tl;dr - Converted existing security system to SmartThings using the Konnected Security 2.0 product and some other stuff for around $165 and a full days work.
For those interested in all the details:
This thread is to document the replacement of my current security system. I asked for some suggestions (Guardian Security System up for renewal. Switch or renew?) and I ended up deciding on the Konnected Security project (https://community.smartthings.com/t/release-konnected-security-2-0-connect-wired-alarm-system-sensors-and-siren-to-smartthings-big-update-and-new-name/) simply because I wanted a “packaged” solution. I plan on putting in a MRK1000 or Arduino for some other things but for this project I was willing to pay a little extra for simplicity. A couple things that I wanted to accomplish:
- I didn’t want the old security board installed at all. I wanted to remove it so I had room for the new stuff without it looking crappy.
- I wanted battery backup for the replacement system.
- I wanted to replace my one keypad with a small Android based tablet or phone.
- I wanted to maintain as much hardware as I could on the current system (door chime on my keypad, siren for alarms, hardwired sensors, etc).
So once I decided on the Konnected project I started to do some research on what else I would need. First my current panel has a 16.5v AC power adapter which it turns out is pretty standard for security/alarm systems. However my battery is 12v DC and is charged off of the current alarm panel which I will be removing. Also some of my existing sensors such as smoke/heat, glass breakage, and siren need 12v DC also. So I needed to find something that could not only charge the battery but convert the 16.5v AC over to 12v DC. I also needed to supply the new Arduino boards with 12v DC and if I use the existing wiring the tablet/phone with 5v DC. I ended up with this:
It is a general purpose regulated power supply with selectable 6, 12, or 24v DC output (defaults to 12v) and built in battery charger which can be found for around $24. At 12V DC output its rated 1.0A if supplied by a 16.5v transformer which worked out perfectly for me. Now if you don’t have a existing transformer/battery you can get a transformer, a battery, and the power supply for around $60 - $70 total. If you don’t need battery backup because you are already plugging into a UPS then get whatever 12v DC 1 - 2 amp adapter you can find. You can also just leave your old panel in and tap off of that. I got to reuse two of my existing parts and chances are if you are replacing your security system you might be able to also. So to me the $24 for the power supply is worth being able to remove the old system and gain extra room in my enclosure.
On to my system. Existing I have:
- 3 hard wired contact sensors, one for each entry door
- 4 hard wired glass breakage sensors, all separate zones (separate wires to old panel)
- 2 wireless window/door sensors. These only work with the old alarm panel so I’ll have to replace these. No biggie.
- 2 Smoke/Heat sensors, one on the second floor and one in the basement. These are unfortunately not supported by the Konnected Security system.
- 1 Siren/Strobe
- 1 Keypad with chime/ding
I did a project a while back to integrate the existing Kidde Smoke/CO sensors in my house to SmartThings (https://community.smartthings.com/t/integrating-kidde-smoke-co-sensors-into-smartthings-properly/) but one of my EcoLink contact sensors is flaky so I’ve decided I want to hardwire each of those into the new system. That’s 2 more inputs, one for Smoke and one for CO, and works out because I can’t reuse the smoke the old system was using. I also want to know when the house loses power. I decided to use a relay on my incoming power transformer to convert the 16.5 VAC signal over to a dry contact so thats one more input. Since the keypad is going to be gone I lose my door chime so I will replace that with another chime which means I need a extra output. I decided on a cheap wireless doorbell that had 4 volume settings, 50+ chime settings, and a wireless transmitter which just happened to need a 12v battery. It was a SadoTech Model C Wireless Doorbell and the main base just plugs into a outlet. Got it on sale on Amazon for $17 and I figured I can rip open the remote button, hard wire the power, and hard wire the button itself to a output on my controller:
I’m up to 10 inputs for hard wired sensors (again couldn’t use the existing smoke) and 2 outputs for a hard wired siren and chime/doorbell. So I ended up with the 2 panel Konnected Security kit (“12 Zone Complete Kit” - https://store.konnected.io/products/wired-alarm-system-smartthings-conversion-kit?variant=47062122964). I debated the 18 zone kit in case I want to bring more hard wired things in but everything in my house is finished including all but a storage room of the basement so any future sensors I’ll just do Z-wave or with another Arduino type board mounted somewhere else in the house. Opened up the kit and here is what I got:
Everything looked ok, little bit of left over flux and solder residue that I scrapped/cleaned off. One of the boards has some missing plastic from whatever that thing is in the center of the bottom board but the coil part looks solid so I didn’t worry about it. The mounting board doesn’t have any holes pre-drilled so you can mount as you see fit. Because I will be doing the door chime I will need a second relay for this.
On to the assembly. Since the kit came with one relay and I need a second I purchased the same type to make sure it was compatible, a icstation 3V relay with optocoupler which you can find on Amazon. I’ve also decided, in the interests of cleanliness, to use terminal strips in and out of the system so I can properly label everything. The old panel was kind of a mess, both for the alarm system wiring and for my network/coax install. The Vonage box jammed in there doesn’t help…at the time it was a easy way to push the phone line to the entire house since I had a short run of wire.
