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For those of you not familiar with Total Connect 2.0, it is an application in the form of an app on a smartphone or tablet and web version on your personal computer. The service is hosted by Alarmnet which is Honeywell's communications division. Alarmnet prides itself on offering a secure (encrypted), simple way for end users to connect to their alarm systems remotely and receive text and/or email alerts for just about anything that occurs on the system. 

Total Connect has seen several upgrades this year including a new SMS gateway for more reliable text alerts from the largest cellular providers: AT&T, Spring, T-Mobile and Verizon. The newest upgrades have come in the form a complete aesthetic overhaul and several updated features including auto-syncing for the LYNX Touch L5100, L5200 and L7000! This means that any newly added zones will be automatically pushed to Total Connect after you exit programming on the panel. There is also a new wizard for creating "smart scenes" for remote automation. If you are an existing Total Connect user you will need to update the app on your smartphone and tablet in order to experience the new features. The web version on your computer has already been updated and will not require any changes on your computer. 

The most popular feature upgrade is the smart scene automation wizard. The wizard is designed to be more user friendly and walk you through the steps creating a scene for any enrolled Z-Wave devices. This feature requires that you have a Z-Wave controller and are enrolled in the remote automation service. Tap the + icon on the top right of the Automation module on Total Connect. First, name your scene. Then select command(s) for any Z-Wave device(s) you would like to be involved in the scene. The wizard will offer three trigger types: scheduling, rule, and manual execution. If you click "On a recurring schedule" you will be given the option to set a schedule to execute the scene. "Based on another device" is known as a rule. A rule allows you to trigger a scene based on a security system action (i.e. arm, disarm or alarm) or a security sensor fault (i.e. motion detector tripping or door/window opening). The last selection (when you tap it) is designed for manually triggering a scene from the Total Connect app. 

After you update the app on your mobile devices you may notice that the new version supports "Touch ID." For example, the iPhone 5S and 6 models support "Touch ID" which is way to log into apps using your fingerprint. You will need to first enroll your fingerprint by going into Settings > Touch ID & Passcode. Here you can scan in your fingertip(s). After you update and launch the new app, you will need to login with your username and password for the first time. When doing so, be sure to enable the "Remember Me" toggle button before logging in. Then you can log out. Going forward, you will be prompted with a pop message with the following when you launch the app: 

Simply press your finger that you already scanned in on the home button. This will launch you directly into the app! 

All in all, we are seeing that Alarmnet is continuing to develop the Total Connect 2.0 platform as they promised. We will continue to see updates that will make the application easier to use with more features that make controlling your alarm system remotely easier than ever. We will be sure to keep you posted as more features develop! 

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Alarm Grid was invited to a great little event that took place during the security industry's most important conference - ISC West. We were excited to get to see the new security system in action, since Honeywell has really taken a different approach to designing the Lyric security panel. Note: in the video you can see that the system is shown to be disconnected from a communicator. That is because the system was not outfitted with a radio at the show.

The more modern design takes the security system out of it's cheap, plastic looking shell, and gives it a more Apple-esque feel. The screen has beautiful buttons, and the system feels incredibly intuitive to use. We aren't sure when it's going to be out, but it sounds like it's going to be released sometime later this year - perhaps 4th quarter, we will let you know as soon as we know anything.

For those of you wondering what the fate of your LYNX Touch security system is going to be, Honeywell assured us that they are not discontinuing the line at all. In fact, all the Honeywell 5800 sensors will work on the Lyric security system. The difference between the new sensors and the old is that the new sensors will work with the Lyric over an encrypted connection. The Lyric is going to be released as the top of the line model, a bit more expensive than the L5200 (soon to be the L5210) or the L7000.

Alarm Grid is collecting emails in order to keep information flowing to any security system enthusiast who wants to be in the know. We'll let you know as soon as we are able to sell the unit, and any public information that Honeywell let's us know about the incredibly, new units. Just put your email in the form below, if you want to be included in the news and updates.

