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Today, in this final part of our 2020 holiday buying guides, we will be checking out various accessories for the Honeywell Lyric, the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus, and the 2GIG GC3e. Specifically, we will be looking at compatible cellular communicators, security cameras, keypads, and desk mounts.


Adding various accessories to your system can improve your overall experience and make your system easier to use. Most accessories are optional, though there some that are required for setting up new monitoring service. We'll be sure to discuss these factors along the way. The other very important thing to keep in mind is that compatibility is usually based on system. Check and make sure that any accessory you want works with your system.


Cellular Communicators

We'll start by looking at cellular communicators for our top alarm panels. All of our top security system picks have built-in WIFI for communicating right out of the box. But only the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus comes with a built-in cellular communication module. For the Lyric and the GC3e, you must add a cellular radio if you want one of these systems to use a cellular communication pathway. Keep in mind that this is optional for Total Connect 2.0 Systems like the Lyric, as TC2 allows system to be set up with IP-only service. But for Alarm.com Systems, having an active cellular communication set up is required. This means that you must buy a cellular communicator for a 2GIG GC3e to get it monitored. Keep in mind that using cellular communication on any system will require a monitoring plan that includes cellular service, such as an Alarm Grid Gold or Platinum Level Plan.

A good thing about the cellular communicators listed here is that they are all LTE communicators. The term LTE stands for "long-term evolution", and the associated networks and cell towers are expected to be kept running and in-service for a very long time. This will remain true even as 5G networks are rolled out, as LTE is positioned to serve as a valuable and reliable backup option to 5G. At this time (December 2020), 5G communicators for alarm systems do not yet exist. This makes LTE far and away the best option for cellular communication on alarm systems at this time.

You will notice that there are no cellular communicators listed here for the IQ Panel 2 Plus. This is because the IQ Panel 2 Plus comes with a cellular communicator that is pre-installed. It cannot be removed or replaced. This means that if the entire panel must be replaced in the event that its cellular radio fails. You will also see that carrier options for AT&T and Verizon are listed here. You should simply go with whichever carrier provides better service in the area where the system will be used. You can also check coverage maps if you are unsure. Remember, this choice will have no impact on your monthly monitoring costs, and it has nothing to do with the carrier for your personal phone. And just to restate it one last time, this is required for the GC3e, and optional for the Lyric.

Here are our top picks for cellular communicators.

Model Notes
2GIG LTEA-A-GC3
AT&T LTE Communicator for 2GIG GC3e. Requires system firmware version 3.2.3 or higher.
2GIG LTEV1-A-GC3
Verizon LTE Communicator for 2GIG GC3e. Requires system firmware 3.1.3 or higher.
Honeywell LYRICLTE-A
AT&T LTE Communicator for Honeywell Lyric. Requires system firmware version MR3 or higher.
Honeywell LYRICLTE-V
Verizon LTE Communicator for Honeywell Lyric. Requires system firmware version MR9 or higher.


Security Cameras

Next, we will be taking a look at various security cameras options for your system. Broadly speaking, these devices can be split into two (2) categories. There are security cameras for Alarm.com and security cameras for Total Connect 2.0. If you are building around a Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus or 2GIG GC3e, then you will want to get Alarm.com Security Cameras. But if you are building around the Honeywell Lyric, then you should get Total Connect 2.0 cameras. Remember that using any camera will require a monitoring plan that includes video surveillance, such as an Alarm Grid Platinum Level Plan. The only exception is for a SkyBell Video Doorbell, which we will be discussing later.

The cameras listed here are all IP cameras, meaning that they connect to the internet for remote access. You can use the Alarm.com Mobile App or the Total Connect 2.0 Mobile App to get a live look-in for your camera from pretty much anywhere in the world. Most cameras connect across wireless WIFI, but some use wired ethernet connectivity. For those using wired ethernet, you will often see them listed as Powered over Ethernet, or PoE. This means that the camera can get both power and network connectivity from the same connection. Cameras that use WIFI will typically just have a plug-in transformer for power.

Let's start by exploring the Alarm.com Cameras. These are what you want if you are building around an IQ Panel 2 Plus, a 2GIG GC3e, or any other Alarm.com Security System.

Model Notes
Alarm.com ADC-V522IR

Alarm.com Indoor 1080p camera. 113° Field of View. IR Night Vision range of 15 feet. Uses WIFI or ethernet connectivity, but does not support PoE.
Alarm.com ADC-V523
Alarm.com Indoor 1080p camera w/ High Dynamic Range. 117° Field of View. IR Night Vision Range of 15 feet. Uses WIFI or ethernet connectivity, but does not support PoE.
Alarm.com ADC-V622- WELL

Alarm.com Indoor Wellness Camera w/ 1080p recording. 180° Field of View. IR Night Vision Rang of 15 feet. Uses WIFI or ethernet connectivity. Supports PoE if ethernet is used. Doubles as Bluetooth speaker for two-way audio.
Alarm.com ADC-V723

Alarm.com Outdoor 1080p camera w/ High Dynamic Range. 117° Field of View. IR Night Vision Range of 40 feet. Uses WIFI connectivity. Does not support wired ethernet.
Alarm.com ADC-VC726
Alarm.com Commercial outdoor mini bullet 1080p camera. 86° Field of View. IR Night Vision Range of 95 feet. Uses wired ethernet connectivity. Supports PoE.
Alarm.com ADC-VC736
Alarm.com Commercial outdoor large bullet 1080p camera. 86° Field of View. IR Night Vision Range of 260 feet. Uses wired ethernet connectivity. Supports PoE.
Alarm.com ADC-VC826
Alarm.com Commercial outdoor dome 1080p camera. 108° Field of View. IR Night Vision Range of 95 feet. Uses wired ethernet connectivity. Supports PoE.
Alarm.com ADC-VC836
Alarm.com Commercial outdoor turret 1080p camera. 108° Field of View. IR Night Vision Range of 95 feet. Uses wired ethernet connectivity. Supports PoE.
Alarm.com ADC-VDB770
Alarm.com Video Doorbell 1080p Camera. 150° Vertical Field of View. 115° Horizontal Field of View. IR Night Vision Range of 15 feet. Uses WIFI connectivity. Does not support wired ethernet.
Alarm.com ADC-SVR122
Alarm.com Stream Video Recorder. Used to facilitate 24-hour continuous recording. Supports up to 2TB of storage w/ proper hard drives. Not an actual camera.
Alarm.com ADC-CSVR126
Alarm.com Commercial Stream Video Recorder. Used to facilitate 24-hour continuous recording. Supports up to 16TB of storage w/ proper hard drives. Not an actual camera.


Next, we will be looking at the Total Connect IP Cameras. There are only thee (3) models available, but they are the ones to use if you have a Honeywell Lyric set up with the Total Connect 2.0 platform.

Model
Notes
Honeywell IPCAM-WIC1

Total Connect 2.0 Indoor 720p Camera. 135° Field of View. IR Night Vision Range of 16.5 feet.
Honeywell IPCAM-WIC2
Total Connect 2.0 Indoor 1080p Camera. 110° Field of View. IR Night Vision Range of 33 Feet.
Honeywell IPCAM-WOC1
Total Connect 2.0 Outdoor 1080p Camera. 117° Field of View. IR Night Vision Range of 65 Feet. Does not record audio.

Lastly, we want to give special recognition to the SkyBell Doorbell Cameras. These camera replace your existing doorbell, and you can receive push notifications on your phone when someone rings your doorbell. They can also begin recording upon detecting movement, making them ideal for monitoring the front of your home. What's also unique about these cameras do not require true video monitoring service. Up to five (5) can be added on a TC2 account, while those with ADC can only use one (1), unless they upgrade to a true video monitoring plan. Make sure to use one designed for TC2 or ADC depending on the interactive platform you are using. Please note that only the TC2 version can be used with the native SkyBell App. You cannot use the SkyBell App with the ADC models.

Model
Notes
Honeywell SkyBell DBCAM-TRIM
SkyBell Slimline Video Doorbell Camera for use w/ Total Connect 2.0 and SkyBell App. Up to 1080p recording quality. Uses WIFI connectivity. Available in Satin Nickel or Oil Rubbed Bronze.
Alarm.com ADC-VDB101

SkyBell Round Video Doorbell Camera for use w/ Alarm.com. Up to 1080p recording quality. Uses WIFI connectivity. Available in Satin Nickel or Oil Rubbed Bronze.
Alarm.com ADC-VDB105
SkyBell Slimline Video Doorbell Camera for use w/ Alarm.com. Up to 720p recording quality. Uses WIFI connectivity. Available in Satin Nickel or Oil Rubbed Bronze.


Alarm Keypads


Our next topic concerns alarm keypads. These devices serve as a secondary on-site controller for your system. Some of these are very basic devices that are only useful for minimal system arming and disarming. Others offer complete touchscreen displays and allow you to perform a robust selection of security and automation commands. The important thing to pay attention to here is compatibility. Each keypad listed here will only work with the system that it is intended to be used with.

Some common locations for secondary alarm system keypads are by back doors or garage doors, as a user might want to arm and disarm from those locations as they are coming and going, without needing to go all the way to their primary alarm panel. They are also popular for use in master bedrooms, as having a keypad by your bedside can be a convenient way to call for help in the event that you hear someone breaking into your home.

Here are the available keypads for our top system picks.

Model
Notes
Honeywell LKP500
LCD Keypad for Honeywell Lyric. Used for basic arming and disarming. Provides two lines of character display, with 16 characters per line. 32 characters total. Supports chime. Honeywell LKP500-DK Desk Stand is also available.
2GIG PAD1-345
Push-button Keypad for 2GIG Systems, including the 2GIG GC3e. Used for basic arming and disarming. Can also be used to trigger a panic during an emergency. No display screen. No chime or voice.
2GIG SP1-GC3
Touchscreen Keypad for 2GIG GC3e. Supports full suite of security and arming functions. Pairs w/ GC3e across WIFI or using a local Access Point (AP). Offers chime and voice. Mimics screen of GC3e once paired.
Qolsys IQ Remote
Touchscreen Keypad for Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus. Supports full suite of security and automation functions. Pairs with IQ2+ across WIFI. Mimics screen of IQ2+ once paired.


Desk Mounts

Our final category is desk mounts for alarm panels. Using a desk mount allows you to position your panel upright on a sturdy desk or table, instead of wall-mounting or just lying it flat. These devices are often preferred by DIY users who don't want to drill holes in the wall. They are also great for renters who have restrictions on drilling holes.

Of our top security system picks, only the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus comes with a desk mount included. However, the included desk mount is relatively small and flimsy. There is actually a more robust desk mount for the IQ Panel 2 Plus, which is included on this list. Using a proper desk mount makes it possible to perform a complete system installation with nothing more than a screwdriver in many cases.

Here are desk mounts for our top security system picks.

Model
Notes
Honeywell LCP500-DK
Desk mount for Honeywell Lyric. Allows for positioning at 30° or 60°.
2GIG CP-DESK
Desk mount for 2GIG GC3e. Also compatible with other 2GIG Wireless Alarm Panels.
Qolsys IQ Stand
Desk mount for Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus. Sturdier option than the standard table stand that comes included with the system.


Reach out to us!

This concludes our final buying guide for the 2020 holiday season. Make sure to check out our earlier buying guides on alarm panels, security sensors, environmental sensors, smart home automation, and our special guide for the Honeywell Home PROA7PLUS Panel. If you have any questions regarding compatibility, or if you are interested in starting new alarm monitoring service and you need help planning your system, please email our team at support@alarmgrid.com. We will help you every step of the way, from ordering the right equipment, to activating your alarm monitoring service. Our team is available to help from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. As always, we look forward to hearing from you!

