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Outdoor Motion Sensor With ADT Pulse

February 16, 2013 9 comments

ADT Pulse requires an “event” to trigger a recording.  Some of the cameras compatible with the system can record detected motion to a DVR.  These cameras will not record to the ADT Pulse system with the same detected motion stimulus.  With the Pulse system the user has to base recordings on a triggering event.

An example of a trigger could be a door opening, light coming on, an alarm event or motion detection via a security motion sensor (not camera).  When I first obtained my ADT Pulse system, I was somewhat disappointed to discover I could not record video of people who came to my door when I was not home.  The solution seemed obvious, create a “trigger” based on a tripped motion sensor by the door.  The problem, ADT Pulse did not offer or support outdoor motion sensors with any of the Pulse packages.  ADT may offer outdoor sensors independently of the ADT Pulse system.  Unless already have an outdoor sensor or request one installed with your ADT Pulse there is NO ADT pulse package that will enable you to record events outside your home, based on motion.

A motion detector is technically a security module.  Triggers and alerts can be created for any motion detector that is part of your security system.  In my case, the security panel is a Concord 4.  The Concord 4 panel integrates with the ADT Pulse IHub to present the end user with an integrated security/home control system.   Any module that is supported and controlled by your security panel is observable and manageable through the ADT Pulse interface (web portal or touchscreen).  While ADT Pulse does not come with an outdoor motion detector module, the Concord 4 panel does support this type of motion sensor.    Any outdoor motion sensor that is part of a Pulse compatible security system should work with ADT Pulse.

VX-402R

 

The VX-402R is a heavy duty, outdoor motion detector that utilizes a variety of transmitters.  For my solution I used the Caddx NX-650.  Joining a VX-402R to the Concord 4 panel requires the user to join the module via shortcut option on the security keypad or utilizing the installer code.

Once the outdoor motion detector is installed, the user can set up automations based on motion, via the ADT Pulse web portal.  Most security panels support some sort of outdoor motion sensor.  Make sure the sensor you choose is compatible with your security panel.   This may seem obvious to some.  I get about one email a month asking how to set this up.  Hopefully, this blog post will help end users tweak their own system.  Good luck.

GE IS-TS-0700 No Wifi Signal Solved

February 9, 2013 2 comments

I am going to apologize in advance for not having any pictures to better explain what I did to restore Wi-Fi on the GE IS-TS-0700.  When I started this process I figured on zero chance of success.  I don’t want to repeat this process out of fear of screwing up my TS.

DISCLAIMER: DO NOT ATTEMPT ON YOUR TS UNLESS DEVICE IS OUT OF WARRANTY.  DOING THIS WILL VOID YOUR WARRANTY.

I purchased a cheap GE-IS-TS-0700 on eBay for about 30 bucks.  ADT offers this same device for 200 dollars +/- depending on the vendors price point.  The device is brand new however, the original OEM packaging showed signs of an impact.  It did not appear the device itself had suffered any damage.

To add a touchscreen to your ADT Pulse system, you need to connect the TS to the intra-net port on the ADT IHub 3000.  You then go to the portal, system tab and select the option to “manage devices.”  From there you select “add touchscreen.”

Looking at the TS I noticed the MAC address listed on the TS in the “about” area was different than the MAC address listed on the back of the hardware.  Odd.  I also noted there was NO Wi-Fi signal with a Wi-Fi status listed as “failure.”  In the settings area the wifi signal strength showed no bars and was simply a red outline.  I was not sure if this was due to the TS not being made part of the network or if this was due to a malfunction within the device.

I was unable to add the device to the network using the MAC address on the back of the hardware.  Using the MAC address listed in the settings area, I was able to join the TS to the network.  Once the TS was physically disconnected from the IHub it ceased to function.  Wireless signal strength was ZERO and Wi-Fi status in the “about” area indicated a failure.  Hitting the “reset” button defaulted the TS to its original setting however, it did not fix the Wi-Fi issue.  Power-cycling the TS while holding down the “home” key did give the option to restore factory defaults.  Doing this failed to download any new firmware and seemed to cause a failure loop as the device looked for an IP address.

Calling ADT Pulse technical support was non-productive.  They offered to send a tech out to take a look.  I doubted the tech could help.  I asked if there was an option to update the TS firmware.  They were not sure and again came back with a Tech option.

A tech I am familiar with showed up.  She is very good.  However, she confirmed what I believed.  The Wi-Fi was not working on the device and there was no option to fix it with her training and equipment.  I had hoped she could physically connect via the USB port on the TS to possibly re-install missing factory firmware.

