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It's time for our weekly video recap! And this might be our biggest one yet! We have a few videos back from the 16th that didn't make it into the last recap, as well a bunch of new videos from last week. We have videos featuring Jorge, Jarrett, and myself. Let's check out the videos!

Properly Replacing a Bad Sensor On a 2GIG GC3 or GC3e

Jarrett demonstrates the correct process for replacing a bad sensor on a 2GIG GC3 or 2GIG GC3e. The steps to follow for replacing a bad sensor on the GC3 or GC3e include clearing out the zone and then reprogramming it from scratch. Simply deleting the Serial Number (SN) and providing the new one can result in a "bypassed at device" error message. This will result in the sensor not working correctly. Other unusual system behavior may also occur.


Alarm.com Limits for Z Wave Devices

I explain the Alarm.com limit for the number of Z-Wave devices per account. Up to 122 devices from the panel will be pushed over to the Alarm.com platform for remote access and control. All Z-Wave devices numbered 123 and beyond will only be available at the panel for local operation. You can delete older Z-Wave devices that are still paired with Alarm.com to make room for new ones. You should pair the 122 devices that you want to use remotely first, allow Alarm.com to sync, and then add additional sensors for local control only last.


Clip Limits With Alarm.com Video Service

I explain the clip limits for Alarm.com Video Service. In order to get true video surveillance with Alarm Grid, you must have either a Platinum Level Plan (Self or Full) or a Video-Only Plan. At the base level, a true video plan will offer support for 1,000 monthly and total clips, as well as four (4) cameras and an SVR device. But by upgrading to Video Analytics, your monthly and total clip limits will both increase from 1,000 monthly and total clips to 3,000 clips of both types.


Changing the SiXCOMBO Batteries

I show you how to replace the batteries for the Honeywell SiXCOMBO. This wireless sensor uses four (4) lithium CR123A batteries for power. Its expected battery life is about five (5) years. You must open up the SiXCOMBO by twisting the sensor counterclockwise against its back plate. When closing the sensor, make to align it properly, and twist clockwise to secure. You get a low battery message on the panel to let you know when replacements are needed.


Self-Monitoring a Honeywell L3000

I explain how you can self-monitor a Honeywell L3000 System. Self-monitoring means that the system is not connected with a central station, and all system alerts are sent to the end user via text and/or email. For an L3000, this is possible using the Total Connect 2.0 service from Resideo. You will need a compatible AlarmNet Communicator for the L3000 System to make this possible. Both the Honeywell LTE-L3A and the Honeywell LTE-L3V work great for this job when used with the L3000.


Enrolling a PowerG Wireless Sensor to an Alarm Panel

Jorge shows you how to enroll a PowerG Sensor with a compatible alarm panel. PowerG Sensors are wireless devices that offer a fantastic signal range and 128-bit AES encryption. Compatible systems for PowerG Sensors include all versions of the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus, the DSC Iotega, and any DSC PowerSeries NEO System with an added PowerG Module. Most PowerG devices can transmit a signal for auto-enrollment by either powering on or by pressing and holding a device enrollment button until its LED light turns solid orange.


Connecting the 2GIG GC3e to WIFI

Jarrett shows you how to connect the 2GIG GC3e to a local WIFI network. The 2GIG GC3e System will use its WIFI connection to communicate with Alarm.com. However, Alarm.com requirements mandate that the system also has an active cellular communication path set up. This will require an added cellular communicator. The WIFI connection will just work as an additional pathway for facilitating communication between the GC3e and Alarm.com. Remember that you will need the WIFI network password to complete the connection.


Checking Zone Faults on a Tuxedo Touch Keypad

Jorge shows you how to check for faulted system zones using a Honeywell Tuxedo Touch Keypad. A faulted zone refers to a programmed sensor that is in a non-restored or "active" state. A common example is a contact sensor in a faulted state due to a door or window being left open. The Tuxedo will display a message at the top of its main screen to indicate when there is at least one faulted zone. You must bypass or restore faulted zones before the system can be armed.


Scenes From Alarm.com Won't Be Pushed to GC3 or GC3e

I explain how when you build a smart scene in Alarm.com, that scene will not be pushed down to a 2GIG GC3 or GC3e Panel for local operation. Instead the scene will only be available for remote access through the Alarm.com website or mobile app. Likewise if you build a scene on the GC3 or GC3e, then it will not be pushed over to Alarm.com. You can include various smart home devices with scenes, including programmed lights, locks, thermostats, and more.


Checking the Firmware Version on a Tuxedo Touch

Jorge shows you how to check the firmware version for a Honeywell Tuxedo Touch Keypad. The Honeywell Tuxedo Touch is both a touchscreen keypad for a Honeywell VISTA System and a Z-Wave automation controller. Firmware updates for the Tuxedo may be periodically released to provide new features and improve device performance. The Tuxedo Touch receives firmware updates from an SD card slot. You must download the update to the SD card and then apply it to the Tuxedo Touch.


