Home Automation Controllers Posts

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The Security Industry Association (SIA) recently announced the winners of the 2021 SIA New Product Showcase Awards. We are pleased to say that the 2GIG Edge was named as an Honorable Mention in the field of Smart Home Solutions. Congratulations 2GIG and Nortek for your continued success!

Determined by a panel of experienced judges, the New Product Showcase Awards, also called the NPS Awards, have been presented since 1979. The purpose of these awards is to recognize innovative security products, services, and solutions that benefit the industry and end-users alike. This year, 35 judges determined the award winners in more than 25 product and service categories. 2GIG, along with their parent company of Nortek, was recognized as an Honorable Mention in the Smart Home Solutions Category for the new 2GIG Edge Panel.

It's no surprise that the 2GIG Edge would be recognized for its smart home capabilities. The alarm panel and smart home controller is a force to be reckoned with in terms of automation. It includes a built-in Z-Wave Plus V2 Controller, which is also known as a Z-Wave 700-Series Controller. This represents the latest and greatest Z-Wave technology, as the 700-Series Z-Wave devices can go at least ten (10) years between battery changes, and they support signal hops of up to (200) feet each for extended wireless range.

That's not to mention that all Z-Wave 700-Series devices support the powerful S2 Security Protocol for greater wireless protection. 2GIG has even released a 700-Series Z-Wave Smart Thermostat, the 2GIG STZ-1, that pairs perfectly with the 2GIG Edge Alarm System. To learn more about 700-Series Z-Wave in general, please check out this blog we put out on the subject when the technology was still brand-new. The blog was written before we fully understood the protocol, but it should still do a pretty decent job of explaining it if you are totally unfamiliar with the subject.

As you may know by now, the 2GIG Edge also connects with the Alarm.com platform when the system is monitored. This platform makes it possible to control connected smart devices remotely from anywhere in the world. Any smart device paired with a monitored 2GIG Edge Security System will appear on the Alarm.com platform for remote access. You can then use the Alarm.com Mobile App on your phone to control the connected devices. You can also create powerful Alarm.com Smart Scenes and automations to have the connected devices respond automatically to predetermined system events and/or operate on a set schedule. This is great for saving money on energy bills, while also making your life much more convenient. Alarm.com even allows for geo-fencing through their Geo-Services technology so that smart devices activate once you are within a predetermined radius of your home.

Alarm Grid offers congratulations to 2GIG and Nortek for the continued success of the 2GIG Edge. This system is truly exceeding expectations, and it is one that we think can be a staple in the security and automation industry for many years to come. If you have any thoughts on the 2GIG Edge, please leave them in a comment down below. We would love to hear what you have to say. And remember to stay tuned to the Alarm Grid Blog for more news and updates coming soon!

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Welcome to a special Tuesday edition of an Alarm Grid Video Recap! We normally do these on Mondays, but we pushed this one back a day due to the time-sensitive nature of yesterday's post. Make sure to go and check that one out if you use the Nest Thermostat integration for Alarm.com.

As for today's video recap, it's mostly just business as usual. We have three (3) new videos today, all of which feature the 2GIG Edge. This innovative and feature-rich security system has certainly kept us busy and given us a lot to explore and share with you. We have even received some comments from users on YouTube asking us to cover specific 2GIG Edge features and functions. If you have anything that you would like to see from Alarm Grid, then make sure to leave a comment on this post down below. There's a great chance that you will see it in a future Alarm Grid video!

We know that you're on the EDGE of your seat waiting to see these new 2GIG EDGE videos, so let's get started! Here are the latest tutorial videos from Alarm Grid:

2GIG Edge: Clearing a Tamper Error

I show you how to clear a tamper error trouble condition from the 2GIG Edge. A tamper error occurs when the panel's internal tamper switch is not held down probably. This is usually the result of the panel being opened. When the issue occurs, a trouble notification will appear as a yellow circle with number inside it. Also, the panel will begin emitting a soft beeping sound. Once you properly close the panel so that the tamper switch is pressed down, the trouble notification will go away, and the beeping will cease.


