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Control Panels

The control panel (aka “security console” or “host”) is the brain of your security system - it receives inputs from the varioussensors and detectors that are connected to it (the nervous system) and transmit an alarm signal to your monitoring provider (aka central station).

Control panels usually have a built-in keypad, although some keypads are separate “remote” units and others are touch screen and/or voice activated.  The keypad is where you punch in your pass-code to activate and deactivate the alarm.  Most control panels also have a screen that displays the sensors and detectors that are active in each zone within your home.  Specific security zones can be armed or disarmed using the keypad on the control panel.

Environmental sensors, like those that detect carbon monoxide and radon gas, and sense moisture and climate changes, are usually sold separately but can often be hooked up to your main control panel.  It’s also possible to link interior and exterior lights to your control panel to automatically turn on and off at certain times, which is especially prudent when going on vacation or leaving your home for an extended period of time.

Home security systems are trending toward wireless technology.  Web-based control panels are “virtual” and can be armed, disarmed and controlled by using software installed on your PC.  Some web-based systems even allow you to use your SmartPhone as a virtual keypad, which allows you to control your home alarm system and its devices remotely from anywhere.