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While the Honeywell L5000 and L5100 are very different security systems, they look almost identical. Luckily, Honeywell left a few distinguishing marks that makes it very simple to be able to tell the difference. 

The fastest way to identify the two systems is by simply looking at the buttons below the screen. If they have words written on them, then you have an L5000. If they are only icons, then you have something newer. It's also worth noting that the area surrounding the screen is going to be tan on a Honeywell L5000. This is the same color that can be found on early revisions of the l5100. But if you see a tan colored area surrounding the screen, you can be certain that the panel is either an L5000 or an L5100.

While the L5000 is crippled in some ways, the L5100 was not flash upgradeable (not like the new panels) which means that when Honeywell would update the system with new functionality, the newer versions would be able to do things that the older ones could not. For example, a later revision L5100 was able to open a garage door opening while the older was not. As a result of the non-upgradeability of the panel left many users in the lurch as they were not able to access many of the functions they were hoping would be added to the L5100.

If you are concerned about which L5100 panel you have the identification is very easy.

If you can be certain that you do not have an L5000, knowing which approximate revision you have of the L5100 is as easy as looking at that plate I mentioned earlier. If the area surrounding the screen is tan, then you have an early L5100. If it is as white as the driven snow and there are 4 buttons below the screen (4... because 2 buttons signifies a different system), then you have a newer L5100 and it can be used to open and close your garage door.

The L5200 is the newest arrival in the Honeywell line. Having been just released, this security system is the most state-of-the-art ever created. 

While an L5100 has four buttons right below the screen, the L5200 features only two small rubber buttons. The rest of the features have been integrated into the touchscreen. The chances of the system you're trying to identify being an L5200 are pretty slim since it just came out. That said, it's worth having a look at. The L5200 will be the same size as the L5100, and it's hardware performs much of the same functions.

All of that said, the l5200 is not the only new system with two buttons. If your system has two buttons, you may also have the L7000, which isn't very much different from the L5200 in its functionality, but it is the bigger and better of the two panels.

Again, the fastest way to identify these units is by their buttons. If the Honeywell security system sitting on your wall has only two buttons, these are the only two systems they could be. If the buttons are made of rubber, and the system looks just like the L5100, then it is most likely an L5200. If the screen is much bigger, and the buttons are made of plastic, then the system is an L7000.

The big advantage of these panels over the older ones is their customizability. For example, a user can now edit the chimes that sound when a door is opened.

Moreover a user can easily upgrade the panel to the newest revision.

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While the old-style of home security trapped users into long-term contracts, dishonest pricing, and rates that never stop going up, it's becoming more and more clear that since the 90s, the trend in home security is the proprietary system scam.

According to a press release, Vivint is the newest entrant into the proprietary system market, saying that they are going to begin with their newest system, "SkyControl." Here are the problems with the proprietary system model:

You can't leave the company you're with... ever

Forget contracts! Since proprietary systems have come out, once you have the unit in your home, you can't do anything about it. Generally, those systems are built to be used with one company and one service.

Almost always, these systems are touted as being good for the customer. Alarm Force has made their own system, SimpliSafe is a newer entrant that has built their own system, Lifeshield makes their own system, and now you can pile Vivint's system onto the ever-growing pile of proprietary systems. While most of these companies still make you sign a contract, the fact that their system is proprietary means that even if you tried to exit your contract with them, you'd STILL not be able to simply leave their service.

Why?

Because their system is a simple, effective way to lock you into their service.

The systems are rarely good

Think about the number of companies that have been building systems for the last 50 years, and even more hardware-only security system manufacturers have entered in the last 10 years: Honeywell, 2Gig, DSC, GE, Elk, and many many more. The systems these companies make are top of the line. We sell Honeywell generally because we think they are the best systems on the market. That said, the other choices are pretty darn good. So why would a company, like Vivint, which has been installing the 2GIG Go!Control panel abandon their partnership in order to install their own panel? While I can't say for sure, I would venture a guess that it has very little to do with quality control.

A Security Company Can't Simply Release Their Own Panel and Expect Consumer Adoption.... So How Is Vivint Getting Their System Into Homes?