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Alarm.com is back again for the holiday season, as users will once again be able to have Santa appear in screenshots for their Alarm.com Security Cameras. This feature is great for sharing with young family members, as well as for as anyone who loves Christmas and wants to get in the spirit.


The "Santa Security" feature is available on both the Alarm.com website and mobile app. If you are using, the Alarm.com Mobile App, then you may want to verify that you are using a high enough version. For iOS users, Version 4.17 or higher is needed. Android users need at least Version 4.15.1. Remember you can download the app for free from either the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store. And of course, you will need a monitoring plan that includes access to Alarm.com for video surveillance, such as an Alarm Grid Platinum Plan.

To get started, just open the Alarm.com website or mobile app, and then enter the Cameras Menu. Select the video feed for one of your compatible cameras, and then click on the icon of Santa. You can select from a few different Santa images to insert into your camera's screenshot. The Santa image you select can be positioned wherever you like, and you can also resize the Santa image to better fit the setting. Then all you have to do is download the altered picture and share it with your friends and family to show them that Santa visited!

Of course, this isn't capturing the real Santa on your Alarm.com Security Cameras. Santa is much too fast for that, so it won't work if you try to get video of the real Kris Kringle himself. But this is certainly a nice alternative. The feature will be available from December 7th through December 31st. That should give you plenty of time to produce a Santa image to show your kids, loved ones, and anyone else who loves Christmas. No special sign-up is required. All you need is a compatible Alarm.com Camera and a video monitoring plan.

If you have any questions about the Santa Security feature for Alarm.com, then please reach out to us be emailing support@alarmgrid.com. Our team is happy to answer any questions you might have about the Santa feature, or about Alarm.com service in general. This email is also good to use if you want to start new monitoring service. It's not too late to set up an Alarm.com Security System with a camera so that you can enjoy the Santa Security feature this year. As always, we look forward to hearing from you. Happy holidays 2020!

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Alarm Grid is proud to announce that the next generation Honeywell Home PROA7PLUS Security System is available for purchase on our site. Today, we're going to explore this new system and find out whether or not its worth buying. Let's take a deep dive into the Honeywell Home PROA7PLUS!


We will cut right to the chase. The Honeywell Home PROA7PLUS from Resideo has been available on our site for a couple of months now. However, we have been hesitant to promote it due to one glaring factor. The system lacks support for local end user programming. This means that the system can only be programmed and configured by your monitoring provider. You will need to contact Alarm Grid, or whomever you are using for monitoring service, whenever you want to make changes to the system programming settings. You won't be able to enter programming locally and conveniently make adjustments to the majority of system settings and configurations. This goes against our primary principle as a DIY monitoring provider, and it is such a big concern that we have been reluctant to announce it.

Now, the news isn't all bad. Other than its lack of local programming, the PROA7PLUS is a very nice alarm panel. it's sleek, crisp, and it looks great mounted on a wall. The system turns heads with its gorgeous 7-inch full-color display screen that offers easy and convenient touchscreen control. And it wouldn't be complete without the panel's powerful features, which we will certainly be discussing later in this post. Plus, we have received a promise from Resideo that local programming support for the PROA7PLUS will be made available in a future update, which is expected to be made available sometime in the first half of 2021. For now, you are certainly welcome to purchase the Honeywell Home PROA7PLUS from us, and we are happy to monitor the system and help you with setting it up and configuring it to your liking. But for the time being, it is not one of our top security system picks. If you want to learn more about some systems that we currently recommend purchasing instead of the PROA7PLUS, then please check out our 2020 Holiday Buying Guide for Alarm Panels, which includes the Honeywell Lyric, also from Resideo.

With that out of the way, we can begin focusing on the positive aspects of the Honeywell Home PROA7PLUS. And there really is a lot to discuss in that regard. The system supports up to 127 zones out of the box, and it can support up to 250 with the proper add-on, which we'll cover later. There are also 32 key fob slots. The main sensors you'll be using with the PROA7PLUS are the Honeywell Home PROSIX Series Sensors. These state-of-the art sensors are built exclusively for use with the PROA7PLUS. They utilize top-of-the-line 128-bit AES encryption, and they boast a wireless range of more then 300 nominal feet. You can also use the Honeywell SiX Series Sensors, which were originally built for use with the Lyric, with the PROA7PLUS. But be warned, once you pair an original SiX Series Sensor with a PROA7PLUS, it will receive an update and then you will never be able to use it with a Lyric System again.

For this buying guide, we'll primarily be focusing on the PROSIX Sensors built exclusively for the PROA7PLUS. Let's check out the PROSIX Series Sensors.

Model Notes
Honeywell Home PROSIXCO
Carbon monoxide sensor. Emits 85 dB Temporal 4 sounder upon activation. Includes One-Go-All-Go functionality.
Honeywell Home PROSIXCOMBO
Combination smoke, heat, and carbon monoxide sensor. Includes built-in 85 dB sounder that emits Temporal 3 sound for smoke and heat, and Temporal 4 sound for CO. Includes One-Go-All-Go functionality.
Honeywell Home PROSIXCT
Door and window contact sensor. Magnet spacing gap of 0.75". Includes terminal block for single NC wired contact sensor. Has battery life of approximately five (5) years. Offers wireless range of 300+ feet. Measures 3.13"L x 1.61"W x 1.0"D.

Honeywell Home PROSIXFLOOD
Flood sensor. Sends alert to system within 15 seconds of detecting liquid. Comes with detachable Honeywell FP280 Probe that measures 15 feet in length.
Honeywell Home PROSIXFOB
Four-button key fob. Allows for dual-button inputs, for a maximum total of eight (8) inputs. Includes key ring for easy carry.
Honeywell Home PROSIXGB
Glass break detection sensor. Includes 25-foot detection range, and four (4) sensitivity settings. Honeywell FG701 is recommended glass break simulator.
Honeywell Home PROSIXMED
Single-button medical alert. Activation requires pressing and holding single button for three (3) full seconds. Only uses one (1) zone on system. Water-resistant. Includes accessory clip for device to be worn as wristband, lanyard, or belt clip.
Honeywell Home PROSIXMINI
Mini door and window sensor. Magnet spacing gap of 1.15" on wood, and 0.5" on metal. Has battery life of approximately five (5) years. Offers wireless range of 200+ feet. Measures. 2.44"L x 1.25"W x 0.45"D.
Honeywell Home PROSIXMINI2
Mini door and window sensor. Magnet spacing gap of 1.15". Has battery life of approximately seven (7) years. Offers wireless range of 500+ feet. Measures 2.9"L x 1.15"W x 0.75"D.
Honeywell Home PROSIXPANIC
Dual-button panic. Activation requires pressing and holding BOTH buttons for three (3) full seconds. Only uses one (1) zone on system. Water resistant. Includes accessory clip for device to be worn as wristband, lanyard, or belt clip.
Honeywell Home PROSIXPIR
PIR motion detection sensor. Has maximum detection area of 40 by 56 feet with 90° viewing angle. Supports pet immunity for small animals weighing up to 80 lbs.
Honeywell Home PROSIXSHOCK
Three-zone, all-in-one shock, contact, and transmitter sensor. Each function (service) can be turned ON or OFF as needed. Shock coverage area of about 10 to 12 square feet (5 to 6 foot radius). Four (4) sensitivity options for shock detection. Contact magnet spacing gap is 0.75" on wood surface. Wireless transmitter is for NC contact sensors only. Measures 3.13"L x 1.61"W x 1"D.
Honeywell Home PROSIXSMOKEV
Smoke and heat detector. Photoelectric smoke detection. Heat sensor activates at Fixed Temperature of 135°F, or Rate-of-Rise of 15°F in single minute when temperature is 104°F or higher. Emits 85 dB Temporal 3 sounder upon activation. Includes One-Go-All-Go functionality.
Honeywell Home PROSIXTEMP
Temperature sensor. Uses two (2) zones - one for low-temperature detection (COLD), one for high-temperature detection (HOT). Low-temperature detection activates when temperature falls below 45°F for ten (10) minutes. High-temperature detection activates when temperature rises above 95°F. Faulted zone restores when temperature is inside normal threshold for at least ten (10) minutes. Accurate within +/- 3°F.
Honeywell Home PROINDMV
Full-motion video sensor. Combines a PIR motion detection sensor with a full-motion video camera, and begins recording video when activated while the system is Armed Away and an alarm is triggered. Video is sent from Total Connect 2.0 to the end user via text and/or email. User cannot request a video clip or a live look-in from TC2. Provides a coverage area of 39 by 54 feet with a 90° viewing angle. Offers pet immunity for small animals under 80 lbs.

But the PROSIX Sensors and classic SiX Series Sensors are not your only sensor options for the Honeywell Home PROA7PLUS. If you add a Honeywell Home PROTAKEOVER Module to the system, then your PROA7PLUS will be able to interface with wireless sensors from one (1) of five (5) selectable legacy sensor frequencies. The PROTAKEOVER Module has a dial that allows you to choose which one (1) legacy frequency you want to use. Your options include Honeywell 5800 Sensors, 2GIG 345 MHz Sensors, legacy DSC 433 MHz Sensors, legacy Qolsys & Interlogix/GE 319.5 MHz Sensors, and Bosch 433 MHz Sensors. In addition, this module is what allows the PROA7PLUS to support 250 zones. Of these maximum 250 zones, 127 are for use with PROSIX and classic SiX Series Sensors, and the other 123 are for the legacy sensors you can add after installing the PROTAKEOVER Module. One limitation of the PROTAKEOVER Module is that it should NOT be used to interface life-safety sensors like smoke detectors and CO detectors with the PROA7PLUS System.


There is one other important note about using the Honeywell Home PROTAKEOVER Module with the PROA7PLUS. Once you install the PROTAKEOVER inside the system, you will NOT be able to use the current Honeywell Home PROA7DM Desk Mount with the system. The PROA7DM is an accessory that allows you to conveniently rest the system upright on a table or desk, instead of hard-mounting it to a wall. In other words, you must choose between the PROTAKEOVER Module and the PROA7DM Desk Mount. Fortunately, you will still be able to mount the PROA7PLUS System on the wall like normal when using the PROTAKEOVER Module. The reason for this is that the PROTAKEOVER module comes with a replacement wall mounting plate which contains the antenna used for the legacy wireless devices. The PROA7DM also comes with a replacement mounting plate, but it does. not have the required antenna built-in. Resideo says that a new version of the PROA7DM Desk Mount will eventually be released that will allow you to use it with the PROTAKEOVER Module. Unfortunately, we do not have an estimated release date for the updated PROA7DM at this time.

One other option for adding sensors to the Honeywell PROA7PLUS Alarm System is to use a wired to wireless converter. This type of device will allow you to pair hardwired sensors with the system that otherwise wouldn't be able to interface. The way that this works is by having the wired sensors wire-in directly with the converter unit. The converter then sends a wireless signal to the alarm panel on behalf of the wired sensors. As far as the PROA7PLUS is concerned, it will just see the wired sensors as wireless devices and allow them to pair with wireless system zones. Resideo offers a special wired to wireless converter exclusively for the PROA7PLUS called the Honeywell Home PROSIXC2W. The PROSIXC2W transmits at the same encrypted wireless frequency as the PROSIX Series Sensors, making it extremely safe and secure. And it can communicate with the PROA7PLUS System from more than 300 nominal feet away. Overall, the PROSIXC2W is a fantastic option if you have existing wired sensors on an older system and you are looking to upgrade to a new PROA7PLUS Panel.


