2GIG GC3 Posts

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Hi DIYers! If you haven't heard yet, a new firmware version for the 2GIG GC3 System is now available. This update provides support for the system's screensaver feature, and it allows video demos to be uploaded to the panel. It also fixes a few minor bugs that were known to cause issues.

2gig gc3 diy wireless security system w slash 7 screenThe firmware update is version 3.2.1.6653. Although the changes it offers are relatively minor, it's still worth downloading for users who want to get the very most out of their GC3 Systems. The biggest change is the addition of the screensaver feature, which will also likely be referred to as the slideshow feature. Users can add personal photos to a USB drive and transfer them to their GC3 System or associated 2GIG SP1 Keypad. They can then arrange these pictures to appear in a slideshow, which will automatically go into effect if the system is left unused for a certain period of time. These options are available in a new My Photos Menu found within System Settings.

Also included in the update is the video demos feature. Although this feature was intended with alarm dealers in mind, there's no reason why it can't be used by end users as well. Users will transfer personal video clips to the panel through a USB drive. They can then use the new Demo Menu option within the Installer Toolbox to add demo videos to the panel. Just like with the slideshow feature, the demo videos can be viewed from both the GC3 System and the 2GIG SP1 Keypad. Both photos and videos are uploaded independently so that a user can have different slideshows and demo videos between their system and their SP1 Keypads.

Other updates included fixed to low-battery indications and problems with the Access Point mode. If you want to download this firmware update, please check our GC3 Firmware Update Page. Download the necessary file, and transfer it to the root directory of a USB drive. You can then insert the USB drive into the top of the GC3 System. Then confirm the update, and provide either the Master Code or the Installer Code (default 1561) to begin. The system will reboot, and the update will be applied. Alarm Grid customers can also ask us to push the update down manually. However, this will include added costs.

If you have any questions about this update please email support@alarmgrid.com. You may also call us at (888) 818-7728 during our normal business hours of 9am to 8pm EST M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Hi DIYers! We have a quick product highlight for your today. We're taking a look at the 2GIG IMAGE3. This is an image sensor module for a 2GIG GC3 that doubles as both a motion detecting sensor and camera. It sends four high-quality images to Alarm.com upon activation for easy viewing.


Motion sensors are great for users who want to easily confirm break-ins, without having to invest in security cameras. Just last week we took a look at the Qolsys Image Sensor. Now we're looking at the 2GIG version. Really, this device is pretty similar, but it works with the 2GIG GC3 instead. Please note that you will need 2GIG XCVR3-GC3 installed in the system to support the module, and the GC3 System needs to be running Firmware Version 3.0.1 or higher. Also keep in mind that any Alarm Grid customer will need a Gold-level Plan or higher.

The 2GIG IMAGE3 knows to produce images when its motion sensor is activated. This is a PIR motion sensor that responds to the changes in infrared energy that occur with movement. The device also includes IR night vision so that it can detect motion and capture images in the dark. It will produce four images when activated, and they can quickly be viewed remotely through Alarm.com. This is possible both through the Alarm.com Website and the Alarm.com Mobile App on Android and iOS Devices. A user can even have Alarm.com send them email and text alerts so that they are sure to be notified.

The images produced by the 2GIG IMAGE3 have a 320 x 240 resolution, and they are full-color. The sensor has a battery life of three years. An LED light on the sensor provides assistance with setup and general troubleshooting. Overall, this is a very convenient sensor for anyone who want to quickly confirm intrusions, without having to worry about false alarms.

You can buy the 2GIG IMAGE3 from Alarm Grid right now. Get one to improve the protection and security and your home!

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Hi DIYers! We recently made a post that compared wireless systems with hardwired ones. We ultimately concluded that most end users are better-suited with a wireless system. If you have decided that you need a wireless home security system, this buyer's guide can help you review the options.

