DSC released
Alexor earlier in the year at ISC West amid significant fanfare and with the
tagline “Complete Security Upheld by the Power of Speed”. The speed DSC was
talking about in Las Vegas wasn’t the speed of alarm reporting, it was the
speed of installation and there’s no question that when it comes to registering
zones and getting a panel operational DSC’s systems are the business.

There are
similarities between DSC’s 32-zone Alexor and the 32-zone 9045 alarm panel
released last year but there are also a number of key differences that make
Alexor a superior security system. For a start, Alexor is not one-box solution
with keypad, back-up battery, PCB and dialler all bundled up in the same
housing.

Instead, Alexor
is built to mirror traditional alarm system architecture. There’s a control
panel with dialler and backup battery, there are separate keypads and keyfobs,
there are wireless communicators and then there are various input devices –
lots of them. But while architecture is the same as traditional wired gear,
what makes Alexor different from traditional panels is that most the system’s
internal communications are handled using 2-way wireless.

Alexor has a
layout that will please installers who prefer not to combine panel, keypad,
siren, dialler and backup battery in one box in an accessible location. With
Alexor, the smarts, power and communications devices can be snugly tucked away yet
this system elegantly retains DSC’s focus on rapidity of installation. You
install the panel and secondary comms device in a secure spot, put wireless
keypads on walls near entry points, install your wireless sensors and sirens,
and away you go.

Of course, Alexor
isn’t just about a change in layout. There are a number of other features that
enhance operation and functionality. The user interfaces are a case in point
and with these Alexor owners are spoiled for choice.

You can operate
the system using a wireless fob, you can enter a PIN to arm and disarm the
system in the traditional way or you can use a prox tag – the PT4. The addition
of prox is a neat feature of Alexor keypads. You present a PT4 to the wireless
keypads as you would to any prox reader.

Use of prox for
arming and disarming means you can forget about messing around with PIN numbers
altogether – that’s handy for older folk.

Importantly, the
new system allows encrypted 2-way communication between panel and keypads, and
panel and keyfobs. This is fairly intuitive stuff. If a homeowner attempts to
disarm the panel with their keyfob post-break-in, the fob will report that the
system is currently in alarm.

Along with this,
the WT4989 2-way wireless keyfob has a panic button, audible feedback, 2 double
touch function keys, active alarm indication and a backlit icon display.

If you chose to
use wireless keypads, a single Alexor panel can handle up to 4 of them and
thanks to that 2-way wireless they’ll report system conditions in the same way
a hardwired keypad will.

“Alexor has a
layout that will please installers who prefer not to combine panel, keypad,
siren, dialler and backup battery in one box in an accessible location. With
Alexor, the smarts, power and communications devices can be snugly tucked away yet
this system elegantly retains DSC’s focus on rapidity of installation”

There’s some cool
functionality with DSC’s keypads. All installers know that batteries are a key
component in the management of wireless alarm systems and DSC has taken power
battery management to a new level.

According to
DSC’s Rob Lucas, when the wire-free keypad is not in use, it goes into a fully
operational economy mode to reduce drain on the battery. Supporting this
conservation of battery life is a sensor which determines the ambient light in
the area and automatically adjusts the display and key backlighting.

“When the
batteries are low, an indication light alerts the home owner to change them,”
Lucas says. “Importantly, the home owner can easily remove the
keypad, or any other device from its mount and make the replacement. If
the user prefers, AC power can be installed to support keypads in high traffic
areas.” 

The WT5500 keypad
is a handsome unit with a 2×16 LCD display, front and back tamper, multiple
door chime and a typical battery life of 3 years. Importantly, range in open
air is 300 metres, which is excellent performance – arguably the industry’s
best. When a wireless WT5500 keypad is connected to the new WT4911 outdoor
siren, which has a wireless temperature sensor, the keypad will also display the
outdoor temperature.

Another
difference between the 9045 and Alexor is that DSC has designed a couple of
wireless communicators to go with it. While the panel has a traditional digital
dialler onboard there’s an optional Internet communications device (TL265GS)
and a GSM/GPRS dual path alarm communicator (GS2065).

Both these
communicators employ 128-bit AES encryption as well as offering remote
activating and programming, supervision heartbeats and signal strength and
trouble display. This suite of comms options sets up Alexor for the foreseeable
future when it comes to making choices about remote alarm reporting.According to
Lucas, at the core of the Alexor panel is DSC’s wireless device enrolment and
template programming functionality.

“The wireless
device enrolment process ensures that installers no longer need to manually
program serial numbers or wireless attributes,” Lucas says. “Template
programming allows installers to quickly program the functions required for
basic operation.”

The best feature of
DSC panels from an installation point of view is the speed of enrolling
sensors. It takes a minute or 2 and just a few steps to enrol a fob, a remote
wireless keypad and a couple of sensors. Alexor does most the work behind the
scenes leaving the installer very little to do.

When you enrol a
device there’s no messing about with manual programming of serial numbers. The
system just displays screens that prompt installers to confirm device serial numbers,
zone numbers and zone types. Mess it up and the system tells you where you went
wrong. The speed of registering sensors means a couple of hours are more than
you’d need to install a good-sized solution.

Sensor options
are broad. Importantly, the system recognizes all DSC’s low power 433MHz sensors
and enrols them without missing a beat. But it also offers support for a range
of other wireless devices including an outdoor siren, an indoor siren, a carbon
monoxide detector and a flood detector

Fact file:

Features of DSC’s
new Alexor alarm panel include:

* 32 wireless
zones, 16 wireless keys (without using a zone slot)

* Wireless quick
enrol

* Template
programming

* 16 user codes,
1 master code and 1 maintenance code

* Account code
error checking (patent pending)

* Alternate
communications via GSM/GPRS and IP

* Onboard siren
at 85dB

* 2 Input/Output
terminals

* 200mA Aux
Output

* 500 event
buffer

* Wall and case
tamper

* 24-hour battery
backup.