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Hi DIYers! It has been awhile since our last video recap, but the last few days have been very busy for us! Since Monday, October 22nd, we have released seven new videos on YouTube. Once again, we have our technicians Joe and Jorge teaching users how to use their security systems.

Here are the new videos from October 22nd thru October 25th:

Adding an External Keypad to an Interlogix Simon XTi & XTI-5

Joe shows users how to add an external keypad to an Interlogix Simon XTi or Simon XTi-5 System. Adding an external keypad will provide a user with a second point of on-site access for their security system. This can be very useful if a user regularly enters their home from multiple locations, such as front doors, back doors, basement doors and garage doors. The best external keypad for these systems is the Interlogix Two-Way Talking Touch Screen Keypad.


Using Google Home with an Interlogix Simon XTi & XTi-5

Joe explains how a Simon XTi or Simon XTi-5 System can be used with Google Home voice commands. This is made possible through the use of Alarm.com. Any command sent from Google Home that is intended for the Simon XTi or XTi-5 System will first need to pass through the Alarm.com servers. This is because a Google Home device cannot communicate directly with an Interlogix Simon XTi or XTi-5. In order to access Alarm.com, a compatible cellular communicator must be installed with the system.


Getting Power to the Interlogix Simon XTi & XTi-5

Jorge demonstrates how a user can provide power for their Interlogix Simon XTi or XTi-5 Security System. Like all panels, these systems primarily rely on outlet power from a plug-in transformer. This will provide reliable power in most situations. If the power goes out, the system will automatically switch over to its backup battery power supply. The backup battery will slowly restore power while the system is running on its outlet power. This way, the system will be ready in case the electricity goes out.


Adding a Key Fob to an Interlogix Simon XTi & XTi-5

Jorge shows users how to add a key fob to an interlogix Simon XTi or Simon XTi-5 System. A key fob can be useful for providing a quick way to arm or disarm the system when you are coming or going. These devices can be conveniently kept in a pocket, purse or car and used whenever needed. Most key fobs offer options for disarming, arming stay, arming away and triggering panics. A great key fob to use with these systems is the Interlogix 4-Button Micro Key Fob.


Self-Monitoring an Interlogix Simon XTi or XTi-5

Joe explains how a user can receive self-monitoring services with an Interlogix Simon XTi or XTi-5 System. Self-monitoring means that the user cannot receive automatic emergency dispatch from a central station. Instead, the user will receive text and/or email alerts about any system events. It is then up to them to contact any needed emergency services. To use self-monitoring with a Simon XTi or XTi-5, the system must have an active cellular communicator and be set up with Alarm.com. The user will also need an appropriate alarm monitoring plan.


Wiring a TG-1 Express to a Wired Security System

Joe demonstrates how to wire a TG-1 Express Communicator to a hardwired alarm system. The TG-1 Express is a device that allows a security panel with a built-in phone dialer to be used for cellular alarm monitoring service. The panel will think that it is dialing out using a phone line. But really, it will be connecting to a cellular network. Any signals that are sent through this cellular connection will be first sent to Telguard. From there, Telguard will forward the signals to a central monitoring station.


Finding the Firmware Version on a 2GIG GC2 Panel

Jorge shows users how to find the current firmware version for a 2GIG GC2 Alarm System. This information is found within the System Toolbox. Upgrading the firmware can be important for using certain add-ons and functions with the system. There are two ways to upgrade the firmware for a 2GIG GC2. The easiest is to receive an over-the-air (OTA) update from a monitoring company. This requires that the system has active monitoring service. 2GIG also offers an updater tool that can be purchased separately. More information about the latest firmware is available on our 2GIG GC2 Firmware Page.

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We have received news that Honeywell's AlarmNet servers are temporarily down. During the outage, Total Connect 2.0 will be down. The outage is also causing some alarm signals to not reach the central station. We apologize for any issues or inconveniences that this may cause for users.

