skylinkstars4Rating: 4.0 Reviewed by Paul

 

The Skylink SC-1000 Complete Home Security System is a DIY wireless system. There is no contract to sign and there are no recurring monthly fees from a monitoring company to pay.
You install it yourself and self-monitor. It autodials you (and up to 8 others) over your home’s landline (or VOIP) and sounds the siren when there is break-in at your house.  It plays back a 40 second recorded voice message to inform you that an incident has taken place.

This is a starter kit for a home or business and                    buy5._V192207739_                          additional sensors can be bought to provide the coverage you require. You can add up to 30 devices including environmental sensors as well as additional security sensors. There is flexibility in system to change some of the pre-programmed settings to make it suit your needs better.

The auto-dialer is separate to the control panel which  means even if the control panel is destroyed after the alarm is triggered it will still call out. It is a standalone system that gives you good basic security coverage.

You own the system. The system communicates with itself wirelessly. This makes is possible to take it with you as there are no installed wires behind walls.

Installation

To install this system so it can contact you over the phone you will require a land line or VOIP (that has a dial tone). It does not work with a cellular network or internet WiFi.

The sensors and control panel are pre-programmed to work together out of the box. Installation doesn’t require too many DIY skills nor do you need too many technical skills. Installation can be done in a few hours including set up when you read the manual and do not rely just on the quick set up guide.

The manual comes with some handy ideas on how to plan out your installation before you get started – where to put the motion sensors and door/window contacts. Once you’ve planned out your installation the devices are attached by the double back tape screws and anchors that are included.

The control panel needs to be installed near the AC outlet to plug in the AC adapter.  The cord is approx 10 ft long. The backup battery (included) needs to be installed. The antenna should be rotated to outside of the panel or you will find it will not connect properly with the sensors or dialer.

The emergency dialer should be installed near an AC outlet for power and near your land line phone jack or VOIP to plug in phone cord (10 ft long) for making calls in the event of the alarm. As with the control panel you need to install the backup battery and rotate the antenna.

The window/door contacts can be a bit difficult to install if you have curved molding and may require some carpentry skills to get the pieces to be within 3/8 inch needed for the sensors to work properly.

The set up should be fairly straightforward. You need to test that sensors are communicating with the control panel by using the chime function.  For the motion sensors it suggests you test whether your pets will be triggering the alarm. The sensitivity can be turned down. You can change the master pin and add up to three secondary pins.

The emergency dialer will take some more setup. To check that it is communicating with the control panel is best done with them next to each other.  You can then install it. Record your emergency and program in the phone numbers. Be careful to program it to register the control panel and not the sensors.

Contract

There is no contract. This is a self-monitored system and there are no ongoing fees. You only need to pay for the cost of the equipment.

Support

Overall the customer support is good on the whole. Many people note in their review they have found Skylink to be responsive and send out any replacement parts quickly. However, a few have found that they don’t respond and can be unhelpful at times, especially those that don’t like to leave messages on the company’s answer phone.

Skylink use the answer phone to help in times when they are busy and do try to get back to callers within a couple of hours.

They can be contacted by phone between 9.00 AM to 5.00 PM EST Monday to Friday, or by email.

When I contacted them by email with a few questions they responded back with full answers within a few hours of receiving it.

Cameras

This system does not come with a camera

Video Storage

Not applicable.

Alarms

There is one alarm that comes with this kit. It is part of the control panel and is 110 db loud. It is as loud as a sandblaster or car horn. It will be unlikely to carry too far outside the house but will alert everyone inside the house. I don’t think it’s a great idea to have the siren as part of the control panel and a separate alarm would be the way to go. But, there is a security feature that means the dialer will still dial out even if the control panel is destroyed when the system is armed.

When the alarm is triggered the siren will sound for 3 minutes before re-setting itself ready for the next incident. The control panel will make a unique beeping sound until it is dis-armed.

Notification

The system can be set up to call 9 numbers when the alarm is triggered and playback your recorded message. The message can be up to 40 seconds long. Using your land line it cycles through the phone numbers and will call up each number up to 9 times. It will call out even if the line is in use by overriding the current call.

