mace systemstars42Rating: 4.2 Reviewed by Paul

 

When you are looking to secure your home you don’t really want to be tied into a long term expensive contract. Nor do you want to have people in your home installing a system and may be even drilling into your walls to run cables. You just want something that’s there when you need it.

A home security system that is self-monitoring system avoids the need for ongoing monitoring fees. Couple that functionality with a system that operates wireless and you then have a                            buy5._V192207739_                          system you can quickly install yourself without having to run cables through your home’s walls and you can take the system with you when you move. Plus, most importantly, these systems provide a good reliable level of protection for your home, valuables and family.

The Mace Wireless Home Security System is a system  that promises to secure your home without the expense of  professional monitoring and is easy to install.

It is a starter kit that comes programmed so the security devices work together out of the box. It communicates with itself wirelessly and will notify you and up to 4 others of an incident at home using your landline or VOIP connection to dial out as well as sounding the alarm.

You pay for the system upfront so you own it outright and can take it with you or move it around your house as you want without too much fuss.

Installation

If you want the system to dial you when there is an incident it requires a landline or VOIP (if you have a DSL line it requires a DSL filter) to call you on your cell phone and up to 4 other people.  It does not have the capability to use the internet, WiFi or the cellular network.

The system is programmed to work out of the box. Installation and set up do not require any special skills. When initially setting up it is best to have the sensors close to the control panel to test all is working well and they are being picked up by the control panel. Once done you can install them in the locations you want them to cover.

You do need to screw the sensors into place and follow the instructions to set up the system and then test that the components are working together.

Some people have found the manual to be confusing to follow but most people report that they have not had any issues with it. There are now 4 videos on YouTube by Mace that walk through the set up and installation process.  If you do have problems you can contact Mace and they can talk you through any issues or if there is a problem with a component they do send out replacement parts.

The control panel needs to be installed within 6 feet of AC outlet so the power cord can reach and it also needs to near the land line or VOIP  jack if you want the system to dial out when there is an emergency.

The programming can be a little bit fiddly. You need to ensure you press a button within 15 seconds of the last one otherwise it takes you back to the beginning of the feature you are setting up and you have to start over.

If you have older home the window/door contacts can be a bit difficult to install properly due to the curved molding of the frames.

You may need to pack underneath the magnetic contacts with thin slices of wood to get them to be within a ¼ inch of each other, but this is not too difficult to do (but you may need more double back tape or superglue to do this).

Contract

There is no monitoring contract to sign. You only need to pay for the equipment up front and you can install it yourself. It is a self-monitored system that dials you when one of the sensors is tripped if you want.

Mace Wireless Home Security System Support

Customer support can be contacted Monday to Friday between 9am to 6 pm EST. You may need to leave a message on their answer phone at busy times. Most people find they respond quickly and are very helpful in responding to questions on set up, installation and more. They do let themselves sometimes as a few people report in their review as having some difficulty in getting hold of support (this is the minority) but when they do get hold of them they find the support team helpful and their questions are answered or problems solved.

The company seems to be responsive if there are faulty parts that can happen from time to time by sending out replacement parts promptly. There is a short manufacturer’s warranty on this product of 90 days, other home security systems have a warranty of at least 1 year but their systems they do cost more.

When I contacted the company by email to ask questions over the weekend they responded at the beginning of Tuesday – I did ask a lot of questions – so for my purposes the level of responses was fine.

Cameras

Cameras are not included in the package nor can then be added to the system. If you want this you can buy IP cameras separately and control them over the internet with your smartphone to see what is going on at home when you get a call from the security system.

Video Storage

Not applicable.

Alarms

The system has an internal alarm that is 105 decibels loud which is as loud as a chainsaw. It is included as part of the control panel. This is loud inside the house but outside the sound will be muted and it is unlikely to alert your neighbors to the fact it has been activated.

It lets a burglar know they have been discovered and where the control panel. So they can then set about unplugging and destroying the control panel to stop the alarm and prevent it sending out the notifications if they get there in time.