This goes to the history of Vivint. Vivint has become a huge company in the last 10 years. Formerly APX, they changed their name, which got the company away from a sullied reputation. Though, Vivint still has more than 2000 BBB complaints, and the history of government actions taken against the company tell a more complete story about how the Vivint grew into the behemoth that it currently is:

In 2010, the "State of Arkansas Attorney General's Office filed a complaint in the circuit court of Pulaski County alleging that Vivint, Inc., formerly known as APX Alarm Security Solutions, Inc. violated the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act and the Arkansas Home Solicitation Sales Act.... Vivint agreed to pay $125,000 for the costs of the investigation and prosecution of the complaint."

In 2012, "the Wisconsin Attorney General's Office announced a Consent Judgment with Vivint, Inc. The consent judgment requires the company to pay refunds to consumers who were misled about their ability to cancel their alarm service contracts, as well as consumers who were misled about false alarm charges."

In 2013 the "Kansas Attorney General entered into a Settlement Agreement with Vivint, Inc. According to the terms of the Settlement Agreement, the company was accused of using a variety of deceptive practices while going door-to-door offering to install new home security systems or replace existing systems." Again in 2013, the "State of Ohio Attorney General's Office entered into an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance Settlement Agreement with Vivint, Inc. According to the terms of the Settlement Agreement, consumers filed complaints that the company made representations to consumers that its home security equipment was free, but failed to disclose the existence or amount of installation, activation and monitoring fees associated with the system." 

Under APX, their reputation wasn't any better. While these actions are a strong indicator of Vivint's internal philosophy, which is to grow-at-all-costs, they do not tell the full story. Vivint's known for aggressive selling practices, sending young men and women into customer homes, and acquiring new customers by getting them to setup installations and having new consumers sign lengthy contracts. The consumer actions above outline an incredibly sketchy history of deception. Even so, Vivint has grown and grown and grown. In 2012, they were purchased by one of the world's largest investment firms, Blackstone, for around $2 billion.

The reason that Vivint can simply release a new panel, and know that consumers will adopt it is because their consumers are already under contract. Via many of the practices outlined above, Vivint became one of the country's fastest growing security companies. And now that they are in your home, they started Vivint Solar (C- rated by the BBB), and are now reportedly throwing their hat into the ISP ring. So unlike Comcast which is in the home of millions of consumers, and as a result decided to get into home security, Vivint has taken the opposite path, getting into the homes of consumers through security, and moving into providing internet.

All of that said, before you consider allowing a proprietary security system to be installed on your wall, consider what you are doing, especially if you also have to sign a contract. Not only are you locking into that company by way of the contract, you are locking into that company by way of the equipment as well. Should you want to leave at the end of the term of your contract, the expense will involve swapping out the security system in its entirety, sensors and all. And that, depending on how big your home is, can be an expensive proposition... a fact that proprietary system makers are counting on.

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Honeywell's much anticipated L5200 has finally been released. The L5200 is the sister panel to this year's ISC "Best in Intrusion" winner, the Honeywell L7000, which is expected to be released in the latter half of 2014. Like the predecessors of these two panels, Honeywell has designed the L5200 to be an integrated system that combines state-of-the art wireless security features such as Advanced Protection Logic (APL) and Interactive services that allow an user to control the system from any smart device, with the incredible convenience afforded by modern home automation products

With this release, Honeywell has gone far to address many of their consumers' demands, and it's clear that with this panel the company is furthering its commitment to improved user experience. They have removed many of the disparaging limitations of the old L5100 panels: the Honeywell L5200 comes with more zones of protection, the ability to display a camera on screen, and one of the most exciting developments in Honeywell's technology comes with the announcement that the L5200 is flash upgradeable.

This feature, which allows the panel to download the latest software updates that have been released for the unit, addresses one of the chief complaints consumers have had about the old panels - no updates means no access to new features.

