Fresh off the heels of our Telular partnership, we had an interesting situation come up when trying to provide the Telguard Interactive service to one of our new customers that had an existing GE NetworX NX-8 control panel.
While Telular does a good job of providing detailed installation instructions for integrating their cellular alarm communicators with most alarm control panels, the instructions for the newer NX-6 control panel were not working for this older NX-8 and therefore, the system wasn't acting as it should.
Telguard Interactive service works by wiring the TG-1 Express universal cellular alarm communicator to the alarm control panel. With the NX-8, you need to connect the 'Gnd' terminal on the TG-1 to the auxiliary power 'COM' terminal on the NX-8 and the 'Pwr' terminal on the TG-1 to the 'AUX +' terminal on the NX-8. Then, you need to wire the two 'STC' terminals on the TG-1 to an open zone on the control panel. The zone used must be one of the eight on-board wired zones and you cannot use an expansion zone for this connection. Finally, you need to connect the 'Trp' terminal on the TG-1 to one of the 'AUXOUT' terminals on the NX-8. Of course, you also need a Telco connection from the RJ-45 connector on the TG-1 Express to the four Tip and Ring terminals on the GE NX-8 alarm control panel.
After making the proper connections, the Telguard Interactive installation guide walks you through programming the connected zone as a keyswitch zone and programming the connected auxiliary output to follow the armed state. The TG-1 acts as a normally open relay that closes for one second and then opens. With this setup, the TG-1 Express allows you to use a web based account to remotely control (arm/disarm) your NX-8 control panel.
When we followed the instructions for the NX-6 Telguard Interactive setup, the Telguard account showed the system was armed, when it was disarmed. When we tried to disarm the system from the Telguard account, the system armed. Once it armed, the app would fail every time we tried to disarm. We spoke to GE and Telguard technical support separately many times to try and solve the problem. Both companies were very helpful in giving us information on how their device should operate. However, it wasn't until we were able to do a conference call with a lead Telguard technician and a very knowledgeable GE technician, that we got the system working properly. After some troubleshooting and voltage metering, we determined that the NX-8 auxiliary output should actually be setup to follow the disarmed state instead of the recommended armed state. Since the interactive account was showing the opposite state, changing this output programming allowed the voltage across the 'AUXOUT' and auxiliary power 'COM' terminals to show a positive twelve volts when the NX-8 was disarmed and zero volts when the system was armed. The TG-1 Express needs these voltages in these states for the Telguard Interactive service to work properly. However, even after we figured out this programming deviation, the app was still not controlling the system.
We knew we had our NX-8 zone wired and programmed correctly because shorting the zone, with the TG-1 unhooked, resulted in an arm or disarm at the panel. We also knew the auxiliary output was providing the proper voltage when the TG-1 was unhooked, but still the interactive service did not work. Just when we thought GE and Telular were going to give up and say that the service wouldn't work with this customer's panel, I asked whether or not the four wire smoke detector that was attached to the panel could be complicating things. It turns out, that with four wire smoke attached to the NX-8, the auxiliary outputs are used for resetting the smoke detectors after an alarm. Therefore, because the smoke detectors were wired to the 'SMOKE +' terminal, the system was not allowing the change of voltage on the armed state. As soon as we unhooked the four wire smoke detector, everything worked perfectly. It was much easier to replace the existing four wire smoke detector with a new two wire smoke detector, than it would have been to replace the entire alarm control panel.
We would like to thank both GE and Telguard technical support for the time they dedicated to solving our issue and we are glad that we made Telguard aware of the way the NX-8 control panel works so that future Telguard members will be able to use the interactive service with NX-8 security system.
If you have an NX-8 security system, you can add the TG-1 Express to remotely control your security system. You can also have the TG-1 Express send you instant emails and/or text messages whenever a new system event occurs. The Telguard Interactive service is included in our Self Monitoring and Monitoring Plus plans available at our alarm monitoring sign up page.