Getting Started - Placing Sensors and Motion Detectors

Ring Alarm "devices" are the things you'll use to set up your Ring of Security around your home. They come in four different types: 

  • Contact Sensor: Contact sensors are two-part devices connected by a strong magnetic field. They are placed on doors or windows. When the alarm system is armed, they will trigger an alarm as soon as their magnetic contact is broken by the door or window opening. 
  • Motion Detector: A motion detector is a device that uses Passive Infrared scanning (PIR) to detect unauthorized motion to set off the alarm. 
  • Keypad: Your keypad is used to arm and disarm the system and place it into various "security modes."
  • Range Extender: As its name would imply, the range extender is used to extend the range of the Z-Wave network that the Ring Alarm Base Station uses to communicate with its connected devices. 

Setting up your devices is as easy as turning them on. For the contact sensor and motion detector pull out the tab on the back. For the keypad, plug the power cable into the bottom of the keypad and for the Range Extender, simply plug it into a wall outlet. Your Base Station will automatically find and add your devices. 

Placing Contact Sensors

 

 

When you're placing your sensors, you need to think like a burglar. What are the easiest places to get in the house?

  • Front Door: It seems like a no-brainer. Surely everyone plans to put a sensor on their front door, right? Well, it's even more important than you think. Lots of break-ins occur through the front door. That makes the front door and the area just behind it the most important areas of your house to secure with Ring Alarm. 
  • Side and Rear Doors: While not as common an entry point as the front door, side and rear doors have the virtue (for the burglar) of providing cover as they attempt to break into your home. In addition, rear doors often have less secure locks, making them more vulnerable to break-ins.   
  • First Floor Windows: First-floor windows are the second most common points of entry for burglars and they jump to number one during the hot summer months. It's a lot easier to forget you've left a window open than it is to leave a door open. That simply invites a burglar inside. Make sure your lower floor windows are closed and locked and armed with Ring Alarm.
  • Second Floor Windows: The good news about upper floor windows is that they're rarely used by burglars as a point of entry simply because someone entering a home via a second-story window is the kind of suspicious activity that most neighbors will call the police about. That being said, don't make it easy for burglars by keeping these windows closed, locked, and armed as well, especially if a window is hidden from the street by something like a tall tree. 
Placing Motion Detectors

 

 

The placement of Motion Detectors is as important as the placement of your Contact Sensors. A good rule-of-thumb is to walk through your home and place motion detectors in high-traffic areas. These are the areas where a potential burglar would most likely walk through on his way to steal your valuables. What follows are some more Do's and Don'ts concerning Motion Detector placement. 

  • Do place your Motion Sensor in a corner: From this position the sensor can cover the entire room, it's more likely to notice the side-to-side motion that it's better at detecting, and it's less likely to itself be noticed. 
  • Don't place a motion sensor where it can be caught by direct sunlight: That means you'll need to avoid placing the sensor in a position where sunlight from windows might confuse the sensor. Such a placement also means an intruder would walk directly toward the sensor, which the sensor is not as good at detecting.
  • Do cover the Master bedroom: This tends to be the first target of burglars who are looking for jewelry, money, or other valuables. 
  • Don't place the motion sensor near heat sources: Hot air vents, kerosene heaters, radiators or other portable heat sources can suddenly change the temperature of a room, setting off the alarm.  
  • Do protect your valuables: If you have larger valuable goods like TVs or other large consumer electronics, consider placing a motion sensor behind them. When they're moved by burglars, the motion sensor will detect this and set off the alarm.
  • Don't forget the second floor: Most burglars enter houses through the front door or other places on the first floor. Despite that, never underestimate the burglar who tries to avoid the first-floor alarm by coming in through an upper-floor window. Alarm the second floor.
  • Do cover your basement: A burglar will try any way they can find to enter your home, so don't neglect your basement. A good placement in a basement is covering the staircase up to the main floor. Be sure to place the motion sensor properly so it covers the entire staircase. 
  • Don't skimp on the motion sensors: There's nothing more valuable than the security of your home, so try and cover as much of it as possible with motion sensors. The fewer holes you leave for a thief to slip through, the more secure your home will be.
Placing Your Keypad

 

 

Your Ring Alarm keypad is one of the most important components of your Ring Alarm system. It represents one of the primary interactivity points of the system and the best way to arm and disarm the system quickly and send a distress call if needed. As such, its placement requires some thought. In fact, there are two schools of thought regarding the placement of the keypad. Which one you choose is up to you. 

  • Most used entry/exit point: Most people subscribe to the theory that the keypad should be placed near the most used entry/exit point in the house. Whether this is the front door or the door between the garage and the house or some other location, placing the Keypad here allows quick access for arming and disarming when entering/leaving the house and provides equal access to the system for everyone in the house.
  • Master Bedroom: While this placement is not used as often, having access to the alarm controls via the Ring app makes this a much more viable option since you can activate and deactivate the alarm from outside the house through the app. The rationale for placing the keypad in the master bedroom is to provide quick access to the keypad in case of a false alarm (in which case the system can be turned off quickly) or a real emergency in which case a panic call can be sent out with minimal delay. 
Placing Your Range Extender

 

 

Your Base Station communicates with your sensors and other devices using a technology called Z-Wave. Placing your Range Extender is therefore dependent on where you place your Base Station. Ideally, your Base Station should be as close as possible to the center point of all your devices. If this is not possible though, try and place your Range Extender halfway between your Base Station and the location of the device that's the farthest from the Base Station.

 
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