Getting Into the Z Wave Programming Section of a Tuxedo Touch Keypad

Jorge explains how to access Z-Wave programming for the Tuxedo Touch. Z-Wave functionality is one of the key features for this wired touchscreen keypad. You must access the Z-Wave Programming Menu for the Tuxedo Touch to begin enrolling Z-Wave smart home devices. It is advised that you clear any Z-Wave device from the network before attempting to enroll it with the Tuxedo. This is true even if the device is brand-new and you have never paired it with a Z-Wave network before.


Converting a Wired Alarm Into Wireless

I explain how you can convert a wired alarm system into a wireless alarm system by using a wired to wireless converter module. With a wired to wireless converter, you can take your existing hardwired sensors and use them with your new wireless security system as wireless devices. This can save you money by not having to purchasing as many wireless sensors. When choosing a wired to wireless converter, you must make sure that the module communicates at a wireless frequency that is compatible with your new wireless system.

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Our team came across an interesting website that seems to suggest that there will be a new alarm panel from Nortek Control and 2GIG in February 2021. The 2GIG Edge is expected to be a cutting edge (pun intended) wireless security system, with all of the latest features and capabilities.


On the 2GIG Edge Website, we are only presented with small glimpses of the 2GIG Edge Panel. The system appears to be black in color. This is in contrast to the older 2GIG Panels, which have all been white. The user interface (UI) looks to be completely redesigned from the 2GIG GC3e and 2GIG GC2e. It's too early to make any guesses, but 2GIG may be finally introducing more intuitive end user programming to make their systems more accessible.

It's hard to make many interpretations from the little information we're presented, but there are some takeaways. The upper-right corner has the 2GIG logo, which will likely be a button for accessing menus, system settings, and programming. We also see a gear icon in the bottom-right corner, which should have a similar function. Directly to the left of the gear icon is a button that we think might be used for accessing different system partitions.

The bottom-left corner has a red asterisk (*), and we expect that to open a panic menu for use in emergencies. The center of the main screen has large buttons that will likely be used for arming, disarming, and performing smart home functions. At the panel's bottom, there is a large speaker that should provide chime and voice annunciation functionality. We also see a prominent camera at the top of the panel's front, and we're excited about what that entails.

Also on the main screen are displays for time, date, and a local weather forecast. There is also an LED light in the upper-right corner. Our guess is that this light will change color to indicate the current system arming status. One observation is that the panel appears to be very thin, and it should be extremely unobtrusive when mounted on a wall. We have no word on how power will be provided to the system or what type of backup battery will be supplied.

We reached out to 2GIG to try and obtain more information about the 2GIG Edge. We were informed that there will be inter-company training held in the near future, and more info should be available after that time. However, we were informed that the camera will support some type of facial recognition feature. This sounds similar to what is currently supported by the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus System. You can learn more about IQ2+ facial recognition right here.

A 2GIG representative was also able to confirm that the 2GIG Edge Security Panel will be compatible with Alarm.com, and it should be backwards compatible with non-encrypted 345 MHz sensors, including 2GIG 345 MHz Sensors and Honeywell 5800 Series Sensors. No word on whether the 2GIG Edge will be backwards compatible with the encrypted 2GIG eSeries Sensors, or if it will have its own new lineup of encrypted wireless sensors.

Other questions we have about the 2GIG Edge include its display screen size, whether it will support the 700-Series of Z-Wave Plus and if its Z-Wave card will be replaceable, whether a cellular communicator will come built into the system and if there will be some options for 5G cellular connectivity, and whether the system will be able to interface with various automation platforms. We would love to see another Apple HomeKit-compatible system!

The 2GIG Edge website has a countdown timer that we assume represents the release date of the system. According to the countdown timer, the panel should be released in very early February 2021. That's just a few months away, so it's fair to get a little bit excited and hyped up for the release. Of course, that release date could change, especially considering the uncertainty of today's world. But right now, we're expecting the Edge by February 2021.

Unfortunately, we don't have any pictures or detailed information about the 2GIG Edge at this time. But we do plan to follow up with 2GIG again soon to try and learn more. For now, you can email us at support@alarmgrid.com to submit questions. We will try our best to provide information about what we know. Keep in mind that we check our email from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. Also remember to check out our monitoring page to learn more about our monitoring services. We look forward to hearing from you!

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We have discussed many times before how a Certificate of Alarm (CoA) can save you money in homeowner's insurance. Today, I want to talk about my personal experience in this aspect and explain how my security system literally pays for itself. This is a huge benefit of owning an alarm system.