2GIG Edge: Adding a Z Wave Device

I show you how to pair a Z-Wave device with a 2GIG Edge. Inside every 2GIG Edge is a Z-Wave Plus V2 700-Series Controller. This allows users to enroll a wide selection of Z-Wave peripherals, such as smart lights, door locks, programmable thermostats, and more. Z-Wave devices can be controlled locally at the panel, plus remotely from Alarm.com if the system is monitored with a plan that includes automation services. You can also create customized Alarm.com Smart Scenes to have your Z-Wave activate automatically.


2GIG Edge: Removing a Z Wave Device

I show you how to clear a device from the Z-Wave network using the 2GIG Edge. When you remove, or clear, a Z-Wave device, you are wiping out all its Z-Wave network data. This will allow the device to pair with a new Z-wave controller or hub. A user will typically remove a Z-Wave device if they no longer intend on using it. However, a user should also perform the clearing process before attempting to pair a device. This will ensure that no residual Z-Wave network data remains lingering inside the device.

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Qolsys has released information regarding an issue affecting IQ Panel 2 Firmware Version 2.5.4 and Firmware Version 2.5.5. The issue affects the Z-Wave Home Automation functionality for IQ2 Systems on those firmware versions. The issue can be fixed by upgrading the system to 2.6.0.

According to Qolsys TSB# 210511, which can be viewed here, Z-Wave devices paired with an IQ Panel 2 or IQ Panel 2 Plus System on Firmware Version 2.5.4 or Firmware Version 2.5.5 may occasionally buffer and repeatedly send the same command to the device every thirty (30) minutes. Although it's possible that any Z-Wave device could demonstrate this behavior, Qolsys says that it is most likely to affect the GoControl GD00Z-8-GC Z-Wave Plus Garage Door Opener.

Fortunately, Qolsys also adds that the issue can be easily corrected by upgrading to Firmware Version 2.6.0. If you haven't already, make sure to upgrade to Firmware Version 2.6.0 so that all of your programmed Z-Wave devices work as intended. More information on IQ Panel 2 Firmware Version 2.6.0, including what comes with the update and how to perform the update, can be found in this helpful blog post.

Alarm Grid will provide a future update if we learn anything more from Qolsys. But for now, it can be assumed that upgrading to Firmware Version 2.6.0 will resolve the issue. Remember to stay tuned to the Alarm Grid Blog for more updates coming soon!

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You may recall that we made a post about a month ago discussing "issues" that have been affecting the IQ Panel 2 Plus and its ability to be used as a secondary Z-Wave controller. We have a rather extreme follow up today, as Qolsys has revealed that the system never supported the feature!


When we released the initial post on the subject, we were not aware of the true" extent" of the issue. We certainly didn't expect to find out that Qolsys never even made it possible for the feature to work. We won't dive super deep into the subject here, as there really isn't much to say, The raw truth is that you cannot use the IQ2 as a secondary Z-Wave controller.

It is possible to add a secondary Z-Wave controller to the IQ Panel 2 and have the IQ2 operate as the primary controller. But you can never make the IQ Panel 2 System a secondary Z-Wave controller. We apologize for any inconvenience or confusion that this may have caused. For a more in-depth look at the subject, we strongly recommend reading this comprehensive FAQ that explains the inability of the IQ2 to be used as a secondary controller in much greater detail.

Now, maybe you have explored the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Advanced Z-Wave Settings Menus in glorious detail, just like we have. If you have, then you will know that secondary controller options do exist within the IQ2 menus. Based on that alone, you would think that there must be a way to get this type of setup to work, right? That's the problem. The menu options might be there, plain as day. But trust us, if you try to make the IQ2 a secondary Z-Wave controller, then it will not work,

What we need to do now is focus on the implications that arise from the system's inability to be used as a secondary controller. As a result of the IQ Panel 2 being unable to operate as a secondary Z-Wave controller, the system loses out on potential compatibility with a wide selection of automation hubs. This includes compatibility with Samsung SmartThings, Vera Smart Controllers, Nexia Smart Home Automation Systems, and much more. Seriously, while the IQ2 once had excellent prospects of pairing nicely with almost any centralized Z-Wave hub, those prospects are all but gone.

Fortunately, there are other alarm systems that do not share this same limitation of the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 and IQ Panel 2 Plus. Most notably, we will recommend the Honeywell Lyric Controller. The Lyric has proven on repeated occasions to "play nicely" as a secondary controller. One example can be seen in this FAQ, which explains the benefits of making the Lyric a secondary Z-Wave controller, while also helping users get started. If you are thinking about purchasing a new Honeywell Lyric Alarm System for its excellent versatility in smart home automation, then you may also want to check out this buying guide. Although that particular buying guide was written for the Lyric during a holiday buying season a couple of years prior, it is still relevant in helping new Lyric System users explore their options for getting the most out of the system.

