January 2018 Archives


The Honeywell VISTA 15P, 20P and 21iP are hardwired security systems that can each serve as the central hub for a user's security setup. Since these systems do not come with their own display screen, a user may feel somewhat intimidated when working with one of these panels. Fortunately, setting up and programming a Honeywell VISTA system is not so difficult once you know the proper commands and inputs. This guide will help you conduct basic tasks with your VISTA panel so that you can get the most out of your security system.

Throughout this cheatsheet, you may be asked to consult the VISTA Programming Guide to find more detailed instructions for any given process.



In order to use a VISTA system, you will need an alphanumeric keypad for programming and controlling the panel. A great keypad for this purpose is the Honeywell 6160RF Keypad. This keypad will allow you to control your VISTA panel with relative ease, and it includes a built-in high capacity wireless receiver so that you can use wireless sensors with your system.

Without a 6160RF, or a separate standalone wireless receiver, the VISTA-15P, 20P and 21iP would only support wired zones and you wouldn't be able to program Honeywell wireless 5800 Series devices until you added a receiver. Although only one keypad is necessary, some users may choose to add multiple keypads to their VISTA panel so that they they can have multiple points of access to, or egress from, their system.

Any keypad that is added to the system must have it's own unique address, which can be set by following this FAQ. The first keypad of partition 1 must be assigned address 16. Programming locations190 through 196 will define the attributes for any keypads that are assigned to addresses 17 through 23.

