Home Security Blog

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The IQ Panel 2 is the flagship panel from Qolsys, a relatively new security company that has already made great strides in the industry. Qolsys sought out to create a modern and easy to navigate security panel that would appeal to every type of homeowner and business owner. In the end, they accomplished exactly that, as the IQ Panel 2 meets all of the requirements that a new buyer would look for in a security system. Overall, it is pleasing to the eye, offers a quick learning curve and presents a plethora of outstanding features and capabilities.

The first aspect that one would most likely notice about the IQ Panel 2 is its sleek, yet humble appearance. It is a simple design, being completely white and with most of the panel consisting of its impressive screen. Yet, this design is perfect for the IQ Panel 2. When not being operated, the system blends pleasantly into the background, in a manner that could almost be described as discreet. But if it is ever necessary for the user to quickly locate their panel, the crisp, white finish of the system will make it easy to pick it out of the scenery. Perhaps most amazing is the sheer thinness of the system. Its compact profile prevents it from taking up too much space on a desk or protruding an excessive amount from a wall. The slim system can also be easily and comfortably held in a user's hand and operated like a tablet if necessary.

Whenever the system is activated, the user will be treated to the panel's big, beautiful 7-inch LCD display screen. It's difficult to imagine a security system with a more appropriate touchscreen display. The home screen includes everything that is needed to operate the system and quickly receive relevant information. The large system disarmed button is easy to identify, and it makes arming the system in a hurry a breeze. The outer portion of the screen presents useful information that can be beneficial for anyone. The top quickly and neatly displays the day's weather, current time and any important system notifications and events. A small panic button in the bottom-right corner is always there if needed, but it is unlikely to ever be disturbed inadvertently.

Navigating the IQ Panel 2 is an absolute joy. The colors are bright, and menu icons and options can be recognized in a quick and efficient manner. Most of the time, a user will likely be sticking to the home screen, where a quick touch of the green system disarmed button will present options for arming away and arming stay. When disarming, the system can be set to snap a photo of the person operating the system. Although the picture usually ends up being not very flattering with the user's concentrated face hovering directly over the system, it is a great feature for security purposes. In the event that an intruder ever manages to disarm the system, a clear picture of them will be waiting right from the camera menu.

Accessing system settings and programming new sensors with the IQ Panel 2 can be accomplished in straightforward manner. The Android 5.1 operating system is fully responsive and lightning fast, making it great for controlling the panel. Once the user has a basic understanding of how to proceed through the menus, they will most likely find that the device is one of the user-friendly security panels they have ever operated. To get started setting up devices, simply press the small grey bar at the top, choose settings, then advanced settings, and enter in the four-digit installer code. From there, most major settings for the system can be easily accessed and changed if needed. Pressing installation, followed by devices, will allow the user to make changes to programming, whether it be RF security sensors, WIFI devices or Z-Wave home automation settings.

Speaking of Z-Wave, the IQ Panel 2 boasts a remarkable number of features, with no add-ons being needed. Any Z-Wave device can be added with ease, and users will surely enjoy a noticeably fast response time when operating these devices. The panel will also easily connect with 319.5 MHz Qolsys RF sensors, allowing the system to function with everything from glass breaks to motions. Qolsys also offers its "S-Line" of security sensors, which utilize top-of-the-line encryption to prevent hacking or spoofing. These sensors are some of the most secure and reliable devices in the security industry, and they can easily connect with the IQ Panel 2. Up to 128 security zones can be programmed with the IQ Panel 2, meaning that users will be very hard-pressed to ever experience a shortage of available zones on their system.

Every IQ Panel 2 system also comes included with a built-in cellular communicator to ensure reliable connectivity with both the end user and the central monitoring station. Users can choose between a Verizon and an AT&T communicator based upon which service works best in their area. Both the Verizon and the AT&T communicators offer LTE speeds for the rapid connectivity that one would expect out of a state-of-the-art security system. Of course, a WIFI card is also included, instantly allowing the system to take full advantage of a dual-path communication setup. By using WIFI and LTE cellular communications together, the IQ Panel 2 will almost certainly never lose connectivity to the network, and it will constantly and continuously maintain the exceptionally fast speeds that will ensure optimal functionality.

To extend access outside the panel, the IQ Panel 2 is designed to connect with the Alarm.com interactive service. This fantastic service is absolutely essential for getting the most out of the IQ Panel 2 system. By using Alarm.com, users can arm and disarm their panel, check the status of their sensors, control Z-Wave devices and view live feeds of any security cameras that they have set up. With the Alarm.com mobile app, it is possible to perform these actions from virtually anywhere in the world, providing users with incredible accessibility for their security systems. This makes Alarm.com the ultimate compliment for the IQ Panel 2, offering complete control both at the panel and away.

Overall, the IQ Panel 2 is a tremendous security system for anyone who wants a complete and convenient setup. The device will work great in any home or small business as a way of ensuring full protection and functionality. New users will have a quick and easy experience in navigating the system and setting up all of their security devices. If aesthetics are a concern, the IQ Panel 2 is second-to-none with its slim, sleek design, neutral coloring and appealing display screen. Qolsys also offers an excellent lineup security sensors, and their S-Line encryption can provide users with complete peace of mind. Finally, the IQ Panel 2 comes loaded with everything needed to get started with a top-quality security setup, including a cellular communicator and instant WIFI connectivity. All of this makes the Qolsys IQ Panel one of the finest security systems on the market today. It is highly recommended for anyone who wants a modern, easy to use security panel with all of the bells and whistles that they would expect out of a system today.


