Today’s integrated features have much to offer over older systems, without all the hassle.
We know that selecting a security system, access control system or a surveillance system can seem overwhelming. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of some common questions and answers. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, give us a call at 866-570-2118 and we’ll be happy to help.
Surveillance Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How long can I record for?
A. The amount of time a recording device such as a DVR can archive depends on many variables: 1) The size of the storage device ie: hard drive 2) The cameras resolution. 3) The cameras frame rate 4) The record settings such as recording only when there is motion vs all the time. Additionally there are other elements that can affect your record times as well which generally occur on a case by case basis.
Q. Can I view my cameras remotely?
A. Some DVR’s have the capability of being viewed remotely via the Internet. In most cases this is achieved via Internet Explorer or the DVR’s proprietary software. It is important to note the speed and quality of the image via a remote connection is greatly dependent on the DVR’s or Cameras compression type and the speed of the Internet connection on both ends. Additionally some IP cameras will allow you to connect via a network or Internet directly to them.
Q. Are DVR’s Mac compatible?
A. The majority of DVR’s are still not MAC compatible. However there are models in the industry that are MAC compatible. Just make sure to mention this when speaking to a surveillance representative.
Q. Are DVR’s smartphone compatible?
A. The majority of DVR’s are still not Smart Phone compatible. For the select few that support Smart Phone technology they are generally limited to Droid 2 or Iphone models only. In most cases this type of remote viewing is achieved via the phone browser or a downloaded application. Additionally, you will only be able to view one camera at a time. It is important to note the speed and quality of the image via a remote connection is greatly dependent on the DVR’s or Cameras compression type and the speed of the Internet connection on both ends.
Q. Can I record audio?
A. Yes, most DVR’s come with an audio option. However, the number of audio channels do not always match the number of video channels so it is important to disclose your audio during your consultation. Additionally, since most analog cameras do not come with built in audio, you will probably need to purchase a separate microphone in order to achieve this goal.
Q. How many cameras do I need?
A. There are many factors that will contribute to the number of cameras that will be required in order to survey a particular area. Some of the factors are as follows: Area to be covered, Level of detail to be captured, Lighting condition, Visual obstructions, etc. The absolute best way to make this determination is to schedule an on site consultation.
Q. What is Lux?
A. The lux is the unit of measurement for luminescence and luminous emittance, it is measured in luminous power over a particular area. When purchasing surveillance cameras they will often include the minimum lux value in the specifications which shows the light level at which the camera will record an acceptable image. The lower the lux rating the better a camera is at handling low light situations. Below is a chart containing real world examples of LUX in different environments.
Direct sunlight ——————– 100,000 – 130,000 lux
Full daylight, indirect sunlight — 10,000 – 20,000 lux
Overcast day ———————– 1,000 lux
Indoor office ———————- 200 – 400 lux
Very dark day ———————- 100 lux
Twilight ————————— 10 lux
Deep twilight ———————- 1 lux
Full moon ————————– 0.1 lux
Quarter moon ———————– 0.01 lux
Moonless clear night sky ———– 0.001 lux
Moonless overcast night sky ——– 0.0001 lux
Q. What happens if I lose my power?
A. Most Security DVR’s are set up to automatically continue recording when power is restored. We highly recommend the addition of an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) which functions as temporary backup power and usually provides effective surge protection as an additional benefit.
Q. Can I zoom-in with my camera?
A. In most cases only Pan, Tilt, Zoom (PTZ) type cameras will allow the user to zoom in and out. This type of camera is usually controlled with an optional joy stick controller. However there are cameras that have a motorized zoom lens installed. With these camera types you may have the ability to zoom in and out only.
Intrusion Frequently Asked Questions
Q. WHY DO I NEED HOME ALARM MONITORING?
A. If your alarm were to go off while you’re away, who will call the police? Our 24-hour UL Listed Central Station monitoring center will notify local authorities when operators receive a signal. The police will then be dispatched to your home or business.
Q. HOW DO I POWER DOWN MY HOME ALARM SYSTEM?
A. Home alarm systems should be powered down as a last resort to reset the system out of alarm status. The transformer must be located and unplugged. (Often the screw that secures the transformer to the outlet will need to be removed.) Once the transformer is unplugged you must also remove the battery connection. Both terminals on the battery should be unplugged to ensure the alarm system would shut down. Always contact us before powering down the alarm system as a tamper alarm will be sent.
Q. WHY DOES MY ALARM SYSTEM KEYPAD DISPLAY NOT READY?
A. Your keypad is informing you that the alarm system is not ready to turn on (Also known as arming the system). Common reasons for this are that a door or window is not completely closed, a motion detector may be sensing movement, or a previous alarm has not been cleared out of the memory. Correct the condition and the alarm system will be ready to arm.