This is unprecedented in our history as an alarm company. We have never seen a partner fail to send signals through to a central station. We're relying on Honeywell to fix the servers quickly to make sure that your family is protected. At the moment, this error is affecting anyone who uses Honeywell's services (which is any company that monitors Honeywell equipment). We will be updating you about the situation as we hear more from the service provider.

We expect service to return shortly. Alarm Grid will update when more info is available.

UPDATE: AS OF 1PM EST, IT APPEARS THAT ALARMNET360 IS UP, ALONG WITH THE TC2 WEBSITE. WE HAVE NOT YET RECEIVED OFFICIAL WORD FROM HONEYWELL THAT SERVICES HAVE BEEN RESTORED.

UPDATE: AT 10:30PM EST, YESTERDAY, WE RECEIVED THE FOLLOWING EMAIL FROM HONEYWELL INDICATING THE ISSUES SHOULD BE RESOLVED:

"At 11:42 am Eastern time today, the AlarmNet network experienced a disruption of services that impacted the operations of AlarmNet, AlarmNet 360 & Total Connect services. During this period, all transmitted signals were queued (not lost) and began to be transmitted as the services were restored. This may have caused a spike in AlarmNet signals during the recovery period. In addition, during this period, AlarmNet 360 was not available and consumers were unable to use their Total Connect apps for remote services.

We have been monitoring the services since the recovery began at 12:42 and are comfortable that AlarmNet, AlarmNet 360 and Total Connect are fully operational.

AlarmNet signaling services, AlarmNet 360 and Total Connect are the foundation of our security solutions and we will continue to strive for 100% reliability. We apologize for the inconvenience this has caused you and your customers."

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Hi DIYers! We have great news for 2GIG GC3 owners. Nortek, the owners of 2GIG, has officially announced that the 2GIG GC3 now has partitioning support available. The update comes via the Firmware Version 3.2 release. This release makes the GC3 our first wireless panel with partitioning.

2gig gc3 diy wireless security system w slash 7 screenIf you aren't familiar with partitioning, it refers to the practice of sectioning off an alarm system into different groups that are called partitions. This allows zones within the designated partition to be armed or disarmed while the system zones outside that partition remain unaffected. For example, if a specific system partition is disarmed, then all of the zones within that partition will become disarmed. But the rest of the system will remain armed. Partitioning features are somewhat similar to bypassing zones, but it does not require each zone to be individually bypassed.

In the case of the 2GIG GC3, the partitions are referred to as "Smart Areas". Every Smart Area can be individually and set up for its own alerts and notifications. Any zone within a Smart Area be individually bypassed if needed. The system will support a maximum number of four different Smart Areas. Each Smart Area can be assigned its own set of access codes. This is excellent for restricting access to certain Smart Areas. The Smart Areas option for controlling this feature is easily accessible from the main screen of the 2GIG GC3 System.


Other features for 2GIG GC3 Firmware Version 3.2.0 include the support for up to eight wireless keypads (SP1, SP2 and PAD1), better support for Z-Wave smart home devices, fixes with the French and Spanish language options, updates to broadband network programming (Q33, Q34 and Q35) and general networking improvements.

To apply the update, download the current firmware file on this page. Extract the downloaded file, and save the firmware file to the root directory of a USB drive. Then plug the USB drive into the top of the 2GIG GC3. The system will ask you to confirm the update and provide either the Master Code or the Installer Code (default 1561). The system will then reboot and perform the update.

Additionally, Firmware Version 3.2.0 has received approval from Alarm.com, and the update can pushed down over-the-air (OTA) by an Alarm.com dealer. Please note that performing an OTA update will include added fees that may be passed on to the user. However, updating through a USB drive will not feature any added costs.

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We have heard from Honeywell that some Lyric OC1 Cameras, also known as the IPCAM-WOC1, are experiencing temporary difficulties. Fortunately, no other Total Connect IP Cameras are experiencing any problems or issues at this time. Honeywell says that they expect to fix the problem shortly.

According to Honeywell, the problem is affecting newly activated Lyric OC1 Cameras. These cameras are currently failing to steam live video. However, the cameras are still successfully enrolling with TC2 and notifying users about any motion that is detected. We expect the issue to be resolved in the near future.