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The l5210 security system looks a lot like a shrunken down Honeywell L7000, but it has the stripped down features of the L5200. In an effort to consolidate the look of the LYNX Touch units, Honeywell is downsizing the screen to 4-1/3 inches on the new unit, making it compatible with the new low-light AlarmNet camera, and making it compatible with the soon to be announced IPCAM-PT2, which will be the new generation of Alarmnet's pan tilt camera. We're told that it also supports the ZXT 120 IR Thermostat.

Honeywell is calling the L5210, an enhanced version of the L5200. But what it's addition features will be we are not sure of yet. That said, considering the award winning features of the 5200, we are excited to see what is delivered. As to whether Honeywell will continue production of the larger screened L5200, we are also not sure yet.

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Back in January of 2013, we discussed the compatibility issues with earlier revisions of the VISTA-21iP alarm system with the VISTA-GSM4G. Traditionally, Honeywell creates a new firmware revision to clearly mark which panels are compatible with specific features. In this case, we found out that revision 3.13 had some panels that supported the 4G communicator and others that did not.

At the time, we explained that Honeywell started tagging the panels with stickers that read, "Supports VISTA-GSM4G." Although Honeywell offers PROM chip upgrades for the VISTA-15P and VISTA-20P there are no PROM upgrades for the VISTA-21iP. The update meant that VISTA-21iP owners without this sticker would need to upgrade their entire alarm panel in order to integrate 4G cellular connectivity.

 The biggest factor in this discussion is the "2G sunset." AT&T announced that they have already started phasing out their GSM 2G cellular network. The kicker is that every 2G cell tower in the nation will be upgraded by the end of 2016. This may have seemed far way but it is only around the corner. So this discussion relates to any VISTA-21iP system owner using cellular communication; not just those looking to upgrade to a faster 4G communicator. The original post seemed like a doomsday if your panel did not have the sticker. Well think again...

Now for the good news! The VISTA-GSM4G is considered an internal communicator for the VISTA-21iP. It is designed to be used as a backup to the built-in IP communicator. However it can be used as a stand alone cellular communicator as well. The important thing here is that the VISTA-21iP supports external Honeywell communicators as well.

The GSMV4G is an external cellular communicator which can be used with any VISTA-21iP revision. If you plan to use the internet as your primary communication path with cellular as secondary, you can use the iGSMV4G instead. In order to tell your panel to use an external communication path you need to disable the internal communications by physically moving a jumper pin on the board. 

There is an "Internal IP/GSM Jumper" that is in the 'on' position by default. This jumper powers the internal communicators: Internet communicator on the panel, the VISTA-GSM4G or both if you have a dual path setup. The jumper is located just beneath the RJ-45 jack which can be found on the top left side of the board. In the 'on' position, the panel powers the internal communicators. In the 'off' position, the panel cuts off power to the internal comm paths.

If you would like to use an external communication path like the iGSMV4G you must power down the system and move the jumper to the 'off' position. Doing this will shut down both the IP and GSM internal communication paths. So if you were already using the on board IP communicator simply disconnect the ethernet cable from the panel and land it on the iGSMV4G!

Similar to a wired keypad, external communicators require a 4 wire connection to the panel's ECP bus which is located on terminals 4-7 on the VISTA-21iP. There is a power connection on terminals 4 and 5 on the panel and a data connection on terminals 6 and 7 on the panel. Although the communicator is already connected to ECP power, it still requires an AC power connection on terminals 1 and 2 of the communicator.

The GSMV4G and iGSMV4G are shipped with their own Honeywell 1361 AC transformer. You can wire the communicator directly to the transformer or you can use a shared transformer with the panel. If you do the shared transformer setup, you need to swap in the beefier 1361 that comes with the communicator. Simply swap the wired connections over to the new transformer. Then land terminals 1 and 2 from the communicator on terminals 1 and 2 on the panel. You can land them in parallel, right on top of the existing connections to the transformer. 

We have made available detailed instructions for installing the iGSMV4G. The wiring is exactly the same for the GSMV4G. The only difference is that you need to connect an Ethernet cable on the RJ-45 port on the iGSMV4G. 