Remember, no matter which system you buy, you will need an alarm monitoring plan to go along with with it. Please review our alarm monitoring page for more information. Below are some of the best wireless security systems on the market today and what makes them so great:

Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus

Qolsys iq panel 2 plus verizon lte with powerg s line and legacy

The Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus is arguably the most robust alarm system on the market today. Each version provides support for PowerG 915 MHz Sensors and a choice of one legacy sensor type (319.5 MHz, 345 MHz or 433 MHz). The PowerG Sensors are particularly renowned for their ability to be used from up to 2,000 feet away from the system in open air. This is also one of the few wireless all-in-one panels with the ability to display the live feed for Alarm.com Security Cameras right from its screen. The panel also includes a built-in LTE cellular communicator (AT&T or Verizon) and a fully functional Z-Wave Plus Controller. In fact, this is one of the very few systems where virtually no add-ons are needed. However, the IQ Panel 2 Plus is one of the more expensive wireless panels available on the market. But users will certainly appreciate its sleek, modern design and superb functionality. The system uses Alarm.com as its interactive service platform, and it can readily connect with the service. All versions of the IQ Panel 2 Plus can be seen here.

Choose the IQ Panel 2 Plus if:

  • You want the remarkable signal range that comes with PowerG Sensors.
  • You want the ability to easily bring over existing wireless sensors (319.5 MHz, 345 MHz or 433 MHz) with your new security system.
  • You want the ability to view your security cameras right from your panel.
  • You don't mind paying top-dollar for an alarm system.

Honeywell Lyric Controller

Honeywell lyric controller encrypted wireless security system

The Honeywell Lyric Controller is still the flagship HomeKit security system from Honeywell, and the time-tested company has once-again produced an excellent panel. The Lyric is perhaps the best system on the market today for use with Apple HomeKit. It can pair natively with HomeKit in order to provide all of the functionality that a user would expect with the feature. The Lyric System also has its own lineup of encrypted sensors, called the Honeywell SiX Series. Additionally, it is backwards compatible with the Honeywell 5800 Series. Another factor that separates the Lyric from other systems is its ability to be used with Total Connect 2.0. This service is designed exclusively for Honeywell Alarm Systems, and it offers similar functionality to that of Alarm.com. The system's built-in WIFI card allows it to readily connect with the service. One downside to the Lyric is that it only includes a Z-Wave classic controller as opposed to a Z-Wave Plus controller. While it can support Z-Wave Plus devices, they will only have the capabilities of Z-Wave classic devices when used with this system. Please note, a separate Lyric Cellular Module is needed for cellular connectivity.

Choose the Lyric Controller if:

  • You plan to use your alarm system with Apple HomeKit.
  • You prefer using Total Connect 2.0 over Alarm.com.
  • You want to use encrypted Honeywell SiX Series Sensors.
  • You don't require a Z-Wave Plus controller.

2GIG GC3

2gig gc3 diy wireless security system w slash 7 screenThe 2GIG GC3 just gave itself a major upgrade in the form of partitioning support. This makes the GC3 the first ever AIO wireless system to support partitioning. 2GIG refers to this feature as "smart areas", and the system on the latest firmware, and up to four of these areas can be supported. Beyond that, the GC3 is also highly regarded for its strong build quality. That's not to say the other panels are lacking in that department, but the GC3 is perhaps the sturdiest system we have ever worked with. Its touchscreen controls are extremely responsive, and its full-color 7-inch display is a joy to look at. The system can use 2GIG 345 MHz Sensors and Honeywell 5800 Series Sensors. One weakness of the system is that it does not support any type of encrypted sensors at this time. But it does include a built-in Z-Wave Plus Controller for smart home devices. Like the IQ Panel 2 Plus, the system uses the Alarm.com service. But the user will need to buy a separate GC3 cellular communicator to use ADC.

Choose the GC3 if:

  • You need partitioning support.
  • You want a system with superb build-quality.
  • You want to use the Alarm.com platform.
  • You don't need encrypted wireless sensors.

2GIG GC2

2gig cp21 345 front

The 2GIG GC2 is our pick as a "budget" security system. We know that many people getting into home security will not need all of the advanced features that the state-of-the-art systems have to offer. That is where is the 2GIG GC2 comes into play. With the right support, it can still serve as an extremely viable option for many users. The panel features a 3.75" by 2.25" touchscreen with very responsive controls. This is considerably smaller than the 7-inch touchscreen displays of the other panels on this list, but it will work just fine for many users. The panel can support up to 60 wireless zones. Again, this is considerably less robust than the other systems, but it will be perfectly acceptable for most smaller and medium-sized homes. The system includes a Z-Wave classic controller for supporting smart home automation devices. In order to get the GC2 connected with Alarm.com, a separate GC2 cellular communicator is needed. Overall, if you're looking for a new security system at a reasonable price, you can't go wrong with the 2GIG GC2.

