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Anyone with a SkyBell Video Doorbell used with Total Connect 2.0 or Alarm.com, which is also used with the SkyBell app, be aware. The SkyBell app may prompt you to upgrade to "Gen5." However, upgrading will remove access from all third-party apps. Once installed, this upgrade can't be undone.


The message displayed in the SkyBell app is shown above. As you can see, any SkyBell Trim II, Slim II, Trim Plus, Slim, or HD4.x doorbell will eventually be upgraded to "Gen5," according to SkyBell. This means if you want to use a doorbell that is compatible with Total Connect 2.0 or Alarm.com, you will need to begin planning a video doorbell upgrade.

Currently, when prompted in the SkyBell HD App, you have the choice to select "Not Yet." However, this option will eventually be phased out, and the update will be automatically implemented. The exact timeline for this mandatory update is not yet known. This upgrade not only discontinues remote access via Total Connect 2.0 or Alarm.com but also eliminates compatibility with any local integrations involving Resideo touchscreen panels and keypads. We are still awaiting information regarding the impact of this change on alarm panels and keypads that utilize Alarm.com.

Alarm.com Update: According to Alarm.com CORE Technical Support, they are unaware of the Gen5 update, but since Alarm.com SkyBell doorbells use a proprietary version, and should never be connected to the SkyBell servers or app, this update should not affect their customers.

Alternative Video Doorbell for Total Connect 2.0 Users:

First Alert VX1 HD


The First Alert VX1 HD is the first video doorbell offered by Resideo that is manufactured in-house. It is designed to replace an existing doorbell, so it does require power wiring. The VX1 HD offers dual-band WIFI connectivity using either 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz. Because of its advanced features, a Total Connect 2.0 plan that includes video monitoring is required to use this doorbell camera. For Alarm Grid customers this is either a Platinum Plan (Self or Full) or a Video Monitoring Plan. Each plan can support up to eight (8) cameras, and each VX1 HD counts as one (1) camera.

The VX1 HD is a 5MP camera, it supports 2-way audio and intelligent event detection. This is an advanced AI that can easily tell the difference between people, packages, vehicles, animals, and even loud sounds. This feature will limit unwanted recordings and accidental activations. There is a built-in LED and color night-vision options. It also has a built-in siren feature that can be manually activated to scare away unwanted visitors.

Another great feature of the VX1 HD is Wide Dynamic Range (WDR). We hear High Dynamic Range (HDR) mentioned a lot with Alarm.com cameras, but WDR is slightly different. With WDR, advanced software is combined with the ability to make hardware adjustments to provide the best image possible. Think of aperture iris adjustments and shutter speed control that allow the perfect amount of light to enter the recording. This is particularly important in images that combine very light and very dark areas. HDR also perfects images with high contrast, but it uses software only, without the ability to make hardware adjustments.

The VX1 HD supports three (3) unique options for its field of view. These are tall, wide, or full. Tall optimizes the camera for a portrait-style image, while Wide optimizes the camera for a landscape view. And finally, Full provides the largest possible visual area. There are also selections between low and high video quality. There are many other settings. You can adjust the use of the indoor chime, set how night vision works, and control the doorbell lights, the speaker volume, and the microphone volume.

The VX1 HD can use a mechanical or a digital chime and comes with an adapter for digital chime applications. It also comes with two (2) trim rings (white or grey), a straight and angled mounting bracket, a doorbell release/reset tool, and mounting hardware.

Alternative Video Doorbell Options for Alarm.com Users:

Alarm.com ADC-VDB770

When it comes to Alarm.com video cameras, we're spoiled for choice. The ADC-VDB770 is their flagship video doorbell and is the first manufactured specifically for Alarm.com. Like the VX1 HD, it supports dual-band WIFI (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz). It offers full HD recording with 1440 x 1920 video resolution. It boasts IR night vision with a viewing distance of up to 15' (4.5m). The viewing area is also impressive with a 150° vertical and 115° horizontal field of view.

The ADC-VDB770, like the VX1 HD, counts as a video camera when a video monitoring plan is used. If you have a single video doorbell camera, and no other video devices, you can add a single doorbell to an Alarm Grid Gold plan (Self or Full) without upgrading to a Platinum Plan. Just know, that if you already have a Platinum or Video Monitoring Plan, the ADC-VDB770 will count as one (1) when it comes to camera limits.

With High Dynamic Range (HDR), video recorded by the ADC-VDB770 is always crisp and clear. HDR is advanced software that optimizes each image so that it is as clear as possible. This is particularly important in images that have large areas of very light and very dark space. The ADC-VDB770 can work with mechanical or digital chimes. It is a wired doorbell camera and requires power. It should easily connect to an existing doorbell transformer rated between 16-30VAC and 10VA. Alternatively, a 15-30VDC, 8W minimum power adapter can be used. There is an included power module, and it is required in every installation, whether AC or DC power is being used.

The ADC-VDB770 also has an impressive list of available accessories, which you can purchase separately:

  • ADC-VDBA-COVER - Touchless Doorbell Cover that lets guests know not to touch the video doorbell. Used in conjunction with the Video Doorbell Mat.
  • ADC-VDBA-MAT - Video Doorbell Mat that lets guests know to activate the camera by standing on the mat. Used in conjunction with the Touchless Doorbell Cover.
  • ADC-VDBA-PSU-PD - Video Doorbell Wall Power Supply Kit that is used if there is no existing chime circuit, or if the chime circuit is incompatible. Can be used with or without a power module. The device is rated at 16 Volts DC, 1.25 Amps, or 20 Watts.
  • ADC-VDBA-TC - Temperature Collar Accessory that allows the doorbell camera to be safely used in temperatures as low as -40°F. Can be used with or without the Wall Mounting Plate.
  • ADC-VDBA-WP - Wall Mounting Plate that hides blemishes such as missing paint or screw holes. Goes between the wall and the doorbell camera. Dimensions are 5.43"L by 3.43"W.
  • ADC-VDBA-WMK - Wedge Mounting Kit that includes four (4) additional mounting bracket options that are not otherwise included with the ADC-VDB770. These mounting brackets are appropriately named D, E, F, and G. You will ultimately only use one (1) mounting bracket in the final installation.
Alarm.com ADC-VDB750

The ADC-VDB750 replaces the SkyBell ADC-VDB105X. It is a 2MP camera with a 165° horizontal and 145° vertical field of view. It's offered in three (3) colors, white, bronze, and silver. For most mechanical chimes, it doesn't require the installation of a power module, which simplifies installation.

Combined with the ADC-VDB750's excellent viewing area, this doorbell camera also offers 2-way audio, and video analytics for people detection. Unlike passive infrared (PIR) detection, which can be triggered by moving shrubs or holiday decorations video analytics uses software to determine whether an alert should be activated.