As I mentioned before, I became a first-time homeowner earlier this year. Like many homeowners with a mortgage, my loan requires me to maintain active homeowner's insurance. This meant that I had to obtain homeowner's insurance for the first time ever. Installing an alarm system and activating it for monitoring service is one way that I was able to reduce my homeowner's insurance premium. As someone with specific knowledge of the security industry, setting up an alarm system was one of my first priorities when moving into my home.

Prior to my home purchase, I had heard first-hand accounts of how an alarm system can fully pay for itself thanks to savings in homeowner's insurance. But to see it for myself in my own personal practice is really something incredible. I'm realistic, and I wouldn't call these savings anything life-changing. But I can say with complete honesty that there is absolutely no reason for anyone in a similar situation as me not to purchase an alarm system and get it monitored. Not only am I essentially operating an alarm system for free, I actually have a net gain in the overall equation.

In my personal experience operating a monitored security system in South Florida, my savings in homeowner's insurance is approximately $320 annually. This equates to a little bit less than 10% of my total homeowner's insurance premium. Since I have a Honeywell Lyric Security System on IP-only with a monitoring plan that includes central station service and access to Total Connect 2.0 (the Alarm Grid Silver Plan), my monitoring expenses equate to $25 per month, or $300 annually. This results in a net gain of $20 annually. This $20 net gain itself isn't anything to write home about, but the fact of the matter is that I am receiving top-of-the-line monitoring service and protection for my home at no cost to me. You could even argue that I'm being paid to have a security system in my home!

For reference, my homeowner's insurance provider is Citizens. The $320 in savings just represents what Citizens offered to me based on the cost of my home, its location, and the type of monitoring coverage listed in my CoA. I cannot promise that Citizens, or any other insurance provider for that matter, will offer similar savings on your personal policy. Your savings may absolutely vary, and you will need to check with your insurance provider to see what you can qualify for. We have heard of cases where an insurance provider may not offer any savings for maintaining a monitored alarm system, so keep that in mind.


To provide a bit more detail, my savings offered from Citizens come from having a system that is certified for burglary/intrusion monitoring and fire monitoring, with central station service. Citizens only requested proof that my system is actively monitored with central station service, and they did not ask which communication path my system was using (Phone Service, IP/WIFI, and/or Cellular). They also did not provide any indication to me that I would receive increased savings by upgrading to a cellular communicator. Upgrading to cellular is something that I plan to do in the near future, as I know the benefits. I know that making the upgrade will increase the cost of my monitoring service to $420 annually and put me at a net negative in terms of savings, But that is a personal choice that I will make in the interest of protecting my home.

Again, I need to stress that my savings are unique to me. A different insurance provider, or even the same insurance provider in Citizens, might offer you savings that are completely different from mine. That remains true even if you bought a home of identical value as mine in the same zip code. I am not trained in actuarial sciences, and I do not know the process Citizens used for determining my savings. Additionally, your insurance provider may require you to receive monitoring service through a cellular communication path. The only thing I can do is report on what Citizens offered for me personally. Your experience may be completely different. Really, you should be prepared to not receive any savings from your insurance provider. Just consider any offered savings to be a nice bonus to having a security system.

Just like anyone with a proper CoA, I am required to test my system annually. Alarm Grid must receive proof at least once per year that my system is capable of transmitting alarm signals to the central monitoring station. This is required by law, and I am not treated any differently as an Alarm Grid employee. But testing my system once per year to have it fully pay for itself is completely worth it, in my opinion. I would say that the biggest obstacle to any homeowner looking to get started with a CoA and homeowner's insurance savings would be the upfront cost of actually buying a security system and the associated hardware. You can absolutely shop around and possibly buy a used system elsewhere to minimize costs. Just remember that we cannot vouch for the quality or performance of any system not sold by Alarm Grid. Anyone who does decide to purchase a used security system and/or communicator should make sure that the equipment is capable of being used for alarm monitoring service.


Remember that obtaining a legitimate CoA and receiving a discount in your homeowner's insurance does not necessarily entail using your security system. All we need to see is proof that your security system is able to successfully transmit alarm signals for whatever types of alarms are to be listed in your CoA (Intrusion, Smoke/Fire, Carbon Monoxide, Water/Flood, and Temperature). While we certainly encourage you to use your system as intended, we aren't here to monitor or report on its usage. If you have no intention of using your system, and you are just getting it for the insurance discount, then you don't need to let us know that, but we won't be any wiser. Just make sure to keep up with your monthly payments and perform a CoA test annually so that the certification stays legitimate.

If you want to get started with a security system so that you can save money in homeowner's insurance, please email us at support@alarmgrid.com. We will be happy to work with you and help you determine the ideal monitoring plan for your needs. We check our email from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. You may also want to reach out to your insurance provider to learn more about what savings are available to you. Remember, your savings may vary drastically, and only your insurance provider can give you an accurate estimate or quote. But we'll be here to work with you once you're ready to get started. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Last week, I made a post outlining the alarm registration policy in Pompano Beach, FL. In the post, I referred to a welcome letter that mentions the most common causes of false security system alarms. Today, I want to discuss one listed reason, which is having others use your alarm system.


