Fortress Security Store S02-B Wireless Home Security Alarm System Kitstars44Rating: 4.4 Reviewed by Paul

 

The Fortress Security Store S02-B Wireless Home Security Alarm System Kit with Auto Dial is a DIY system for securing your home against intruders. It is designed as a self monitoring system that you install yourself and comes pre-programmed for ease of set up.

It has auto-dial functionality that uses you home land line or VOIP to call up to 6 phone numbers you program and plays a 10 second recorded message. There is no contract needed, you only pay for the equipment.

This standalone system gives you good coverage at a reasonable price. You own the system and it is portable as it communicates wireless except for one alarm that plugs into the main panel.

It is a customizable system where you can change many of the pre-programmed settings to suit yourself and you can add up to a total of  99 devices to the system to increase the security coverage of  your home with additional environmental sensors as well  as additional intruder  detection sensors available to buy.
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 Installation

This is a straightforward system to install. You don’t need many DIY or technical skills to install or set up the system. Installation requires drilling holes and screwing to attach the motion sensors, panic button and alarms to the walls of your house. Most people talk of it taking around two hours to complete.

The system comes pre-programmed to work out of the box. Any accessories bought at the same time as the system are also programmed to work with it.  There is not much set up work of the system and the work is detailed in the quick start guide.

The set up involves changing the pin code, entering up to 6 phone numbers for the system to call when the alarm is triggered and recording a voice message.

Before you start it is a good idea to plan your installation so you know where you are going to put the sensors and alarms and record them on a worksheet.

The door and window contacts are attached to the window/door and frame by double sided tape (provided). The company is now using a stronger tape that appears to have solved the earlier problem of the contacts falling off.

The motion sensors are screwed to the wall using two screws (provided).  The main panel (control panel) can be mounted to the wall (screws and mounting provided) or it can be left to sit on a bench or other surface, it does need to be plugged using the 110 V AC adapter provided.

There are instructions to follow to test each of the sensors to ensure they are working and have been properly programmed or registered with the system and what zones they are assigned to. It is advised that you keep a worksheet where you record the sensor, the zone number and where you have placed the sensor (front door for instance), so when alarm is sounded you will know the area the sensor is in that triggered the alarm.  The default setting is that all the devices are in separate zones.

Fortress Security Store S02-B Wireless Home Security Alarm System Kit priceThe internal alarm is plugged into the main panel and is mounted on the wall using screws provided.

The hardest part of the installation can be the setting up the outdoor alarm, as this requires it to be mounted near a 110V power source to plug the adapter in and the cord is fairly short too. It is mounted to the wall by screws that are included.

There are videos on the site to help walk through setup and a 75 page PDF document you can reference to help.  It seems the instructions that come with the package can be a bit confusing and the English is hard to follow. The online videos and PDF seem clear. Also, you can phone the company and they will help you resolve any issues you may have.

Contract

There is no contract as this is a standalone system with the functionality to call up to 6 phone numbers. You assign the numbers and order they are called when you set up the system. One of the numbers you assign could be for a monitoring company but that needs to set up by yourself with another company if that is something you want.

Customer Support

Customer support looks to be one of the big benefits of this system. Most of the reviews on Amazon that discuss customer service are very positive. Michael from Fortress is very active in answering questions and helping customers on Amazon. If there is a faulty sensor the company seems to replace without question.

Customers report the company is prepared to spend the time needed to help them by phone to get their alarm system up and running. They can be contacted by phone from 8AM to 5PM Pacific Standard Time.

Cameras

The system currently does not come with security camera nor can one be added.

Video Storage

Not Applicable at this stage

Alarms

The system comes with 2 alarms – one internal and one external.

The internal alarm is 130 db loud. This is described as painful and is the equivalent of a jackhammer or power drill. It is wired to the control panel. It is the only device that does not operate wirelessly from the main panel.

The internet/external alarm is also 130 db loud. It is graded weather resistant but it is best mounted under an eave so it is out of the direct rain as this could pool in the horn.  It communicates with the main panel wirelessly but is powered by being plugged in with a 110 V AC adapter.  There is no battery backup for this alarm.

The alarm duration is set at 1 minute by default. You can program it from 00 to 30 minutes.  00 minutes means it is silent but the system will still notify by phone

Notification

In the event an alarm is triggered the system you can set it to automatically call up to six phone numbers one after the other. It can be used with a land line or VOIP phone services such as Magic Jack. It cannot be setup to send an email or SMS message. It is set to work with 10 digit phone numbers.

