* Prices may differ from that shown
I don't wish to appear cynical, but when it comes to insurance it invariably seems that whenever you need to make a claim, you need to make sure that every 'i' has been dotted and 't' crossed.
This applies to house insurance, where you are faced with a raft of questions, one being, "Do you have an alarm system fitted?" for which presumably, if you answer "yes" you lower your risk slightly and benefit from a lower premium.
We moved house in April and the property we moved to was fitted with an alarm system with motion sensors in all the rooms. Brilliant we thought, until we realised we'd have a little problem.
Our two are like chalk and cheese. One is like a teddy bear, she listens, comes when you call, and is easily picked up. The other must have belonged to Freddy Krueger before she was abandoned. She hates being picked up, claws come out, slash, slash, and it's another Nightmare on Elm Street. On top of that, she hides under all the furniture making it really difficult to get hold of her.
On some occasions when we've been a rush, we have had to leave her and go out without setting the alarm. Not very good is it? What's the point of having an alarm if you can't use it, and imagine the insurance company if, God forbid, we ever had to make a claim. "Oh Sir, so the alarm systen wasn't operating. That invalidates your claim."
We have one room that isn't alarmed, and for any would be burglars, I'm not telling you which one!! Especially in the really cold weather, as we have had lately, we've attempted to put them in there when we go out. Being free spirits, they hate being couped up and almost immediately there is a crescendo of wailing. Also from me with the scratches. Not very satisfactory and not nice for the neighbours or the cats themselves.
Our hand was forced a couple of months ago when we had a power cut at 4.30am and the alarm started. Stumbling downstairs in a stupor, and cursing our neighbours car alarm, I realised it was our house alarm. Couldn't switch the darn thing off (I used slightly harsher language than that) and after what seemed like an eternity the power came back on and I was able to re-set the system.
Calling out an alarm engineer, he advised our battery was almost dead, he changed it and carried out a service on the system. A shaft of light and a halo appeared by said engineer as he asked how I managed with the cats, as the good one rubbed up against his legs and the psycho one beared her teeth and hissed.
I somewhat sheepishly told him the truth. He then asked if I had thought of using pet-tolerant detectors? I never even knew such things existed and after doing my best goldfish impression, said tell me more. For our circumstances, we had two of the above detectors fitted meaning that our living room and dining room / kitchen would be covered and the cats would have free rein. Each detector cost us £36 and that included fitting and testing, so if you were electrically minded and could do the job yourself it would be cheaper. It didn't take him long to do at all.
OK, so what does 'pet tolerant' mean in practice? This sensor can dintinguish between the motion of an intruder (I assume this doesn't mean poo!!) and any other disturbance which can cause a false alarm. It also employs Target Specific Imaging to sort between human and pets.
The detector will not be activated by animals up to 38kg (85 lbs) moving on the floor or climbing on furniture as long as the activity takes place below 1 metre (3 feet). Above that height, it's immune to 19kg (42 lbs) pets, but this immunity decreases as the pet gets closer to the detector. For intruder purposes, it works up to a distance of 12 metres (40 feet).
I was a tad sceptical initially, as the cats, as cats do (bless 'em), jump on worktops and move around, however on carrying out several tests (with the good cat, of course) it worked like a dream. If you did have any particular little hotspot, you can mask part of the sensor off to isolate that particular place - it's a question of trial and error.
I'm not going to explain the wiring as the instruction sheet will do that. If you are capable of wiring, then the instructions seem straighforward enough, or if you have any doubts about your capability, ask an expert to fit it - shouldn't cost too much.
There is a 'walk test' mode - that's where the red LED light comes on at the front when it is triggered) and you can also set, by moving a switch, whether it is triggered by one event (fast response) or two events, which is the highest false alarm protection available.
As you can see from the photo at the top of the review, it is white in colour and oval shaped, but what you can't see is that the bottom half of the lens is opaque. It's a nice funky shape and is smaller than the original sensors that we had in place. It measures H 94.5mm x W 63.5mm x D 49.0mm, and is fitted to a wall by two screws and rawlplugs that are supplied. The shape means it can easily be fitted in a corner or on a main wall, whichever gives the best coverage for a particular room.
I'll give you just a summary of some of the specifications, but to be honest, it's over my head (the specs not the sensor!). If you want the full information you can go to the manufacturers web site at www.visonic.com and see it in all it's glory. The following is taken from the instruction sheet,
Input voltage : 9 to 16 VDC (huh!!).
Current drain : About 8mA @ 12 VDC (wish I'd listened more in Physics).
Lens data : 9 curtain beams.
Maximum coverage : 12 x 12 m (40ft x 40ft) / 90 degrees
Pet immunity : up to 38kgs (85lbs).
Alarm output : Solid-state relay, N.C., up to 100mA / 30V, -30 ohms internal resistance. Circuit opens for 2-3 seconds upon alarm.
Alarm indication : LED lights for 2-3 seconds.
Event counter : as explained earlier, wher you can set to one or two triggers.
Tamper contacts : Normally closed, 50mA resistive / 30 VDC.
It does say where the sensor should not be sited, some of which are obvious even to me,
Do not install outdoors.
Do not install behind partitions.
Mount on a solid stable surface.
Do not aim at heat sources.
Do not expose to air drafts.
Keep wiring away from power cables.
Since having these fitted, we now have real peace of mind when we go out, being able to safely set the alarm when the cats are in. The alarm would also be suitable for dogs up to the weight limits mentioned.
I forgot to ask the engineer but would it protect from a cat burglar.....................................LOL?
All in all a really great item that is relatively cheap to purchase and means you can get the best out of any alarm system that you have in place. Highly recommended.
An alarm that allows homeowners to secure their homes while allowing their pets the ability to move freely anywhere in the house.