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The all-new 2GIG SP1 Touchscreen Keypad has finally been released. This excellent device provides users with another access point to a 2GIG GC3 System. The new keypad offers all of the features and functionality of the 2GIG SP2 Keypad, along with some exciting new additions. Alarm Grid recommends this keypad for anyone who wants a new way to control their GC3 system while on-site. Please note that firmware version 3.1 or higher will be needed on the GC3 Panel to use the SP1 Keypad.

The SP1 looks remarkably similar to the GC3 System. Just like the GC3, the SP1 features buttons for instant access to the home screen and emergency services. It features a beautiful, full-color 7-inch touchscreen display, making it a complete joy to use and control. It connects via WIFI, which provides it with a very impressive range from the actual GC3 System. Just like the SP2, the new SP1 can arm and disarm the system. It can also bypass zones as needed.

However, the SP1 is also capable of some functions that could not be accomplished using the SP2. For one, the SP1 has full voice annunciation, which makes it easier for users to immediately recognize a faulted zone. The SP1 also provides a full weather display right from the main screen. This can be great for getting a quick update on what kind of weather to expect for the day. Another useful feature of the SP1 is its ability to connect to the network using an ethernet connection. This is not even possible on the GC3 System itself.

But where the SP1 really shines is in home automation. While the SP2 cannot perform any home automation actions, the SP1 can conduct the same home automation functions as the GC3 system. With the SP1, you can create and execute scenes, establish rooms and bookmark screens. This means that the SP1 boasts all of the security and automation capabilities of the GC3 Panel itself. In fact, you will really only need the GC3 System for making programming changes.

The 2GIG SP1 Keypad is available for purchase right now on the Alarm Grid website.


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Door contacts are some of the most important sensors used with security systems. Anyone with a complete security setup will want to know when their door is opened. Many intruders walk right through the front door of a person's home or business. Protecting this opening is critical. That is why door sensors should always be checked for proper working order. Security systems use two types of door sensors. These are wireless sensors and hardwired sensors. There are also countless companies that produce door sensors. For this article, we will be focusing on Honeywell wireless door sensors. These sensors use batteries to stay powered and communicate with the panel. A sensor will not be able to communicate with the panel if its battery runs out of power. Replacing these batteries before this happens is vital to maintaining a working setup. The security panel should notify the user when the battery for a sensor is low. When this message is displayed, replace the battery as soon as possible. This will prevent the sensor from losing function due to a dead battery.

Honeywell makes determining the correct door sensor battery easy for end users. Honeywell wireless door sensors almost always use one of three types of batteries. These are CR123A lithium batteries, CR2032 coin batteries and AAA lithium batteries. Larger surface-mount wireless door contacts often use CR123A lithium batteries. Meanwhile, smaller surface-mount sensors will either use AAA batteries or CR2032 coin batteries. This is also true for recessed sensors. B ut these guidelines are only a general rule of thumb. The best way to determine which type of battery to use is to check. Remove the back cover for the wireless door sensor, and check to see what type of battery it uses. This can be seen by looking at the battery terminal and checking to see what type of battery would fit. If it requires a flat, circular battery, then it needs a CR2032 coin battery. If it requires a larger, cylindrical battery, then it needs either a CR123A battery or a AAA battery.

A CR2032 is a small 3-volt coin battery that is most often used for smaller devices. These batteries have this name because of their coin shape. The compact size of these batteries makes them appropriate for powering thin sensors. Honeywell makes their own version of these batteries called the Honeywell CR2032. Other electronics companies also often produce their own CR2032 batteries. Any of these batteries will work fine. They are all lithium-powered, and they will maintain power for three to five years. The important thing is to make sure that they are the CR2032 size of batteries. Sometimes, these batteries will be labeled as "2032" batteries instead of "CR2032" batteries. This is fine, as CR2032 and 2032 refer to the same type of battery. The type of battery to avoid is a CR2025. This type of coin battery is thinner than a CR2032 battery. A CR2025 battery may not fit with a Honeywell wireless door sensor. These batteries are often confused with CR2032 batteries. It is very important to make sure that the coin battery is a CR2032.

The CR2032 batteries are generally used with smaller sensors. These are usually recessed sensors or very thin surface-mount sensors. A recessed sensor is a door sensor that is inserted into the door frame. This takes it out of view to improve aesthetics. A surface-mount sensor is placed on the outside of the frame for an easy installation. CR2032 batteries are best for sensors that are too thin to contain other types of batteries. One of these contacts is the Honeywell 5800MINI Door Sensor. Another one is the 5800RPS Recessed Sensor. Other small sensors that are not as thin may use AAA batteries instead. When in doubt, check the battery terminal to see which type of battery will fit. In most cases, a very thin sensor will use a CR2032 coin battery. If it can contain a AAA battery, then it will most likely use that type instead. This can be somewhat confusing, but checking the terminal should ease any doubts. The manual for the wireless door sensor should also state which type of battery is needed.

