Encrypted Door Alarm Sensors Posts

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One of the more interesting things about the Honeywell Home PROSIX Sensor lineup is that it features two (2) different "mini" door and window sensors. These are the Honeywell Home PROSIXMINI and the Honeywell Home PROSIXMINI2. Today, we will be comparing and contrasting these sensors.


When the Honeywell Home PROA7PLUS Alarm Panel first hit the market, a new lineup of sensors also made their debut. These are the Honeywell Home PROSIX Sensors, and they make the perfect complement to Resideo's latest security system. These devices are best-known for their 128-bit AES encryption and their improved wireless range over the Honeywell and Resideo Sensors that came before them. The PROSIX Sensors can only be used with the PROA7PLUS, and until Resideo makes local programming available for the system, you will need the help of your monitoring company to enroll any new sensor.

At first glance, the PROSIX Sensor Family seems pretty straightforward. It is a very robust lineup, featuring everything from security sensors like motion detectors and glassbreak listeners, to environmental sensors like flood sensors and temperature sensors. But there is one anomaly that often makes people turn heads. That is the presence of two (2) different "mini" door and window contact sensors, the PROSIXMINI and the PROSIXMINI2. Both are surface-mounted contact sensors, and both monitor an interior door or window for opening and closing. A third sensor in the lineup, the PROSIXCT also accomplishes the same task, but that sensor is considerably larger and features an auxiliary input to provide wireless transmitter functionality. But it begs the question - why is there both a PROSIXMINI and a PROSIXMINI2?

Starting with the PROSIXMINI, this sensor actually looks virtually identical to the Honeywell SiXMINICT from the Honeywell SiX Series Lineup made popular by the Lyric Controller. It's likely that Resideo took the same plastic casing from the SiXMINICT and repurposed it for the PROSIXMINI. And when compared the alternative option from the same sensor generation, the PROSIXMINI2, the only category where the PROSIXMINI "wins" is in size. The PROSIXMINI (2.44"L x 1.25"W x 0.45"D) is the smaller and more discrete sensor when compared with the larger and slightly bulkier PROSIXMINI2 (2.9"L x 1.15"W x 0.75"D). The reason why the PROSIXMINI is able to maintain a smaller profile and relatively "flat" design is thanks to its use of a CR2450 coin battery. Meanwhile, the PROSIXMINI2 uses a CR2 battery, which has a more traditional, cylindrical shape,

But before you go declaring the PROSIXMINI to be the winner, you might to consider the fact that the PROSIXMINI2 outshines its smaller and flatter competitor in virtually every other possible aspect. The PROSIXMINI2 has a wireless range of 500+ feet in open air, while the PROSIXIMINI is limited to 200+ feet. The PROSIXMINI2 also wins in the battle of battery life, as its lithium CR2 battery should last about seven (7) years before a replacement is needed. The lithium CR2450 battery inside the PROSIXMINI can only be counted on for about five (5) years. Also, some equipment testing has shown that the use of coin cell batteries inside a sensor can be problematic. It's likely that Resideo wanted to give users an alternative option that uses a more trustworthy battery.


Now, you're likely wondering, which sensor should you get? The PROSIXMINI or the PROSIXMINI2? If aesthetics are the single most important concern to you, and you simply want the smallest and most discreet sensor, the you can make a case for the PROSIXMINI. But if you ask us, we think the PROSIXMINI2 is the superior option, because of its improved signal range, extended battery life, and more reliable battery performance in general. But rest assured, both the PROSIXMINI and the PROSIXMINI2 should work very well on any PROA7PLUS Security System.

If you need help deciding on sensors for your system, or if you are an Alarm Grid monitored customer needing us to help you enroll new sensors with your PROA7PLUS, please email us at support@alarmgrid.com. This is also a good email to use if you are interested in starting new monitoring service with Alarm Grid. We're here to check your emails from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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One of the more interesting things about the Honeywell Home PROSIX Sensor lineup is that it features two (2) different "mini" door and window sensors. These are the Honeywell Home PROSIXMINI and the Honeywell Home PROSIXMINI2. Today, we will be comparing and contrasting these sensors.


When the Honeywell Home PROA7PLUS Alarm Panel first hit the market, a new lineup of sensors also made their debut. These are the Honeywell Home PROSIX Sensors, and they make the perfect complement to Resideo's latest security system. These devices are best-known for their 128-bit AES encryption and their improved wireless range over the Honeywell and Resideo Sensors that came before them. The PROSIX Sensors can only be used with the PROA7PLUS, and until Resideo makes local programming available for the system, you will need the help of your monitoring company to enroll any new sensor.

At first glance, the PROSIX Sensor Family seems pretty straightforward. It is a very robust lineup, featuring everything from security sensors like motion detectors and glassbreak listeners, to environmental sensors like flood sensors and temperature sensors. But there is one anomaly that often makes people turn heads. That is the presence of two (2) different "mini" door and window contact sensors, the PROSIXMINI and the PROSIXMINI2. Both are surface-mounted contact sensors, and both monitor an interior door or window for opening and closing. A third sensor in the lineup, the PROSIXCT also accomplishes the same task, but that sensor is considerably larger and features an auxiliary input to provide wireless transmitter functionality. But it begs the question - why is there both a PROSIXMINI and a PROSIXMINI2?

Starting with the PROSIXMINI, this sensor actually looks virtually identical to the Honeywell SiXMINICT from the Honeywell SiX Series Lineup made popular by the Lyric Controller. It's likely that Resideo took the same plastic casing from the SiXMINICT and repurposed it for the PROSIXMINI. And when compared the alternative option from the same sensor generation, the PROSIXMINI2, the only category where the PROSIXMINI "wins" is in size. The PROSIXMINI (2.44"L x 1.25"W x 0.45"D) is the smaller and more discrete sensor when compared with the larger and slightly bulkier PROSIXMINI2 (2.9"L x 1.15"W x 0.75"D). The reason why the PROSIXMINI is able to maintain a smaller profile and relatively "flat" design is thanks to its use of a CR2450 coin battery. Meanwhile, the PROSIXMINI2 uses a CR2 battery, which has a more traditional, cylindrical shape,

But before you go declaring the PROSIXMINI to be the winner, you might to consider the fact that the PROSIXMINI2 outshines its smaller and flatter competitor in virtually every other possible aspect. The PROSIXMINI2 has a wireless range of 500+ feet in open air, while the PROSIXIMINI is limited to 200+ feet. The PROSIXMINI2 also wins in the battle of battery life, as its lithium CR2 battery should last about seven (7) years before a replacement is needed. The lithium CR2450 battery inside the PROSIXMINI can only be counted on for about five (5) years. Also, some equipment testing has shown that the use of coin cell batteries inside a sensor can be problematic. It's likely that Resideo wanted to give users an alternative option that uses a more trustworthy battery.


Now, you're likely wondering, which sensor should you get? The PROSIXMINI or the PROSIXMINI2? If aesthetics are the single most important concern to you, and you simply want the smallest and most discreet sensor, the you can make a case for the PROSIXMINI. But if you ask us, we think the PROSIXMINI2 is the superior option, because of its improved signal range, extended battery life, and more reliable battery performance in general. But rest assured, both the PROSIXMINI and the PROSIXMINI2 should work very well on any PROA7PLUS Security System.

If you need help deciding on sensors for your system, or if you are an Alarm Grid monitored customer needing us to help you enroll new sensors with your PROA7PLUS, please email us at support@alarmgrid.com. This is also a good email to use if you are interested in starting new monitoring service with Alarm Grid. We're here to check your emails from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Last week, we took a look at three of the best alarm panels in the industry. These were the Honeywell Lyric, the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus, and the 2GIG GC3e. Today, we are checking out the sensors that you can add to support these systems. Here is our 2020 Security Sensor Buying Guide!