When the siren has been activated it sounds for 30 seconds then is silent for 30 seconds and then sounds for 30 seconds unless disarmed. After this it resets itself in armed mode ready for the next event.

If you don’t want the siren to sound the alarm you can program it to silent mode where the system does not sound the alarm but silently dials the numbers programmed into it. In this way an intruder is not alerted to the fact they have been discovered.

Notification

The system notifies up to 5 people by phone and plays back a recorded message. The message can be up to 20 seconds long – which is not very long but gives it enough time to inform that the alarm has been triggered and to give you the options you can take. The recording is not of the highest quality but is good enough to let you know there has been an incident at home.

The system is preset to call everyone on list once in sequence until the system is disarmed. This can be changed to where the system will attempt to ring each person from one to 5 times. It will continue through the sequence until it is disarmed.  There is a 40 second delay before it dials the next number.

Remote Monitoring

When you receive the call from the system you have 4 options:

–    You can listen in to see what is happening at home
–    You can say something to the intruder or whoever is at home
–    You can disarm the system
–    You can finish the call

You have 20 seconds to take this action before the call finishes and it moves on to the next person in the list of contacts.
You have the option to call your system too. It answers the call after 5 rings by default. It can be changed to answer after a number of rings between 3 and 10. You have the same ability as when the system calls you plus you have an additional option to arm the system.

You cannot have this calling in feature and an answering machine on the same line as only one of them will work –either the answering machine picks up or the alarm system does depending on the number rings needed set up to pick up the incoming call.

To overcome this you could utilize VOIP such as Magicjack for your security system leaving the landline free for calls (although some people have struggled to get the calling in feature to work with VOIP).

If you do have an answering machine on the line and it is receiving a message the system will override this to call out if a sensor has been triggered.

Battery

motion sensorThe motion sensors and the window/door contact sensors use a 9 volt battery. The control panel uses a 9 volt battery for back up when there is a power outage – so system will continue to work.  These batteries are standard and are widely available.

When the charge is running low in the sensors the LED on light on them will flash on for 3 seconds and off for 1 second. Also, the LCD display on the control panel will indicate the battery needs changing by displaying the battery icon and the zone number.
The battery power LED light on the control panel will flash on and off for 1.5 seconds when it’s battery needs changing.

The remote control uses 3 LR44 batteries – these are the button or watch style battery.  These can be found online at stores like Amazon but you may not be able to find them at your local store.  3 Energizer LR44 batteries cost just under $8.00 but you can find other brands cheaper than this. The remote beeps when the batteries are getting low.

The batteries for all components are accessed by unscrewing the battery cover on the back of units. When you receive the system you need to install the batteries (they are included).

The batteries should last over a year and beyond before they need replacing.

Sensors/Detection

The motion sensor is a passive infra-red sensor that detects movement by “seeing” changes in heat. They are very sensitive. This means when you arm it your pets may set the alarm off when they move around the house. However, sensor shields are included and these can be used to block area where your pet is likely to be. You can also tilt the sensor upwards so it doesn’t cover the floor. It will take some testing to get this right to prevent false alarms.

When installing the sensor you can tilt it and move it from side to side to cover the area you want. It is effective up 25 feet and horizontal range of 110 degrees. These sensors are normally located in the corner of a room so they can cover all the room and there are no blind spots. It is installed by screwing the bracket to the wall and then putting the sensor onto it.

Door/Window Contacts

window-door contactThe contacts are in two parts – a magnetic contact with a sensor/transmitter attached and a magnetic contact. When the magnetic contacts are moved more than a ¼ inch apart the alarm is triggered.

This starter kit only comes with 1 door/window contact. You normally want to install at least 2 of them to secure the front and back doors, the areas where most break-ins occur.

If you have older style frames or curved frames it can be difficult to line them up and you may need to do a little DIY by adding a shim (a small piece of material) underneath the magnetic contacts to even them up, so they are closer than a quarter inch apart otherwise the system cannot be armed.

