Julia Ross Posts

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We missed an opportunity to recap videos last week, but that just means we have more videos to cover this week. Six (6) today, with more to follow. Michael and Jorge share their knowledge of the 2GIG Edge and the Honeywell Home PROA7PLUS. Summer's almost over but wade in, the water's fine.

Honeywell Home PROA7PLUS: Resolve WIFI Connection Issues

In this video, Michael discusses the various reasons why the Honeywell Home PROA7PLUS might not connect to WIFI. Reasons can include range, environmental issues, and even bad equipment. In addition, there is a specific setting to watch out for on Ubiquiti Access Points. Having this setting enabled can prevent your Honeywell Home PROA7PLUS from connecting to WIFI.


2GIG Edge: What To Expect During AC Loss

During an AC Loss condition, the 2GIG Edge will go into power conservation mode. After a few seconds, the touchscreen will go dark and only illuminate when something occurs that needs to be displayed, or when a user touches the touchscreen. Jorge tells and shows users what to expect as normal behavior when an AC Loss condition occurs.


2GIG Edge: Powering Down Properly

Believe it or not, there is a right way to properly power down an alarm system. In this video Jorge will show you how to properly power down a 2GIG Edge alarm panel. Begin by removing the set screws, pulling the panel off its base then unplugging the battery. Next, unplug the transformer, either at the barrel connector on the panel side, or by unplugging the transformer from the wall. If you can't find the transformer, you can power down by turning power off at the breaker.


Qolsys IQ Remote: Behavior On a Partitioned System

In this video Michael shows you how the Qolsys IQ Remote behaves when it is used on a partitioned system. The IQ Remote will only display the status of the partition to which it is assigned. It will only allow the user to control the assigned partition as well, and only a user with a User Code that has been given access to the assigned partition will be able to interact with the system from the IQ Remote.


2GIG GC3e: Installing the XCVR3 GC3

Michael shows users how to install the 2GIG XCVR3-GC3 to the 2GIG GC3e panel. Unlike with the 2GIG GC2 panel, the installation of the 2GIG XCVR3-GC3 does not require that anything be removed from the GC3e panel first. This transceiver module simply adds 900 MHz 2-way communication capability between the GC3e and the 2GIG TS1 as well as the 2GIG Image Sensors.


Honeywell Home PROA7PLUS: Installing PROTAKEOVER

Michael shows users how to set the dial for legacy RF devices, and then properly install the Honeywell Home PROTAKEOVER module into a PROA7PLUS system. This module allows the PROA7PLUS to support one (1) of five (5) legacy RF frequencies. This allows the panel to support previously existing sensors from Honeywell or 2GIG 345 MHz sensors, existing Qolsys and/or Interlogix/GE 319.5 MHz sensors, DSC 433 MHz sensors, or Bosch 433 MHz sensors. This module allows a user to replace an older panel with the newer PROA7PLUS without having to replace all the existing wireless sensors that are still working.



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Alarm.com announces new features and device support each week in its Release Notes. Today's post will discuss what we feel are the best of those features for the week of August 2, 2021 with a bit of detail about each one. These are the new features as well as improvements posted this week.

Smart Water Valve+Meter

With a new Usage Graph, customers who use the Smart Water Valve+Meter in conjunction with Alarm.com can track their water usage and see trends in their water consumption. Users on the iOS platform will have access to an interactive water usage bar graph and will have 12 months of usage data that they can review. This will show any water leak reports, and on which days they occurred. The Android version of the app is more limited. Users can view up to 30 days worth of past water consumption. Alarm.com app version 4.20 is required for Android and app version 4.19.4 is required for iOS. These firmware updates should be available soon. From the app Home Screen, click on the Water Card to access usage information.

Below is an example of what the Water Card shows on the Customer Alarm.com App as of the current version:


New Z-Wave Lock Support

Support for Baldwin Model 8252 and 8285 Z-Wave locks has been confirmed by Alarm.com. We will be adding them to our site soon. Baldwin locks are manufactured by Kwikset, and Kwikset locks are known for being easily joined to a Z-Wave controller, and operating without a lot of fuss. These locks will support up to 30 door lock users each. Z-Wave door locks add great convenience when used with Alarm.com and the security panel. Doors can be locked and unlocked remotely, and locks can be used with scenes to automate locking and unlocking automatically based on a schedule, or on other security system events. For example, you can set the doors to automatically lock at a certain time each day. In the event of a fire alarm, doors could be unlocked automatically to allow firefighters to enter, etc.

New Z-Wave Switch Support

Support for the Schneider Electric Z-Wave On/Off Switch (SQ14102WHZ) has been announced. This is an in-wall switch with the latest Z-Wave plus technology, including S2 Security, and support for SmartStart. Schneider is an established electrical supply manufacturer trusted by builders and is commonly used in new construction. If you're building a home, consider putting in Z-Wave compatible smart switches from the start!

Updated SVR and Onboard 24/7 Timelines

Alarm.com has added events to the SVR Timeline and the Onboard 24/7 Timeline. These added events include Door Accessed and Failed Access events as well as Smarter Business Temperature Monitoring and Business Activity Analytics events. These added events are meant to keep customers better informed of their system usage, as well as their energy usage, and security related events in general. From the Customer Website go to Video > SVR Timeline or Customer Website to Video > Onboard 24/7 Timeline.