Sensors are accessories that are added to alarm systems to report specific activity. Each sensor has its own job of looking for a certain type of activity in its designated location. All of the sensors on a system communicate with a single centralized panel or hub. This panel is actively listening for any sensor that is triggered due to a potentially important system event. Adding new sensors is perhaps the best way to expand upon an existing system, and they make awesome gifts and stocking stuffers for the security enthusiast in your life.

Broadly speaking, sensors can be split into two main categories, which are security and life safety/environmental. Security sensors look for activity that suggests potentially unauthorized entry into a monitored and protected location, such as a door being opened, movement in a room where nobody is supposed to be present, or a window being broken. Life safety/environmental sensors look for activity associated with unwanted or potentially harmful conditions that affect the well-being of those in the area, such as a flood, an extreme temperature, a fire, or the presence of CO gas. We'll be taking a look at life safety/environmental sensors another time. Today, our focus is on security sensors.

Wireless Sensor Basics


Before we dive into specific security sensors for our top panel picks, we're going to start by giving you some general, generic information that can be applied to any sensor out there. First, understand that this post is focusing only on wireless sensors. These are almost always the sensors chosen for use with wireless alarm systems. Wired sensors can also technically be used with wireless panels but a converter module is almost always needed. Not to mention the fact that wireless sensors are significantly easier to install, especially for DIY users. The only time you will realistically see wired sensors used with a wireless panel is if a user is upgrading from an older wired system and bringing over their old wired sensors, or in new construction where a user wants to integrate the sensors in with the building. But if you're expanding upon a wireless system by getting new sensors, then the new sensors will almost certainly be wireless.

The important thing to remember when choosing wireless sensors for a wireless alarm panel is making sure the sensor is compatible with the system. It doesn't matter if a sensor has all the specs and features if it doesn't work with your panel! The way to determine compatibility is to look at the lineup that the sensor is from. Petty much every wireless sensor out there is part of a larger grouping of sensors that will all have the same compatibility.

To make it easier for you, we have the three panels we mentioned before (well, make that five, as the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus actually comes in three versions), and all their compatible sensor lineups conveniently listed. We hope that this sheds some light on your options. The only caveat is that for any panel listed here that supports the Honeywell 5800 Sensors, we must be clear that this is only for the uni-directional sensors with one-way communication in the lineup. Any bi-directional Honeywell 5800 Sensors with two-way communication will not work with any of the aforementioned systems. The bi-directional Honeywell 5800 Sensors are only compatible with the Honeywell LYNX Touch and VISTA Systems, which were not included in our buying guides.

With that out of the way, here are compatible sensor lineups by system:

You will notice that some of the sensor groups listed above are italicized and underlined. That is done to identify the lineups of encrypted sensors. These encrypted sensors have special protection measures put in place to make them more secure and less prone to being hacked or defeated by malicious attacks. Encrypted sensors tend to have more restricted compatibility. They may follow a special enrollment process. Encrypted sensors often use bi-directional communication so that the sensor knows that it is actively paired with the system. Many encrypted sensors may only be paired with a single system at any given time, and the sensor will need to be deleted from its existing system before it will work with a new one.

It's okay to use non-encrypted sensors with your system, especially in zones that are less likely to trigger an alarm, like a second story window. Many users will opt to use a mixture of both encrypted and non-encrypted sensors. Other users feel comfortable using entirely non-encrypted sensors. It really comes down to your level of comfort. Non-encrypted sensors are secure in most situations, and they are still tricky to defeat. But going fully encrypted is recommended for anyone seeking maximum security. One tip if you do decide to go with some non-encrypted sensors is to avoid letting others know what wireless frequency your sensors use or what type of system you have installed. Knowing the frequency and the system being used makes it much easier for a savvy intruder to defeat a sensor.

Door & Window Alarm Sensors


Now that you know some basics that apply to almost all wireless sensors, let's start talking about specific types and models. Door and window sensors will let a system know when a door or window has been opened or closed. These are some of the most basic and easy to use sensors on a security system. These devices work by using a larger sensor portion and a smaller magnet portion. The sensor is placed on or inside the door or window frame, and the magnet is placed on or inside the moving portion of the door or window. When the door or window is opened, the magnet will move away from the sensor. This will trip a metal reed switch inside the sensor, which will tell the sensor to alert the system to the opened door or window. All of the sensors we've listed here follow that same method of operation.

Door and window sensors can be split into two (2) main categories. Surface-mount door and window sensors are mounted outside the door or window and its accompanying frame on the surface. The advantage to surface-mount door and window sensors is that they are very easy to install, and they can usually be mounted using double sided foam tape. But some users may not like how they are visible on the outside of the door or window. If you don't like the appearance of visible surface-mount door and window sensors, then you might instead consider recessed door and window sensors. A recessed door or window sensor is installed inside a door or window and its frame, so that it is hidden and cannot be seen from the outside. Recessed door and window sensors are more difficult and time-consuming to install, because you must drill holes in both the door or window and its accompanying frame. Whether you decide to use surface-mount door and window sensors, or recessed door and window sensors is up to you. Most DIY users and Alarm Grid customers in general will use surface-mount door and window sensors.

Now let's look at some door and window sensors.:

Sensor Name
Product Lineup
Compatibility Range
Encryption Installation
Notes
Honeywell SiXMINICT

Honeywell SiX Series Lyric 200 Nominal Feet 128-bit AES Surface-Mount Premier mini encrypted door/window Sensor for Lyric.
DSC PG9303

PowerG All IQ Panel 2 Plus 2,000 Feet Open Air 128-bit AES Surface-Mount PowerG encrypted surface mount door/window sensor.
DSC PG9307

PowerG All IQ Panel 2 Plus
2,000 Feet Open Air 128-bit AES Recessed PowerG encrypted recessed door/window sensor.
2GIG DW10e

2GIG eSeries 2GIG GC3e 350 Nominal Feet 2GIG eSeries Encryption Surface-Mount Encrypted surface-mount sensor for 2GIG
2GIG DW20e

2GIG eSeries
2GIG GC3e
350 Nominal Feet 2GIG eSeries Encryption
Recessed Encrypted recessed sensor for 2GIG
Qolsys IQ DW Mini-S

Qolsys S-Line 319.5 MHz IQ2+ 600 Feet Open Air Qolsys S-Line Encryption Surface-Mount Encrypted surface-mount sensor for 319.5 MHz systems.
Qolsys IQ Recessed Door-S

Qolsys S-Line 319.5 MHz IQ 2+ 600 Feet Open Air Qolsys S-Line Encryption Recessed Encrypted recessed sensor for 319.5 MHz systems.
Honeywell 5818MNL

Honeywell
5800 Series
Lyric, GC3e, 345 MHz IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None Recessed Non-Encrypted recessed door/window sensor for 345 MHz systems.
VERSA-2GIG

2GIG 345 MHz Lyric, GC3e, 345 MHz IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None Surface-Mount Non-encrypted surface-mount sensor for 345 MHz systems.
VERSA-GE

Legacy GE 319.5 MHz IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None Surface-Mount Non-encrypted surface-mount sensor for 319.5 MHz systems.
VERSA-DSC

Legacy DSC 433 MHz IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None Surface-Mount Non-encrypted surface-mount sensor for 433 MHz systems.

We also want to share a selection of outdoor door and window sensors with you. These surface-mount contact sensors are specifically designed to withstand the conditions of an outdoor environment, including intense rain, wind, dust, and sunlight. You can see them listed below.

Sensor Name
Product Lineup
Compatibility
Range
Encryption
Installation Notes
Honeywell 5816OD

Honeywell 5800 Series Lyric, GC3e, 345 MHz IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None Surface-Mount Outdoor contact sensor from 5800 Series.
DSC PG9312

PowerG All IQ Panel 2 Plus 2,000 Feet Open Air 128-bit AES Surface-Mount PowerG Outdoor Contact Sensor.
2GIG DW30-345

2GIG 345 MHz Lyric, GC3e, 345 MHz IQ2+ 350 Nominal Feet None Surface-Mount Outdoor contact sensor from 2GIG 345 MHz series.