It works on different types of windows or doors as the sensor is triggered when the magnetic contacts are more than a ¼ inch apart. It can be used on sliding doors or windows, windows that open from the bottom or top as well as opening from the side.

The magnetic sensors are installed using the double sided tape included which seems to be up to the job but if you cannot get them to stick then 3M’s Scotch mounting tape is a very good replacement. The sensor/transmitter is mounted by screwing it to the wall next to frame (screws are included).

The door/window contact have a local alarm that can be turned on or off on the wire transmitter. You can turn this on so that it will operate when the alarm is disarmed to let you know when a door or window is opened when you are at home. It is loud enough to be heard when you are in a different room. This is great for letting you know when someone comes home or tries to sneak out or if you own a business it can let you know when a customer comes in.

Panic Button/Duress Codes

There are 2 panic buttons with the system. One is on the control panel and the other is on the remote. When the panic buttons is pressed the alarm is sounded immediately and the system dials out to get the message out. The remote button needs to be pressed for 2 seconds to register the incident with the control panel to ensure it doesn’t react to the button being pressed by mistake in someone’s pocket for instance.

There is no duress code where you can type in a code that turns off the siren and the auto-dialer still continues to send out the message. This function is for when someone breaks in and is forcing you to turn the alarm off.

Setting The Alarm

remote controlThere are 3 ways to set the alarm in away mode:

1.    The control panel can be used by entering your pass code using the keypad followed by pushing the arm/disarm button.
2.    With the remote control you push the arm button
3.    You can call your system with your phone and arm it.

Away mode is where the door/window contacts and motion sensors are activated to secure your home.

You can also arm the system in home mode on the control panel. This is set up so the door/window contacts are armed but the motion sensor is off so you can move around your house without triggering the alarm.

Control Panel

This is the brains of the system. It is where the programming takes place. It communicates with the sensors and when armed it will sound the alarm and send out the notifications. It also houses the siren.

mace wirelessThere is only one password for the system and you should change it from the factory setting when you are setting up. If you forget the password you can reset the system back to the default without losing the phone numbers you’ve programmed in.

With only one pass code you cannot give temporary passwords to visitors to your home or guests if you want them to access your home when you are not there. Your choice is to give them the pass code or provide them with remotes or let them know how to disarm the system using their phone and change the pass code afterwards to prevent them from using it in the future.

The control panel has a small LCD display where you can check your settings and the zones that have been triggered. It also shows you know the zone number where a sensor that has a low battery.  It can be hard to see and could do with being backlit. Some of the data displayed on the LCD display such as the zone number are small making them hard to read.

The Mace Wireless Home Security System will display the details of the last 5 times a sensor was triggered and the 5 phone numbers you have set in the system when you ask it by pressing the up and down buttons.

The front of the control panel has a speaker where you voice comes out when using the “speak to the room” functionality from your phone.

It has a number keypad, up/down, program and home buttons for programming the system. The microphone is also here for you to record your notification message. Also, in this area is the arm/disarm button as well as the panic button.

There are 3 LED lights on the front panel for letting you know (1) when the system is using power from the house supply, (2) when the backup battery charge is low and needs replacing (3) when you are recording or playing back your message.

The antenna for the control panel is plugged into the side of the panel. The phone line and DC adaptor plug into the top of it which can make it easy for a burglar to unplug to stop the system dialing out.

At the back are two holes for hanging it on to the screws you have put in the wall if you want it mounted on the wall. The reset button for resetting your password is located on the back of the system.

The back panel is where you access the battery to install it and replace as needed.

There are connectors at the back of the panel to add wired components to the system but it is best to check with Mace before trying to add wired components to ensure they are compatible.

Timers

The system comes with a 20 second delay as standard on entry, i.e. the siren will not sound or the system start dialing out until 20 seconds after a sensor has been triggered. You can change this to 0,5,10 or 15 seconds.  The system beeps to remind you during the alarm delay time.

