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Old 10-29-2012, 06:39 AM
 
197 posts, read 315,935 times
Reputation: 155

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Hi, I was hoping for some opinions. I have a home with a few apartments that currently has a doorbell/buzzer setup, meaning someone at the front rings the bell and inside the apartment there is a button to buzz the person in.

I wanted to replace it with an intercom, so that tenants can screen anyone before buzzing them in. Will the existing wiring work with this configuration? Should i have any concerns that the wiring is old, or is wiring, just wiring? thanks all
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Old 10-29-2012, 07:29 AM
 
26,636 posts, read 58,637,044 times
Reputation: 15738
Low voltage wiring for "master buzzer" systems are often 24V. Many modern systems can re-use the existing wiring as long as you have access to swap out the transformer for a more modern standard. Some include video for essentially no charge. This is far from "HD quality" and is really more like the kid of video you see for monitoring gas stations and such. Costs range from just a few hundred buck for a simple systems to tens of thousands for something that could service a high-rise -- Door Buzzer Systems. Doorbell Buzzers. Wired and Wireless.
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Old 10-29-2012, 07:37 AM
 
197 posts, read 315,935 times
Reputation: 155
Thanks, one vendor I had come look at doing the job was saying I should replace the wiring because what i currently have is "cotton wrapped" or some term like that. He said because what i have now is an analog system it might be working ok, but once i go to an intercom which is digital, the wiring might not work so well. Any thought on that?
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Old 10-29-2012, 10:22 AM
 
4,764 posts, read 8,004,823 times
Reputation: 7620
Quote:
Originally Posted by DitmarsNY View Post
Thanks, one vendor I had come look at doing the job was saying I should replace the wiring because what i currently have is "cotton wrapped" or some term like that. He said because what i have now is an analog system it might be working ok, but once i go to an intercom which is digital, the wiring might not work so well. Any thought on that?
That is correct. Wiring for a simple buzzer will not work for "digital" applications. This gets to be quite complex (Einstein stuff), but other wiring in the building and cell phone / radio / TV like transmissions in the area can cause "disturbance" in the old wiring. The wire used for computer networks and "digital" communication is designed to limit or keep out this interference.

Also if you are replacing the wiring, you may want the option of installing a video camera at the entrance. That can require separate "coax" wiring in some cases or can use "digital" wiring, but may require a separate wire.

You could make it so each apartment could see the camera. Or just the manager see the camera. Or the manager have a recording device which keeps a 2 week or 1 month record of everybody entering /leaving. Or all of the above.

And these cameras can be viewed on a regular TV screen or a computer monitor depending on the design of the system. It could even be a "web site" set up on the manager's computer.

Newer options allow access and control via a cell phone - bluetooth, etc.

All sorts of options these days.
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Old 10-29-2012, 10:28 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
14,750 posts, read 43,529,410 times
Reputation: 20982
Voice only is not very secure. One robber announces himself while a dozen wait in the background. You might want to get something like a wireless baby monitor and have each tenant have a receiver/monitor. X-10 also has wireless cams that connect to a composite jack television.
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Old 10-29-2012, 10:37 AM
 
26,636 posts, read 58,637,044 times
Reputation: 15738
The vendor is a lying cheat and the above poster is only partially correct that "digital" needs higher quality wiring than "analog". So long as their is no interference on the wire from shared digital signals (pretty unlikey...) there are solutions that allow the existing wiring to be used. Many of the best solutions for RETROFITTING rely on the fact that there is just "a twisted pair" of wires embedded somewhere that links the door panel(s) to the apartments. Digital signals can be MULTIPLEXED so that the "smarts" are in the individual units an the proper info zips to the panels where the signals to unlock the door are stepped up by Analog to Digital converters and relays.

A typical ethernet cable us made of VERY thin wire and the insulation is inconsequential because there is negligible voltage -- you can think of it is a merely a "pathway". http://www.automationworld.com/indus...and-connectors
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Old 10-29-2012, 11:21 AM
 
4,764 posts, read 8,004,823 times
Reputation: 7620
All about this wiring (the Einstein stuff)...

Electromagnetic interference - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Twisted pair - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Category 5 cable - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Shielded cable - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Faraday cage - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 10-29-2012, 11:24 AM
 
4,764 posts, read 8,004,823 times
Reputation: 7620
Here is about people's car remotes not working due to electrical "noise" in the air (it is everywhere)...
Keyless Remotes To Cars in Waldorf Suddenly Useless (washingtonpost.com)
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