Motion Sensors


Motion sensors use passive infrared (PIR) technology to detect movement within the sensor's coverage area. This is done by looking for the changes in infrared (IR) energy that occur when a person, animal, or object comes within the sensor's field of view. Standard motion sensors are typically PIR only. These are appropriately called PIR motion sensors.

Some motion sensors will also use microwave technology in addition to PIR technology. This involves having the sensor send out microwave signals and seeing how the signals bounce off of objects in the area. Movement will change the pattern of these microwave signals, and the sensor will be able to detect this. These motion sensors that use both microwave and PIR are called Dual-Tech motion sensors. The purpose of using both PIR and microwave together is to prevent false alarms. A Dual-Tech motion sensor will only activate and alert the system if both its PIR sensor and its microwave sensor are triggered. A microwave sensor is not vulnerable to the same environmental issues that may cause a false activation on a PIR. You will not find a motion sensor that uses microwave technology without PIR detection, as microwave alone would result in too many false alarms without having PIR to confirm movement.

One feature that you will often see listed on a motion sensor is pet-immunity. A motion sensor that has been set up for pet immunity can be configured to not "look" in the areas close to the ground where pets and small animals walk. Instead, the motion sensor only looks in the areas higher up, where humans move while walking upright. A pet immune motion sensor is not impervious to small animals, and you must position it carefully so that it works as intended. Pet immune motion sensors normally have a weight limit, where animals under that weight limit should avoid triggering the sensor, assuming that the sensor is installed properly. Please note that most pet friendly motion sensors will require you to set the sensitivity for the sensor to the lowest possible setting.

When it comes to motion sensors, mounting them carefully is very important. A motion sensor may cause false alarms on the system if it is not installed properly. These sensors should not be facing any vents, air ducts, ceiling fans, or curtains that may cause the sensor to activate without any movement. If you are using the motion sensor for pet immunity, then it should also not be facing any furniture or stairwells that your pet could use to get within the sensor's field of view. You will likely want to perform a Walk Test of your motion sensor to make sure that it responds properly when movement is present, and does not respond due to other external factors when there is no movement. You should also have any pets participate in the Walk Test to ensure that pet immunity is working properly.

We recommend reading the following FAQs to learn more about motion sensors:

Below are some of the most popular motion sensors for our recommended systems:

Sensor Name Product Lineup
Compatibility Range
Encryption Coverage Area
Detection Type
Pet Immunity Notes
Honeywell SiXPIR

Honeywell SiX Series Lyric 300 Nominal Feet 128-bit AES 40 by 56 Feet
PIR Up to 80 lbs Encrypted PIR Motion for Lyric.
DSC PG9914

PowerG All IQ Panel 2 Plus 2,000 Feet Open Air 128-bit AES Up to 39 Feet PIR Up to 85 lbs PowerG Encrypted PIR Motion.
DSC PG9984P

PowerG All IQ Panel 2 Plus 2,000 Feet Open Air 128-bit AES Up to 50 Feet Dual-Tech Up to 40 lbs PowerG Encrypted Dual-Tech Motion.
2GIG PIR1e

2GIG eSeries 2GIG GC3e 350 Nominal Feet 2GIG eSeries Encryption
30 by 50 Feet PIR Up to 55 lbs Encrypted PIR Motion for 2GIG.
Honeywell 5800PIR-RES

Honeywell 5800 Series Lyric, GC3e, 345 MHz IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None 35 by 40 Feet PIR Up to 80 lbs Non-encrypted residential PIR motion for 345 MHz systems.
Honeywell 5800PIR-COM

Honeywell 5800 Series Lyric, GC3e, 345 MHz, IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None 60 by 80 Feet PIR None Non-encrypted commercial PIR motion for 345 MHz systems.
Honeywell 5898

Honeywell 5800 Series Lyric, GC3e, 345 MHz IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None 35 by 40 Feet for Pet Immunity Dual-Tech Up to 100 lbs Non-encrypted Dual-Tech motion for 345 MHz systems.
Qolsys IQ Motion-S

Qolsys S-Line 319.5 MHz IQ2+ 600 Feet Open Air Qolsys S-Line Encryption 30 by 40 Feet PIR Up to 40 lbs Non-encrypted PIR motion for 319.5 MHz systems.

There are also certain outdoor motion detection sensors that are better-suited for use in an outdoor environment. These outdoor motion sensor models are typically more expensive than indoor variants. You can see some of our most popular ones listed below:

Sensor Name
Product Lineup
Compatibility Range
Encryption Coverage Area
Detection Type
Pet Immunity Notes
DSC PG9994

PowerG All IQ Panel 2 Plus 2,000 Feet Open Air 128-bit AES Up to 30 Feet PIR Up to 40 lbs PowerG Outdoor PIR Motion Sensor
Honeywell 5800PIR-OD

Honeywell 5800 Series Lyric, GC3e, 345 MHz IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None 40 by 30 Feet PIR None Honeywell 5800 Series Outdoor Motion, 1st ed.
Honeywell 5800PIR-OD2

Honeywell 5800 Series Lyric, GC3e, 345 MHz IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None 40 by 30 Feet PIR None Honeywell 5800 Series Outdoor Motion, 2nd ed.
Optex FTN-RRIX

Legacy Interlogix 319.5 MHz IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None Up to 16.5 Feet PIR None Optex Fitlink Outdoor Motion Sensor for 319.5 MHz Systems
Optex FTN-RR2G

2GIG 345 MHz Lyric, GC3e, 345 MHz IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None Up to 16.5 Feet PIR None Optex Fitlink Outdoor Motion Sensor for 345 MHz Systems.
Optex FTN-RRDS

Legacy DSC 433 MHz IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None Up to 16.5 Feet PIR None Optex Fitlink Outdoor Motion Sensor for 433 MHz Systems.

Glass Break Sensors

The last type of security sensors we will be discussing are glass break sensors. These sensors include built-in microphones, and they actively listen for the unique sound of glass breaking. Most of these sensors will need to hear both the high-pitched shattering sound of the glass breaking, as well as the low-pitched sound of an object striking against the glass in order to activate. This design choice is to prevent false alarms caused by similar sounds. Most users will use glass break sensors to monitor windows, but they have also been known to work effectively on protective glass display cases that store valuables, such as what you might find in jewelry stores or gun shops. Most types of glass will work with glass break sensors, though there are some exceptions. For example double and triple pane glass windows won't work reliably. The same is true for coated or "safety" glass. Refer to the manual for the exact glass break detector you are using to determine compatibility.

A single glass break detector can monitor multiple windows or display cases, as long as the glass it is monitoring is within its detection range, which is typically 15 to 25 feet. Any glass that is being monitored must have a direct line of sight with the sensor, with no obstacles blocking the path that sound will travel through. When testing your glass break sensors, it is strongly recommended that you us a glass break simulator. These devices will mimic the sound of the glass breaking and activate your glass break sensors without actually breaking any glass. Remember to refer the instructions of your glass break simulator for more information. When choosing a glass break simulator, it is best to use a simulator from the same manufacturer, if possible. We have a Honeywell Glass Break Simulator and a DSC Glass Break Simulator available on our website. If you get one of the 2GIG Glass Break Sensors mentioned in this buying guide, then the Honeywell Glass Break Simulator is best for testing. Otherwise, just match the manufacturer.

Below are some of our most popular glass break sensors:

Sensor Name
Product Lineup
Compatibility
Range
Encryption
Notes
Honeywell SiXGB

Honeywell SiX Series Lyric 300 Nominal Feet 128-bit AES SiX Series Glass Break Sensor for Lyric
DSC PG922

PowerG All IQ Panel 2 Plus 2,000 Feet Open Air 128-bit AES PowerG Glass Break Sensor
2GIG GB1e

2GIG eSeries 2GIG GC3e 350 Nominal Feet 2GIG eSeries Encryption Encrypted glass break sensor for 2GIG.
Honeywell 5853

Honeywell 5800 Series Lyric, GC3e, 345 MHz IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None Non-encrypted glass break sensor for 345 MHz systems.
Qolsys IQ Glass-S

Qolsys S-Line 319.5 MHz IQ2+ 600 Feet Open Air Qolsys S-Line Encryption Encrypted glass break sensor for 319.5 MHz systems.

