May 2013 Archives

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This week's question comes from John in Nebraska and he wants to know how to turn chime mode on and off on his Honeywell L5100 Control Panel.

Like many users, we all initially love the alerts our Honeywell LYNX Touch L5100 gives us whenever a zone is triggered.

However, after months of living with someone with a different schedule, you may wish to disable the chimes the L5100 products, especially if it's close to your bedroom or home office.

Watch our video and learn how to easily turn your Honeywell L5100 on and off in our latest Ask Sterling segment:


As always, please send us your questions or ask below in the comments and we'll feature your question in the blog!

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If you are just beginning the process of looking for an alarm system, answer these really simple questions, and you'll be well on your way to finding what works for you.

1) Do you want a wired or wireless alarm system?

Honeywell L5100Honeywell VISTA panel

We highly recommend going wireless. Our two biggest selling wireless systems are the L5100 and the L3000. Both of these systems are great. The only differences between them really, is that the L5100 has a beautiful touchscreen that the L3000 does not and the L5100 can be used as a home automation controller as well as a security system.

On the wired side, our best selling units are the VISTA 21iP and the VISTA 20P. The difference between these two systems is that the 21iP has a built-in IP module, and the 20P requires that you purchase one (the 7847i) separately. After you've done your research, if you are excited about the VISTA panels, but like the benefits that a wireless system can offer you, you can add a 6160RF keypad with integrated wireless receiver to your VISTA panel and turn it into a wireless system.

2) How many doors and windows do you want to protect?

Honeywell 5811Honeywell 5816

If you need three or more door and window sensors, and you have decided that a wireless system is for you, check out our L5100PK and L3000PK. They are the most cost-efficient way to get the sensors and system you want. If you need additional sensors, you can add more 5816s or 5811s. The 5816s are thick and boxy, the 5811s are thin like a wafer. Both are good, but we a lot of users prefer the look of the 5811s.

If you want wired door and window sensors, we have tons of those. Look through our selection, and pick the ones that you like best. They all work well, and each of them perform a slightly different function.

3) How many motion sensors do you need?

Honeywell 5800PIR-RES

A lot of people do not install motion sensors. They are a good way to add an extra layer of protection, but oftentimes, the door and window sensors are good enough. If you just need one motion sensor, the kits I wrote about earlier are great. If you need more, the kit is still good, but you'll need to grab some more 5800PIR-RES motion detectors individually.

4) What kind of communication do you want your panel to use?

If you add alarm monitoring to your system, when a sensor is tripped, your security panel will send a signal somewhere. Now, if you have Total Connect service, it will go to AlarmNet and send you an email and / or a text. If you are connected to a central station, it will also go there.

How does the signal get from your panel to the central station or AlarmNet?

Good question. The signal can be delivered in three basic ways. First, you can have your system use your land line to report the alarm signals to the central station. All Honeywell systems, wireless and wired, have a built-in phone dialer so nothing additional is needed. That said, no one has a traditional phone line anymore. Also, you can't get Total Connect using a phone line. Therefore, other communication pathways are more popular. If you don't want to use the phone line, the most popular communication pathway is over the internet. While the L5100 can be hooked up through ethernet with the iLP5 module, the more common way to hook up an L5100 to the internet is by using the L5100-WIFI module. The L3000 needs the 7847i-L for internet monitoring and the VISTA panels use the similarly named, but very different 7847i. The L3000 and VISTA panels do not have a WIFI option and require an Ethernet cord to be strung to the router. The final communication pathway is over cell towers. Basically, when you purchase one of Alarm Grid's monitoring plans that include Cellular Communications, you are buying an AT&T cell phone plan for your system. We handle the SIM card activation and billing so you don't have to worry about a separate cell phone bill. Your system will then send out a signal using the wireless GSM network (which is often regarded as the most reliable pathway). The L5100 requires a GSMVLP5-4G to accomplish this, the L3000 needs a GSMVLP4G installed, and the VISTA panels need either the GSMV4G or the GSMX4G (see our FAQ on these communicators if you want to understand the difference between the two), unless it is a VISTA 21iP which requires the VISTA-GSM4G.