This video doorbell also offers an impressive operating temperature range of -58ºF up to 120ºF (-50°C - +48.8°C). It can be powered by an AC transformer rated at 16-24VAC, and 10-40VA or a DC power adapter with a rating of 15-24VDC, 6-20W. It does not have an internal battery. This allows it to be more versatile and compatible with a wider range of temperatures and hardware.

Unlike most video doorbells, the ADC-VDB750 has a programming option for no chime. For installations where no chime is being used, this doorbell camera does not require that a special resistor be installed. For a full list of features and specifications, please click the product link above to be taken to the product description page.

Alarm.com ADC-VDB780B


We'll round out our list of Alarm.com video doorbells with the ADC-VDB780B. This doorbell is unique among all those listed here because it is battery-operated and truly wireless. This doorbell is perfect for those who traditionally might not have a doorbell, such as apartment and condo dwellers, or those in older homes that don't have an existing doorbell, where a retrofit of a wired doorbell isn't possible or perhaps isn't wanted.

At Alarm Grid, we sell the VDB780B as a kit with an Alarm.com wireless chime. Each ADC-VDB780B must have at least one W115C to operate. The ADC-VDB780B-W115C-BNDL gives you everything you need to get a doorbell up and running in a location where no doorbell has ever been installed before. In addition to being a wireless chime, the W115C acts as a WIFI extender, which may come in handy if the ADC-VDB780B is mounted far away from your WIFI access point. The W115C just plugs into any standard outlet.

What sets this doorbell camera apart from all others is the fact that it is completely wireless. The included rechargeable battery is expected to last for up to six (6) months before it has to be recharged. When that time comes, just unlatch the bottom of the doorbell mount, remove the doorbell, and then pull down and separate the battery pack. Now you can charge the battery with the included micro USB cable. The plug-in charger is not included. You will need to provide a 5V/1.5A USB wall charger, similar to what you probably use to charge your cell phone or tablet. A fully drained battery takes about seven (7) hours to fully charge.

As with the other video doorbell cameras listed here the ADC-VDB780B counts as one (1) camera when used with a full video plan such as Alarm Grid's Platinum Plan. If this will be your only video device, then a single ADC-VDB780B can be used with our Gold Plan without requiring a plan change.

The field of view for this camera is also impressive at 160° horizontal, 90° vertical, 175° diagonal, and the 2.12MP camera offers true HD recording at 1920 x 1080 video resolution. It offers IR night vision with a detection range of ~15' (4.8m) 2-way audio, and Alarm.com's video analytics to prevent unwanted or erroneous alerts. One big difference with this doorbell is the fact that it only supports 2.4 GHz WIFI. The same is true of the Alarm.com W115C wireless chime. It can only use, and boost the 2.4 GHz band.

So, SkyBell is taking a step away from security integrators, or perhaps they are trying to become one. Either way, it will be interesting to see how this move pays off, or not, in the future. For those of you who use a video doorbell with your security system, it's good to know you have plenty of options if you find yourself suddenly needing them. Until next time...

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It's that time of year again! The time when you might spot Santa Claus on your Alarm.com video feed as he prepares to deliver Christmas gifts. Of course, the true magic occurs on Christmas Eve, but Santa could drop by at any time between December 4 and December 31. So, be on the lookout!

Alarm.com is always enhancing and expanding its video offerings. For the past few years, its technology has become so advanced that it can capture Santa Clause as he goes about his pre and post-holiday preparation.

Any time between December 4 and December 31, 2023, you may catch a glimpse of the jolly old elf as he scurries about, scoping out the surroundings and getting all of the logistics prepared for the big night. Delivering toys to all the children of the world in a single night requires meticulous preparation!

The only way you can see Santa is if you capture a still image from your video feed. Santa is much too quick to be seen on the video feed itself. Just log into your Alarm.com account, pull up the feed of one of your Alarm.com cameras, and click the Santa icon. You'll see the various Santa poses captured within the feed. Click the one you like best, and then share the image with your family and friends.

In dark settings, Santa will appear in black and white, in lighted areas you'll see him in color. Just be sure you have the latest version of the Alarm.com app installed on your iOS or Android device so that you can take advantage of this rare opportunity. For iOS users, the latest version is 5.2.1. For Android users, the version you see will vary depending on your device. Just check the Google Play store and be sure there are no available updates. Your phone must be on Android 7.0 or higher to support the Alarm.com app.

Of course, only those with a video subscription, and cameras installed will be able to capture Santa Clause in action. For Alarm Grid customers, this will be those on one of our Platinum Plans (Self or Full) or a Video Monitoring Account. If you've been considering adding an Alarm.com video camera to your system now may be the perfect time!

If you don't happen to have Alarm.com video service, but you do use Alarm.com monitoring for your security system, you have another option for tracking Santa as he visits your home. You can set up a Santa Alert for your system. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Designate a sensor. Log into your Alarm.com security account. Tap the Sensors card and choose a sensor that is easy for you to open and close. Change the name of that sensor to something fun. If you have a chimney, you can call it Chimney Sensor. If not, you can name it Santa Sensor, or a similar fun name.

  2. Create a notification. If you don't already have a zone open/close notification set up for the sensor you chose, tap the Notifications menu option, then click the "+ New Notification" icon. Looking at the Standard Notification options, you should see "Sensor Activity." Click on this option.



  3. Complete the notification setup. When you click on the "Sensor Activity" option, you'll be taken to a configuration screen. First, name your notification. Check the box next to the sensor you renamed in Step 1. Configure all the required parameters to ensure you receive a notification when this sensor is opened. Remember, a notification will be sent every time this sensor is opened or faulted, so you probably want to wait until you're ready for Santa to visit, before you set this up. Otherwise, if this is a sensor you use often, you may be inundated with notifications until you set things back to normal. Presumably, you'll do this on Christmas Eve. Be sure you have at least one recipient for this notification enabled. When you've completed the configuration, click "Save."


  4. Create the event. When it's time for Santa's visit, open the sensor you renamed in Step 1. You should receive a notification on your designated device that shows the Chimney Sensor, Santa Sensor, or whatever fun name you gave your sensor has been opened. In the morning, you can show your family proof that Santa Claus visited during the night.

  5. Revert to normal. Once you have your proof, you can reverse the above steps and put your system back to normal. There is no need to delete the notification. You can simply toggle it off, then it will be ready again next year, in case you want to use it again.
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The year 2023 is winding down. Halloween is behind us, Thanksgiving is here, and Christmas, Hanukkah, Bodhi Day, Yule/Winter Solstice, and many other holidays are right around the corner. Whatever tradition you may observe at this time of year, we wish you a safe, warm, and relaxing day.

The Alarm Grid offices will be open for half a day, from 9:00 am - 1:00 pm on Wednesday, November 22. We will be closed all day on Thursday, November 23, and we will be open for half a day 9:00 am - 1:00 pm on Friday, November 24, 2023. While we are closed, we won't be here to answer technical support, shipping, or activation questions.

Our central station partners will be available during this time. They operate 24/7/365 and will handle any signals that your alarm system may send in their usual manner. The only exception will be if you have provided alternate instructions, or if you put your system on test.