ADC-VDB770 Doorbell Camera Update

An option for High Dynamic Range (HDR) has been added on the Partner Portal Camera Information page pertaining to the ADC-VDB770. There is now a checkbox to enable or disable HDR on a customer's doorbell. In addition, this feature will now be disabled by default for new ADC-VDB770 installations. This feature can only be enabled or disabled by the alarm dealer, this option is not accessible through the end-user webpage or app.

Camera Selector Update

Video subscribers are now able to choose individual cameras or camera groups that they want to view. This is done from the Customer Website in the Live Video and SVR Timeline pages. This will allow customers as well as installers to more easily add or modify camera groups, improving video device management.




Those are the updates for this week. What do you think? Drop a comment below and let us know. It's nice to see that Alarm.com continues to find innovative ways in which they can make their users lives a little bit easier. Have an interesting idea for a post? Let us know what security industry topics you'd like to see us cover and we'll do our best to accommodate your requests.

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The Z-Wave Alliance was created in 2005. Put together by a group of home automation product manufacturers, the alliance sought to standardize technology and manufacturing practices to create competitive products but with a certain amount of uniformity. Separate, but relatively equal.

Think of it like a Big Mac. If you buy a Big Mac at a McDonald's Restaurant in Montana, and I buy a Big Mac at a McDonald's Restaurant in Kentucky they will basically be the same. Reliably the same. The people who made my Big Mac and those that made your Big Mac have probably never met, the money paid for these sandwiches went to different places, the price paid may differ, but because a Big Mac follows a standard assembly and preparation if I pull up to a McDonald's anywhere in the USA I can reliably expect that when I order a Big Mac I know what I'm going to get.

In May 2005 Z-Wave (300-Series) was released and soon became widespread. In March, 2013 Z-Wave Plus (500-Series) was introduced, offering better range between hops, better power management, which translates to longer battery life, and more memory which translates into more features like the ability to add S2 128-bit encryption. In April, 2019 the Z-Wave Alliance began promoting enhanced certification for Z-Wave Plus V2, with the 700-Series Chipset. They continue to improve upon the original standard, so Z-Wave Plus V2 will offer even more of the things that made Z-Wave Plus popular. Greater wireless range, longer battery life, and where Z-Wave Plus supported S2 security 128-bit encryption, Z-Wave Plus V2 mandates it. And every time there is an advance in the technology, equipment with the new version is backward compatible with equipment on the older version, albeit with the older versions feature limitations.

Check out the chart below for a comparison between the three (3) current iterations of Z-Wave Technology. Z-Wave Long Range is on the horizon, but I chose to leave it out of this comparison chart. We'll have more information about the newest Z-Wave offering at a later time:

Z-Wave Technology Comparison

300 Series 500 Series 700 Series
Hardware Platform
CPU/MCU Optimized 8051 CPU Core Optimized 8051 CPU Core ARM® Cortex M4
CPU/MCU Speed 16 MHz 32 MHz 39 MHz
Memory 2 kB 16 kB 64 kB
Flash Memory 32 kB 128 kB 512 kB
Operating Ambient Temp -15 to 85℃ (5 - 185℉) -10 to 85℃ (14 - 185℉) -40 to 85℃ (-40 - 185℉)
Power Consumption
Active Power Use 36 mA 35 mA 12.5 mA
Sleep-Mode Power Use 2.5 μA 1 μA 1 μA
Coin Cell Compatible No No Yes
Max Battery Life 1 year 1.5 years 10 years
Wireless Security
Network Key Optional Mandatory Mandatory
AES 128-bit encryption No Optional Mandatory
ECDH No Optional Mandatory
S2 Security No Optional Mandatory
SmartStart No Optional Mandatory
MiM Attack Prevention No Optional Mandatory
Wireless Performance
Output Power DBM [TX] -2.5 dBm +2.5 dBm Up to +13 dBm
Range Sensitivity [RX] -102 dBm / -98 dBm Down to -103 dBm w/SAW filter -97.5 dBm
Wireless Speed 9.6/40 kbit/s 9.6/40/100 kbit/s 9.6/40/100 kbit/s
Max Wireless Range Outdoors (Direct) Up to 100m (328') Up to 150m (492') More than 200m (656')
Max Wireless Range Outdoors (With Hop/Repeat) Up to 400m (1,312') Up to 600m (1,968') More than 800m (2,624')
Max Wireless Range Indoors (Direct) More than 30m (98') Up to 75m (246') Up to 100m (328')
Max Wireless Range Indoors (With Hop/Repeat) More than 120' (393') Up to 300m (984') Info not available
Z-Wave Specific Features
Z-Wave Plus No Yes Yes
Z-Wave Plus V2 No No Yes
Backward Compatibility Yes, w/100 Series Yes, w/100 - 300 Series Yes, w/100 - 500 Series
Network Wide Inclusion No Manufacturer specified Yes
Explorer Frames No Yes Yes
Advanced Route Diversity Calculation No Yes Yes
FLiRS (Beaming wake-up) Optional Optional Mandatory
OTA Z-Wave Firmware Updates No Optional Mandatory
Original Release Date May 2005 March 2013 April 2019

I know that Z-Wave is a really cool, easy, and inexpensive way to automate things in a home or business, but I didn't get a sense of just how impressive it is until I was putting together this chart. It's really very cool! There were a few features mentioned in the chart that I wasn't particularly familiar with, so I'm going to define those a little further below:

FLiRS (Beaming wake-up) - This feature has to do with Z-Wave devices that use battery power only, like all door locks, and some thermostats. FLiRS stands for Frequently Listening Receiver Slave (Not Forward Looking Infra-Red, like I thought). Basically, a battery powered Z-Wave device alternates between sleep mode and partially-awake mode. When it is partially-awake it is listening for a beam signal. If a Z-Wave controller (or another Z-Wave device, if the signal has to hop) has network traffic for the battery-powered device, it sends a beam. When the device partially wakes and hears the beam, it wakes immediately and communicates with the device that sent it. If the device partially wakes up and there's no beam signal, then it goes fully back to sleep. This can happen from once per second, to four (4) times per second, depending on how the device was manufactured. If not for FLiRS, Z-Wave door locks would probably not exist due to issues with battery life.

Explorer Frames - Explorer frames have to do with the way information is routed. When a new Z-Wave Plus device is being included to the network, it sends out a whole bunch of explorer frames. When an existing device sees an explorer frame, it resends it with its own Node ID added to the original information. At some point, some of these explorer frames reach the Z-Wave controller. When the controller receives them, it can see exactly which nodes on the network the explorer frames touched. This information is then used to route future traffic for the new device. As network devices are used, this routing information will likely change, but this is a basic explanation of what Explorer Frames do.

Network Wide Inclusion - Network Wide Inclusion (NWI) allows a device to be added to the network even if it's not within range of the Z-Wave controller itself. It makes use of Explorer Frames to do this. Before NWI and Explorer Frames, you often had to include a new device right next to the controller, then carry it to the location where you actually wanted it to be installed, and then cross your fingers and hope that it would work. If it didn't then you likely added another Z-Wave device somewhere between it and the Controller. With NWI, if your network is robust enough, you should not have to do that. It's always a good idea when laying out your network to start with devices closest to the controller, add those to the network, and then work your way out from there. As you can see from the chart above, NWI and Explorer Frames were added in Z-Wave Plus with the 500 Chipset, so any original Z-Wave devices won't support this type of inclusion.

What do you think of the evolution of Z-Wave? Are you ready to buy some devices and start automating? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. We look forward to discussing this and any other security and automation topics you might like to add. Is there something you'd like to see us cover in our blog? If so, let us know in the comments and we'll do our best to bring you the information you're looking for.

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It seems every week we're reporting a new feature being rolled out by Alarm.com. They recently added remote Duress Code programming through the Alarm.com app or website. Alarm.com must first enable this feature for the dealer, then users will have access if their panel supports the feature.

Before any Alarm.com user can start configuring codes remotely, the alarm dealer for the customer account must have this feature enabled. If the feature is not showing up when a user attempts to remotely program the Duress Code, contact the Alarm.com dealer and ask them to enable it. They may need to contact their Alarm.com Sales Representative to get the feature enabled.

Next, be sure that the alarm panel being used supports this feature. We have an FAQ on how to set up this feature via the Alarm.com Website and another FAQ on how to set up this feature using the Alarm.com App. Both of these FAQs have a list of compatible panels, and advise if a single or multiple codes are supported by the panel.

The way a Duress Code works is simple. If a system user is forced to interact with their alarm panel in any way, though this will usually involve disarming the system, if the Duress Code is used, then in addition to performing the security system function a silent signal is sent to the monitoring station alerting them to the fact that the system user is under duress. They are being forced to do something against their will. The monitoring station will receive this signal and then process it according to the customer's pre-stated wishes, and their own policies regarding duress situations.

The key element to the use of a Duress Code is the ability for someone who is not onsite to receive the signal and immediately take action. If the security system is not monitored by a trained 24/7 monitoring station employee then the Duress Code might just as well not exist. It may be possible to send a text, email, or push notification to someone outside the home or business, but there's a good chance that person may never see it, or may not understand what they're seeing. If there is any concern that a duress situation might occur, then central station monitoring is the best way to protect the people you love.

And finally, one thing I nearly forgot to mention above, an Alarm.com dealer cannot program a Duress User for a customer through their panel programming portal. Only the Admin Alarm.com Account user, the homeowner or business owner, is allowed to affect these codes remotely. So, what do you think about this new feature? Do you like the idea of being able to control system Duress Codes remotely? Leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts. We always enjoy hearing from our readers. That's all for now, stay safe out there.

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Qolsys released the Qolsys IQ WIFI last week. The IQ WIFI supports dual-band (2.4GHZ and 5GHz) WIFI and can be used as a stand-alone router. It can also be installed in parallel with an existing network. This provides a separate secure WIFI connection for security devices such as cameras.

WIFI is about as common these days as home phones with a traditional copper line (POTS or Plain Old Telephone Service) were from the 1960's through the early 2000's. However, the adoption of WIFI networking has seen some challenges that were not really an issue when using POTS. Namely, the end-user installation and configuration aspect of WIFI networks, as well as issues with getting, and then staying, connected to them. The security industry has embraced WIFI in a big way in recent years, therefore security system users have felt the pain created by these challenges.