There are a few things to note about AAA batteries. The first is that they can either be lithium or alkaline. We recommend using lithium batteries. Alkaline batteries will also work, but they will not last as long. Lithium batteries will reduce the need for replacements, keeping the sensor functioning longer. Check the packaging of the battery to see whether it is lithium or alkaline. The battery itself may also present this information. Many people may also confuse AAA batteries for other types. The cylindrical shape of AAA batteries is very common. In fact, CR123 batteries also have this shape. Look on the battery itself, and check for the size. Remember, AAA batteries are long and thin. CR123A batteries are short and fat. Again, check the packaging or the battery itself. And if it doesn't fit, then it isn't the correct size. AAA batteries are most often used in long, skinny sensors. These sensors can accommodate their shape. The Honeywell 5818MNL Recessed Door Sensor is a contact that uses AAA batteries . Another is the Honeywell 5820L Surface-Mount Slimline Sensor. Most AAA lithium batteries can be purchased at a retail store.

CR123A batteries are also used with Honeywell wireless door sensors. These are shorter and fatter batteries with a cylindrical shape. They are most often used in larger surface-mount sensors. These are thicker sensors that can accommodate their size. One such contact is the Honeywell 5816 Door and Window Sensor. Another contact is the Honeywell 5917CB Commercial Sensor. A great type of CR123A battery to use is the Panasonic CR123A 3-Volt Lithium Battery. This battery is known for its long life and reliability. It is an excellent choice as a CR123A battery. Most CR123A batteries maintain a lifespan of about three to five years. After that, the battery will need to be replaced with a new one. Remember to make sure that the battery is a CR123A size before purchasing. The battery may also be labeled as CR123. This is fine, as CR123A and CR123 refer to the same type of battery. Again, the manual for the sensor should let you know if a CR123A battery is needed. Make sure to check the manual if there is any doubt about what type of battery to use.

For a complete list of which type of battery to use with a Honeywell wireless door sensor, please consult this guide.


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The Honeywell Lyric Thermostat is an excellent smart thermostat that is designed to connect with a user's Total Connect account and their Lyric Controller security system. The device features WIFI connectivity, allowing it to become a fully integrated part of a user's home automation setup. Once the Lyric Thermostat has been installed and programmed, the user can control the device remotely by using the Total Connect mobile app. Many users appreciate the geofencing capability of the Lyric Thermostat. By setting up geofencing, a user can have their Lyric Thermostat automatically start heating or cooling their home when they enter within a specific range of their residence. By the time they return home, their house will already be set to the perfect temperature so that they are comfortable as soon as they walk through the door. Not only is this super convenient, the money saving potential is absolutely tremendous, with some users saving hundreds of dollars per month on their electric bills. The Lyric Thermostat can also be set up to function with various smart devices, such as Apple HomeKit, Samsung Smartthings and Amazon Alexa. All of this makes the Lyric Thermostat an excellent addition to any home that uses the Honeywell Lyric Controller.

Before you can enjoy all of the exciting features that the Lyric Thermostat has to offer, the device must be installed and programmed with your Total Connect account. This guide will focus on the removal of your old thermostat and the installation of the the Lyric Round Thermostat. For more information on integrating your Lyric Thermostat with Total Connect, please consult the Lyric Thermostat enrollment guide. You can also use the Lyric App to help walk you through the installation process. If you do not have the Lyric App, you can download it for free from the App Store or Google Play. You can make a Lyric account to use with your Lyric thermostat. We strongly recommend following the instructions outlined in the app as you complete the installation.

You can install the Lyric Thermostat by completing the following steps:

1. Turn off the heating and cooling system. When installing the Lyric Thermostat, you should start by shutting off the power to the building's heating and cooling system from the circuit breaker. This will help to avoid any electrical issues during the installation process. To confirm that the power for heating and cooling is shut off. Try increasing of decreasing the set temperature by several degrees. If you hear the building's heater or cooler activate, then the power to the system has not been shut off properly. It is also recommended that you feel the area around the building's air vents to make sure that no hot or cool air is coming out.

2. Remove the old thermostat from its backplate and check its wiring. With the heating and cooling system off, you can then begin removing the old thermostat. Most thermostats are attached to a backplate that is mounted to the wall. Some thermostats will be able to be gently unattached from the backplate, while others will require some screws to be removed. Once you have removed the old thermostat from its backplate, you will be able to see the connected wires and determine the type of power supply that is used for the building's heating and cooling system. If you see thick black wires with wire nuts, then the building uses a line voltage system, and the Lyric Thermostat will not be compatible. You should also check the voltage for the old thermostat. If the old thermostat that was used with the building is 110 volts or higher, then again, the Lyric Thermostat will not function with the building's heating and cooling system. These are very important aspects to check, as setting the Lyric Thermostat with an incompatible heating and cooling system could result in serious damage.

3. Note the wiring and detach the wires. Before removing the wires, take a note of the wiring coloring and what terminals they are connected to. Many users find that it is helpful to take a picture of the wires so that they can reference them later. It is also recommended that you label the wires in some way so that you can differentiate them when you go to connect them to the Lyric Thermostat. This is especially true if the wires are of the same color and no labels were previously applied. The Lyric App will also allow you to note the colors of the wires and their corresponding connections so that the app will outline the proper connections when you go to wire the Lyric Thermostat in a later step. After you have finished examining the wiring setup, you can then remove the wires from the thermostat one at a time. Make sure that the wires do not fall into the wall, as you will need them for installing the Lyric Thermostat. Wrapping the wires around a pen or a pencil can prevent this from happening. Finally, you can unscrew and remove the old mounting plate from the wall.