Alarm Grid central station monitored accounts located inside the United States report to Criticom Monitoring Services (CMS). If you need to contact the monitoring station, either to report a false alarm or to put your system on test, you can call (888) 818-7728 and choose Option [9]. Once an operator answers, you'll need to supply your name, address, and false alarm password.

For our Canadian customers, our monitoring partner in Canada is Rapid Response. They can be reached at (800) 932-3822. Remember, when you call either monitoring station you will be asked for your name and address, and to verify your false alarm password or phrase. Providing the wrong information, or providing the Duress password, will result in a police dispatch.

If you have technical support questions or you need to make adjustments to your account, the monitoring station will not be able to help you with that. For those requests, send an email to support@alarmgrid.com with as much detail as possible. We'll get back to you as soon as possible when we return to the office. During the holidays, there can be a slight backlog, so please be patient while we catch up.

If you plan to travel this holiday season, don't forget to secure all your doors and windows and arm your system as you leave. If you don't have pets or house sitters to worry about, it might be a good idea to arm your system Maximum (VISTA systems) or choose the option to arm Away with no entry delay (offered on most all-in-one systems).

This means that if any armed zone is faulted once the system arms, it will cause an immediate alarm, rather than providing an entry delay. This suggestion assumes you have access via Alarm.com, Total Connect 2.0, or some other means such as a wireless key fob, with which you can disarm prior to opening any doors.

If you happen to be cooking this Thanksgiving, and a kitchen smoke alarm is triggered by a little cooking smoke, or steam, don't panic. If the detector is tied to your alarm system, disarm your system. This should silence the system siren and any keypads. To silence the detector, you need to get the smoke or steam cleared from the sensing chamber. This is easiest to do with a fan. If you have one, keep a small fan handy, just in case.

If a system alarm occurs, contact the monitoring station as soon as possible. It may be that they will call you before you get a chance to call them. Be ready, and be sure to answer. Once you do, provide the correct false alarm password and explain the situation. This is by far the best way to avoid an unnecessary and unwanted dispatch when this type of alarm occurs.

For smoke detectors that are not tied to an alarm system, the best way to stop them from sounding is to clear the smoke from the sensing chamber. In most cases, the detector should have a button you can press to silence the local alarm. Be prepared with something you can use to reach this button. However, even if it is silenced, if smoke remains in the sensing chamber the detector will begin to sound again after a brief period. Again, a small fan will go a long way toward clearing the sensing chamber and silencing the alarm for good.

If a carbon monoxide alarm occurs, or if a fire alarm occurs for no apparent reason, leave the premises and allow the fire department to check and clear the house. It is always better to be safe than sorry. Remember, if a CO alarm is reported, the monitoring station is required to dispatch, even if you do provide the correct false alarm password.

Happy Thanksgiving from Alarm Grid! We look forward to talking with you again once we've had a little break, some festive time with family and friends, and more food than anyone should eat in a single sitting.

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The First Alert VX3 HD (CAMWE-WO) is the newest camera offering from Resideo and Honeywell Home using the First Alert brand name. It offers full HD viewing and recording and supports Wide Dynamic Range (WDR). Its built-in speaker and microphone support 2-way audio through the TC2 app.

Resideo completed the purchase of First Alert in 2022 and is now beginning to roll out products using the First Alert name. So far, we've seen the First Alert VX1 HD (CAMW-WDB) HD doorbell camera, and now the VX3 HD. First Alert brings with it end-user brand recognition, as well as manufacturing capabilities for life safety and other devices.

The newly introduced VX3 HD boasts a sleek, modern design and a compact form factor. A notable advancement in this camera, compared to earlier TC2-compatible models, is its intelligent event detection capability. This sophisticated AI-driven feature distinguishes between people, vehicles, animals, and packages effectively reducing unnecessary alerts. This functionality is present in both the VX3 HD camera and its counterpart, the VX1 HD video doorbell.

Another exciting feature of this new outdoor camera is the ability to use Power over Ethernet (PoE). Because the VX3 HD also supports WIFI, it can be powered by a 12VDC, 1A power supply. But, if you plan to use an ethernet connection for networking, you may as well take advantage of its PoE capabilities. The VX3 HD is an 802.3 af PoE class 3 PD. The maximum cable length when using PoE is 300' (100m).

The First Alert VX3 HD offers many impressive specifications. You can read the full spec sheet here. One thing we haven't discussed yet is Wide Dynamic Range (WDR). You may be wondering what the difference between High Dynamic Range (HDR) and Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) is.

Both HDR and WDR have to do with the contrast and resolution in images that have both very dark and very light areas. HDR uses processing power and software to take these images and perfect them, as much as possible, so that the viewer can get the most detail possible from the image. With HDR, it's all software-based.

WDR uses both hardware and software to achieve the same goal. One example of how this occurs is that shutter speed is controlled by the camera, so that in areas where there is an abundance of light, shutter speed is faster, allowing less light into the camera, and in darker areas, shutter speed is slower, to take in more light. In many cases, multiple images are taken with different exposure levels and then combined to provide you with the best possible image.

A custom back box is available for installations where in-wall wiring is not possible, or for anyone who needs additional space to protect cables. The CAMWE-WOBB replaces the standard mounting bracket and is installed behind or beneath the camera. It can support up to three (3) 1/2" (1.27cm) conduits. It has rubber grommets that can be used to protect any conduit space that is not being used. With an IP66 rating, the back box is dust-proof and water-resistant.


Alarm Grid customers who want to take advantage of all the advanced features of the VX3 HD will need to sign up for either a Platinum Plan (Self or Full) or a Stand-alone Video Plan. This camera is compatible with Total Connect 2.0, and can also be viewed through the Honeywell Home PROA7PLUS or Resideo PROA7PLUSC touchscreen. As long as the panel is on version 03 or higher. It can also be viewed on the PROWLTOUCH or PROWLTOUCHC secondary keypad when used with one of these panels.

Up to eight (8) cameras can be added to each monitoring plan that supports cameras, and each First Alert VX3 HD counts as one (1) camera. Full access to the camera, including the 2-way audio feature, is accessible through the TC2 app. The website does not support 2-way audio, and will only allow you to view the camera's live feed and captured video.

The 2-way audio feature allows the user to listen in to ambient sound in the vicinity of the camera, and to speak through the camera to anyone within view. This feature can be used to deter potential burglaries, scare away stray animals, or play tricks on your friends. There is also an LED spotlight and siren feature that can be deployed manually by the end-user to deter intruders in the vicinity of the camera.

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Some Resideo 5821 wireless flood and temperature sensors manufactured between July and October of 2023 may not transmit properly. They may fail to learn into the alarm panel or fail to transmit when an alarm occurs. Affected units can be returned to the vendor for refund or replacement.