The release of this panel is met with another incredible development in the security industry: the rise of DIY. Since vaulting to prominence in mid-2012, Alarm Grid has set the standard for DIY home security by providing resources to DIYers that they never had access to previously. The Honeywell L5200 is the first panel to have been released since this DIY culture has become widespread. As such, the Alarm Grid team believes that it will be a great test of this new, up-and-coming model: "Do-it-yourselfers have really taken up the reigns in this industry. These panels are easy to understand, they are simple to program, and they are simple to install," said Joshua Unseth, Alarm Grid's director of marketing. "We believe that the L5200 is a great addition to Honeywell's already stellar line of products. It's a great step forward, and we think that DIYers will be quick to embrace it."

While the release of a security system like the L5200 would generally mean big money for installers who bank on consumers knowing very little about how these systems work, Alarm Grid has already released the L5200 manuals, they have begun writing L5200 frequently asked questions, and they have even released a L5200 DIY installation video, which they say shows just how simple installing this system yourself can be.

"We don't think you have to be an experienced DIYer to install a security system," said Sterling Donnelly, President of Alarm Grid. "I'm always amazed by the range of people who call us and decide to try DIY security. A lot of consumers don't even know that a self-installation is an option when they start looking at security equipment. Our goal is to make it easy. For those who want to give it a try, our tech team patiently guides them through every step of the way."

When asked how non-professionals can purchase the equipment, Unseth replied, "Alarm Grid has made it easy to get your hands on this equipment. We are committed to making sure that end users have the same access to this equipment as installers have, and we want to make sure that they have access to as much information as any professional installer would have. Not only that, but we are committed to making sure that this high-quality Honeywell equipment is affordable enough for anyone who wants a security system in their home. All an user has to do is visit our site, and purchase an L5200. We send it on, it gets delivered, the end-user can watch a few videos to figure out how to install and configure it, and should they run into trouble, they can always call us at no cost."

Alarm Grid has released 9 pre-configured kits that include the brand new wireless security system, each coming with a bevy of sensors and communicators. Regarding the quality of their hardware, Unseth points out that lots of other DIY companies have built their business on consumer hatred of this industry. "It's a well known fact that big players in home security are not well loved. But those DIY companies generally make sub-standard equipment." Alarm Grid's equipment is the same product a consumer would get if the system had been installed by ADT or another big-company installer. "With us that's what you get, great hardware at a great price, and alarm monitoring with a company you can trust and that will treat you well. We treat our customers the same on day one as we do after they have installed the system and are monitored. After all," Unseth smiled a little before adding, "since Alarm Grid doesn't believe in contracts, we have to work to win the business of our customers every single month."

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Alarm Grid is committed to giving our customers the best experience anywhere on the web. That means, we want you to love coming to our site, but we also want to make sure that you love your experience off of our site as well. We are doing everything we can on-site (perhaps you've noticed the beautiful new product pictures we've been displaying, such as the beautiful L7000, shown below)

Honeywell L7000

So for the artists among you, we have launched a contest to design our Facebook page! Jump in, participate! We will be selecting a winner within the week, and will likely have a revamped Facebook page soon thereafter.

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Over the years, the home security industry has earned its reputation as being replete with scammers. It's a reputation that is well-earned, and every summer, as college students return home, many of them get recruited into bottom-of-the-barrel companies that push them to lie, cheat, and steal in order to earn their keep.

In recent days, there have been lots of reports out of Wisconsin, regarding phone call and door-knocking scams, but this report about Vision Security which is headquartered in Orem, Utah, is one of the more disturbing in recent memory.

According to a report on KUTV, there have been numerous individuals all over the state accusing the company of using deceptive sales tactics to get into their homes. These include claiming that they are from another company, or that they are here to swap out an old system and make updates. Often, before they leave, they get the homeowner to sign a new contract under the auspices of being part of being something that they need to sign from the company that already monitors their system. The cell phone video featured in the news report below, however, is disturbing as it shows that not only are these accusations from homeowners true, but that there is a full-on corporate culture within Vision Security that promotes the use of these disreputable sales tactics, even teaching them to students in a classroom setting.

This is the sort of problematic scam that Alarm Grid is working hard to get rid of. We are committed to making sure that you know everything you can know about your security system and the company that monitors it.

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Honeywell has told Alarm Grid that the non-WIFI version of the Tuxedo Touch is no longer available. The system was the hardwired version of the keypad, requiring a ethernet run to a router. And while some users liked the keypad because it was slightly cheaper than the TUXWIFI, it had some unfortunate drawbacks such as it wasn't always eligible for the flash upgrades that Honeywell released.

