Controller or Alarm Panel?

So my home was pre-wired for sensors, I have Cat 3 going to each door jamb and in the corners of 1st floor rooms for motion detectors and right now i’m not using this at all…

I was just going to buy a few Zwave motion sensors, then started thinking; Maybe I should just buy a new alarm / controller, and utilized the hard wiring that i’ve got, and it will probably cost LESS than a group of zwave sensors.

Unfortunately I’m contracted with my alarm system using a GE Simon XT (with zwave). and I say unfortunately because the panel and all its wireless sensors i’ve invested in cannot be controlled or implemented into Vera (correct me if i’m wrong).

With that being said, I believe I need to buy another alarm panel and I have no plans to have this “extra” system monitored, what would be the best option for me? I see a few different alarm panels being discussed, and I have a whole gang of cables going to 1 location for all these potential sensors and would love to drop a controller or something that Vera interfaces nicely with, and install all the sensors I need for a fraction of the cost of wireless.

What should I get?

I appreciate your input / advice.


What are you wanting to do with the Motion sensors via Vera that you cannot do with the Simon XT? (I understand that the GE Motion sensors cannot report their status back to Vera) That is, are you wanting motion sensing to trigger Scenes in Vera like an occupancy setting?

Personally, I am interested in the alarm panel actually being the alarm panel and being monitored by a third party. (I’m out of town a lot on business.)

I want to use motion sensors and door sensors that are pre-wired. No monitoring. Just a simple piece of hardware that will report the status of the wired sensors to my Vera.

Some of this Panel selection is going to boil down to personal preference, availability in your area, etc, etc.

Most of the existing Panels are in some stage of Development, with more than a few quite advanced. They’re all listed on, but we don’t have a nice pros-n-cons page for them.

Here’s a few of the more commonly use and/or most advanced/stabilized codebases (from

[ul][li]Most actively Developed, newest UI Features (etc) - GE Caddx (Developer is @futzle, installed into her house)[/li]
[li]Most readily Available in the US - DSC (Developers are @strangely and me, installed into @strangely’s house)[/li]
[li]Developed by MCV and Team - Ademco AD2USB (Developer is @mcvflorin)[/li]
[li]Oldest, but probably hard to source - Paradox (me, in my house)[/li][/ul]

Although, by writing the above, I’m probably going to create a flame war, since there are quite a few more listed over at and folks haven’t yet updated the main catalog… :wink:

I have a Paradox in my house, and find it great. It’s hard to source these, so if I were going again, I’d probably get a DSC, a GE model or potentially the Ademco (in that order). I would look more for the features I’m specially after in order to help me make that decision (like full Alpha-numeric Displays, or availability of Touch controls for high WAF).

You’ve also mentioned in another thread that you’re considering HomeSeer as an alternative, so you’ll want to find the Panel that’s supported by all possible “controllers” you’re considering… should you decide to switch down the road.

PS: I would also get a panel, esp if you have the wiring, since it’s just SO much more reliable than Battery-based Z-Wave sensors… after all, it “costs” to send someone out when an Alarm gives off a false-alarm, so these things are often engineered to higher standards (and they’re cheaper if you’re doing a ton of sensors)