After arming the system in away mode you can set the time you have to leave before it activates to 10, 20 or 30 seconds. The control panel will beep while it is waiting to arm itself.

 

What protection is there to stop it being disarmed by a criminal

There is not too much protection here. If the intruder unplugs the control panel power cord it has a back up battery that will continue sounding the alarm and the dialing out. The intruder needs to destroy the panel to stop the siren.

Coverage

The sensors can be mounted up to 300 ft away from the control panel and the remote works up to 100 ft away from the panel.

There is not an option to buy a repeater to extend the wireless effective range. Walls and other obstacles may decrease the effective range. Most people find this range sufficient for their homes. Only those with very large homes will find this range is not sufficient.

Wireless or Wired

This is a wireless system and it communicates with itself using the 433.92 frequency. The sensors are powered by battery.
The control panel is plugged into the house supply and needs to plugged into the land line or VOIP jack to send out notifications.

Zones

There is a total of 10 zones available. Zones 1 to 8 can have one sensor each. Zone 9 can have up to 8 sensors. Zone 10 is reserved for the remote controls and up to 8 can be added.

If you have more than one sensor added to Zone 9 you only know that one of the sensors in that zone has been triggered but not which one.  It means to find out which sensor has been tripped you need to check each sensor individually.

When setting up your system it is a good idea to note down which sensor has been added to which zone, so when the alarm is sounded you can quickly find out where the problem is. A paper chart or spread sheet can help you keep track of where each zone is – e.g. zone 1 could be for the front door sensor, zone 2 could be the motion sensor in living room and so on.

Dimensions

Motion Sensor –  2.75 by  4.25 by 1.875 inches

Window/Door Contact –  2.25 by 3.375 by  1 inches

Control Panel -6.5 by 4 by  1.5 inches

Features

Included in the kit are:

1 Control Panel – includes a keypad for programming and disarming the system. It includes the auto-dialer for sending out the recorded message to your phone and the 105 db internal siren that sounds when the sensors are triggered.

1 Motion Sensor  – this detects movement within your house up to 25 ft and has an effective horizontal range of 110 degrees

1 Window/Door Contact – comes with two magnetic contacts and sensor/wireless transmitter. One contact is placed on the window or door and the other on the frame to detect when the door or window  is opening.

1 Remote Control  –  the remote works up to 100 ft away from control panel. It has 3 buttons.  You can set the alarm, disarm it and push a panic button that instantly sounds the alarm and the dialing out sequence

Also included is a 6 ft phone cable, DC adaptor and 6 ft cable, hardware to install equipment and security stickers, batteries for the sensors, the remote and the backup battery for the control panel.

Accessories

There are a number of accessories you can add to the system. There is an upper limit of 16 wireless sensors (14 in addition to those included in the kit) and 8 remotes (7 more than included in the pack). To secure your home fully you can buy more window/door contacts and motion sensors as well as buy a selection of different security devices:

external alarmWireless Outdoor Siren – A 110 db siren that can be mounted up to 100 ft from the control panel. It has 3 modes – siren only, siren and flashing light, or flashing light only. It is powered by plugging into the house supply and uses 4 AAA batteries (not included) as back up.

Wireless Water Overflow Sensor With Alarm – This is useful for monitoring areas that are likely to flood such as basements, laundries, the attic or leaking pipes. It can be integrated into the system or standalone as it has a siren built-in.

Wireless Temperature Sensor Alarm – This alerts you when temperature rises above 95 degrees Fahrenheit or below the temperature selected by owner of either 41 or 55 degrees Fahrenheit. It includes its own alarm functionality so it can be used as a standalone alarm.

Wireless Slimline Door/Window Sensor – A slimmer version of the standard contacts which can help when mounting on windows and doesn’t include an alarm.

Wireless Garage Door Sensor – It is weather and water resistant. It is useful for monitoring overhead garage doors as well as outdoor gates.

Wired Magnetic Contact Sensor Kit – Includes 2 pairs of magnetic contacts and 55 feet of alarm wire. It is used to add more coverage of windows and or doors by adding the magnetic contacts in series to an existing window/door contact. It gives you more coverage of your entry points and this series is seen as one sensor by the control panel.