When you receive the call you can listen to the message and do nothing. It will then continue dialing and re-dialing all the numbers in sequence.  You also have the option to stop it from phoning you again but phoning the other numbers or you can stop it from dialing all other numbers by entering in your pin code and the phone will return to standby mode. It will try contacting each phone for 45 seconds (this is the default and can be changed) before moving on to the next number or re-dialing the current number.
The emergency dialer speaker can be turned off for silent dialing.

Remote Monitoring

There are no functions to monitor the alarm remotely.

Battery

The sensors and detectors are powered by battery. The control panel and emergency dialer each have a battery back up in the event of a power outage. These are included when you buy the kit.

motion sensorControl Panel – The backup battery is a standard 9V battery. It is expected to last 24 hours if the power is cut. It is accessed by opening the unit as described in the installation instructions. The LOBATT light will come on when the battery is low. Also when you press any buttons it will beep 10 times. Disarm the system first. There are two tabs on the top that you press down and you can pull open the front of the unit. The battery life would be about 2 years if used as a backup only.

Emergency Dialer – This also uses a 9V battery and has an expected life of 24 hours when power is cut. It is also accessed by opening the unit as described in the installation instructions by pressing the two tabs on the top of the unit and open. The LOBATT goes on when battery is low. In addition iIt is suggested in the manual you test the battery by turning the power off on a regular basis.  The battery is expected to last 2 years if used for backup.

Motion Sensor – This also uses a 9V Battery. The sensor will beep to alert you that the battery is low. You need to replace it straightway because the sensor will not transmit to the control panel when motion is detected. To access the battery you need to slide sensor from ball head joint and unscrew battery cover on the back. Its expected life is 12 months.

Door/Windows Contact – These use a 23A 12V battery. To access battery you need push clip on bottom if transmitter case and pull away from back plate. Some people find this can be a bit fiddly.

Keychain Remote – This also uses a 23A 12 V battery. The battery is accessed by removing the two screws on the back of the remote.

The batteries for the door/windows contact, keychain remote and motion sensor are expected to last at least a year from normal usage.

The 9V batteries are available in most stores. When checking on Amazon the cost is $8.40 for pack of 4 Duracell brand batteries. The 23A 12V batteries are available in many places including Walmart, Home Depot and Amazon. The Amazon price for pack of 2 Energizer batteries was $2.91 when I looked.

Sensors/Detection

motion installedThe system comes with 1 motion sensor. They are best mounted in a corner to give full coverage of the room. Also it is best to avoid heating vents as these can cause false alarms. The sensor is effective up 40 feet and has a horizontal range of 110 degrees.

You can move the sensor from side to side to change the location it is monitoring.

It can also be tilted to change how low down it will sense movement which can be useful when you have pets. By adjusting it upwards it may not pick up the movement of your pets. The sensitivity of sensor can also be altered between high and low. A low setting means more movement is required to trigger the sensor. But even with a low setting and tilted it upwards it’s likely your pets will trigger the alarm if they are bigger than a chihuahua. Be sure to test the sensors when you are installing as you don’t want false alarms that could be avoided.

Door/Window Contacts

window-door contactThese are made up of two parts; the transmitter/sensor with magnet and a magnet. When they move more than 3/8 inch apart the alarm is triggered.  You get 2 with this package.  It’s recommended you put one on your main entrance/exit and one on your secondary entrance/exit.

When the alarm is disarmed there is a chime when the door or window is opened to let you know this has happened. This can be useful if you are using them in your business to let you know someone gas come in or if you want to know if a teenager is sneaking out at night.

Installation can be a little difficult if you have curved moldings and you may need to do a little work to get them to line up. They will work on all types of windows including sliding windows.  These contacts are big and although they do the job they can be a pain to install and they don’t look great on your walls

If you have aluminum windows and find the double back tape is not strong enough you may want to try the 3M mounting tape to fix them to the frame and window securely.

Panic Button/Duress Codes

There are 3 panic buttons that come with the Skylink SC-1000 Complete Wireless Alarm System. They can be found on the keychain remote, control panel and emergency dialer. Once it is pressed the siren comes on instantly and the emergency dialer contacts the programmed phone numbers.

If you are forced to turn the alarm off under duress you can enter a pin number that will return the alarm to previous arm mode and send a signal to emergency dialer (silently) to send out the pre-recorded message for help. Note this does not work if you have installed the AA-433 Audio alarm as this code will set it off.

