Breaking News: Reports of Unclearable Errors on 2GIG GC3 & GC3ePosted By Michael Goris
Alarm Grid has been hearing reports from 2GIG GC3 and 2GIG GC3e users with trouble conditions that they cannot clear. According to reports, these unclearable errors only occur on these systems when Smart Area Partitioning is enabled. While inconvenient, they shouldn't cause much issue.
When a "trouble" condition appears on a 2GIG GC3 or 2GIG GC3e with partitions enabled, the "Smart Areas" menu button on the panel will appear yellow. Normally, you fix the trouble condition itself first. Then, you acknowledge the trouble by clicking on Smart Areas, entering your Master Code, and clicking the "speech bubble" next to the partition associated with the trouble. Then the trouble should clear, and the Smart Areas button should return to its usual blue state, indicating that everything is normal. More information on the trouble-clearing process can be found in this FAQ.
In the case of our customers who have reported this issue, they received a valid trouble condition of "Console Broadband Network Failure" or "Cellphone Communication Failure" appearing on various Smart Areas of their GC3 and GC3e systems. Because this was a system trouble, it showed up on multiple partitions. The trouble condition was then resolved successfully, as evidenced by the ability to send successful test signals via all communication paths to Alarm.com. However, the trouble message became stuck in multiple partitions and could not be cleared by any means.
Alarm Grid was able to replicate a similar issue through a relatively unique method. We found that if you enrolled a sensor with a GC3 or GC3e, put the sensor into a trouble condition (e.g. loss of RF supervision, cover tamper, etc.), and then deleted that sensor from the system without ever correcting and clearing the trouble condition, then the same situation would occur. Whichever partition the sensor was assigned to would be stuck with a permanent trouble condition that could never be cleared, regardless of which troubleshooting method was attempted. Of course, this would rarely happen in practice, as a responsible user would fix a trouble condition before intentionally deleting a sensor. But nevertheless, we were able to replicate a similar problem in practice.
Various methods have been attempted to fix this issue, but nothing has worked at removing these seemingly unclearable troubles. Some of the methods attempted have included disabling and then reenabling partitions, powering down the panel for a hard reboot, performing a reboot through System Manager, upgrading the firmware version, and factory defaulting the system. Users have reported that once they acknowledge the error that the panel stops making any audible sounds associated with the trouble condition, but still, the Smart Areas button remains a disturbing yellow color.
Not every GC3 and GC3e with partitions enabled appears to be affected. From what we can tell, only a small number of these systems are displaying such an error. Either that, or most users have chosen simply to ignore the issue, and not report it to us. Most of our monitored customers with a GC3 or GC3e have not reported this issue. But the ones who have reported the issue have left us at a loss for a solution. We apologize to these users, as we know how frustrating this can be. We don't often encounter issues we can't solve with a little bit of thinking, but this is one of those rare cases where we are just as confused as you are.
While this issue is annoying and bothersome, it doesn't appear to have any major impact on the performance of the system. The GC3 or GC3e System will still report to Alarm.com as intended, and it can still be relied upon for security and life-safety purposes. The one pressing factor though is that this issue can make it difficult for a user to determine when in fact there is a legitimate trouble condition on their system. Most GC3 and GC3e users who use partitions rely on the Smart Areas button to tell them if something is wrong. If it's blue, then everything is okay. But if it's yellow, then something needs their attention. This is a pretty simple check, and when it's not functioning properly, it's understandably frustrating.
Unfortunately, we do not have a solid fix for this problem at the current time. But luckily, if a new trouble condition occurs, the system will provide a trouble beep locally. It will continue to beep until a user acknowledges the new trouble condition. In addition, if you have trouble notifications enabled through Alarm.com, then you will also receive a new trouble notification via text, email, and/or push notification should any new issues arise. Nortek and 2GIG have been apprised of this error, and advise they are working on a fix.
Our reports indicate that this issue is still present in both the latest GC3 Firmware and the latest GC3e Firmware. The highest firmware currently available for these panels is Version 3.2.5, and even systems on this latest firmware have been shown to be affected. We are hopeful that 2GIG and Nortek will release a fix for these unclearable trouble conditions in Firmware Version 3.2.6. But unfortunately, we have not yet received any indication that such a fix will be implemented. We also have no release date for Version 3.2.6 at this time. Again, we apologize for any inconvenience.
If you are affected by a trouble condition that you cannot clear, make sure to try the conventional methods of clearing it first. Correct the cause of the trouble, and then acknowledge the trouble by following the the steps in the FAQ linked earlier in this post. If you still can't clear the trouble, then please, report it to our support team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Your data is valuable to us in reporting the problem to 2GIG and Nortek so that a fix can be implemented. Our support team is available to check and respond to emails from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. As always we look forward to hearing from you!