“We work hard to
keep that same look and feel so a customer who has been installing Solution
panels for 15 or 20 years has a level of intuitive understanding of the range.
They can pick up a new panel they may have never installed and understand it
perfectly”

WITH a history
dating back nearly 15 years, the Ultima is one of Bosch’s most successful
panels and now a clever upgrade has further enhanced a very capable solution. The
changes to Ultima reflect a push at Bosch to standardise features across the
company’s family of alarm panels, with some of the alterations also applying to
the entry-level 844 panel. The changes make the panel easier to program, easier
to use and more robust for use in a changing comms environment.

According to
Bosch’s Adam Harris, the most obvious change is new plastic – an upgraded
codepad that features a lower profile and a polished modern look.

“These graphic
codepads are just exceptional and have done exceptionally well in the market
over a long period of time,” Harris says. “The Ultima 880 keypad is designed to
have the same methodology of programming as all our other codepads.

“We work hard to
keep that same look and feel so a customer who has been installing Solution
panels for 15 or 20 years has a level of intuitive understanding of the range.
They can pick up a new panel they may have never installed and understand it
perfectly.”

Harris says the Ultima
uses the icon display but there is now a limited section of text to allow
easier programming.

“The advantages of
the text are that the system will give some form of plain English communication
during programming,” he explains. “This means installers don’t need to add up
icons or LEDs to work out what the system is telling them during programming.
It gives responses in plain English.”

According to
Harris, the upgraded Ultima offers 8 fully programmable hard-wired zones and 16
wireless zones using DSRF.

Harris says all Bosch
panels use the same wireless DSRF – all use the same receiver, the same
wireless sensors, the same keyfobs and all have same common hold-down functions
across the range and that will continue.

“Ultima is partitionable
and has dual entry timers,” he says. “There’s sensor watch when the panel is
disarmed – this looks for movement when the alarm system is not activated and
alerts if no movement is detected which may indicate a sensor problem.”

Harris explains
that while the look and feel of the codepad has changed, the hardware and the
electronics inside it are the same.

“What the codepad
upgrade does is bring the Ultima into line with the 16+ and the 64 panels to give
a common feel across the range – it’s also slimmer on the wall.

“We have a
16-zone version, a partitioned version, an LED version in 8 and 16 zone, a
master partition codepad – all follow the same methodology of programming and
build on an excellent product.”

Harris says one
of the strengths of the new hardware is its backwards compatibility,

“You can take the
new codepad and connect it to any new or legacy Bosch panel that’s out there,”
he says.

And importantly,
the changes to Ultima are more than skin deep.

“In terms of hardware
changes – the auxiliary power supply has had all the glass fuses removed and
we’ve fitted positive temperature co-efficient PTC fuses – these are self-resetting,”
Harris says.

“We’ve also updated
the dialler hardware. Previously the Ultima had a hybrid dialler circuit and
the modem functionality was handled by the microprocessor. We’ve removed all
that and now we’ve fitted a dedicated modem chip – which allows the panel to
run at up to 2400-baud.

“The point here is
that this better avoids ADSL interference. With many panels the telcos now say
they don’t support 300-baud and maintain it’s too slow to run on their networks,”
he says.

“With older 300-baud
panels, events may not get through to the receiver after ADSL 2 has been rolled
out in a given area, or the installer may not be able to connect the panel
remotely anymore.”

Harris explains
that other improvements to Ultima include a 40-event non-volatile memory.

“We’ve also
included 16 zones of wireless,” he says. “That’s the biggest change as far as
software is concerned – you can now report 16 discreet wireless zones. There
are a few programming changes – we’ve removed the ringburst – that wasn’t
required with the new dialler – and there are some minor configuration changes.”

According to
Harris, Bosch is now offering training on the upgraded Ultima panel.

“Ultima is proven
and the changes that have been made improve it while retaining the great strengths
of the design. There are some significant changes and some minor updates and
they make Ultima a superior solution.”

As part of a kit
with 3 quad sensors, the Ultima is 239 to the trade – very competitive. General
features of the Ultima panel include 16 codes – 8 keypad PINs, 8 RF codes, 16 wireless
devices, partitionable to 2 separate areas, STAY/AWAY arming options, selectable
reports per user code and entry and exit warnings.

There’s also automatic
arming, remote arming via telephone, zone lockout,  40-event history memory, LED and LCD ICON
keypad support, programmable outputs, dynamic battery test, day alarm, walk
test mode, 5 programmable outputs, dual entry timers, AC fail supervision, and
phone Line supervision. You also get one-touch arming, wireless arming, auto
arm.

It’s going to be a big year for Bosch Security
Systems. Enhancements to the Ultima and the 8440 alarm panel compliment the
long anticipated release of the new 64 alarm panel which will have 48 doors of
access control and 1000 users.