Bosch B-Series Intrusion Tested

By Brian Rhodes, Published on Apr 10, 2017

Bosch is one of the biggest names in intrusion but their B-Series panels, targeted at smaller site installs and available through distribution, are relatively new for intrusion standards.

We bought a Bosch B3512 panel and a B942 graphic keypad to see how it stacks against competitors.

In this test, we examine the system on this criteria:

  • Strengths & Weaknesses
  • Competitive Comparison
  • Distribution Availability
  • Physical Overview 
  • Keypad Options
  • System Price
  • Remote Security App
  • Monitoring Options

Inside, we detail our results that contrast the B-Series to other enclosure panel based intrusion alarm systems.

Note: in our next test, we cover the Bosch G-Series.

Strengths ********

*** **** ******** ***** B-Series *** **** *********** advantages, ********** ******** ** other ***** ****** ** the *********** ******:

  • ******* ******** & *** jacks: *** *-****** ******** **** integrated ******* *** *** ports *** ********* ******** connections ** **-***** **********. While **** ****** ***** this ** ****** **** a ******** ******, *** B-Series ******** **** ** default.  ** *** ****, the *** ****** ****** a ******, '*************' ********** to *** *****. **** feature ******** ********** *** network ****** **** ********* local ** ********* ** the *****.
  • **** ******* *******:**** '*****' ********* ******* simplify ********* *** *********** of *** ****** ** stripping **** ************* *******. Unlike ******* ******** *** *********** *** ******, *-****** ****** ******** ******** of *******, ***** ***** or *****, *********** ****, and ********** ********* **** accommodate *******, ******* ********** intrusion *******.
  • '****' ***** ***********:*** **** *******, '******' integration **** ********* ******* are ******* ** * few ***** *** ********** cameras *** *** ******* add-on ***** ******* ** integrate *****. ****-****** ******** **** (***** and ***** ******)******* ** **** ***** and * ***** ** camera.  ***** *** *********** is ******* ** **** Bosch *******, *** **** range ** ******* *** be **** *** ****** sensor ****** *** ***** system *********.

 Weaknesses ********

*******, *** **** ***** the *-****** *** **** drawbacks ******** ** ********* competitors:

  • ****-********* *******: ******* ******** * B-Series ******, **** * basic ***, ***** **** and ********* ** **** ordering *** *******. *** range ** *******, ***********, and ************** ****** *** rather ******* *** '**** & ****' ************* **** not ** *******.
  • **** ********* ***** ********:** *******, * ****-****** installer ******* *** * 'blow *** **' ****** to ******* ******* *** move ** *** **** job ** ****** ***** to ** *********** ** the ****** ** ************* options *** ********* *********** needed ** ***** ********* a *-****** ******.
  • ***-******** *****:****** **** ***** ********* panel ***** *******, *** B3512 ** ***** ** 16 ***** *** ** users. ******* ** ********* via ****-********* *******, *** B3512 **** ** ******** with ******* ****** ***** if ******* ****** **** small ****.
  • *** ******** ** *******:**** ***** ********* ******* and ********** **** *** wireless ******* ** ***** and ******* ****** *******. While *-****** **** ************* ********, ***** *** **** through ******** *** ************ purchased ******* **** *** both **** *** ****.
  • ** **** ********** ** Default: ** **** ********, our *-****** ***** ******* integration ** ******* ** Z-Wave ** ****** ******* onboard. ************* ******* *** *********, ********** **** **** cost *** ********** ** a ****** ***** *********** often ******* **** ** default, **: *** ** ****.

Competitive **********

** ***** ** ******** and ******** ******, *-****** is ** *** ****-*** of ***** ********* ********* with **** *************, ***** video ***********, *** ***** fire/smoke ********* ******, *** unlike ********* ********* *** residential ********, * *-****** ****** requires ********** ******** *** automation *******, *** *** system ************* ***** **** time ** ****.

***** *-****** ** ****** roughly ***** ** ***** basic ********* *******, **** the panel ******* **** **** the ******* ******. *** ***** panel *** * ****** price ** ~$***, ***** the **** ****** ****** at ~$***.  *** ***** features ****** ** ***** or ***** *********** ********* platforms, *-****** **** ** cost *********** ** ******** price.