It may come as a surprise for anyone who is just starting their search, but those are really the four basic questions you need to ask yourself. Once you have taken inventory of your door and window sensors, motion sensor needs, whether you want your system to be wired or wireless, and what sort of communication pathway you think sounds most attractive give us a call or chat with us. We'd love to help you.


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This week's question comes from Jeanine in Kentucky and is a great one! Jeanine wants to know how to bypass a zone on her Honeywell L5100 alarm panel.

There's a variety of reasons why you would need to bypass a zone, such as a faulty or broken sensor, and bypassing allows you to still arm the rest of your system.

Ordinarily, the Honeywell LYNX Touch 5100 will not let you arm the system if it detects a faulted zone.

With this trick, you'll be able to temporarily disable the trouble zones or sensors when arming the system.

Just watch the following video to learn this useful skill next time you're having temporary RF signal strength or battery issues:


As always, please send any of your own questions to support@alarmgrid.com and we'll try to answer yours on the blog!

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The governor of Georgia, Nathan Deal, officially made Enhanced Call Verification a state law on May 6th of this year making John Loud a very happy man. John Loud is the president of Georgia Electronic Life Safety & Systems Association and he has been working for years to make ECV mandatory in Georgia.

Enhanced call verification requires all central stations to make at least two phone calls to the customer before dispatching authorities on an alarm received. ECV practices have been proven to greatly reduce false alarms and therefore many alarm industry associations including the Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC) work hard to get more municipalities to enact ECV.

While Florida, Delaware, Tennessee and Virginia have already enacted ECV laws, Georgia had seen some resistance to the proposed change. The state's Fire Marshall Office was worried that ECV would slow down response for fire alarms, where every second counts, but that issue was addressed in the new law HB 59. The law makes exceptions for fire alarms, panic alarms and duress alarms so that two calls are not required with those types of emergencies.

The Georgia law enforcement agencies know first hand how much time and resources are wasted responding to false alarms so they were another big proponent to the ECV law getting passed. The whole idea behind ECV is that the central stations are helping to filter out the vast majority of false alarms so that the police are only sent out on real alarms.

Here at Alarm Grid, we suggest all customers have us make two verification calls before dispatching but we will be working with our Georgia customers in the next few weeks to make sure everyone will be compliant with the new law by the time it goes into effect on July 1st.

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So we spent a few days in the middle of Washington DC at SpreeConf 2013!

Spree is the program that we have built our entire store on, and we got to spend a few days with the incredible development team. During the conference, we gave a little 5 minute presentation discussing how to make your Spree store search friendly. Here's the presentation:

If you're one of the developers who attended the conference, and you find this useful, we'd love a link. Other than that, feel free to embed it or do anything you want.

If you're an alarm monitoring (or alarm product) consumer who found your way to our site, you might have noticed that we show up everywhere in search. We have accomplished this in two ways: 1) We have designed a system that makes sure that you get all the useful information you need in a very simple, quick way whether you search for it on our site or you go to Google/Bing/Yahoo to find your content. 2) We produce as much useful content both on and off-site as we possibly can. If you are a small business owner, the principles in this power point apply to you. So, take what you can from it.

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Alarm Grid's YouTube channel has hit a huge milestone this week. Now, with just a hair short of sixty subscribers (we know it's still not that many), the channel itself served its 50,000 minute of video this week. Simply put, users have watched nearly 32 days worth of installation videos and instructionals since we launched the channel back in August. It's growing fast too, more than half of those minutes watched came in the last two months. Since our last slough of videos, viewership has shot up, and visitors to the channel are increasing the number of minutes we serve per day by incredible amounts watching just under 1,000 minutes of Alarm Grid footage each day.

YouTube

So we want to thank all of you for watching our videos, and we hope that you continue to get great use out of them. 

In the meantime, we'd love if you subscribed to the YouTube channel. We love watching numbers go up.

