November 2023 Archives

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The year 2023 is winding down. Halloween is behind us, Thanksgiving is here, and Christmas, Hanukkah, Bodhi Day, Yule/Winter Solstice, and many other holidays are right around the corner. Whatever tradition you may observe at this time of year, we wish you a safe, warm, and relaxing day.

The Alarm Grid offices will be open for half a day, from 9:00 am - 1:00 pm on Wednesday, November 22. We will be closed all day on Thursday, November 23, and we will be open for half a day 9:00 am - 1:00 pm on Friday, November 24, 2023. While we are closed, we won't be here to answer technical support, shipping, or activation questions.

Our central station partners will be available during this time. They operate 24/7/365 and will handle any signals that your alarm system may send in their usual manner. The only exception will be if you have provided alternate instructions, or if you put your system on test.

Alarm Grid central station monitored accounts located inside the United States report to Criticom Monitoring Services (CMS). If you need to contact the monitoring station, either to report a false alarm or to put your system on test, you can call (888) 818-7728 and choose Option [9]. Once an operator answers, you'll need to supply your name, address, and false alarm password.

For our Canadian customers, our monitoring partner in Canada is Rapid Response. They can be reached at (800) 932-3822. Remember, when you call either monitoring station you will be asked for your name and address, and to verify your false alarm password or phrase. Providing the wrong information, or providing the Duress password, will result in a police dispatch.

If you have technical support questions or you need to make adjustments to your account, the monitoring station will not be able to help you with that. For those requests, send an email to with as much detail as possible. We'll get back to you as soon as possible when we return to the office. During the holidays, there can be a slight backlog, so please be patient while we catch up.

If you plan to travel this holiday season, don't forget to secure all your doors and windows and arm your system as you leave. If you don't have pets or house sitters to worry about, it might be a good idea to arm your system Maximum (VISTA systems) or choose the option to arm Away with no entry delay (offered on most all-in-one systems).

This means that if any armed zone is faulted once the system arms, it will cause an immediate alarm, rather than providing an entry delay. This suggestion assumes you have access via, Total Connect 2.0, or some other means such as a wireless key fob, with which you can disarm prior to opening any doors.

If you happen to be cooking this Thanksgiving, and a kitchen smoke alarm is triggered by a little cooking smoke, or steam, don't panic. If the detector is tied to your alarm system, disarm your system. This should silence the system siren and any keypads. To silence the detector, you need to get the smoke or steam cleared from the sensing chamber. This is easiest to do with a fan. If you have one, keep a small fan handy, just in case.

If a system alarm occurs, contact the monitoring station as soon as possible. It may be that they will call you before you get a chance to call them. Be ready, and be sure to answer. Once you do, provide the correct false alarm password and explain the situation. This is by far the best way to avoid an unnecessary and unwanted dispatch when this type of alarm occurs.

For smoke detectors that are not tied to an alarm system, the best way to stop them from sounding is to clear the smoke from the sensing chamber. In most cases, the detector should have a button you can press to silence the local alarm. Be prepared with something you can use to reach this button. However, even if it is silenced, if smoke remains in the sensing chamber the detector will begin to sound again after a brief period. Again, a small fan will go a long way toward clearing the sensing chamber and silencing the alarm for good.

If a carbon monoxide alarm occurs, or if a fire alarm occurs for no apparent reason, leave the premises and allow the fire department to check and clear the house. It is always better to be safe than sorry. Remember, if a CO alarm is reported, the monitoring station is required to dispatch, even if you do provide the correct false alarm password.

Happy Thanksgiving from Alarm Grid! We look forward to talking with you again once we've had a little break, some festive time with family and friends, and more food than anyone should eat in a single sitting.

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The First Alert VX3 HD (CAMWE-WO) is the newest camera offering from Resideo and Honeywell Home using the First Alert brand name. It offers full HD viewing and recording and supports Wide Dynamic Range (WDR). Its built-in speaker and microphone support 2-way audio through the TC2 app.

Resideo completed the purchase of First Alert in 2022 and is now beginning to roll out products using the First Alert name. So far, we've seen the First Alert VX1 HD (CAMW-WDB) HD doorbell camera, and now the VX3 HD. First Alert brings with it end-user brand recognition, as well as manufacturing capabilities for life safety and other devices.

The newly introduced VX3 HD boasts a sleek, modern design and a compact form factor. A notable advancement in this camera, compared to earlier TC2-compatible models, is its intelligent event detection capability. This sophisticated AI-driven feature distinguishes between people, vehicles, animals, and packages effectively reducing unnecessary alerts. This functionality is present in both the VX3 HD camera and its counterpart, the VX1 HD video doorbell.

Another exciting feature of this new outdoor camera is the ability to use Power over Ethernet (PoE). Because the VX3 HD also supports WIFI, it can be powered by a 12VDC, 1A power supply. But, if you plan to use an ethernet connection for networking, you may as well take advantage of its PoE capabilities. The VX3 HD is an 802.3 af PoE class 3 PD. The maximum cable length when using PoE is 300' (100m).

The First Alert VX3 HD offers many impressive specifications. You can read the full spec sheet here. One thing we haven't discussed yet is Wide Dynamic Range (WDR). You may be wondering what the difference between High Dynamic Range (HDR) and Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) is.

Both HDR and WDR have to do with the contrast and resolution in images that have both very dark and very light areas. HDR uses processing power and software to take these images and perfect them, as much as possible, so that the viewer can get the most detail possible from the image. With HDR, it's all software-based.

WDR uses both hardware and software to achieve the same goal. One example of how this occurs is that shutter speed is controlled by the camera, so that in areas where there is an abundance of light, shutter speed is faster, allowing less light into the camera, and in darker areas, shutter speed is slower, to take in more light. In many cases, multiple images are taken with different exposure levels and then combined to provide you with the best possible image.

A custom back box is available for installations where in-wall wiring is not possible, or for anyone who needs additional space to protect cables. The CAMWE-WOBB replaces the standard mounting bracket and is installed behind or beneath the camera. It can support up to three (3) 1/2" (1.27cm) conduits. It has rubber grommets that can be used to protect any conduit space that is not being used. With an IP66 rating, the back box is dust-proof and water-resistant.

Alarm Grid customers who want to take advantage of all the advanced features of the VX3 HD will need to sign up for either a Platinum Plan (Self or Full) or a Stand-alone Video Plan. This camera is compatible with Total Connect 2.0, and can also be viewed through the Honeywell Home PROA7PLUS or Resideo PROA7PLUSC touchscreen. As long as the panel is on version 03 or higher. It can also be viewed on the PROWLTOUCH or PROWLTOUCHC secondary keypad when used with one of these panels.

Up to eight (8) cameras can be added to each monitoring plan that supports cameras, and each First Alert VX3 HD counts as one (1) camera. Full access to the camera, including the 2-way audio feature, is accessible through the TC2 app. The website does not support 2-way audio, and will only allow you to view the camera's live feed and captured video.

The 2-way audio feature allows the user to listen in to ambient sound in the vicinity of the camera, and to speak through the camera to anyone within view. This feature can be used to deter potential burglaries, scare away stray animals, or play tricks on your friends. There is also an LED spotlight and siren feature that can be deployed manually by the end-user to deter intruders in the vicinity of the camera.

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