The 5821 is a versatile wireless sensor from the Resideo (formerly Honeywell) 5800 Series sensor line. Alone, it can monitor for high and low temperature conditions. It can also be used with either a remote temperature probe, or a remote flood-sensing probe. The use of either remote probe allows the 5821 to monitor harsh conditions that the circuitry of the transmitter itself cannot endure.

The date code for the 5821 is located on the box it comes in, and should also be visible as a sticker or a printed series of numbers on the circuit board itself. The date code consists of a 2-digit number for the year and a 2-digit number for the week of that year.


In 2023, between week 30 and week 40*, a manufacturing issue caused 5821 transmitters to be produced with a defect that caused affected units not to transmit properly. These units may never learn into the panel, or they may fail to transmit when a monitored condition occurs. This could result in damage to a home or business.

The date codes included in this notice are 2330 (2023, week 30) through 2340 (2023 week 40). Any unit with date code 2342 or later is not affected by this issue. July 24, 2023 begins week 30, and October 8, 2023 ends week 40.

If you recently purchased a 5821 from Alarm Grid, check the date code on the unit. If it falls within the affected range, contact us at support@alarmgrid.com and we will happily provide you with a warranty replacement. You can read the full notification from Resideo here. If you received a unit that would not learn into the panel initially, it is likely that we have already performed troubleshooting with you and have at least begun the warranty replacement process.

For customers who may not read our blog, Alarm Grid is reaching out to anyone who purchased this product from us from March 2023 until now. We will provide information on the notification, how to check the date code, and will gladly replace any units affected.

*Important Note: When this issue was discovered, production of the 5821 was halted and the issue was investigated to discover the root cause. There was no production of the 5821 during 2023 week 41, which accounts for the seemingly "lost week" missing in the above referenced announcement.

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The newest entry in the Qolsys "One Platform" lineup is the Qolsys IQ4 NS. This is basically an IQ4 Hub minus the touchscreen and a microphone. Qolsys is marketing this lineup as a Good, Better, Best offering with the IQ4 NS, IQ4 Hub, and IQ Panel 4 respectively filling each of those roles.


The "NS" in IQ4 NS stands for "No Screen." As a touchless panel, the IQ4 NS does not need to be installed in a visible location. It can be installed tucked away in a closet in the middle of the home or business. By installing in this way, the panel is protected from attack by intruders, and being centrally located it can provide the best range for Z-Wave and other RF devices.

In this world where seemingly everything has a touchscreen, you may be wondering how you control the IQ4 NS. There are a couple of options, actually. First, you can perform any tasks such as arming, disarming, checking status, and controlling automation devices using the Alarm.com mobile app. This app is available in both iOS and Android versions and is available as a free download from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

If you're looking for a more traditional security system experience, meaning you'd like to use a keypad, you have options there as well. The IQ Remote is compatible with all panel versions, and the IQ Remote-PG and some of the push-button PowerG keypads are compatible with the IQ4 NS when a PowerG daughter card is installed. Qolsys also plans to roll out a low-cost, battery-powered keypad called the IQ Keypad PowerG at the end of 2023. This is a basic, numerical keypad. It has an estimated three (3) year battery life and up to five (5) keypads can be used per system. It will work with all of the IQ4 panel lineup, as long as the panel supports PowerG.


To program the IQ4 NS locally, the IQ Installer Interface app is used. In addition, dealers can program the panel through the Alarm.com dealer portal. To program at the panel, simply download and install the free IQ Installer Interface app, open it, scan the QR code for the panel, located on the back of the unit, and follow a few onscreen prompts. You'll be programming the panel within minutes. The UI for the installer interface app is very similar to programming the IQ Panel 4 and IQ4 Hub through the panel touchscreen.

Qolsys has made the IQ4 NS a very modular system. Users can purchase a system with only the Z-Wave card installed, for example. This system can then be used as an automation hub only, perhaps in a newly constructed home, for demonstration purposes. When someone buys the home, they may then want to add security sensors. They can purchase a PowerG, 319.5MHz, 345MHz, or 433MHz daughter card to be installed into the panel. Now the same IQ4 NS is a full security system.

Feature IQ4 NS IQ4 Hub IQ Panel 4
HARDWARE
7" Touchscreen NO YES YES
8-Core CPU YES YES YES
Built-in LTE & WIFI Comms YES YES YES
Dual SRF (PowerG + 1) NO NO YES
Single SRF YES YES NO
Z-Wave Plus (800-Series) YES YES YES
Bluetooth Disarming NO YES YES
Music Streaming NO YES YES
Microphones 0 1 3, with echo cancellation
8MP Panel Camera (w/Flextilt) NO NO YES
Built-in Panel Glass Break NO NO YES
Built-in Panel Motion Detector NO NO YES
24-Hour LiPo Backup Battery YES YES YES
Smart Mount Installation YES YES YES
Compatible with IQ Base NO NO YES
Available in Black Housing NO NO YES
SOFTWARE
Live View, Live Answer Doorbell & Cameras NO YES YES
Weather on Home Screen NO YES YES
Photo Frame Screensaver NO YES YES
Full Alarm.com Integration YES YES YES
SECURITY
4-Watt Speakers YES, 1 YES, 1 YES, 4
85dB Siren YES YES YES
Support for 128 Zones YES YES YES
Support for Partitioning YES, 4 YES, 4 YES, 4
242 User Codes YES YES YES
Encrypted Sensor Support YES (with PowerG or 319.5 MHz SRF) YES (with PowerG or 319.5 MHz SRF) YES
Support for Hardwired Zones YES (SRF will determine how) YES (SRF will determine how) YES (via PG9WLSHW8 or other SRF)
2-Way Voice NO NO YES
Residential Certification YES, (UL1023, UL985) YES, (UL1023, UL985) YES, (UL1023, UL985)
Commercial Certification YES, (UL2610) YES, (UL2610) YES, (UL2610)

Because the IQ4 NS has no screen with which to relay information to the user, it has two (2) LEDs on the front of the panel that provide some information. The left LED indicates power and the right LED indicates security system status.


The table below shows the various LED states and their respective meanings:

Power LED
Solid Green AC is present.
Flashing Green System running on battery, AC power is down
LED OFF System is Powered Down
Status LED
Solid Green Disarmed, Ready to Arm
Flashing Green Ready to Arm, with Zones Open
Solid Orange System Trouble Present
Flashing Orange RF Jam is Present
Solid Red System Armed
Flashing Red An Alarm has Occurred
Flashing Red (Rapidly) Active Fire Alarm, Bell Silenced
Flashing Blue Rebooting After an Update
Solid Blue IQ Installer Pairing Mode

With no touchscreen interface on the panel, the power button also has some additional functionality on the IQ4 NS. See the chart below for details:

Power Button
Press and Hold, 3 Seconds Panel Powers On, if Currently Off.
Press and Release, While Disarmed Announces Alarms, Troubles, and any other Status.
Alarms and Troubles can be Cleared by Pressing and Releasing again, after Annunciation Ends.
Press Twice within 3-Seconds, While Disarmed Initiates a Pairing Window for the IQ Installer App.
If Enabled in Programming, May Also Initiate a Cell Test.
Press and Hold for 30-Seconds Initiates a Hard Reboot.