Reach Out to Us!


Remember that you can reach out to us with any questions you might have about planning your system and determining sensor compatibility. The best way to contact us is to email support@alarmgrid.com. This is also a good email to use if you are interested in starting new alarm monitoring service with Alarm Grid. Our team checks for new email from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Last week, we took a look at three of the best alarm panels in the industry. These were the Honeywell Lyric, the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus, and the 2GIG GC3e. Today, we are checking out the sensors that you can add to support these systems. Here is our 2020 Security Sensor Buying Guide!

Sensors are accessories that are added to alarm systems to report specific activity. Each sensor has its own job of looking for a certain type of activity in its designated location. All of the sensors on a system communicate with a single centralized panel or hub. This panel is actively listening for any sensor that is triggered due to a potentially important system event. Adding new sensors is perhaps the best way to expand upon an existing system, and they make awesome gifts and stocking stuffers for the security enthusiast in your life.

Broadly speaking, sensors can be split into two main categories, which are security and life safety/environmental. Security sensors look for activity that suggests potentially unauthorized entry into a monitored and protected location, such as a door being opened, movement in a room where nobody is supposed to be present, or a window being broken. Life safety/environmental sensors look for activity associated with unwanted or potentially harmful conditions that affect the well-being of those in the area, such as a flood, an extreme temperature, a fire, or the presence of CO gas. We'll be taking a look at life safety/environmental sensors another time. Today, our focus is on security sensors.

Wireless Sensor Basics


Before we dive into specific security sensors for our top panel picks, we're going to start by giving you some general, generic information that can be applied to any sensor out there. First, understand that this post is focusing only on wireless sensors. These are almost always the sensors chosen for use with wireless alarm systems. Wired sensors can also technically be used with wireless panels but a converter module is almost always needed. Not to mention the fact that wireless sensors are significantly easier to install, especially for DIY users. The only time you will realistically see wired sensors used with a wireless panel is if a user is upgrading from an older wired system and bringing over their old wired sensors, or in new construction where a user wants to integrate the sensors in with the building. But if you're expanding upon a wireless system by getting new sensors, then the new sensors will almost certainly be wireless.

The important thing to remember when choosing wireless sensors for a wireless alarm panel is making sure the sensor is compatible with the system. It doesn't matter if a sensor has all the specs and features if it doesn't work with your panel! The way to determine compatibility is to look at the lineup that the sensor is from. Petty much every wireless sensor out there is part of a larger grouping of sensors that will all have the same compatibility.

To make it easier for you, we have the three panels we mentioned before (well, make that five, as the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus actually comes in three versions), and all their compatible sensor lineups conveniently listed. We hope that this sheds some light on your options. The only caveat is that for any panel listed here that supports the Honeywell 5800 Sensors, we must be clear that this is only for the uni-directional sensors with one-way communication in the lineup. Any bi-directional Honeywell 5800 Sensors with two-way communication will not work with any of the aforementioned systems. The bi-directional Honeywell 5800 Sensors are only compatible with the Honeywell LYNX Touch and VISTA Systems, which were not included in our buying guides.

With that out of the way, here are compatible sensor lineups by system:

You will notice that some of the sensor groups listed above are italicized and underlined. That is done to identify the lineups of encrypted sensors. These encrypted sensors have special protection measures put in place to make them more secure and less prone to being hacked or defeated by malicious attacks. Encrypted sensors tend to have more restricted compatibility. They may follow a special enrollment process. Encrypted sensors often use bi-directional communication so that the sensor knows that it is actively paired with the system. Many encrypted sensors may only be paired with a single system at any given time, and the sensor will need to be deleted from its existing system before it will work with a new one.

It's okay to use non-encrypted sensors with your system, especially in zones that are less likely to trigger an alarm, like a second story window. Many users will opt to use a mixture of both encrypted and non-encrypted sensors. Other users feel comfortable using entirely non-encrypted sensors. It really comes down to your level of comfort. Non-encrypted sensors are secure in most situations, and they are still tricky to defeat. But going fully encrypted is recommended for anyone seeking maximum security. One tip if you do decide to go with some non-encrypted sensors is to avoid letting others know what wireless frequency your sensors use or what type of system you have installed. Knowing the frequency and the system being used makes it much easier for a savvy intruder to defeat a sensor.

Door & Window Alarm Sensors


Now that you know some basics that apply to almost all wireless sensors, let's start talking about specific types and models. Door and window sensors will let a system know when a door or window has been opened or closed. These are some of the most basic and easy to use sensors on a security system. These devices work by using a larger sensor portion and a smaller magnet portion. The sensor is placed on or inside the door or window frame, and the magnet is placed on or inside the moving portion of the door or window. When the door or window is opened, the magnet will move away from the sensor. This will trip a metal reed switch inside the sensor, which will tell the sensor to alert the system to the opened door or window. All of the sensors we've listed here follow that same method of operation.

Door and window sensors can be split into two (2) main categories. Surface-mount door and window sensors are mounted outside the door or window and its accompanying frame on the surface. The advantage to surface-mount door and window sensors is that they are very easy to install, and they can usually be mounted using double sided foam tape. But some users may not like how they are visible on the outside of the door or window. If you don't like the appearance of visible surface-mount door and window sensors, then you might instead consider recessed door and window sensors. A recessed door or window sensor is installed inside a door or window and its frame, so that it is hidden and cannot be seen from the outside. Recessed door and window sensors are more difficult and time-consuming to install, because you must drill holes in both the door or window and its accompanying frame. Whether you decide to use surface-mount door and window sensors, or recessed door and window sensors is up to you. Most DIY users and Alarm Grid customers in general will use surface-mount door and window sensors.

Now let's look at some door and window sensors.:

Sensor Name
Product Lineup
Compatibility Range
Encryption Installation
Notes
Honeywell SiXMINICT

Honeywell SiX Series Lyric 200 Nominal Feet 128-bit AES Surface-Mount Premier mini encrypted door/window Sensor for Lyric.
DSC PG9303

PowerG All IQ Panel 2 Plus 2,000 Feet Open Air 128-bit AES Surface-Mount PowerG encrypted surface mount door/window sensor.
DSC PG9307

PowerG All IQ Panel 2 Plus
2,000 Feet Open Air 128-bit AES Recessed PowerG encrypted recessed door/window sensor.
2GIG DW10e

2GIG eSeries 2GIG GC3e 350 Nominal Feet 2GIG eSeries Encryption Surface-Mount Encrypted surface-mount sensor for 2GIG
2GIG DW20e

2GIG eSeries
2GIG GC3e
350 Nominal Feet 2GIG eSeries Encryption
Recessed Encrypted recessed sensor for 2GIG
Qolsys IQ DW Mini-S

Qolsys S-Line 319.5 MHz IQ2+ 600 Feet Open Air Qolsys S-Line Encryption Surface-Mount Encrypted surface-mount sensor for 319.5 MHz systems.
Qolsys IQ Recessed Door-S

Qolsys S-Line 319.5 MHz IQ 2+ 600 Feet Open Air Qolsys S-Line Encryption Recessed Encrypted recessed sensor for 319.5 MHz systems.
Honeywell 5818MNL

Honeywell
5800 Series
Lyric, GC3e, 345 MHz IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None Recessed Non-Encrypted recessed door/window sensor for 345 MHz systems.
VERSA-2GIG

2GIG 345 MHz Lyric, GC3e, 345 MHz IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None Surface-Mount Non-encrypted surface-mount sensor for 345 MHz systems.
VERSA-GE

Legacy GE 319.5 MHz IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None Surface-Mount Non-encrypted surface-mount sensor for 319.5 MHz systems.
VERSA-DSC

Legacy DSC 433 MHz IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None Surface-Mount Non-encrypted surface-mount sensor for 433 MHz systems.