Now that we have discussed all the sensor options for the Honeywell Home PROA7PLUS, we now want to discuss automation options for the system. The Honeywell Home PROA7PLUS has a built-in Z-Wave Plus controller, just like what is inside the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus and the 2GIG GC3e. This is an upgrade of the standard classic Z-Wave controller that is found inside the Honeywell Lyric. By using certified Z-Wave Plus devices with the PROA7PLUS, you will be able to achieve an extended wireless range and battery life. We strongly recommend checking out our 2020 Holiday Buying Guide for Automation to learn more about the Z-Wave Plus devices we recommend pairing with the PROA7PLUS. Additionally, it is expected that the PROA7PLUS will eventually be able to support Apple HomeKit, just like the Honeywell Lyric. Unfortunately, we do not have an ETA for when this will be made available. For now, we recommend using Z-Wave Plus devices for automation with the Honeywell Home PROA7PLUS Security Panel.

Please note that up to 78 total Z-Wave devices can be paired with the PROA7PLUS, which includes 60 lighting modules, 6 garage door controllers, 6 door locks, and 6 thermostats. Any Z-Wave device used with the system will also be pushed over to Total Connect 2.0 for remote control, assuming that the PROA7PLUS System is monitored.


Our next topic involves communicator options for the Honeywell Home PROA7PLUS. The system comes with a built-in WIFI card for IP connectivity. This means that you can get it monitored and set up with AlarmNet and Total Connect 2.0 right out of the box, with no additional add-ons. This is great for users who want low-cost IP-only alarm monitoring service from an Alarm Grid Bronze Plan or an Alarm Grid Silver Plan. But you should keep in mind that by doing this, your monitoring service and your safety will be dependent upon your internet connection. If you experience an internet outage, then your PROA7PLUS Alarm System will have no way of communicating signals to you or to a monitoring station.

That is why we strongly recommend upgrading to cellular communication. By installing a compatible cellular communicator inside the system. This will require upgrading to a more expensive cellular alarm monitoring plan, such as an Alarm Grid Gold Plan or an Alarm Grid Platinum Plan. But the advantage to doing this is that your system will stay connected with AlarmNet and Total Connect 2.0 even during an internet outage. You may want to review this post that thoroughly outlines our monitoring plans for more information. Remember, our Gold and Platinum Plans include BOTH cellular AND internet, meaning that you can set up your PROA7PLUS with what is commonly referred to as dual-path connectivity.

We currently have two (2) cellular communicator add-on options for the PROA7PLUS, and they are outlined below.

Model
Notes
Honeywell Home PROLTE-A
AT&T LTE AlarmNet Communicator for Honeywell Home PROA7PLUS.
Honeywell Home PROLTE-V
Verizon LTE AlarmNet Communicator for Honeywell Home PROA7PLUS.

The last thing we want to discuss are some miscellaneous accessories that you can use with the Honeywell Home PROA7PLUS. These are just various replacement parts and add-ons that can improve your user experience. Some of the most notable products listed here are secondary keypads that you can use to control your security system from a second on-site location. This section also includes wireless external sirens that you can use to spread out your system's alarm sound across a larger area to ensure that everyone is alerted in the event of an emergency. These products don't really fit in with any other category, so refer to the notes to learn more about these devices. Without further ado, let's take a look.

Model
Notes
Honeywell Home PROSIXLCDKP Alphanumeric keypad controller for PROA7PLUS. Offers two lines of 16 characters each, for a total of 32 characters displayed on the LCD screen. Supports chime, but not voice. Cannot be used for automation commands. Includes transformer and backup battery. Uses PROSIX technology to communicate with the panel.
Honeywell Home PROWLTOUCH Portable touchscreen keypad controller for PROA7PLUS. Mimics the screen of the PROA7PLUS Alarm Panel. Suitable for both security and automation functions. Pairs with system across WIFI connection. Includes transformer and backup battery.
Honeywell Home PROSIXSIREN Wireless 85 dB siren. Emits Temporal 3 Sound for Fire, and Temporal 4 Sound for CO. LED light indicates current system status. Indoor use only.
Honeywell Home PROSIXSIRENO Wireless 85 dB siren. Emits Temporal 3 Sound for Fire, and Temporal 4 Sound for CO. LED light indicates current system status. For indoor or outdoor use.
Honeywell Home PROA7DM Desk mount for PROA7PLUS. Eliminates need for wall-mounting and drilling holes. Keeps panel upright at 30° or 60° angle. Comes with 8-foot power cord for panel. Currently cannot be used w/ PROTAKEOVER Module.
Honeywell Home PROWLTOUCHDM Desk mount and charging dock for Honeywell Home PROWLTOUCH Touchscreen Keypad. Keeps keypad upright so that it can be conveniently displayed. The keypad power supply can connect to a port on the unit so that the keypad charges while docked.
Honeywell HOME PROWLTOUCHWM Wall mount and charging dock for Honeywell Home PROWLTOUCH Touchscreen Keypad. Allows keypad to be prominently displayed on the wall. Mounting hardware comes included. The keypad power supply can connect to a port on the unit so that the keypad charges while docked.
Honeywell Home PROA7BARXUS
Prepared power cable for PROA7PLUS. Connects panel to transformer so that power can be provided. System does not come with cabling for the transformer, so purchasing this is strongly advised!
Honeywell Home PROA7XFMRUS Replacement transformer for PROA7PLUS. Rated at 9VDC, 2.5A. This is just a replacement transformer in case the original one is lost or broken.
Honeywell Home PROLTE-ANT Indoor/Outdoor cellular antenna used with PROLTE-A or PROLTE-V. Boosts cellular signals for users in areas where an adequate cellular signal cannot be otherwise obtained.
Honeywell Home PROWIFIZW
Replacement WIFI card and Z-Wave Plus module for PROA7PLUS. This is just a replacement module in case something goes wrong with the original one that comes pre-installed inside the panel.

Like always, if you have any questions about the Honeywell Home PROA7PLUS or any of its accessories or add-ons, please email us at support@alarmgrid.com. This is also a great email to use if you are interested in starting new monitoring service or if you simply want more information. Our technicians and security system planners are here to respond to incoming emails from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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The Alarm Grid holiday buying guide for the 2020 season continues, this time focusing on smart home automation. We will be covering our top picks for lights, door locks, and thermostats. As usual, our selections are compatible with our top security system picks for the 2020 shopping season.

If you haven't seen our earlier 2020 holiday buying guide releases, make sure to review them at some point. They will provide you with a good introduction before checking out our smart home automation offerings.

An automation device is a piece of equipment that you can have activate automatically based on a set schedule. These devices can also be controlled remotely from virtually anywhere in the world using a platform like Total Connect 2.0 or Alarm.com and a simple app on your smartphone. When we talk about automation devices for alarm systems, we are mainly discussing lights that can be turned ON or OFF, dimmer modules that can adjust the brightness of lights, door locks that can be LOCKED or UNLOCKED, and thermostats that can increase or decrease the set temperature in the building when connected with an HVAC system. There are also some miscellaneous automation devices, including smart water valves, that we will also explore. Depending on the platform, you can also integrate these devices with smart home voice assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Home. We won't be exploring that too much in this buying guide, but it is something to keep in mind if you already have a smart home assistant set up in your house, or if you were considering setting one up in the near future.

To keep our automation section as simple as possible, we will be primarily looking at Z-WAVE PLUS automation devices. This refers mostly to 500-Series Z-Wave Plus devices, though you may occasionally see some newer 700-Series Z-Wave Plus devices thrown in as well. Using certified Z-Wave Plus devices with a Z-Wave Plus controller will ensure the furthest possible wireless range, as well as the longest possible battery life, when applicable. Using exclusively Z-Wave Plus devices on a Z-Wave Plus controller is also the best way to ensure the strongest possible mesh network. Another advantage to going with Z-Wave Plus is that your automation devices will pair directly with your alarm system, which will thereby serve as your central automation controller. This keeps things as simple and as organized as possible, and it will ultimately allow you to keep everything in the same app on your phone.


However, we will also be including a few Apple HomeKit products along the way. We understand that we have many customers who use iOS and are building around the HomeKit platform for automation. When looking at our top security system picks, only the Honeywell Lyric is compatible with Apple HomeKit. This is out recommended system if you are building around the HomeKit platform. If you are starting from scratch and you are not a dedicated iOS user, then you will likely prefer Z-Wave Plus, as you can keep all your system control and automation control in the same app, with virtually no crossover. But, if you have taken advantage of what Apple HomeKit has to offer, and you want to continue building around the platform, then we have you covered. Remember, of our top system picks, only the Lyric can support HomeKit, and even then, your HomeKit devices will not pair directly with the Lyric.


Of our top security system picks for the 2020 holiday buying season, both the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus and the 2GIG GC3e support Z-Wave Plus technology. Both of those systems have their own integrated Z-Wave Plus controller, and they will allow you to take full advantage of what Z-Wave Plus has to offer. However, our other top pick, the Honeywell Lyric only has a classic Z-Wave controller built-in. You can still enroll Z-Wave Plus devices with the Lyric, but they won't offer the same range, battery life, and security provisions as Z-Wave Plus. This makes the Lyric the weak link of the three if automation outside of Apple HomeKit is particularly important to you. But rest assured that every product listed here should work with any of our recommended systems. Its just that you will get the best possible results by using a Z-Wave Plus compatible system, like the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus or 2GIG GC3e.

With all of that out of the way, let's begin exploring our favorite smart home automation devices of the 2020 holiday season.


Smart Lights

Smart lights can be split into a few different categories. They are usually either in-wall modules that replace your existing, standard light switches, or they are plug-in module that you simply plug into a regular wall outlet. Lights can also be split into groups of ON/OFF switches that merely turn the lights ON and OFF, and groups of dimmer modules that can actually adjust the brightness of the lights. As such, you will see four (4) groups of lights listed below. There are in-wall switches, in-wall dimmers, plug-in switches, and plug-in dimmers. We know that may seem a bit confusing, but it should make more sense once you see all of the categories properly laid out and organized. Spoiler, if you're looking for Apple HomeKit Lights, then skip to the very end of this section.

We will start with Z-Wave Plus in-wall switches. These devices replace existing in-wall switches, and they are able to turn the lights ON and OFF. When installing one, make sure to cut power at the circuit breaker first. Then simply remove the existing in-wall switch, and install your new Z-Wave Plus in-wall switch in its place. Keep in mind that most of these units will require the use of a neutral wire. Most homes built in the 1980s onward will have this readily available, though older homes may be lacking this wire. It's also important to mention that all of the in-wall switches listed here should readily fit into single gang brackets. We will also be listing coordinating 3-way switches in the notes section when applicable.

Here are our top picks for Z-Wave Plus in-wall switches.

Model Notes
GoControl WS15Z5-1 From Nortek. Supports up to 1800W for resistive bulbs, or 600W for incandescent bulbs. Uses GoControl WT00Z5-1 as coordinating 3-way switch.
GE 14318 From GE. Supports up to 1800W for resistive bulbs, or 960W for incandescent. Uses GE 12723 as coordinating 3-way switch.
GE 46201 From GE. Supports up to 1800W for resistive bulbs, or 960W for incandescent. Compatible with CFL and LED bulbs. Uses GE 12723 as coordinating 3-way switch.
GE 46562 From GE. Supports up to 1800W for resistive bulbs, or 960W for incandescent. Uses GE 12723 as coordinating 3-way switch.
Resideo Z5SWITCH From Resideo. Supports up to 1800W for resistive bulbs, or 960W for incandescent. Compatible with CFL and LED bulbs. Uses Resideo Z53WSWITCH as coordinating 3-way switch.