When setting up you can record a message up to 10 seconds long by using the microphone in the side of the main panel. It can be changed at any time. If you don’t record a message when you are phoned it will playback some music.

The system will attempt to phone the numbers for the length the alarm is programmed to sound and then the system will reset itself ready for the next attempted break in.

You can set it to call an alarm monitoring service but you will need to set this up separately with the service and you may need Fortress’s help to achieve this.

It is not recommended to have it call 911 without checking the local rules and regulations as it can result in fines etc.

When you take the call you can either: stop the system from making further calls and turn the siren off, listen into your home using the microphone in the control panel or do nothing and the sirens will continue and the system will call the next number in the sequence.

The system is set up to be attached to a phone line and make calls in the event of the alarm being triggered. But you can turn this off using the control panel if you don’t want this functionality or by entering a dummy number at set up.

Remote Monitoring

You can phone in to the system to arm, disarm or listen into what is happening in a similar way to when it dials out but you need to use your password to access the remote menu.

This functionality will work best with a dedicated line, as a  fax or answering machine or service may pick up the call before you get through to the system. You can set it up so the system picks up the call before the fax etc but this means you won’t receive any faxes or messages.

There currently is no functionality to be able to monitor the system with a smart phone or over the internet.

Battery

Batteries are needed for the sensors, key fob remote and panic button. The required batteries are included when you buy the system and they are expected to last from 1 to 2 years depending on use.

The entry contacts for windows and doors each require one 23A. The bottom LED light of the two sensors will come on solid when the battery charge is getting low and it is time to change it over. To access the battery there is a little slot at the bottom of main part of sensor where you place a small screwdriver or butter knife to pop it open.

The motion sensors use a DC 9V battery that should last up to 2 years. To access the battery there is a small screw on the top of the sensor to open it up so you can change it when the power is low. The light on the sensor lights up when batteries are low.

The panic button has 23A battery. When the battery is running low you will see the light come on solid. The battery is accessed by way of a screw at the bottom of the sensor.

The key fob remote operates on a 23A battery that should last up to 2 years. There is a screw on the back to access the battery when it needs to be changed.

The main panel is plugged in but has a Lithium Ni Mh 7.2 V rechargeable battery as backup in case of power outage which will run the system up to 72 hours. The manual suggests you test that the battery is working by unplugging it from the wall and run the main panel for 1 to 2 hours once every 3 months. It should not need replacing.

The 23A and DC 9V batteries are able to be bought from most stores including Home Depot, Walmart or Amazon.

motion sensor

Sensors/Detection

The 3 motion sensors are passive infra red sensors so detect heat from an intruder’s body.  They have an effective range of 20 feet and 110 degree range side to side. They will pick up pets moving around your house, although they can be tilted to when mounted so they do not pick up movement below 3 feet. You can buy pet immune detection sensors separately that should not detect pets under 35 lbs.

It is installed using a mounting ball which allows you to move the direction of the motion sensor from side to side and up and down so you can set it to detect movement in a particular location.

If an intruder manages to bypass the door and window contacts the motion sensor should detect motion in the room and send signal to main panel to sound the alarms.

door window contacts

Door/Window Contacts

The door /window contacts are made up of two parts – the sensor and magnet. One part is mounted on the door and the other part on the frame. The magnet needs to be mounted next to the LED lights on the sensor. When the two parts of the sensor are moved by more than ½ inch apart the alarm is triggered.  The sensors can work up to 150 ft away from main panel when the antenna is extended.

The door /window contacts are mounted by using double sided tape that the company now says will hold the sensors secure as they have changed the tape to stronger tape. They will work on any sort of window or door whether they slide or open top to bottom.

You can set these contacts to chime when they are opened and the system is not armed. This can serve as a reminder to set the alarm when you leave or let you know when someone leaves or enters your house, this can also be used for a business to let you know when a customer enters the store .

panic buttonPanic Button/Duress Codes

The system comes with 3 ways you can press a panic button.

There is a panic button on the main panel and key fob remote. There is also a separate panic button which most people install in their bedrooms. It’s best not to install it too close to your light switch to avoid pressing by mistake. When any of the panic buttons are pressed the alarm is set off immediately.

There is no duress code which would turn the siren off but the system would continue to autodial the number set.