If you have elderly parents and you want to help protect them or be notified if there is an issue, the panic buttons (especially the wrist ones that can be bought separately) means that you can be notified immediately there is a problem as well as their neighbors and other family members. You can be there quickly or send the emergency services quickly to deal with the problem.

Setting The Alarm

remoteThe alarm can be armed/disarmed by using the control panel or the keychain remote.  The keychain remote works up to 100 feet away and is operated by pushing the appropriate button to arm in home or away mode or disarm. The remote also has a panic button that sounds the alarm instantly.

When using the control panel you enter the pin code followed by pressing the button on the control panel. You can arm the alarm in away, home and night mode.

Away mode sets all the sensors with a 45 second delay to leave as default. When you return you have 30 seconds to disarm.

Home mode sets the door /windows contacts but leaves the motion sensor off with a 45 second delay before the system is armed.

This is useful if someone is staying at home and you are leaving the premises. There is a 30 second delay when you come back to disarm

Night mode allows you to set the window/doors sensors and leave the motion sensors off. If the window/door contacts are triggered the siren sounds instantly. This is great when no one is expected to leave or enter the house but people are at home such as at night when everyone is sleeping.

You cannot use the emergency dialer to set or disarm the alarm. The keypad on the dialer is for setting it up to dial the phones you want notified when the alarm is triggered and any changes you want to make to the dialing sequence.

Control panel

controlThe control panel is where you program the system except for the emergency dialer which is programmed separately.

There is master password for the system that can make changing to the settings. In addition you can have 3 secondary pins that are able to arm and disarm the alarm. These can be assigned to other members of the family or visitors to your home. They can be changed or deleted using master password.

The control panel is operated by the keypad which has 10 numbers, a * and # buttons, plus a panic button and letters A,B,C. These are used for arming/disarming and programming the system. The keypad is backlit to help see it in the dark.

Along the top of the control panel are a number of indicator lights. Starting from the left:

ACPWR – When on means the control panel is being powered by the power supply. Off means it is being powered by battery.

LOBATT – when this is flashing it indicates the battery needs changing.

ARM – Light on means system is armed.

4 ZONE Lights – these will tell you if the zone is in chime, instant, delay entry or delay exit mode.

The siren is housed in the control panel which may help a determined intruder in finding it and disabling it but this won’t stop the dialer from dialing out if system is armed.

The emergency Dialer is separate to the control panel. It is normally installed away from the control panel. It can be up to 100 feet away. The rest of the system is programmed to work with the control panel, however the emergency dialer needs to be programmed and this is done using its’ keypad, care needs to be taken to ensure you don’t program it to respond to the sensors by mistake.  It should be programmed to work with the control panel when you set it up.

There is only one password for the emergency dialer which you can change to a better one than the one that it comes with. To help you remember it is a good idea to change it at the beginning of programming the emergency dialer as you get to use it a few times.

This is where you record your emergency message, and can play it back and enter in the phone numbers you want it to dial when the alarm is triggered. You can set how long it will wait to be answered before dialing the next number. You can set it to dial each one in sequence and then start again or you can set it to call the number again up to a maximum of nine times.

Timers

Once the alarm is set in away or home mode you have 45 seconds to leave before the alarm will be triggered. The control panel lights will flash during this time.

When you enter you have 30 seconds to disarm the alarm. The control panel will beep and lights will flash at you for the 30 seconds.

It is possible to set the time delay to instant by changing the parameters of the zone by following the advanced programming instructions in the manual.

Once the alarm is triggered the siren will sound for 3 minutes before it turns off and resets itself.

Protection Against A Criminal Defeating Alarm System

High tech thieves will be prevented from duplicating the signals from the sensors and remotes due to the rolling code technology meaning the control panel will only recognize its own sensors.

The control unit and dialer are separate and can be mounted away from each other. This means that if the alarm is silenced the dialer will still continue to dial the numbers and playback the message. The emergency dialer will still dial out if the control panel is tampered with while armed.

Coverage

The sensors, automatic dialer and key remote can work up to 100 feet from the remote depending on what is between them. Walls and objects can reduce the effective range. To improve the coverage you can use a repeater which can be bought separately.