Next up are Z-Wave Plus in-wall dimmers. These units also replace your existing in-wall switches. The difference here is that these devices have the ability to adjust the brightness of your lights, in addition to simply turning them ON and OFF. You will want to make sure you are using these devices with dimmable light bulbs. Again, you will want to cut power at the circuit breaker when installing. Most of these units will require a neutral wire, though there is an exception here. You should be able to fit these units into a single-gang electrical bracket.

Here are our top picks for Z-Wave Plus in-wall dimmers.

Model
Notes
GE 14299 From GE. Supports up to 600W incandescent. For dimmable bulbs only. Uses GE 12723 as coordinating 3-way switch. No neutral wire required.
GE 14294 From GE. Supports up to 600W incandescent, or 300W for dimmable CFL/LED bulbs. Uses GE 12723 as coordinating 3-way switch.
GoControl WD500Z5-1 From Nortek. Supports up to 500W of lighting load. Uses GoControl WT00Z5-1 as coordinating 3-way switch.
Resideo Z5DIMMER From Resideo. Supports up to 600W incandescent, or 150W for dimmable CFL/LED bulbs. Uses Resideo Z53WSWITCH as coordinating 3-way switch.

Now we will look at some more DIY-friendly options, starting with Z-Wave Plus plug-in switches. Unlike in-wall switches that you have to install using a screwdriver, these devices simply plug into your standard wall outlet. Just plug one in, connect a lamp, and you now have smart lighting control. These units couldn't be more straightforward and simple to use, and if you're intimidated by having to install your own in-wall light switch, then these are a fantastic alternative. Again, these units are only capable of turning the lights ON and OFF. You can also technically use some of these units with other plug-in devices, provided that the connected device does not exceed the maximum load limit.

Here are our top picks for Z-Wave Plus plug-in switches.

Models
Notes
GE 28172 From GE. Designed for lighting devices only. Supports up to 1800W for resistive lights, or 600W for incandescent lights.
Linear PS15EMZ5-1 From Nortek. Supports up to 1800W for resistive lights, or 600W for incandescent lights.
Resideo Z5SWPID From Resideo. Supports up to 1800W for resistive lights, 600W for incandescent lights, or a 1/2 HP motor.
Resideo Z5SWPIO From Resideo. Supports up to 1800W for resistive lights, 600W for incandescent lights, or a 1/2 HP motor. Suitable for outdoor use.
Qolsys IQ Smart Plug From Qolsys. Supports up to 13A of power. Not just for lighting devices. Also sold as Qolsys QZ2101-840.

Our penultimate category of smart lights focuses on Z-Wave Plus plug-in dimmers. As you can probably guess, these are plug-in modules, but instead of just turning the lamp ON and OFF, you can also adjust its brightness. The use of dimmable bulbs is recommended. Again, this is an excellent DIY alternative if you don't feel comfortable installing your own in-wall dimmer switch. Just plug it in, connect a dimmable lamp, and enjoy your new smart lights!

Here are our top picks for Z-Wave Plus plug-in dimmers.

Model
Notes
GE 28170 From GE. Supports up to 300W for incandescent, or 100W for dimmable CFL/LED bulbs.
GoControl PD300EMZ5-1 From Nortek. Supports up to 300W for incandescent lights.
Resideo Z5DIMPID From Resideo. Supports up to 300W for incandescent, or 100W for dimmable CFL/LED bulbs.

Lastly, we want to give special recognition to Apple HomeKit compatible smart lights. We're keeping things simple by only listing products from Lutron. These lights work by building around a centralized base station and then pairing lighting modules with that main unit. Our team at Alarm Grid is wholly impressed by what Lutron has to offer, and we can definitely recommend these lights for anyone building around the HomeKit platform. One other major benefit of Lutron Smart Lights is that no neutral wire is required as part of the setup. This can be very beneficial if you do not have a neutral wire in your home's existing electrical wiring. Please note that Alarm Grid only offers the Caseta lineup from Lutron, so that is what we will be focusing on in this buying guide.

The Lutron section of this guide will be split into four (4) categories. First we will look at the smart bridges, or central hubs, that we offer for Lutron. Then we will explore some bundled deals we offer as starter kits. From there, we will check out individual Lutron lighting devices. Lastly, we will examine some accessories for Lutron devices.


First up, we have the Lutron Smart Bridges. There are only two (2) here. You need one of these devices to start building a network of Lutron Smart Lights. You will notice a standard "non-Pro" model, as well as "Pro 2" model. The main difference here is that the "Pro 2" model can integrate with Alarm.com, while the "non-Pro" model cannot. This is completely irrelevant if you are building a HomeKit network around the Honeywell Lyric, as you will be using Total Connect 2.0 as your interactive smart platform instead of Alarm.com. But if you are using HomeKit separately with an IQ Panel 2 Plus, a 2GIG GC3e, or pretty much any other Alarm.com Security System, then this can really come in handy, as you can then integrate your smart lights in with the same network as your alarm system.

Here are our Lutron Smart Bridges.

Model
Notes
Lutron Caseta L-BDG2 "Non-Pro" smart bridge for Lutron. Does not support an Alarm.com integration. Supports up to 50 Lutron devices.
Lutron Caseta L-BDGPRO2-WH "Pro 2" smart bridge for Lutron. Supports an Alarm.com integration. Supports up to 50 Lutron devices.

But before you rush out and buy one of the aforementioned Lutron Smart Bridges, you may instead consider getting one of our Lutron Starter Kits, which all include a Lutron Smart Bridge and some compatible devices to get you started. This can save you a bit of money if you are just getting started with Lutron. Unfortunately, we only have starter kits based around the "Non-Pro" smart bridge. If you are wanting the "Pro 2" model for Alarm.com use, then you will need to buy that model ala carte, along with all the devices you want to pair.

Let's check out our Lutron Starter Kits.

Model
Notes
Lutron Caseta P-BDG-PKG1W Includes Lutron Caseta Smart Bridge, In-Wall Dimmer, Pico Remote, and Wall Plate.
Lutron Caseta P-BDG-PKG2P Includes Lutron Caseta Smart Bridge, Two (2) Plug-In Dimmers, Two (2) Pico Remotes, and Two (2) Mounting Pedestals.
Lutron Caseta P-BDG-PKG2W Includes Lutron Caseta Smart Bridge, Two (2) In-Wall Dimmers, Two (2) Pico Remotes, Two (2) Wall Plates, and Two (2) Mounting Pedestals.

Now we'll look at the actual Lutron Lighting Components. These are the individual, ala carte lighting devices that you pair with your Lutron Smart Bridge. The included notes should help you decide which devices are right for your Lutron network. Lutron keeps things relatively simple here, as the selection is short but sweet.

Here are individual Lutron Lighting Components.

Model
Notes
Lutron Caseta PD-3PCL-WH Plug-In Lamp Dimmer Module. Supports up to 300W for incandescent or halogen bulbs, or 100W for dimmable LED/CFL bulbs.
Lutron Caseta PD-5NE In-Wall Smart Dimmer for Electronic Low Voltage (ELV+) Lights. Supports up to 250W for dimmable LED/CFL bulbs, 500W for incandescent, halogen, or ELV bulbs, or 400W for Magnet Low Voltage (MLV) bulbs.
Lutron Caseta PD-6ANS-WH In-Wall Neutral Smart Switch. Supports up to 720W for incandescent, halogen, ELV, or MLV lights, 6A for LED/CFL, or 3.6A for a ceiling fan.
Lutron Caseta PD-6WCL In-Wall Light Dimmer Switch. Supports 600W for incandescent or halogen bulbs, or 150W for dimmable LED/CFL bulbs.

Last but not least, we have some Lutron Accessories. These include the Pico Remote that you can use a remote control for your Lutron Lights, as well as various wall-plates and some bundles. There are quite a few accessories to cover, and they make the perfect stocking stuffer for the Lutron lover on your gift list.

Here are Lutron Accessories.

Model Notes
Lutron Caseta PJ2-3BRL-WH-L01R Lutron Caseta Pico Remote. Small handheld remote that you can use to control your Lutron Lights. Includes three (3) buttons for turning ON and OFF and adjusting brightness. Can also be used to facilitate a multi-pole setup for your Lutron Lights.
Lutron Caseta PICO-WBX-ADAPT Lutron Caseta Pico Remote Wallplate Adapter Bracket. Allows you to mount your Pico Remote to the wall. Wallplate not included.
Lutron Caseta PJ2-WALL-WH-L01 Lutron Caseta Pico Wall Plate Kit. Includes a Pico Remote, Wallplate Adapter Bracket, and Wallplate.
Lutron CW-1-WH Single Gang Wallplate for Lutron. Double, triple, and quadruple gang wallplates also available!

Door Locks

Door locks are fairly straight forward. They replace the existing deadbolt lock on your front door, back door, patio door, pool door, garage door, or really any door with a deadbolt lock. You will then have smart control over that door, meaning you can LOCK and UNLOCK it remotely using a compatible interactive service platform. This also includes the ability to have the door LOCK or UNLOCK automatically with smart scenes. Most of the locks listed here will allow you to use a traditional key if you want, but you can also manually enter a code into the lock using push-buttons or a touchscreen. This can be very convenient for getting in if you forget your key or don't wish to carry one around.

Virtually any door lock will accomplish the same goal, so what you should base your buying decision on is how reliable the brand is, how you control the door lock locally (e.g. a push-button touchpad or a LED touchscreen), and which design you like. You will also need to decide whether you need a Z-Wave Plus door lock or an Apple HomeKit door lock. Most of the models listed here are Z-Wave Plus variants, but we did include a couple of HomeKit versions for good measure. Many of the door locks listed here come in multiple finishing options to give you some added customization. You will notice that we do not list too many brands here. We really wanted to focus on the ones we feel the most confident in offering.

Here are our top picks for door locks.

Model
Notes
Yale YRD216 From Yale. Push button Z-Wave Plus door lock. Stores up to 250 codes. Available in Polished Brass, Oil Rubbed Bronze, or Satin Nickel.
Yale YRD226 From Yale. Touchscreen Z-Wave Plus door lock. Stores up to 250 codes. Available in Polished Brass, Oil Rubbed Bronze, or Satin Nickel.
Kwikset 914 From Kwikset. Push button Z-Wave Plus door lock. Stores up to 30 codes. Available in Satin Nickel, Aged Bronze, or Polished Brass.
Kwikset Obsidian From Kwikset. Touchscreen Z-Wave Plus door lock. Stores up to 16 codes. Does not allow for traditional key locking/unlocking. Available in Oil Rubbed Bronze or Satin Nickel.
August Smart Lock Pro w/ Connect From August. Includes August Smart Lock Pro and August Connect, which makes integrating w/ Apple HomeKit significantly easier and more reliable. Supports BOTH Apple HomeKit and Z-Wave Plus connectivity. Also supports Bluetooth connectivity. Does not allow for traditional key locking/unlocking. Available in Dark Gray and Silver.
Yale YRD256 w/ iM1 Module From Yale. The integrated iM1 Module allows for use w/ Apple HomeKit. Lock itself can store 25 codes, pairing w/ HomeKit increases limit to 250. Available in Polished Brass, Oil Rubbed Bronze, or Satin Nickel. There is also a Z-Wave Plus variant of the same lock that does not support Apple HomeKit.