Alarm Grid apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause for our customers. If you have any questions about this issue, please reach out to us at support@alarmgrid.com, or call us at 888-818-7728 from 9am to 8pm EST Monday thru Friday.

Update: Honeywell has informed us that the problem has been resolved. If you enrolled a new Honeywell IPCAM-WOC1 yesterday and it's not streaming through Total Connect 2.0, first delete the camera from your TC2 account. Then press and hold the reset button on the camera to restore it to factory defaults. Then re-register the camera with TC2. It should now stream video properly.

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Hey DIYers! So you have central station monitoring from Alarm Grid. Great! Now you can receive automatic dispatch to your home or business during a break-in, fire or medical crisis. You and the people around you are now truly more protected! But can emergency services find the building?

Alarm grid inside security stickers

First, it can be helpful to consider how exactly central station alarm monitoring works. Every alarm system consists of multiple sensors and a centralized control panel. Each sensor is assigned to its own individual zone on the alarm system. When a security breach (e.g. an opened door or a broken window) or a life-safety event (e.g. a fire or an outbreak of carbon monoxide gas) occurs, a sensor will be activated. The sensor will send an alert to the control panel. Based on the programming settings for that zone, the system can be instructed to send out a remote signal that will ultimately reach a central monitoring station. The central station operates 24/7/365, and a highly trained operator will be immediately notified of any distress signal that comes through. The operator will have access to the user's account information, and they will contact the local emergency authorities in the user's area. The local authorities will then send out the appropriate emergency responders based on the type of alarm that occurs.

A sometimes-overlooked aspect of central station monitoring is that human responders must be able to successfully locate the home or business where the crisis is taking place. In order to receive a fast emergency response, you will want to make it as easy as possible for the police, fire department or medical technicians to find your property. Sometimes it can be very clear where the trouble is occurring (e.g. a large fire, an obvious break-in), but more often than not, this is actually not the case. While emergency responders are highly trained in locating the correct property, you can still help them out by making your home or business easy to find.

Alarm Grid understand this concern, and we ask customers to provide us with as much information as possible. This allows us to offer the best possible home and business alarm monitoring services every single time. Any information that we receive will be forwarded to our central station monitoring partner, Criticom Monitoring Station (CMS). By doing this, any operator at CMS will be able to relay the most accurate information to the local emergency personnel.


CMS Logo

Many of our customers wonder how they can make their home or business easy for others to find. Obviously, we take down basic information like an address. But this isn't always enough for an emergency responder to quickly locate the property. One way we help is by asking our customers to provide us with the nearest major cross-streets. This can be very helpful for pointing responders in the proper direction. At the very least, this is the basic information we require.

But many of our customers go beyond these basic guidelines. This comes in the form of "special instructions" that we can provide to CMS. These special instructions can be anything that would help someone locate the property. For example, the special instructions might say "the yellow house on the corner" or "take a left upon entering the neighborhood". It is also crucial that any customer provides us with the gate code for their residence if they live in a gated community. Although special instructions are optional, they can be extremely valuable when emergency personnel are trying to find your home or business Remember, during a real emergency, every second counts!

One of our customers, Brett, recently shared a great idea with us. Brett installed large, easy-to-read numbers that illuminate at night on his mailbox. This way, any emergency response team that arrives at his residence will be able to quickly verify his house number. We think this is an excellent idea, and we encourage all of our customers to follow Brett's lead by making their homes easier to locate.


If you are new to alarm monitoring, or if you would like to update the special instructions on your CMS account, please do not hesitate to reach out to us! You can always email us at support@alarmgrid.com, or you can call us at 888-818-7728 from 9am to 8pm EST M-F.

We would also like to offer special thanks to Brett for allowing us to use his picture in this post. Thank you Brett, we are very proud to help keep you and Shadow the Cat safe!