Wireless or Wired

The sensors and auto dialer communicate with the control panel wirelessly using 434 mhz frequency. The control panel and auto dialer are both plugged in for power. The auto dialer also needs to plug into your land line or VOIP to be able to call the phones programmed in to it. The sensors and remotes use a battery to power them.

Zones

installed controlThere are 5 zones and you can assign sensors to 4 of them. The 5th zone is not shown on the control panel face and is just for the keychain remotes. Each zone can hold up to 6 devices. The zones are where you program the delay or whether they are active when the system is armed in home or night mode. The sensors can be assigned to whichever of the 4 zones you want.

The zones are set up as follows when you buy the system:

Zone 1 is assigned to the 2 window/door contacts. This zone is programmed to have delays on entry (30 seconds) and exit (45 seconds) when armed in away mode.

Zone 2 has the motion sensor assigned to it and is not activated when the alarm is set to home or night mode. This is set with the same delays as Zone 1 for away mode.

Zone 3 has no sensors assigned to it as default. The zone is programmed by default to trigger alarm instantly when a sensor is tripped.

Zone 4 has no sensors assigned to it as default. The zone is programmed by default to trigger alarm instantly when a sensor is tripped.

Zone 5 is for keychain remotes and you can add up to 6 of them to the zone. No other devices will work in this zone.

The difference in zones in terms of delays gives you the flexibility move sensors around without programming them. You might want a motion sensor in your garage or basement to be armed when in home mode and you could assign it to Zone 1, 3 or 4. You might want some of you window/door contacts to be immediately alarmed and you could use Zone 3 and 4 for that. These changes are made using the control panel and the steps are detailed in the manual.

If you want you can also change the characteristics of the zones to off, chime only, delay entry/exit or instant mode depending on what you want achieve.

Dimensions

Control Panel – 9.7 by 9.2 by 2.6 inches

Emergency Dialer – 9.7 by 9.2 by 2.6 inches

Motion Sensor – 7 by 5 by 3 inches

Window/Door Contracts – 7.1 by 5.8 by 1.7 inches

Keychain Remote – 6.4 by 5 by 0.8 inches

Skylink SC-1000 Complete Wireless Alarm System Features

This alarm system kit comes with the following as standard:

1 Control Panel – this is where you program the system, arm/disarm it. It includes the 110 db siren and it sends the signal to emergency dialer when the alarm is triggered.

1 Emergency Dialer – when the alarm is triggered this calls up to 9 numbers and plays the pre-recorded message. It needs to be connected to a land line or VOIP (Magicjack, Vonage for instance) with a dial tone.

1 Motion Sensor – this sensor detects motion up to 40 feet away in a 110 degree radius.

2 Window/Door Contracts – these detect when a door or window is being opened. It comes in 2 parts the sensor/transmitter and magnet. When they are moved more than 3/8 inch apart the sensor is tripped and send signal to control panel.

1 Keychain Remote – you can use this to remotely alarm in home or away mode, disarm or press the panic button to sound the alarm immediately.

Accessories

You can add up to 30 devices to work with the control panel including more motion sensors, window/door contacts and key fob transmitters (remotes). There is also range of other devices that can be included.

Keypad Control – Acts as an additional keypad controller for other entrances to your premises or if you want to hide the control panel away from your front door.

Flood Sensor – detects overflow and leaks. It is useful in the basement, attics, near the water heater and washing machine etc to detect water. It will send a signal to the control panel or auto-dialer.

Vibration Sensor – this detects vibrations or movement – can be used on windows, doors, drawers or on anything you might want to detect movement.

Alarm Sensor – detects when other alarms are sounding (smoke detectors, CO detectors etc) and transmits message to dialer or control panel.

Temperature Sensor – senses when temperature in a room goes below or above a pre-set temperature range. Range is adjustable between – 3 degrees to 157 degrees Fahrenheit

Audio Alarm – can be used as an outdoor or indoor alarm with system or on its own. It is water resistant and is 110 db loud

Wrist Remote – this is a panic button on a wrist strap. Pressing the panic button triggers the alarm and/or sends a signal to the emergency dialer to contact the emergency numbers for help immediately.

Panic Remote – As with wrist remote it is for the protection of senior citizens and patients. Press it once and immediately starts calling the emergency numbers.

Repeater – this can be used to extend the range of the sensors can be from the control panel by up to 100 feet.

