INVITED to the launch of the new 9045 a few weeks ago we
expected DSC’s latest wireless alarm panel to be a nice piece of kit and the
company’s designers didn’t let us down. With its integrated keypad housing, LCD
screen, motherboard, backup battery and RF receiver, the PowerSeries 9045
continues DSC’s tradition of combining features and simplicity.

DSC’s Mark Nesmith says that the 9045 was the result of a
wish list taken to the company’s design team. The wish list asked for a good-looking,
self-contained alarm system – the smallest in the industry. This system had to
have the biggest LCD in the industry. It had to offer the longest zone range in
the industry. And it had to be the easiest system to program in the industry.

As a rule, it pays to take aims like this with a grain of
salt but that’s hard to do with DSC. The company has a history of making gear
with serious smarts and while the cleverest features of this system are hidden
under the skin it’s quickly apparent the 9045 is a special alarm panel.

According to Nesmith, the 9045 meets the target of having
the smallest footprint of any self-contained wireless system available. At 20cm
x 13cm the housing is surprisingly small and at the same time its LCD crystal
is comparatively large. No all-in-one alarm system is svelte but the 9045 is of
decidedly modest proportions and its 4.4cm depth makes the housing seem even
smaller than it is.

Also part of the original wish list, the 9045 had to
comply with all DSC’s standards in relation to reduction of false alarms through
compliance with the CP-01 standard, as well as manufacturing without the use of
harmful chemicals.

It goes without saying that the standout features of the
system from an installation point of view are all of a practical nature. On
that score the biggest news with the 9045 system is that it will handle 32
wireless zones. That’s a heck of a lot of protection from a system that’s being
marketed as entry level. Essentially it means that this system can handle
virtually any domestic and small commercial intrusion application you’re ever
likely to run into.

Another impressive feature was open air range. DSC quotes
range at 160m in open air which more than the competition – yes that’s right – beating
the competition in terms of range was also on the original wish-list. At the
launch a hazy figure a long way down the back straight at Rosehill Racecourse armed
and disarmed the system using the standard RF transmitter common to all sensors
and fobs in the 9045 range. Range is good. The word is that the panel actually
has a range of 300 metres even though the specs only claim 160m.

But the best feature from an installation point of view
was the speed of enrolling sensors. It took a minute or 2 just a few steps to
enroll a fob, a remote wireless keypad and a couple of sensors. This is where
the hidden smarts of DSC’s new panel come in. The system does most the work
behind the scenes leaving the installer very little work to do.

When you enroll a device there’s no messing about with
manual programming of serial numbers. The system just displays screens that
prompt installers to confirm Electronic Serial Numbers, zone numbers and zone
types. Mess it up and the system tells you where you went wrong.

According to Nesmith the efficiency of registering
sensors means a system can be installed in an hour and a half and having sat
through a demo it’s hard not to agree. In fact an hour and half would be a
leisurely installation of many more than a standard 8 sensors.

Typical of DSC is the fact the system recognizing
retrofit DSC sensors and cheerily recognizes and enrolls them without missing a
beat. Yes, that was on the wish list, too. Nor does it matter what sort of DSC
sensors you hook up. They can be all pet immune, all standard PIR, all reed
switch, all glass break, all smokies or any combination that handles the job.

Other features of the system include an onboard dialler,
18 access codes, 16 wireless keys or keypads, including some keypads so slim
and funky I was tempted to take them home. If you want to go IP with monitoring
– no problem. There’s an onboard RJ-45 plug to handle that. And there are also
4 unique door chimes that conform to DSC’s positioning of the 9045 as a life
safety device and not just an alarm system.

This life safety angle from DSC is a slightly left field ideology
from an Aussie point of view. Our alarm panels are used to generate recurring
revenue from telco rebates and not much else. Here, alarm panels will recognize
an NO/NC, fire up a dialler, then generate revenue, chink, chink, chink. But I
think DSC has got it right by pushing its systems in a new direction. The 9045’s
door chimes can be programmed to make distinctly different noises depending on
which entry point is accessed. It’s a feature that will please mum when a
youngster opens the pool gate unsupervised and annoy teenagers creeping in
after curfew.

The unit has programmable zone labels, big buttons, 5
programmable function keys, 4 big emergency keys and easy-to-read status
lights. There’s no word on GSM or GPRS functionality onboard just yet but it would
be silly not to assume a manufacturer like DSC, which has been using RF for
decades, is not all over wireless comms.

So there you have it. This new DSC 9045 is a nice alarm
panel. It’s small and it’s huge. It’s simple and it’s clever. The demo versions
come in a sweet display case to support sales teams. And at the trade price
bandied around at the recent launch in Sydney
it’s going to make a very loud bang for your buck.

“The biggest news with the 9045 system is that it will
handle 32 wireless zones. That’s a heck of a lot of protection from a system
that’s being marketed as entry level”