We also want to share a selection of outdoor door and window sensors with you. These surface-mount contact sensors are specifically designed to withstand the conditions of an outdoor environment, including intense rain, wind, dust, and sunlight. You can see them listed below.

Sensor Name
Product Lineup
Compatibility
Range
Encryption
Installation Notes
Honeywell 5816OD

Honeywell 5800 Series Lyric, GC3e, 345 MHz IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None Surface-Mount Outdoor contact sensor from 5800 Series.
DSC PG9312

PowerG All IQ Panel 2 Plus 2,000 Feet Open Air 128-bit AES Surface-Mount PowerG Outdoor Contact Sensor.
2GIG DW30-345

2GIG 345 MHz Lyric, GC3e, 345 MHz IQ2+ 350 Nominal Feet None Surface-Mount Outdoor contact sensor from 2GIG 345 MHz series.

Motion Sensors


Motion sensors use passive infrared (PIR) technology to detect movement within the sensor's coverage area. This is done by looking for the changes in infrared (IR) energy that occur when a person, animal, or object comes within the sensor's field of view. Standard motion sensors are typically PIR only. These are appropriately called PIR motion sensors.

Some motion sensors will also use microwave technology in addition to PIR technology. This involves having the sensor send out microwave signals and seeing how the signals bounce off of objects in the area. Movement will change the pattern of these microwave signals, and the sensor will be able to detect this. These motion sensors that use both microwave and PIR are called Dual-Tech motion sensors. The purpose of using both PIR and microwave together is to prevent false alarms. A Dual-Tech motion sensor will only activate and alert the system if both its PIR sensor and its microwave sensor are triggered. A microwave sensor is not vulnerable to the same environmental issues that may cause a false activation on a PIR. You will not find a motion sensor that uses microwave technology without PIR detection, as microwave alone would result in too many false alarms without having PIR to confirm movement.

One feature that you will often see listed on a motion sensor is pet-immunity. A motion sensor that has been set up for pet immunity can be configured to not "look" in the areas close to the ground where pets and small animals walk. Instead, the motion sensor only looks in the areas higher up, where humans move while walking upright. A pet immune motion sensor is not impervious to small animals, and you must position it carefully so that it works as intended. Pet immune motion sensors normally have a weight limit, where animals under that weight limit should avoid triggering the sensor, assuming that the sensor is installed properly. Please note that most pet friendly motion sensors will require you to set the sensitivity for the sensor to the lowest possible setting.

When it comes to motion sensors, mounting them carefully is very important. A motion sensor may cause false alarms on the system if it is not installed properly. These sensors should not be facing any vents, air ducts, ceiling fans, or curtains that may cause the sensor to activate without any movement. If you are using the motion sensor for pet immunity, then it should also not be facing any furniture or stairwells that your pet could use to get within the sensor's field of view. You will likely want to perform a Walk Test of your motion sensor to make sure that it responds properly when movement is present, and does not respond due to other external factors when there is no movement. You should also have any pets participate in the Walk Test to ensure that pet immunity is working properly.

We recommend reading the following FAQs to learn more about motion sensors:

Below are some of the most popular motion sensors for our recommended systems:

Sensor Name Product Lineup
Compatibility Range
Encryption Coverage Area
Detection Type
Pet Immunity Notes
Honeywell SiXPIR

Honeywell SiX Series Lyric 300 Nominal Feet 128-bit AES 40 by 56 Feet
PIR Up to 80 lbs Encrypted PIR Motion for Lyric.
DSC PG9914

PowerG All IQ Panel 2 Plus 2,000 Feet Open Air 128-bit AES Up to 39 Feet PIR Up to 85 lbs PowerG Encrypted PIR Motion.
DSC PG9984P

PowerG All IQ Panel 2 Plus 2,000 Feet Open Air 128-bit AES Up to 50 Feet Dual-Tech Up to 40 lbs PowerG Encrypted Dual-Tech Motion.
2GIG PIR1e

2GIG eSeries 2GIG GC3e 350 Nominal Feet 2GIG eSeries Encryption
30 by 50 Feet PIR Up to 55 lbs Encrypted PIR Motion for 2GIG.
Honeywell 5800PIR-RES

Honeywell 5800 Series Lyric, GC3e, 345 MHz IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None 35 by 40 Feet PIR Up to 80 lbs Non-encrypted residential PIR motion for 345 MHz systems.
Honeywell 5800PIR-COM

Honeywell 5800 Series Lyric, GC3e, 345 MHz, IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None 60 by 80 Feet PIR None Non-encrypted commercial PIR motion for 345 MHz systems.
Honeywell 5898

Honeywell 5800 Series Lyric, GC3e, 345 MHz IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None 35 by 40 Feet for Pet Immunity Dual-Tech Up to 100 lbs Non-encrypted Dual-Tech motion for 345 MHz systems.
Qolsys IQ Motion-S

Qolsys S-Line 319.5 MHz IQ2+ 600 Feet Open Air Qolsys S-Line Encryption 30 by 40 Feet PIR Up to 40 lbs Non-encrypted PIR motion for 319.5 MHz systems.

There are also certain outdoor motion detection sensors that are better-suited for use in an outdoor environment. These outdoor motion sensor models are typically more expensive than indoor variants. You can see some of our most popular ones listed below:

Sensor Name
Product Lineup
Compatibility Range
Encryption Coverage Area
Detection Type
Pet Immunity Notes
DSC PG9994

PowerG All IQ Panel 2 Plus 2,000 Feet Open Air 128-bit AES Up to 30 Feet PIR Up to 40 lbs PowerG Outdoor PIR Motion Sensor
Honeywell 5800PIR-OD

Honeywell 5800 Series Lyric, GC3e, 345 MHz IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None 40 by 30 Feet PIR None Honeywell 5800 Series Outdoor Motion, 1st ed.
Honeywell 5800PIR-OD2

Honeywell 5800 Series Lyric, GC3e, 345 MHz IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None 40 by 30 Feet PIR None Honeywell 5800 Series Outdoor Motion, 2nd ed.
Optex FTN-RRIX

Legacy Interlogix 319.5 MHz IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None Up to 16.5 Feet PIR None Optex Fitlink Outdoor Motion Sensor for 319.5 MHz Systems
Optex FTN-RR2G

2GIG 345 MHz Lyric, GC3e, 345 MHz IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None Up to 16.5 Feet PIR None Optex Fitlink Outdoor Motion Sensor for 345 MHz Systems.
Optex FTN-RRDS

Legacy DSC 433 MHz IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None Up to 16.5 Feet PIR None Optex Fitlink Outdoor Motion Sensor for 433 MHz Systems.

Glass Break Sensors

The last type of security sensors we will be discussing are glass break sensors. These sensors include built-in microphones, and they actively listen for the unique sound of glass breaking. Most of these sensors will need to hear both the high-pitched shattering sound of the glass breaking, as well as the low-pitched sound of an object striking against the glass in order to activate. This design choice is to prevent false alarms caused by similar sounds. Most users will use glass break sensors to monitor windows, but they have also been known to work effectively on protective glass display cases that store valuables, such as what you might find in jewelry stores or gun shops. Most types of glass will work with glass break sensors, though there are some exceptions. For example double and triple pane glass windows won't work reliably. The same is true for coated or "safety" glass. Refer to the manual for the exact glass break detector you are using to determine compatibility.

A single glass break detector can monitor multiple windows or display cases, as long as the glass it is monitoring is within its detection range, which is typically 15 to 25 feet. Any glass that is being monitored must have a direct line of sight with the sensor, with no obstacles blocking the path that sound will travel through. When testing your glass break sensors, it is strongly recommended that you us a glass break simulator. These devices will mimic the sound of the glass breaking and activate your glass break sensors without actually breaking any glass. Remember to refer the instructions of your glass break simulator for more information. When choosing a glass break simulator, it is best to use a simulator from the same manufacturer, if possible. We have a Honeywell Glass Break Simulator and a DSC Glass Break Simulator available on our website. If you get one of the 2GIG Glass Break Sensors mentioned in this buying guide, then the Honeywell Glass Break Simulator is best for testing. Otherwise, just match the manufacturer.

