DSC Alarm Help


#1

I have an existing DSC alarm with mostly hard wired sensors, but some wireless managed through the keypad.

My interest initially is to bring the sensor values into HA for monitoring/automation purposes, but am interested in self monitoring it in the near future.

My question is how to handle the wireless sensors? I would like to replace my existing keypad with a wall mounted tablet(s) if possible, but I’m unsure where to start. Envisalink seems like it could handle the wired connectors, but I have too many wireless left that I need to manage. Can AlarmDecoder handle what I’m looking for?


#2

I’m using Envisalink and I only have wireless sensors - they all work fine.
I’m not using a ‘wireless’ keypad, though; both my keypads are wired-only and don’t have support for the wireless sensor built in.

The only two drawbacks I see from using Envisalink are:

  • it’s sometimes a little slow to react, e.g. it often takes a few seconds until the individual sensor state changes in the UI, but I mitigate that by mostly looking at a "Ready to Arm?’ state that I created (see below).
  • when more than just a few doors and windows are open the system gets easily confused which ones actually are open - I don’t care much about this either because, again, I mostly look at the overall ‘Ready to Arm?’ state

What I like especially is that I can deny the Envisialink board internet access (call me paranoid, but I don’t need my alarm state on the internet) and it still all works locally.

Not sure, if the Konnected board is more reliable and if it can work fully offline as well.

Here’s my template sensor:

- platform: template
  sensors:
    ready_to_arm:
      value_template: '{{ states.sensor.home_alarm_keypad.attributes["ready"] }}'
      friendly_name: Ready to Arm?
      icon_template: '{%- if is_state("sensor.ready_to_arm", "False") %}mdi:lock-open-outline{% else %}mdi:lock{%- endif %}'

#3

I too use an Envisalink and am happy with it. I have only hard-wired sensors and mine all seem pretty quick to react. The only negative is that the hard-wired motion sensors are super chatty and will fill your DB with lots of events; this will cause my front-end to hang if I click on my motion sensor for historical data.


#4

I believe my wireless sensors are connected via the keypad (which is hard wired to the control board). @chairstacker, how are your wireless sensors connected?


#5

I have the wireless module in the main box itself and use quite a few of these.

I use them for doors and windows and also for this:

There are also some motion sensors connected wirelessly.


#6

I use dsc with wired and wireless sensors via the keypad that has wireless support. Works great. I haven’t had any issues. I have envisalink 3


#7

So the Envisalink 3 sees the wireless sensors without issue? Can you provide a few more details or maybe even a picture of how you have it all setup?


#8

Envisalink is a replacement for the IT100 which just converts the Panel data to IP instead of serial. It has nothing to do with the sensors. It also has nothing to do with the normal keypad though I seem to recall it uses the same wiring.

I wonder if you could disconnect the keypad after its programmed and run keypad-less. Well, assuming you weren’t using it for wireless.


#9

Also check Alarm Decoder, it works with DSC and Honeywell and responds very quickly I’ve had no issues with mine. I had an Envisalink before and it worked ok but I switched to AD when we moved and I prefer that. To me, it’s a big advantage that there is no cloud component like the Envisalink.

Both products work as virtual keypads. They see all the zones that the alarm sees so there is no difference between wired and wireless zones.


#10

Hi @TD22057 - as I wrote above, I deny my Envisalink internet access and if works fine without. So I have nor problem from that end.
Nevertheless, I’ve tried to look at the Alarm Decoder website and I just can figure out, which of the modules would be the right one to use with my Honeywell Vista P20 with 2 6150 panes - or if any of them would do.

Not sure which hardware you’re using, but do you have a hint?


#11

I too have an envisalink and I am very happy with it. All my sensors are hardwired and I find the triggering much faster and more reliable than my zigbee hue and xioami sensors. As td22057 mentioned the device acts like a virtual keypad, its 4 wires connect into the keyboard connectors, so think of it as putting everything you see on the physical keypad (ie: all the zone lights and the keypad itself) on your network.
In theory I am thinking you could remove the other keypads and the system will still operate BUT once you remove a dsc keypad the alarm system shows a “keybus fault”. I had a keybus fault on a dsc install I did once many years ago, cant remember how I cleared it but I do remember it was a big pain.


#12

@chairstacker: I think the simplest way is to get the AD2USB and connect it to your machine running HA. HA can talk to it as a serial USB device and it works great. I use HA as my web access to my alarm system. You can also run the alarmdecoder web app which creates a web page access to alarm as well.


#13

I’m using Alarmdecoder as well works great with a Vista panel as for keypads you will probably find out shortly you will not need to touch them as much when automations are working. I’m using AD2USB also but I run it over my network with ser2sock.


#14

Thanks @TD22057 and @DrJeff - now I have an alternative should I get to annoyed with my current setup :grin:

My biggest problem at the moment is, though, that I cannot use HA to automatically disarm my alarm because it often takes 50+ seconds before my device_tracker component registers that I’m home. By then I normally have opened the front door and can easily deactivate the alarm myself.

But that’s a different discussion.


#15

Would this run on a RPi running Hassio?

I do agree that the AD website leaves a LOT to be desired!


#16

I am successfully using Envisalink 4 with a DSC panel and mostly wired sensors. There should be no difference in the HA-Envisalink functionality between wired or wireless sensors - since the Envisalink really just emulates a LAN-connected Keypad on the Alarm data-bus.

The only issue I have come across is that I cannot check whether the “Chime” setting is active or not. I can toggle the chime setting via Home Assistant (using envisalink_alarm_keypress), but I cannot reliably read the current “chime state”. The ac_present, bat_trouble and trouble attributes also don’t appear to work.

I am running this on a RPi3+ with Hassbian.


#17

have you looked into the source to see if they’re even reported from the “api” that is used?

edit: they appear to all be there. what do you mean by “reliably” read the chime state? sometimes it’s incorrect?


#18

I have gone and re-tested the Alarm Chime function just to be sure (I am also running the latest HA 0.85.0).

If I send the “Toggle Chime” keypress code (*4) from Home Assistant, or directly on the Keypad, Home Assistant correctly shows Chime state. However, if I ever restart HA then it will always show the Chime state as disabled - even if it is actually enabled.

So it looks like the only way to read the chime state is to change it!


#19

how are you doing that? an automation?

I’m using the lovelace keypad but it doesn’t have a * key so I can’t do a *9 arming right now from the keypad (I don’t think).


#20

Hi Chris

I am using the following script.

button_test1:
  alias: 'Toggle Alarm Chime'
  sequence:
    - service: alarm_control_panel.envisalink_alarm_keypress
      data:
        entity_id: 'alarm_control_panel.home'
        keypress: '*4'
    - delay: 00:00:04