*******, *** ** ***** of ***** ********** ***** sensors ** ** **** automation ** *******, *** and **** ****, ***** offered ** ***** *********, will ** **** ********* for ***** ********* *******.

B-Series **** ************

********, ***** ********* *****-****** ***** ** ********* from ************, * ****** **** the ******** ******-**** *****.  While ******* ** *** smaller *-****** ****, ***** is ***** ******** *** larger *-****** ******** ** sales *** ******* ** trained *******. 

Test ****** *******

*** *-****** ***** **** tested *** ******** ** an***** *****, *** * ***** *********** ************** **** * **** readers, *** ** *** of ********* ******* ********* ***** **** **** ********* Motion ********

** ****, **** ********** was *** **** **** traditional ********* ****, *** the *****, *******, ******(*), and *********. ***** *** installers **** **** ** specify *** *** *** pieces separately.

Physical ********

*** ***** ** ** **-**** master ***** ********* ****** a ***** *** *********, with * ********* *** support ** * ******** zones *******, *** ** to * ********** *******. In * ******** ***** enclosure, ***** ** **** for *** ** *** 4AH ****** *********.

*** ******* ******** ******* circuit ***** ** ******** with * ****-******** **** ethernet **** *** *** port, ***** **** * configurable ******. 

************, *** **** ***** ******** 10 ***** **** ** authority ******. ** **** zones ** ***** *** needed, ****** ***** ** panels **** ** ** used - **** ** scalability ** *** ******* weakness *** *** ***** for *** *-******. *** other ****** ** *** series, *** *****, *****, and ***** ******* ** to ** ***** *** the ****** **** ***** upward *** *****-*********:

Keypad *******

** ****** *** ***** using * **** *********** keypad ********* ***** * traditional *-**** ********* ***.  In ***** ** ********* and ***********, *** ****** uses *****-******** *******, *** button ********, *** ** easy ** ********* ***** features *** ****** *********.

*** ******* ***** ******* will *** ** **** enough ** ******* *** of ** ******** *****, *** *** ****-******* panel *** * ****** sensor *** ************* ******** when ***** ********.

*** *** ***** ******** can ** ********** ** keypad, *** ******* ******* the *** ** ** installer ** *** *****'* free ********* ************* ***.

***** ******* *** ** used ** ******* ***** features,******* ** **** ** configure '******** **************' ******** from ***** ************ *******, output ***** ***** ***********, zone ***** ***** *******, and uploading ***** ******* *********.

Advanced ********

*-****** ****** ******* ***** features *** ****** ** other ***** ****** *********. These ******** *******:

  • **** **-***: **** *******, ***** needed ** ***** *** Vault, ************* **** ** area **** ***** ** has **** ********, *********** 'relocking *** **** ****** users'.
  • ***-*** *****:**** ******* ******** *** different ***** **** ********* codes ** ********* ********* to ***** ****** * system, ********** *** **** under ****** **** ***** forced ** ****** * system.
  • **** **************: **** ******* ******** two ***** ** *********** or ***** ** *******/***/****** the ******, ********* ****, cards, ** ******** '*****' verification.
  • ********* ******: **** ****** ****** and ******* *** ** programmed ** ******** ** a ********, ****** **** only **** ** **** activation.

***** ******** ********* ********* ones ********** **** ** other ***** ********* *******, but ***** ** * distinct ********* *** *-****** panels ** ***** *** high-security ************.

System *******

*** ***** ***** *** a ****** ***** ** ~$175, ***** *** **** keypad ****** ** ~$***. ********** with ********* **** ***** or ***, ***** *-****** is ********* **** ***********. * B-Series ***** **** *** ******* other ******** ******** **** keypads, ****/****** ********, ****, and ****** ****** *****. The ***** '***-**' ***** for * ***** * zone, *** ****** ****** could ****** $****, ********** if ***** ******* ** home ********** ** **********.

