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Security Glossary of Terms

There's nothing worse when the people who are quoting you for a security system use industry "slang" and acronyms when describing the equipment and technology. To assist you with understanding some of the terminology used in the security industry, we have provided you with a glossary of terms to help you. We hope you find this information useful.

Glossary of home alarm terms

An alarm system which is monitored by a base station.

Back-up battery
A rechargeable battery which provides power to the alarm system when there is a break in the mains power supply.

Central Monitoring Station (base station, central control room)
A monitoring facility which is established for the purpose of monitoring building alarms. These stations are graded according to their level of security.

Concealed wiring
To reduce the likelihood of them being cut or tampered with, wires are usually concealed in wall cavities or metal conduits.

An internal modem which is a communication device that dials the base station to indicate a breach in security.

End-of-line resistor
Used to build up circuit resistance. The control box monitors the circuit resistance and sounds the siren if the resistance value changes.

Entry delay
A timer is used to delay the activation of the siren to allow disarming of the system after entering the home. Usually 15 to 30 seconds.

Exit delay
A timer is used to delay the activation of the siren to allow exiting of the home. Usually around 40 seconds.

Hand-over section
When entry via the main entry/exit point in the home is sensed, the entry delay feature is activated. If the house is entered via another point, the siren will sound immediately.

Internal motion sensor
A device which detects movement, sends a signal to the alarm control box which then sounds the siren. Usually a PIR sensor (Passive Infra Red).

Internal noisemaker (internal screamer)
Similar to a siren except mounted on the inside of the building and usually lower in sound level output.

Key pad
An input pad where alarm access numbers are keyed. This switches the alarm system on or off. A system may have more than one key pad.

Logic circuit controlled
A system which uses electronics to analyse information, i.e. movement, to determine an output, such as sounding the siren. This type of technology can be used in PIR sensors to improve their reliability in detecting different types of movement, i.e. identifying pets versus people, and thus reducing the risk of false alarms.

Microwave sensor
A type of motion sensor which uses microwaves to sense movement in a room.

An appliance used to allow electronic devices to communicate with each other via telephone lines.

Monitored alarm
An alarm system or alarm component which is supervised by a base station.

PIR sensor (Passive Infra Red)
A type of motion detector which uses invisible infra red light to detect movement in a room.

Plug pack
A transformer that converts 240 VAC mains power to 16 VDC to run the security system.

Processor controlled
A device which uses a microprocessor to analyse inputs to the alarm system, i.e. movement, to determine an output, such as sounding the siren. Like logic circuit control, this technology can be used in PIR sensors to reduce the risk of false alarms by improving their reliability in detecting different types of movement.

Reed switch
A magnetically operated switch usually mounted on doors, but may be mounted on windows, designed to detect their movement. Upon movement detection sends a signal to the control box which then sounds the siren.

Satellite siren
A siren that has its own back-up battery power supply which will provide power to sound the siren if the connection is cut or tampered with.

When the alarm is armed and has not be activated

A noisemaking device which sounds when the alarm system detects a breach of security.

Smoke detector
A device designed to alarm when there is a fire.

Strobe light
A high intensity light which strobes when the alarm is activated.

Supervised alarm
system An alarm system which supervises all input devices, i.e. reed switches, PIRs, tamper switches and key pad/s. This type of supervision allows the alarm to monitor itself which offers a higher form of system integrity.

Tamper switch
A switch is used to sense unauthorised tampering of equipment. The switch is mounted on the inside of control panels and siren housings. Note: Some internal movement sensors may have tamper switches included.

Tamper proof enclosure
An enclosed alarm component which is monitored by a tamper switch such as a control box or siren housing.


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