For this reason, Qolsys has introduced the Qolsys IQ WIFI. The IQ WIFI is a mesh-capable controller and agent system. Up to eight (8) devices can be supported per network. One IQ WIFI will connect to the modem, router, or switch via a wired ethernet cable. This IQ WIFI will become the controller for the mesh network. Then, up to seven (7) additional IQ WIFI units acting as Agents can be added for a total of eight (8) devices. This allows a user to blanket virtually every nook and cranny of the home or business with a safe and easily configured WIFI connection. If you have a Qolsys IQ Panel 2 or IQ Panel 2 Plus with firmware version 2.6.0 or later, the network can be configured right from the panel's touchscreen. The range between IQ WIFIs is approximately 130 ft. (39.62 m) with a coverage area of approximately 1,500 square feet (139 square meters). Wireless IEEE 802.11 b/g/n 2.4GHz and IEEE 802.11 a/n/ac 5GHz frequencies are supported.

The Qolsys IQ WIFI can be used as a stand-alone router. Each one contains a WAN port, a LAN port, and a barrel connector for power. Each one also has a WPS button. If your ISP provides you with a combination Modem/Router device, connect the WAN port of the IQ WIFI to one of the available ethernet ports on the Modem/Router. From there you can use the IQ WIFI as a wired or WIFI router. For wired devices, connect directly to the LAN port on the IQ WIFI. If you have more than one wired device to connect, connect a multi-port switch to the IQ WIFI LAN port, and then connect your other wired ethernet devices to the switch. As an alternative, connect the WAN port on the IQ WIFI to an existing router or switch, and then using this device as the Controller, build a parallel WIFI mesh network(s) out from there.

Up to seven (7) additional IQ WIFI devices can be added as Agents to create a mesh network that is as strong as you need it to be. This allows you to run a separate WIFI network inside your home or business that is virtually invisible to anyone attempting to hack in from the outside. Another attractive feature of this type of configuration is the ease of replacing the Internet facing hardware. Any time you need to swap out the main modem or router, all you do is swap out the existing hardware, then connect the Qolsys IQ WIFI acting as the Controller to the new piece of equipment. All of the WIFI devices that have been configured to connect through the IQ WIFI will keep their current configuration. There is no need to go around to each WIFI device and enter new credentials. This is particularly welcome when you have WIFI equipment, such as fixed-mount cameras, that may be installed in multiple and difficult to reach locations.

In many cases, security devices can only use the 2.4GHz WIFI band. When the SSID for both 2.4GHz and 5GHz are the same, this can cause issues for those devices that don't support both frequencies. We've seen this in many instances with the Honeywell Lyric. By allowing the user to separate the two bands, achieved by changing the SSID on one or both of them, you can make sure that any device that needs to use only one band or the other can find and then remain connected to the proper WIFI network. It may seem counter-intuitive to think that a Qolsys product could help to stabilize the WIFI connection for a Resideo or Honeywell alarm system, but it is absolutely possible.

When Qolsys first talked about this device, they called it the Qolsys IQ Router. Since then, they have updated the name to Qolsys IQ WIFI and they plan to release a separate device called the Qolsys IQ Router2, or possibly the IQ WIFI6 later in the year. This will be a more robust device supporting both WIFI and potentially another technology such as Z-Wave, Zigbee, or maybe even PowerG. We look forward to hearing about many more new products to come! What do you think of the Qolsys IQ WIFI? Leave a comment below. We'd love to hear from you.


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The police department in Sandy Springs, GA is one of several that adhere to a policy of Verified Response when it comes to burglar alarms. They require proof that a crime has occurred before they will respond. Proof can come in one of several forms, which we will be discussing here.

Different police jurisdictions define verified response in different ways with different verification criteria. In some jurisdictions, a second burglar alarm activation on a different zone within the same address occurring within a certain period of time qualifies as verification. For others, there must be audio, video, or onsite verification before the police will respond. In Sandy Springs, GA, the latter type of verification is required. The full Alarm Dispatch Guidelines for Sandy Springs, GA can be found here.

This is not to say that the City of Sandy Springs or any other police department that otherwise requires verification won't respond to any type of alarm without proof of an issue at the site. For most jurisdictions, if there is a Panic, Duress, Hold-up, Medical, CO, Elevator or Fire alarm, the requirement for verification is waived and immediate dispatch can be requested. But, at least in the case of Sandy Springs, if authorities respond and there is no evidence of criminal activity or any other emergency, then false alarm fees will apply.

Furthermore, if a monitoring station employee requests public safety dispatch on an alarm based on audio or video proof that a crime is occurring or has occurred, then Sandy Springs requires that they submit proof of verification within 24 Hours of the dispatch request. Failure to do so will incur additional fines! Proof can either be described to the monitoring station employee by the end-user after checking their cameras or other means of verification, or it can come from the monitoring station employee themselves having reviewed audio or video evidence. The burden of proof has been placed squarely on the monitoring company.

If a customer has an alarm system that uses Audio Alarm Verification, sometimes referred to as 2-Way Voice, then the monitoring station can use this to verify if an unauthorized individual is onsite. In the case of Sandy Springs, silence does not count as proof of an issue, the monitoring station dispatcher must hear footsteps, talking, sounds of rummaging, or other proof of an issue at the site. If the customer has video surveillance, either the customer, or in some cases the monitoring station, can use the video system to verify if an alarm is an actual break-in. The customer may even have a friendly neighbor who is willing to receive a notification from the alarm monitoring company and will go and check things out for them and report back.

