The keypad is the control center for your alarm system. There are different styles with different bells and whistles. The numeric keypad has LED's, or an LCD screen that displays a number to indicate messages to the user. The alphanumeric keypad has an LCD screen that displays words or sentences to the user. Then there are the newer touch screen keypads that look similar to a smart phone, displaying icons, sentences and some will even give the user voice prompts. The vast majority of the keypads being installed today are either numeric or alphanumeric. On the DSC panels, these keypads work identically but the alphanumeric keypad is somewhat easier to understand and of course a little more expensive.

For example, on either keypad a red light will indicate a memory condition after an alarm. If you press *3, the keypad will indicate which zone caused the alarm to be tripped. After pressing *3 on the numeric keypad it will show you a number, 6 for instance. Next you look at the label inside the lid of the keypad and see that zone 6 is your back door. On the alphanumeric keypad you press *3 and the display will read "Back Door".

Another advantage of the alphanumeric keypad is evident if you have a lot of zones on your system. With the numeric keypad, the list written inside the lid can get quiet long but with the alphanumeric keypad it simply presents the information to you on the screen.

If you are considering home automation then you may need to spring for the even more expensive touch screen keypad. From this keypad you can not only set your alarm, you can turn on lights, start the sprinkler system, close the garage door or lock down the building for the night.
SEM Security Systems
a division of Southeast Mobility Inc