Fitting DSC Powerseries in the UK in 2019

Hi everyone, I’m hoping that you can share some advice with me and tell me if my plan is any good. I posted the below on Reddit (in case anyone spots the cross-post), but I expect the responses there to be a bit more smart-home and alternative options, and a bit less openhab-centric. I thought I’d repost it here as this is where there’s the best knowledge of our bindings and compatability. I don’t know if ‘bindings’ is the best place to post, but none of the other categories seemed quite to fit.

In essence I’m looking for validation of my plans to install a new DSC PC1864 alarm system.

I need to fit a burglar alarm to my home, primarily to satisfy my wife following the birth of our first child (I know I know, an alarm isn’t going to keep the baby safe - but this is primarily about placating my wife). It needs to be a robust stand-alone traditional system, therefore something from a proper alarm company - my wife has experience of my previous smarthome endeavours and doesn’t want the alram system to be as temperamental as some other things have been. My wife wants to use the alarm system directly, so keypads are in and phone apps are out (though I may have the likes of HABPanel for my own use). We have no need or desire for 3rd party monitoring. So far as it is possible I want to avoid battery-operated devices, therefore I expect to hardwire everything (wiring already run).

My home automation is currently z-wave based, with openhab at the core, and I don’t intend to change that. I want to keep everything local, which has for a long time been my default philosophy but even moreso since having been burned with the recent announcement from Nest. My intention is to fit a stand-alone system that allows openhab to integrate but will still work if openhab were to become unavailable for whatever reason. The DSC binding for openhab seems to be feature-complete, but only works with the DSC Powerseries panels, i.e. not the Powerseries Neo which looks to be the newer line from DSC. I understand that the Powerseries Neo is very proprietary and not open to integration.

The Powerseries (I have in mind the PC1864 due to the cost similarity between that and lower models) seems to be an older line (though I notice that version 4.7 was released in 2017, so it’s still maintained). Programming will be a bit cryptic but I’ve spent months poring over the manuals so I think I should be fine. I’m inches from pulling the trigger after a couple of years of planning, but I’m beginning to question whether I’m doing the right thing. Is this product line approaching end of life? Am I pissing a lot of money up the wall? DSC isn’t a well-known brand in the UK, so the parts (main board, keypad, siren, battery, motion sensors, Envisalink4) are mostly imported and total £660 ($860). Is that a reasonable amount to pay for this alarm system, or for any alarm system nowadays? I know I can get cheaper if I take out a maintenance contract but I absolutely do not want that, it must be local. I see Yale wireless systems for just a few hundred quid but I’m wary of any proprietary ecosystem; I’ve dismissed these systems out of hand, perhaps wrongly, but I really don’t want wireless. I definitely do not want a system that can only be accessed by its own app; it must be ‘open’, within limits, such that it can interface with my home automation system (openhab and/or mqtt).

I intend to self-install and self-configure the system. I have on the wall a security box ready for the main panel to be fitted. All the alarm wiring is run (8-core for sensor, power, tamper, and spare), as well as CAT6 for the Envisalink.

I’ve gone to a lot of effort to prepare the environment for the DSC system and I think it’s what I want but I just need some validation that I’m not wasting (a lot of) money on DSC when there may better options available.

Are there any systems that better fit my needs? Wired, interfacable, stand-alone, unmonitored, local.

1 Like

You might consider sourcing a secondhand version of the model “you really want” from eBay etc.
Professional alarm systems are robust bits of kit, I’d have no concerns about reliability; new battery and new wired sensors covers the stuff that ages.