Setting The Alarm

The alarm can be set or disarmed in 3 ways – by the main panel, key fob remote and phone.

To arm the alarm with the main panel you press the home or out buttons depending on whether you are at home or away. The home setting normally sets the door/window contact but leaves the motion sensors off so you can move freely within your house.

To disarm you will need your password. You can set the system to give you from 00 seconds to 90 seconds to leave your house after arming the system and similarly you can set the time you have to disarm after entering.

The key fob remote has 4 buttons and works up to 150 ft from the main panel. Like the main panel it has 2 buttons for arming the system – home and away. To disarm the system you simply press the disarm button.

To arm and disarm the system by phone the main panel needs to be plugged into your landline or VOIP. You phone the system and enter your password and press the appropriate key. You can arm in away mode or disarm. (See remote monitoring for additional functionality and when system phones you).

Pin Numbers

When setting up the system you should change the password a 4 digit  number to one you can remember easily. It is recommended you do this early on in the setting up process as it will help you to remember it.

You can only have one pin number. This is needed to make changes to the system set up, when disarming the system using the main panel or when using your phone to control the system.

main panelControl Panel

The control panel is known as main panel or unit for this system. This has a number of functions.

The front of the panel has a keypad and LED display. The LED displays when you have power, when an alarm is triggered, which zone the sensor was tripped and whether the system is armed in home or away mode. It also shows you the buttons pushed when programming the system. The zone display is two digit and 1 inch square in size.

The keypad is used to program the system. The instructions for this are in the online manual and videos. You can also arm the system in home and away modes, disarm with password and press a panic button to trigger the alarm instantly.

On the side of the panel is an on/off switch, the point where the internal siren plugs in, 2  telephone connections and the microphone for recording your notification message or listening to your house remotely over the phone.

On the top of main panel is where you plug in the power cord and antenna which can be extended to enable you to mount sensors further away.

The main panel can be mounted on the wall if you want by using the mounting bracket and holes in the back of the panel. Also in the back is where you can attach wired sensors to the system using the DBUS bar.

Timers

The default timer on the alarm sounding and calling out is instant, i.e. as soon as a sensor is tripped the alarm is sounded and the main panel starts to call the phone numbers you’ve programmed into the system.

You have the option of setting up a delay between 0 to 90 seconds for sensors assigned to Zones 01 to 08. The control panel will beep once the sensors have been tripped until it is disarmed or the alarm sounds at the end of the timer. Zones 09 to 32 have only one setting and that is instant.

When the alarm is set off it will sound for 1 minute by default. This can be changed to 00 (silent alarm) to 30 minutes. The main panel will continue to call the phone numbers in sequence for the time set. The system will then reset itself ready for the next incident.

Protection Against A Criminal Defeating Alarm System

One of the methods of defeating a home security system is to cut the phone line. To counter this measure the alarm will sound if this happens while the system is armed. If system is not armed the main panel will beep 3 times every 10 seconds.

Coverage

The sensors, key fob remotes can be up to 150 ft from the main panel when the antennas are fully extended. The external alarm can be up to 80 ft away. The reach of the system can be extended by using the Wireless Signal Repeater which can be bought separately. It can extend the range from 200 to 400 feet.

Wireless or Wired

This is a wireless system except for the internal alarm which is connected to the main panel. The main panel communicates with the sensors and other alarms wirelessly at 433 mhz.

The external alarm, main panel and some of the accessories need to be plugged in for power but they all communicate wirelessly with the main panel.

Zones

The system comes pre-programmed with each of the devices assigned to their own zone. The user guide lets you know which zone the devices have been assigned to.

There is a lot of choice with this system in setting up your system with multiple zones, but you don’t have to change it around if you don’t want to. The factory settings will work fine for many homes or small offices.

It is possible to change this around and add more devices as you want. You can have up to 99 devices in 32 zones in total.  A device can only be part of one zone but a zone can have more than one device.

In the event that a sensor is triggered, the main panel’s LCD display will tell you the number of the zone of the sensor that was triggered. So it is important to know which devices are assigned to which zone and what area of the house you’ve assigned to that zone. The zone numbers go from 01 to 32.

With the option to have more devices than zones you will need to assign more devices to a zone to accommodate this. A good option in this case is to make the zone encompass a room and assign all the sensors in the room to that zone – e.g. if the room has multiple windows. If one of the sensors triggers you will know the zone where the sensor is but not the individual sensor as the main panel only displays the zone number.