However, not every monitoring company will support 2-Way Voice. Currently at Alarm Grid, we don't support this option. And not every customer wants to blanket their property with security cameras. Some properties are too large, or too far away from neighbors to make relying on a neighbor a viable option. In these cases, the best option may be to employ a guard service.

In the past few years, Alarm Grid has partnered with a company called Vet Sec to provide an onsite guard response to monitored locations in jurisdictions such as Sandy Springs. Vet Sec employs guards, in most cases these guards are unarmed or they may be armed with non-lethal weapons (tasers). Once an alarm occurs, the monitoring station will contact Vet Sec, rather than the local police department. A single guard will respond and check the location for signs of a break-in or any other criminal activity, such as vandalism. If evidence of a crime is found, they will notify the monitoring station and wait up to 30 minutes for a key holder and the authorities to arrive. In exchange, they charge a fee for this site visit. The price may vary by location. In most cases, the police should respond within 30 minutes, but if it takes longer for them to arrive, and the customer or other key holder wants the guard to wait with them, then additional fees may apply.

There are several great things about this service. For one, just like with Alarm Grid monitoring, there is no contract so a customer can cancel at any time. Also, this is a "pay as you go" service, so a customer is only billed if a guard actually responds to their monitored location. The fees are billed to Alarm Grid and are then applied to the customer's monthly monitoring fee on the next automatic bill date. Alarm Grid does not markup this fee, we simply pass the fee along to the customer. What we pay, you pay.

Areas in the United States where Verified Response is Required:

State City Guard Service Available?
Alaska Cantwell No
Delta Junction No
Fairbanks No
Galena No
Healy No
Nenana No
Northway No
Tok No
Arizona Surprise No
California Fontana Yes
Colorado Fort Collins No
Golden Yes
Georgia Sandy Springs Yes
Michigan Detroit Yes
Nevada Henderson Yes
Las Vegas Yes
North Las Vegas Yes
Golden Yes
Oregon Eugene Yes (Within City Limits Only)
Washington Bellingham Yes
Burien Yes
Wenatchee No
Kent (Commercial Only) No
Yakima Yes
Seattle (Recommended, not Required) Yes
Wisconsin Milwaukee Yes
Golden Yes
Utah Salt Lake City Yes
Golden Yes

Please keep in mind that this list is something that may evolve with little notice. It may be difficult to keep the list 100% accurate, but we will do our best. There have actually been a few places where the police department tried using verified response, and then changed their mind due to increases in property crime. San Jose, CA is one that comes to mind. It was reported in 2019 that they had decided to change their policy and move away from requiring verified response.

You may have noticed that the list above didn't feature any locations from our neighbor to the north. There are a couple of places in Canada that require a version of verified response. Winnipeg, Manitoba, and London and Toronto, Ontario have all adopted a more lax definition of this type of verification. In all three of these locations, the police department will accept two or more activations of two or more separate burglary zones as a form of verification. Currently, Alarm Grid does not offer a guard service in any of the Canadian provinces. If this changes, we'll be sure to update this blog post.

So, of course the burning question is, "How much does it cost?" For most locations the charge is $45 per site visit. There are a few locations where the price differs. In Sandy Springs, GA, the price is $68 per site visit. In Albuquerque, NM customers currently pay $57.07 per visit, and in Eugene, OR the price is $60 per site visit.

What do you think of the Verified Response Policy recently implemented in Sandy Springs, GA? Is it overdue, or overreach? Tell us what you think in the comments below. We'd love to hear from you. Stay tuned to our blog for more exciting security industry news. If you need help figuring out what system you have in the house you just moved into, or you're looking to upgrade an existing system, or to install one for the first time, reach out to us via email at support@alarmgrid.com. We're here Monday - Friday from 9 am to 8 pm Eastern. We look forward to hearing from you!

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The year 2020 was about as tough as a well-done $2 steak. I hope never to have another one like it. On the other hand, 2021 is shaping up to end on a high note. One of the high points begins today. After skipping last year, Reed Exhibitions will hold ISC West live this year in Las Vegas.

In years past ISC West, the largest trade show associated with the safety and security industry, has been held in the spring. Due to COVID-19, the 2020 show was postponed in March, then postponed again in April, canceled in June, and ultimately held as a virtual-only event in October. We began 2021 with the show being postponed from the traditional spring dates, to July 19 - 21. There was also a comprehensive list of Health and Safety guidelines that those who will attend in-person are expected to follow. This year's show is being billed as a "hybrid" exhibit, with both in-person booths, and virtual events.

Finally, the time has come for the show to begin. Alarm Grid has opted to participate in the virtual-only portion of the show this year. We've reached out to our most popular vendors, and hope to be presenting exciting information on upcoming new products. So far, what to expect from the virtual show has remained pretty well hidden. Whatever we learn in the next few days about upcoming releases and new products, we will share here on our blog, and on our Youtube channel.

How about you, are you planning to attend ISC West this year? If you aren't going to the show, but wish you were, what burning questions would you ask? Personally, I'd like to get the inside scoop on chip shortages this year, and when we may be able to expect the shortages to ease. Qolsys, 2GIG, and Resideo (Honeywell) have all released new products in the recent past, do they have anything else new up their sleeves? We'll be looking for this information, and whatever we learn, we'll pass it along. Stay tuned!