Common Keypad Messages

Keypad Display Meaning
bF AlarmNet Radio trouble: Check address, ECP wiring, registration status, signal strength
BAT Panel Low or Missing Battery
BAT 09-64 Sensor Low Battery, the number displayed is the sensor or zone number. If four consecutive zones are listed together, it is likely a key fob low battery.
BAT 00 Wireless Keypad Low Battery
Check 100 System Receiver Trouble. Can be caused by an address issue (use address 00), a wiring issue, or can also be caused by a tamper, though most 5800-series receivers do not have a tamper.
Check 103 Indicates an AlarmNet Communicator trouble. Can be caused by the device not being properly addressed (address 03), wiring trouble, tamper, registration trouble, and signal trouble.
Check + Zone Number Indicates a problem with a specific zone:
  • Open on a wired Fire Zone
  • Open on a wired Carbon Monoxide Zone
  • Open/Fault on a day/night zone w/system disarmed
  • Open/Fault on any trouble zone type
  • Tamper on a wireless zone
  • RF Supervision on a wireless zone
  • Fault on only 1 crossed zone
CHECK 70 Siren Trouble - this means different things, depending on the version of panel:
  • Version 1 - 7: a short on the bell circuit is always supervised, an open can be supervised if the bell supervision jumper is cut. If the jumper is cut, the panel looks for a 2k EOLR across the bell ckt.
  • Version 7+: (until 2011) a programming location was added (*91). Now bell supervision can be disabled. If enabled in *91 the bell ckt is always monitored for a short circuit. An open can be supervised if the bell supervision jumper is also cut. Uses a 2k resistor when the jumper is cut.
  • 2011+: Supervision is now enabled via programming only, the jumper has been removed. If enabled, be sure to install the supplied 820Ω resistor in parallel on the bell ckt. If using a siren driver, you may need to install the resistor anyway to prevent hissing on the siren speakers.
CHECK 87 Trouble with 4285/4286 VIP module. Can be caused by an address problem, a keypad bus wiring problem, or a tamper condition. Can also indicate a bad module.
CHECK 94 Telco Line Fault - Phone line supervision is enabled in *92. If enabled, the panel supervises the Tip and Ring terminals (23 and 24 respectively). If the voltage drops below 3VDC (4.5VDC up until 2003) for the amount of time specified in *92 entry 1, a Check 92, Telco Line Fault will be displayed. If there is no phone line connected, be sure *92 has 0 0 entered.
OC or Open CKT Open Circuit - Indicates the keypad is not receiving data from the alarm panel. This can be caused by an addressing issue, by a wiring issue, or by a panel or keypad issue. Read how to troubleshoot here.
FC or Comm Fail Communication Failure - Specifically, telephone line communication failure. If no phone line is in use, this FAQ shows you how to prevent this error.
CC or Modem Comm Indicates that a remote download connection is in progress.
strong>d1 or Busy, Standby Indicates the panel processor is busy. Will be seen upon initial power up, sometimes after exiting programming, and in some cases, if it doesn't clear after a few seconds, it may mean the system has been shut down via a downloader. It could also signify a panel issue.
CA or Cancelled Alarm Alarm Canceled - Displayed when the dialer is selected as the primary reporting path (*55 = 0) and any of the following occur:
  • After the kissoff of the Cancel Message to Central Station.
  • When an alarm is successfully canceled before the Central Station has received an alarm signal (i.e. successful disarm occurs during dialer delay).
  • When the cancel report is not enabled but the system is disarmed:
    • Before the dialer delay expires, and the alarm report is not sent "Alarm Canceled" or "CA" is displayed.
    • After the dialer delay expires, "Alarm Canceled" or "CA" is not displayed.
C5 Clock is not set - Only seen on proprietary panels that require a clock set. These include Guardian Alarm versions of the VISTA-20P, and possibly some Monitronics and Protection 1 panels.
EA or Exit Alarm Exit Error - Enabled in programming location *59 (always enabled on SIA panel versions):
  • If an alarm on an E/E or Interior zone occurs within two (2) minutes of exit delay timeout, an Exit Alarm is indicated on the keypad and sent to the central station. This is done to prevent a false alarm dispatch.
  • If an E/E or Interior zone remains open at the end of exit delay, an exit alarm report is sent to the central station, the siren sounds and the entry delay timer begins. The logic is that you should still be close enough to disarm during the delay and stop a false alarm from being reported. This gives the central station the option of treating the signal like something other than an alarm. If you have not disarmed before the entry delay expires, an alarm is sent to the central station immediately upon its expiration.
E4, E8, or Busy Standby-E4 or Busy Standby-E8 This means there are more RF zones programmed than the attached receiver can support. A Low-capacity receiver can support up to eight (8) RF zones, a Medium can support up to 16, and a High can support as many as the panel will allow. E4 indicates more than eight (8) zones are programmed and the receiver is a Low, and an E8 indicates more than 16 zones are programmed and the receiver is a Medium. The receiver tells the panel its capacity, then the panel keeps track of the RF zones programmed. In rare instances, a receiver may go bad and indicate the wrong capacity for itself to the panel, which can cause an E4 or E8 condition.
NO AC or AC Loss The AC input to the panel on Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 is either too low or is missing. The acceptable AC Voltage threshold is 16.5VAC. If the input voltage drops below 16.5VAC for 15 Seconds or longer, AC Loss or NO AC will be displayed. If AC Loss reporting is enabled, the report is randomized with an up to four (4) hour delay. If AC restores before the report is sent, no AC Loss nor an AC Restore report is sent. The Event Logging of AC Loss follows the dialer, so if it's not reported, it's also not logged, and if AC Loss reporting is not enabled, the event log entry is still randomized based on how it would report if the code were enabled. Total Connect 2.0 logs AC Loss activity as it occurs.
dd or Test In Progress The panel is in Walk Test Mode - Along with the display, the keypad will emit a beep every 40 Seconds. Enter walk test by keying in [Installer, Master, or Partition Master Code] + [5] + [0]. The siren will sound in order to load test the battery. As each zone is faulted, it will chime and the zone number/description will be displayed. Enter [Code] + [1] to exit walk test mode. It will exit on its own after four (4) hours, if you forget. During the last five (5) minutes of this 4-hour window, it will emit a double beep every 30 seconds.

Using Your Keypad

In order to perform most of the basic programming functions on a VISTA panel, you must first enter into programming mode. The following are some basic commands that you will enter when programming your VISTA system:

Operation Command
Enter Programming Mode [Installer Code] + [800]
Review Programming Values [#] + [Data Field Number]
Change Programming Values [*] + [Data Field Number]
Clear Programming Location Contents [*] + [Data Field Number] + [*]
Exit Programming Mode [*] + [99]
Reset Panel to Default (Note: You will lose all programming!) [*] + [97]
Enter Zone Programming (for setting Zone Attributes) [*] + [56]
(see note below)

Note: Unlike other programming entries, *56 is a special sub-menu mode for programming zones for the system which acts differently than a regular programming field. If you don't have an alphanumeric keypad, the display on your keypad will blank out when entering this mode. Therefore, we never recommend accessing this mode unless you're using an alphanumeric keypad.