The zones 01 to 08 give you more options for settings than the zones 09 to 32 (where the setting is Type 1). You have 5 types–

Type 1 – is the default setting – the sensors will sound an alarm instantly when system is home or away mode and will not sound the when disarmed (Zones 09 – 32 are Type 1)

Type 2 – gives you the option to modify the setting to delay alarms from 0 to 90 seconds for entry and exit. This is great for the doors you will use to leave and enter to give you time to disarm using the main panel if you’re not using one of the remote key fobs.

Type 3 – the devices always trigger an alarm whether the system is armed or disarmed – suitable for water, smoke, gas detectors and panic buttons

Type 4 – disables the devices in the zone and is great for changing batteries or if the device requires maintenance or changing.

Type 5 – sensors are only active when system is armed in away mode – this is ideal for motion sensors.

If you have an existing wired system you have the option to add 7 wired zones by using the attachment that comes with the main panel but before adding ,it is advised you contact Fortress.

fortress contentsFeatures

The Fortress Security Store S02-B Wireless Home Security Alarm System Kit includes the following:

10 Window/Door entry sensors – 2 part sensors made up of sensor and magnet, these detect when a door or window is being opened. It’s recommended to have these on your ground floor windows and doors.

3 Motion sensors – these detect motion in a room and have an effective range of 20 feet and 110 degrees from side to side.

3 Key fob remotes – these have 4 buttons for setting the alarm in home or away mode, disarming and a panic button.

1 Main Panel – this is the “brains” of the system and is where you program and monitor the system, and record your notification message

1 Panic button – when you push this button it instantly activates the alarm and starts the notification process.

1 External Alarm – this is weather resistant and is 130 db loud

1 Internal alarm – this alarm is mounted inside and is 130 db loud

Fortress Security Store S02-B Wireless Home Security Alarm System Kit Dimensions

The dimensions for the devices included in the S02 B are:

Door/Window Entry Sensor: Main 3 inches by 1 inch, Magnet 2.5 inches by 0.5 inch

Motion sensor: 4.5 inches by 2 inches

Control Panel: 6.5 inches by 4.5 inches

Key Fob Remote: 2.5 inches by 1.5 inches

Panic button: 3 inches by 1.5 inches

Internal Alarm: 2 inches by 2 inches

External Alarm: 4.5 inches by 4.5 inches

Accessories

The system can accommodate up to 99 sensors in total. As well as adding more motion and door window sensors you can also purchase the following emergency and environmental sensors and alarms to extend the coverage to keeping your home more secure. If the accessories are bought at the same time as the alarm system Fortress will pre-program them to work with it when you receive them.

Glass Break Sensor –This sensor “hears” when the glass in a window is broken when an intruder breaks the glass in a window rather than forcing it open. It can be set to sound the alarm immediately. It covers a 50 ft radius which will cover most rooms.

Gas Leakage Detector – detects LPG, LNG and carbon monoxide and other combustible gases. When it detects gas it sounds the internal 75db alarm, red LED flashes and it also sounds the system alarm plus you are notified by phone. It plugs into a 110V AC wall outlet.

Wireless Signal Repeater – When you don’t have enough coverage with your sensors this repeater can increase the distance between sensors and the main panel from between 200 and 400 feet. Plugs into the power supply with 110V wall adapter.

Vibration Sensor – When someone is trying to force entry through a window or door this sensor is triggered and the alarm sounded when vibration is detected.

Solar Powered Outdoor Siren – This is trickle charged by the sun and no batteries are required. It is 130db loud and can be placed up to 150 ft from the main (control) panel.

Water Sensor – when water reaches the sensor it will send a signal to the main panel that will notify you by phone. It’s great for detecting leaking pipes or roofs.

Small Outdoor Siren – 85 db alarm with flashing red strobe light when triggered. It comes with a 110V AC wall adapter

Extra Number Pad – This is useful when you have a large home and/or more than one door. It has 12 buttons and works in a similar way to the main panel – type in your password and press esc to disarm and type in your password and press enter to arm it. Comes with a 110V wall adapter and works within 150 feet of the main panel.

Pet Immune Motion Detector –This sensor is programmed to ignore pets under 35lbs moving around your house when armed.

Smoke Alarm – When it detects smoke it will sound its alarm and also contacts you on your phone. It works on all alarm settings – home, away or disarmed.