Links for the various versions of the IQ4 NS can be found below:

Panel Description SKU
IQ4 NS with Verizon LTE and PowerG IQPK048
IQ4 NS with AT&T LTE and PowerG IQPK047
IQ4 NS with Telus LTE (Canada) and PowerG IQPK062
IQ4 NS with Verizon LTE IQPK071
IQ4 NS with AT&T LTE IQPK072
IQ4 NS with Telus LTE (Canada) IQPK0AA
IQ4 NS with Verizon LTE and 319.5MHz IQPK082
IQ4 NS with AT&T LTE and 319.5MHz IQPK083
IQ4 NS with Telus LTE (Canada) and 319.5MHz IQPK097
IQ4 NS with Verizon LTE and 433MHz IQPK086
IQ4 NS with AT&T LTE and 433MHz IQPK087
IQ4 NS with Telus LTE (Canada) and 433MHz IQPK098
IQ4 NS with Verizon LTE and 345MHz IQPK084
IQ4 NS with AT&T LTE and 345MHz IQPK085
IQ4 NS with Telus LTE (Canada) and 345MHz IQPK099
Daughter Cards and Accessories
319.5 MHz IQ-Card QC0001-840
433 MHz IQ-Card QC0004-840
345 MHz IQ-Card QC0005-840
915 MHz IQ-Card QC0008-840
IQ4 NS Table Stand IQ4NSTAND

Not all versions of the IQ4 NS are available just yet, but as they roll out, we'll add links to those panels in the chart above. We've been, frankly, unimpressed with prior manufacturers' all-in-one panels with no touchscreen, but the Qolsys IQ4 NS seems to have been well thought out. We'll see how popular it is with our customers.

What do you think about this type of screenless panel? Would you consider purchasing one? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think. It seems that every manufacturer of all-in-one, professional-grade security panels decides to try a screenless panel at some point. It will be interesting to see if Qolsys can succeed where others have failed.

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Update 09/18/23: Qolsys has released this firmware as of today. Alarm.com, however, has not yet made it available for dealers to perform remote OTA updates. They usually lag behind Qolsys by a few days, as they perform their own testing. Instructions for updating using a patch tag can be found here. The full Qolsys TSB can be found here.

Original Blog Post:

We've been hearing about it for a while, and Firmware 4.4.0 will be available any day now. In this post, we'll go through some of the big additions, fixes, and improvements that you can expect to see in this release. From support for PowerG automation devices to the addition of Night arming.

This is one of the most ambitious updates for Qolsys that we've seen. There are a lot of new features in this update. There are also some important fixes and improvements included. In this post, we'll go through what we believe are some of the more important changes coming up in Firmware 4.4.0.


New Features:

  • Support for All New PowerG Automation Devices:
  • Added a new Automation Icon within the Installation > Devices Menu. This icon is where you will now go to add everything except Z-Wave Automation devices. However, from within this screen, you can reach Z-Wave Automation (if you navigate here in error). In the future, we expect all Automation will be programmed from within this screen.
  • Added "Night Arming" mode. The panel can now be armed in "Away", "Stay", or "Night".
  • Created a new PIN code setting for users of the IQ WIFI 6. This will restrict access to the profiles and network map settings of the router.
  • Added support for Aeotec Indoor Siren 6.
  • Added Sensor Group 11 (Day Zone) and Group 21 (Night Motion).
  • Added Sensor Groups 61 (Fixed Intrusion Panic) & 62 (Fixed Silent Panic). With these settings, hardwired, latching panics can now send restore signals when they are physically restored.
  • Allows exterior PowerG motions to be programmed as Door/Window sensors to expand the Sensor Group options when programming.
  • Added the option to display ambient temperature on the IQ Panel 4 and IQ4 Hub screen when used with PowerG and PowerG Plus devices that support reporting ambient temperature (listed below).

  • PowerG Smoke Detectors can now sound different cadences for Intrusion, Fire, and CO alarms when the "PowerG Smoke Detector Siren" option is used for additional sounders.

Before going on to Fixes and Improvements, I wanted to pause for a moment and expand a bit on a couple of the things listed above. With the new Sensor Group 11 (Day Zone) here is the description of operation for that zone type: Intended for a Door or Window zone that triggers an alarm instantly if the system is armed (same as Group 13). When the panel is disarmed, the zone will annunciate Opens AND Closes, and will continue to notify until the Dismiss button is pressed on the panel screen.


When it comes to Night Arming, an understanding of the Groups associated with motion detectors is essential. Below is an explanation of how each Sensor Group operates. All of these Groups are supervised.

  • Group 17, Away-Instant Motion: Active only when armed to "Night" or "Away". Trips instantly when motion is detected. Does not trip if an E/E zone is tripped first.
  • Group 15, Stay-Instant Motion: Active in "Stay," "Night," and "Away". Trips Instantly when motion is detected. Does not trip if an E/E zone is tripped first.
  • Group 35, Stay-Delay Motion: Active in "Stay," "Night," and "Away" modes. Triggers an Entry Delay if motion is faulted. Does not trip if an E/E zone is tripped first.
  • Group 20, Away-Delay Motion: Active when armed to "Night" and "Away". Triggers an Entry Delay if triggered first. Does not trip if an E/E zone is triggered first.
  • Group 21, Night Motion (New): Active only when armed to "Away" and trips instantly when motion is detected by this sensor first. Does not trip if an E/E zone is tripped first.
  • Group 25, Safety Motion: This sensor does not report or trigger an alarm. This is a "Chime-Only" sensor when "Activity Monitoring" is active, regardless of panel armed status. Used for medicine cabinets, storage, activity tracking, etc.

Panel Fixes and Improvements:

  • Changed the Z-Wave naming convention for Settings related to Automation.
  • Added support for Z-Wave Weiser/Kwikset Lock supervision requests.
  • Made improvements to text size and movement in Photo Frame Screensaver.
  • Enhanced the downloading of images and videos from the IQ Panel to a mobile device.
  • Added a 30-second arming delay for the IQ Panel 4's built-in glass break detector.
  • Fixed an issue with pairing the ADC S2000-T Temp Sensor to the panel.

IQ Remote PowerG Fixes and Improvements:

  • Added the ability for the IQ Remote PowerG to automatically power back on after an extended power failure/battery drain, once primary power is restored.
  • Corrected an issue where "Nighttime Mode" was not working properly on the IQ Remote PowerG.
  • Changed the functionality of the Power Button on the IQ Remote PowerG. Power Down/Reboot now requires a 10-second button press.
  • Added support for Thermostats and Garage Door Control to the IQ Remote PowerG.
  • Added "Weather Clock" to the IQ Remote PowerG Frame Options.
  • Weather to the IQ Remote PowerG now functions when paired in both PowerG and WIFI modes.
  • Added support to IQ Remote PowerG for "Installer Test Mode" where the siren is temporarily silenced during testing.
  • Added support to the IQ Remote PowerG for Doorbell Notification pop-up and chime, when paired over both PowerG and WIFI.
  • IQ Remote PowerG enrolled over PowerG will now automatically upgrade upon first enrollment, rather than waiting 24 hours.
  • General communication improvements (Sync/Delay).