If you have any questions about the Honeywell Lyric or any other popular alarm control panel, or if you want to learn more about our monitoring services, send an email to support@alarmgrid.com. 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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If you are a Honeywell VISTA System user, then you have likely heard about the Honeywell Home Tuxedo Keypad. The Tuxedo serves as a touchscreen keypad controller, and also as a Z-Wave Plus hub. But one limitation for the unit is that it cannot be configured as a secondary Z-Wave controller.


Setting up a hub as a secondary Z-Wave controller involves pairing it with a separate Z-Wave hub, which will serve as the primary. When you do this, all Z-Wave devices paired with the primary controller will be automatically pushed over to the secondary, as long as they are compatible. These devices will also remain on the primary controller, meaning that you can operate them from both hubs.

If you decide to use this type of setup, it is advised that you clear all Z-Wave devices enrolled with the secondary controller, and instead enroll them with the primary controller beforehand. Then perform the process of setting up the secondary controller to the primary. This will ensure that all of the Z-Wave devices you want to use are available on both controllers.

Remember, Z-Wave devices paired with the secondary controller will not be pushed over to the primary. When you get a new Z-Wave device, you must enroll it at the primary Z-Wave controller, not the secondary. In most cases, Honeywell Z-Wave Hubs are used as secondary controllers, and Z-Wave devices paired directly with the primary controller are then shared with the Honeywell Z-Wave Controller. One of the most common primary Z-Wave hubs to use for this type of setup is Samsung SmartThings. Other popular third party Z-Wave hubs should work just as well.

Being able to set up a Z-Wave hub as a secondary controller, is technically one of the more advanced Z-Wave functions that you would ever try to perform on a smart home automation network. But while it is quite advanced, it is also very standard. It is somewhat unusual to encounter a Z-Wave automation controller with no primary and secondary configuration options. But that's exactly the case with the Honeywell Home Tuxedo. You can't set it as a secondary Z-Wave controller, which is a big letdown for anyone who wants to use the device in conjunction with a different Z-Wave hub, such as Samsung SmartThings.

According to Resideo, the ability to set the Tuxedo as a secondary Z-Wave controller will come from a future firmware update. At this time, we do not have any estimate for when such a firmware update would be made available. If you want to learn more about firmware updates for a Tuxedo Keypad, please refer to this FAQ.

However, we can speculate that once the feature is available, you will be able to configure Tuxedo primary/secondary options by starting from the main keypad screen, and choosing the Devices option, followed by the Z-Wave Setup button at the bottom of the screen, and then selecting More in the lower-right corner. If you do that now, you will notice that the "Learn Mode" option currently does not exist.


Remember to stay tuned to our blog for future updates on the Honeywell Home Tuxedo. We will be sure to let you know about any new features made available for the keypad. If you have any questions about the Tuxedo or Z-Wave home automation, please feel free to email us at support@alarmgrid.com. We check our email from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Alarm Grid has learned that Qolsys has uncovered some issues with their current Z-Wave firmware (6.81.03) for the IQ Panel 2 and IQ Panel 2 Plus. They are currently working on a new patch tag update to replace 6.81.03. However, the new update patch has not yet been made available.

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Qolsys released Z-Wave Firmware Update 6.81.03 to provide the IQ Panel 2 with the Smart Start feature and to upgrade the system's Z-Wave security protocol to S2. Alarm Grid previously covered the 6.81.03 Z-Wave Firmware Version in this prior blog post. Our post specifically focused on the Smart Start feature, but it did provide information on the required Z-Wave firmware version.

Unfortunately, there have been compatibility issues between Z-Wave Firmware 6.81.03 and various Z-Wave devices. The only device that we know for sure has experienced issues with the system is the August Smart Lock Pro. But it is certainly possible that other Z-Wave devices may be affected. We have also confirmed that the August Smart Lock Pro will work fine on IQ2 Systems that have not yet had the 6.81.03 Patch applied.