Below are some of our most popular glass break sensors:

Sensor Name
Product Lineup
Compatibility
Range
Encryption
Notes
Honeywell SiXGB

Honeywell SiX Series Lyric 300 Nominal Feet 128-bit AES SiX Series Glass Break Sensor for Lyric
DSC PG922

PowerG All IQ Panel 2 Plus 2,000 Feet Open Air 128-bit AES PowerG Glass Break Sensor
2GIG GB1e

2GIG eSeries 2GIG GC3e 350 Nominal Feet 2GIG eSeries Encryption Encrypted glass break sensor for 2GIG.
Honeywell 5853

Honeywell 5800 Series Lyric, GC3e, 345 MHz IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None Non-encrypted glass break sensor for 345 MHz systems.
Qolsys IQ Glass-S

Qolsys S-Line 319.5 MHz IQ2+ 600 Feet Open Air Qolsys S-Line Encryption Encrypted glass break sensor for 319.5 MHz systems.

Reach Out to Us!


Remember that you can reach out to us with any questions you might have about planning your system and determining sensor compatibility. The best way to contact us is to email support@alarmgrid.com. This is also a good email to use if you are interested in starting new alarm monitoring service with Alarm Grid. Our team checks for new email from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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We have heard reports lately of RF supervision troubles on 2GIG GC2e and 2GIG GC3e Systems, particularly for zones set up with encrypted 2GIG eSeries Sensors. Upon further testing, we have learned that eSeries Zones configured with incorrect Equipment Codes can cause supervision trouble.

2gig pir1e wireless encrypted pir motion detector

Equipment Codes are somewhat of a unique quirk for 2GIG Security Systems. This numeric code identifies the model number of the wireless sensor that is being used. It should not be confused with the sensor's Serial Number, which is unique for each individual sensor. You set the Equipment Code when programming a new zone. Alarm Grid has helpful guides available for programming a GC2e zone and programming a GC3e zone.

The following table contains the current list of eSeries Equipment Codes:

Product Name Equipment Code
2GIG eSeries Smoke Detector (USA) 2058
2GIG eSeries CO Detector (USA) 2860
2GIG eSeries Tilt Sensor 2061
2GIG eSeries Flood Sensor 2065
2GIG eSeries Shock Sensor 2066
2GIG eSeries Repeater 2067
2GIG eSeries Translator 2068
2GIG eSeries Water Sensor 2070
2GIG eSeries Thin Door/Window Contact 2862
2GIG eSeries Recessed Door Contact 2863
2GIG eSeries Glass Break Detector 2864
2GIG eSeries Pet-Immune PIR Motion Sensor 2869
2GIG eSeries Takeover Module 2873
2GIG eSeries 4-Button Keyfob Remote 2866

Before the rise of 2GIG eSeries Encrypted Sensors, the Equipment Code setting on a 2GIG System was largely seen as a formality. The general practice was to find the corresponding sensor if available, but generally not worry about it very much if you couldn't match it exactly. Some third-party sensors do not have their own Equipment Codes, and an "equivalent" is usually selected instead. For example, the Honeywell 5800MINI and the VERSA-2GIG can both just use the Equipment Code for "Existing Door/Window Contact", rather than finding an exact match.

But for the 2GIG eSeries Sensors, the Equipment Code selection is actually very important. Failing to set the exact corresponding equipment code can result in the system displaying an RF supervision loss trouble condition for the associated zone. This trouble is typically used to identify that the system has lost communication with the sensor, due to either the sensor powering down from a dead or missing battery, or the sensor being taken out of wireless range. But it seems that the GC2e and GC3e cannot properly supervise a 2GIG eSeries Sensor with an improper Equipment Code. More information can be found in this FAQ.

Missing Equipment Codes are more common for third-party sensors not produced by 2GIG. For a 2GIG Sensor, you should almost always have a direct Equipment Code selection available. And the 2GIG eSeries Sensors are still quite new, so 2GIG made sure to put in Equipment Codes specifically for each of these sensors. However, you may be unable to find an Equipment Code for a brand-new eSeries Sensor if your 2GIG System isn't on the latest firmware version. Adding support for new sensors is a major part of most 2GIG Firmware Updates. You can view our GC2e Firmware Page here, and our GC3e Firmware Page here.

If you need any help programming a GC2e or GC3e wireless zone, then make sure to check out the programming FAQs we linked earlier. Alarm Grid monitored customers can also receive additional free support by emailing support@alarmgrid.com. This is also a great email to use if you are interested in signing up for new monitoring service. We check our email from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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We have heard reports lately of RF supervision troubles on 2GIG GC2e and 2GIG GC3e Systems, particularly for zones set up with encrypted 2GIG eSeries Sensors. Upon further testing, we have learned that eSeries Zones configured with incorrect Equipment Codes can cause supervision trouble.

2gig pir1e wireless encrypted pir motion detector

Equipment Codes are somewhat of a unique quirk for 2GIG Security Systems. This numeric code identifies the model number of the wireless sensor that is being used. It should not be confused with the sensor's Serial Number, which is unique for each individual sensor. You set the Equipment Code when programming a new zone. Alarm Grid has helpful guides available for programming a GC2e zone and programming a GC3e zone.

The following table contains the current list of eSeries Equipment Codes:

Product Name Equipment Code
2GIG eSeries Smoke Detector (USA) 2058
2GIG eSeries CO Detector (USA) 2860
2GIG eSeries Tilt Sensor 2061
2GIG eSeries Flood Sensor 2065
2GIG eSeries Shock Sensor 2066
2GIG eSeries Repeater 2067
2GIG eSeries Translator 2068
2GIG eSeries Water Sensor 2070
2GIG eSeries Thin Door/Window Contact 2862
2GIG eSeries Recessed Door Contact 2863
2GIG eSeries Glass Break Detector 2864
2GIG eSeries Pet-Immune PIR Motion Sensor 2869
2GIG eSeries Takeover Module 2873
2GIG eSeries 4-Button Keyfob Remote 2866

Before the rise of 2GIG eSeries Encrypted Sensors, the Equipment Code setting on a 2GIG System was largely seen as a formality. The general practice was to find the corresponding sensor if available, but generally not worry about it very much if you couldn't match it exactly. Some third-party sensors do not have their own Equipment Codes, and an "equivalent" is usually selected instead. For example, the Honeywell 5800MINI and the VERSA-2GIG can both just use the Equipment Code for "Existing Door/Window Contact", rather than finding an exact match.

But for the 2GIG eSeries Sensors, the Equipment Code selection is actually very important. Failing to set the exact corresponding equipment code can result in the system displaying an RF supervision loss trouble condition for the associated zone. This trouble is typically used to identify that the system has lost communication with the sensor, due to either the sensor powering down from a dead or missing battery, or the sensor being taken out of wireless range. But it seems that the GC2e and GC3e cannot properly supervise a 2GIG eSeries Sensor with an improper Equipment Code. More information can be found in this FAQ.

Missing Equipment Codes are more common for third-party sensors not produced by 2GIG. For a 2GIG Sensor, you should almost always have a direct Equipment Code selection available. And the 2GIG eSeries Sensors are still quite new, so 2GIG made sure to put in Equipment Codes specifically for each of these sensors. However, you may be unable to find an Equipment Code for a brand-new eSeries Sensor if your 2GIG System isn't on the latest firmware version. Adding support for new sensors is a major part of most 2GIG Firmware Updates. You can view our GC2e Firmware Page here, and our GC3e Firmware Page here.