4. Mount the backplate to the wall. At this point, you will begin installing the Lyric Round Thermostat. Start by snapping the backplate onto the wall cover of the Lyric Thermostat. The wall cover is optional, but it can be useful for covering any marks or blemishes that are on the wall. Next, run the wires through the backplate of the Lyric Thermostat. We recommend twisting the wires together so that they can all be easily passed through the backplate at the same time. You can then screw the backplate onto the wall using the included screws that came with the Lyric Thermostat. You will want to make sure that the backplate is nice and level with the wall when doing this. The backplate comes with a built-in level for the installer's convenience. The screws that come with the Lyric Thermostat are self-anchoring, and they can often be installed in the location of the screws for the previous thermostat. If you do need to drill new holes, the drill bit size is 7/32".

5. Connect the wires to the Lyric Thermostat. You will now be able to connect the wires to the Lyric Thermostat backplate. The wires can be connected to the corresponding terminals based on the setup for the previous thermostat. When wiring the Lyric Thermostat, consult the notes or the picture that you took of the previous wiring setup. You can attach a wire by firmly pushing it into the appropriate terminal. If you accidentally misplace a wire and need to move it to a different terminal, you can use a ballpoint pen to press down on the tab for that terminal and then pull the wire out of place. Once all of the wires have been connected, make sure that they are snug and secure by gently tugging on the wires and ensuring that they remain in place. If you are using the Lyric App to assist you with the installation, it will display the connections that you need to make. Please note that the Lyric Thermostat is a 24 volt thermostat that uses power from the heating and cooling system to stay activated. This means that no common "C" wire will need to be connected to the Lyric Thermostat.

6. Activate the Lyric Thermostat. After completing the wiring process, you can then snap the Lyric Thermostat onto its backplate. A gentle press is all that is required to click the device into place. Next, go to the circuit breaker and restore power to the building's heating and cooling system. If the Lyric Thermostat was wired correctly, the device will automatically power up, and you will be prompted to connect the device a WIFI network. This process is outlined in the Lyric Thermostat enrollment guide.


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The Honeywell VISTA 15P, 20P and 21iP are hardwired security systems that can each serve as the central hub for a user's security setup. Since these systems do not come with their own display screen, a user may feel somewhat intimidated when working with one of these panels. Fortunately, setting up and programming a Honeywell VISTA system is not so difficult once you know the proper commands and inputs. This guide will help you conduct basic tasks with your VISTA panel so that you can get the most out of your security system.

Throughout this cheatsheet, you may be asked to consult the VISTA Programming Guide to find more detailed instructions for any given process.



In order to use a VISTA system, you will need an alphanumeric keypad for programming and controlling the panel. A great keypad for this purpose is the Honeywell 6160RF Keypad. This keypad will allow you to control your VISTA panel with relative ease, and it includes a built-in high capacity wireless receiver so that you can use wireless sensors with your system.

Without a 6160RF, or a separate standalone wireless receiver, the VISTA-15P, 20P and 21iP would only support wired zones and you wouldn't be able to program Honeywell wireless 5800 Series devices until you added a receiver. Although only one keypad is necessary, some users may choose to add multiple keypads to their VISTA panel so that they they can have multiple points of access to, or egress from, their system.

Any keypad that is added to the system must have it's own unique address, which can be set by following this FAQ. The first keypad of partition 1 must be assigned address 16. Programming locations190 through 196 will define the attributes for any keypads that are assigned to addresses 17 through 23.

Using Your Keypad

In order to perform most of the basic programming functions on a VISTA panel, you must first enter into programming mode. The following are some basic commands that you will enter when programming your VISTA system:

Operation Command
Enter Programming Mode [Installer Code] + [800]
Review Programming Values [#] + [Data Field Number]
Change Programming Values [*] + [Data Field Number]
Clear Programming Location Contents [*] + [Data Field Number] + [*]
Exit Programming Mode [*] + [99]
Reset Panel to Default (Note: You will lose all programming!) [*] + [97]
Enter Zone Programming (for setting Zone Attributes) [*] + [56]
(see note below)

Note: Unlike other programming entries, *56 is a special sub-menu mode for programming zones for the system which acts differently than a regular programming field. If you don't have an alphanumeric keypad, the display on your keypad will blank out when entering this mode. Therefore, we never recommend accessing this mode unless you're using an alphanumeric keypad.

For a complete list of data fields within programming mode, please see the programming guide. Programming fields start at number 20 and range all the way to number 199. However, not every value between 20 and 199 represents a valid data field.

Once you have entered into a data field, enter in the digits needed to make the desired changes. After the digits have been entered, the keypad will beep three times to confirm that the changes were made, and the system will automatically move to the next data field in sequence. Valid entries for each specific data field can be found in the VISTA programming guide. In fields where all possible digits may not be used, such as in the Primary Central Station Phone Number [*41], press [*] after the entry of the last digit to let the panel know that you have completed your entries for that field. The system will beep three times for confirmation.

User Codes

One of the first things you will want to do when setting up your VISTA system is to program user codes. These codes are needed for arming and disarming the system and for making changes to the system settings. Each code will be assigned a different 2-digit user number in order to differentiate it from other codes. Some code types are required to be used with a specific user number. Up to 32 codes can be used with a VISTA 15P system, while a VISTA 20P or 21iP can support up to 48 codes.