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Qolsys recently released a service bulletin describing an issue with certain IQ Hardwire 16-F units. This issue affects both the small enclosure and large enclosure versions. Under certain circumstances, affected units can signal a false tamper/tamper restore message for connected zones.

Qolsys TSB #210708, which was released on July 8, 2021, describes this issue, and the corrective action Qolsys is taking to remedy the problem. They do not provide a lot of information regarding what "conditions" bring about this behavior. We have asked for more detail, and if more information is forthcoming, we will provide updates here in our blog.

Rest assured that only a certain number of these devices are affected, and we will provide users with the necessary information to determine if they have one of these units. Qolsys IQ Hardwire 16-F units that were manufactured outside of the window in question are not affected and should not exhibit this behavior.

How to determine if your Qolsys IQ Hardwire 16-F small enclosure (SKU: QS7133-840) is affected:

On the unit itself, or on the box that the unit came in, check the Revision Sticker. This will appear as a bar code on the sticker and will be marked with SN: and DL: If the 4th character of the SN, moving from left to right, is a "C" then the Qolsys IQ Hardwire 16-F small enclosure should be returned/replaced.

How to determine if your Qolsys IQ Hardwire 16-F large enclosure (SKU: QS7134-840) is affected:

On the Qolsys IQ Hardwire 16-F large enclosure, the way you determine the revision is the same, but the revision information is different. On these units the revision to be on the lookout for is "B" rather than "C". This sticker should also appear on the unit itself as well as on the box that the unit comes in. Since these devices come from the factory with an enclosure, the sticker may be on the enclosure rather than the printed circuit board. When reading the sticker, the 4th character when viewing the SN from left to right is "B" on affected units. See the example below:

Qolsys has pulled back available affected stock to correct this issue. Units that may have been affected, but have since been pulled back into manufacturing and reworked or replaced, will sport a sticker that says "TEST OK".


If you purchase a Qolsys IQ Hardwire 16-F that falls within the Revision range discussed above, but the item has a "TEST OK" sticker affixed somewhere on the packaging or the unit itself, then you do not have to worry about this issue. If you purchased a Qolsys IQ Hardwire 16-F prior to the date that this notice was released, and your device falls within the revision range discussed above, then you should contact your distributor to discuss replacing the unit. Per Qolsys, you should do this even if you haven't observed the behavior described in this Technical Service Bulletin.

If you are an Alarm Grid customer, and you purchased an affected unit from Alarm Grid, you can contact us at support@alarmgrid.com. We are here Monday - Friday from 9am to 8pm ET. If you prefer to speak to us by phone, you can reach us at 888-818-7728. It is our pleasure to assist you with any and all of your alarm needs. Stay safe!

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Qolsys has released the long-awaited Firmware Version 2.6.0. This will be the base version for the Qolsys IQ Hub and will allow users to configure the new IQ WIFI Mesh Router from the touchscreen of the IQ Panel 2. These are only a couple of the new features. This is truly an exciting update!

We've been talking about the Qolsys IQ Hub, well, forever, it seems. But honestly, it's been "coming soon" for over a year now. We are so glad that the wait is almost over. The Qolsys IQ Hub will truly be a DIY dream. Qolsys has taken a "see no green" approach to this panel, meaning there is no reason to open the panel fully, so you should never see the green printed circuit board (PCB). It won't even have screw terminals! The battery will be easily end-user replaceable with a minimum of "deconstruction" to the alarm panel itself. Some of the best features of the IQ Panel 2/2+ will be available in this new panel, such as Bluetooth disarming, and Alarm.com Camera Streaming at the panel.

A couple of things have been removed though. It will not have a built-in camera, nor will it offer 2-way voice capability. The IQ Hub is meant to be a slightly less expensive alternative to the IQ Panel 2 or 2 Plus, and to the Qolsys IQ Panel 4 that we should be seeing later this year. Initially, the IQ Hub will support PowerG Wireless Sensors, but later, there will be 319.5 MHz, 345 MHz, and 433 MHz options available. Each IQ Hub is intended to support only one (1) RF frequency.

You might be saying, "I thought this was a blog about Firmware Version 2.6.0?" Well, it is. But the fact that we have Firmware Version 2.6.0 available now means that the full release of the Qolsys IQ Hub won't be far behind. The Qolsys IQ Hub is scheduled for a Q2 2021 release. Aside from all the new features and improvements for the IQ Panel 2 Plus itself, another exciting capability that is added in this firmware release is the ability to control and configure the new Qolsys IQ Router through the IQ Panel 2 or 2 Plus Touchscreen.

The Qolsys IQ Router is also slated for release in Q2 of 2021. This is a mesh router system that will support up to eight (8) nodes, and both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz networks. What's great about this product is that it allows a user to create a WIFI subnet inside their regular network. Any devices that use WIFI can be attached to the network, not just security devices, and multiple nodes (up to 8) can be added to strengthen the mesh network. If you change internet providers or even just internet equipment, you simply unplug the IQ Router from the existing router, plug it into the new router, and all of the WIFI devices will remain connected to the WIFI sub-network without having to reconfigure any of them. These are two upcoming products associated with the release of Firmware Version 2.6.0 that we're really looking forward to.