Anyone who uses a security system should know how to use it responsibly so that false alarms do not occur. This includes users who are not the primary operators of the system. When you have another party operate your system, you are depending on them to not make any mistakes that could lead to a false alarm. Remember, false alarms waste the resources and time of the local authorities, and they can result in fines and penalties that you are held responsible for.

If you ever hire a person who will need to access the premises while you are away and disarm the system, then it is crucial that you do your part and make sure that they know how to use the system properly for basic disarming. This practice can apply to virtually any type of hired hand or assistant, including a maid, a babysitter, a maintenance person, or even a friend who is simply checking on your house while you are on vacation. It may be a good idea to invite them over and show them how to arm and disarm the panel.

Many users will have reservations about leaving a system code with an individual who shouldn't have access to the home all the time. System manufacturers are aware of this concern, and they have implemented a solution. A guest code, which is also sometimes referred to as a babysitter code, is a code that only works when the system is armed with that code. You can give this code to the person who needs to access your home while you are away so that it works during that particular instance, but not on other occasions.

There are some things to keep in mind if you decide to use a guest code with your system. As we mentioned before, the code will only work if it is used to arm the system in the first place. You must remember to use that code to arm on any given day where you are planning to make your home accessible to the other individual. This can be easy to forget in the hustle and bustle of the morning when you are scrambling to get out the door. You might slip up and accidentally arm using your normal code. It can also be a problem if you quick-arm the system without using a code. When quick-arming or single-button arming is used, it is as if the arming was performed by the Master Code. One practice that we have found useful is to leave a sticky note on the panel with the phrase "GUEST CODE". That way, when you arm before leaving, you will know to use the guest code. Obviously, you shouldn't write the actual guest code on the sticky note. But just the message alone will remind you which code to arm with.

The fact that a guest code will only work when it was used to arm the system is a bit of a double-edged sword. If you find out in the middle of the day that you need the other person to access your home, perhaps due to an emergency, and you armed earlier using a different code, then the guest code will not be of any help. A decent work around in that situation is to just disarm using an interactive monitoring platform like Total Connect 2.0 or Alarm.com. But it can admittedly be a bit cumbersome to require the other person to contact you and wait for you to open the app on your phone and disarm the system. Still, this is a pretty decent option for a system without any other easy solution. You can also rely on an interactive platform entirely and skip out completely on using a guest code. But it can be a bit inconvenient to have to manually disarm every time you need to provide access. That is why many users often prefer using guest codes in these situations.

As a fail-safe, it may be a good idea to discuss a backup plan with the other individual, in case an alarm does occur on the system. You should instruct them not to panic and to call you immediately to let you know what happened. You may want to keep your phone off silent so that you can respond to an incoming call from either the person or the central station. When you get the alert from the person, you will know that the alarm on your system was a mistake, and you will know to respond accordingly. Then when the central station calls, you can give them your false alarm passcode to let them know that everything is okay. Do not give your false alarm passcode to the other individual, unless you completely trust them. But at that point, you may as well give them a fully functional user code instead of a guest code.

One of our main duties as an alarm company is to help our customers prevent false alarms. If you are an Alarm Grid customer, then please email us at support@alarmgrid.com if you want to learn more about false alarm prevention. We are happy to give you as much advice as we can for when others use your security system. Remember that we check email from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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As you may recall last week, the 2GIG STZ-1 Smart Thermostat became one of the first 700-Series Z-Wave devices available on the Alarm Grid website. We figured we would explore the Z-Wave 700-Series and see what it brings to the table, as it appears more products will be available soon.


We were a bit surprised with the release of the 2GIG STZ-1 Smart Thermostat, as there just aren't many controllers or hubs that take full advantage of 700-Series Z-Wave technology quite yet. Like prior generations of Z-Wave, the 700-Series devices should be compatible with older controllers and hubs. But you won't be able to take full advantage of these devices unless you use them with true Z-Wave 700-Series Controllers. And while we haven't seen many 700-Series Hubs available become available, we are sure they will be arriving soon.

It should come as no surprise that extended wireless range and longer battery life will become a mainstay with Z-Wave 700-Series. We have heard that the 700-Series devices will consume 64% less power for wireless communication, and the technology allows for resting when the device is not being used. Thanks to this more efficient performance, it's likely that you will see many 700-Series devices go up to ten (10) years between battery changes. Furthermore, the 700-Series is expected to allow for communication that is 250% further than the Z-Wave Plus 500-Series. This translates into roughly 200 feet between signal hops!