Sphere Siren – 120 db alarm and red strobe light suitable for mounting inside or out. It uses a 110V AC wall plug and has an internal battery backup.

Pros

Easy to install and comes pre-programmed with extra help and instructions online

Highly regarded customer service

No fixed long term contracts

Will notify up to 6 phone numbers when alarm is triggered

It is very customizable and expandable

Can work with VOIP if you don’t have a land line

Home and away settings

Wireless apart from internal alarm which plugs into main panel

Three year warranty against manufacturer defects

Company has 45 day return policy

Very flexible in setting delay timer and alarm length, whether it chimes or not, alarm chirping

It is portable so is able to move with you when you move.

Cons

Cannot be set/disarmed or monitored over the internet or smart phone and does not have internet WiFi connectivity

No duress code that switches the alarm off but allows the auto-dialer to continue dialing

Only one password that is used for disarming and programming the system

No monitoring service is offered and can be difficult to find a service to monitor

Will not call using  cellular network as it needs the purchase of GSM dialer. If you want it to use a cellular network you can buy an auto- dialer separately or  the Fortress GSM-B Wireless Cellular GSM Home Security Alarm System Auto Dial System comes with one as standard

The internal alarm is attached to main panel making it easy to locate the panel

May need a separate line if you have a fax or answering service/machine

Does not have cameras or the ability to add cameras

Only tells you the zone number where a sensor has been tripped. There is no ability to neither name zones nor identify sensors separately

The external siren is not battery powered so will not work in a power outage and must be located near a power outlet

The main panel has an on/off switch meaning it could be switched off when the alarm is sounding

The double backed tape does not seem to work in direct sun light; however company has changed the tape they were using.

May only get a small home insurers discount as it is self-monitored and not independently

Fortress Security Store S02-B Wireless Home Security Alarm System Kit Consumer Ratings

Fortress Security Store S02-B Wireless Home Security Alarm System Kit ReviewThere are over 130 customer reviews on Amazon. The vast majority are very happy with their alarm system.

I went through them  to find out what people liked and didn’t like. One of the major benefits that came through for this system is the very responsive customer service from Fortress in answering questions, helping installations and quickly replacing faulty pieces. Along with this they said it was relatively easy to install as long as you followed the online instructions and ignored the manual that came with it (although this has now been updated).

Those that weren’t happy mentioned the instructions not being clear, but I think the company has responded with additional videos and re-writing of the manual. One person mentioned they didn’t like the fact it worked with a land line and this could be made clearer in the description.  A few mentioned they would like the external alarm to be battery powered and would have preferred the internal alarm to be separate from the main panel.

Overall the vast majority were very happy with the security system and the customer service.

Fortress Security Store S02-B Wireless Home Security Alarm System Kit Price

This security system is priced at the low end of the price range for security system, and some customers have mentioned the low quality look of some of the components but they have also commented that this has not impacted on the performance of the system. Any devices not working have been promptly replaced.  You own the system and there is no long term contract to sign.

The price on Amazon is currently slightly more expensive than the one offered on the company’s site but you do get reassurance of the backing of Amazon’s own customer service on top of that offered by the company as mentioned in one review.

This product qualifies for free shipping from Amazon and you can check here to see if that is still the case here: Fortress Security Store S02-B Wireless Home Security Alarm System Kit

Summary

This is a very good basic standalone home security system. It has a number of positive attributes. It is easy to install. You get a good number of sensors where you can cover most if not all the critical ground floor windows and doors with entry sensors that come with the system as standard. You can have it call up to 6 numbers in the event of a forced entry and play a pre-recorded message. You have the option to add to the system as you go, with additional intruder sensors and environmental sensors (water, smoke etc).

This system is great for anyone who is okay with installing and setting up the system and doesn’t want monitoring. Much of the set up has been done for you to make this as straightforward as possible. This setup is good for a home, apartment, office or someone wanting to get much of their ground floor covered and looking to add more sensor as their budget allows.

If you are looking for a system you can integrate with your home automation system and have integrated cameras then this system is not for you. Similarly if you are looking for a third party monitored system this will probably not meet your needs as customers have commented it is difficult to find an independent monitoring service that works with this security system.

In summary of my review this system gives you good security coverage of your home at a good price with all critical access points likely to be covered by the 10 entry sensors and 3 motion detectors that come with it. (You can add more at a later date if you want to.) The company providing it appears to offer outstanding customer service too.

Filed under: Reviews

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