Honeywell is soon releasing a non-screen version of the Z-Wave controller that can be installed at the panel. So, for users who are concerned with the pricey system, the controller will allow much of the same Tuxedo Touch Z-Wave functionality, though it comes at the expense of the great looking screen. That said, Honeywell's alphanumeric keypads have come a long way as well as far as design goes, seeing a giant re-design in the release of the 6162 keypads.

So while we'll miss the non-WIFI version of the TUX, we're thankful that Honeywell has some great, much more affordable options coming down the pike!

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We started Alarm Grid with the idea that starting a company that put good service above sales would lead to 1) a passionate customer base and 2) more sales. We threw the contracts out, and we have put all of our efforts into building an incredible experience from your first interaction with us online to your final checkout. And if you get monitoring, you'll get to see how amazing our on-boarding process is.

In the two years that we've been building this company, I have to say that we have had so few bad customer experiences. That's right, just like you have bad experiences with companies not treating you right, companies have the occasional experience with customers not treating them right. If you have ever worked in retail, you know exactly what I mean. But at Alarm Grid, things are different. We have had so few bad customer experiences and so many happy customers, that we generally leave our offices satisfied and feeling fulfilled.

That said, we are especially touched when our customers leave reviews for us. We ask for them because they help us out. And as our company grows, it helps you out. The bigger we get, the more staff and resources we can devote to helping our customers get what they want out of their security.

Today, we were especially touched though, when we saw that someone had asked about us in one of the DIY Security Forum. We don't know who the person is (though we will welcome them as a customer). But what we were astonished by was the responses that they got from our users.

The question was simply: "Has anybody order from alarm grid? How did you like the company and service."

And our customers answered with some of the kindest words we've ever received:

"I'm very happy that I decided to go with Alarm Grid.... customer service is exceptional, and I'm paying about 40% less per month. I couldn't be happier. Thanks Alarm Grid!"
"Alarm Grid is amazing.... To this day I have had zero problems with their service and HIGHLY recommend them."
"I have been extremely happy with AlarmGrid. Their team is super professional."
"Before $1 changed hands, AlarmGrid worked with me to help me understand what would be involved in augmenting my old 50p.... All good, couldn't be happier, highly recommended!"
"[Sterling] has been nothing short of amazing... Great guy and great service."
"I have been with Alarmgrid, and did a lot of research about both them and Criticom... The idea of support has been taken wholeheartedly by AlarmGrid.... It seems that there are many other people who have been helped by AlarmGrid, and I second everything they have said so far."

These little compliments are like energy drinks to us. Thank you so much for the kind words. We hope that we continue to live up to the high level of service we have provided so far. We are proud to put our philosophy to work when servicing your account, and we do mean what we say when we promise to provide better service than has ever been seen before in this industry.

Anyhow, I wanted to write this post as a thank you to all the incredible, passionate people we've worked with over the last couple years. We are really glad that you have given us the opportunity to prove to you that good companies run by hard-working honest people really do provide better value. We hope that we can continue to live up to those incredible expectations.

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We don't pull a lot of punches here at Alarm Grid. We aren't a huge fan of all the other company's business model. For more than 50 years, this industry has relied on the deceptive practice of tricking their users into signing long term contracts, even renewing them without notice. If you don't pay, they work their darndest to ruin your credit.

But apart from the typical bad behaviors that percolate the security installation industry, there are a lot more bad behaviors that should be considered on this earth day. We stand by the fact that the DIY security model is way more green than any other home security industry model out there, and here's why:

1) We only store information electronically

We do our best not to waste paper. Alarm Grid stores its documents electronically, in the cloud. Our office isn't filled with giant filing cabinets filled with reams of paper. Nope, we are just a group of people working hard giving you great service.

2) We don't have a vehicle fleet

Most security companies give their installers a giant vehicle filled with heavy-duty, power sucking equipment. Alarm Grid doesn't have anything like that. If you need help, you can get it easily and quickly from one of our techs over the phone. Unless you insist on it we will not send over a tech just to take some sticky tape off of a wireless door sensor and put it on a door's frame. Not only is that not efficient, it's not a good use of our tech team's time.