Q. HOW DO I CHANGE THE PEOPLE LISTED ON MY CALL LIST?
A. It’s simple. Residential Customers can call the Data Entry department at 1.888.846.4295 with your changes. Have your personal identification code ready in order to make your changes. Commercial or residential customers may always email changes to Info@asapca.com Make sure to tell everyone on your call list what to do in case they receive a call from us.
Q. WHAT IF MY HOME ALARM SYSTEM DOESN’T WORK CORRECTLY?
A. We will be happy to investigate any problems you’re having with your home alarm systems. Just call 1.888.846.4295 for any service-related issues.
Q. IF THERE’S A PROBLEM, CAN YOU TURN MY HOME SYSTEM OFF FROM ONE OF YOUR OFFICES?
A. Not normally, unless you subscribed for this additional service. Most systems are an independent unit and can only be turned off at your security system keypad.
Q. MY ALARM SYSTEM WENT OFF ACCIDENTALLY, BUT I QUICKLY PUT IN THE CODE AND SHUT IT OFF. I EXPECTED A CALL FROM YOUR COMPANY, BUT NO ONE CALLED. WHY NOT?
A. The home alarm systems allow a brief period for you to turn off your system before an alarm signal is sent to the Monitoring Center. This gives you enough time to cancel the signal and prevent a false alarm. These signals are still transmitted to the Monitoring Center and you may always call to check on what we received.
Q. IF THE POWER GOES OFF, WILL MY ALARM SYSTEM STILL WORK?
A. Yes, in case of a power loss, the back-up battery will activate to maintain your alarm protection for several hours. In the event your battery is low, a low battery signal will be sent to your Central Station so you can be notified.
Q. IF I HAVE AN EMERGENCY, SHOULD I CALL YOUR COMPANY FIRST?
A. No, if you have an emergency, call 911 first. If you are unable to call 911, then depress the panic or fire alarm button on your home security system keypad, and our Central Station will request emergency services.
Q. AM I RESPONSIBLE FOR TESTING MY HOME SECURITY SYSTEM REGULARLY?
A. Yes, it is your responsibility to make sure that your home system is in good working order. We regularly initiate a communications performance test. It’s easy to test your security system; just refer to your owner handbook or call the Secure Operations Center at 1.888.846.4295 and follow the simple instructions we will provide. If you find that a part of your home security system is not working properly, call us to request repair service.
Q. I WANT TO MAINTAIN MY SERVICE ADDRESS, BUT NEED TO CHANGE WHERE MY BILL IS SENT?
A. To change your billing address, please contact us directly at 1-866-570-2118.
Q. WHY ARE FALSE ALARMS A PROBLEM?
A. False alarms can take police away from real emergencies. When your home security system activates, it’s like dialing 911, the police respond thinking there is an emergency. False alarms can lead neighbors to ignore your alarm if it happens repeatedly. Taking the time to understand your home security system will prevent repeated false alarms.
Q. WHAT IS THE CODE NUMBER?
A. The code number is the number you enter on your home security system keypad to turn your system on and off. If you want to change your code number, consult your security system manual for specific instructions. If you need help changing your code number, call our customer service number. Be sure that all family members, frequent guests, and anyone with access to your home is aware of your code number.
Q. FORGET YOUR CODE NUMBER?
A. Please call the customer service number on your invoice. Unfortunately, while the problem can be solved, it may require a service technician to visit your Texas home.
Q. WHAT IS THE CENTRAL MONITORING STATION PASSWORD?
A. This is your secret password that the Central Monitoring Station will require for identification when your alarm system is activated. The primary purpose of this password is to cancel false alarms. It ensures the Central Monitoring Station that they are speaking to you, not an unauthorized person. It is also necessary to give your password to change any information stored at the Central Monitoring Station.
Q. FORGET YOUR CENTRAL MONITORING STATION PASSWORD?
A. If you forget or give the Central Monitoring Station an incorrect password, they will send the authorities to investigate the situation. If you forget your central monitoring station password or would like to change it, call the customer service number.
Q. DO I NEED TO NOTIFY ANYONE IF I CHANGE MY PHONE NUMBER, ADDRESS, OR CONTACT LIST?
A. Yes. Call the customer service number and notify them of these changes immediately. They will update your records at our office and relay this change to the Central Monitoring Station. It is imperative that we have your current phone number; otherwise the Central Monitoring Station operator will not be able to call your home to verify an emergency.