Below are the 4 most most watched videos on our channel ordered from most wasted time spent watching it to least:




 

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The latest question to come to our Ask Sterling column comes from Gary in North Carolina. Gary wants to know how to change the default installer code on his Honeywell L5100.

We absolutely recommend changing the default installer code on your Honeywell Lynx Touch L5100 because all panels ship from Honeywell with a default of 4112.

The last thing you want is someone to be able to use that installer code to start messing around with your system.

So thank you Gary for asking this very important question. Watch our video below or read our FAQ on changing the default installer code on your Honeywell L5100 and be sure and change yours today for your family's security!


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We are told an awful lot that we show up everywhere in the search results. It's no accident. We've built a comprehensive site that will do just that, ranking for everything from products to questions about each and every product. We do our darndest to cater to DIY alarm enthusiasts, which means that we are working with a crowd of people who love to research. That said, I assume you've probably run into our security FAQs once or twice in the course of looking for information about your dream home security question.

Ever wondered what percentage of people who come to our site with a question actually find the answer they were looking for?

I've put together a fun little chart that takes a look at Alarm Grid's FAQ traffic since our launch last year on May 15(ish).


As you can see, nearly 9% of our traffic comes from people looking for answers to questions. The orange line shows anyone who came to the site looking for an answer and finding it. The blue line shows the number of people coming to the site looking for an answer and not finding what they were looking for. And the green line is every person who came to the site looking for an answer to a question regardless of whether the question was answered or not.

So if you look at our progress, when we started writing the FAQs to now, things have really changed. Since we're pretty much coming up on our 1 year anniversary, I thought I might break up the year into quarters to show the progress.

From May-July, we had answered only 27.4% of all questions asked by visitors.

From Aug-Oct we had answered 54.8% of all questions asked by visitors.

From Nov-Jan we had answered 55.8% of all questions asked by visitors.

And from Feb-present, we have answered nearly 58% of all questions asked by visitors.

Our goal is to get to about 80%. But as you can see by the data, the more questions we answer, the more difficult it gets to increase the ratio of answered questions to unanswered questions.

Some more data-fun. We can actually drill down on products and see what percentage of questions are answered for each specific product.

For the last 3 months, 53% of all L5100 questions are answered, 79% of all VISTA 20P questions have been answered, but only 21% of VISTA 21iP questions have been answered. So, as you can see, there is a lot of work to be done.

Anyhow, if you're part of the now-42% whose questions haven't yet been answered in the FAQ, please feel free to leave your question here or on any of the FAQs themselves, we'll do our best to write up a good, comprehensive response.

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Since we opened for business, we've had a number of requests from wholesalers, distributors, and installers who want to purchase product at a deep discount. Usually it's an enormous amount of product that someone wants at a fraction of the price everyone else pays.

We made a decision very early on not to do business with wholesalers, distributors and installers. We really are only interested in selling to end users. One look at our alarm monitoring page reveals our goal, I think. It's clean, simple to understand, and we are up front about our pricing

Our goal has been to create a brand that helps guide individuals through the process of purchasing and installing a new alarm system and then offer them the exact kind of home security monitoring that they need. We really aren't the negotiating type of company. The price you pay on our site is the same price that every single person pays.

We really are a very small team. When we get distracted trying to give wholesalers, distributors and installers price quotes, it deters from our ability to build the brand that we want to build (and that we think you want us to build).

So if you're a wholesaler, distributor or installer please don't bother contacting us for quotes on big orders. You can do the math yourself. If you want 100 5808W3s, you will pay 100 * $77.99, just like everyone else.

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We're excited to announce our first repeat reader question! Andrew in Kalamazoo is back with his second Ask Sterling question.

Last time Andrew wanted to know how to arm and disarm his Lynx 5100. This week, Andrew wants to know how to change his Lynx 5100 master code.

Don't worry, Andrew. We're here to help again!

Changing the master code on your Honeywell Lynx Touch L5100 is an absolute must for any install.

While the default ultra-insecure "1234" might be acceptable for luggage combination, you're going to want to change that first thing!

So let us show you how to change your master code on your Honeywell L5000 / L5100 in the following video:


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