Default Master Code - 1234

Default Installer Code - 4112

The table below shows the different types of codes that can be used with the system:

Code Type
Assignable User Slot Authority Level Functions
Installer Must be 01.
(Hard Coded)
N/A Used for entering programming mode. Can arm the system, but can only disarm if it was the code used to arm the system. Cannot be deleted. Programmed in programming location *20.
Master Must be 02.
(Hard Coded)
N/A Can perform all security functions, add/delete users, change current Master Code, view event log, set system clock, program keypad macro, program scheduled events, activate output devices. Cannot access programming. Cannot be deleted.
User For VISTA15P, can be any value between 03 and 33.

For VISTA 20P and 21iP, can be any value between 03 and 49.
0 Can arm/disarm the system. Cannot add/delete users, view event log, set system clock or program scheduled events.
Arm Only Same as User. 1 Can only arm the system. Cannot disarm.
Guest Same as User. 2 Can arm the system, but it can only disarm the system if it was the code used to arm the system.
Duress Same as User. 3 Can disarm the system, but when Duress reporting is enabled, it will send an alert to the central station requesting immediate police dispatch. Should be used in emergency situations only.
Partition Master (20P and 21iP only) Can be any value between 03 and 49. Partition 1 is default to 03, and Partition 2 is default to 33.
4 Same as the Master Code, but limited to specific partition only. Since the 15P only has one partition, it is not necessary to have any codes of this type on a VISTA 15P.

Please note that the default Installer Code for a VISTA panel is 4112. This code will always be assigned to user number 01. There is only one Installer Code per system. We recommend leaving this code at its default setting so that you do not become locked out of programming. You will not be able to use your Installer Code to disarm your system, unless it was the code used to arm it in the first place.

Additionally, there can also be only one Master Code per VISTA system. The default Master Code is 1234. However, it is strongly advised that you change this code in order to prevent others from accessing your system. The Master Code will always be assigned to user number 02.

The table below shows the necessary inputs for setting up codes:

Adding New Code [Master Code] + [8] + [2-digit User Number] + [desired 4-digit code]
Deleting Code [Master Code] + [8] + [2-digit User Number] + [#] + [0]
Assigning Attributes [Master Code] + [8] + [2-digit User Number] + [#] + [Attribute Number] + [Attribute Value]

The table below shows the possible Attributes and their respective Attribute Values:

Attribute Number Possible Attribute Values
Authority Level 1 0 = User
1 = Arm Only
2 = Guest
3 = Duress
4 = Partition Master (20P and 21iP only)
Access Group 2 0 through 8 (0 is not assigned to a group)
Active Partitions 3 1, 2 and 3. Partition 3 is the common partition.
Can be assigned to multiple partitions.
Enter in the desired partitions consecutively, then press [#] when finished.
RF Zone Number 4 Assigns user number to button type zone for arm/disarm.
Open/Close Paging 5 0 = No
1 = Yes

When setting up a typical User Code on a single partition system, we generally recommend assigning the following Attributes:

Recommended Input
Authority Level 0
Access Group 0
Active Partitions 1
RF Zone Number 2-digit Zone Number
Open/Close Paging 0

Alpha Descriptors

Alpha descriptors are used to name zones so they can be easily identified by the user by using an alphanumeric keypad or through Total Connect. If you have alpha descriptors programmed, but you are using a Fixed English keypad, the alpha descriptors will not be displayed. Once an alpha descriptor has been set up for a zone, it will be identified by an English language description (e.g. Front Door, Kitchen Smoke Detector, Back Window, etc.) instead of just a 2-digit zone number.

When setting up an alpha descriptor, each word will be represented by a unique 3-digit code. For a complete list of possible words and their respective 3-digit codes, please consult Page 11 of the VISTA-21iP Programming Guide (different from the standard VISTA Programming Guide).

Some of the common alpha descriptor codes are outlined below:

Smoke Alarm = [176] + [002]
Inside Front Door = [101] + [085] + [057]
Outside Front Door = [140] + [085] + [057]
Basement Door = [016] + [057]
Inside Back Door = [101] + [013] + [057]
Outside Back Door = [140] + [013] + [057]

For detailed instructions on how to program alpha descriptors, please follow this FAQ.

Wireless KeyFobs

A wireless keyfob is a device that allows you to control your VISTA system without having to work from the keypad. This can be very convenient for quick arming and disarming, as well as for arming/disarming from outside the protected premises.

When setting up a four-button wireless keyfob, remember that each programmed button (or dual-button presses) will require a wireless zone to be programmed with the system. This means that each keyfob can potentially use up 8 wireless key fob zones if dual-button presses are used.

Each keyfob button that's programmed for a system arm or disarm command needs to be assigned to a user code slot for the command to function. The user code slot must have a valid 4-digit code assigned to it in order for it to work properly. Only system arm and disarm commands require these types of assignments. Once a zone has been assigned to a user, all of the other zones with the same serial number (on the same keyfob) will also be automatically assigned to that same user. In other words, it is only necessary to complete this user-assigning step once per keyfob device.

For more information on setting up a wireless keyfob, please consult pages 22 and 23 of the VISTA Programming Guide.

Telephone Dialer

If you do not have a phone line connected with your system, you will want to clear the telephone programming fields to prevent a "Comm Failure" message (Alphanumeric Keypad) or an "FC" message (Fixed English Keypad) from being displayed. This will prevent the system from attempting to call out and causing a communication failure.

By default, the telephone programming fields are zeroed out, and the system will not attempt to dial out. However, if you accidentally input a digit into one of these fields, the system will attempt to dial, and you will get one of the previously mentioned error messages.