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Hi DIYers! Last week, we took a look at some takeover modules that allow existing life-safety sensors to be used with wireless systems. Specifically, we examined the Encore FF345 for 345 MHz systems and the SLX-AD-T3 for 319.5 MHz systems. Now, we offer a module for 433 MHz systems as well!

Despite its name, the DSC WST-600 actually operates at 433 MHz. This is the frequency commonly used with DSC Panels, including the wireless all-in-one DSC Impassa. It works in essentially the same manner as the other takeover modules. This involves continuously listening for the unique temporal sound of an activated smoke detector or carbon monoxide detector. As long as the sensor has the appropriate sounder, it can be used in this way. And if the sensors are interconnected, a single DSC WST-600 module can monitor the entire building!

The DSC WST-600 is programmed with a DSC System as though it were a regular 433 MHz wireless smoke or CO detector. Most users will program this type of device so that it has the system send out an emergency alert as soon as it is activated. This way, the user can receive automatic emergency dispatch from a central monitoring station. For best results, the DSC WST-600 should be placed within six inches of the life-safety sensor that it is monitoring. This way, the sensor will be able to actively detect the sound of the activated sensor. Overall, this sensor is a great way to monitor existing smokes and CO sensor so that the end user can save money.

The DSC WST-600 is available for purchase now on the Alarm Grid site. It is perfect for anyone with a DSC Impassa who wants to integrate hardwired life-safety sensors or conventional battery-powered life-safety sensors with their system. Get a DSC WST-600 takeover module to protect your home or business.

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Alarm Grid has recently learned that the Honeywell 3GL, the longtime cellular communicator for the LYNX Touch Panels, has officially been discontinued. This leaves the Honeywell L5200 with no available cellular communicator. However, the newer LYNX Touch Systems still have cellular options.

Honeywell 3gl alarmnet cellular communicator for the l5200 and l

The Honeywell 3GL was a cellular communicator that connected with the AT&T 3G Network. It was previously sold as the Honeywell 4GL. But Honeywell smartly changed the name, as it misled many people into believing it was a 4G communicator. The 3GL was compatible with the L5200, L5210 and L7000 Alarm Systems. As for the L5210 and L7000, there are still cellular communicators available, specifically the LTE-L57A and LTE-L57V. Please note that the L5210 and L7000 must be running Firmware Version 9 or higher to support one of these LTE communicators. More information on this is available here.

With the discontinuation of this module, the Honeywell L5200 now has no available cellular communicator option. Users of the L5200 who want to receive cellular monitoring should strongly consider upgrading to a newer system, such as a Honeywell Lyric Controller. This is Honeywell's newest wireless security system, and it has multiple cellular options available.

Please note that this news does not affect L5200 Systems that are already using an active 3GL Communicator. Any communicator that has already been activated will continue to function as normal. Additionally, if a user is able to find an existing 3GL or GSMVLP5-4G from somewhere else, then we can still activate it for cellular monitoring service with their L5200 System.

One alternative option for L5200 users without a cellular communicator is to go the WIFI-route instead. The system will support the L5100-WIFI module, which will allow the system to connect with a local WIFI network. Although WIFI is not as reliable as cellular service, it can be a good option if a user simply does not want to upgrade their panel. This is also a great option for Honeywell L5100 users, as that system also has no cellular radio in current production.

Finally, the ILP5 is still available for purchase, and it provides hardwired ethernet capabilities for any LYNX Touch Panel. But please note that a LYNX Touch cannot support both the ILP5 and a cellular communicator since they use the same port. Once a Honeywell LYNX Touch System is using IP or cellular communication, it will be capable of being used with the Total Connect 2.0 service.

The following table outlines all of the communicators available for the Honeywell LYNX Touch Systems and their compatibilities with each of these panels:


GSMVLP5

3GL

GSMVLP5-4G

LTE-L57A

LTE-L57V

ILP5

L5100-WIFI

Network AT&T 2G AT&T 3G AT&T 4G AT&T LTE Verizon LTE Wired Ethernet WIFI
Available Discontinued Discontinued Discontinued Yes Yes Yes Yes

L5000

Yes

No

No

No

No

Yes

No

L5100

No

No

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes

L5200

No

Yes

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes

L5210

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

L7000

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

If you have any question about this news, please do not hesitate to reach out to us for further assistance. You may email us at support@alarmgrid.com, or you may call us at 888-818-7728 from 9am to 8pm EST M-F. We look forward to hearing from you.