For a complete list of data fields within programming mode, please see the programming guide. Programming fields start at number 20 and range all the way to number 199. However, not every value between 20 and 199 represents a valid data field.

Once you have entered into a data field, enter in the digits needed to make the desired changes. After the digits have been entered, the keypad will beep three times to confirm that the changes were made, and the system will automatically move to the next data field in sequence. Valid entries for each specific data field can be found in the VISTA programming guide. In fields where all possible digits may not be used, such as in the Primary Central Station Phone Number [*41], press [*] after the entry of the last digit to let the panel know that you have completed your entries for that field. The system will beep three times for confirmation.

User Codes

One of the first things you will want to do when setting up your VISTA system is to program user codes. These codes are needed for arming and disarming the system and for making changes to the system settings. Each code will be assigned a different 2-digit user number in order to differentiate it from other codes. Some code types are required to be used with a specific user number. Up to 32 codes can be used with a VISTA 15P system, while a VISTA 20P or 21iP can support up to 48 codes.

Default Master Code - 1234

Default Installer Code - 4112

The table below shows the different types of codes that can be used with the system:

Code Type
Assignable User Slot Authority Level Functions
Installer Must be 01.
(Hard Coded)
N/A Used for entering programming mode. Can arm the system, but can only disarm if it was the code used to arm the system. Cannot be deleted. Programmed in programming location *20.
Master Must be 02.
(Hard Coded)
N/A Can perform all security functions, add/delete users, change current Master Code, view event log, set system clock, program keypad macro, program scheduled events, activate output devices. Cannot access programming. Cannot be deleted.
User For VISTA15P, can be any value between 03 and 33.

For VISTA 20P and 21iP, can be any value between 03 and 49.
0 Can arm/disarm the system. Cannot add/delete users, view event log, set system clock or program scheduled events.
Arm Only Same as User. 1 Can only arm the system. Cannot disarm.
Guest Same as User. 2 Can arm the system, but it can only disarm the system if it was the code used to arm the system.
Duress Same as User. 3 Can disarm the system, but when Duress reporting is enabled, it will send an alert to the central station requesting immediate police dispatch. Should be used in emergency situations only.
Partition Master (20P and 21iP only) Can be any value between 03 and 49. Partition 1 is default to 03, and Partition 2 is default to 33.
4 Same as the Master Code, but limited to specific partition only. Since the 15P only has one partition, it is not necessary to have any codes of this type on a VISTA 15P.

Please note that the default Installer Code for a VISTA panel is 4112. This code will always be assigned to user number 01. There is only one Installer Code per system. We recommend leaving this code at its default setting so that you do not become locked out of programming. You will not be able to use your Installer Code to disarm your system, unless it was the code used to arm it in the first place.

Additionally, there can also be only one Master Code per VISTA system. The default Master Code is 1234. However, it is strongly advised that you change this code in order to prevent others from accessing your system. The Master Code will always be assigned to user number 02.

The table below shows the necessary inputs for setting up codes:

Adding New Code [Master Code] + [8] + [2-digit User Number] + [desired 4-digit code]
Deleting Code [Master Code] + [8] + [2-digit User Number] + [#] + [0]
Assigning Attributes [Master Code] + [8] + [2-digit User Number] + [#] + [Attribute Number] + [Attribute Value]

The table below shows the possible Attributes and their respective Attribute Values:

Attribute Number Possible Attribute Values
Authority Level 1 0 = User
1 = Arm Only
2 = Guest
3 = Duress
4 = Partition Master (20P and 21iP only)
Access Group 2 0 through 8 (0 is not assigned to a group)
Active Partitions 3 1, 2 and 3. Partition 3 is the common partition.
Can be assigned to multiple partitions.
Enter in the desired partitions consecutively, then press [#] when finished.
RF Zone Number 4 Assigns user number to button type zone for arm/disarm.
Open/Close Paging 5 0 = No
1 = Yes

