Proeye Communications & Security Systems White Paper - Solar  Powered Alarms
© Proeye Communications & Security Systems 2017
Author: Paul Di Berardino May 2011  Solar Powered - Security/ Burglar Alarms Why apply solar power to an alarm system? Over the years we have experienced ongoing issues with alarms systems, requiring additional maintenance services, including system reprogramming, as a result of backup battery failure, caused by mains power removal or loss. From experience, burglar alarm systems in rental properties require the most attention, because the mains power supplying the premise is disconnected whilst tenants are vacating. Alarm system faults arise when the backup battery power is exhausted, which can be any-time from 4 to 48 hours, depending on the alarm system and battery quality or age.  Battery failure caused during mains power loss, can cause alarm systems to malfunction, or its programmed settings may be corrupted, requiring a technician to service the system, or at worst case replace the system. A discharged lead acid based alarm battery can become permanently damaged, which adds to the cost and time in sourcing an suitable battery.  Generally when tenants vacate a rental property, a suitably qualified person should visit the premise, during the time the mains power is disconnected, to disconnect the alarm system and backup battery, then return again to restore power to the alarm system and its backup battery when the mains power is restored. This two step process is not only time consuming but adds additional cost to maintenance. Another issue of concern that may not be addressed is the home is vulnerable while a security system is disabled, and subjecting the premise to an increasing risk of undetected theft or tress-pass. The introduction of solar power to alarm systems may not be a new idea, but it has not been largely implemented or promoted by manufacturers or installers for residential and commercial grade burglar alarm systems. The cost of solar panels and poor energy efficiencies in alarm design were innovative blockers in alarm developments taking to solar power.  More recently solar power technology developments and awareness, including some improvements in alarm energy efficiency, allow solar power to be applied as part of the security and energy solution for alarm systems. Thus solar powered alarms will continue to operate, continue to provide security detection in the absence of mains power, and continue to sound alerts, especially when premises are at their most vulnerable periods. Solar powering alarms systems become more attractive to rental properties, holiday homes, caravans, cabins, farm houses, and remote storage facilities, as they are able to source energy from the sun in the absence of mains power. Solar power is increasingly becoming more popular, because people are increasingly becoming environmentally aware, and governments are educating its citizens and industry to do more to improve energy efficiency in products, reduce green house gases produced as a by product from energy derived from fossil fuels, and wherever feasible or possible utilise renewable energy resources. At Proeye we integrate solar energy technology with alarm systems, to provide additional security, reliability, and where practical independent operation from the mains power grid, for  convenience and piece of mind. Solar power is economically viable, and there is a wide range of solar power solutions and products available. For the purpose in providing an informational background, we identified two types of solar powered systems that can be applied to burglar alarms. These are the Solar Backed Alarm and the Complete Solar Powered Alarm. Tech Background In designing solar power solutions for alarm systems we found that passive infra-red detectors connected to an alarm system would consume up to 1 watt ( approximately 0.5 watt energy is consumed from the detector and another 0.5 watt residual power is consumed from the regulating power supply), depending on the type of detector and alarm system. Generally the alarm panel itself was found to consume up to 10 watts of energy depending on the type of alarm panel. Therefore an alarm system with typically 5 detectors would consume approximately 15 watts of energy. By using a complete solar powered solution, the residual power can be reduced because the typical alarm power supply provides 17-18 volts AC voltage which results in approximately 25 volts DC. Nearly half the power is dissipated in the alarm power supply circuit to drop the voltage to a usable 13.8VDC level for all the detectors and keypads to operate from. The drop is about 11.2V. Therefore for every amp of current drawn by the alarm, 11.2 Watts of energy is wasted. You may find the regulator circuit in an alarm system gets quite warm to hot, and has a heat sink attached to it, which is evidence of the energy it has to dissipate in order to deliver power to the alarm and its peripherals at a lower working voltage. Solar power is a DC source derived by the photovoltaic cell technology. When the solar power system is connected to the alarm system, lower DC input voltages can be delivered to the alarm and therefore the alarm regulator circuit does not have to dissipate as much energy to lower the voltage to 13.8VDC. For example, 17VDC from a solar power system will be regulated down to 13.8VDC, would create a voltage of 3.2 V across its regulator circuit. Therefore if the system were to draw 1 ampere of current, only 3.2 Watts of energy is dissipated across the regulator circuit. Overall the regulator circuit will operate at much cooler temperatures, and overall efficiency improves.  What is a Solar Power Backed Alarm? Solar Power Backed Security Alarms systems rely on the mains power grid to function long term, because the solar power system applied is scaled as a short term backup source. The solar panel and associated regulator circuit is scaled to provide backup power in situations where the mains power is generally maintained and removed for a short time ranging from a couple of days to a couple of months. The benefit of a solar powered backed security alarm systems provides the owner increased security and reliability of the alarm system to continue to operate correctly during times the mains power is removed. For example, in a rental premise where the vacating tenants order for the power to be disconnected or where blackouts maybe regular and last for long periods. The system may also power alarm systems installed to new homes at lock-up stage which do not have mains power installed, or are relying on temporary power.   What is a complete Solar Powered Alarm? A complete Solar Powered Alarm solely relies on solar power for operation. The cost of a complete solar powered system is comparative to a wired alarm system where there may a few hundred dollars difference, depending on the selected alarm system and type of installation. Complete solar powered alarms are beneficial to holiday homes, un-occupied buildings, and facilities in remote areas where mains power may not be available for long periods or at all. Some people prefer to use complete solar alarms to conserve energy or reduce their energy demand from the grid. Other alarm enhancements! At Proeye we also provide the option of selecting night light PIR's with some of the NESS range security alarm systems at no extra cost. By taking advantage of our night light PIR's  installed with our solar alarm solutions provides you with an alarm system that is efficient, and more secure than the traditional mains powered security alarm systems. Can I upgrade my alarm to a solar powered alarm? We can upgrade your alarm system to a solar powered backed alarm system or total independent solar powered system. For more information feel free to contact us
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