If you need any help programming a GC2e or GC3e wireless zone, then make sure to check out the programming FAQs we linked earlier. Alarm Grid monitored customers can also receive additional free support by emailing support@alarmgrid.com. This is also a great email to use if you are interested in signing up for new monitoring service. We check our email from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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If you're setting up a new security system for use with Alarm.com, then you might be wondering which door and window sensors to use. The answer really comes down to which system you are using and how you intend on using your sensors. Plenty of contact sensor options are usually available!


Alarm sensors do not communicate directly with Alarm.com. Instead, sensors communicate with alarm panels. From there, the panel will use an alarm monitoring communicator to send signals to Alarm.com. This communicator must be activated and registered for Alarm.com service. Per Alarm.com requirements, cellular connectivity is required. This means that your system must use a cellular communicator or a dual-path communicator that is built for use with Alarm.com.

As far as choosing specific sensors, it comes down to determining whether or not they will work with the system you are intending to use with Alarm.com. Today, we're going to break down some of the most popular Alarm.com Security Systems and help you determine the best sensors to use. Remember that our security system kits already come with some compatible sensors to get started. It may only be that you just need to add a few more door and window sensors, or you might not need to add any extra ones at all!

We will give you three (3) scenarios for each system. These are:

  1. Surface-Mounted Door/Window Sensors
  2. Recessed Door/Window Sensors
  3. Outdoor Door/Window Sensors

In most situations, surface-mounted sensors are what you want to go with. These are the standard regular sensors that you would use with virtually any door or window. They are super easy to install, and they are some of the most basic security devices you will encounter.

If appearance is important to you, and you want the sensor to remain hidden while the door or window is closed, then you may consider getting recessed sensors instead. Just remember that recessed sensors will require you rolling up your sleeves and drilling holes into your door/window and its frame. In addition to the added work, this may also have warranty ramifications with regard to the door or window.

And of course, if you plan on using the door/window sensor in an outdoor environment, then you will want to make sure the sensor is approved for outdoor use. Trying to use an indoor-only sensor in an outdoor environment will likely result in damage to the device due to exposure to rain, dust, etc. This also typically applies if you plan on using the sensor in an area that is not insulated, such as a shed, a gate or a barn.

Note: If you are totally new to door and window sensors and want to know more about how they operate, please check out this FAQ.


Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus (PowerG)




Arguably the most popular system to use with Alarm.com right now in 2020 is the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus. There are three (3) versions of the system, with each one supporting a different legacy sensor frequency (319.5 MHz, 345 MHz, 433 MHz). We will discuss the legacy sensor options in a minute. But one of the biggest reasons to purchase an IQ Panel 2 Plus is to use PowerG Sensors. All three versions of the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus support the PowerG Sensors. These sensors can communicate with the IQ Panel 2 Plus System from up to 2,000 feet away in open air, and they utilize 128-bit AES encryption and frequency hopping spread spectrum (FHSS) for enhanced wireless security. For anyone with an IQ Panel 2 Plus, these are the sensors we would point to first.


2GIG GC3e & 2GIG GC2e (eSeries)

2gig gc3e wireless encrypted alarm panel

2gig gc2e wireless encrypted alarm panel

Right now, we view the 2GIG GC3e and the 2GIG GC2e as the best alternatives for users who want to get started with Alarm.com, but don't want to use a Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus. The most popular sensors to use with these systems are the encrypted 2GIG eSeries Sensors. They are built for the GC3e and GC2e Systems, and they utilize encryption for protection against wireless hacking or takeover attempts. Remember that these systems are both backwards compatible with 345 MHz sensors (more on those later). But if you're running a GC3e or a GC2e, then we're going to recommend the eSeries products.


Original Qolsys IQ Panel 2, IQ Panel, Interlogix Simon Systems (Legacy 319.5 MHz)

Interlogix simon xti 5 80 632 3n xt5 front image
Qolsys iq panel 2 verizon 7 security panel w slash z wave ready
Qolsys iq panel rogers 7 security panel w slash z wave rogers ce

Things become a little tricky when we get into the legacy sensor frequencies. There is usually a lot of inter-compatibility across manufacturers, so often the choice comes down to preference. We will list our favorites based on value and functionality. But understand that you have a lot of options available when it comes to 319.5 MHz sensors. This frequency is used with the original Qolsys IQ Panel 2, the original Qolsys IQ Panel, and all of the legacy Interlogix Simon Series Panels. Keep in mind that you can also use these sensors with the 319.5 MHz version of the IQ Panel 2 Plus as an alternative to PowerG. The 319.5 MHz frequency is also typically used with any wired Interlogix NetworX Panel that has a wireless receiver added.


2GIG GC3 & 2GIG GC2 (Legacy 345 MHz)

2gig gc3 diy wireless security system w slash 7 screen

2gig cp21 345 front

If you are working with a 2GIG GC3 or a 2GIG Go!Control GC2, then you will be enrolling legacy 345 MHz sensors with your system. This frequency was popularized by the Honeywell 5800 Sensors, and later the 2GIG 345 MHz Sensors. The GC2 and GC3 support both of these lineups, so you really have a lot of options to choose from. We're just going to list our particular favorites. Remember that you can also use these sensors with a 345 MHz IQ Panel 2 Plus as an alternative to PowerG.


DSC Impassa & DSC PowerSeries (Legacy 433 MHz)


DSC popularized their own wireless frequency of 433 MHz. If you have a DSC Impassa, then these will be the sensors you are using. The 433 MHz sensors can also be used with a DSC PowerSeries Panel that has a wireless receiver added. Although we do not sell the original DSC PowerSeries Systems, we do offer the DSC RF5132-433 Wireless Receiver that will allow support for these sensors. And of course, you can also use these 433 MHz sensors with the 433 MHz version of the IQ Panel 2 Plus as an alternative to PowerG. Unfortunately, we don't have a good recommendation for a 433 MHz outdoor door and window sensor. so we'll just list the other two types instead.


Honeywell VISTA, DSC PowerSeries, DSC PowerSeries NEO, Interlogix/GE NetworX (Wired Sensors)

Honeywell vista 20p wired alarm control panel

Many hardwired security systems can connect with Alarm.com using what is known as an Alarm.com System Enhancement Module (SEM). And since hardwired panels often use wired sensors, this makes hardwired door and window contacts technically compatible with Alarm.com as well! Honeywell VISTA Systems, DSC PowerSeries Systems, DSC PowerSeries NEO Systems, and Interlogix/GE NetworX Systems all have compatible SEM communicators available.

The great thing about hardwired contacts is that they are pretty much universal across all wired systems, provided that the system is not using polling loop sensors. We'll focus on standard non-polling loop sensors here, but these are all good options for most hardwired alarm panels. Also keep in mind that there are MANY options when it comes to wired contacts. Don't feel like you are restricted to the ones we happened to pick!


Get Started with Alarm Grid & Alarm.com


If you are interested in signing-up for Alarm.com service through Alarm Grid, make sure to check out our monitoring page. We support Alarm.com with our Gold and Platinum Level Plans (Self & Full) and our Cell-Only Plan. If you have any questions about our products or monitoring services, be sure to shoot us an email at support@alarmgrid.com. We operate support hours from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Hi DIYers! Today, we're taking a look at the new Interlogix Encrypted Sensors. There are three (3) sensors in this TX+ lineup. There is the Interlogix TX+DWS Door/Window Contact, the Interlogix TX+PIR Pet Immune Motion Sensor, and the Interlogix TX+2WAYFOB Key Fob. All are available now!

Interlogix tx e201 brown wireless door slash window sensor


First, we would like to give some background on these Interlogix TX+ Sensors. The wireless communication range for these sensors is listed at 500 feet when used in open air. They operate at an encrypted 319.5 MHz frequency, similar to the Qolsys S-Line Sensors. You can technically use these Interlogix TX+ Sensors with any 319.5 MHz system. This includes the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus w/ 319.5 MHz Daughtercard and all of the Wireless Interlogix Panels.