******** ** *** ***-*** '**** knocker' ******* **** ** many ******** ***** *********, B-Series **** ** ** - ** **** ********* *** require **** ***** ** additional ******** *******, *** the ***** ****** *** offer **** ******** **********, notification, *** ******* ******** to ***** ********* ***** may ** * ********** maker ***** ****-******** ****** customers.

Remote ***

***** *-****** ** ********* by *** ****** ******** App, a **** ****** ******* to ***, ******, *** otherwise ******* *** ****** from ***********.

***** ****** ******** ******* allows ****** ****** *** disarming *** ********** ** connected *******, *** **** live ***** **** ********** cameras, *** *** ******** segments.

Central ******* ********** *******

***** ****** *** ** ********* monitored ** *** ******** of ******* ********, ** they *** *****/********* '******' and ****** ******* ** [**** no ****** *********] *******. Both ******* *** ****** supported ** ******* ******* providers, **** ** ***** coverage **** ** ********** in *** ******* ** North ******* *** ** most ** *** *****.

***** ***** * **** of ******* ******* ********* that ******* * ***** range ** ****** *********, including *** ***** **** used ********, ********* ***, Format **, ******, *** Radionics. ***** ********* *** not **** ******* ** Bosch *****'* *********, *** many ******* ******** *** them ** ******* ********* even ** ***** ****** are *** *** ******* type ***** *********.  **** geographic ***** ******* ******** monitoring ******* ********** *** formats **** ** ***** alarm ******.

Upcoming *-****** ****

**** **** ** *** first ** *** ******** Bosch ********* ********.  ***** this ******, ** **** look ** *** ****** scale ********** *-****** ****. 

Comments (13)

We have installed several of these. If you are experienced with Bosch the installation is relatively simple. The major draw back to these is the internet experience. You have to use RPS over the internet to change the user codes as compared to Honeywell where through the Total Connect you can do this. They did upgrade the panels late last year to have their Bosch Cloud service available which makes programming remotely somewhat easier.

These are great, solid & reliable panels.  We typically do not install the B3512 but rather the B4512/B5512 and the larger G-Series.  We are very pleased with the products that Bosch is producing with quality continuing to be emphasized.  As stated though, they can require more steps to get ordered/installed & operational compared to some competitor models and training would be recommended.  We have been using Radionics/Bosch products since 1983 and have seen a lot of good, along with some bad(DS years) products - These are definitely on the good end.  While the mobile app may not be as robust as some competitor offerings, it is very secure from what we've found with "Certificates" issued to each authorized user for remote access along with encryption.  We charge a fee for the initial certificate issuance and then a monthly access fee for certificate maintenance.  This allows us to maintain a close relationship with our clients and to make sure things are current & operating as expected, enhancing the overall service experience.

Note that there are other keypad offerings, LCD screen, that are less expensive than the touchscreen shown tested.  Though the vast majority of our own clients select the touchscreen when shown/demonstrated.  It is fairly intuitive to use with minimal instruction needed. 

All together a good review of a good system.

Brian-

You should take the scalablity out as a weakness. Any Bosch dealer worth their salt is going to quote a 4512 for an extra $12.00 over the 3512 panel. This panel is only deployed in unique situations. 

Interesting point.   Which unique situations is this panel deployed? 

From the report, the B4512 supports up to 28 points which is more than the 16 of the B3512.

 

The B3512 is just a very limited panel that is designed for budget, simple and small installs.  That is not generally our market so we have not used it but a few times.  Like S. Beck stated, for a small dollar amount more, you increase the functionality and expansion capabilities by using the B4512/B5512.  If a client makes a change in their home or business and needs to expand the system, I'd rather be able to easily connect and tie-in additional devices rather than having to explain why they need to purchase a new control panel.  Not worth it.  I'd rather eat the difference and do what's right and better in the long run.   

I've quoted this panel twice. Once for a fast food chain and other was for a bus garage when we were deploying B8512 G series panels for a school district at all their buildings. We ended up taking over the existing DSC panel instead of going with the 3512. Basically the panel is quoted for people who already have Bosch or need a bare bones small system apart of a larger project. 8 wireless and 8 hardware zones really limit on what you can do with it.