Choose the GC2 if:

  • You're shopping for a system on a budget.
  • You want a simple, yet capable alarm system.
  • You don't need support for as many wireless zones.
  • You don't need a larger touchscreen display.

If you still need help deciding on a wireless system, don't hesitate to reach out to us for support! You may email us any time at support@alarmgrid.com. Or you can call us at (888) 818-7728 from 9am to 8pm EST Monday thru Friday. We look forward to hearing from you!

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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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Hi DIYers! Are you looking to get started with a brand-new home security system? An alarm panel is crucial for protecting your family and for providing peace of mind. But with the many options available, the decision of which system to buy can seem overwhelming. But we are here to help.

Alarm grid inside security stickers

Our support team has worked with and tested many different alarm systems. Needless to say, we have a pretty good idea about what makes a great security panel. And while the perfect alarm system varies between different types of applications, there are a few things that almost any DIY user looks for. As always, having a system that is easy to use is very important, as it can save a user many headaches later on. This is important both for conducting the initial setup and for performing daily system tasks.

But there are a few other factors that have also come into prominence in more recent years. The design and aesthetics of a security system are more crucial than ever. An alarm system is no longer an anonymous metal box that you tuck away in the depths of your attic. New security systems have personality, and the best ones are pleasing in both appearance and function. The successful systems of today fit-in with virtually any decor, and they enhance the appearance of the home. Conversely, a system with a poor design can make a home appear old-fashioned or tacky. And while we love some hardwired systems like the VISTA Series, there's no denying that they just don't look as fun or exciting as a panel with a touchscreen.

Honeywell vista 20p wired alarm control panel

Finally, home automation is critical in 2018. And this goes beyond just being able to connect with an interactive service like Total Connect 2.0 or Alarm.com. The newest security systems can be controlled using voice commands sent through a smart home device. These voice commands can be used for performing both security functions and home automation functions. We've already encountered many cases where a buyer has based their purchasing decision on the automation features of an alarm panel.

Users should expect these home automation features and capabilities to expand in the coming years. Over time, they should become increasingly essential and standard for a new alarm system. Automation and voice operation will most likely become a way for security systems to separate from one another in the coming years, as the technology is only continuing to grow. The systems that innovate and push the boundaries, while still keeping their systems accessible to everyone will thrive.

Qolsys iq lightbulb dimmable z wave lightbulb for iq and iq pane

Just like in recent years, wireless systems are the way to go in 2018. This is no surprise, since wireless systems are easier to program and more pleasing to use and display than their hardwired counterparts. But what may be surprising to some user is that all of our top system picks were initially released last year or earlier. It just goes to show that these panels continue to impress, even as technology progresses further.

With al that in mind, here are our top 3 picks for security systems in 2018, listed in alphabetical order:

2GIG GC3

There's something special to be said about the 2GIG GC3. And it goes back to 2GIG itself. The name stands for "2 Guys In a Garage", and that's exactly what the company was at its onset. While the company has grown since then, their ideology remains the same - they believe that they can do it better. And 2GIG truly delivered with their GC3.

Compared to some other modern systems, the 2GIG GC3 isn't the fanciest or the most feature-heavy. It's the choice for users who want a sneaky solid and dependable option for home security. The GC3 design is modest and uneventful, and it's certainly not going to draw attention to itself. But when you do look at the system, you'll find that it actually comes off as very pleasing. The crisp white design with two prominent front buttons is simple, yet mature. It can surely fit in with almost any setting. And for many users, that's all they really ask for.

Another thing we like about the GC3 is the level of care that was put into it. The panel is one of the sturdiest pieces of security equipment we have ever come across. Same with the 2GIG Sensors. The latest 2GIG equipment has a certain "weight" to it that helps it feel more stable and secure. Just picking up the panel conveys a sensation of quality craftsmanship. You can certainly tell that 2GIG put a huge amount of love and care into designing their system. That alone makes it one of the top wireless security systems to consider for your home in 2018.

Now, the system isn't perfect. The system does not have any compatible encrypted sensors. Instead, it is forced to rely on the unencrypted 345 MHz sensors from 2GIG and Honeywell. There's nothing wrong with these sensors, but users who want a more secure sensor option will have to look else where. Also the programming menus can have a steeper learning curve for new users than the other systems presented here. And keep in mind that Apple HomeKit support is not available for the GC3.