To prevent these messages from occurring, input the following command on your keypad:

[Installer Code] + [800] + [*41*] + [*42*] + [*92] + [00] + [*94*] + [*99]

Doing this will clear locations 41, 42 and 94 from the system and disable location 92. After the input has been entered, the system will no longer attempt to dial out or supervise a phone line.

Clearing Alarms

In the event that an alarm goes off on your VISTA system, you will need to clear it in order to restore the status of your system. If an alarm occurs on your system and you do not clear it shortly after it occurs, the system will display which zone was affected.

To clear this information, you will need to enter a valid User Code or the Master Code followed by the number 1. Then you will need to enter in the same inputs a second time. The first entry will disarm the system, while the second entry will reset the zone, if necessary, and clear the alarm message from the display.

This process is outlined below:

[User Code] + [1] + [User Code] + [1]


[Master Code] +[1] + [Master Code] + [1]

Zone Chart




Total Zones

32 Security + 8 Button

48 Security + 16 Button

48 Security + 16 Button

Built-In Hardwired Zones




Total Possible Hardwired Zones




Total Possible Wireless Zones

26 Security + 8 Button

40 Security + 16 Button

40 Security + 16 Button

Button Zones




Zone Doubling


Yes (Zones 2-8)

Yes (Zones 2-8)

2-Wire Smokes

Up to 16 (Zone 1, wired in parallel)

Up to 16 (Zone 1, wired in parallel)

Up to 16 (Zone 1, wired in parallel)

4-Wire Smokes

Any hardwired zone - except Zone 1

Any hardwired zone - except Zone 1

Any hardwired zone - except Zone 1



3 (one is common)

3 (one is common)

Built-In Communicator



Honeywell 7847i


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When Honeywell first invited us to be a part of the beta program for their new Lyric Controller security system in 2015, one of the first things we noticed was that the wireless door/window sensors that came with the system were much bigger than the existing wireless door/window sensors that work with all of the other Honeywell wireless security systems. At the time, Honeywell said they were working on a smaller version door/window sensor and we are excited to finally announce that those smaller sensors are now available!

One of the major advantages of the Lyric security system over other wireless security systems is that the Lyric supports a new line of bi-directional, encrypted sensors that are more secure than the existing 5800 Series sensors. The SiX Series sensors utilize 128-bit AES encryption and communicate on a 2.4GHz Wi-Fi radio frequency channel directly to the Lyric system. This advanced technology makes it much more difficult for a savvy intruder to be able to "spoof" or hack the wireless SiX Sensors in an attempt to gain access to the protected property without setting off an alarm. While the sensors use a similar frequency that WIFI routers will use, the sensors communicate right to the Lyric's built-in wireless receiver and don't use the WIFI network in the home for sensor communications. Honeywell developed the SiX Series technology themselves and even put in specialized protocols designed to scan nearby networks to prevent possible WIFI interference. Before the Lyric system and SiX Series sensors were released, there weren't really any good options for wireless security systems that utilized encrypted sensors but encrypted sensor technology is a growing trend in the industry and we encourage everyone that has a non-encrypted system to consider upgrading to add an extra layer of security to your home.

The original SiX Series door/window sensors that were available when the Lyric system first launched were the SiXCT sensors. The SiXCTs are 3.13 inches long, 1.61 inches wide and 1 inch deep (depth of the sensor out into the room compared to the mounted surface) which is fairly large when you consider that you may want to have one installed on all of your home's doors and windows.

The new SiXMINICT door/window sensor is only 2.44 inches long, 1.25 inches wide and 0.45 inches deep off the mounted surface making for a much less intrusive sensor and much more aesthetically pleasing installation of your Lyric system with encrypted sensors protecting your doors and windows. The magnet for the SiXMINICT is also smaller than the magnet for the SiXCT. The SiXMINICT magnet is 1.5 inches long, 0.44 inches wide and 0.44 inches deep off the mounted surface while the SiXCT magnet is 1.5 inches long, 0.44 inches wide and 0.69 inches deep. The SiXMINICT and magnet provide a much flatter design so that the sensor and magnet blend into your door and windows and frames much better than the original SiXCT and magnet.

While the SiXMINICTs are much nicer looking, please keep in mind that the don't offer the same ability as the SiXCTs to wire in a wired sensor to the SiXCT so that it can act as a pass through wireless transmitter to send the alarm from the wired sensor to the wireless Lyric security system. In re-designing the smaller sensor, there wasn't enough room to add in the internal screw contacts that the SiXCT has for the option to wire in a wired device so the SiXMINICT can only be used as a regular sensor with the included magnet.

We have updated all of our Lyric wireless security system kits so that they include the newer, smaller SIXMINICTs instead of the older, bigger SiXCTs and we even put together a value 5-pack of SiXMINICT sensors that can save you on your system purchase if you need more sensors than are included in the kit you're ordering or if you need to add encrypted protection to 5 or more new doors/windows.

We believe encrypted sensor technology is only going to become more and more popular and we are excited to see that Honeywell is going to build out their line of SiX Series sensors so that hopefully there will eventually be an encrypted version of every 5800 Series device they offer now. Make sure to keep an eye on our blog as we will continue to let you all knwo about any new SiX devices that are released by Honeywell.

