alarm everytime door/windows is opened.
We decided to cancel after 2 days, we got our money back. but safestreets said they will come and take the equipment, I called them to inquire what they will collect because I was worried they will take all equipment that house has (keypad, sensors etc..) they said no but just a cellular module that they installed when they activated the system. my wife thinks they just played with settings and put in some codes but did not install anything inside the main unit but she's not sure.
my question is what is the cellular module they are talking about? is it 3gvlp-adt that I can see inside or just the sim card?
Do you think that 3gvlp-adt was installed by them or it was there and they are trying to take it still?
my last question, is how can i keep the alarm like it is set up now (voice etc..) without monitoring? I read stuff about codes etc but not sure how to do it
Thank you all for your help

First off, I will point out that an alarm system that is not hooked up to central monitoring is basically worthless. Secondly, while I can't speak wrt ADT systems in specific, most security systems allow you to change the alerting and If sensors were triggering a voice alert whenever a window or external door was opened, it should have been an easy adjustment to have them change that to a chime.

As to the 3g device, you most likely have a cell phone alert\dial out wireless system (as opposed to using your land line). That is actually the right way to do it as someone can cut a land line. They most likely are going to take whatever is related to the phone number used to call out for such (be it the sim, a circuit board or both).

Can't speak to ADT as I have heard a lot of bad things about them, but I would contact another security service and see if they can utilize the equipment and hook you up properly. Having a security system and not using it is sort of a total waste imo and the monitoring is usually something like 20-30 dollars a month so it is not that expensive.

My 2 cents.
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#3
First of all, Stay away from ADT!

How were they going to monitor your alarm? By landline or by the internet w/ cell phone backup?

It's possible that they could have added the cellular module as part of a promotion, if they happened to mention that...Who knows.

My cell module is a separate box, doesn't live inside the panel. Can you see that they added another box somewhere?

The previous owners to my house also had ADT. I had my alarm company come in to do a "switchover". The alarm company came in and simply reprogrammed the existing panel to work with their central monitoring system. I had to buy the internet/cell module because I didn't have a landline.

ADT is notorious for locking out the panels once you stop service with them. Good luck with having them give you the installer code.

Other than that, your alarm system should continue to work the same way it is, minus the monitoring by the central station.
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Last edited by lowpro July 6, 2016 at 01:45 PM.
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#4
Thx for replying back. So you think even if they remove this cell module, the system will still work and alert with voice whenever door or window is open?
Is cell Module something different than this 3gvlp-adt?
Thx
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#5
Quote from lailanis View Post :
Thx for replying back. So you think even if they remove this cell module, the system will still work and alert with voice whenever door or window is open?
Is cell Module something different than this 3gvlp-adt?
Thx

The cell module should only be used send the signal to the central station for monitoring. I can't think of a reason why your alarm system would work any different without it.

I'm starting to think that you have a board that was connected onto your alarm panel. Like I mentioned, mine is different, I have a separate box which houses the module for my cellular backup. Both still do the same thing.
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#6
Quote from lailanis View Post :
Thx for replying back. So you think even if they remove this cell module, the system will still work and alert with voice whenever door or window is open?
Is cell Module something different than this 3gvlp-adt?
Thx
The voice announcements are done by a voice enabled keypad.

I avoid ADT at all costs, but I'll say this the quality from one adt contractor / dealer / installer varies a lot. There are some that are good, some that are ok and plenty that are down right bad.

It's pretty common for the cellular modules to remain their property. As to the rest of the panel, it will have their install code but most companies should be able to take over the panel if you want monitoring.

Until and unless you want monitoring you probably wouldn't need to change anything in the panel settings, but you may eventually get a failed to communicate trouble condition.

Most alarms were designed to work with land lines, but there are lots of different options for monitoring via cell or internet. Beware local alarm permit laws, they could cause problems with some options. One fairly cheap monitoring option is http://geoarm.com

Half the value in an alarm is in the yard sign, which are designed to break btw. The other half is to scare off a burglar, but the smart ones know an adt sign means you've most likely only got 2-3 doors covered and 1 motion detector and probably nothing upstairs. Only the dumbest burglars would still be around by the time the cops show up. That said, a monitored alarm is better than self monitoring.
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Last edited by jkee July 22, 2016 at 04:21 PM.
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#7
I would point out that self-monitoring is near worthless imo. Even if you have a siren, all it will do is annoy your neighbors and potentially get you a ticket from the town if they get false alarms\complaints from the neighbors too often. People ignore house alarm sirens like they ignore car alarms by and large and most people are more likely to call the police when the alarm annoys them for being on too long\too often then they are for any potential burglary.