Which brings me to the third way we're more efficient than traditional security companies...

3) We do our best not to duplicate work...

For those that are ready to replace a door or window sensor, calling a tech over is incredibly inefficient. We are strongly opposed to explaining to every single person how to do the same, very simple procedure again and again. It's not your fault that you don't know how to install a door sensor. But it is our fault if we don't do our best to make it very simple to teach you how to do it since it's so easy. We subscribe to an intelligent customer philosophy: you are definitely smart enough to learn how to get your system up and running. For that reason, we have made hundreds of videos showing you how to use your system.

The one below is a little one on how to install a 5811:

It's not that we don't want to talk to you. We just want to make sure that the conversations we have with you are lively and filled with information that will help you with your unique situation. The other, easy stuff like programming sensors to doors, it's far more efficient when we make a video that hundreds of you can take advantage of! And we're glad to do it (even if it means that customers who are monitored by other companies get to take advantage of our resources).

4) We do our best to help you use the electronics you already have installed...

Alarm Grid doesn't hire a team of salesmen who work on commission. Our techs are instructed to give the best advice to the customer, and to work through any challenges that are encountered not simply by selling more and more equipment, but by using the equipment you have at hand. That doesn't mean that we never recommend new equipment, or that to get your system online, there won't be some small expenses you need to incur, but we believe very strongly in never recommending equipment that our customers don't need. That means we do our best to minimize your waste. As electronics fill up landfills all over the world, Alarm Grid is doing its part to make sure that the waste that results from your system installation is minimized.

5) Efficiency Everywhere

If you've read this much of the post, you probably aren't new around these parts. And if you've looked through Alarm Grid's site before, you know that we strive to be efficient in all aspects of what we do. We try to get you content efficiently, we try to get you checked out efficiently, we try to make sure that you get everything you need done quickly and efficiently. If you've checked out on our monitoring side, we hope that you've noticed how incredibly efficient that process is as well. You check out, you pick a date and time on a calendar, and then we get you signed up. The time we spend on-boarding you is small, and we hope that the frustration is nil.

If you think there are ways that Alarm Grid can be even more green, we'd love to know in the comments below!

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It's not compatible with the L5100, and as far as we know there are no immediate plans to make it compatible, but the technology is pretty awesome! The new WIFI Smart Thermostat that Honeywell is, reportedly, releasing in October takes interactivity to a whole new level, allowing users to actually talk to the device.

While it is the first consumer device that Honeywell will be releasing with such a capability, if it is successful, we're sure that the tech will begin seeping its way into some of Honeywell's popular security systems, ZWAVE thermostats and the like.'

CNET did a little video, and we thought it would be a great little introduction to the future. Hope you think it's as neat as we did, and let us know what you think in the comments below:

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Although the LYNX Touch has a built-in 95dB siren it never hurts to beef up your audible output in the event of an alarm. Sirens are a great way to scare off intruders and inform any neighboring parties that an alarm event is in progress. Before the release of Alarm Grid's LYNX-EXT external siren kit, compiling the necessary parts for installing an external sounder was complicated and cumbersome. Now you can simply pick up this kit and be on your way to adding sirens to your wireless alarm system. When it comes time to install, check out the LYNX external sounder installation manual which has a detailed wiring diagram. You can also check out our FAQ: How do I add an external siren to my LYNX Touch wireless security system?

The Honeywell 5800RL wireless relay allows you to place the siren power assembly in the included Meir metal cabinet where it is most convenient and effective without any wiring runs back to the panel. The included Honeywell AD12612 auxiliary power supply has a max output of 1.2 amps which can power the brawny Amseco SSX-52S outdoor siren/strobe. You may want to just keep it simple by connecting a bullhorn style siren like the Honeywell 702 in your attic or outside the premises. There is also an included Honeywell 1361 AC transformer and an Ultratech 1240 battery backup unit which will carry low voltage DC to the power supply and keep it from losing power during outages.

Forget piecing together a kit of your own. Pick up an Alarm Grid LYNX-EXT external siren kit today and save your precious time and money!

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