But perhaps the biggest surprise with the 700-Series is its improvements in security. While the 500-Series devices introduced optional S2 Security, SmartStart capabilities, 128-bit AES encryption, Elliptic-curve Diffie-Hellman (ECDH) protocol technology, and Man-In-The-Middle (MITM) protection. These features will become mandatory in the 700-Series for any device to receive certification from the Z-Wave Alliance. In other words, a device will only be able to list itself as having 700-Series Certification if it uses some of the most advanced wireless protection capabilities ever seen in home automation.

While the 700-Series technically made its public debut in April of 2019, we still haven't seen its usage become widespread. We expect that the pandemic played a large part in slowing the rollout of this latest smart home technology. But the recent release from Nortek and 2GIG is certainly a good sign. Of course, we'll also need security manufacturers to step up and build systems with 700-Series support. With any luck, maybe we'll see 700-Series support from the Qolsys IQ Hub later this year!

If you have any questions about the 700-Series of Z-Wave or about home automation in general, please email us at support@alarmgrid.com. We will be happy to discuss automation possibilities for your home or business and provide you with as much detail as we know about the exciting up-coming technology. We check our email from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

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We're back again with another video recap! Our video team put up five (5) new videos this past week. Most of them feature yours truly, but Jarrett managed to make an appearance as well. We hope that you find them helpful for using your security system. Let's check out the new videos!

Interlinking Honeywell SiXCOMBO Devices

I explain how you can "interlink" Honeywell SiXCOMBO devices using the "One-Go-All-Go" feature. One-Go-All-Go means that when one SiXCOMBO device on the Honeywell Lyric System is triggered and activates its 85 dB sounder, all other SiXCOMBO devices on the Lyric that have the One-Go-All-Go feature enabled will also activate their own 85 dB sounders. Honeywell SiXSMOKE devices can also be included in the One-Go-All-Go network. Although One-Go-All-Go won't result in any increased volume, it will spread the sound out to multiple locations to ensure that building occupants are notified during emergencies.


Using the SiXCOMBO for Only Smoke or Only Heat Detection

I explain how you can use the Honeywell SiXCOMBO for only smoke detection or only heat detection. The Honeywell SiXCOMBO is a combination sensor that serves as a smoke detector, heat detector, and carbon monoxide detector, all in one convenient life-safety device. Each of the three (3) aforementioned functions is considered to be a different "service" for the SiXCOMBO. You can toggle each individual service ON or OFF as desired. Remember that each enabled service will require its own zone on the Lyric System. With this functionality, you can set up the SiXCOMBO for only smoke, or only heat.


Pairing a 2GIG SP1 with the 2GIG GC3e

Jarrett shows you how to pair the 2GIG SP1 Touchscreen Keypad with the 2GIG GC3e Security System. The 2GIG SP1 can be used for security functions like arming, disarming, and bypassing sensors, as well as automation functions like controlling programmed Z-Wave devices. Once the SP1 has been successfully paired, it will mimic the GC3e screen almost identically. Although the SP1 is assigned to a specific smart area partition, you can actually use it to control any system partition, as long as smart areas are enabled on the system (Question 69 in Panel Programming), and you have a valid code.


Solving S2 Protocol Issues with the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus

I show you various things you should check to ensure that the S2 Security Protocol works properly on a Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus. The S2 Security Protocol is used with compatible Z-Wave Plus devices, and it provides stronger protection than the older S0 Security Protocol. Support for the S2 Protocol was introduced in Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Z-Wave Firmware Version 6.81.03. Additionally, it is advised that you upgrade the system firmware to at least 2.5.3, as that version provided various Z-Wave fixes for the system. You can upgrade the system firmware and the Z-Wave firmware in either order.


Updating the Honeywell Home Tuxedo Firmware

I explain how the Honeywell Home Tuxedo Keypad receives automatic firmware updates over-the-air (OTA) from the Resideo AlarmNet Servers. To have a firmware update pushed down successfully, you must have the Tuxedo connected to WIFI, and its Enable Remote Upgrade feature must be turned ON. You must also have the connected VISTA System in a state where updates can be sent down. Once these conditions are met and a new update is available, it will be sent to the Tuxedo so that it can be automatically applied. The Tuxedo will reboot about (15) seconds after the update is received.

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We have some new offerings from 2GIG that have just been added to our website. These include the 2GIG STZ-1 Z-Wave Plus 700-Series Thermostat, the 2GIG CO8 Wireless Carbon Monoxide Sensor, and the 2GIG CO8e Encrypted Wireless Carbon Monoxide Sensor. All three are available as of now!


Starting with the 2GIG STZ-1, this is a smart thermostat that uses the latest Z-Wave Plus 700-Series technology. This represents the next generation of Z-Wave Smart Home Automation after the 500-Series of Z-Wave Plus. The 2GIG STZ-1 is actually one of the very first 700-Series Z-Wave Plus devices we have ever seen. You may also see this protocol referred to as Z-Wave Plus V2. Although we haven't encountered many 700-Series Z-Wave controllers or hubs quite yet, we are sure that they will begin to pop up before too long. This new generation of Z-Wave will provide even better battery life and wireless range capabilities than ever before.