When setting up a typical User Code on a single partition system, we generally recommend assigning the following Attributes:

Recommended Input
Authority Level 0
Access Group 0
Active Partitions 1
RF Zone Number 2-digit Zone Number
Open/Close Paging 0

Alpha Descriptors

Alpha descriptors are used to name zones so they can be easily identified by the user by using an alphanumeric keypad or through Total Connect. If you have alpha descriptors programmed, but you are using a Fixed English keypad, the alpha descriptors will not be displayed. Once an alpha descriptor has been set up for a zone, it will be identified by an English language description (e.g. Front Door, Kitchen Smoke Detector, Back Window, etc.) instead of just a 2-digit zone number.

When setting up an alpha descriptor, each word will be represented by a unique 3-digit code. For a complete list of possible words and their respective 3-digit codes, please consult Page 11 of the VISTA-21iP Programming Guide (different from the standard VISTA Programming Guide).

Some of the common alpha descriptor codes are outlined below:

Smoke Alarm = [176] + [002]
Inside Front Door = [101] + [085] + [057]
Outside Front Door = [140] + [085] + [057]
Basement Door = [016] + [057]
Inside Back Door = [101] + [013] + [057]
Outside Back Door = [140] + [013] + [057]

For detailed instructions on how to program alpha descriptors, please follow this FAQ.

Wireless KeyFobs

A wireless keyfob is a device that allows you to control your VISTA system without having to work from the keypad. This can be very convenient for quick arming and disarming, as well as for arming/disarming from outside the protected premises.

When setting up a four-button wireless keyfob, remember that each programmed button (or dual-button presses) will require a wireless zone to be programmed with the system. This means that each keyfob can potentially use up 8 wireless key fob zones if dual-button presses are used.

Each keyfob button that's programmed for a system arm or disarm command needs to be assigned to a user code slot for the command to function. The user code slot must have a valid 4-digit code assigned to it in order for it to work properly. Only system arm and disarm commands require these types of assignments. Once a zone has been assigned to a user, all of the other zones with the same serial number (on the same keyfob) will also be automatically assigned to that same user. In other words, it is only necessary to complete this user-assigning step once per keyfob device.

For more information on setting up a wireless keyfob, please consult pages 22 and 23 of the VISTA Programming Guide.

Telephone Dialer

If you do not have a phone line connected with your system, you will want to clear the telephone programming fields to prevent a "Comm Failure" message (Alphanumeric Keypad) or an "FC" message (Fixed English Keypad) from being displayed. This will prevent the system from attempting to call out and causing a communication failure.

By default, the telephone programming fields are zeroed out, and the system will not attempt to dial out. However, if you accidentally input a digit into one of these fields, the system will attempt to dial, and you will get one of the previously mentioned error messages.

To prevent these messages from occurring, input the following command on your keypad:

[Installer Code] + [800] + [*41*] + [*42*] + [*92] + [00] + [*94*] + [*99]

Doing this will clear locations 41, 42 and 94 from the system and disable location 92. After the input has been entered, the system will no longer attempt to dial out or supervise a phone line.

Clearing Alarms

If an alarm goes off on your VISTA system, you will need to clear it to restore the system to normal status. If an alarm occurs on your system and you do not clear it shortly after it occurs, the system will display which zone was affected.

To clear this information, you will need to enter a valid User Code or the Master Code followed by the number 1. Then you will need to enter in the same inputs a second time. The first entry will disarm the system, while the second entry will reset the zone, if necessary, and clear the alarm message from the display.