Smart Thermostats

Now we're really getting into exciting territory, as smart thermostats allow you to control the temperature in your home from virtually anywhere! This is perfect whether you want to keep energy costs low, or you simply want to ensure you arrive home to a comfy house. We all know how stressful it can be if you forgot to adjust your thermostat before leaving home. Well, now you can worry no longer! All you need to do to get started is cut the power at the breaker for your HVAC system, remove your old thermostat, and install your new smart thermostat in its place. This is easier than you might think! For this category, we will mostly be covering Z-Wave Plus thermostats, but we did include an Apple HomeKit thermostat in the listings as well.

Here are our top picks for smart thermostats.

Model
Notes
Honeywell T6 Pro Z-Wave From Resideo. Uses Z-Wave Plus technology.
Alarm.com ADC-T3000 From Alarm.com. Uses Z-Wave Plus technology. Compatible temperature sensor also available.
2GIG STZ-1 Thermostat From Nortek. Uses state-of-the-art 700-Series Z-Wave Plus technology.
Honeywell T6 Pro WIFI From Resideo. Uses WIFI to connect w/ Apple HomeKit.


Other Smart Home Devices


Alright, we're finishing this up with some great smart home devices that we couldn't really fit into any other category. Our main focus here will be on smart garage door controllers and smart water valves. These are super convenient and useful devices that make a great addition to almost any home. A smart garage door controller connects with your existing garage door motor so that you can open and close your garage door from anywhere or have it open and close automatically with smart scenes. Smart water valves are an excellent emergency tool that you can use to shut-off your water supply in the event of a flood or leak. Many users will pair them with flood sensors for inclusion in smart scenes. Unfortunately for Apple HomeKit users, we don't have any HomeKit devices for this section, and we will only be covering Z-Wave variants in this section.

Check out these miscellaneous smart home devices!

Model
Notes
Honeywell GDCK Garage Door Controller Kit From Resideo. Garage door controller kit that includes Honeywell 5877 Relay Module, Honeywell 5822T Tilt Sensor, and a SSA-1 Siren/Strobe. For use w/ Lyric and LYNX Touch only. Cannot be used with LiftMaster MyQ Garage Door Motors
GoControl GD00Z-8-GC Garage Door Controller From Nortek. Z-Wave Plus Garage Door Opener. Includes tilt sensor for detecting current position of garage door. Cannot be used with Lyric or LYNX Touch.
Alarm.com ADC-SWM150 Smart Water Valve & Meter From Alarm.com. Z-Wave Plus Smart Water Valve w/ Meter. Water valve allows you to shut off the water supply in the event of an emergency. Meter tracks your water usage for energy savings and efficiency. Typically installed by a plumber.
Alarm.com ADC-SWV100 Smart Water Valve From Alarm.com. Z-Wave Plus Smart Water Valve. Used to shut-off the water supply in the event of an emergency. Typically installed by a plumber.


Reach Out to Us!

Got any questions about which smart home devices are right for you, or are you not sure about compatibility? Reach out to us! Our team is happy to help you make your holiday shopping season as easy and as stress-free as possible. The best way to contact us is to email support@alarmgrid.com. We check our email from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. And as always, we look forward to hearing from you!

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Alarm Grid has been hearing reports from 2GIG GC3 and 2GIG GC3e users with trouble conditions that they cannot clear. According to reports, these unclearable errors only occur on these systems when Smart Area Partitioning is enabled. While inconvenient, they shouldn't cause much issue.




When a "trouble" condition appears on a 2GIG GC3 or 2GIG GC3e with partitions enabled, the "Smart Areas" menu button on the panel will appear yellow. Normally, you fix the trouble condition itself first. Then, you acknowledge the trouble by clicking on Smart Areas, entering your Master Code, and clicking the "speech bubble" next to the partition associated with the trouble. Then the trouble should clear, and the Smart Areas button should return to its usual blue state, indicating that everything is normal. More information on the trouble-clearing process can be found in this FAQ.

In the case of our customers who have reported this issue, they received a valid trouble condition of "Console Broadband Network Failure" or "Cellphone Communication Failure" appearing on various Smart Areas of their GC3 and GC3e systems. Because this was a system trouble, it showed up on multiple partitions. The trouble condition was then resolved successfully, as evidenced by the ability to send successful test signals via all communication paths to Alarm.com. However, the trouble message became stuck in multiple partitions and could not be cleared by any means.

Alarm Grid was able to replicate a similar issue through a relatively unique method. We found that if you enrolled a sensor with a GC3 or GC3e, put the sensor into a trouble condition (e.g. loss of RF supervision, cover tamper, etc.), and then deleted that sensor from the system without ever correcting and clearing the trouble condition, then the same situation would occur. Whichever partition the sensor was assigned to would be stuck with a permanent trouble condition that could never be cleared, regardless of which troubleshooting method was attempted. Of course, this would rarely happen in practice, as a responsible user would fix a trouble condition before intentionally deleting a sensor. But nevertheless, we were able to replicate a similar problem in practice.

Various methods have been attempted to fix this issue, but nothing has worked at removing these seemingly unclearable troubles. Some of the methods attempted have included disabling and then reenabling partitions, powering down the panel for a hard reboot, performing a reboot through System Manager, upgrading the firmware version, and factory defaulting the system. Users have reported that once they acknowledge the error that the panel stops making any audible sounds associated with the trouble condition, but still, the Smart Areas button remains a disturbing yellow color.

Not every GC3 and GC3e with partitions enabled appears to be affected. From what we can tell, only a small number of these systems are displaying such an error. Either that, or most users have chosen simply to ignore the issue, and not report it to us. Most of our monitored customers with a GC3 or GC3e have not reported this issue. But the ones who have reported the issue have left us at a loss for a solution. We apologize to these users, as we know how frustrating this can be. We don't often encounter issues we can't solve with a little bit of thinking, but this is one of those rare cases where we are just as confused as you are.

While this issue is annoying and bothersome, it doesn't appear to have any major impact on the performance of the system. The GC3 or GC3e System will still report to Alarm.com as intended, and it can still be relied upon for security and life-safety purposes. The one pressing factor though is that this issue can make it difficult for a user to determine when in fact there is a legitimate trouble condition on their system. Most GC3 and GC3e users who use partitions rely on the Smart Areas button to tell them if something is wrong. If it's blue, then everything is okay. But if it's yellow, then something needs their attention. This is a pretty simple check, and when it's not functioning properly, it's understandably frustrating.

Unfortunately, we do not have a solid fix for this problem at the current time. But luckily, if a new trouble condition occurs, the system will provide a trouble beep locally. It will continue to beep until a user acknowledges the new trouble condition. In addition, if you have trouble notifications enabled through Alarm.com, then you will also receive a new trouble notification via text, email, and/or push notification should any new issues arise. Nortek and 2GIG have been apprised of this error, and advise they are working on a fix.

Our reports indicate that this issue is still present in both the latest GC3 Firmware and the latest GC3e Firmware. The highest firmware currently available for these panels is Version 3.2.5, and even systems on this latest firmware have been shown to be affected. We are hopeful that 2GIG and Nortek will release a fix for these unclearable trouble conditions in Firmware Version 3.2.6. But unfortunately, we have not yet received any indication that such a fix will be implemented. We also have no release date for Version 3.2.6 at this time. Again, we apologize for any inconvenience.

If you are affected by a trouble condition that you cannot clear, make sure to try the conventional methods of clearing it first. Correct the cause of the trouble, and then acknowledge the trouble by following the the steps in the FAQ linked earlier in this post. If you still can't clear the trouble, then please, report it to our support team by emailing support@alarmgrid.com. Your data is valuable to us in reporting the problem to 2GIG and Nortek so that a fix can be implemented. Our support team is available to check and respond to emails from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. As always we look forward to hearing from you!

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We're checking out the best environmental sensors for our top security system picks for the 2020 holiday shopping season, which are the Honeywell Lyric, the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus, and the 2GIG GC3e. Environmental sensors include life-safety sensors, flood sensors, and temperature sensors.


If you haven't seen our alarm panel 2020 holiday buying guide or our security sensor 2020 holiday buying guide, then be sure to go and check those out, as they will give a nice introduction to this buying guide for environmental sensors. You will need to make the same compatibility considerations for environmental sensors as you do for security sensors. The sensors you choose must be compatible with your system and communicate at a wireless frequency that is accepted by the alarm panel you are using.

As a refresher, here are the compatible sensor lineups for our recommended systems. Just like last time, the sensor lineups that are italicized and underlined represent the encrypted sensors that provide extra wireless security and protection.

While security sensors look for signs of forced entry and unauthorized access, environmental sensors look for undesirable environmental conditions. Specifically, we offer environmental sensors that look for life-threatening conditions, such as a fire or the presence of carbon monoxide (CO) gas. We also offer environmental sensors for detecting floods, water leaks, and unusually high or low temperatures that indicate a broken HVAC system. We will cover each type of environmental sensor in greater detail later in this holiday buying guide.

Adding environmental sensors to your system offers a few advantages. For one, it makes your alarm system more versatile so that it is looking for more than just security breaches. You will also be able to check off more boxes on your certificate of alarm (CoA), and that could lead to bigger savings on your home owner's insurance. Make sure to check with your insurance company to see if that is the case.

Life-Safety Sensors

Life-safety sensors monitor for unsafe environmental conditions that could result in a loss of life. Specifically, this group is primarily comprised of smoke and heat detectors and carbon monoxide sensors. There are also special combination sensors and listening modules that we will discuss further down the line.

First, we will take a look at some of our most popular smoke and heat detectors. These sensors monitor for both the smoke and extremely high temperatures associated with a fire. It is recommended that you have at least one (1) of these sensors on each floor of your building, particularly inside of sleeping areas and in central and connecting areas such as living rooms and hallways.

When checking out these sensors, you might also look for one-go-all-go functionality. This means that when one detector on the network activates, all of the other compatible sensors on the network will also activate their sounders. This can be very important for ensuring that everyone is alerted to the emergency. Certain jurisdictions may require one-go-all-go as part of building codes, so check with your local fire marshal to see if that is the case.

Here are our top picks for smoke and heat detectors.

Sensor Name
Product Lineup
Compatibility
Range
Encryption
Notes
Honeywell SiXSMOKE

Honeywell SiX Series Lyric 300 Nominal Feet 128-bit AES Encrypted photoelectric smoke detector and 135°F fixed temperature and 15°F per minute rate-of-rise heat detector w/ 85 dB sounder. Supports One-Go-All-Go.
DSC PG9936

PowerG All IQ Panel 2 Plus 2,000 Feet Open Air 128-bit AES Encrypted photoelectric smoke detector and 135°F fixed temperature heat detector w/ 85 dB sounder. Supports One-Go-All-Go.
2GIG SMKT8e-345

2GIG eSeries 2GIG GC3e 350 Nominal Feet 2GIG eSeries encryption Encrypted photoelectric smoke detector and 15°F per minute rate-of-rise heat detector when fixed temperature is 104°F or higher w/ 90 dB sounder and freeze detection at 40°F.
Honeywell 5808W3

Honeywell 5800 Series Lyric, GC3e, 345 MHz IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None Non-encrypted photoelectric smoke detector and 135°F fixed temperature heat detector w/ 85 dB sounder and freeze detection at 41°F.

Now let's look at carbon monoxide sensors. These devices respond upon detecting unusually high levels of carbon monoxide (CO) gas. This gas is both odorless and tasteless, making it virtually impossible to detect without a proper sensor. The gas is extremely harmful to humans, and it can result in serious injury or death in a matter of minutes. We recommend installing at least one CO detector on each floor of your home or office. They are often installed outside of garages and furnace rooms where CO events are most likely to occur.