For the time being, you will have no trouble using the 2GIG STZ-1 with Z-Wave Plus controllers like the 2GIG GC3e, 2GIG GC3, 2GIG GC2e, Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus, and Honeywell Home Tuxedo. However, 2GIG has stated that the STZ-1 Thermostat is not compatible with their older 2GIG Go!Control GC2, which only has a classic Z-Wave controller. Therefore, you may want to refrain from getting the 2GIG STZ-1 if your automation network is still centered around a classic Z-Wave hub. But the good news is that you can take advantage of advanced features like SmartStart QR Code Pairing and the S2 Security Protocol when using it with the latest Z-Wave Plus hubs.

The 2GIG STZ-1 is also no slouch when it comes to controlling an HVAC system. The thermostat supports 3-Stage Heating and 2-Stage Cooling, humidity and fan control, and the ability to be used without a "C" wire connection and rely solely on battery power. Like any Z-Wave thermostat, you can include the 2GIG STZ-1 with smart scenes so that it automatically begins heating or cooling your home or office on a set schedule. This is great for keeping energy costs to a minimum, while also ensuring that you stay comfortable!

Meanwhile, the 2GIG CO8 and the 2GIG CO8e serve as the latest carbon monoxide sensors from Nortek Control. The 2GIG CO8 joins the always popular 2GIG 345 MHz Sensor Lineup, while the 2GIG CO8e is part of the 2GIG eSeries Lineup of encrypted sensors. The 2GIG CO8 is a non-encrypted wireless sensor, and it is compatible with a wider selection of alarm systems, including all of the 2GIG Panels, the 345 MHz Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus, and the Honeywell Lyric on Firmware Version MR3 or higher. The 2GIG CO8e is only compatible with the 2GIG GC2e and GC3e, but it uses encryption for better wireless security and protection.

Whether you go with the CO8 or CO8e, you will be providing valuable carbon monoxide detection for your home or office. Carbon monoxide (CO) gas is odorless and tasteless, and it kills hundreds of people every year in the United States. Most CO-related deaths occur in the winter months when heaters are more frequently used. With the winter quickly approaching us, now is a great time to get started using carbon monoxide sensors. You will have peace of mind in knowing that you and others around you will be alerted in case a CO gas situation occurs. And with central station monitoring service, help will be automatically sent to the location in the event of a carbon monoxide alarm. Remember to check out our monitoring page if you are interested in learning more about alarm monitoring.


If you have any questions about the 2GIG STZ-1 Thermostat, 2GIG CO8 Carbon Monoxide Sensor, or 2GIG CO8e Encrypted Carbon Monoxide Sensor, please email our support team 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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I don't usually get the opportunity to talk about my personal life very often in this blog. But today, I wanted to briefly share my personal experience registering an alarm system in Pompano Beach, FL. Specifically, I want to focus on the sensible alarm registration policy in the city.


Earlier this year, I had the fortune of purchasing my first home, located just half a mile from the Alarm Grid headquarters. Along with this purchase came a brand-new Honeywell Lyric Security System and monitoring service from Alarm Grid. Maybe someday I'll show the inner workings of my home security setup. But for now, I just want to talk about the positive experience I have had in registering my system with the city of Pompano Beach, FL. This is truly an example of a local alarm authority maintaining a very reasonable policy.

As the operator of a monitored security system in Pompano Beach, FL, I am required by the local jurisdiction to register my system annually with the city. The annual registration fee is a mere $25, and it covers me until December 31st of the same year. This struck me as very reasonable, and I do not believe that it would deter anyone in my community from protecting their home with a monitored system. But the aspect that left me quite impressed was the professional and sincere follow-up that I received after registering.

Upon receipt of my payment, the city of Pompano Beach, FL sent me a welcome letter to verify registration. It included a decal that I can display outside to verify that my system is registered with the city. The welcome letter itself was also very informative in its own right. This message specifically mentioned the importance of regularly testing a security system, complete with a reminder to place the system on test mode with the central station first. The letter went on to present a long list of common causes of false alarms. It even made specific mention of motion detection sensors, which, as a security professional, I am very well aware of how they can cause problems if not installed properly.

The letter ended on a rather serious note, as it mentioned that less than 2% of the alarms that the local police and fire departments respond to are actual emergencies. It urged users to do their part to reduce the false alarm rate by receiving proper training from the alarm provider. Luckily for me, my monitoring provider is also my employer, so I have received plenty of training in preventing false alarms. But I can easily see a typical homeowner who isn't experienced in using a system making a mistake and potentially causing a false alarm.