With the issue in mind, we recommend NOT upgrading to Z-Wave Firmware Version 6.81.03. In fact, Qolsys has removed the 6.81.03 Patch Tag from their servers, making it virtually impossible to apply this update. But if you were planning to apply the update using a different method, such as an SD card, please do not proceed with that action. Just hang tight on the current Z-Wave firmware until the new patch is available.

We also understand that many people have already applied the 6.81.03 Patch. We are disappointed to say that there is no way to "roll-back" or "downgrade" the Z-Wave Firmware to an older version. We apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause. But it is our understanding that most Z-Wave devices should not experience any problems on 6.81.03. If your Z-Wave network is still working as normal, then you should have nothing to worry about.

Alarm Grid does not currently have an ETA on when the new Z-Wave patch tag will be made available. However, we expect that it will be fairly soon. Qolsys is usually very quick and diligent about rolling these things out, and we're sure it is a top priority for the. We will post an update blog after the update has been made available. We then recommend upgrading your system's Z-Wave firmware to the new version as soon as you can.

If you have any questions about the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 or its Z-Wave firmware versions, you can reach us for support@alarmgrid.com. That email is also great if you are interested in starting 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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One feature on the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus that we have never discussed before is the Smart Start feature. This feature is used for conveniently enrolling compatible smart home automation devices by scanning a QR code. It is a nice alternative to the traditional inclusion process.

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The Smart Start feature was quietly included back in Qolsys IQ Panel 2 System Firmware Version 2.4.0. As it is a relatively minor feature, it was largely overlooked, and we never covered it in great detail. If your Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus had System Firmware Version 2.4.0 or higher installed when it was brand-new, then it already has the Smart Start feature. If the system was running a lower firmware version when brand-new, then you need to upgrade the Z-Wave firmware for the system to unlock the feature. Upgrading the system firmware will not automatically update the Z-Wave firmware and provide access to the Smart Start feature. We wrote a comprehensive FAQ on upgrading the Z-Wave firmware on a Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus, which you can view here.

The required Z-Wave firmware version for using the Smart Start feature on the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 is Z-Wave Firmware Version 6.81.03. In addition to providing access to the Smart Start feature, upgrading to this Z-Wave firmware version will also upgrade the Z-Wave security protocol for the system to S2. This protocol is more advanced and offers better security than the Z-Wave security protocol previously used with the system. You won't notice any real changes with the S2 protocol, but it is still a nice addition.

UPDATE: Qolsys has identified issues affecting IQ Panel 2 Z-Wave Firmware Version 6.81.03. They are currently working on a new Z-Wave firmware version to fix these issues. But as of July 2020, the new Z-Wave firmware version is not yet available.

Before we continue any further, we do want to stress that updating the Z-Wave firmware for an IQ Panel 2 System is completely, 100%, optional. This isn't nearly as important as updating the system firmware to the latest version. We mention this fact because updating the system's Z-Wave firmware often requires clearing all of the Z-Wave devices from the network and then re-adding them once the update is complete. This can be extremely inconvenient if you have a large Z-Wave network. And since all you're really doing here is gaining access to the Smart Start feature and making a slight improvement to the security for your automation network, we totally understand if you just decide to skip this process. Also note that you can attempt the updating process without clearing your Z-Wave network first. It's just that this may result in errors that can only be solved by ultimately clearing the network and then re-adding the devices. You should only clear the network and re-add the devices if devices that were working fine previously are later giving you issues after the update.

Note: We have noticed issues when using the August Smart Lock Pro with a Qolsys IQ Panel 2 System running a Z-Wave Firmware Version of 6.81.03. If you intend on using the August Smart Lock Pro with a Qolsys IQ Panel 2, then do NOT upgrade the panel Z-Wave firmware! This is expected to be fixed in a future Z-Wave firmware release.

If we haven't scared you away yet, let's take a look at the feature! Once your IQ Panel 2 is running a high enough Z-Wave firmware version, you will find the SMART START icon within the Z-Wave Devices Menu of Installer Programming. This menu is accessed by clicking the small grey bar at the top of the main screen and choosing Settings > Advanced Settings > enter Installer Code (default 1111) > Installation > Devices > Z-Wave Devices > SMART START.

Choosing SMART START will cause the panel to pull up the front camera for the IQ Panel 2. There will be a red square inside which you will position the QR code for the device. The QR code can be found either on the device itself or on its packaging. Simply position the QR code inside the red box, and the system will begin scanning.

