ADT vs Other Alarms

(Zachary) #1

I know there have been some other discussions on alarm system, however I would love some real world comparisons if people have them.

My wife and I are moving into a house that already has an ADT system set up. It would need about $400 of equipment and a $60/month plan in order to have any “smart” access and be up to my standards.

I would love a system that can at least partially integrate with SmartThings, however I do 100% want call center active monitoring.

Any insight!?


(Marc) #2

You are better off spending $400 on something like Simplisafe and using their $24.99 plan that integrates with Smartthings (unofficially). You will need to have double sensors on each door/window that you want to monitor through both systems, but I believe that is the case with ADT Pulse as well.

(John) #3

I use ADT Pulse. Sensors on the ADT side work with ST (no doubling up). I integrated it using the Arduino. Very happy with it. I pay $50 a month.

(Marc) #4

That’s good to know, and that is why I wasn’t confirming it. Do you make the ADT controller a secondary or the ST one?

(John) #5

The Arduino is configured as an additional keypad. It works great. I like this integration the best. It is fully automated for my house.

(Marc) #6

Interesting. I believe you have to kind of know what your doing with wiring, etc for Adruino. One thing to also keep in mind, ADT will lock you into a contract. There are pro’s and con’s to different systems, so it’s an individual preference.

(Zachary) #7

Although I am quite a technical guy and have worked with Arduino before (with a 3D printer), we are moving into a new house and there are a TON of projects on my mind.

While in the future I would maybe consider a setup like that, for now I want to keep it relatively simple.

I would rather spend a few hundred dollars initially than have it be a complex setup OR get locket into a 3 year, $58/month contract.

Eg SimpliSafe is $900 for 3 years, ADT would be $2088. That is over $1k saved, so a little extra on setup is OK…

(John) #8

My contract is up. Wiring was really easy.

(Pizzinini) #9

I have been using ATT Digital life for the past 2 years. I liked it best because it offers basic call center monitoring and remote management (Wifi & GSM) at a lower price than most competitors (eg ADT) and gives me $'s off my home insurance.

Finally I integrated it with Smartthings last weekend using a PI3 as a server (see below). I am still testing but it looks very promising… You can see the status of all open/close sensors in Smartthings and can set the alarm to home/stay/away. There is also integration with SHM that is very useful (just in case SHM ever works again reliably)

(John C) #10

@bago, am I reading this correctly that the ADT sensors can appear is ST at the same time they continue to be used by Pulse? (I’m about to bring up a second hub at our primary home which has ADT Pulse at present and this might be a good migration path.)

(John) #11

Yes they can.


Alarm Server

Requires some additional hardware, but no doubling up of sensors.

(Zachary) #13

Any other solutions besides running a server with ADT and a rig up solution with double sensors for SimpliSafe?

(John) #14

The Arduino doesn’t require a server.

(Zachary) #15

Ok, I meant a seperate board to carry out commands. Are there any other solutions besides ADT with a Arduino or double sensors on SimpliSafe.

(Pizzinini) #16

Att digital life with a raspberry pi (or other Linux) server

(Allan Klein) #17

As far as I know, ADT doesn’t make alarm systems. I moved into a house that previously had ADT service, but the alarm was actually DSC hardware. There are a number of threads on how to integrate with DSC or Honeywell alarms which is probably what you actually have. Assuming that’s accurate, you’ll wind up having to choose between buying an Envisalink or AD2PI device, wiring it to your panel and then connecting it to your home network and using a raspberry pi running software that will bridge messaging between the alarm panel and the SmartThings API.

Personally, I’m using an Envisalink with @Xero’s alarmserver fork running on a pi. The company that makes Envisalink (Eyez-On) does offer monitoring service on the cheap (like $9/mo?) but I haven’t used it yet and can’t speak to the service.

(Jordan) #18

Yep, ADT doesn’t really make alarms - they just install DSC’s and change the installer code to something else to make your life a living hell (LOL) but you can find the typical codes they use on the net so it’s not the end of the world…haha. Swapping one DSC board with another is also a pretty easy job so if the board is slightly older, you can upgrade it without too much hassle if you’re not afraid of re-programming the new board. It’s maybe an hour or two of work at most.

it’s not 100% guaranteed that you have a DSC though, i imagine what you get with ADT depends largely on the area and what they’re currently offering…

If you have a DSC or honeywell panel, there’s already existing integrations into smartthings, you just need to buy an EVL-3 or EVL-4, assuming you have the right panel type…The best part about that is the envisalink device DOES come with full call center alarm monitoring service, if you pay extra for it, and it’s quite cheap. Like under $10 cheap, and fully accredited, you’ll get your insurance discounts for it.

For ST integrations, my alarm integration covers DSC only, but there’s honeywell ones out there as well. The nice thing about this route is you can have both, which it sounds like is exactly what you want. I have yet to try their alarm service either, but I likely will once I’ve stabilized my system a bit more (i’m always testing it out as part of my development, I don’t wanna send the police here just yet, lol)

Also, I bet this is your cheapest option by far. The EVL device is like $70-90, and if your alarm is compatible, that’s all you need. If your alarm isn’t compatible, an entire DSC PC1864 v4.6 kit, which comes with alarm keypad, alarm system board, metal enclosure, battery, transformer, and wireless remote, and siren, is like, $120 or less, I’ve seen it as cheap as $50-80 for the board alone, and that’s often all you’d need to replace all the existing stuff you have with an up-to-date system that can be used with EVL-4 and ST. You can re-use all the hard-wired sensors as-is. Only wireless sensors are an issue, if the old system wasn’t DSC, but most old systems don’t have wireless sensors at all…Needless to say, you could have an entire DSC system with ST integration for less than say $200-250, and the monthly fee would be like $8/month for monitoring. But you will have to do some of the work yourself, if you’re up for it.

Huge Security breach: Armed home and alarms do not work without internet!
(Zachary) #19

In my neighborhood, the cops will come if the alarm goes off, no matter if we give the security password or not.

So a system with false alarms is not an option.

Again, I am not looking for something complex, and if the only real option is complex, I will just use SimpliSafe or ADT I guess…

(Paul) #20

I would not use ADT under any circumstances. I pay $105 per quarter ($35 per month) to a local alarm monitoring company with no long-term contract. The service a local, independent monitoring company provides is identical to ADT, except for the price. Definitely shop around.

Any local alarm company can come to your house and swap out the control board in your existing panel for one that communicates to their monitoring system. Since you already own the equipment, definitely ask if they’ll toss in a few free months of monitoring or something.