Here are our top picks for carbon monoxide sensors.

Sensor Name
Product Lineup
Compatibility
Range
Encryption Notes
DSC PG9933

PowerG All IQ Panel 2 Plus 2,000 Feet Open Air 128-bit AES PowerG CO Detector w/ 85 dB sounder.
2GIG CO8e

2GIG eSeries 2GIG GC3e 350 Nominal Feet 2GIG eSeries encryption 2GIG eSeries CO Detector w/ 85 dB sounder.
Honeywell 5800CO

Honeywell 5800 Series Lyric, GC3e, 345 MHz IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None Honeywell 5800 Series CO Detector w/ 85 dB sounder.
2GIG CO8

2GIG 345 MHz Series Lyric, GC3e, 345 MHz IQ2+ 350 Nominal Feet None 2GIG CO Detector w/ 85 dB sounder.
Qolsys IQ Carbon

Qolsys 319.5 MHz Series 319.5 MHz IQ Panel 2 Plus 300 Nominal Feet None Qolsys CO Detector w/ 85 dB sounder.

We also want to give some special recognition to some combination smoke and CO detectors from Honeywell. These sensors combine fire detection with carbon monoxide detection into one convenient life-safety device.

Here are our top picks for combination smoke and CO detectors.

Sensor Name
Product Lineup
Compatibility Range
Encryption Notes
Honeywell SiXCOMBO

Honeywell SiX Series Lyric 300 Nominal Feet 128-bit AES Encrypted photoelectric smoke detector and 135°F fixed temperature heat detector and CO detector w/ 85 dB sounder. Supports One-Go-All-Go.
Honeywell 5800COMBO

Honeywell 5800 Series Lyric, GC3e, 345 MHz IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None Encrypted photoelectric smoke detector and 135°F fixed temperature heat detector and CO detector w/ 85 dB sounder and freeze detection at 41°F.

Lastly, we want to mention a pair of listening modules. These devices actively listen for the Temporal 3 (T3) sound of an activated smoke detector or the Temporal 4 (T4) sound of an activated carbon monoxide sensor. These are commonly used with wired smoke detectors and CO detectors that would otherwise have no way of interfacing with an alarm system. If your smoke detectors or CO detectors are one-go-all-go, then, a single listening module can take over your entire wired detector network.

Here are our top picks for smoke & CO listening modules.

Sensor Name
Product Lineup
Compatibility
Range
Encryption
Notes
Encore FireFighter FF345

Encore 345 MHz Series Lyric, GC3e, 345 MHz IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None Offers both T3 Detection for Fire & T4 Detection for CO
Interlogix SLX-AD-T3
Legacy Interlogix 319.5 MHz 319.5 MHz IQ Panel 2 Plus 200 Nominal Feet None Only offers T3 Detection for Fire. Not for use with CO detectors.

Flood Sensors

Next, we'll be looking at flood sensors. These devices use probes to detect water caused by a flood or leak. It only takes a small amount of liquid to activate one of these sensors, so your system will be alerted before any serious damage occurs. Many of these sensors double as temperature sensors, so expect to see quite a bit of cross-over with that section as well. For best results, use your flood sensors in low-plane areas where leaks are likely to occur, such as underneath toilets, water heaters, and in basements. You might also see that some flood sensor have a reporting delay that is used for false alarm prevention. This will be listed in the notes section in the table when applicable.

Let's check out our top picks for flood sensors.

Sensor Name
Product Lineup
Compatibility
Range
Encryption
Notes
DSC PG9985

PowerG All IQ Panel 2 Plus 2,000 Feet Open Air 128-bit AES PowerG Flood Sensor w/ 6-Foot Detection Probe.
2GIG FT6e-345

2GIG eSeries 2GIG GC3e 350 Nominal Feet 2GIG eSeries Encryption 2GIG eSeries Flood Sensor w/ High Temperature Detection @ 95°F and Freeze Detection @ 41°F.
Qolsys IQ Flood-S

Qolsys S-Line Series 319.5 MHz IQ Panel 2 Plus 600 Nominal Feet Qolsys S-Line Encryption Qolsys S-Line Flood Sensor w/ 6-Foot Detection Probe. Has a 1 to 3 minute reporting delay.
Honeywell 5800FLOOD

Honeywell 5800 Series Lyric, GC3e, 345 MHz IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None Honeywell 5800 Series Flood Sensor w/ High Temperature Detection @ 95°F and Freeze Detection @ 45°F. Has a 25 second reporting delay.
2GIG FT6-345

2GIG 345 MHz Series Lyric, GC3e, 345 MHz IQ2+ 350 Nominal Feet None 2GIG 345 MHz Flood Sensor w/ High Temperature Detection @ 95°F and Freeze Detection @ 41°F.

Temperature Sensors

The final type of environmental sensors we'll be checking out are temperature sensors. These sensors look for unusually high or low temperatures that indicate a broken HVAC system. When a temperature sensor is used for high-temperature detection, it should not be confused with a heat detector that looks for extreme temperatures only associated with fires. Instead, the high-end for a temperature sensor will usually activate at around 90°F. When a temperature sensor is used for low-temperature detection, it will sometimes be referred to as a freeze sensor. On the low-end, a freeze sensor will typically activate at a slightly higher than the temperature at which water freezes, which is 32°F. This is done to give the end user a bit of notice so that they can take action before the pipes freeze. You can typically expect a freeze sensor to activate between 40°F and 45°F. Most temperature sensors will offer both high and low temperature detection. And just like in the previous category, there is a lot of crossover with flood sensors, so you may see some repeats from the previous selection.

Here are our top picks for temperature sensors.

Sensor Name
Product Lineup
Compatibility
Range
Encryption
Notes
DSC PG9905

PowerG All IQ Panel 2 Plus 2,000 Feet Open Air 128-bit AES PowerG Temperature Sensor w/ customizable high and low temperature detection.
2GIG FT6e-345

2GIG eSeries
2GIG GC3e
350 Nominal Feet
2GIG eSeries Encryption
2GIG eSeries Flood Sensor w/ High Temperature Detection @ 95°F and Freeze Detection @ 41°F.
Qolsys IQ Temp-S

Qolsys S-Line Series 319.5 MHz IQ Panel 2 Plus 600 Nominal Feet Qolsys S-Line Encryption Qolsys S-Line Temperature Sensor w/ High Temperature Detection @ 100°F and Low Temperature Detection at 40°F.
Honeywell 5800FLOOD

Honeywell 5800 Series
Lyric, GC3e, 345 MHz IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet
None
Honeywell 5800 Series Flood Sensor w/ High Temperature Detection @ 95°F and Freeze Detection @ 45°F. Has a reporting delay of 25 seconds.
2GIG FT6-345

2GIG 345 MHz Series
Lyric, GC3e, 345 MHz IQ2+
350 Nominal Feet
None 2GIG 345 MHz Flood Sensor w/ High Temperature Detection @ 95°F and Freeze Detection @ 41°F.

Contact Us

Remember to contact us if you have any questions about environmental sensors or their compatibility. The best way to reach us is to email support@alarmgrid.com. This is also a good email to use if you are interested in starting new monitoring service. Remember that we are available to check email from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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You have likely heard us talking about the benefits of PowerG Sensors at one point or another. Today, we figured we would break down the benefits of these sensors and explain why we like them so much. Let's take an in-depth look at PowerG Sensors and all of their wonderful benefits.


PowerG Sensors were originally designed for the hardwired DSC PowerSeries NEO Systems. By adding a compatible transceiver unit to your PowerSeries NEO, the system will be able to support PowerG Sensors. Johnson Controls, which you may know as the parent company of DSC, took the technology associated with PowerG Sensors, and brought it over to the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 System. This move was not a major surprise, as Johnson Controls also had partial ownership over Qolsys at the time, and Johnson Controls has since bought out Qolsys entirely.

The addition of PowerG support for the IQ2 marked the beginning of the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus, which is how the system is still marketed and sold today. PowerG support is also available for the DSC Iotega, though that panel has largely flopped due to its lack of local end user programming. Today, the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus represents the most popular panel for supporting PowerG. All versions and variants of the IQ Panel 2 Plus support PowerG Sensors, and their exceptional performance makes them the go-to choice for IQ2+ users who want equipment with the best versatility and protection.

Starting with the range, PowerG Sensors can be used from up to 2,000 feet away from the IQ Panel 2 Plus when they are used in an open air environment. By open air environment, we are talking about a perfect setting with a direct line of sight, and no obstacles between the sensor and the alarm panel. Most homes and businesses do not provide the ideal, "open air" environment, as there are usually walls and metal appliances present. When you see us mention that 2,000 feet open air range, take that with a grain of salt, because in practice, the range is likely a bit less. But still, we can undoubtedly say that PowerG offers arguably the best wireless range in the security industry. Even if its nominal range isn't quite as far as its "open air range", it is still a very powerful signal that can help you overcome the range issues that other sensor lineups may experience. It is great for use in detached garages, barns, multi-building complexes, and even just large industrial buildings.


To make matters even better, there is also a PowerG Repeater, the PG9920. This device will effectively double the range of any PowerG Sensor and help you overcome range limitations caused by thick walls and other obstacles or signal disruptions. The repeater works by taking the signal sent out from any PowerG Sensor and sending it out a second time with just as much power and force as when it was first sent from the original sensor. By strategically placing the repeater, it's theoretically possible to double the useful wireless range of these sensors. That would mean that they can be used from up to 4,000 feet away from the IQ2+ in an open air environment. And if your building is particularly large, you may even have repeaters going away from the IQ Panel 2 Plus System in different directions, including up and down in building stories above or below.

But PowerG Sensors offer more than just an impressive wireless range. They are also known for their exceptional security. This is thanks to their military grade 128-bit AES encryption. To put this as simply as possible, the PowerG Sensor and the panel share a unique encryption key at the time of pairing. The sensor must provide this encryption key to the panel whenever it transmits a signal. Additionally, the panel must then provide a return response with the encryption key as verification in order for the command to go through. In the past, we have referred to this two-way communication process as a "digital handshake". Because of this encrypted pairing process, a PowerG Sensor actively knows whether or not it is currently paired with a panel. You may need to factory default a PowerG Sensor before you can pair it with a new system.


PowerG Sensors also take proactive measures against RF jamming. When a wireless sensor communicates with an alarm panel, it does so at a certain wireless radio frequency (RF). When we talk about RF jamming, we are referring to any malicious technique that prevents wireless signals from reaching their intended destination. This is accomplished by blocking the receiver with a stronger signal at the same wireless frequency as the device that is legitimately trying to communicate with it. When this is done on an alarm system, the system doesn't receive the incoming signals from faulted sensors, and no action is taken during a security breach or an unfavorable environmental condition. Early wireless sensors did not take this into account, and this made RF jamming an effective way to defeat an older wireless system.

The way that PowerG Sensors overcome RF jamming techniques is through a process called Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum (FHSS). This process involves splitting the RF bandwidth into multiple channels. Each independent channel represents a unique radio frequency for wireless communication to occur. The transmitter (the PowerG Sensor) and the receiver (the alarm panel) both agree on a set of channel hopping sequences that will take place. These sequences are encrypted and time-based for them to occur seamlessly. Since the transmitter and the receiver are both synchronized, they can switch between channels very rapidly. A potential intruder would never be able to re-tun an RF jamming device to keep up. In the case of the PowerG Sensors, the frequency hops occur between 912 MHz and 918 MHz. There are 50 different unique frequency channels that are used, and frequency switches occur 64 times per second. More information on FHSS is available here.