Once the scan is successful, powering up the Z-Wave device will complete the setup process automatically. And just like that, you have saved yourself the trouble of performing the traditional exclusion/inclusion process for adding a new Z-Wave device. Petty cool!

At this time, the list of devices that can be added in this way is still very small. Here is the current list of devices that we know work with the feature:

For even more information regarding the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus Smart Start feature, we strongly recommend checking out this comprehensive FAQ we wrote on the feature. It will tell you pretty much everything you would want to know about using Smart Start on the IQ Panel 2.

If you have any additional questions about the Smart Start feature or the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus, including the system's Z-Wave firmware version, please email us at support@alarmgrid.com. This email is also great if you want to contact us about starting monitoring service. Our team checks email from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Did you know that your Alarm Grid Security System most likely has smart home automation capabilities? While keeping your home or business safe with trusted monitoring service is the main function of an alarm system, the world of home automation is easily accessible and very exciting.

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As a quick recap for anyone who may not be familiar with automation or the concept of a "smart home", it refers mostly to two (2) somewhat related ideas.

1) Being able to control devices remotely (aka, while you are away from the premises).

2) Being able to have devices activate automatically based on a schedule and/or predetermined events, with no action required on your part.

These devices that we speak of are collectively referred to as "smart devices". There are all sorts of smart devices that you can integrate into your automation network. Some examples include:

  • Smart Lights - Illumination devices that you can control remotely and turn ON or OFF automatically. These come in many forms, including light bulbs, in-wall switches, plug-in modules, and even wall outlets. Smart lights are perfect for making it appear as though someone is present while away or on vacation.
  • Smart Door Locks - Access control devices that you can operate remotely and LOCK or UNLOCK a door automatically. These are typically deadbolt devices that prevent unauthorized individuals from gaining access to your home or business. In addition to remote operation, these devices can also be automated based on a schedule or the condition of other devices in your home.
  • Smart Thermostats - Temperature control devices that you can be adjusted locally or remotely and INCREASE or DECREASE the temperature. The operation of these devices can also be automated based on a schedule or event. These wire in directly with the HVAC system in your home or business. The setup is surprisingly simple, and it can be easily completed by a DIY user.
  • Smart Water Valves - Water shut-off switches that you can trigger locally or remotely. If you CLOSE the valve, then the flow of water will be stopped. If you OPEN the valve, then the flow of water will proceed when a faucet is activated. Smart water valves can be very important if the building is prone to flooding or water damage. These devices can be automated based on the activation of a flood sensor.

Now that you know a little more about smart devices, you're probably wondering how to get started. The first thing that we advise doing is selecting a smart protocol to build around. This refers to the type of wireless communication that the individual smart devices will use to speak with the centralized hub.

The smart hub, also known as the controller, is the single most important piece of equipment in any smart home. All of your individual smart devices will communicate their status with this centralized hub. And when you go to control your devices remotely, all incoming commands will pass through the hub before ultimately being forwarded to the individual device. Without the smart hub, home automation is impossible.

Honeywell lyric controller encrypted wireless security system

When you select a smart hub, you are also selecting the wireless protocol for your network. All of the individual smart devices in your network must use that same wireless protocol to communicate successfully with the main hub. As a result, your smart hub determines which devices can (and cannot) join the network.

A great aspect of most security systems sold by Alarm Grid is that they can double as smart hubs for your automation devices. The panels that we sell support the Z-Wave wireless communication protocol. Virtually any Z-Wave device can be enrolled with an alarm system that supports Z-Wave communication.

Once you have a Z-Wave device enrolled with your system, a few things become possible:

1) Operate your programmed Z-Wave devices on the main system display. This is the same place where you arm and disarm your system.

2) Control your programmed Z-Wave devices remotely using the same platform you use for controlling your system, namely, Alarm.com or Total Connect 2.0. This requires monitoring service.

3) Build complete smart scenes, in which multiple Z-Wave devices are controlled simultaneously. This is done through either Alarm.com or Total Connect 2.0. Again, alarm monitoring service is required.

While all of this certainly sounds exciting, we understand that it may seem a little daunting at first. If you are already an Alarm Grid monitored customer, then there's a good chance that your system is already capable of serving as a central hub for your Z-Wave network.