Yes having the sign and all is a deterrent, but having a central station call the police is a lot more meaningful. It restricts the time a burglar can stay in your home to the time it takes for the police to respond, which will often be measured in the 5-10 minute range in many local towns in highly populated areas which means burglars are basically restricted to smash and grabs.
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#8
If a burglar doesn't think the cops will show up, self monitoring is pretty worthless. Generally burglars aren't the smartest...

I agree monitored is generally better, but if you self monitor add some cameras.

I don't think house alarms are as ignored as car alarms. Properly configured there shouldn't be many false alarms and the sirens often sound different from what people are used to. The issue is they aren't always installed so the siren is very loud outside the house.

I generally ignore car alarms between 6 am and 9 pm, but after dark I pay more attention.
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#9
Interesting thread, one of my relatives are in similar boat.

ADT does suck, but after calling around local providers, there's no one that can do security much cheaper it appears in their area.

Alternative would be Simplisafe but would have to buy all new equipment, and Simplisafe also has the remote keyboard hack vulnerability that they have not addressed.

So in the end, I think it was better to use ADT.

The keypad in our relative's case had the cellular transmitter embedded in one small unit. It's not a traditional system like the Honeywell Ademco units with a panel. This was a wireless system with a central keypad all-in-one box.

Self monitoring is not as useless as it appears. If you have a smart things hub along with IP cameras, you have a pretty effective system. We have a Skylink system coupled with IP cameras, and it's damned effective as it alerts us via multiple devices if a sensor is triggered. Sometimes that's a lot better than hoping the signal went out to a call center, they have to call the house to see if it's a false alarm, etc.
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#10
Quote from cheap_bastid View Post :
Interesting thread, one of my relatives are in similar boat.

ADT does suck, but after calling around local providers, there's no one that can do security much cheaper it appears in their area.

Alternative would be Simplisafe but would have to buy all new equipment, and Simplisafe also has the remote keyboard hack vulnerability that they have not addressed.

So in the end, I think it was better to use ADT.

The keypad in our relative's case had the cellular transmitter embedded in one small unit. It's not a traditional system like the Honeywell Ademco units with a panel. This was a wireless system with a central keypad all-in-one box.

Self monitoring is not as useless as it appears. If you have a smart things hub along with IP cameras, you have a pretty effective system. We have a Skylink system coupled with IP cameras, and it's damned effective as it alerts us via multiple devices if a sensor is triggered. Sometimes that's a lot better than hoping the signal went out to a call center, they have to call the house to see if it's a false alarm, etc.

Having cameras is great and all and I highly recommend it, but even video motion alerts to yourself simply are not worth much on a real time basis imo. Great after the fact to identify the people, but you have to deal with false alerts (which can occur from light changes as the sun peaks in and out of clouds\through windows blinds and the like, pets moving around potentially, etc.) and you have to be constantly looking at the alerts on your cell phone, which often does not happen or does not happen quickly. Yes you can tweak most systems to filter false alarms but that is usually problematic at best and it still leaves the human element involved on your part. Additionally, if you are asleep, it is basically worthless obviously.

Cell phone alerting to a central station should always work as long as you have reception in your area. It is not like you are on the move and switching towers or moving through a dead zone. Yes they call you to see if it is a false alarm, if they get no response, then they call the police. The point being that motion, door and window sensors are more fool proof and basically there is a staffed system in place 24x7x365 to call the police at all times. Doing that yourself reliably simply is not practical imo and given the monitoring cost of 20-30 dollars a month, it basically is not cost effective to try to save that amount either imo. The major cost is usually the equipment and the installation to do it right. Once in place, it is not a big expense as home expenses go to be centrally monitored.

My 2 cents.
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#11
They almost all use Ademco alarms. You can recover the installer code with a reboot and watching the panel depending on the model of your panel.

You were wise to cancel service. You are locked into your term (100% buyout only, even if you move) and the term auto-renews if you do not give written notice of cancellation at least 20 days prior to the contract end.