We've already begun to see an increase in people with the older non-4G capable VISTA-21iP panels asking us for upgrade opportunities. We don't like being the bearers of bad news and having to tell those people that they need an entire new alarm control panel and a new cellular communicator so we have begun offering this as a less expensive alternative to upgrade to 4G cellular communications.

While Honeywell engineers didn't design the original VISTA-21iP panel with the option to support the future VISTA-GSM4G communicators, the flexible design of the 21iP, which allows for an internal or external communicator means that their oversight won't have to cost you anymore than the price of a new external 4G communicator.

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Maybe you've noticed the little Affirm logo on our site the last few months. It looks a little like this: 

Alarm Grid has teamed up with Affirm to become the first DIY security company to offer financing for your security system. While other companies will offer free systems in exchange for long-term contracts, our deal with Affirm allows our customers to finance systems at reasonable rates for up to 12 months. What that means, very simply, is that you can now pay or monitoring + a system at a price that is going to look a lot like the bigger players in the market. But after 12 months, the cost of the system will disappear, which means that all you'll have to pay going forward is Alarm Grid's much more reasonable monitoring costs.

For those interested in financing through Affirm, the process is super easy. Simply pick "Buy Now with Easy Monthly Payments" at the payment step during checkout.

The rest is simple. Just fill out the information, agree to let Affirm run a credit check, and voila, you will hopefully receive instant approval for financing up to a certain amount of your purchase. The process is simple, up front, and very fair.

Affirm is a good, transparent company that is focused on making making this process easy. So we're proud of the announcement, and are excited to pull our financing option out of beta. If you have any questions, let us know, we are happy to help.

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Alarm Grid has co-branded Total Connect. For those who wanted to feel a bit more like they were part of the AG family, now is your chance. Every time you login to Total Connect 2.0 from your computer, you'll see our beautiful logo up in the right hand corner instead of the old Total Connect logo. On your phone, you will see it at login, and on our information page along with all the necessary information for connecting to support.

For our long-time self monitoring and monitoring plus customers, nothing has changed except the branding of the application. You should continue to get all your emails and texts just as you have in the past, and the application is the same easy to use application you've become familiar with. Just remember, if you have any questions at all regarding your Alarm Grid Total Connect experience, please email support@alarmgrid.com.

If you are new around these parts and are just looking to give Total Connect a try, we have setup a dummy account that will let you test drive Total Connect.

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The last few weeks, we have been hearing rumblings that Home Security Store has not been answering their phones or emails. We have to date not commented on it, since we really don't know anything at all about their financial situation. That said, we know they have sold a lot of product over the years, and that there seems to be a lot of customers feeling a little bit like they are caught in the lurch. And after this CEPro story came out, we thought it was probably time to say something.

While we can't offer advice for those who are waiting on product, other than to say that we offer many of the same products as HSS sells, we can certainly speak to the service/monitoring side. If this is your first time at Alarm Grid, you probably don't know anything about who we are. We are a well-reviewed alarm monitoring provider that happens to sell high quality home security equipment. Most recently, we've begun selling the Honeywell L7000 and L5200 security systems, which are some of our favorites, and which we highly recommend to anyone looking for a system. We pride ourselves on the free tech support we provide to all of our customers. In the last year, we have been over-run with the tech support needs of DIYers who love us!

So for those of you stuck in the middle of the HomeSecurityStore.com mess, we would love to hear from you. Please email support@alarmgrid.com (it's the best way to contact us), or call 888-818-7728. If you call in and don't get an answer, leave us a message. We are quick to respond, and will call you back ASAP. We've been inundated the last few weeks with calls about this Home Security Store situation. So forgive any waiting, and let us help you get the help you need for the products you have received.

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Longform PodcastWe love supporting projects that we both believe in and personally enjoy as a group. Longform is one such project. As avid listeners, we are happy to support such an incredible and well-tuned into podcast.

Alarm Grid is new to sponsorships, but we decided that we wanted to support projects that we were personally excited about as a team. Sure, Longform gives us some great coverage by mentioning our name and describing our monitoring service and our installation videos, but more than that, we are very happy to be getting a chance to support the podcast and it's wonderful team of personalities.