The following systems readily support Z-Wave communication, with no add-ons being required:

Additionally, the following panels can be upgraded to support Z-Wave communication:

Of course, there are other options besides Z-Wave for home automation. If you are an iOS user, then you might consider getting a security panel that can support the robust and powerful Apple HomeKit automation platform. The Honeywell Lyric is a great option for this. You can learn more about HomeKit in this prior post.

Another option for lighting control is the Lutron devices that use their own communications protocol. Lutron is known for their tight integration with Alarm.com, and they certainly make for a great starting point if you are looking to establish a smart lighting setup. More info on using Lutron with Alarm.com can be found here.


Alarm Grid is about more than just security. We can help you establish the perfect automation network for your home or business. Getting started with smart home automation is easy, and it's a fantastic way to get the most out of your security system. Whether you go with Z-Wave, Apple HomeKit, Lutron, or use a combo setup, we will be there to help you every step of the way.

If you aren't already monitored by Alarm Grid, now is a great time to get started. Smart home automation is included with all of our Silver, Gold, and Platinum Level Plans. This post will tell you all about our monitoring plans so that you can make an informed decision. Alarm Grid monitored customers are provided with free technical support online and over the phone. This includes helping you create the perfect smart home.

The best way for an Alarm Grid monitored customer to get help with all of their smart home questions is to email support@alarmgrid.com or call (888) 818-7728. Our support technicians will be happy to help you in building your smart home network. Remember that our business hours run from 9am to 8pm ET M-F, so make sure to plan accordingly. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

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When it comes to Z-Wave home automation devices, it is usually understood that they are universally compatible with all Z-Wave controllers and hubs. While this is generally true, some Z-Wave devices may appear as different device types than for what they were originally intended.


If you aren't familiar with Z-Wave, it is an automation protocol that is used with a variety of smart home devices. Some popular Z-Wave accessories include smart lights, door locks, thermostats, smart water valves, and more. In most cases, you can use any Z-Wave device with any Z-Wave controller. However, there are sometimes restrictions on how Z-Wave devices can be used. This depends on the Z-Wave hub that they are enrolled with

A few weeks ago, we wrote an interesting FAQ. It discussed whether not not mixing Z-Wave and Z-Wave Plus devices on the same network is likely to cause issue. Normally, mixing the two protocols will not result in any problems. Z-Wave devices are known for being backwards compatible. You can typically bring a Z-Wave Plus device to a standard Z-Wave controller. And the opposite also applies, as you should have no trouble using a standard Z-Wave device with a Z-Wave Plus controller. The main thing to understand is that by mixing Z-Wave Plus with standard Z-Wave, the devices in which any signal passes (hops) through a standard Z-Wave device will result in the communications functioning as standard Z-Wave.

But there is another issue that we haven't talked about very often. This issue occurs when you pair a Z-Wave Plus device with a standard Z-Wave controller or hub. It's possible that the standard Z-Wave controller might not recognize the Z-Wave Plus device as its proper device type. Instead, the Z-Wave Plus device will still appear in the hub, but it will show up as different device type, usually as a Z-Wave switch.

Some examples of this issue that we've seen are if you try to pair a Qolsys IQ Siren (Z-Wave Plus) with a system that utilizes standard Z-Wave functionality, such as a Honeywell Lyric Controller or a 2GIG GC2. We actually created specific FAQs for using this siren with a Lyric and with a GC2. Another example we recently saw was when someone tried to us an Alarm.com ADC-SWV100 Z-Wave Plus Water Valve with an L7000 System that had an L5100-ZWAVE module. Instead of the system seeing the ADC-SWV100 as a Z-Wave water valve, it saw it as a Z-Wave Switch.

The problem with this issue is that a system only knows how to turn a switch ON or OFF. When a Z-Wave controller sees a device as a "switch", it can only perform the binary function of ON or OFF. And it's won't necessarily know when to automatically activate the device. For example, if a hub sees a Z-Wave siren as a "switch", then it won't know to automatically activate the siren during alarms and to automatically stop it when alarms are cleared.