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Installing an outdoor motion detector is an excellent way to keep the perimeter of your home safe. These devices will allow you to know if anyone has trespassed on your property, and they can help ensure that the appropriate authorities are sent if needed. Outdoor motion detectors can also be used for home automation purposes as well. For example, you can set your system so that your lights turn on and your thermostat is adjusted automatically when your outdoor motion detector is triggered.

Choosing the best outdoor motion detector can seem like a daunting process. You’ll want a motion detector that can provide an acceptable range of detection, maintain a proper level of sensitivity, stand-up to inclement weather and communicate with your security system effectively. Each of these factors should be considered very carefully before deciding on which outdoor motion detector to purchase. You will also need to think about the type of security panel you own and its compatibility with the motion detector that you choose. Additionally, you may need to purchase an add-on, such as a signal translator or a wireless receiver so that your panel will work with the detector.

When considering which outdoor motion detector to use, it’s usually easiest to start by thinking about which type of panel you own. In this guide, we will cover some common security panels and discuss what we believe is the best motion detector for each system.

Outdoor Motion Sensors for the Honeywell Lyric Controller & LYNX Touch Panels

Honeywell’s wireless security systems are generally some of the easiest panels to use and set up with with security devices like outdoor motion detectors. Honeywell even makes its own outdoor motion detector, the Honeywell 5800PIR-OD, that is part of its 5800 Series of wireless devices. With its outstanding features, performance and reliability, not to mention its easy connectivity, the 5800PIR-OD is a great device to use with these Honeywell panels.

The 5800PIR-OD uses passive infrared (PIR) technology to detect the presence of motion. This means that the device looks out for infrared energy that is given off by a person. When the sensor detects a significant change in infrared energy, an alarm will be triggered. A user can configure the pulse count of the sensor to adjust its sensitivity. This will affect how large of a change in infrared energy is needed to activate the device. A higher pulse count will decrease the sensitivity of the sensor and require a larger change in infrared energy to be detected for an alarm to occur. In other words, adjusting the device to a low-sensitivity setting by increasing its pulse count will make a false alarm less likely to happen. The opposite is true for setting the device to a high-sensitivity setting with a low pulse count.

To further prevent false alarms, the 5800PIR-OD comes equipped with two different PIR detectors. Each detector must be tripped in order for the sensor to become triggered. This prevents things like small animals or falling leaves from setting off the device and triggering an alarm. However, a person is almost always large enough that they will activate both sensors and cause an alarm event to occur on your security system.

The Honeywell 5800PIR-OD is effective at detecting motion at a range of up to 40 feet. This range can also be reduced if desired. At this range, the device should be able to detect any events that are happening at important areas outside your home, while also not responding to occurrences that do not concern you. The 5800PIR-OD also features high, medium and low sensitivity settings, making it great for all applications.

As an outdoor motion detector, the Honeywell 5800PIR-OD is ready for almost anything that nature can dish out. The device includes a weather-resistant casing that prevents the detector from being damaged by heavy rain or moisture. This casing also ensures that fine particles such as dust or sand will not be able enter the inner-workings of the sensor and cause problems. The 5800PIR-OD is highly-effective in virtually any type of climate, being able to function properly in temperatures ranging from -4° to 122 ° Fahrenheit.

Setting up the 5800PIR-OD for use with the Lyric and LYNX panels is extremely easy. Like every other 5800 Series wireless device, the 5800PIR-OD can connect with these panels right out of the box. Just simply enroll the sensor with the panel through the system’s programming menu, install the detector in a desired location and it will be ready to use. The process is incredibly straight-forward, and it can typically be fully completed by almost any end-user.

Compatible Outdoor Motion Detectors for 2GIG GC3 and GC2 Panels

While 2GIG makes many fantastic devices for its security panels, the company does not offer any viable sensors for outdoor motion detection. However, just like the wireless Honeywell panels, both the 2GIG GC3 and GC2 function with the 5800PIR-OD with no additional add-ons needed. Because the 5800PIR-OD is such a phenomenal outdoor motion detector, we recommend it for use with these panels as well. Again, it’s as simple as enrolling the device within the panel’s programming menu and then installing the sensor.

Compatible Outdoor Motion Sensors for a Qolsys IQ Panel 2

Qolsys is a relatively young company whose IQ Panel 2 has received rave reviews from security experts. As a newer company, Qolsys is still working on improving its own in-house lineup of security devices. Keeping this in mind, we actually recommend looking to companies outside of Qolsys for an outdoor motion detector. With its amazing features and proven performance, the Honeywell 5800PIR-OD is actually an excellent device to pair with the Qolsys IQ Panel 2. The motion will require an external wireless translator to be utilized with the IQ Panel 2, but the 5800PIR-OD is still the best outdoor motion detector to use with the system.

Alarm Grid offers the Resolution Products RE524X, a great wireless translator that will allow the 5800PIR-OD to function with the Qolsys IQ Panel 2. The RE524X converts the signal sent by the 5800PIR-OD into one that is accepted by the IQ Panel 2. All you have to do is set up the RE524X with the IQ Panel 2 and then learn-in the motion detector with the RE524X. Once complete, you will be able to use the fantastic 5800PIR-OD with your innovative Qolsys panel.

Compatible Outdoor Motion Sensors for Honeywell Vista Panels

For wired systems like the Vista panels, it is usually desired to use a wireless receiver with in conjunction with a wireless outdoor motion detector. This because the sensor will typically be located far away from the system. A wireless receiver will allow a Vista panel to work with wireless devices.