Below you'll find some of the additional new features supported on Firmware Version 2.6.0:

New Features:

  • Support for DSC hardwire keypads (HS2LCD, HS2ICN) via the CORBUS on the PowerG Hardwire to Wireless Translator (PG9WLSHW8) with Firmware V 1.1. Also added new PGM system triggers for Police, Fire, Aux & CO emergency.
  • Support for DSC NEO Wire-Free Keypads HS2LCDWFx, HS2LCDWFxENG.
  • Support for new V4 PowerG Daughter Card.
  • Panel now supports remote Z-Wave Smart Start integration from Alarm.com.
  • This update includes the critical firmware2 fix that resolves an issue where certain panels would automatically reboot with previous firmware applied.

Fixes & Improvements

  • Added a setting to allow the panel to send 1 or 10 images taken by PowerG Image Sensor Cameras (PG9934P, PG9944, NEXT CAM, PG2, NEXT CAM K9-85 PG2, BW-IRC, BW-IPC, TOWER CAM PG2, BW-ODC) during an alarm event to Alarm.com. Previously, ten (10) images were stored locally at the panel, but only the first image was sent to Alarm.com.
  • Added a setting allowing alarm dealers to select a specific time for Communication Tests to be sent to the monitoring station. If no selection is made, the time will be randomized.
  • Added a setting for detection direction on PG9902 Outdoor Curtain PIR. Users can choose left to right, right to left, or both.
  • Added the ability to disable PowerG activation LED on devices that have one in order to conserve battery.
  • Added Partition support for EN Grade 2 Panels.
  • Improved 700-Series Z-Wave performance on UK & EU Panels.
  • Bluetooth Disarm now available for UK & EU Panels.
  • Added language support for Spanish (Spain), French (France), Finnish, and Polish.
  • Added support for European date format: DD.MM.YYYY.
  • Improved cellular strength matching between Panel and Alarm.com for Latin America.
  • Silent and Audible Panics now report separate CID codes to central station.
  • Duress Alarm and Silent Police Panic can now be dismissed from Alarm.com.
  • Improvements to PowerG Wireless keypad functionality (WS9LCDWFx).
  • Keyfob arming now follows the Auto-Bypass setting on the panel.
  • Duress codes from KP-140 & KP-141 now transmit to Alarm.com.
  • Corrected an issue where a PG9905 Temperature Sensor would send double alarms for the same event.
  • Fixed an issue related to virtual device integration on the panel, which includes Liftmaster Garage Door control from the panel UI, and Solar Integration from Alarm.com. See TSB 201026 for additional details.

Into each life, a little rain must fall. It's not all good news, although, this is more of an inconvenience than actual bad news. Because Firmware Version 2.6.0 also contains the important firmware2 fix, it must be downloaded and installed from the Qolsys Server. The server has some logic built-in that allows it to tell if the panel being updated requires the firmware2 fix, or not. For this reason, much like Firmware version 2.5.5, Qolsys is not making this firmware file available for download. This means that Alarm Grid can't host it on our site.

What this means for the end-user is that in order to get 2.6.0, your panel must have a WIFI connection. Once it does, you have two ways in which you can get the firmware. You can request it from your alarm dealer, and they can push the update to your panel from Alarm.com. This will be a free update. As long as your panel has WIFI 24/7, this is a simple and no-fuss way to get your panel updated. Just remember, if for some reason your panel loses WIFI, the update won't go through. Alarm.com will not allow the panel to be updated via a cellular-only connection. You can also follow the instructions below to request the update via Patch Tag.

If your panel happens to be in an area where there is no WIFI, maybe it's a hunting or fishing cabin, or a second home where WIFI is not readily available, then you may be able to use your cell phone as a mobile hotspot and fool the panel into thinking it's connected to WIFI. The amount of data in this file is about 250 MB according to Qolsys. Alternatively, you may be able to move the panel to a spot that has WIFI available just long enough to perform the upgrade. In a situation like this, you need to be in control of when the update begins, so in this case, you would want to use the "Patch Tag" method of updating. To do so, once your panel has a WIFI connection, do the following:

Follow these instructions after making sure your panel is on version 2.0.1 or higher. If the panel is on 2.5.0 or 2.5.1, the user must first update to 2.5.3 before running the update for 2.6.0:

  • Touch the small gray bar in the center at the top of the Home screen on the panel.
  • Touch “Settings”
  • Touch “Advanced Settings”
  • Enter a valid Installer or Dealer Code (defaults are 1111 and 2222 respectively)
  • Touch “Upgrade Software”.
  • Touch “Patch Tag” and enter: iqpanel2.6.0 then touch “OK”.
  • Important: If you need to install 2.5.3 prior to this update, the Patch Tag for that version is: iqpanel2.5.3. Run that update before running the Patch Tag for 2.6.0.
  • Touch “Upgrade Using Network”. If the panel is connected to WIFI, the system will begin downloading the update, it will be installed when the download completes. Once the update begins Do Not Touch The Screen! The update will take about five (5) minutes, and the panel will reboot as a part of the process. When the panel returns to the home screen and the Green LED at the right lights, the process has completed.

What do you think about the new Qolsys firmware, and the new products they have in the pipeline? Share your thoughts in the comments below. Is there a security topic you'd like to see us discuss? If so, leave a comment and we'll be happy to cover any security-related topics of interest. As always, we look forward to hearing from you!