However, these sensors will only utilize encrypted communication when paired with the Interlogix Simon XTi-5i System. If you don't know about this system, we actually started carrying it last month. Among its new features is the ability to support encrypted sensors. At the time, there weren't any encrypted sensors out for the system yet. Well now there are! When paired with any other compatible system, they will operate as non-encrypted wireless sensors.

The sensors themselves are straightforward and simple. The Interlogix TX+DWS Contact has a thin profile, and it will work great on nearly any door, window or cabinet. The Interlogix TX+PIR Motion Sensor offers a coverage area of 40 feet by 40 feet, as well as pet immunity for small animals weighing up to 80 pounds. Lastly, the Interlogix TX+2WAYFOB is a four (4) button key fob with buttons for arming, disarming, automation, and triggering an auxiliary panic.

We believe these sensors are a must-have for anyone with an Interlogix Simon XTi-5i System. Now you can take full advantage of the encrypted communication that the system offers! If you have any questions or if you want to learn more about these sensors, please reach out to us. The best way to contact us is to email support@alarmgrid.com. We will check your email at our earliest convenience and reply back as soon as soon as we can. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Hi DIYers! We are happy to announce that the first 2GIG Encrypted Sensors are available on our site. The lineup includes two contacts, a motion, a key fob, and a glass break. Anyone with a 2GIG GC2e or 2GIG GC3e System will absolutely want to make use of these powerful new sensors.


The new 2GIG eSeries Encrypted Sensors represent perhaps the biggest selling point of the new 2GIG Alarm Systems. These sensors are designed exclusively for use with the 2GIG GC2e and 2GIG GC3e. When enrolled, they will make use of encryption in all their wireless communication. This makes these sensors virtually impervious to any wireless hacking or takeover attempts. This is the best way to ensure that your system is always protected.

It is important to note that you cannot bring these sensors over to the older 2GIG Go!Control GC2 and 2GIG GC3 Systems and expect them to work as non-encrypted wireless sensors. These new sensors can only be utilized as encrypted devices on the GC2e and GC3e Systems. However, you can bring over the older 2GIG Sensors and the Honeywell 5800 Sensors and use them with the GC2e and GC3e as standard 345 MHz sensors.

With that out of the way, let's start checking out the new encrypted sensors!

2GIG DW10e



The 2GIG DW10e is a surface-mounted door and window contact sensor. It offers a super thin profile, with dimensions of 2.59"L x 1.03"W x 0.49"D. This makes the sensor practically invisible when mounted flat on a white surface. There are two programmable loops for the DW10e. One loop will have the sensor operate as a standard contact with a reed switch. The other loop allows you to connect a single Normally Closed (NC) hardwired contact to the DW10e and have it communicate with the panel wirelessly.

2GIG DW20e



The 2GIG DW20e is a recessed door and window contact that is perfect for users who want to achieve a more aesthetically pleasing installation. The sensor and its accompanying magnet need to be inserted into holes that are drilled into the door or window and its frame. The only way to see the sensor after installation is to look at the door or window frame from the side when the door or window is already opened. The DW20e has an impressive 450-foot wireless range when used with direct line of sight.

2GIG PIR1e



The 2GIG PIR1e is a wireless PIR motion detection sensor. The device works by looking for the changes in IR energy that occur with movement. It uses a quad-element PIR sensor for superb reliability. The trustworthy and reliable motion detecting sensor offers a coverage area of 30' by 50'. This is perfect for a home or small business. There are three different sensitivity settings you can choose from. When used on low sensitivity, the device will provide pet immunity for small animals weighing up to 55 pounds.

2GIG GB1e



The 2GIG GB1e is a wireless glass break sensor. The device will effectively monitor plate, tempered, and sealed insulating glass that measures between 1/8 and 1/4 of an inch thick. The sensor listens for both the low-pitched "thud" of an object striking the glass and the higher-pitched "shattering" of the glass itself. This dual-detection process helps to ensure that false alarms do not occur. It is great for monitoring windows for forced entry, but it can also be used with protective glass casings that display products.

2GIG KEY2e



The 2GIG KEY2e is a wireless 4-button key fob that gives you a convenient way to control your GC2e or GC3e while you are on-site. There are dedicated buttons for Arming Away, Arming Stay, Disarming, and activating a relay device. You can also program a dual-button press of the top two buttons (Arm Away and Disarm) to trigger an instant panic. Any button must be held down for a full 2 seconds for the command to go through. This helps to prevent accidental inputs. It has a wireless range of 350 feet.

If you have questions about any of these new 2GIG eSeries Sensors or the 2GIG GC2e and GC3e, or if you just want to learn more about our monitoring service, please reach out to us! We are here to make sure you get the perfect equipment for your needs. The best way to contact us is always to email support@alarmgrid.com. If you want to speak by phone, you can reach us at (888) 818-7728 during our regular business hours of 9am to 8pm EST. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Hi DIYers! We're here with another Alarm Grid Tip. We're going to cover the proper technique for mounting your door alarm sensors. Many people have trouble getting a faulted zone to disappear when their sensors are not aligned properly. Mounting your sensors correctly will fix this issue.

Honeywell 5800mini interior wireless door and window sensor

First, It's important to understand how door and window contacts work. There are two (2) parts. These are a sensor and a magnet. The sensor is the larger component and usually represents the listed product dimensions. The magnet is the smaller component. In a proper installation, the sensor (larger) should be mounted on the door frame. The magnet (smaller) should be mounted on the actual door. Ideally, the magnet and the sensor should be in direct contact when the door is closed. The magnet should also be aligned with the metal reed switch inside the sensor. The sensor will most likely have indentations to indicate the location of the reed switch.

The idea is that when the door is closed, the magnet will be in contact with the sensor. This is why these sensors are often called "contacts". When the door is opened, the magnet will become separated from the sensor. This will release its internal metal reed switch. When this happens, the sensor will transmit a signal to the alarm control panel. The system will respond based on the programming settings for the corresponding zone.

When you mount your door contacts, you should make sure that the magnet and the sensor are in proper alignment when the door is closed. If not, then the reed switch inside the sensor will stay open. As a result, the zone will still be shown as faulted on the panel. You want proper alignment so that the zone functions consistently. Whenever the door is opened, the zone should appear as faulted. If it's closed, then you should not see any faults.

Walk testing your contacts is extremely important! This is the best way to make sure that the sensor and magnet are in proper alignment. Sure, it might pass the eyeball test, but does it pass the system test? Always, always, always test your equipment! We don't care if you are a novice DIYer or a seasoned professional installer - your job is not finished until you have completed the walk test.

Again, the ideal door sensor and magnet will be IN DIRECT CONTACT when the door is closed. This will provide the best possible results. We have seen customers stack multiple pieces of double-sided foam tape to make this happen. This is pretty unusual, but it works! It might look funny if you have to do that, but it will get the job done! As long as the sensor and magnet are in correct alignment, then the sensor will work.

If you absolutely must leave the contact and magnet separated, do not do so from more than one-half (0.5) of an inch, unless the manual specifically says that the sensor-magnet gap can be further. And make sure to test extra thoroughly if you decide to try and get these sensors to work with a wider magnet spacing.

Also remember to check sensor for indentations that indicate which side to place the magnet. If you are unsure, then check the device manual. Many answers can be found in the installation instructions. Unfortunately, many end users choose to ignore them. Read the manual!

Keep in mind that some door sensors may be equipped with LED lights that help the installer make sure that the sensor and magnet are indeed in proper alignment. If your sensor has this feature, then definitely use it! This is an easy and convenient way to make sure they are aligned correctly. Check your device manual for more information. An example of a door sensor that is equipped with this feature is the Honeywell 5800MINI.

Below is an example of what a properly installed contact looks like. In this case, it is the 2GIG DW10. Note how the sensor and the magnet are in direct contact and properly aligned. Normally, the battery tab at the bottom of the sensor would be removed, but for this example, it's okay.


We hope this tip has been helpful for anyone setting up their first alarm system. Please email us at support@alarmgrid.com if you have any questions. We look forward to hearing from you!

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