So What Are Entrance Alerts Anyway?
Entrance alerts may be known by a variety of names like entry alarms, entry chimes, and even exit alerts. Loosely speaking, an entrance alarm is anything that alerts you when someone, or something, enters or exits through a monitored zone. A quick example of one that’s been around for hundreds of years is the shop keepers bell that hangs over a shop’s entrance door. When someone opens the door, a gentle bell sound is generated.
You could think that a doorbell might be an entry alarm, but a doorbell works when a visitor actually pushes the push button, while an entry alarm happens without the user having to push anything.
Common Uses of Entry Alarms
Customer Service Benefits
Most convenience stores, for example, have some sort of product that alerts the clerk when someone enters their store. A good alert allows them to work in the store and not have to sit and watch the door. When someone enters, they can stop what they are doing and serve the customers.
We have a large number of convenience store owners who have an entrance alert chime on the front of their store with a speaker in the beer cooler. This allows them to stock and organize the cooler and still receive a notification when someone comes in.
We also have several large retailers who use our products in a mall. Since there’s no real door, many of these shops use passive infrared beams that span the entire entrance. When a new customer enters the store, a gentle chime sound signals the clerks of the new entry.
At our company, we need to be notified when a delivery truck approaches the back loading door. Prior to installing a notification system, drivers would pull up, beat on the back door, then immediately leave when no one came to the loading dock door. Now, we use a DA50L-A Entry Alert to let us know when a delivery truck approaches.
Security Reason to Use Alerts
The examples above tend to gravitate toward using these products for customer service. Most would agree, there’s a reason more important than customer service—security. With the rise of workplace violence and terrorism, ensuring you and your employees are safe is of utmost importance.
The other day, I took my truck into a service station for an oil change. It was around lunchtime and there was a clerk at the front desk and two mechanics in the shop servicing cars. The thing that struck me was the fact there were four bay doors open and no one watching them. A simple passive infrared sensor over each of the bay doors would alert the mechanics when someone was entering the work area.
You might also have areas you don’t want unauthorized visitors entering. A simple entrance alert chime would send an instant alert to store clerks if a customer walks in unauthorized areas.
Safety Applications of Entrance Chimes
Most states require some sort of alarming devices for doors that lead out to a pool. Although requirements may be different in your state, many of the products on 1800doorbell fit these requirements.
An easy-to-install door/window contact sensor will alert parents or babysitters when a child opens an exterior door that leads to a pool or spa. You can also install these same sensors (depending on model) on fence gates to alert you when a child opens a gate door. Some of the products have gentle chime sounds while others have blaring alarm sounds that are ear piercing. Additionally, it is possible to easily change the sound of an entrance alert. Whichever you choose, anything you can use to increase your child’s safety is recommended.
As our parents and other loved ones age, diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s become real issues we need to deal with. Do-it-yourself alerting products are cost-effective ways for us to know where our loved ones are. Whether it’s a nursing station or a chime receiver in our home, receiving a notification that a door or window has opened may be the difference between life or death.
Types of Entry Alarm Sensors
There are two basic types of sensors to think about:
- Contact-based sensors
- Motion-based sensors
Contact based sensors work when a door or window is opened. These sensors usually consist of two pieces; a magnetic part and a metallic part. One piece is usually mounted on the door frame while the other piece is mounted on the door itself. When the door (or window) is opened and the two pieces separate, the sensor is activated. Depending on the specific model, this will trigger an alarm on the sensor itself or the sensor will transmit a wireless signal to a receiver.
These types of sensors work best on doors or windows that normally stay closed. If you have a hallway, open space or door that typically stays open, we recommend a motion sensor.
Pros and Cons of Contact Based Sensors:
- Less prone to false alarms – only trigger when door or window is opened.
- Smaller profile allows you to specify the monitored area.
- Sensors are also transmitting a signal and a metal door or window frame may interfere.
- Doesn’t work on doors or windows that typically stay open.