Fortunately, these situations can often be addressed by creating specific rules and smart scenes that have these devices activate automatically when desired events occurred. This usually requires some very specific instructions, with one scene & rule designed to automatically start the device, and another scene & rule to automatically stop the device. It can be a little tricky to get up, but there is usually some type of work-around other there. Depending on your setup, this may be done locally at the panel, or it may be done through an interactive platform like Alarm.com or Total Connect 2.0.

If you are an Alarm Grid customer needing help setting up your automation devices in the way that you want, please email us at support@alarmgrid.com, and we will be happy to help. Remember that our support hours run from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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In today's real estate market, many homeowners are looking for ways to increase the value of their homes. One way to do this is to install a home security system. This is an easy and effective way to make your home more appealing. And getting alarm monitoring service is completely optional.

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Many people mistakenly believe that signing up for monitoring service is a requirement when buying an alarm system. Technically, this is not the case. An alarm panel, security sensors, and even home automation accessories are all items that you can purchase without signing up for anything. You can install this equipment in your home without any alarm monitoring plan. Then you can list a security system as feature in your home when you go to sell. This can help seal the deal for a buyer, as many people are looking for smart homes with state-of-the art security systems.

What makes this even better is that you can likely install this equipment by yourself. The biggest challenge is mounting the panel to the wall. This will require drilling some holes and maybe fishing some wire. But it's really nothing you can't do as a quick weekend project. If the idea still makes you uncomfortable, then you can get a desk or table stand for the system instead. Nearly every system has one available. Meanwhile, the sensors can be mounted without drilling any holes by using double-sided foam tape. And basic programming is a cinch with a wireless all-in-one panel.

An aspect of residential alarm systems that is sometimes overlooked is that these devices do more than just keep a home secure. Today, most home security systems double as complete smart home automation hubs. In other words, you can set up a security panel to serve as a one-stop controller for various smart devices in your home. This includes peripherals such as smart lights, smart door locks, smart thermostats, water shut-off valves, and more. Many alarm panels allow you to control these devices from one location, even if the system isn't monitored. And if you add a key fob, then you can control some of these devices from anywhere in your home with the press of a button!

The most important thing when choosing a home security system without professional monitoring is to make sure the system is non-proprietary and can be taken to any alarm monitoring company that will support it. For example, all of the security systems sold on the Alarm Grid website can be used with monitoring service from nearly any alarm company. This will give you or a new owner greater flexibility if you decide to sign-up for alarm monitoring later on. The last thing you want to do is tie yourself to a single monitoring company. A non-proprietary security system offers greater freedom!

Once you have the security system, you just need to install it. This includes mounting the panel and sensors, powering the system, and enrolling any accessories. Like we said earlier, this can all be easily done yourself as a quick weekend project. And just like that, you will have immediately raised the value of your home! Whether or not you use the system from there is up to you. An unmonitored system can still be armed and disarmed to serve as a local noisemaker. And you can still use it as an automation controller for your smart home devices. All while improving your home's sell value!

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Of course, we always recommend monitoring any alarm system. This is the only way to receive text and/or email alerts for any system activity that occurs. It is also the only way to receive service from a central monitoring station for automatic emergency dispatch in the event of a burglary or a fire. You can even control your smart home automation devices remotely from nearly anywhere in the world using a user-friendly platform like Total Connect 2.0 or Alarm.com.

Also keep in mind that signing up for central station monitoring service can help you save money on your homeowner's insurance. The savings might even cover the full cost of your monitoring service! Remember, just because you don't sign-up for monitoring service right away doesn't mean you can't later on. As long as you have a non-proprietary system and a compatible alarm monitoring communicator, you will have a ton of options at your disposal. We recommend checking out our alarm monitoring page if you want to learn more about our monitoring services.

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And if you are in the market for alarm monitoring service, why not consider Alarm Grid? All of our monitoring plans are no-contract, and they feature no added fees. This means that you will not pay any extra cost when activating your monitoring service. If you ever decide to cancel your service, you can do at the end of your monthly cycle, without incurring any fees or penalties. And since your system is non-proprietary, you can always take it to a new alarm monitoring company. This gives us motivation to work hard each and every month to continue to earn your trust and your business.

If you need help choosing a home security system for use without professional monitoring, or if you have any questions about our products or monitoring services, you are always welcome to reach out to us. The best way to contact us is to email support@alarmgrid.com. You are also invited to call us at (888) 818-7728. Just remember that our regular business hours are from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you and helping you find the perfect security system!

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