Taking a step back, I honestly think that my city has a very sensible methodology in handling security systems. There isn't an extreme "verified response" policy, and the local authorities will respond to any alarm event. I believe that this is important for members of the community to feel safe in their homes and to place trust in those who protect and serve. But at the same time, my city acknowledges that false alarms are a legitimate problem, and system users are urged to do their part to prevent them. I think that is very reasonable, as we must all do our part to not abuse the system and waste the time and resources of our local authorities.

Out of curiosity, I looked up the false alarm fining policies for Pompano Beach, FL. It turns out that the first three (3) false alarm events within one (1) calendar year, provided that the system is registered, will result in warnings. The fourth (4th) false alarm within a year will result in a $25 fine, the fifth (5th) will result in a $50 fine, and the sixth (6th) and all subsequent false alarms within the year will each result in a $100 fine. Again, I am fine with this policy, as causing more than three (3) false alarms with a year is pretty foolish, and by that point, a user probably should be fined if they have not corrected the problem.

I might take a closer look at the letter and its fine details another time. But I will end this post by saying that I am proud of my city for taking a very reasonable approach to what is a well- known issue. Alarm Grid does its part to stop false alarms by working to train its customers in operating their security systems responsibly. We strongly advise checking this guide to false alarm prevention, as it provides a plethora of tips to ensure that you're not the one increasing the false alarm rate.

You can also email us if you have any questions or concerns about using your system. We are always happy to talk about false alarm prevention so that you can feel confident your day-to-day security system interactions. Monitored Alarm Grid customers should email support@alarmgrid.com with any questions they might have. This email is also good if you are interested in starting new monitoring service to protect your home or business. We check our email from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you and helping you prevent false alarms!

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Nearly every alarm panel is capable of receiving firmware updates to unlock new features and improve system performance. Our tip today is to always make sure that your panel is running the latest firmware version. This will ensure the smoothest operation of your system and prevent issues.


Alarm manufacturers periodically release new firmware versions for their systems. These firmware updates serve many purposes. New sensors and system accessories may require that the panel is on a high enough firmware in order for them to work properly. An example of this is when Firmware Update MR9 for the Honeywell Lyric allowed the panel to support the Honeywell LYRICLTE-V Verizon LTE Communicator.

Other firmware updates provide new features for an alarm panel, such as when Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Firmware Update 2.4.0 introduced Smart Start support for the IQ2. And of course, other firmware updates just quietly improve system performance and provide general stability fixes. No matter the reason, updating the firmware for your system to the latest version is almost always a good idea for getting the most out of your system.

As a general rule, Honeywell Alarm Panels that are monitored and connected with AlarmNet can have firmware updates pushed down for free if needed. Alarm.com Panels can also have remote firmware updates pushed down, but there is usually a small fee for doing so. Keep in mind that some panels, such as the Honeywell VISTA Systems, must have updates performed locally using specific pieces of equipment.

Today, we're going to take a brief look at some different systems and discuss how firmware updates are applied. We will also provide some relevant notes for further help. We won't be able to cover every system out there, but we can certainly cover some of the more popular ones. Keep in mind that this information is current as of October 2020, so if you check this post in the future, the information may no longer be current.

System Update Method
Notes
Honeywell Lyric Controller
Updates can be pushed down from AlarmNet. You can also update locally using this method. Current firmware version is 01.09.07755.491, also known as MR9. More information on updating can be found on our Honeywell Lyric Firmware Update Page.
Qolsys IQ Panel 2 & IQ Panel 2 Plus
Push down updates from Alarm.com, or update locally using a Patch Tag. Current firmware version is 2.5.3. More information on updating is available on our Qolsys IQ Panel 2 and IQ Panel 2 Plus Firmware Update Page.
2GIG GC3e
Push down updates from Alarm.com, or update locally using USB drive. Current firmware version is V3.2.5.6732. More information on updating is available on our 2GIG GC3e Firmware Update Page.
2GIG GC3
Push down updates from Alarm.com, or update locally using USB drive. Current firmware version is V3.2.4.6725.
More information on updating is available on our 2GIG GC3 Firmware Update Page.
2GIG GC2e
Push down updates from Alarm.com, or update locally using either the updater cable or easy updater tool. Current firmware version is V1.22. More information on updating is available on our 2GIG GC2e Firmware Update Page.
2GIG GC2
Push down updates from Alarm.com, or update locally using either the updater cable or easy updater tool.
Current firmware version is V1.19.3. More information on updating is available on our 2GIG GC2 Firmware Update Page.
Honeywell VISTA-15P
Must update locally by replacing the PROM Chip. Honeywell VISTA-15P PROM Chips can be purchased here. Must be Version 9.12 or higher to support Total Connect 2.0. Information on how to replace a PROM Chip can be found here.
Honeywell VISTA-20P
Must update locally by replacing the PROM Chip. Honeywell VISTA-20P PROM Chips can be purchased here. Must be Version 9.12 or higher to support Total Connect 2.0. Information on how to replace a PROM Chip can be found here.
Honeywell VISTA-21iP
Must update locally by replacing the PROM Chip.
Honeywell VISTA-21iP PROM Chips can be purchased here. Must be Version 9.12 or higher to support Total Connect 2.0. Information on how to replace a PROM Chip can be found here.
Honeywell LYNX Touch Panels
Must update locally using Honeywell LYNXTOUCH-MSD Firmware Updater Tool. The Honeywell L5200, L5210, and L7000 can all use the Honeywell LYNXTOUCH-MSD Updater Tool to download the latest firmware. More info on using the updater tool can be found in this FAQ. The latest firmware for the aforementioned panels is 9.0213. Older LYNX Touch Systems cannot be updated and must be replaced.

