It’s past time to go home


Things that have gone untended this past month at home are starting to need attention. 

Most recent is the Alarm System.

Don’t get me wrong, I can handle a ton of this stuff over the phone. Which is what I’m doing now, albeit I’m in a hold queue.

Something has apparently gone wrong with the cellular radio in the control panel. First it was just a minor inconvenience. Our ability to remotely arm & disarm the system wasn’t working. No big deal, the other half just armed and disarmed with the panel code. 


I called ADT and after speaking to a little lady who had no idea what she was talking about when she told me that the device in my house was connected to the internet via my router…

It isn’t, for that to happen ADT would have to know my network password. When  confronted with that bit of information, she claimed that ADT had installed their own router in my house. Again, incorrect since the only hardline internet coming into my house is under my control. Therefore an ADT installed router wouldn’t do them any good since it again wouldn’t be connected to the internet. 

When I pointed out that the panel wasn’t even connected to my telephone line, she transferred me to the next tech in their hierarchy who did actually know something about the system.

He tried to reset the alarm system remotely but the system refused all commands. 


The tech suggested that we unplug the adapter, and then pull the backup batteries out of the machine to reset it.

Had I been home I’d have done that but I didn’t want the other half attempting this maneuver due to inexperience with very compact circuits in a confined enclosure. 

It was at some point in this exercise that we discovered the transformer that runs the panel is screwed into the outlet with a square bit screw.

No, it couldn’t be phillips, flathead, hex or torx it had to be the ONE screw head type I don’t have a driver for. My cunning plan was to unplug the unit from the wall and then let the batteries die over the course of 24 hours. It was my hope that at that point we could plug the adapter back in and effectively reset the device. 

My cunning plan was thwarted by a damn screwhead.

This led to setting up an appointment for Thursday to have a repair person come to take a look at the machine.

Then at 3 am on Saturday, the other shoe dropped. In this case the “shoe” was the last leg of the radio communications gave up the ghost.

No big deal you’d think… 

Yeah, except that the panel started beeping constantly reporting that the long range radio failed. It did this intermittently until the other half who’d not been able to get any sleep called me and asked me to make it all stop!

I get back on the phone to ADT and ask the little lady who answers the phone how to make the panel shut up. “Enter the code and press off,” she says.

“We’ve done that and have been doing that since 3 am, every 30 minutes the alert starts beeping again. Can we shut it up permanently?”

“I don’t know how to do that sir,” she said.

I’m thinking “you’ve got to be kidding me!” 

This is the first time one of these systems has failed? REALLY? The ADT people don’t know how to control it? Worse is that the other half consulted the manual seeking answers. Much as Homer Simpson concluded about the bible there were no answers to be found in the alarm system manual even with an index!

The other half managed to shut the alerts off, by accident! It was simple but the ADT people didn’t seem to know how.

Since we had a hard failure, I asked to get someone out to repair the system right now!

Nope! no can do…

I called ADT again this morning and asked for a supervisor, this is insane.

I asked the supervisor the following questions and got little in the way of reasonable answers.

1) Why was there no call when you completely lost communication with our system? It seems that should have raised some eyebrows somewhere in a monitoring facility.

2) A hard failure trumps installs and/or minor repairs, why are we still looking at a Thursday, earliest repair visit?

3) What were the ADT people thinking, effectively asking unskilled labor to open a control panel and start fiddling with it’s connections? Not to mention that the installer had made it impossible to unplug the transformer if we needed to.

If that’s what’s required then clearly a tech should have been rolling to the house right at that moment.

(We now own a nice shiny set of square drivers, but at this point I want to leave the system in failure mode so they can actually fix something!)

4) Clearly the folks on the phones at ADT have no idea what their machines do or are capable of. Those first line phone people need a lot more training.

5) Why am I paying for 24/7 monitoring?

None of these questions or statements were answered or challenged. 


We will be chatting with the insurance agent, after all they give us a discount on our policy for having a monitored security system.

I wonder how they’d react to learning that the monitoring may not be 24/7 as advertised?

All this has led me to wonder if there’s another vendor of alarm services that might be better.

For example…