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Hi DIYers! A couple of weeks ago, we took an initial look at Alarm.com Siri Shortcuts. This function allows ADC users to control their security system and smart home automation devices through Siri voice commands. Today, we're taking a closer look at this new feature and what it provides.


Alarm.com Siri Shortcuts are available for any iOS device that is running Apple iOS Version 12. This includes iPhones, iPads, HomePods, the Apple Watch and even Apple CarPlay. They allow you to use voice commands through Siri to control basic system functions and to run any smart scene that has been set up with Alarm.com. If you haven't already created smart scenes, we recommend doing that before attempting to set up any Siri Shortcuts. This is because any created smart scenes will conveniently appear in the "Suggested Shortcuts" list for easy creation.

To get started, you will need to have the Alarm.com Mobile App downloaded for the device you want to use with Alarm.com Siri Shortcuts. If you do not have the app, it can be downloaded for free from the Apple App Store. From there, you will need to enable Siri Shortcuts. To do this, click on the settings icon (the gears), then "Siri Shortcuts", then "Edit" in the upper-right corner, and finally the button below the Edit button to share activity with Siri.


From there, you will be able to create your own Siri Shortcuts for use with Alarm.com. While this can be done from the settings menu on your iOS device, we have found that it is easiest to do this right from the Alarm.com App. If you scroll down, you will see all of the current Alarm.com Siri Shortcuts that have been set up. Please note that any Alarm.com Siri Shortcut will need to be custom-recorded before they can be used. This includes any basic system functions that are automatically suggested by Alarm.com. Some of the suggested actions for Alarm.com Siri Shortcuts include:

  • Disarm
  • Arm Away
  • Arm Stay
  • Home
  • Away
  • Sleep
  • Wake Up
  • Any Custom Scenes

Below the existing shortcuts are suggested actions can be set to trigger with a voice-activated Siri Shortcut. This includes basic system functions, such as arming and disarming, and any custom smart scenes that you have previously created. Remember, you may need to press the "Edit" button in the upper-right corner before you can begin creating Siri Shortcuts. Simply choose the action you want to use. For this example, we created a "CUSTOM SCENE" that disarms the system and unlocks a Z-Wave door lock. You will then be taken to a screen where you can record the Siri Shortcut. Press the Red Circle to record the command. You can say anything you want to trigger the shortcut. Finally, press "Done" in the upper-right corner to save the recording. Then press "Done" in the upper-right corner of the Alarm.com screen to save your new shortcut.




Once you have created your Siri Shortcut, simply activate Siri, and state the command you recorded earlier. Alarm.com will then perform the programmed action as through it had been activated through the ADC Mobile App. You can even perform these actions remotely so that you can use Siri and your own voice to control your alarm system and run smart scenes from virtually anywhere in the world. Overall, this is a super easy and user-friendly way to perform everyday actions right from your iOS device!

We're huge fans of this new feature, and we can't wait for you to get started so that you can get the most out of your Alarm.com system. If you have any questions about Siri Shortcuts, please do not hesitate to contact us at support@alarmgrid.com, or call us from 9am to 8pm EST M-F at 888-818-7728. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Hi DIYers! Today, we are reviewing the Encore FireFighter FF345 and the Interlogix SLX-AD-T3 takeover modules. These are both listening devices that are used with life-safety sensors. They allow end users to easily integrate any existing life-safety sensors with their alarm systems.


Obviously, a sensor can only work with a system if the system is able to detect signals that are sent out from the sensor. For many existing smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors, they may not be able to communicate successfully with a panel. This is often because they are hardwired building smoke detectors that aren't designed to integrate with a newly installed system. Or they could be standalone, battery-powered devices that do not send out wireless communication signals for communicating with a wireless receiver. In any case, these devices are unable to integrate with an alarm system through a conventional method.