If you are a monitored Alarm Grid customer looking for help updating your system's firmware, you can always email us at support@alarmgrid.com for assistance. Monitored customers can contact us to request that a firmware update be pushed down, or to learn more about applying a specific firmware update. That email is also good if you are not yet monitored by Alarm Grid, but you are interested in signing-up for service. Keep in mind that we check new email during our regular business hours of 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Alarm Grid is thrilled to announce that our Honeywell Lyric LTE Upgrade Kits now feature the Honeywell LCP500-24B 24-Hour Backup Battery. You can pick between the LYRICUPGRADE-A with AT&T LTE and the LYRICUPGRADE-V with Verizon LTE. Rest easy in knowing that your Lyric will stay connected!


Our Lyric LTE Upgrade Kits represent the ultimate option for anyone who wants to be sure that their monitored security system will always stay online and connected. These systems come with built-in WIFI and added communication modules that provide cellular backup. Even if your home or business experiences an internet outage, the cellular backup will keep your system reliably monitored. Cellular connectivity almost never goes down, so you will have peace of mind in knowing that you are consistently protected. This is crucial for receiving the most reliable and dependable alarm monitoring service available!

But these aren't just any cellular communicators. These are LTE cellular communicators that will receive network support for many years to come, possibly for even decades. As older 3G and CDMA networks are soon being shut down in an event commonly referred to as the 3G Sunset, users are being urged to upgrade to LTE as soon as possible. The term LTE stands for "Long-Term Evolution", and cellular companies like AT&T and Verizon have promised to support their LTE networks well into the very distant future. These networks are expected to remain running as important backups to the 5G networks, which you have likely heard about. With an LTE communicator like those included in these kits, you won't have to worry about making any communication upgrade to your Lyric any time in the foreseeable future.


The new change to these LTE upgrade kits is that they now include a 24-hour backup battery instead of the prior 4-hour backup battery. Your Lyric Security System will rely on this backup battery to stay running when the electricity is out and AC power is unavailable. The backup battery represents the last line of defense for a security system in staying powered on and connected for monitoring service in these crucial moments. Being able to keep your Lyric Alarm Panel running and connected for 24 hours versus 4 hours will give you much more confidence and peace of mind when a sudden power outage occurs. And even during an extended outage, your home or business will be protected. This is the perfect complement to LTE cellular connectivity, which works perfectly when your internet router is down and unable to provide WIFI service for your system.

Of course, these kits wouldn't be complete without the state-of-the-art Honeywell Lyric Alarm System. This security panel includes a full-color 7-inch touchscreen display, support for up to 128 panel zones, the ability to interface with Honeywell SiX Series Sensors that use military-grade 128-bit AES encryption, built-in Z-Wave capability for smart home devices, and full compatibility with Apple HomeKit, the robust and powerful automation platform for iOS users.


Both the Honeywell LYRICUPGRADE-A and the Honeywell LYRICUPGRADE-V come with a brand-new Honeywell Lyric Alarm System with plug-in transformer, an LTE communicator, and a fully prepared Honeywell LT-Cable for conveniently providing system power. Whether you choose the LYRICUPGRADE-A with AT&T LTE or the LYRICUPGRADE-V with Verizon LTE will not make much of a difference. This decision will have no impact on your monthly monitoring costs, and we have found both cellular networks to work great when adequate signal coverage is obtained. Just go with the network that provides the most reliable and consistent coverage in your area. If you aren't sure, coverage maps are widely available. Remember that this decision has nothing to do with your personal phone. You can have an AT&T Phone and get a Verizon Communicator for your system, or vice-versa.

Also keep in mind that you will need a cellular monitoring plan to take advantage of all the cellular communication capabilities of your new Honeywell Lyric LTE Security System Kit. Examples of compatible monitoring plans include the Gold and Platinum Plans from Alarm Grid. We advise checking out our monitoring page for more information about signing-up. And if you have any questions, you can always email us at support@alarmgrid.com for extra assistance. We check our email during our usual business hours of 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you and helping you get started with your new Lyric System!

Update: These kits no longer include the 24-hour battery. They once again include the standard Lyric 4-hour battery. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

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