Motion based sensors work when movement, or a combination of heat and movement are detected. When a combination of these variations occur, the sensor is triggered. Some models, like the SL-40, will sound an alarm or chime sound at the sensor itself, while models like the RC3260 by Carlon will transmit a signal to a receiver.
Pros and Cons of Motions Based Sensors:
- Can be used on doors and windows that normally stay open.
- Can be used for hallways and large, open areas.
- Reliable in commercial applications and at long distances.
- Occasional false alarms.
Entry Alert Kits or Stand Alone Models
Virtually all of the products we sell in this category are true do-it-yourself products. This means you do not have to hire a licensed contractor to install the products for you. Don’t let this ease of installation or low-cost mislead you. These products are highly effective and do the job.
We mentioned above that the sensor will trigger based on the contact separation or detected movement, but how is the alarm sounded? Some models are stand-alone units, meaning the alarm/speaker is co-located with the sensor itself. When movement is detected, the sensor itself will generate and emit a chime or alarm sound.
A great example of this is the SL-40 by Rodann. This particular product uses the same PIR sensor as the DA-50L-A. Unlike the DA50-L, the actual chime sound emits from the actual sensor. Most users would mount this small, light-weight sensor over a doorway and when movement is detected, it emits a ding-dong chime sound. The DA50L-A uses a very similar type of sensor, however, unlike the SL-40, sound does not generate from this unit. It does, however, send a wireless signal to a plug-in receiver, up to 1,000 ft. away. This allows users to be a distance away from the monitored zone and also receive a notification when triggered.
Most kits that feature a sensor/transmitter and a receiver are expandable, meaning you may add more transmitters/sensor and receivers. Some feature plug-in receivers while other have battery operated receivers, but they concept is basically the same.
Users also need to consider distance. How far will users be from the actual sensors? If they will be at the sensor, or maybe up to a hundred feet away, a self-contained sensor/alarm may be perfect. However, if users are going to roam around a warehouse, or if an office isn’t very close to the monitored zone, a user may need to think about kits with a separate transmitter and receiver.
Some kits have a range of up to 150 ft., while others like the MURS-BS-KIT will travel up to several miles. The maximum range of these systems isn’t just about the total foot distance of range—other environmental factors will also play a role.
Most commercial buildings have concrete, steel and other building materials residential buildings may not have. These factors will play a role in the transmission distance, so even if the range from the front door to your office is only 100 ft., (well within the range of the Carlon RC3260, for example), the metal in the walls would cut down on the actual transmitted range. Therefore, we would recommend something with a range like the DA50L-A or the DCMA-2500, with ranges of 1,000 ft. and 2,500 ft., respectively.
Top Three Entry Alarms:
DC1, EZ Tone: As one of the few world-wide distributors of this product, 1800Doorbell is proud to offer it to our customers. For smaller areas (1,000-1,500 sq.ft.), the DC1 has been a customer favorite for decades. It is purely mechanical, requires no batteries and installs directly on the door frame. This is a contact based alert that emits a gentle tone. When a visitor enters the store or office, the small plunger strikes a metal plate inside the box and generates a tone. It’s not very loud, but it’s perfect for many retail locations. It retails for $26.98.
DA50L-A:This is a long-range wireless entrance alert. As seen in the image above, this kit ships with one PIR based sensor that transmits a wireless signal up to 1,000 ft. to the plug-in receiver. Users may expand this product by adding sensors and receivers based on their needs. This is our best selling product, and is recommended for most commercial applications due to the reliability and transmission range. The retail cost for this product is $119.98.
LH-4000: This is a contact based, wireless entry alarm. With a range of up to 5,000+ ft., this product works great in warehouses and larger commercial applications. The sensor in this kit is a universal transmitter that may be used as a door/window contact or as a wireless push button. Similar to the DA50L-A, users may expand this product by adding on more receivers and transmitters. This product retails for $89.98