Update Instructions:

This firmware is now available, so you can perform the update. Your panel must be on Firmware Version 4.3.0+ before upgrading to 4.4.0. To check your firmware version, tap the gray bar at the top of the panel's home screen, then press Settings > Advanced Settings > Enter Installer or Dealer Code (1111 or 2222 respectively) then tap About > Software.

If your panel is on Firmware Version 4.0.0, 4.0.1, or 4.1.0, you must first update to 4.1.1.

From there, you can update to 4.2.0 or 4.2.1. Then you can update to 4.3.0 and finally to 4.4.0. This is very important! Failure to follow the proper update steps could cause your panel to become unresponsive.

Now that 4.4.0 has been released you can follow the steps below to update from 4.3.0 to 4.4.0:

  1. Swipe down from the top of the panel screen and tap "Settings."
  2. In "Settings" tap "Advanced Settings."
  3. Enter Installer or Dealer Code (default is 1111 or 2222 respectively.)
  4. Tap "Upgrade Software."
  5. Tap "Patchtag" then enter iqpanel4.4.0 and then tap "Ok."
  6. Tap "Upgrade Using Network," making sure the panel is connected to WIFI. Without a WIFI connection, the upgrade will not go through.

The patch will now be downloaded and then installed. It is important not to touch the panel screen during this process. You'll see a progress bar while the download is in progress, then the panel will reboot. This is normal. Once the panel boots up to the usual security screen, the upgrade is complete. The update usually takes approximately five (5) minutes to complete.

If you prefer, the update can eventually be pushed by your alarm dealer through the Alarm.com dealer portal. If your panel is on an older version, they should also be able to send any prerequisite updates to your panel prior to sending 4.4.0. Just be sure the panel has a connection to WIFI as even updates that are sent through Alarm.com require a WIFI connection at the panel.

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Qolsys, which is owned by Johnson Controls, Inc., the same company that owns DSC, is introducing a new lineup of PowerG automation devices. Currently, they offer a door lock along with a range of wired and plug-in switches. These devices will be supported by the IQ4 panels and the IQ Pro.

I say "will be supported" instead of "are supported" because the firmware required to support these new PowerG automation devices hasn't been released yet. For the IQ Panel 4, IQ4 Hub (PowerG Version), and IQ4 NS (PowerG Version) this is firmware version 4.4.0. For the Qolsys IQ Pro, firmware 4.3.0n is required. These firmware updates should be available later this month for the IQ4 Series panels, and soon thereafter for the IQ Pro.

We've talked before about the benefits of PowerG sensors. The big story with this and all PowerG devices is the transmitting range. Depending on the PowerG transceiver being used you can expect hundreds, and up to thousands, of feet in transmitting range. The PowerG repeaters will also work with these devices, so in the unlikely event you need one, a repeater is available.

Compare that to a Z-Wave Plus device, where you can expect a transmitting range of a couple hundred feet at most. Z-Wave is a mesh network, though, so if you plan to install a large number of devices, you can build out an impressive network using that technology. The problem is if you have a single area you want to automate, and it's not near the rest of your Z-Wave network, you might be out of luck with Z-Wave, but not with PowerG!

The encryption used with PowerG security sensors is also used here, so you get 128-bit AES encryption with FHSS (Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum) which you can read more about here.

IQ Lock-PG:


The IQ Lock-PG (SKU: IQDLK-PGK) is available in three (3) finishes. Shown above from left to right in Satin Nickel, Matte Black, and Oil-rubbed Bronze. This lock is powered by four (4) AA batteries (not included) and with typical use, the battery life expectancy is one (1) year. This estimate is based on six (6) user code unlocking events and ten (10) locking/unlocking events per day. The IQ Lock-PG offers self-handing capability, and the lock motor is noticeably quieter than previous automated locks we've heard.

Unlike some automated locks, the IQ Lock-PG does offer the option to use a key, and two (2) keys are included with it. It has a KW1 keyway cylinder. The IQ Lock logo lights up green when the door is unlocked, and red when it is locked. This provides a nice visual indication of the lock status when the user is returning home or to their business.

Specifications:

  • Operating Temperature: Exterior: -31°F to 150°F (-35°C to 66°C), Interior: 32°F to 140°F (0°C to 60°C)
  • Material: ANSI Grade 2 Certified
  • Compatibility: Compatible with the Qolsys IQ4 NS (No Screen) (PowerG Version), IQ4 Hub (PowerG Version), IQ Panel 4, and IQ Pro panels
  • Technology: PowerG
  • Key Cylinder: Yes (KW1 keyway)
  • Self-Handing: Yes
  • Bolt Type: Motorized/ Standard Deadbolt
  • User Codes: Up to 250 unique users
  • Code Length: 4-10 Digits
  • Batteries: Four (4) AA batteries (not included)
  • Low Battery Alarm: Yes
  • Backset: 2 3/8”/ 2 3/4” Adjustable (60/70mm)
  • Door Prep: 1 1/2” / 2 1/8” (38/54mm)
  • Door Thickness: 1 3/8” ~ 2 1/4” (35-58mm) automatic adjustment
  • Lockout Mode: Keypad lockout for 3 minutes after 10 entries of invalid user code
  • Certifications: FCC, IC, ANSI BHMA A156.36 Grade 2, UL10C (20min Fire Rating)
  • IP Rating: Exterior assembly: IP54
  • Operating Humidity: Exterior: 100% condensing Interior: 20% – 95% non-condensing

IQ Switch-PG:

Next up is the Qolsys IQ Switch-PG (SKU: IQSWH-PG). This is an in-wall on/off switch without dimming. It can replace any standard in-wall switch to add automation capabilities to the circuit. With PowerG technology built-in, you will be able to automate devices in areas you may have thought impossible before. Have an outbuilding that you thought was too far away for automation? With PowerG, that goal may be well within reach depending on how far the building is located from the compatible panel.

Before removing the old switch and replacing it with the IQ Switch-PG, be sure the breaker is turned off. Failure to do so may cause damage to the switch and to you! This is a hardwired switch, which will be connected to 120V, so we do recommend that you have a qualified electrician perform the wiring.