This process is outlined below:

[User Code] + [1] + [User Code] + [1]


[Master Code] +[1] + [Master Code] + [1]

Zone Chart




Total Zones

32 Security + 8 Button

48 Security + 16 Button

48 Security + 16 Button

Built-In Hardwired Zones




Total Possible Hardwired Zones




Total Possible Wireless Zones

26 Security + 8 Button

40 Security + 16 Button

40 Security + 16 Button

Button Zones




Zone Doubling


Yes (Zones 2-8)

Yes (Zones 2-8)

2-Wire Smokes

Up to 16 (Zone 1, wired in parallel)

Up to 16 (Zone 1, wired in parallel)

Up to 16 (Zone 1, wired in parallel)

4-Wire Smokes

Any hardwired zone - except Zone 1

Any hardwired zone - except Zone 1

Any hardwired zone - except Zone 1



3 (one is common)

3 (one is common)

Built-In Communicator



Honeywell 7847i


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When Honeywell first invited us to be a part of the beta program for their new Lyric Controller security system in 2015, one of the first things we noticed was that the wireless door/window sensors that came with the system were much bigger than the existing wireless door/window sensors that work with all of the other Honeywell wireless security systems. At the time, Honeywell said they were working on a smaller version door/window sensor and we are excited to finally announce that those smaller sensors are now available!

One of the major advantages of the Lyric security system over other wireless security systems is that the Lyric supports a new line of bi-directional, encrypted sensors that are more secure than the existing 5800 Series sensors. The SiX Series sensors utilize 128-bit AES encryption and communicate on a 2.4GHz Wi-Fi radio frequency channel directly to the Lyric system. This advanced technology makes it much more difficult for a savvy intruder to be able to "spoof" or hack the wireless SiX Sensors in an attempt to gain access to the protected property without setting off an alarm. While the sensors use a similar frequency that WIFI routers will use, the sensors communicate right to the Lyric's built-in wireless receiver and don't use the WIFI network in the home for sensor communications. Honeywell developed the SiX Series technology themselves and even put in specialized protocols designed to scan nearby networks to prevent possible WIFI interference. Before the Lyric system and SiX Series sensors were released, there weren't really any good options for wireless security systems that utilized encrypted sensors but encrypted sensor technology is a growing trend in the industry and we encourage everyone that has a non-encrypted system to consider upgrading to add an extra layer of security to your home.

The original SiX Series door/window sensors that were available when the Lyric system first launched were the SiXCT sensors. The SiXCTs are 3.13 inches long, 1.61 inches wide and 1 inch deep (depth of the sensor out into the room compared to the mounted surface) which is fairly large when you consider that you may want to have one installed on all of your home's doors and windows.

The new SiXMINICT door/window sensor is only 2.44 inches long, 1.25 inches wide and 0.45 inches deep off the mounted surface making for a much less intrusive sensor and much more aesthetically pleasing installation of your Lyric system with encrypted sensors protecting your doors and windows. The magnet for the SiXMINICT is also smaller than the magnet for the SiXCT. The SiXMINICT magnet is 1.5 inches long, 0.44 inches wide and 0.44 inches deep off the mounted surface while the SiXCT magnet is 1.5 inches long, 0.44 inches wide and 0.69 inches deep. The SiXMINICT and magnet provide a much flatter design so that the sensor and magnet blend into your door and windows and frames much better than the original SiXCT and magnet.

While the SiXMINICTs are much nicer looking, please keep in mind that the don't offer the same ability as the SiXCTs to wire in a wired sensor to the SiXCT so that it can act as a pass through wireless transmitter to send the alarm from the wired sensor to the wireless Lyric security system. In re-designing the smaller sensor, there wasn't enough room to add in the internal screw contacts that the SiXCT has for the option to wire in a wired device so the SiXMINICT can only be used as a regular sensor with the included magnet.

We have updated all of our Lyric wireless security system kits so that they include the newer, smaller SIXMINICTs instead of the older, bigger SiXCTs and we even put together a value 5-pack of SiXMINICT sensors that can save you on your system purchase if you need more sensors than are included in the kit you're ordering or if you need to add encrypted protection to 5 or more new doors/windows.

We believe encrypted sensor technology is only going to become more and more popular and we are excited to see that Honeywell is going to build out their line of SiX Series sensors so that hopefully there will eventually be an encrypted version of every 5800 Series device they offer now. Make sure to keep an eye on our blog as we will continue to let you all knwo about any new SiX devices that are released by Honeywell.

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