However, the system can connect with Alarm.com to achieve home automation support with Amazon Alexa and Google Home. Alarm.com is an outstanding platform, and achieving a full smart home setup with the alarm panel is a relatively straightforward process. But a cellular communicator is needed to connect the GC3 with ADC. Having to buy a cellular communicator separately to access Alarm.com does turn some users away. But this is a necessary add-on for getting the most out of a 2GIG GC3.

Overall, the GC3 is your choice if you want a strong and sturdy system, and you don't necessarily mind not having access to every last frill presented by other panels.

2gig gc3 diy wireless security system w slash 7 screenHoneywell Lyric Controller

If the other alarm manufacturers are challenging the status quo, then Honeywell is the status quo. Honeywell has been in business for a long time. 112 years at the time of this writing. And while they haven't always been involved in the home security industry, they have certainly been in it longer than the likes of 2GIG and Qolsys. Honeywell's home security roots actually date back to the 1960s. These decades of experience prove that Honeywell is doing something right. And the company used their experience and expertise to create their latest offering, the Honeywell Lyric Controller.

The Lyric Controller pushed some boundaries, and it presented features that had never really been seen before when it was released in 2016. Starting with the design, there's a lot to like about the panel. Its display is large and colorful, and its touchscreen feels very satisfying to use. The white boarder with accompanying grey accents is pleasing, and its digital picture-frame feature allows users to add a personalized touch for when the system is idle. This is a panel you will be proud to display in your home.

But the Lyric is more than just a pretty face. It was one of the first alarm systems to have its own lineup of encrypted security sensors. The Honeywell SiX Series Sensors communicate using 2.4 GHz WIFI, and they are protected by 128-bit AES encryption. They are virtually impossible to hack or takeover, making them some of the most secure sensors on the market today. Other compatible sensor options for the Lyric Controller include the legacy Honeywell 5800 Series Sensors and the 2GIG Sensors. The Lyric Controller also was innovative for including both a WIFI card and a Z-Wave controller into the system as standard.

So what else makes the Lyric Controller stand-out? For one, it is able to connect with Honeywell's Total Connect 2.0 Service. This platform is designed exclusively for use with Honeywell Panels, and it is continuing to make strides in home automation. Honeywell recently announced that the service will work with Amazon Alexa devices, opening up a world of new possibilities. Additionally, the Lyric Controller is currently the only system that can be used with Apple HomeKit. This makes the Lyric essentially the default option for anyone hoping to use HomeKit with their alarm system. However, it is currently impossible to use Google Home with the Lyric.

Like the GC3, the Lyric does not readily include a built-in cellular communicator. One will need to be added separately if a user wants to receive cellular monitoring. But the Lyric has a few advantages here. While Alarm.com requires a cellular communicator, Total Connect 2.0 can be accessed over WIFI alone. In other words, the system can connect with the interactive service straight out of the box.

If a user is confident in their WIFI setup, and they feel they can forgo cellular service, then the Lyric is an ideal selection. Keep in mind though, if the power goes out or WIFI goes down, then the Lyric will be a sitting duck. For the record, Alarm Grid encourages users to use cellular monitoring if possible. But we won't stop you from using WIFI only. And if a user does decide to install a cellular communicator for the system, there is a convenient side slot for this purpose.

Overall, there are many reasons to choose the Lyric Controller. It is currently the only system that can be used with Apple HomeKit. So if you want to use HomeKit this is the system to use! And the Lyric is arguably the best option for users who are content with an IP monitoring plan and no cellular backup. The Lyric is also ideal for users who trust the Honeywell name. After all, it's hard to top an ongoing legacy of 112 years.

But if you want to use Google Home, or if you like Alarm.com more than Total Connect 2.0, then you should look elsewhere.

Honeywell lyric controller encrypted wireless security systemQolsys IQ Panel 2

Qolsys is a rather interesting company in the security industry. Its unique name is short for "Quality of Life Systems", implying that their systems will improve the quality of one's life. Qolsys is by far the youngest system manufacturer featured on the Alarm Grid website, having just been founded in 2010. So while Qolsys might not yet offer major-name recognition, it does offer lots of ambition! The young company maintains its headquarters in San Jose, California, and its West-Coast ideology certainly shows in its products.