I will go the other route and say monitored alarms offer very little extra protection over un-monitored alarms. Anyone that has one should let it go off and when the alarm company calls to verify, don't answer and see how long it takes the police to arrive, if ever. YMMV of course. The yard signs are 90% of your protection. The audible alarm takes it up to 99%. The service adds very little.

I use mine as a stand-alone now. It was ADT, then Guardian. I disconnected mine from the phone line before I cancelled so they couldn't dial in and disable it. You can buy a new main board though they are not that much. Look on the Internet for Ademco alarm systems. All of your sensors and such will still work just the main board would need replacement and that is only if you are locked out of it. I did the reboot thing on mine and it told me the installer code. You need to disconnect the backup battery as well for a total system reboot.
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#12
Quote from dealgate View Post :
They almost all use Ademco alarms. You can recover the installer code with a reboot and watching the panel depending on the model of your panel.
ADT now owns Tyco Security which owns DSC. ADT often installs DSC not Honeywell these days, but it depends on the individual dealer.

DSC panels are a little easier to operate. My grandma can handle a DSC but not a honeywell.
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#13
Quote from YanksIn2009 View Post :
Having cameras is great and all and I highly recommend it, but even video motion alerts to yourself simply are not worth much on a real time basis imo. Great after the fact to identify the people, but you have to deal with false alerts (which can occur from light changes as the sun peaks in and out of clouds\through windows blinds and the like, pets moving around potentially, etc.) and you have to be constantly looking at the alerts on your cell phone, which often does not happen or does not happen quickly. Yes you can tweak most systems to filter false alarms but that is usually problematic at best and it still leaves the human element involved on your part. Additionally, if you are asleep, it is basically worthless obviously.

Cell phone alerting to a central station should always work as long as you have reception in your area. It is not like you are on the move and switching towers or moving through a dead zone. Yes they call you to see if it is a false alarm, if they get no response, then they call the police. The point being that motion, door and window sensors are more fool proof and basically there is a staffed system in place 24x7x365 to call the police at all times. Doing that yourself reliably simply is not practical imo and given the monitoring cost of 20-30 dollars a month, it basically is not cost effective to try to save that amount either imo. The major cost is usually the equipment and the installation to do it right. Once in place, it is not a big expense as home expenses go to be centrally monitored.

My 2 cents.
Sounds like you are getting tons of false alerts because you are using pixel based motion detection instead of a true PIR motion sensor.

If your nvr/dvr has alarm in/out's, then you could buy yourself a PIR motion sensor that will only pick up true motion based on thermal changes. The sensor would then trigger your nvr/dvr to send you the alert.

Look into it, it will cut down your alerts by 95%
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#14
Quote from lowpro View Post :
Sounds like you are getting tons of false alerts because you are using pixel based motion detection instead of a true PIR motion sensor.

If your nvr/dvr has alarm in/out's, then you could buy yourself a PIR motion sensor that will only pick up true motion based on thermal changes. The sensor would then trigger your nvr/dvr to send you the alert.

Look into it, it will cut down your alerts by 95%

I have two systems....the primary with IR motion sensors, window and door sensors all through out the house which is centrally monitored. And a video secondary I run through cameras and Blue Iris with a dedicated PC with alerting controlled by BI. The cameras have PIR but I have never been able to figure out how to tie in BI and the PIR of the cameras. There was some input on it on the camtalk forum but it just does not seem to work for me (probably doing something wrong but I gave up trying to futz with it). I just decided to stick with the pixel based detection and setting up cold and hot zones. Works OK with the biggest set of false alerts coming from light changes during the day.
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#15
Quote from YanksIn2009 View Post :
I have two systems....the primary with IR motion sensors, window and door sensors all through out the house which is centrally monitored. And a video secondary I run through cameras and Blue Iris with a dedicated PC with alerting controlled by BI. The cameras have PIR but I have never been able to figure out how to tie in BI and the PIR of the cameras. There was some input on it on the camtalk forum but it just does not seem to work for me (probably doing something wrong but I gave up trying to futz with it). I just decided to stick with the pixel based detection and setting up cold and hot zones. Works OK with the biggest set of false alerts coming from light changes during the day.
Gotcha. You'd be better off figuring that out. Like you said, you stop paying attention to the alerts if it gets to be too many. Are you on the ipcamtalk.com forum? Tons of help there for you.
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