Specifications:

  • Technology: PowerG
  • Power: 120V at 60Hz
  • Maximum Load: Incandescent 600W, CFL/LED 300W
  • Current: 5A Max
  • Standby Power Consumption: <1W
  • Wiring: 16 AWG (direct wire connection)
  • Noise: 24dB at 20cm Max
  • Operating Temperature: 32°F to 104°F (0°C to 40°C)
  • Storage Temperature: -4°F to 140°F (-20°C to 60°C)
  • Weight: 4.09 oz (116g)
  • Operating Humidity: 0% – 85% non-condensing

IQ Dimmer-PG


The Qolsys IQ Dimmer-PG (SKU: IQDMR-PG) is also an in-wall switch, with dimming capabilities included. As with the IQ Switch-PG, this device can replace any existing 120VAC switch that fits within its specifications to add remote control and automation capabilities.

Another attractive feature for this and all of the new hardwired PowerG switches and sockets is that they come with a screwless faceplate. This provides a clean, modern look. Currently, they are only available in white. If you prefer a more traditional look, the screwless faceplate can be removed and there are screw holes for a traditional faceplate. This may also come in handy if you have multiple switches in a line and require a double-gang or triple-gang setup.

Some Important Specifications:

  • Compatibility: Compatible with the Qolsys IQ4 NS (PowerG Version), IQ4 Hub (PowerG Version), IQ Panel 4, and IQ Pro panels
  • Technology: PowerG
  • Power: 120V at 60Hz
  • Maximum Load: Incandescent 200W, CFL/LED 100W
  • Current: 1.67A Max
  • Standby Power Consumption: <1W
  • Wiring: 16-10 AWG (terminal block connection)
  • Operating Temperature: 32°F to 104°F (0°C to 40°C)
  • Storage Temperature: -4°F to 140°F (-20°C to 60°C)
  • Weight: 4.83 oz (137g)
  • Operating Humidity: 0% – 85% non-condensing

IQ Smart Socket-PG:



The Qolsys IQ Smart Socket-PG (SKU: IQSKT-PG) is an in-wall socket with two (2) sockets that can be controlled individually. By replacing a standard in-wall socket with the IQ Smart Socket-PG you gain the ability to individually control the devices plugged into each outlet from the panel's touchscreen, or from the Alarm.com app or webpage.

Using rules and scenes, you can create automation scenarios to turn devices on or off based on other events that occur on the system, or based on a schedule. With the Smart Rules Builder, available on Alarm.com, you can easily create automation rules to suit your every need.

Specifications:

  • Color: White
  • Tamper Resistant?: Yes
  • Technology: PowerG
  • Input Power: 120VAC at 60Hz
  • Output Load: 120VAC at 60Hz, 15A Total Max Load for both outlets
  • Maximum Load: Total 1800W@120V (Resistive Load)
  • Standby Power Consumption: <1W
  • Dimensions: 14.5 x 2.75 x 1.7 Inches (115 x 70 x 44 mm)
  • Operating Temperature: 32°F to 104°F (0°C to 40°C)
  • Storage Temperature: -4°F to 131°F (-20°C to 55°C)
  • Weight: 5.57 oz (157.8g)
  • Operating Humidity: 0% – 90% non-condensing

IQ Smart Plug-PG:

The Qolsys IQ Smart Plug-PG (SKU: IQIDP-PG) is an indoor plug-in module. Often referred to as appliance modules, these devices allow you to quickly turn any existing wall outlet into a smart outlet with no electrician required. With its low-profile form factor, you will be able to make one outlet smart without blocking the other outlet in a traditional two-outlet wall plug.

To learn these devices into any of the IQ4 panel lineup, once you have the 4.4.0 firmware installed you'll press the grey bar at the top of the panel screen, go to Settings > Advanced Settings > Enter Installer or Dealer Code (1111 or 2222 by default) > Installation > Devices > Automation > Auto Learn Devices. From there, just power on the PowerG device and it will auto-learn into the system.

Prior to firmware version 4.4.0, the Automation menu option was missing from the Devices screen, so you won't be able to properly learn these devices on older firmware panels. If you attempt to learn any of them as a security sensor, they will likely learn in, but will not operate properly and will need to be removed from sensor programming prior to proper enrollment once the firmware has been updated.

Specifications:

  • Color: White
  • Technology: PowerG
  • Power: 120VAC at 60Hz
  • Output Power: 1800W@120V (Resistive Load)
  • Standby Power Consumption: <1W
  • Dimensions: 2.6 x 1.5 x 1.29 Inches (68 x 38 x 33 mm)
  • Operating Temperature: 32°F to 104°F (0°C to 40°C)
  • Storage Temperature: -4°F to 122°F (-20°C to 50°C)
  • Weight: 2.29 oz (65g)
  • Operating Humidity: 10% – 90% RH, non-condensing

IQ Outdoor Plug-PG:

The Qolsys IQ Outdoor Plug-PG (SKU: IQODP-PG) allows you to take one single outdoor outlet plug, and make two (2) smart outlets out of it. These two (2) outlets will be enrolled as separate automation devices and can be controlled individually.

Here's an example of how this plug can come in handy. Perhaps you used to have your patio string lights and a bug zapper connected to the two plugs of an outdoor outlet. You can now connect the IQ Outdoor Plug-PG to one of the existing available outlets, and plug the string lights and the bug zapper into it. You can automate the string lights to come on at dusk and turn off at a set time. Automate the bug zapper to turn on based on some other criteria, whether it's a schedule, or based on the opening of the patio door. And you still have one of your previously existing outlets available for another device.

Specifications:

  • Color: Black
  • Tamper Resistant?: Yes
  • Compatibility: Compatible with the Qolsys IQ4 NS (No Screen), IQ4 Hub, IQ Panel 4, and IQ Pro panels
  • Technology: PowerG
  • Power: 120VAC at 60Hz
  • Output Power: 1800W@120V (Resistive Load)
  • Output Load: 120VAC at 60Hz, 15A Total Max Load for both outlets
  • Standby Power Consumption: <1W
  • Dimensions: 2.6 x 1.5 x 1.29 Inches (68 x 38 x 33 mm)
  • Operating Temperature: 32°F to 104°F (0°C to 40°C)
  • Storage Temperature: -4°F to 122°F (-20°C to 50°C)
  • Weight: 2.29 oz (65g)
  • Operating Humidity: 10% – 90% RH, non-condensing

At Alarm Grid, we're super excited about the launch of these new automation devices. I believe these will be game-changing, particularly in circumstances where transmitting distance has been a hindrance in the past. I expect we'll see additional PowerG automation devices in the near future.

Hopefully, a PowerG garage door controller, PowerG PGM device, and my personal hope, some PowerG motorized blinds or shades. Stay tuned and we'll let you know when the firmware to support these devices is released. Are you excited about the new PowerG automation products? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think. What other automation devices would you like to see in the PowerG lineup?

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In The United States, we have officially celebrated Labor Day as a national holiday since the late 1800s. It is a day to celebrate our country's labor force and to thank our workers for their contributions to the prosperity of our nation. In this spirit, Alarm Grid will be closed on Monday.

From the Alarm Grid family, we'd like to wish everyone a happy, safe, and restful Labor Day. If you will be traveling, don't forget to lock your doors and arm your alarm system. If you have automated lights, set rules or scenes to illuminate the house while you're away to deter potential burglars.

