New House, New to ST, old ADT alarm (DSC)


(Scott) #1

I’m so new to the ST community that I haven’t received my hub yet :wink:

I just moved into a new house, and I’ve completed a couple of very simple HA tasks, I put a $20 motion detector on a closet light (open door, light on) and a bought a WeMo outlet so that the low voltage landscape lights now are set to turn on and off with dawn and dusk (sunrise/sunset times).

Now I’m determined to take this “old” ADT alarm system and turn it into something more useful. The system is composed of a DSC IMPASSA self contained unit (re branded by ADT). It has a cell module in it, but they hooked it to a Netgear “Pulse” router because the house is located “in a hole” where there is NO cell signal. I have to use WiFi calling and an ATT Microcell.

After doing hours of research I learned the installer code and started learning to re-program the panel. I’m currently looking for some assistance so that I don’t go down the wrong path…

I assume that I will need to replace the Netgear “Pulse” router with a Eyez-On EVL-4CG via the 4 wire connection to the panel. However I am assuming that the wireless DSC sensors use a propitiatory protocol and that a ST hub would not be able to communicate directly with those sensors. meaning the “IMPASSA” panel must have the correct radio and protocols to communicate with the sensors.

I figure this could go one of two ways…

  1. ST hub able to communicate directly with the DSC wireless sensors? - if that’s the case then I don’t necessarily need the ADT keypads, but my wife is used to punching in a code to control an alarm system so I may need them anyway

  2. ST hub is NOT able to communicate directly with the wireless sensors? - This means I must use the panel I have to be able use the sensors already in the house, and ST would be able to help with what I would call “nice to have” items (one use case - Turn on a Z Wave switch to an entry hall light when the door near that light is opened so that you can see to work the keypad).

I’ve spent the better part of the last 6 hours reading up on these topics, finding user manuals, re-programming keypads etc.

I suppose one option would be to replace all the sensors, but the house has more than 20 sensors currently, seems a big shame to not be able to re-use them for just the cost of batteries.

So before I go spending money in the wrong places, are there any “latest updates” to be found on this topic? All my searches turned up threads from 2014 and 2015.

Thanks in advance!

DSC -> EVL-3(4) -> Alarmserver -> Smartthings

Smartthings can’t talk to the sensors directly. You have to set up an alarm server. See the following thread for other people who have been working on it:

All of that said, it’s important to understand that SmartThings is a cloud-based system and while it’s exceptionally versatile, it’s not particularly reliable. It does not meet my own personal requirements for a security system for that reason. Since last October I have yet to go 10 days without an impactful SmartThings failure and I have a very simple system.

The company is very aware of the reliability issues and has committed to making that a top priority, but they made that a public statement back in April and have continued to have several major outages since.

Also, you should be aware that SmartThings pushes out firmware updates to your hub that can take your system off-line for anywhere from 15 minutes to a few hours. Sometimes they give us a few days notice for that, sometimes not, but you cannot freeze your system or refuse the updates. Updates just happen, even if they break your system. Or come at an inconvenient time.

Finally, unlike most security systems, there is no option for notifications when the Internet is down. In fact you can’t even use the mobile app on your phone when the Internet is down even if your local Wi-Fi is still working. Everything goes through the cloud first except for a few local lighting applications And a little bit of the official security feature. My own requirements are that a security system be able to notify using cellular even if both Internet and local power is out. Smartthings does not meet that requirement.

When SmartThings works as intended, it is absolutely my favorite home automation system, but so far they don’t have the reliability that I would require from a security system so I use an entirely separate system for that.

But of course everyone has their own priorities for peace of mind, and it may be that you find SmartThings meets your own requirements. Just look carefully into all the details, it may not work the way you would expect.

(Scott) #3

Thank you for the quick and detailed response!!

So it sounds to me like I need to plan that the alarm be a system unto itself but with the ability to link to ST. Much the same idea as I’ve seen used with say Nest Protect using Ifttt to make bulbs turn red.

So the one part I was missing was a Rasberry Pi to run alarm server?

Since I have the installer codes and the programming manuals are online I should be able to just reset the system up, use the interface from eyesOn (which Looks like there is an optional monitoring service there as well). If I stopped there I would have my own rottie rebranded alarm system ? By adding in the Pi with alarm server I would gain the ability to control the alarm via ST ?

Sounds like I could live with that, assuming I’m right about this.

So I’m probably looking at around $100 ish for the eyesOn board and maybe $35 for a Pi ? Not too bad if it works.

Thoughts? Am I on he right track?


No idea, but the people in the other thread will know. :sunglasses:

(Scott) #5

Figured I should give an update just in case anyone is in a similar situation to me…

What I ended up doing is ordering a Honeywell Lyric Security panel kit from an online dealer and installed it myself, it was pretty darn easy install considering. There’s a separate monitoring cost, but it’s less than 20% of what my local “pro’s” wanted, and it provides ALL the functions.

It also has a built-in ZWave, and I was able to get my SmartThings Hub to recognize it as another controller, but they don’t “talk” to each other as far as I can tell, at least I have not found a way to get a status of the alarm or anything (yet).

I wont’ go into all the details but the Honeywell Lyric is pretty nice and it was easy to setup after watching a couple youtube videos. You will need central station monitoring in some form with this system though. However, considering that if I was paying the monitoring rate from a local company the system will pay for itself inside a year, I’m happy happy happy! :slight_smile:

Now that I finally have my SmartThings hub, buying ZWave devices has become something of an obsession. I currently have Leviton Decora ZWave dimmers, switches, and fan controllers and I have setup my Alexa and Stringify and IFTTT accounts.

Right now, IFTTT and Stringigy are the “glue” that’s binding my Nest Protect, Samsung Refrigerator, SmartThings, Alexa, etc. together.

So I feel like I’m well on my way to getting things more to the way I want. One example: of my next mini-project, install the Fan Controller onto my bedroom fan and setup IFTTT or Stringify so that if the multi in the bedroom temp rises above X turn on the fan until the temp falls below Y . I was always told that “fan’s just move air / fan’s cool people not rooms” well I proved that wrong, my multi started out at 80F (2 story home) and I turned on the fan, and after a little while the sensor was down to 72 again (same as the rest of the house).

So pretty cool stuff on the horizon.

EDIT: realized I didn’t update on the sensors used for the security system… I replaced the 3 door sensors with the Honeywell ones, and I purchased a wireless to wireless translator from Revolution Products. This allowed me to re-use the DSC branded window sensors (22 of them) with the honeywell panel. Works great!

(Zack) #6

Scott, I have been looking to do the exact thing that you came up with. I have an old ADT system with 15 door/window sensors, 2 motion sensors and a CO2 sensors. Have done some off and on research for a few months now. From what I’ve come up with, I will need RES RE524X from Revolution Products to transmit the sensors to a Z wave signal. I have read that life saving equipment is not supported by the Revolution unit, but haven’t found any info on the motion detectors. Do you know if the old motion detectors can be used with this unit? I also planned to go with the new Lyric.

My want is to set the lyric panel on the bed headboard, so that we can see the doorbell camera when someone approaches. With the panel being in the bedroom, I want to be able to control the system with Alexa. When we enter the home, would like to be able to ask Alexa to disarm the alarm rather than having to run to the room or disarming for the phone before entering. Is this possible with your setup?