At this point I decided to open up the TS.  Flipping it over you will see a number of tiny screws along the outside perimeter of the TS.  I removed all the screws and gently removed the back panel.  This rear panel is connected to the main body by the DC connection.  I raised the panel toward the DC connection so I would not have to disconnect the rear panel from the main body.  On my TS the Wi-Fi heat sink and module is directly above the Ethernet port.  If you are looking at the rear of your TS it would be attached to the main body in the upper right corner.

Everything appeared to be ok.  I did note the MAC address listed on the Wi-Fi module matched the MAC address listed on the rear of the TS.  This shot down my theory that perhaps somebody had tried to hack the TS and replace the firmware with something different.  I had theorized the different MAC address was a residual value from a clone attempt.

Closer examination revealed the power connection to the wireless module appeared to be slightly loose.  It is a four pin connection.  I believe it was a black, red, white and green wire?  (I should have taken pics!….I know…sorry)  The connection is obvious.  The power to the Wi-Fi module connects closest to the Ethernet port and runs behind a silver panel covering the main board of the TS.  I gently pushed this power cord tighter at both connection points.

Before securing the rear panel I powered up the TS.  A small green LED on the Wi-Fi module lit.  This LED is not visible when the TS is assembled.  The MAC address on the back of the panel and listed in the “about” area now matched the MAC listed on the hardware.  Wi-Fi signal strength was listed as full despite not being connected or joined to my network.  No error messages were listed in the Wi-Fi status area.

I re-attached the rear panel and successfully joined the TS to the network.  It would appear the power cord to the Wi-Fi was knocked off causing the issue.  It is also possible (and less likely) removing the rear panel caused some sort of reset to the Touchscreen system.  The “alien” MAC address listed is probably a default for the Ethernet port?

Problem solved.   Again, don’t do this unless you find yourself with an out of warranty, non-ADT supplied GE IS-TS-0700.

ZWave Light Switches and Overhead Fans

February 5, 2013 Leave a comment

The ADT Pulse system has the option of installing Zwave light switches.  These switches can be controlled manually, automatically and remotely.  You also have the option of setting them up for automations and schedules.  The switches can be tied to different Zwave and security modules allowing them to “turn on” or “turn off” when these other items are triggered.

As I sat in my living room looking at my ceiling fan for no apparent reason, it occurred to me I could tie the ceiling fans in my house, to a Zwave switch.  The fan could then be controlled by a schedule, turning on at different times of the day, depending on your particular needs.

Automations could be created to turn on the fan when the system is disarmed or set to “stay” indicating our presence in the house.  This could easily be over-ridden by flipping the switch manually.

Fans in bedrooms could be set to “turn on” during bedtime hours and “turn off” in the morning.  Again, this type of automation can be linked to the “armed” status of your system.  If you are not home, with your panel “Armed Away” you may want to skip this type of automation.

I have not set up this configuration myself.  If I find a few zwave light switches on the cheap I might plunge forward. I am curious if the Zwave thermostat could be tied to light switches based on temperature of the HVAC system. I offer this as an idea for others.  Feel free to share if you have found unique ways to use zwave light switches.

Carbon Monoxide Automation Tip

January 30, 2013 Leave a comment

A tip for those of you who have a  as part of your ADT pulse system.

Having a Carbon Monoxide monitor on your ADT Pulse system opens a variety of options.  Using the ADT automation feature available with Pulse, the user can set up events to occur if the device is tripped.  Setting up automations to turn on lights in bedrooms and hallways leading to a door is a good option.  The effects of Carbon Monoxide poisoning can lead to confusion.  Hopefully, the light coming on and the alarm going off will shake you out of your impaired condition.

If you have door locks, an automation to “unlock” the door is advisable.  This will allow emergency personnel to enter the residence, assuming you have ADT monitoring your carbon monoxide detector.

I have tweaked my system with an appliance module as a garage door opener.  I have set up an automation to open the garage door in the event carbon monoxide is detected.  I go over how to set up a garage door opener on the ADT Pulse system in THIS blog post.  Automations are set up in the “automations” tab on the web portal.  A finished rule will look something like the below:

CO2This rule or automation has the ADT Pulse sytem opening the exterior garage door and turning on a kitchen light in response to an activation of the carbon monoxide monitor.  I have other lights that turn on in this situation but you get the idea.

You might be tempted to set up an automation to turn on bathroom fans and other exhaust type devices to clear the carbon monoxide from your home.  You could cause a back-draft into your house and actually make the problem worse.  Tight houses may experience this as these fans blow exhaust, lowering the pressure in the house, furnace venting could be disrupted.