While Alarm Grid technical support, customer service, and shipping employees rest, our customers can rest assured that their systems are continuously monitored by our partners at CMS (USA) and Rapid Response (Canada).

Alarm Grid monitored customers located within the United States receive their monitoring service from Criticom (CMS). When your Alarm Grid-monitored system reports a signal, a CMS operator receives it, and processes it based on a pre-approved set of instructions. Alarm processing may involve sending authorities immediately, or calling the premises and a list of contacts to determine if an emergency exists before a dispatch occurs. Regardless of the exact process, it takes only moments to complete.

If you need to contact CMS, to put your system on test or to report that an alarm was accidentally triggered, you can get in touch by calling (888) 818-7728 and choosing Option 9. When you contact the monitoring station, be sure to have the proper information ready. The operator will need your name, address, and your false alarm password or passphrase. This is very important! If you call either monitoring station during an alarm, and you provide an incorrect password, they will be required to dispatch authorities.


For our monitored customers in Canada, you receive monitoring service through Rapid Response. If you need to contact them to put your system on test or report an accidental alarm you can call (800) 932-3822 and follow the voice prompts. You should only be contacting them for issues such as putting your system on test or canceling a potential dispatch due to an accidental alarm.

Neither of our monitoring partners can provide you with technical support or make changes to your account, so if you need that type of help, please contact us directly. You can email support@alarmgrid.com with details of what you need and we will respond as quickly as possible when we're back in the office on Tuesday, September 5, 2023. At that time we will resume our normal support hours of 9:00 am - 8:00 pm. When we're back in the office, you can contact us by phone at (888) 818-7728.

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The logical replacement for a Honeywell Lyric Panel is one of the new Resideo PRO Series systems. However, there is one small difference between the two that makes a big difference in usability. Quite simply, it is impossible to clear alarm memory from a PRO Series panel using Apple HomeKit.


Of course, if you aren't using Apple HomeKit, then this is a non-issue, but since the Lyric Panel has been the most successful professionally sold and installed system to work with HomeKit, there are many folks for whom this is potentially a big problem.

When we talk about the Resideo PRO Series panels, we're actually talking about both the Resideo and Honeywell Home versions of two separate panels. Resideo offers the PROA7C and the PROA7PLUSC. Honeywell Home offers the PROA7 and the PROA7PLUS.

Important! We discuss features of all PRO Series panels in this post, but only the PROA7PLUS and the PROA7PLUSC support Apple HomeKit.

The only difference between versions ending with the letter 'C' and those without is the badge and the term 'Home'. The 'C' signifies the commercial version, while the Honeywell Home variant is residential. A Resideo branded PRO Series panel will never display the word 'Home'. For example, instead of arming "Home" on the PROA7C and PROA7PLUSC, you arm "Stay."

The differences in Apple HomeKit integration aren't the only ones. We recently answered the question of whether all of the sensors used on a Lyric panel can be used on a new PRO Series panel. If you read that FAQ, you'll see that there are some scenarios where the answer to that question is no.

With regard to the PRO Series panels, the PROA7 and PROA7C don't come from the factory with WIFI capability. You must add either a PROWIFI (WIFI only) or a PROWIFIZW (WIFI and Z-Wave Plus) module. This distinction is crucial for anyone wanting to integrate with Apple HomeKit since WIFI is necessary. There are more differences between the PLUS and NON-PLUS versions, detailed in our comparison here.

At Alarm Grid, we have always recommended that customers who use Apple HomeKit also use Total Connect 2.0. This is not just because it's better for us since HomeKit is a free service. On panels that use Apple HomeKit for notification, only burglary sensors can be monitored precisely using HomeKit. This means smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and environmental sensors won't send detailed notifications to the end-user if an alarm or a trouble condition occurs.

As mentioned above, HomeKit requires a WIFI connection. WIFI is the method used for the PRO Series panel to communicate to the Apple HomeKit Hub (another requirement for remote control and notification). If WIFI goes down, you'll receive no notifications and you won't be able to control your system or view its status.

Alternatively, a PRO Series panel that has a cellular connection can still be fully monitored and controlled using Total Connect 2.0 and a central station, if desired. There are many more scenarios I could bring up, but you can review a comparison between Total Connect 2.0 and Apple HomeKit in this helpful FAQ. Then, decide for yourself.

What I really wanted to discuss today is the major difference between the Honeywell Lyric and the Resideo or Honeywell Home PRO Series panels as they pertain to Apple HomeKit. That is, on a PRO Series panel, after a burglary alarm a user cannot clear alarm memory using HomeKit.

Once the alarm notification comes up on your phone, you can disarm the panel, which will silence the alarm. However, after this first disarm, the zone that went into alarm will still display an alarm memory, and a second disarm is required in order to clear it. Alarm memory must be cleared before the system can be re-armed. The only way to achieve the required second disarm is to either disarm locally at the panel, through a secondary keypad, or to disarm through Total Connect 2.0.

You may be wondering, "What is alarm memory?" Alarm memory occurs so that you can't have an alarm while you're away from home that you're unaware of. It's easily explained with a scenario:

  1. You leave home, arming your system to the Away mode.
  2. While you're away a burglar alarm occurs.
  3. Locally, the alarm sounds and the panel sends a report, if it's being monitored.
  4. It sends notifications via HomeKit or TC2 (or both) if applicable.
  5. For some reason, you don't receive any of these reports or notifications.
  6. After a number of minutes, four (4) by default, the alarm stops sounding. (In many jurisdictions, it is against local ordinances to allow an alarm to sound indefinitely.)
  7. In this scenario, the system is still armed.
  8. When you come home, completely unaware that your system has had an alarm, you disarm your system.
  9. If there were no alarm memory, you could remain completely unaware that an alarm had occurred while you were away. You may not know until you check your voice messages, or depending on your monitoring plan, you might never know. As it is, you will see that an alarm occurred in your absence and you will have to disarm the system again to clear the alarm. This is why alarm memory is important.

The Lyric Panel had a workaround available for this issue. On a Lyric Panel, after an alarm, if you disarmed to silence the alarm you could then attempt to arm again. This arming attempt would fail because of alarm memory, but in spite of this, you could then send a new disarm command, which would clear the alarm. Then, you could arm again. This operation is a fluke and is not how the system was designed.

In reality, the problem is that Apple HomeKit will not send a disarm command to the system when it knows that the system is already in a disarmed state. Presumably, this is an effort at efficiency and to keep network traffic to a minimum.

So, I'm not sure if this will require a change on Apple's part, on Resideo's part, or perhaps both. I just know that in the meantime, if you used a Lyric with Apple HomeKit, and you plan to update, or have updated to a Honeywell Home PROA7PLUS or a Resideo PROA7PLUSC panel, the process for clearing an alarm and re-arming when you're away from the monitored location is different. And if you plan to use HomeKit as your only source of system monitoring, this may be a reason to stick with the Lyric, for now.

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