Savoring the Many Flavors of Intrusion Detection

Find out about the current state of intrusion detectors, with an insider’s take on the application of time-honored devices to advanced sensor technology and leading-edge intelligent systems.

Have you been to an ice cream or frozen yogurt shop lately? It’s not your grandmother’s ice cream parlor from days gone by. Alongside traditional mainstays like chocolate and vanilla, of course, is a greatly expanded set of choices, from Peachy Keen and Berry Bunch to the more exotic Power Pomegranate Acai and beyond. The kaleidoscope of flavors is designed to not only attract the customer to new trends but also fulfill their expectations anew.

Now that you are ready to go out and fill up on your favorite frozen confection, let’s see how all this relates to the many flavors of intrusion detection sensor technology.

Probably one of the most exciting, interesting, rewarding and challenging areas of physical security is the application of intrusion detection (ID) devices. While installing security contractors have an extensive menu of sensing devices to consider today, it takes a true professional to understand the technologies and apply the proper sensors for reliable, efficient intrusion detection.

One of the best resources for referencing intrusion detection products and applications is the 192-page Intrusion Sensor Application Notebook from Interlogix, a part of UTC Building & Industrial Systems. This free publication, having transferred ownership through the years from the original Sentrol, is a worthy addition to any security pro’s reference library. Installing contractors are urged to download a copy here. Although this latest available version was published by GE in 2005, it remains one of the best collections of intrusion application examples.

It’s time to revisit a select few of the traditional detectors and methodologies that are still very much relevant today. Then we’ll move on to some of the noteworthy intrusion advancements that are sweetening installing contractors’ portfolios, and their ability to entice and win over end users with more sophisticated needs and requirements.

RELATED: 9 Intrusion Detection Products

Proven Technology Still Delivers Protection

Let’s first look at the tried and true traditional types of intrusion detection devices. Just as vanilla remains the No. 1 flavor among the masses, so goes the use of the all-time favorite alarm door and window contact. Today’s hermetically sealed contacts are very reliable – if installed correctly. Caution: recessed contacts forced into undersized holes and/or green wood can cause delicate glass-sensor enclosures to crack. This can only spell intermittent false alarm problems in the near future. Understanding magnet sensor hysteresis, alignment and EOL (end of line) supervision will also make for higher performance reliability.

The traditional sealed magnetic reed alarm contact has been reinvented by a company called Magnasphere. These alarm contacts use a metal casing and ball configuration, and do not have any glass that can be damaged. Because of the device’s nontraditional configuration, they have also been UL Listed for high security applications. Magnasphere also has a unique tilt sensor called the T1-AJ-JS that can be used in intrusion applications as well. Another version of the alarm contact is the tethered pull apart contact/cable, which can provide flexible intrusion detection. Some popular devices include the Magnapull Series from Interlogix.

Don’t forget about older but still worthy sensor technologies, such as window screens and pull traps. These devices are not only inexpensive but have proven themselves in areas that are environmentally harsh to electronics. A good example would be above ceiling crawl spaces in adjacent stores. One device is the WT-01 wire trip switch from George Risk Industries (GRI). Even an old-fashioned, breakable 24-26 gauge wire lacing circuit hidden in walls and doors can help in providing complete room protection.

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Tagged with: Fire & Intrusion News

About the Author

Bob Dolph

Bob is currently a Security Sales & Integration "Tech Talk" columnist and a contributing technical writer. Bob installed his first DIY home intercom system at the age of 13, and formally started his technology career as a Navy communication electronics technician during the Vietnam War. He then attended the Milwaukee School of Engineering and went on to complete a Security Management program at Milwaukee Area Technical College. Since 1976, Bob has served in a variety of technical, training and project management positions with organizations such ADT, Rollins, National Guardian, Lockheed Martin, American Alarm Supply, Sonitrol and Ingersoll Rand. Early in his career, Bob started and operated his own alarm dealership. He has also served as treasurer of the Wisconsin Burglar and Fire Alarm Association and on Security Industry Association (SIA) standards committees. Bob also provides media and training consulting to the security industry.

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