DSC Alexor Review
The all Wireless Security System from DSC
Alexor is the name of a burglar alarm system manufactured by Digital Security Control (DSC), a Canadian based manufacturer. The DSC Alexor system was designed as
a nearly 100% wireless system.However, at the very minimum, one permanent power wire has to be connected between the DSC Alexor main control to an appropriate electrical receptacle plug-in power transformer. Aside from this one wire every other device in the Alexor system is available wireless and powered by battery.
We’ve installed a few of the Alexor systems and overall we were generally pleased. Our experience with alarm system installations dates back to 1992 with well in upwards of over 10,000 systems from various manufacturers over that period.
The Alexor is all wireless?
Don’t let the wireless and battery part fool you entirely however. Although the keypads are designed to be wireless the keypads will drain down the keypad battery life pretty quickly, especially if you’re not careful during the initial set-up. For example, the Alarm Keypad has a built-in chime feature. This means that if you have this feature enabled then each and every time a door or window is opened the keypad will sound a chime to let building occupants within hearing distance know; open a door alot and the battery will drain even faster. Fortunately this feature can be easily disabled; as well, other battery draining keypad features can also be disabled. However, whenever possible, we recommend purchase of the special power supply for each keypad so battery drain seldom becomes an issue. If you decide to get the special power supply the keypad will normally have to also be installed near an electrical receptacle.
The DSC Alexor brand system has many of the most commonly used burglar and household smoke detection devices available and again all are available in wireless.
Strength of the Alexor wireless signal.
Wireless burglar alarm equipment, regardless of the manufacture, typically all operate off the same set of frequencies. A general rule of thumb is that the outdoor unobstructed range of these wireless devices is around one mile. Naturally, when these devices are installed indoor there are several things that can downgrade the range of distance. Signal obstructions like wood walls, other wireless signals like WiFi etc, concrete and metal respectively will all affect the wireless signal strength. So for example, if an installation has concrete walls or floors separating devices the DSC Alexor system may not prove to be the best application because concrete and metal degrade the signal substantially.
……….Which brings us to the next topic
The DSC Alexor boasts a 2-way communication feature. In other words, communication between the main control and devices such as keypads and sensors occurs continuously. The system is continuously checking on itself and will report system trouble on the keypad display as well as to the central station depending on how you have the system set-up.
How reliable are wireless sensors
Generally, wireless sensors of today are very reliable. It has been found that at times when temperatures at the location of certain sensors fluctuates significantly (warm to around or below freezing) the sensor periodically (a few times monthly) “locks up” and has to be physically reset (ie: open the window/door in question to reset the sensor). Although this problem is only rare it’s not isolated to the DSC Alexor but rather the mechanical design incorporated into sensor technologies in general.
Can you add Hardwire to Alexor?
The DSC Alexor has two terminals called Input/Output connections. Each can be programmed as an output to trigger something such as a relay or each can be programmed as a hardwired zone input.
Can the Alexor be monitored?
The DSC Alexor can be monitored, if the user chooses, by a central monitoring station via several options such as: POTS line, IP (Internet Protocol) , and Cellular/Radio (a built-in optional feature)
The DSC Alexor hosts several nice added benefits such as a keypad display written out in easily readable short sentences. This benefits the user because rather than having to look up a code or call the alarm provider, as with other systems or older keyads, the user can know instantly from this display the meaning of a message posted on the keypad.
As well, the DSC Alexor often comes with an available 2-way wireless key fob which allows you to arm or disarm or check your alarm’s status will sitting in your vehicle immediately in front of the home or business. No more worries over whether you will trip the alarm or whether you set it etc. because with the DSC Alexor you can easily find out.
DSC Alexor Buying Tips:
Everyone wants to feel like they’ve made a good decision knowing that when they’re spending hard earned money they bought the right product. Here are some real tips to take into account before you decide to order a DSC Alexor System:
Do you plan to have the system monitored?
- YES – We recommend you purchase UL listed monitoring service.
- NO – and never intend to have the system monitored – We recommend starting with the most basic Alexor package containing the brains, 1 keypad, 2 door/window contacts, 1 motion detector.
- You are NOT sure if you will ever get monitoring – Continue reading
If you plan to have (or are unsure) your Alexor alarm Monitored, which are you going to use?
POTs Line / VOIP – A Plain Old Telephone Line (POTs) or VOIP both allow the Alexor panel to get a dial-tone to dial out to a professional central monitoring station’s 1-800 toll free telephone number. Installation required some slightly more advanced wiring to connect the Burglar Alarm correctly. POTs lines and VOIP are subject to outages from several causes like: maintenance, storms, criminal tampering etc.
- Ethernet – This is the method of connecting your Alexor Panel to your existing Home Computer Network Router. The Alexor does not have Wi-Fi capability. Ethernet transmits signals fast however if you Internet service goes down for any reason be it outside or inside your home the Alexor panel won’t be able to send a signal to the central monitoring station
- Cellular/Radio – The upfront cost for the equipment is more but with it comes the option to still wire in ether the POTS line or the Ethernet. In all cases however the Cellular/Radio service will always be the most costly for two reasons. (1) The monitoring account is one fee (2) The cellular service is a 2nd fee and often doesn’t require a credit check but is tacked onto your monitoring bill.
Do you have solid Concrete or metal Walls, Floors etc. that will separate DSC Alexor devices?
Yes – You might not find the DSC Alexor to be the most reliable fit because wireless sensors have signal limitations and it might cause the system to operate unstable.
How extensive do you want your Alexor burglar alarm system coverage to be?
Security is different for different people. Some people only want very basic coverage and others want as much coverage as they can buy. Only you know you’re needs and your budget and with the DSC Alexor you have the option to add equipment as your needs and budget permit; this is one of the benefits of a professional wireless system.
In a lot of cases, with a professionally monitored alarm you can get a discount on home insurance. Some advertising highlights discounts as high as 20%. And, although a 20% discount is available via a small number of insurance carriers it is relatively rare. But don’t take our word, we recommend you call your insurance provider and ask them directly. Consider asking them to give you an actual dollar figure, not just a %, based on your policy premium. Many times consumers are hopeful their premium discount is enough to offset the monitoring expense but seldom is this achieved in most average size homes. Discounts typically are 10% off a portion of the policy premium and in a few cases a bit higher when monitored smoke detection is added.
Questions & Answers – Answers to the questions we are asked
1. Can the DSC Alexor be setup for self monitoring via IP? No
2. Can the DSC Alexor send a message to a mobile device using the telephone line? No.
Alarm “signals” are coded in a format that is specific to burglar alarms. Central monitoring stations use specialized software to decode the signals that come in from an alarm system.
3. Does the DSC Alexor wireless panel work on Wifi? The Alexor works in the 400 frequency range whereas WiFi is in the 800 range therefore, NO, the Alexor does not work on Wifi
Summary of DSC Alexor
DSC Alexor is a wireless alarm system. It has proven to be reliable in our experience. It has advantages over hardwired in that if one sensor goes out it’s easily fixed whereas with hardwire electrical surges, which DO happen, many sensors (including the wiring) can be damaged and challenging to isolate and repair (we’ve performed a few electrical surge service calls over the years). The DSC Alexor is a fast installation so rather than waiting a day or two and having all your insulation moved or trampled wireless lets you might still be left with part of the day to do other things. Most of the lithium batteries will last as long as 5 years and the system user is automatically notified by the system when the batteries need to be changed. Lastly, the DSC system is fully supervised so this means it’s continually running checks on itself and will let the owner know of any trouble issues requiring service.