However, a takeover module like the FF345 or the SLX-AD-T3 will allow these devices to be used as a part of a complete alarm system. The user will not need to change their existing smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in any way. Instead, they can simply install an FF345 or an SLX-AD-T3 next to any existing life-safety sensor. They can then program the FF345 or the SLX-AD-T3 as though it were a regular life-safety sensor that is compatible with their system.

When their smoke detector or their carbon monoxide sensor is activated, it will still produce a sound to alert anyone in the building. The way that the FF345 and SLX-AD-T3 work is that they actively listen for this specific type of sound. Once the FF345 or SLX-AD-T3 hears the sound and realizes that the life-safety sensor has been activated, it will send an immediate alert to the panel. The system will then respond in the same way as if a programmed life-safety sensor had been activated. If the user is monitored with a central station, this will usually mean automatic emergency dispatch.

Whether a user gets the FF345 or the SLX-AD-T3 will depend on what type of system they have. If their system supports 345 MHz sensors (e.g. Honeywell, 2GIG), they will get the FF345. If their system supports 319.5 MHz sensors (e.g. Interlogix/GE, Qolsys), they will get the SLX-AD-T3. But both sensors will provide the same great type of functionality and reliability.

Both the FF345 and the SLX-AD-T3 can be purchased from the Alarm Grid website. Get one to provide top-quality fire and carbon monoxide protection for your home or business.

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Hi DIYers! Did you know that many of our monitored customers come to us with their own existing equipment? There are many cases where a user will inherit an old alarm system or bring sensors from a different monitoring company to use with Alarm Grid. This is often called a "system takeover".

Alarm grid inside security stickers

At Alarm Grid, we are firm believers in the principle of "if you have it, then use it". When a customer is interested in our monitoring services, and they already have a system from a different monitoring company, we will do everything possible to use that existing equipment. This can include the panel, their sensors and various system add-ons. We can often take over the system entirely once its communicator been released from their previous monitoring company. Other times, simply replacing the old communicator with a new one, while still keeping the rest of the system, can do the trick. This can save the user hundreds or even thousands of dollars in equipment costs!

When you are monitored with Alarm Grid, you own all of your equipment. Whether you obtained it from us or somewhere else does not matter to us. We are happy to provide you and those around you with top-quality protection regardless of where you bought your equipment. And if you ever do decide to terminate your service with us, we will release your communicator so that you can easily take it somewhere else.

Of course, taking over an old alarm system isn't always possible. Many other alarm monitoring companies use proprietary equipment and communicators that will only work with their monitoring services. Monitoring companies may also lock out users of programming by using a secret Installer Code that prevents us from taking over the system. Yet another possibility is that the security panel is very old, and we may recommend making an upgrade to get additional functions and features. These are some of the problems that our technicians encounter almost everyday. Sometimes we can overcome these issues, but other times we cannot. Our experts can make that determination.

So while we will certainly do everything possible to make your existing panel and sensors work to save you money, please understand that it may still be necessary to replace some or all of your old equipment. However, it never hurts to at least ask us about using your old equipment before going out and buying new stuff, whether that is from us or from somewhere else. It never costs anything to speak to our planning team to start designing a security system. And if you do decide you need new equipment, remember that our website is an outstanding resource for competitively priced and non-proprietary equipment. In the event that you do ever find the same equipment at a less expensive price, by all means, buy it there, and bring it here.

Remember, our security technicians are experts. We are familiar with older alarm systems, and we can generally provide you with a fairly concise answer of whether or not your old equipment is usable. If you have an old system that you want to get monitored, please reach out to us! Often, a simple picture or a description is all we need to determine whether or not we can take it over. You can get started by giving us a call between 9am and 8pm EST M-F or by sending an email to support@alarmgrid.com. Our team is always happy to help, and, quite frankly, we love the challenge of making old equipment viable. So if you have an old security system or sensors that you think could still serve you and your family well, check with us to see if we can get it monitored!

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