Protector Plus Home & Family Security System
List Price: $81.99

Our Price: $81.99

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Customer Reviews:
  • X10 Security System is OK . . . to a point
    X10 Security System Review

    The reason I decided to check out X10's offering in security systems is because I had had some previous experience with their products. A house we had purchased was set up with lot of X10 remote control units and I was impressed with the quality of the components. So I got on the Internet, typed in X10 and was surprised with what I found.

    My first reaction to the X10 Web site was that I didn't want to have anything to do with a company that would represent themselves with such a sleazy-looking production. But again based on my experience with the X10 components I had seen and experimented with, I forged through the cyber-wasteland of salacious diatribe and ordered their $200 "X10 Powerhouse Supervised Security System."

    I live in Hawaii and was amazed that the neatly packed box with all the correct parts arrived at my door three days after I had placed the order online. I immediately unpacked the many components (much to my wife's dismay, they covered our dining room table) and proceeded to read the instructions.

    The misrepresentations on the Web site included this statement. "We guarantee that anyone can install this entire system in 30 minutes or we'll refund your money." Or words to that effect. The "30 minute install" was mentioned several times.

    I'm a mechanical engineer, have designed and built entire wilderness-home electrical systems (including security systems), even published a book on the subject, and would modestly consider myself as above-average in capability when it comes to something like installing this system. Well, after I spent the first half hour reading the directions, I proceeded to familiarize myself with all of the individual components. Then I started installing it all.

    Nowhere in the instructions did it say to install all of the components before configuring them to the base unit. So I configured all of the components first, comfortably sitting at the table. Well, to install most of them, you need to remove the batteries (many batteries, not supplied) and when you do, you get to start all over with the configuration, this time carrying the base unit with you throughout the house to each installed component.

    I got everything up and running in about an hour, and that's when the fun began. One of the motion sensors was misbehaving, so I took it down and replaced the batteries, thinking I may have installed a bad one (not likely, as they were all new). No change. So I tried another motion sensor and it worked. But when I configured it to the base unit, it assigned another random code and left the old location on the base unit abandoned. Now the base unit was reporting a "problem" with the motion sensor that was no longer there.

    This kind of issue is addressed in the "knowledge base" on their Web site, but not in the supplied instructions. And the fix for this and many other issues is that you must unplug the base unit and remove its backup battery, which will erase all of its programming. Once you do that, you then need to again walk throughout your installation and re-configure each and every motion sensor, door switch, window switch and any other devices you installed. In addition, you will need to reprogram the phone numbers you assigned to the base unit, and your message. In our home, that process takes about half an hour if you don't miss a step.

    OK, so does the system work once you've installed everything and worked out all the bugs? Yes, to a point. We installed five of X10's PowerHorns in our home. According to their misleading claims, these things will be heard all over the neighborhood. Our five can barely be heard in our yard, and certainly not from the neighbors' house unless they are intently listening for the sound. Even in our living area, where there are three PowerHorns neatly hidden here and there, the sound is, at best, annoying. If I was a burglar, I'd just find the things and unplug them and continue on my mission. Oh yeah, that's right. These things are bright white and very conspicuous and need only to be unplugged and they are out of commission.

    There is no way to use a "real" siren or horn with this system, either. I asked their mostly useless "tech support" people about this several times and again ended up finding the answer buried in their online "Knowledge Base."

    Another issue is that the whole system depends on house current, so any burglar with half a brain will simply go first to your electric panel and shut it off. In some areas of the country, main house disconnects are not that easily accessible. Here in Hawaii, they must be installed right out there with the electric meter and are accessible to anyone. Our attempt at getting around this flaw is a motion sensor that protects the disconnect switch, but even with this in place, an intruder could still pull the switch because the dumb "PowerHorns" don't start their beeping noise for several seconds after the alarm trips. Enough time that a quick intruder could shut off the switch which then shuts off the base unit and renders the whole system useless.

    The bottom line: The components are well made, the company ships orders quickly, tech support is as you would expect: mediocre, the system does work but requires tweaking and troubleshooting and is a lot of hassle if you have to reconfigure everything (which you will at some point), and the alarm horns are anemic. The fact that the whole thing is dead when the house power is shut off is a big deal.

    We will continue to use it, but only with the hopes that the noise will discourage an intruder from hanging around. We will also add some more PowerHorns to the system, so it will at least be a bit more difficult for an intruder to find them all.

    By the way, the system is cheaper when you order all the individual components off of the many eBay suppliers. I ordered mine from the company because I had hoped I would get some general instructions covering using the components as a system, rather than just the instructions with each individual component. But what the company ships is exactly what you would get from an eBay supplier. No more and no less. I ordered my extra motions sensors and PowerHorns from eBay at about half the price charged by X10.

    Would I use X10 for my next home security system? No. I would look first for a system that allowed the use of a conventional security siren/horn. It would have been very easy for the X10 folks to manufacture a module that would allow plugging in a conventional outdoor siren/horn and having it tripped by the system. They chose to limit their system to the anemic toy-like "PowerHorns."
    ...more info
  • Motion's a no motion planet.
    I just received my X-10 home security system however I'm not at all impressed by those motion sensors. They are just horrible. I can dance with my arms up and down and the motion sensor never turn on. They other one sometimes senses motion and many other times I can walk right by it and no motion sensing. I hate those sensors. How is that suppose to procted my house.

    I set the alarm and walked past the motion sensors over and over and over and only after 2 minutes is when it sensed movement. Horrible product. ...more info