At face value, there is a lot to love about the IQ Panel 2. We have never encountered an alarm system that comes as loaded and as stacked as this innovative piece of hardware. For starters, the IQ Panel 2 is the only system to date that comes with a built-in cellular communicator standard. Yeah, nearly every system has special packages that include a cell module. But only the IQ Panel 2 comes with this standard. The cell module is not an "add-on". It is a basic component here.

That is exactly the type of forward thinking we have come to expect with Qolsys. They know that cellular service is the optimal communication path for an alarm system. So rather than forcing a user to buy this simple accessory separately, Qolsys decided to give the people what they want. Most users will choose between the AT&T and the Verizon versions of the system to access a cellular network. We recommend going with whichever service works better in the area.

And we mean it when we say the IQ Panel 2 is stacked. Beyond the cellular module, the IQ Panel 2 also has a built-in WIFI card and a built-in Z-Wave controller. Right out of the box, the system is ready for dual-path communication and full home automation control. The system connects with Alarm.com, making it compatible with both Google Home and Amazon Alexa. But unfortunately, it cannot be used with Apple HomeKit. However, it is the only alarm system we know of that allows for Bluetooth disarming.

Moving on to sensors, there is actually a lot to discuss with Qolsys. The company produces its own sensors that operate at the 319.5 MHz frequency. This is the same frequency used by the Interlogix/GE Sensors, which have been around for many years. The Interlogix/GE Sensors can be used with the IQ Panel 2 System just fine. As for the Qolsys Sensors, they are split into two categories. These are the standard unencrypted Qolsys Sensors and the encrypted Qolsys S-Line Sensors.

Again, both Qolsys Sensor types will work with the IQ Panel 2. And the S-Line Sensors are the only encrypted 319.5 MHz sensors that can be used with the IQ Panel 2. But it must be mentioned that the S-Line Sensors use rolling code encryption. They are not as secure as the SiX Sensors that use 128-bit AES encryption when enrolled with the Honeywell Lyric Controller. But the S-Line Sensors are still more secure than anything offered from 2GIG, at least at this time.

But, it actually gets a lot more complicated than that. In the very near future, Qolsys is planning to release various daughtercards for the IQ Panel 2 System. These daughtercards will essentially serve as wireless receivers for the system. So the type of sensors that can be used with the system will depend on the daughtercards that are installed. The panel has slots available for two daughtercards, but they cannot be mixed freely.

The first slot will have one of the following cards: 319.5 MHz (the traditional Qolsys/Interlogix/GE option, outlined above), 345 MHz (for use with Honeywell 5800 Sensors and 2GIG Sensors), or 433 MHz (for use with legacy DSC Sensors). Then, in the second slot, a user can choose between an image sensor module card or a PowerG 915 MHz daughtercard.

And we need to stop and talk about PowerG for a second. PowerG Sensors are the most advanced security sensors we have ever seen. They boast a remarkable range of 2km in open air, and they are protected with full 128-bit AES encryption. This makes them extremely versatile and highly secure. Range should not be an issue when using PowerG Sensor. But if it ever is, DSC makes a PowerG Wireless Repeater to further expand on this ridiculous range.

So, long story short, a new buyer of an IQ Panel 2 can use PowerG Sensors and one other type of wireless sensors in a 300-400 MHz frequency. That is, unless they use an image sensor module, in which case they cannot use PowerG with the IQ Panel 2. This might seem very complicated (and it is!), but the point is, once Qolsys releases these upcoming daughtercards (very soon!), the IQ Panel 2 will be unparalleled in terms of sensor compatibility. Needless to say, we are looking forward to it.

And regardless of which sensor type you choose, learning the devices in is very easy on the IQ Panel 2. The system has an extremely intuitive programming process that is very easy for new users to learn. In fact, we'd even go as far to say that it is the easiest pairing process we have ever encountered for an alarm system. Let's put it like this - GC3 programming is easy, Lyric Controller programming is easier, and IQ Panel 2 programming is the easiest. This makes the IQ Panel 2 ideal for beginners.

Our final praise for the IQ Panel 2 System comes in the form of its design. It is incredibly sleek and modern, and its thin profile helps it stay out of the way when not in use. But when you are using the system, it is a beauty. The screen is large, bright and very colorful. The touchscreen controller is also very responsive, and it feels like a joy to use on a daily basis. Whether you're operating Z-Wave devices, programming the system or just arming and disarming, using the IQ Panel 2 will be breath of fresh air.