So first I moved my vonage box out, rewiring the phone line back into the panel, and put that outside the enclosure with the mine field of other network devices I have. The backside of this wall is under my stairwell so I pushed back the slack of anything I could and put that back into the wall for more room. Now I got real lucky, my house is a little over 3 years old and all the wires are labeled with a two digit number and the installer left the legend. So I’m not going to bother labeling my wires but if yours aren’t already labeled I highly suggest you do. I yanked the power adapter and battery so I didn’t accidentally short anything, disconnected all my wires, and pulled the old panel out. I also ran a 18-4 wire from where the EcoLinks were interfacing to the Kidde Smoke and CO relays so I can bring those in. Did some wire ties to clean it up and its looking much better:
I coiled the old smoke alarm wires up and pushed them back into the wall just in case I either figure out a way to use them or I sell the house and someone wants to use them. Now to test fit everything. I have a little slack on my incoming/outgoing wires but as I mentioned I am going to use terminal strips so I cut off the extra once I figured where I’d mount them. I can also nicely label the strips to make it easier if I ever sell the house and take my SmartThings stuff with me…someone else can put in a alarm system and reuse everything. Knowing the battery and power adapter will end up in the same spot I do a quick fitting and mark-up of the enclosure:
I opened the door chime remote and found what I expected, what I thought would be some easy to solder to terminals for power (12v DC) and a not so easy push button. A couple tests confirmed that the “top” pin on each side of the button connects to the “bottom” pin on each side and it doesn’t matter which side you jumper out as either will activate the button. So I break out my soldering iron and get to work adding two wires to jumper the button. I tried adding two wires for the power but I was not able to get the solder to run, the battery contacts were acting as a big heatsink and my small soldering iron couldn’t overcome them. I gave up and just wound some wire around them. I also notch the plastic at the bottom for the wires to go through so I can put the cover back on it. Of course afterward I realized I notched it where the cover latches…oh well. In retrospect I would have notched it on one side, ran the wires out, and put the cover back on:
I think my layout will work so I hold my pieces in place, mark the hole locations, and do some drilling. I mounted all the terminal strips, the power supply, my RIB to detect power failure, the door chime remote, then go through writing down what is landed where and wiring all the sensors and outputs up without the Konnected panel in yet. I put the battery back in, hooked it up to the power supply board, wired it to my terminal strip for the power area, then plugged it in. Power supply LEDs showed AC and DC correctly. Tested the door chime using the push button still on the receiver and it worked. Tested it by shorting out the contacts momentarily on the terminal strip, it also worked. I then pull out the AC adapter, the RIB relay goes dark and the stuff continues to be powered from the battery. This all looks good so far:
I then drilled the mounting plate. Mine came with a protective layer on one side but not the other. Since the holes on the boards are evenly spaced (mirrored side to side) I used the uncovered side to drill through then once I was done I pulled the sheet off and mounted the boards to the other clean side. At this point I decide to run through the instructions for the panel. I’m not going to detail the steps for this as you can check out the documentation at http://docs.konnected.io/. But in general I added the GitHub repo for the smart app and devices before I even started wiring, I hooked up power for the boards, got them connected to my WiFi, then did the device discovery. It found my two devices and I went through setup assigning everything how I wanted it. I set the door chime up as momentary output (this may not be released for the public yet…I have been talking to Nate about it and I’m sure it will be soon). Once everything was assigned I wired the Konnected panel to my terminal strips. Here it is all wired up:
Once everything was wired I went around the house and tested, opening each door and smacking the glass breakage sensors with the handle of my screwdriver (saw the installer do the same thing …it works). Everything seemed to detect correctly so I then added them all into SHM. The two wireless sensors I had on the old system before were replaced by two new z-wave sensors to cover everything the old system did. Then once everything was in SHM I armed the system and opened a door which caused the siren to blare proving that worked so I then quickly disarmed the system.
Overall this project took me about 8 hours including a couple hours of research beforehand plus some time for photos and this write up. In general it was “easy” with the Konnected Security product since it was pre-programmed and packaged although I did have to do some planning ahead of time (getting the terminal strips, power supply, etc). It also helped that my old system was clearly labeled for it’s wiring and everything fell under security system standards that I found online (devices all 12v dc, power supply 16.5v ac, etc). I will look into doing the Scout monitoring because I do want a outside company looking at everything especially in case of fire but happy I can get rid of my $48 a month Guardian Security bill with there cell modem that goes out every couple weeks.
I did not wire up the tablet yet mainly because of costs…I don’t want to spend more then $60 or $70 and I’m hoping to find a decent used Galaxy Tab 7 or 8. That and I can’t find a good way to mount it without a $100 wall mount. What I’m looking for is some type of tablet or phone that has inductive charging where I can just glue a cheap $20 wireless charger to the back so you never see the wires and mount it over where the old keypad was. Once I figure it out I’ll post it.
When it was all said and done this is what I ended up buying:
- Konnected Security 2.0 12-Zone Complete Kit & Monting panel - $89 (store.konnected.io)
- ELK P624 Power Supply - $24 (eBay or Amazon: Elk P624)
- SadoTech Model C Wireless Doorbell - $17 (Amazon: SadoTech Doorbell)
- Terminal Strips - $19 (Home Depot)
- Relay (RIBU1C) - $16 (eBay)
- Replacement Wireless for unusable wireless contacts on old system - $0 (Had some multi sensors lying around I used)
NOTE 8/14/17: The Konnected Security project is working on the momentary output for the door chime. As of this writing Nate had it figured out and I’m running a beta version of the software testing it.