One other benefit of PowerG Sensors that we have never discussed previously is their Adaptive Transmission feature that helps them conserve battery life. This is why you will often see a PowerG Sensor with a very long expected battery life, sometimes more than ten (10) years). Adaptive Transmission involves two-way communication between the PowerG Sensor and the alarm panel. The alarm panel will tell the PowerG Sensor how well its signal is being received. The PowerG Sensor can then adapt its outgoing signal so that it reliably reaches the panel, without expending too much energy. The sensor and the panel regularly exchange this information so that the ideal amount of energy is always used in signal transmissions. This saves battery life in the long run.

We have also found that PowerG Sensors are extremely easy to enroll and they offer the reliable and effective performance that you should expect out of your security system. We wholeheartedly recommend them for use on the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus, as well as any other compatible alarm system. It is expected that the upcoming Qolsys IQ Hub will also be able to utilize PowerG Sensors, so look forward to using PowerG Sensors on that panel once it is available.


For now, if you have any questions about PowerG Sensors or the systems that support them, or if you are interested in signing up for new alarm monitoring service, then please reach out to us by emailing support@alarmgrid.com. We'll be available to check your emails from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Alarm Grid will be closed Thursday, November 26, 2020, for the Thanksgiving holiday. During this time, we will not be answering phones, responding to emails, or shipping orders. We will reopen for business as usual tomorrow, Friday, November 27, 2020. We apologize for any inconvenience.


Additionally, we are also sad to announce our Florida headquarters will be resuming quarantine due to the spike in COVID-19 cases in the state. Starting on Friday, our Florida employees will begin working from home as we did earlier this year. This should not affect your experience as an Alarm Grid customer, but please keep this in mind if you contact us for support or other inquiries. Our Florida headquarters is expected to remain in quarantine until at least the end of the 2020 year.

We understand that this has been a challenging year for many people out there. The ongoing pandemic may put a damper on many holiday gatherings, get-togethers, and annual traditions. But there is still plenty to be thankful for, and we should use this holiday to remember that. Our team will be enjoying a much-needed day of rest today, and we will be ready for business tomorrow.

Remember that you can still reach our central station partner Criticom Monitoring Services (CMS) while we are closed if you need to put your system on test mode. You can do so by calling our phone number, (888)-818-7728, and choosing option number [9]. Alarm Grid customers in Canada who receive central station service through Rapid Response can contact them at (800)-932-3822 to put their systems on test mode.

If you need to reach us while our offices are closed, please email support@alarmgrid.com, and we will do our best to reply as quickly as possible when we reopen on Friday. Keep in mind that our usual business hours are from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Alarm Grid is thrilled to announce that the brand-new Alarm.com ADC-VDB770 Doorbell Camera is now available! This is a state-of-the-art video doorbell camera that provides all the tools you need to monitor the front of your home and quickly and conveniently respond to any guests or visitors.


There's so much to discuss when it comes to the Alarm.com ADC-VDB770. But a great place to start is with its recording capabilities. This fully functional doorbell camera has the type of specifications that you would expect out of a high-end security camera. It offers Full HD recording capabilities, with max resolution topping out at 1440x1920 pixels. Its High Dynamic Range (HDR) helps recordings appear deeper, while also allowing for superior color detail. And with an astounding Field of View (FoV) of 150° Vertical and 115° Horizontal, the doorbell camera will capture more activity in the front of your home so that you stay informed. It even has IR night vision of up to 15 feet for capturing high-quality and detailed footage in the dark.

What makes the Alarm.com ADC-VDB770 even better is that it supports the full suite of Alarm.com Video Analytics. If you haven't heard about Video Analytics for Alarm.com, then you really are missing out. You can use Video Analytics to set up special recording rules and alerts based upon the type of activity that is detected. For example, you can easily set up a customizable detection zone that will trigger a video recording when a vehicle pulls into your driveway, but not when a person is walking by on the sidewalk. You can even set up multiple detection zones for added customization. For a doorbell camera like the ADC-VDB770, you will most likely want one directly in front of your door to detect a person. This is the ideal resource you need for producing video evidence of a package thief right in the act. Please note that the ADC-VDB770 does not have a conventional motion sensor, and it relies upon Alarm.com Video Analytics for all motion-based triggers and detection.

Of course, you will also receive alerts from the Alarm.com Mobile App on your phone whenever someone rings the ADC-VDB770 Doorbell. You can then connect to a live full portrait video of the person at the door and communicate with them in real-time using two-way audio. This is perfect whether you are away at the office or downstairs in your basement and don't feel like walking all the way upstairs to answer the door. If it's your friend, then you will know to let them in. But if it's just a pesky solicitor, then you can tell them you're not interested without having to go all the way to them. This is super convenient, and it can really make your day-to-day life easier. You can even use this feature to prevent a possible burglary by answering the doorbell and appearing to be home if a potential intruder tries to ring the doorbell while you are away. Many intruders will first ring the doorbell to see if anyone is home, so this can really come in handy!

The Alarm.com ADC-VDB770 connects with your local WIFI network for pairing with the Alarm.com servers. WPS pairing is supported to make the process easy. It is important to note though that the ADC-VDB770 can only be used with Alarm.com accounts that have been set up for full video monitoring service. This is unlike the SkyBell Video Doorbells for Alarm.com, where you could add a single SkyBell device to your account, even if you didn't have true video surveillance. This means that Alarm Grid customers who want to use the ADC-VDB770 will need either a Platinum Level Plan (Self or Full) or a Video Monitoring Plan. More information about all our monitoring plans can be found in this guide.

Additionally, you must also have both the Video Doorbell Package Add-On and the Video Analytics Package Add-On applied to your Alarm.com Video Account. Alarm Grid will apply these add-ons at no extra charge for anyone with Alarm.com video monitoring, just remember to ask us. Lastly, you must keep in mind that the ADC-VDB770 and the clips it records will count both towards your camera limits and your clip limits. It really should be treated as a typical Alarm.com Security Camera. More information on Alarm.com camera limits and clip limits can be found in this FAQ.

The Alarm.com ADC-VDB770 is available for purchase on our site now! If you have any questions about this new doorbell camera, including compatibility requirements, please email us at support@alarmgrid.com. This is also a good email to contact us at if you are interested in signing up for new monitoring service or upgrading your existing plan. We check our email from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Last week, we took a look at three of the best alarm panels in the industry. These were the Honeywell Lyric, the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus, and the 2GIG GC3e. Today, we are checking out the sensors that you can add to support these systems. Here is our 2020 Security Sensor Buying Guide!

Sensors are accessories that are added to alarm systems to report specific activity. Each sensor has its own job of looking for a certain type of activity in its designated location. All of the sensors on a system communicate with a single centralized panel or hub. This panel is actively listening for any sensor that is triggered due to a potentially important system event. Adding new sensors is perhaps the best way to expand upon an existing system, and they make awesome gifts and stocking stuffers for the security enthusiast in your life.

Broadly speaking, sensors can be split into two main categories, which are security and life safety/environmental. Security sensors look for activity that suggests potentially unauthorized entry into a monitored and protected location, such as a door being opened, movement in a room where nobody is supposed to be present, or a window being broken. Life safety/environmental sensors look for activity associated with unwanted or potentially harmful conditions that affect the well-being of those in the area, such as a flood, an extreme temperature, a fire, or the presence of CO gas. We'll be taking a look at life safety/environmental sensors another time. Today, our focus is on security sensors.

Wireless Sensor Basics


Before we dive into specific security sensors for our top panel picks, we're going to start by giving you some general, generic information that can be applied to any sensor out there. First, understand that this post is focusing only on wireless sensors. These are almost always the sensors chosen for use with wireless alarm systems. Wired sensors can also technically be used with wireless panels but a converter module is almost always needed. Not to mention the fact that wireless sensors are significantly easier to install, especially for DIY users. The only time you will realistically see wired sensors used with a wireless panel is if a user is upgrading from an older wired system and bringing over their old wired sensors, or in new construction where a user wants to integrate the sensors in with the building. But if you're expanding upon a wireless system by getting new sensors, then the new sensors will almost certainly be wireless.

The important thing to remember when choosing wireless sensors for a wireless alarm panel is making sure the sensor is compatible with the system. It doesn't matter if a sensor has all the specs and features if it doesn't work with your panel! The way to determine compatibility is to look at the lineup that the sensor is from. Petty much every wireless sensor out there is part of a larger grouping of sensors that will all have the same compatibility.

To make it easier for you, we have the three panels we mentioned before (well, make that five, as the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus actually comes in three versions), and all their compatible sensor lineups conveniently listed. We hope that this sheds some light on your options. The only caveat is that for any panel listed here that supports the Honeywell 5800 Sensors, we must be clear that this is only for the uni-directional sensors with one-way communication in the lineup. Any bi-directional Honeywell 5800 Sensors with two-way communication will not work with any of the aforementioned systems. The bi-directional Honeywell 5800 Sensors are only compatible with the Honeywell LYNX Touch and VISTA Systems, which were not included in our buying guides.

With that out of the way, here are compatible sensor lineups by system:

You will notice that some of the sensor groups listed above are italicized and underlined. That is done to identify the lineups of encrypted sensors. These encrypted sensors have special protection measures put in place to make them more secure and less prone to being hacked or defeated by malicious attacks. Encrypted sensors tend to have more restricted compatibility. They may follow a special enrollment process. Encrypted sensors often use bi-directional communication so that the sensor knows that it is actively paired with the system. Many encrypted sensors may only be paired with a single system at any given time, and the sensor will need to be deleted from its existing system before it will work with a new one.

It's okay to use non-encrypted sensors with your system, especially in zones that are less likely to trigger an alarm, like a second story window. Many users will opt to use a mixture of both encrypted and non-encrypted sensors. Other users feel comfortable using entirely non-encrypted sensors. It really comes down to your level of comfort. Non-encrypted sensors are secure in most situations, and they are still tricky to defeat. But going fully encrypted is recommended for anyone seeking maximum security. One tip if you do decide to go with some non-encrypted sensors is to avoid letting others know what wireless frequency your sensors use or what type of system you have installed. Knowing the frequency and the system being used makes it much easier for a savvy intruder to defeat a sensor.

Door & Window Alarm Sensors


Now that you know some basics that apply to almost all wireless sensors, let's start talking about specific types and models. Door and window sensors will let a system know when a door or window has been opened or closed. These are some of the most basic and easy to use sensors on a security system. These devices work by using a larger sensor portion and a smaller magnet portion. The sensor is placed on or inside the door or window frame, and the magnet is placed on or inside the moving portion of the door or window. When the door or window is opened, the magnet will move away from the sensor. This will trip a metal reed switch inside the sensor, which will tell the sensor to alert the system to the opened door or window. All of the sensors we've listed here follow that same method of operation.

Door and window sensors can be split into two (2) main categories. Surface-mount door and window sensors are mounted outside the door or window and its accompanying frame on the surface. The advantage to surface-mount door and window sensors is that they are very easy to install, and they can usually be mounted using double sided foam tape. But some users may not like how they are visible on the outside of the door or window. If you don't like the appearance of visible surface-mount door and window sensors, then you might instead consider recessed door and window sensors. A recessed door or window sensor is installed inside a door or window and its frame, so that it is hidden and cannot be seen from the outside. Recessed door and window sensors are more difficult and time-consuming to install, because you must drill holes in both the door or window and its accompanying frame. Whether you decide to use surface-mount door and window sensors, or recessed door and window sensors is up to you. Most DIY users and Alarm Grid customers in general will use surface-mount door and window sensors.

