April 2015 Archives

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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