Longform is kind of neat, if you've never been to the site, we highly recommend it. Nothing to do with home security equipment, but a lot to do with reading. Since their inception, Longform has been dedicated to showcasing longer written pieces. Whether fiction, journalistic, or biographical, Longform has really been a powerful part of shaping the modern landscape of both online and offline written content. Whereas newspapers are busy cutting staff and pushing ambulance and fire-truck chasing journalism that Longform's readers tend to be interested in the more in-depth, beautiful prose of well-seasoned writers. And while we really don't have an interest in taking political positions here at Alarm Grid, what excites us about what Longform does is that they feature writings on their site and they interview writers on their podcast. Some of these pieces are political, some are fictional, some are just plain old good stories. They get into the heads of authors, and have them discuss their creative processes.

For those interested in listening to the most recent Longform podcast that Alarm Grid has sponsored, please simply click here.

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Happy holidays everyone!

Remember, while your systems are monitored 24/7 by the good folks at Criticom, our tech team is going to be taking a little break this holiday. Below are the Alarm Grid hours. If you need help, please email support@alarmgrid.com (emailing is the fastest way to get a response) or leave a message when you call 888-818-7728. We will do our best to respond quickly.

  • Dec. 24th - Half day. Closing at 2PM EST.
  • Dec. 25th - CLOSED
  • Dec. 26th-Dec. 30th - Open
  • Dec. 31 - Closing at 5PM EST
  • Jan 1st - CLOSED
  • Jan 2nd - Normal hours resume (Monday-Friday - 9AM-9PM EST, Saturday & Sunday - CLOSED)

We wish you all very well this holiday season, and hope you all have a wonderful week filled with cheer, happiness, and of course, safety. We sent out a nice little e-card to those who are signed up for our monitoring service. So, for those of you who didn't get to see the card, here it is. Please, leave the Alarm Grid team a message. We love hearing from all of you, and we promise that we are reading them all!

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One of the big gripes people have with the LYNX panels is that the only siren that it works with is the 5800WAVE. The truth is that Honeywell's wireless security system can be made to work with any wired siren. It just takes a little bit more work. We've done our best to make it simple with FAQsmanuals, and even an Alarm Grid kit, but we have been missing the most important, helpful element: videos. The following video can be viewed as a series on YouTube (if you head over there, be sure to subscribe to the Alarm Grid channel), or you can watch it in order right below.

In this first video, we show you the Alarm Grid LYNX-EXT. It's the simplest, cheapest way to get an external sounder to work with your wireless security system without having to run a wire. The LYNX-WEXT works roughly the same way as the one in the video below, however, a wire needs to be run from the relay in the WEXT to the system itself.

Putting everything together in the LYNX-EXT is really simple. Sterling goes through the wiring, and how to connect it to the wireless security system.

Sterling goes in depth about how to choose the wired sirens you would like to use, and how to do a quick power calculation on your system. In this video, we demonstrate the strongest siren we sell, the Amseco 52s, which will make a 120dB fuss if the system is breached.

Sterling gives a quick explanation about how to properly wire the siren and the strobe. Once this is done, all that is left to do is set the house ID codes in the system and the 5800RL.

Setting the House ID Codes on the LYNX Touch Units

All three of the next videos demonstrate how to set the house ID whether your system is an older, discontinued L5100, or the newer L5200 and L7000.

Setting the House ID on the 5800RL

Like most Honeywell sensors, the 5800RL uses dip switches to pick its House ID. It is the same way that the 5800WAVE works. Setting these dip switches will allow the system to communicate with the horn so that the siren can start blaring the second you need it most.


Honeywell's AD12612 is the best selling power supply in any kit. Sterling takes us through how to wire the LYNX-EXT to the power supply and external sounder. 


The Panics!

Both to show it works, as well as allowing anyone who is curious a chance to listen to the panic sounds. Below are videos of Sterling demonstrating both the Police Panic and the Fire Panic.



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