If you have a z-wave thermostat controlling your natural gas heat, turning off the heat in response to a carbon monoxide alert might be prudent automation to set up.   You should not assume your furnace as the source until verified by a professional.

As always, get the heck out of the house and call the professionals.

HSS101 Netgear Touchscreen

January 27, 2013 6 comments

ADT has released sporadic information on an alternative touchscreen for their ADT Pulse system.  The current base model is the GE IS-TS-0700.  One look at the HSS101 and it looks like a higher quality option.

hss101Trying to get a hold of one of these touch screens seems impossible.  ADT reps I have talked to have no idea about this alternative touchscreen.  Information indicates this model is available only in select areas.  Probably for testing and eventual wide spread release.

The other day I stumbled across an ADT dealer website advertising the option for this touchscreen in their area.  This website gives a cost rundown….gulp.  First off, 599 dollars for a touchscreen is insane.  Secondly, this price is just 100 dollars more than the GE IS-TS-0700 is flat out crazy.  The GE touchscreen does not feel like a 499 item.   I am not sure what the price point is for these items in California.  Two months prior to this post, ADT’s price for a GE IS-TS-0700 in the Midwest area, was $200.00 give or take a few bucks for tax.  With a USAA discount that price was brought down to $180.00.  Still to much for me, I bought a used one on Ebay for 80 bucks.

The HSS101 is impossible to find even through legitimate ADT resources.  Perhaps the recent availability indicated by the two dealers out of California, shows a pending wide spread release.

EDIT: toned down my outrage.  California appears to have a different price model.  I received an email from the second website.  They advise they can’t get the GE TS for what I was quoted in Nebraska.  Not sure why but it may have to do with what ADT charges their vendors.  My price came directly from ADT.

The Return of the Installer Option On The ADT Touchscreen

January 25, 2013 17 comments

When ADT Pulse was first released it was possible to add security modules via the ADT GE IS-TS-0700 Touchscreen.   Apparently, ADT became aware this option was out in the wild and being used by users to add modules not listed on the ADT portal.  They removed the interface with an update.  Security modules need to be added through the security panel.

I got my hands on an older GE IS-TS-0700 touchscreen on ebay.  I added it to my system.  I was surprised to discover the old “Installer” option was on this touchscreen.  I looked at the firmware version by pressing the “ADT” logo in the upper left corner.  This touchscreen was running firmware 3.5.0-66 from Nov 18, 2010.  My older touchscreen is pushing firmware version 4.5.0-780 from March 2012.

This brings up a couple of questions.  How long before the touchscreen gets forced to update?  Is it possible to reset an updated touchscreen back to factory in order to regain the installer option?  If this is done, will ADT force an update to the newer firmware?

Answers in order: 5 minutes, Maybe, yes….you have 5 minutes.  So, not really worth it.

A touchscreen with original factory settings definitely has the touchscreen installer option.  My attempt to enter installer mode via this menu worked.   Within 5 minutes your touchscreen will appear to power off, power on and then you are forced back to the new firmware.  I interrupted the download by unplugging the screen and it defaulted to the old firmware with all options intact.

I believe you can reset the touchscreen to factory by holding down the power button while power cycling the screen.  I am not sure about this and I am looking for verification in an online manual.  I recall reading about this procedure.  I don’t want to go through the headache since I am not sure of the impact of a reset.  I would caution you before trying this.  It might just cause the touchscreen to become a brick.

The easier option is to just go through whatever interface you have for your security panel.

In short, it is not really worth it.

EDIT: I have been told that you may be able to get the Touchscreen to set back to default by simply removing the TS from the network then re-joining the same TS through the web portal, back to your network.  Upon the re-install, the TS may default back to its original firmware.  If successful, unplug the IHub from the INTERNET to prevent an update of firmware.  Once done using the interface, plug IHub back in to network (internet).  No idea if this works.  To lazy to try at the moment.

Power Cycling the IHub 3000

January 19, 2013 1 comment

You may notice your ADT Pulse system misses automations on what appears to be a random interval. In my case the missed automations are ONLY events that trigger a recording. Light schedules and other planned events based on triggers are never missed.

When a missed recording automation occurs, I get a text advising the recording failed. I have learned that power cycling the IHub stops the missed automation for a period of 7-10 days. If I do not power cycle the IHub the missed automations keep occurring at random times. Sometimes daily or every few days.

I was thinking this could be related to my internal network re-assigning IP’s however, the IHub IP has not changed and I have since set up a reservation in the DHCP server for the IHub to prevent such an event.

I doubt ADT will do anything. There is no easy way to make a bug report. If I find a fix I will advise. In the meantime, power cycle your IHub if you are experiencing missed automations.

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