Home Security Metal Products

Quality security services in the greater Ottawa Carleton region since 1983

Tel: (613) 737-5955  Cell: (613) 798-3434  Fax: (613) 737-6093


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Equipment Preview

As far as common professionally rated brand names offered in the market, I can only offer a personal opinion based on my years in the business, and experience having installed most types of alarms. Bear in mind, those companies which deal in a particular make will of course tend to see their equipment as the best for you and always have some reason (real or otherwise) why other panels are inferior. Also, every installer has his/her own favourite panel, and one which they use for the majority of their installations (and I am no exception). Also bear in mind, the area/country you live in will dictate the makes commonly available.

DSC (Digital Security Controls of Mississauga, Ontario. - Probably the most common make installed in this area of Canada. Most of the larger and medium sized companies use this equipment and it is excellent, although not the most modern as far as false alarm prevention features go. DSC supply the equipment for a lot of firms who put their own name on it (called "OEM marketing - original equipment manufacturing - a common practice in most industries). Their products run from the ho hum, feature poor, but adequate DSC 1500 / 1550 6 zone panel, up to the DSC 3000 16 zone version, through to the very capable and more expensive and more modern DSC Power 832 hybrid panel, and expensive wireless panels. The DSC 832 is the clear choice in their product line if you wish to add features such as integrated intercom, voice response modules, X10 Pro home automation modules, or wireless additions. A few years ago, they added the DSC 1555 "Classic" series of upgraded panels in an attempt to "play catchup" with the competition. These are excellent wired/wireless hybrid panels, and are priced competitively for the low end residential and small business markets. A recent addition to their product line is the totally wireless Envoy panel, designed for trailers, condominiums and other places impossible to install a conventional wired system. 

Most leased or "free" systems put in in the past by the mass marketers used the low end hard wired older technology 6 zone 1550 panels made by DSC, although now the DSC 1555 is their clear choice. The 1550 line of equipment is the "Chev/ Pontiac" bottom end line of hardware in the industry. Reasonable upload / download software, but no "event log", so very difficult to remotely diagnose the panel. Impossible to remotely investigate alarms without the help of the monitoring station. Virtually no false alarm features built into the panel software.

Note: Recently, DSC was purchased by Tyco. Since then, there has been a clear indication of lack of quality control on new products coming out of the factory, based on my personal experience in buying DSC products. It remains to be seen if this is simply a "glitch", or reflects ongoing policy.

Paradox Security Systems of Montreal - the very best of equipment on the market generally speaking, and this writer's clear choice of alarm panel for general residential or commercial use (Spectra series). A very forward looking, responsive dynamic company, truly concerned with quality control and quality products. Factory assembly line techniques utilize the very latest board manufacturing techniques for top notch quality control. The best upload / download software available in the industry with a 256 event log. Feature rich, user friendly equipment !!! Definitely a "Buick" at Chev prices. The older Esprit panels  have given this writer the least amount of after installation service troubles, and was the only line of equipment to survive the rigors of the "ice storm of '98" virtually unscathed (short of a few minor problems easily solved over the phone via the software). Viewed as difficult to program by many installers.

Paradox have recently added two additional lines of panels - the Spectra line, and the Digiplex series (which competes directly with the DSC Power 832 for features and add-ons). Both lines have proven to be solid, reliable performers, with the plethora of modern programmable features that typify the latest lines of panels in the marketplace. However, any company installing these panels should ensure they are properly uploaded via computer, due to the complexity of programming inherent with these models. The Spectra panel, with the high end LCD keypad, is now my standard panel of choice.

Until recently, this company had no wireless systems or components available. Within the last couple of years, they have added a line of wireless add on components which have proven to be as good as the rest of their product line.

Ademco - the largest maker of alarm equipment in the world, and part of the Pittway corporation (a Fortune 500 company).  Made in the USA, it is good equipment, albeit very long in the tooth design wise!! Very comprehensive line of equipment with extensive wireless offerings. Complete range of panel sizes and configurations up to the very huge. Larger variety of keypads available than many manufacturers. Only very basic upload/download software capabilities. Many of the larger mass marketers in Canada use Ademco equipment because of the wireless capabilities. Personally, I do not support this equipment, and generally replace it with Paradox equipment when asked to "takeover" the account.

FBI - American equipment with boards that appear to be manufactured using inferior assembly line techniques (in this writer's opinion).  I stay away from this obviously cheaply made equipment (although it is sufficiently rated to be able to be hooked to a professional monitoring station). Ademco own the FBI line of equipment. My personal opinion - stay away from it !!

Napco/Gemini - appears to be excellent equipment, although I have no personal hands-on experience with this hardware whatsoever. Newest lines include wireless capabilities. Well regarded by those who use the product. Apparently quite capable in the area of compatibility with accessory home automation equipment. Quite common in the USA. Latest models are excellent, with extensive sofware programming capabilities available.

Moose (Sentrol) - an excellent line of panels. Beautiful keypads. Software appears to be reasonable as well, but still not up to the sophisticated level of the Paradox panels. More expensive at wholesale level than most panels on the market (which guarantees you nothing as a consumer). I do believe as of this moment, they are no longer available for new sales and installations. Parent company Sentrol is noted for its quality products marketed to the security industry.

Older Moose panels are quite common in the marketplace (Moose Z900 and others). My experience is limited with these, but others in the business report "quirky" panels are common.

Linear - made in California, and noted for their wireless systems and accessories. Good equipment as far as wireless goes (the professional versions anyway). Also offer a full line of wireless components often used as wireless attachments to a hardwired panel to service points not accessible with wiring.

Caddyx - appears to be excellent equipment. They have a lower end series of panels, the Ranger 8600 six zone series (now discontinued) as well as the NX8 and NX8E high end series.These are excellent panels that are quite superior in their ability to interface with other high end true home automation devices. From personal experience, very difficult to program from the keypad - most installers use the software and program remotely ! Ensure your installer has experience with programming these panels as well as the download software before agreeing to purchase, or you may end up with an unusable panel !!

Locally, one dealer uses their equipment exclusively to discourage "takeovers" from other companies not familiar with this line. 


This page last updated Thursday, August 14, 2008