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Here at Alarm Grid, we try to help as many people as possible with their alarm system. Sure, we hope it will lead folks to choose us for their alarm monitoring needs. But it's also because we're simply helpful people. An alarm in your home or business should help quell fears, not cause them.

We've begun what I think of as "Silly Season". You may be familiar with this term from Nascar, but for us in the alarm industry, this is the time when a lot of home buying and selling occurs. During this time, we get a lot of calls that go something like this, "I just moved into a home with an existing alarm. We haven't been using it, but somehow it got armed, and now it's going off, and I don't know the code to disarm it. Please help!"

Moving into a new home is exciting, but it's also stressful and can be overwhelming at times. So, I've (Ms. Manners) put together this guide to help you, the person who moved out of the home in this scenario, to leave behind your alarm system in a way that's as stress-free as possible for all parties involved.

Ms. Manners Says: Notify Your Alarm Company

If your alarm system is monitored, be sure to notify your alarm company that you are moving out and that the system is staying behind. This may seem obvious, but many people assume that if they stop paying their monitoring fees, the alarm company will know they no longer want service and will cancel it on their own. This is not the case for a number of reasons! There may be contracts involved. There could be liability issues. So for many reasons - not the least of which is it's the polite thing to do - any time you wish to stop monitoring service to a particular address, you should notify the alarm monitoring company as soon as possible.

By notifying the alarm company, you do several things. You give them an opportunity to reach out to the new homeowner and introduce themselves. Hopefully, if you've had a good experience with your monitoring company, you will also put in a good word about them to the new homeowner. Both of these things give the company a leg-up when it comes to courting a potential new customer, and it also gives the new homeowner information based on your real-life experience, not just an advertisement in a new homeowner's mailer.

By notifying the monitoring company, you can also help to prevent any unnecessary dispatching of the authorities to this address. As bad as the scenario above is for the poor, uninformed new homeowner, it's worse for the police, fire, or EMS personnel who may respond to the alarm, which we know is false.

Remember, the person who signed up for the monitoring service at the address in the scenario above no longer lives there. That means the monitoring station is going to be calling people who have no idea what may be going on at this address (which is also an annoyance for the person receiving the call). In this situation, it is likely that the monitoring station MUST dispatch because if they don't (and there is some type of emergency) there may be repercussions for them. A monitoring station is always going to adhere to the adage, "Better safe than sorry." After all, safety is their business.

Ms. Manners Says: Default Users, But Not Zones

When you sell a house and the alarm system with it, you may think it's a good idea to set the alarm system back to factory default to allow the new homeowner a chance to program it as they see fit. Resist this urge! In most cases, what was your Front Door is now going to be their Front Door. What was your Kitchen Window is now going to be their Kitchen Window. John's Bedroom Window may become Jane's Bedroom Window, but this is a pretty simple thing to change and doesn't really call for the entire system to be set back to factory default.

When it comes to user codes, though, it is best to set these back to factory defaults. This will prevent the new homeowner from finding out what codes you used. After all, we are creatures of habit, and there's a good chance you'll use those same codes in your next system. Also, if you set the codes for the Installer and Master users back to their default, the new homeowner should easily be able to find out what they are by doing a quick search online. Then, if they find themselves in the messy scenario discussed above, they'll be able to get themselves out of it. Being able to get yourself out of a jam like this one can do wonders for your self-confidence.

System Manufacturers and their Default Codes

Panel Manufacturer Installer Code Master Code
Honeywell Vista (Non-polling) 4112 1234
Honeywell All-in-One 4112 1234
2GIG GC2 1561 1111
2GIG GC3 1561 1111
Qolsys 1111 1234
Interlogix Simon XT 4321 1234
Interlogix Simon XTi & XTi-5 4321 1234
DSC Impassa 5555 1234

Use the information in the table above to set the codes in your panel back to their default values. If you don't see your panel listed, you can likely find the information you need with a quick online search. Performing this process is the single most helpful thing you can do for the new homeowner when it comes to the alarm system!

Ms. Manners Says: Leave Behind Good Notes

Any information you know about your alarm system, such as the manufacturer and model, the default installer code, and the default master code - each of which hopefully you have programmed into your panel by this time - will be helpful for the new homeowner. A list of zone numbers and their descriptions is also very much appreciated by a new homeowner. Leave them a note, tucked behind the keypad, or on a kitchen counter. Give them the sequence of keys to enter to disarm the system, or better yet, if you have the opportunity, show it to them, and then leave them a note to back up your demonstration.

If you're willing, leave them your contact information so they can contact you in the event that something unforeseen comes up. This is particularly important if your system is somewhat complex and has multiple home automation features integrated with it. I promise the last thing the new homeowner wants to do is bother you if they can avoid it. Everyone at Alarm Grid has talked with a frantic new homeowner who never even considered contacting the prior homeowner. It's usually something we suggest if we're unable to assist.

Fortunately, in most cases, we are able to assist, and we are happy to do so. This is just one of the many ways we make new friends here at Alarm Grid! I hope that anyone who is preparing to move out of a home and leave behind an alarm system will read this and use these suggestions to prepare.

If you happen to be moving into a home that already has an alarm system, and perhaps the previous homeowner didn't read this post, feel free to reach out to us. We're here Monday - Friday from 9:00 am to 8:00 pm Eastern Time. You can reach us via email, or by calling 888-818-7728.

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