Most owners of Vista Panels find that using a keypad with an integrated wireless receiver is the easiest solution for using wireless device with their Vista system. This way, they can have a keypad for controlling their security system and a much-needed wireless receiver in just one device. Our favorite keypad for this purpose is the Honeywell 6160RF keypad. The keypad can be easily hard-wired into any Vista panel, and it will serve as an excellent tool for controlling the system. Once connected, a wireless outdoor motion detector can be programmed with the panel. And just like the other Honeywell systems, we are strong supporters of using the 5800PIR-OD with any panel in the Vista lineup due to its great performance and general ease of use.

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With Total connect 2.0's December update, Honeywell continues to take both end-user and dealer feedback seriously to improve the platform. In this release, there are improvements in loading speed, multiple changes to the way panel and Total Connect users are handled, as well as the reintroduction of the Night Stay Arming option in both Lyric and Lynx panels, and the addition of Custom Arming in the Lyric panels.

Here's the splash screen for the December update. It outlines all the updates and improvements included with this release. This screen will come up when you first log in to the website after the update, but you can always access it from the About Screen in TC2 by following the "What's New in this app" link. This is also where you can provide feedback directly to Honeywell regarding the page.
What's New Splash Screen

The user administration section is now more streamlined, allowing you to view current or all location's users, as well as add users to any or all locations, for multi-location accounts, from a single screen. The process of adding a user is now menu driven, making it much simpler

New Menu Driven User EditingAdd User Prompts

In the security screen, on Lyric and Lynx Touch panels, you now have the option to Arm Night Stay, if there are any interior zones on your system programmed with Night Stay enabled. On Lyric panels, you also have the option to choose Arm custom. When you do, you'll be presented with a screen showing all available zones. Any zones you select with a check mark will automatically be bypassed, with the rest being armed. Security Screen with Night Stay and Arm Custom
You can choose whether or not you want the system to provide you with an Entry Delay, once armed. The panel will always provide an Exit Delay. Keep in mind that even though you may be bypassing all motion detectors, the panel considers this an "Away" arming, and will sound the Exit Delay beeps, if enabled. The panel does know the difference between arming via Total Connect 2.0, and arming via the keypad, so Auto Stay arming logic will not apply in this situation, as it would if you custom armed through the Lyric panel itself.
Arm Custom

Notification edits are now much easier to perform, and can be done directly from the Notification List page. You can still toggle a notification on or off quickly and easily, but you can also add a new notification Group from a drop down menu, and you can click on the name of the Notification Event to access an Edit screen, where you can change the name of the notification, shown as the subject of the notification message when it's received, add additional groups, then set those groups to also receive this notification, and so on. The Save option will only be available if information is changed on this screen.Edit Notification

I'm glad to see Honeywell is taking input from both dealers and end-users seriously, and I look forward to seeing more improvements in the future. What do you think about the new features and improvements to Total Connect 2.0? What other changes would you like to see? Let us know in the comments section!

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I'm sure many people were disappointed to see the Lyric MR4 firmware get released last month and have the firmware update NOT include the Lyric / Apple Homekit integration that has been promised since the Lyric first debuted at ISC West back in 2015. We've been as frustrated as our users and potential customers have been that have been waiting anxiously for the Homekit integration to the Lyric system, and since Honeywell was at the mercy of Apple releasing the approval for the functionality to be made available, even Honeywell wasn't sure exactly when it was coming.

With all that said, we're excited to announce that as of this week, a Lyric running MR4 firmware can now integrate with Apple's Homekit!

We just found out about the release and we haven't been provided with all the details on the functionality the integration allows but once we get more information from Honeywell and do some testing ourselves, we'll be posting more about this awesome update to the Lyric system!

In the mean time, if you want to confirm your Lyric can do Homekit, just press Security > Tools > enter Master Code > Advanced and if you're on MR4, you should see a Homekit Reset button that wasn't there previously.

If you aren't seeing that button, you should check the System Information tab to see if you're on the MR4 firmware (01.04.07178.491) and if you aren't you can either ask your alarm monitoring company to remote upgrade you or if you have the right firmware version to allow a local firmware update request, you can go to Security > Tools > enter Installer Code to see an option for 'Update firmware' which will get you up to the latest version.

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Recently, Honeywell re-launched Total Connect 2.0 with a new, sleeker user interface. The new site, which leaves Flash behind, and uses HTML5 instead, has a more modern look and is, somewhat uncharacteristically, a truly collaborative undertaking on Honeywell's part.

As TC2 is updated, Honeywell provides an "About" screen showing version information, and a "What's New in Total Connect 2.0" link. When you click the link, you get a list of recent additions and fixes, as well as a link to provide feedback directly to Honeywell. They seem to be taking this feedback to heart, and continually make improvements based on customer suggestions.

The new user interface is much cleaner than the original. Gone is the dark blue background, with the cartoonish icons. One of the great things about HTML5 is that you can access the TC2 site from just about any browser, on any device, including Windows mobile devices. This wasn't possible on the flash based site, and since there was no app for Windows phones or tablets, users with these devices couldn't take advantage of all that Total Connect 2.0 has to offer.

Another improvement is the fact that both the web page, and the iOS app, offer the same capabilities. You can admin users from both the web page, and the app. You can sync zones and automation devices from either location. The Android app does seem to lag a bit behind the iOS version. There are a few things you can't do on it that you can do from the web site. The good news is, you can log into the web site from the browser on your phone, making it a non-issue.

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