Pros

Very affordable price

There are no contracts or monitoring fees

It is portable so it can be taken with you when you move

It is easy to add new sensors to the system up to a maximum of 16 in total

Installation and set up is easy to do with helpful videos and customer service

There is little maintenance required once set up other than changing batteries.

It notifies up to 5 numbers when the alarm is triggered

There is a money back guarantee for 30 days.

Wireless range of 300 ft on sensors gives good coverage for all but the largest of homes

You can listen into your home remotely from your phone when you receive a call or by calling in

Cons

A smoke detector or CO2 cannot be added

Uses a landline instead of cellular network to send out notification but will work with VOIP

20 second limit on recorded message

Only comes with one window/door contact, motion sensor and remote. Most households will need more coverage so do plan on spending more to be fully covered.

Internal alarm is included in control panel and can notify an intruder of the panel’s location and he will know where to go to disarm it

You may need a separate line if you want to use the line for an answering machine or fax machine

The LCD display is hard to see and you may need a torch to see it clearly

The LR44 batteries for the remotes are not readily available at your local store but are available through Amazon and other online stores

Only allows a maximum of 16 sensors to be added but you can use the magnetic contact sensor to “wire” in more sensors.  This may be enough for your home. To determine if this is the case it is advisable to plan out your security requirements. See here for more information.

Manufacturer’s warranty is only for 90 days

Unlikely to receive much of discount for your home owners insurance

Not compatible with home automation devices include Z-wave and Zigbee devices

Cannot add a camera to see what is going on but to get round this you could buy and control a camera separately to see what is happening

Mace Wireless Home Security System Consumer Ratings

Consumer reviews on the whole are positive for the system. Some people are disappointed with the look of the system with it looking cheap but on the whole most people do not see this as a problem and it hasn’t stopped the system from working effectively.

Some people have bought the system without realizing it does not work over a cellular network. The description does not make it clear that a landline is needed to get notifications and this should be fixed by the supplier.

Some people note in their reviews they have been disappointed when they could not get the system to work and/or the time it has taken to get hold of the service department. They do seem to let themselves down at times.  But, there are many positive comments of how knowledgeable and helpful the company is in assisting with set up or sending out replacement parts if required.

Most people have been pleased with the system, what you get for the price, how simple it is to setup and install and that it sends them a notification when the alarm is triggered.

Mace Wireless Home Security System Price

This is one of the lowest cost DIY wireless home security starter kits on the market. The look of the components reflects this but for most this hasn’t impacted on how well it works in securing their home. In one customer’s review they mentioned how happy with how much they got for the price.

It is small kit with only 1 motion sensor, 1 window/door contact and remote included in it. For most homes it will need more sensors and remotes to be added to secure the home and could mean a cost of up to $300 or more depending on the size of the home.

Amazon is selling it below $80 when I last checked. You can check to see it that is still the case by clicking here: Mace Wireless Home Security System. The price on Mace’s site is $139.99.

It would make a good option for securing a second home or vacation home you only go to a few times a year.

Many homes no longer have a landline as they have replaced their cell phones, so if you want to be notified you need to install one. When you are comparing prices of various systems it is important to factor this in to get a total cost comparison.

Summary

This is a basic alarm system that notifies you when there is an incident in your home; it has none of the frills that you get from more expensive newer models. It is affordably priced; you can install it yourself and you aren’t tied into a long costly contract because you monitor this yourself. You do need to have landline or VOIP for it to send out notifications and to give you the ability self monitor.

You can’t see what is going on at home but you can listen in to make your assessment as to what is going on and the action you need to take.

This is a good kit for a dorm room, or small apartment. For anything larger it makes a good starter kit to add to as you want to. You are restricted to a maximum of 16 sensors, so check your requirements before buying. Overall it is a reliable system that will protect your home when you need it.

Filed under: Reviews

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