Q. HOW CAN I LEARN MORE ABOUT MY HOME ALARM SYSTEM?
A. Your home security system manual is an excellent source of information on your specific security system you can find all system manuals on our downloads page. You may have also received an end-user video that explains the operation of your home security system. These tools can explain unique features and how to operate them. If you have misplaced or were not furnished with an owner’s manual for your security system, contract our customer service number and we will be happy to send you one.
Q. HOW OFTEN SHOULD I TEST MY HOME SECURITY SYSTEM?
A. Monthly. Each month home alarm systems should be tested to ensure that they are working properly. Follow the instructions in your system manual-you may need to contact your Central Monitoring Station to complete the test. Periodically testing your security system is the only way to ensure that it will function properly in the case of an emergency.
Access Control Frequently asked Questions
Q. What are my options for opening a motorized gate?
There are many options for opening your gate ranging from simple to sophisticated:
A. Slide Gate Operators:
These operators are perfect for motorizing a cantilever or overhead track type gate. These systems will fully open and close the gate. You must take into consideration the type of gate, length, weight, and cycles of use. Slide gate operators are available in various horsepower, voltages and phases. In cooperation with other access devices, a slide gate operator will provide security and convenience to your gate.
A. Swing Gate Operators:
These operators are perfect for opening and closing a swing type gate. You must take into consideration the type of gate, length, weight, and cycles of use. Swing gate operators are available in various horsepower, voltages and phases. In cooperation with other access devices, a swing gate operator will provide security, convenience and prestige to your residence.
A. Barrier Arm Operators:
Perfect for controlling traffic flow, these operators place a vinyl or aluminum arm across the lane of traffic. With the use of various access devices, the arm can be easily raised or lowered. Barrier Arm Operators are available with various length arms. Take into consideration the width of your drive, frequency of use, voltage and phase when selecting your operator.
Q. What types of systems are available to control the movement of my gate?
Access control systems range from a very inexpensive single code, key or card that provides access but no programming to complete access control system that independently controls multiple gates and users access to them by time, day and number of uses.
Access control systems can be organized into the following categories:
1. Standalone Systems
A standalone system controls a single gate, Any additions or deletions of users must be done at the each unit individually, usually through a ten number keypad. The most popular applications are sites in remote locations where cost is a prime concern. Most standalone systems provide some limited access control such as time zones, but they lack in the powerful features and benefits found in other systems.
2. Programmable Systems
Programmable systems control multiple gates through a master controller, system hardware, phone line and a personal computer. Controllers are located by each gate and wired together for data communications to a computer or modem. Each gate controller can be programmed so users have defined levels of access by day, time of day, holidays, hierarchy and other means. The controller stores users’ activities and can produce a report for managements review. Management makes changes to users through a computer connected directly to the access control system or remotely by an optional modem. The most common applications are apartment complexes, gated communities, commercial and industrial facilities and single family homes.
The devices listed below will most likely be available in both standalone and programmable systems.
Q. What specific devices are available to control my gate?
Transmitters & Radio Receivers:
Just like your garage door opener, this device may be located on your vehicle’s visor. Simply push the transmitter button and a radio frequency code is sent to the transmitter. If an authorized code, the gate will open. A transmitter will often open a closed gate or stop a closing gate and return it to the full open position.
Standalone transmitters often use a mechanical dip switch technology where you match the dip switch settings on the transmitter to the receiver. Rolling code technology is also available in standalone systems to prevent others from guessing your code through sending hundreds of codes to your receiver in a matter of seconds. Programmable transmitters that integrate with an computerized controller allows you to provide an individual code to each transmitter to track use and manage time zones.
In today’s newer automobiles, you have the option of a built in “Homelink” type system that takes the place of the independent transmitters. These systems will also work with your gate operator as well as your garage door opener.
With the use of a four or three digit code, you can operate your gate remotely from a weather-tight enclosed keypad on a goose neck stand (not included). Available with a lighted background, call button and intercom features.
Standalone keypads are programmed at the keypad and have very limited users and capabilities. Programmable keypads are linked to a controller and your computer. Programmable units are available with an almost unlimited number of users. The individual wanting to enter the gate simply types in a three to six digit code using keypad. Some keypads are equipped with a light that varies from red to green when a code is accepted. If the light remains red, the code is not an authorized code and the gate will remain closed.
Proximity & Card Readers:
Just like swiping your credit card at the grocery store, you can incorporate a card reader to open and close your gate. This unit will be located in a weather tight enclosure and attached to a gooseneck stand (not included). Simply swipe the card through the reader. These units often incorporate red and green lights to advise you if your card is a valued card capable of opening the gate. If valued, the reader will send a message to the gate to open or close.