Now let's look at some door and window sensors.:

Sensor Name
Product Lineup
Compatibility Range
Encryption Installation
Notes
Honeywell SiXMINICT

Honeywell SiX Series Lyric 200 Nominal Feet 128-bit AES Surface-Mount Premier mini encrypted door/window Sensor for Lyric.
DSC PG9303

PowerG All IQ Panel 2 Plus 2,000 Feet Open Air 128-bit AES Surface-Mount PowerG encrypted surface mount door/window sensor.
DSC PG9307

PowerG All IQ Panel 2 Plus
2,000 Feet Open Air 128-bit AES Recessed PowerG encrypted recessed door/window sensor.
2GIG DW10e

2GIG eSeries 2GIG GC3e 350 Nominal Feet 2GIG eSeries Encryption Surface-Mount Encrypted surface-mount sensor for 2GIG
2GIG DW20e

2GIG eSeries
2GIG GC3e
350 Nominal Feet 2GIG eSeries Encryption
Recessed Encrypted recessed sensor for 2GIG
Qolsys IQ DW Mini-S

Qolsys S-Line 319.5 MHz IQ2+ 600 Feet Open Air Qolsys S-Line Encryption Surface-Mount Encrypted surface-mount sensor for 319.5 MHz systems.
Qolsys IQ Recessed Door-S

Qolsys S-Line 319.5 MHz IQ 2+ 600 Feet Open Air Qolsys S-Line Encryption Recessed Encrypted recessed sensor for 319.5 MHz systems.
Honeywell 5818MNL

Honeywell
5800 Series
Lyric, GC3e, 345 MHz IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None Recessed Non-Encrypted recessed door/window sensor for 345 MHz systems.
VERSA-2GIG

2GIG 345 MHz Lyric, GC3e, 345 MHz IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None Surface-Mount Non-encrypted surface-mount sensor for 345 MHz systems.
VERSA-GE

Legacy GE 319.5 MHz IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None Surface-Mount Non-encrypted surface-mount sensor for 319.5 MHz systems.
VERSA-DSC

Legacy DSC 433 MHz IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None Surface-Mount Non-encrypted surface-mount sensor for 433 MHz systems.

We also want to share a selection of outdoor door and window sensors with you. These surface-mount contact sensors are specifically designed to withstand the conditions of an outdoor environment, including intense rain, wind, dust, and sunlight. You can see them listed below.

Sensor Name
Product Lineup
Compatibility
Range
Encryption
Installation Notes
Honeywell 5816OD

Honeywell 5800 Series Lyric, GC3e, 345 MHz IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None Surface-Mount Outdoor contact sensor from 5800 Series.
DSC PG9312

PowerG All IQ Panel 2 Plus 2,000 Feet Open Air 128-bit AES Surface-Mount PowerG Outdoor Contact Sensor.
2GIG DW30-345

2GIG 345 MHz Lyric, GC3e, 345 MHz IQ2+ 350 Nominal Feet None Surface-Mount Outdoor contact sensor from 2GIG 345 MHz series.

Motion Sensors


Motion sensors use passive infrared (PIR) technology to detect movement within the sensor's coverage area. This is done by looking for the changes in infrared (IR) energy that occur when a person, animal, or object comes within the sensor's field of view. Standard motion sensors are typically PIR only. These are appropriately called PIR motion sensors.

Some motion sensors will also use microwave technology in addition to PIR technology. This involves having the sensor send out microwave signals and seeing how the signals bounce off of objects in the area. Movement will change the pattern of these microwave signals, and the sensor will be able to detect this. These motion sensors that use both microwave and PIR are called Dual-Tech motion sensors. The purpose of using both PIR and microwave together is to prevent false alarms. A Dual-Tech motion sensor will only activate and alert the system if both its PIR sensor and its microwave sensor are triggered. A microwave sensor is not vulnerable to the same environmental issues that may cause a false activation on a PIR. You will not find a motion sensor that uses microwave technology without PIR detection, as microwave alone would result in too many false alarms without having PIR to confirm movement.

One feature that you will often see listed on a motion sensor is pet-immunity. A motion sensor that has been set up for pet immunity can be configured to not "look" in the areas close to the ground where pets and small animals walk. Instead, the motion sensor only looks in the areas higher up, where humans move while walking upright. A pet immune motion sensor is not impervious to small animals, and you must position it carefully so that it works as intended. Pet immune motion sensors normally have a weight limit, where animals under that weight limit should avoid triggering the sensor, assuming that the sensor is installed properly. Please note that most pet friendly motion sensors will require you to set the sensitivity for the sensor to the lowest possible setting.

When it comes to motion sensors, mounting them carefully is very important. A motion sensor may cause false alarms on the system if it is not installed properly. These sensors should not be facing any vents, air ducts, ceiling fans, or curtains that may cause the sensor to activate without any movement. If you are using the motion sensor for pet immunity, then it should also not be facing any furniture or stairwells that your pet could use to get within the sensor's field of view. You will likely want to perform a Walk Test of your motion sensor to make sure that it responds properly when movement is present, and does not respond due to other external factors when there is no movement. You should also have any pets participate in the Walk Test to ensure that pet immunity is working properly.

We recommend reading the following FAQs to learn more about motion sensors:

Below are some of the most popular motion sensors for our recommended systems:

Sensor Name Product Lineup
Compatibility Range
Encryption Coverage Area
Detection Type
Pet Immunity Notes
Honeywell SiXPIR

Honeywell SiX Series Lyric 300 Nominal Feet 128-bit AES 40 by 56 Feet
PIR Up to 80 lbs Encrypted PIR Motion for Lyric.
DSC PG9914

PowerG All IQ Panel 2 Plus 2,000 Feet Open Air 128-bit AES Up to 39 Feet PIR Up to 85 lbs PowerG Encrypted PIR Motion.
DSC PG9984P

PowerG All IQ Panel 2 Plus 2,000 Feet Open Air 128-bit AES Up to 50 Feet Dual-Tech Up to 40 lbs PowerG Encrypted Dual-Tech Motion.
2GIG PIR1e

2GIG eSeries 2GIG GC3e 350 Nominal Feet 2GIG eSeries Encryption
30 by 50 Feet PIR Up to 55 lbs Encrypted PIR Motion for 2GIG.
Honeywell 5800PIR-RES

Honeywell 5800 Series Lyric, GC3e, 345 MHz IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None 35 by 40 Feet PIR Up to 80 lbs Non-encrypted residential PIR motion for 345 MHz systems.
Honeywell 5800PIR-COM

Honeywell 5800 Series Lyric, GC3e, 345 MHz, IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None 60 by 80 Feet PIR None Non-encrypted commercial PIR motion for 345 MHz systems.
Honeywell 5898

Honeywell 5800 Series Lyric, GC3e, 345 MHz IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None 35 by 40 Feet for Pet Immunity Dual-Tech Up to 100 lbs Non-encrypted Dual-Tech motion for 345 MHz systems.
Qolsys IQ Motion-S

Qolsys S-Line 319.5 MHz IQ2+ 600 Feet Open Air Qolsys S-Line Encryption 30 by 40 Feet PIR Up to 40 lbs Non-encrypted PIR motion for 319.5 MHz systems.

There are also certain outdoor motion detection sensors that are better-suited for use in an outdoor environment. These outdoor motion sensor models are typically more expensive than indoor variants. You can see some of our most popular ones listed below:

Sensor Name
Product Lineup
Compatibility Range
Encryption Coverage Area
Detection Type
Pet Immunity Notes
DSC PG9994

PowerG All IQ Panel 2 Plus 2,000 Feet Open Air 128-bit AES Up to 30 Feet PIR Up to 40 lbs PowerG Outdoor PIR Motion Sensor
Honeywell 5800PIR-OD

Honeywell 5800 Series Lyric, GC3e, 345 MHz IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None 40 by 30 Feet PIR None Honeywell 5800 Series Outdoor Motion, 1st ed.
Honeywell 5800PIR-OD2

Honeywell 5800 Series Lyric, GC3e, 345 MHz IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None 40 by 30 Feet PIR None Honeywell 5800 Series Outdoor Motion, 2nd ed.
Optex FTN-RRIX

Legacy Interlogix 319.5 MHz IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None Up to 16.5 Feet PIR None Optex Fitlink Outdoor Motion Sensor for 319.5 MHz Systems
Optex FTN-RR2G

2GIG 345 MHz Lyric, GC3e, 345 MHz IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None Up to 16.5 Feet PIR None Optex Fitlink Outdoor Motion Sensor for 345 MHz Systems.
Optex FTN-RRDS

Legacy DSC 433 MHz IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None Up to 16.5 Feet PIR None Optex Fitlink Outdoor Motion Sensor for 433 MHz Systems.

Glass Break Sensors

The last type of security sensors we will be discussing are glass break sensors. These sensors include built-in microphones, and they actively listen for the unique sound of glass breaking. Most of these sensors will need to hear both the high-pitched shattering sound of the glass breaking, as well as the low-pitched sound of an object striking against the glass in order to activate. This design choice is to prevent false alarms caused by similar sounds. Most users will use glass break sensors to monitor windows, but they have also been known to work effectively on protective glass display cases that store valuables, such as what you might find in jewelry stores or gun shops. Most types of glass will work with glass break sensors, though there are some exceptions. For example double and triple pane glass windows won't work reliably. The same is true for coated or "safety" glass. Refer to the manual for the exact glass break detector you are using to determine compatibility.

A single glass break detector can monitor multiple windows or display cases, as long as the glass it is monitoring is within its detection range, which is typically 15 to 25 feet. Any glass that is being monitored must have a direct line of sight with the sensor, with no obstacles blocking the path that sound will travel through. When testing your glass break sensors, it is strongly recommended that you us a glass break simulator. These devices will mimic the sound of the glass breaking and activate your glass break sensors without actually breaking any glass. Remember to refer the instructions of your glass break simulator for more information. When choosing a glass break simulator, it is best to use a simulator from the same manufacturer, if possible. We have a Honeywell Glass Break Simulator and a DSC Glass Break Simulator available on our website. If you get one of the 2GIG Glass Break Sensors mentioned in this buying guide, then the Honeywell Glass Break Simulator is best for testing. Otherwise, just match the manufacturer.

Below are some of our most popular glass break sensors:

Sensor Name
Product Lineup
Compatibility
Range
Encryption
Notes
Honeywell SiXGB

Honeywell SiX Series Lyric 300 Nominal Feet 128-bit AES SiX Series Glass Break Sensor for Lyric
DSC PG922

PowerG All IQ Panel 2 Plus 2,000 Feet Open Air 128-bit AES PowerG Glass Break Sensor
2GIG GB1e

2GIG eSeries 2GIG GC3e 350 Nominal Feet 2GIG eSeries Encryption Encrypted glass break sensor for 2GIG.
Honeywell 5853

Honeywell 5800 Series Lyric, GC3e, 345 MHz IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None Non-encrypted glass break sensor for 345 MHz systems.
Qolsys IQ Glass-S

Qolsys S-Line 319.5 MHz IQ2+ 600 Feet Open Air Qolsys S-Line Encryption Encrypted glass break sensor for 319.5 MHz systems.

Reach Out to Us!


Remember that you can reach out to us with any questions you might have about planning your system and determining sensor compatibility. The best way to contact us is to email support@alarmgrid.com. This is also a good email to use if you are interested in starting new alarm monitoring service with Alarm Grid. Our team checks for new email from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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