Pros

No contract or monitoring fees

Portable – you can take it with you when you move

Flexible – can add the devices you want to the system up to a maximum of 30

1 Year Manufacturers Warranty

30 day Amazon refund policy (14 day refund policy if bought through Skylink)

Installation is relatively straightforward with a little difficulty with the window/door contacts if you’ve curved molding

Sensitivity of motion sensor can be changed to help in not detecting pets

It is hands free if you want apart from monitoring and changing the batteries.

It will notify up to 9 numbers when alarm is triggered

It is wireless apart from the dialer needing to be plugged into land line or VOIP

Up to 3 secondary pass codes in addition to main pass code for family members and other visitors

Cons

No camera so you are unable to check what has caused alarm. Some people have bought  the FOSCAM camera to overcome this.

Not able to remote monitor with smart phone or computer (without buying additional Skylink devices)

Only 2 window/contacts included and one monitor and remote included so plan on buying more to fully cover your house.

When making changes to the programming it can be a bit involved and will probably need manual open when making changes

Limited scope for discount on home owners insurance

Is not compatible with Zigbee or Zwave devices (Wireless standards that help with home automation)

Cannot set the alarm to come on at certain times of the day

Unable to turn off beeping when on entry delay for 30 seconds – it can alert criminal to control panel location

Alarm is in control panel so can alert criminal to its whereabouts but emergency dialer will continue to dial

Cannot use the cellular network to phone out but can call cell phones so cutting the phone line will prevent dialer from dialing out

Message play backed when phoned is not of the highest quality

Skylink SC-1000 Complete Wireless Alarm System Consumer Ratings

sc1000I’ve read through the majority of reviews for this system and the most of them are very happy with their purchase. There are some that aren’t and I’ve noted the important concerns in the cons above.

Some of the customers were unhappy that it works only with a land line for dialing out (it works with VOIP too). This could be avoided by making this clear in the listing.

Some people have received faulty parts and have returned it back to Amazon for a refund without speaking to Skylink or have spoken or tried to speak to Skylink and not been happy with their response.

However, other customers note in their reviews they have found the follow up customer service from Skylink to be very good. They are please with the help they received from Skylink. It appears they will try to help their customers but unfortunately they do sometimes let themselves down by not responding quickly enough to their customer’s issues.

Skylink SC-1000 Complete Wireless Alarm System Price

If you’ve been going through and comparing prices with other systems you will have noticed it is cheaper than the ones where a contract is offered for monitoring.

With this starter kit you can cover the 2 key entrances to your house – the front and back door and cover the stairs and entrances to your bedrooms with the motion sensor or whatever space you want. There is only one key chain remote for the family, so the family will need to use the control panel to arm and disarm the alarm. It will probably be suitable for an apartment or a small home. For larger homes you are probably going to want more sensors to cover windows and rooms plus more remotes too.

To cover 3 rooms, ground floor window/doors and more remotes the cost is going to be over $370. This still comes out reasonably. You don’t have to buy them all at once and can add them as you go, up to a total of 30 sensors.

On Amazon there are two separate listings for this product with one selling it $12 less than the other. Both listings qualify for Amazon Prime. You can check to see if that is still the same by clicking here: Skylink SC-1000 Complete Wireless Alarm System

If you are looking to secure your vacation home or may be a log cabin in the woods that you only go to a few times a year to protect your belongings this is a good cheap option.  However, to get notifications you may need to install a phone line to be able to get notifications as many of us no longer have land lines as we’ve replaced them with cell phones. So, you need to take into account the possible monthly and installation costs when comparing different systems.

Summary

If you want a security system that will notify you by phone when there is an incident at home this system will provide this. There are no ongoing fees as this is a self-monitored system. You need to have a landline or VOIP for it to be able to dial out. It can call cell phones but it does not use a cellular network itself. It is relatively easy to install and you can be up and running in a few hours.

You are not able to control the alarm remotely or see what is going on at home when you get the notification.

To summarize my review it is well priced for a basic self-monitored home security system that on the whole is a system you can rely on when you need it. It is suitable for apartments and smaller homes but for anyone wanting to secure a larger home this is a starter kit and you will probably want to buy additional sensors and remotes.

Filed under: Reviews

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