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CENTRAL CONTROL UNIT
The control panels available in the market range from small compact type which incorporates a hooter / siren and can accommodate a few different types of Sensors (detectors) to a more advanced type which can perform more complex functions like, automatic dialing to a phone, cellular phone and convey a pre-recorded message informing about intrusion, in addition to or in place of, local audio visual alarm.The advance versions also have the capability of functioning with user codes for arming and disarming and of switching over to built-in power supply in case of power failure. Many control units also use a remote (infra-red or Radio Frequency based) for arming or disarming of the control unit.
For larger installations that have more sensors, there is provision of Zones. Each Zone is associated with one or more sensors e.g. one floor could be controlled by one Zone. The advantage of Different types of Zones is that when the alarm goes off (alarm sounds), the control panel gives an indication as to which Zone has been compromised. This way one has to only check the sensors linked to that particular zone to see where the problem is.
Please note that many times the sensor, control unit & alarms unit may be combined in a single housing for reducing cost or to provide easy localized, protection. However, larger systems involving multiple sensors will invariably have a separate control unit.
Alarm control panel is the brain of your security system. It is typically placed in an area that is out of the way like a basement, attic, closer or office. The motherboard and additional components such as radio receivers, backup power supply and zone expanders are inside this metal box which is often locked. You will have little or no interface with the alarm control. Your alarm technician will need to access this unit to program it and wire it to general standards, or your custom standards.
For a complete protection system, it is important to assess the threat level and then carefully choose various sensors and accessories, keeping in mind the cost and utility. While for a smaller installation it is feasible to do the selection on ‘do-it-yourself’ basis, however for larger installations, it is advisable to take professional help. Using the expert advice, you might actually be able to get a better system at a lower cost.