I was looking at this panel for a customer. I was also looking at other panels available through distribution such as Napco Gemini, Honeywell Vista, and DSC PowerSeries. I liked the Bosch the best thus far until I noticed the app has terrible reviews and RSC doesn't seem to support push notifications which makes it rather useless. This customer wants to self monitor. They actually just want a horn, but I feel that is rather useless on its own. I didn't want to use an all in one wireless keypad either.

Cameras will be installed in the spring with a VMS so a network connection will be added in the future. I also want a panel such as the Bosch that supports programming via the software. It's amazing to me how dated these intrusion systems feel in comparison to camera systems. I realize how good DMP is, but that's not available through distribution.

Is there something else I should be looking for that would provide push notifications on mobile devices?

UI#1 - I agree that the Bosch app needs some updating. It is not as robust as it could be. For what it does though, it reliably works. A big point for us is the security of the app compared to those from other mfg. The Bosch app incorporates 256-bit encryption, a passode login along with the issuance of a certificate from the installing dealer to even get started.

For push notifications, the B/G-series panels do offer notifications via SMS message and/or email. This is setup under 'Personal Notifications' in 'Panel Wide Parameters'. It does require either a network or cellular connection - For obvious reasons, these will not work via POTS line connection.

Remote Programming Software(RPS) is available. A lot of programming can be done through the B942 keypads as well.

Customers are funny - Sometimes you just have to give them what they want and be ready for them to circle back when/if they change their mind.

Thanks for the reply. Yes, I did see that the app seemed more secure than others. I also saw that a Bosch RSC+ exists that supports push notifications but works on AMAX panels, but the reviews say the push stops working after a few uses. AMAX seems to be older so I'm not sure why the capabilities weren't updated for the B-series.

If it does email, I may go that route since that does provide more options.

Customers are funny - Sometimes you just have to give them what they want and be ready for them to circle back when/if they change their mind.

In this case, it's easy for me to provide what they want, but I am anticipating more integration in the future, so I wanted to select a panel that had more current options. I like the fact the panel has USB and included network connection.

Cameras will be installed in the spring with a VMS so a network connection will be added in the future. I also want a panel such as the Bosch that supports programming via the software.

It's an interesting problem. I cannot think of a system that:

1) Is not a combo (all-in-one wireless) panel, and

2) Pushes notifications without a central station, and

3) Integrates with VMS , and

4) Is a distribution not dealer product

The Bosch B series is likely still your best path here, and the remote notification features your client is looking for can be configured as part of the VMS they do later by way of the remote client.

I'll dig on this and ask around to see if something else comes up.

Thanks for the reply.

3) Integrates with VMS

Sorry for not being more clear. It's an external building. It currently doesn't have a network connection, but it will once I install cameras in the spring. I'm anticipating adding notifications at that time since the current requirement is simply a siren. Integration with the VMS isn't required but I may add an I/O box on the VMS to add some extra functionality.

I just still don't understand why all these alarm panels can't be configured like you configure a VMS or any network camera. For instance, instead of a camera UI, you have alarm panel UI, and you select your options.

Aside from Honeywell and Bosch, the websites for these manufacturer's seem as dated as some of their panels. As much as I like what I have seen from DMP, their website isn't even mobile compatible.

I did see after I wrote my post original post that Ring came out with a retrofit panel that can integrate with wired systems, but powered sensors need separate power. The panel runs on batteries. That did seem a viable option, but I still like the idea of a hardwired system with battery backup in the can.

I think ICT may be worth digging into here. I'll ask some ICT people to comment.

Did anyone have any feedback on ICT. I ended up ordering the Bosch B4512 for the client. I received it and it was nice that I was able to program the panel, and when the panel came in, quickly download the config to the panel. My only complaint about the software is that it's a massively large program since it can cover many different panels. I still couldn't find the differences between RPS-Lite and RPS. I like the cloud option that's available. However, I don't know how it compares to ICT, other than it seems ICT is all browser based, which would presumably be better than needing a software package for programming changes.

I will say I liked programming this panel in comparison to programming Vista. It seems that Vista is still dated as I don't believe it has an option for a built in NIC.

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