A more user friendly type device is a proximity reader. The card is not swiped but simply waved in front of the reader. In this event, the card or the reader is less likely to wear and fail to read over time. A proximity reader is less sensitive as you only have to get the card close to the reader. Proximity readers also utilize key fobs which may be attached to a key chain and are about the size of pocket watch. More sophisticated readers provide greater range and flexibility where you can simple place a card up against your front windshield and drive slowly past the reader head, allowing the reader to read the card.
Standalone systems utilize a single card with the same identity. Programmable units allow you to provide a card to each user with its own individual identity thus tracking use of the card and controlling entry via time zones. From your home computer, these systems will also allow you to quickly remove a card’s authority to access the gate.
Telephone Entry Systems:
These systems are wired to an existing phone line or will require a dedicated line. When an individual approaches the gate, they will have the option of entering a code on the touch keypad and entering. If they do not have a code, they may simply press a “CALL” button. Once this button is pressed, a call is placed to the homeowner’s house phone. A call from the telephone entry will have a distinct ring. The homeowner may then pick-up the phone and carry-on a conversation with the individual at the gate. At some point, the home owner may press a button on their phone’s keypad that signals the gate to open.
Standalone systems are typical on residential applications where there is just one phone number to be dialed. With these systems, simply programming may be done at the unit or by phone.
Programmable systems provide users the ability to scroll a tenants’ list, find the tenant’s name and dial their three digit code on the keypad. If the tenant answers their residence phone, they may speak to the individual and provide access by simply touching a button on their phone. These systems come with several options, including: computerized programming via modem, time zones for activating specific keypad codes, full screen for viewing, scheduling automatic gate opening and closing cycles, etc.
Q. What other devices may I need to operate my gate?
Loop Detectors & Loops:
These devices are perfect for detecting vehicle traffic while on top of the loop. Designed to open a closed gate, keep an open gate open or reverse a closing gate to full open; a loop detector will provide both safety and access for vehicles. Wired to the swing or slide gate operator, the detector can be adjusted for sensitivity and frequency. Loops (not included) are installed in the pavement below the vehicle and wired to the detector.
Designed for safety and security, a battery back-up can be installed in the operator to function when the power goes out. The back-up unit will sense the loss of power and respond with closing the gate (fail secure) or open the gate (fail safe). Larger systems will provide repeated but limited operation for opening and closing the gate after a loss of power.
Mount your keypad, card reader, or any other control device on this cantilevered stand, making it easier to approach and operate. The stand mounts to the concrete with the use of anchors (not included) or may be set in a concrete footing.
Three Button Stations:
The most simple means to remotely activate a gate operator, a three button station can be used to open, close or stop the gate. Weather enclosures sold separately, these devices are perfect for manually operating the gate while in view. These devices are available in a two and single button configuration.
Perfect for installation both inside and outside the gated area. Weather tight enclosure available, this device provides those with a key to open and close the gate.
For use on swing and slide gates, these devices can provide up to 1,300 pounds of holding force. Perfect for securing pedestrian gates in cooperation with other access control devices. Designed for outdoors use with various brackets for mounting.
To meet compliance with the UL325 Code, these devices are capable of detecting vehicle and pedestrian traffic, providing safety from injury. With a 30’ range, the cell will detect anything that crosses its path. Available in various voltages, this device is wired to the operator. When its path is broken, the cell will send a message to the operator. Power is necessary at one end of the opening to the detector while a reflector is installed at the other end.
To meet compliance with the UL325 Code, these devices are capable of detecting vehicle and pedestrian traffic, providing safety from injury. With a 75’ range, the infrared detectors will detect anything that crosses their path. Available in various voltages, a device at both end of the opening is wired for power and controls. When its path is broken, the detectors will send a message to the operator.
Seven day timer:
This device can be installed in your gate operator to open and close a gate at a specified time each day of the week. Wired to the operator, you may program the time for the gate to open and then close for a seven day cycle. This device should only be used in conjunction with pedestrian and vehicle safety devices.
How will my gate know when to close?
There are a number of options but the most common is to have the gate automatically close through the use of a timer to close. The timer is adjustable from just a few seconds to over a minute. The timer can be set from the time the gate is opened or from the time the car clears a certain point. These timers are included with the gate operator.
What prevents the gate from closing when something is in the way?
All motorized gates must be installed with safety devices that prevent property damage or injury in the event of an obstruction to the gate. All gate operators supplied by American Fence conform to industry standards regarding safety. In addition for full compliance we will install additional safety measure to help prevent injury or property damage.