Unfortunately, there is a downside to the IQ Panel 2 design. It is a more flimsy system than the likes of the GC3 and the Lyric Controller. Don't get us wrong, the IQ Panel 2 is built well enough for users who don't abuse their equipment. But it doesn't feel as sturdy as other top systems. Qolsys is a young company, and their build-quality might not be quite there yet. This can come into play when opening up the system for wiring purposes or for providing power to the system. Opening up the system is somewhat of a challenge, and closing it properly can be difficult at times. We hate to describe a system as "flimsy", but that is sometimes the case with the IQ Panel 2. As long as you're careful with it, then it should be fine. But don't expect a total tank like the GC3.

All things considered, there are many reasons to choose the IQ Panel 2. If you want a complete and total system right out of the box, it is perfect. If you are intrigued by the DSC PowerG Sensors, the IQ Panel 2 will be your best bet once the daughtercard is released. Its thin-profile and sleek, modern design make the IQ Panel 2 ideal when aesthetics are a factor. It's also the perfect match for users who want to use equipment from an exciting newcomer in the security industry like Qolsys. And the system is perfect for new DIY users because of its incredibly easy programming process.

But keep in mind, the system can be flimsy at times. If you can take good care of your equipment, then this won't be an issue. But if you want something sturdier, go with the GC3 or the Lyric Controller instead. Users should also choose the Lyric Controller over the IQ Panel 2 if they hope to use Apple HomeKit with their security system.

Qolsys iq panel 2 at and t wireless security system with at and

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At Alarm Grid, we often encourage users to "roll with what they got" and get as much as they can out of their current system. But there are some cases where enough is enough, and upgrading to a brand-new panel is the best option. Here are 5 reasons for you to make a system upgrade.

1. You don't know the Installer Code. Virtually every alarm system comes equipped with a default Installer Code that is absolutely necessary for providing basic programming functions. We recommend leaving this code at the default because it can be very difficult to get into programming if you lose this code. Additionally, you might not know the system's Installer Code if it was monitored by a different company that intentionally changed the code.

Some systems will technically allow you to get back into programming even if you lose this code. However, this can be a tedious process, as you may need to reset the system to factory default settings. This would require you to reprogram every sensor for the system. And some systems don't even allow this. So if you lose your Installer Code and can't get back into programming, sometimes the best option is to just start fresh with a completely new security system. Depending on the system you choose, you may even be able to keep all your old sensors as well.

Honeywell 5816 wireless door window sensor

2. You want more reliable communication. Nearly every alarm system on the market today is capable of achieving a dual-path communication setup with WIFI and cellular connectivity. This type of setup will provide ultra-fast speeds and excellent reliability. Even many older systems can be upgraded to achieve a similar setup. Cellular connectivity in particular is highly important for anyone who is serious about receiving reliable alarm monitoring services.

Unfortunately, some older systems are stuck using phone line monitoring, and they cannot be upgraded to a superior communication path. Using a phone line is extremely discouraged, as it is an outdated technology that offers unreliable service and slow connection speeds. Not to mention, phone service has some serious issues of its own. So if you're still using an alarm system with phone line connectivity, and you want more reliable and faster monitoring, it might time to make a change.

Honeywell lyric lte a at and t lte cellular communicator for the

3. You want easier daily access. Many older alarm systems are controlled through touch-button keypads that are wired in with the system. While this is fine for many users, it doesn't necessarily compare with the convenience of a touchscreen controller. This type of control will make it much easier to perform daily tasks like arming and disarming from the panel. And while there are certain touchscreen controllers for certain systems (e.g. the Honeywell Tuxedo Touch for VISTA Panels and the Interlogix Two-Way Talking TouchScreen for Interlogix Panels), they are often very expensive in their own right.

Many users often find that the best option is to simply ditch their hardwired system entirely and upgrade to a new wireless one with a touchscreen. And even if you have a large number of hardwired sensors, you can probably bring them over with a compatible wired to wireless converter. For example, the Honeywell 5800C2W will allow hardwired sensors to be used with a new wireless Honeywell System.

Honeywell 5800c2w hardwire to wireless system 9 zone conversion module4. You want more advanced sensors. Alarm sensors are continuing to become more and more advanced over time. And eventually, certain features that are added will simply be incompatible with an older system. An example of this involves the Honeywell SiX Series Sensors and the Qolsys S-Line Sensors. These sensors are both protected by 128-bit AES encryption, which makes them virtually impossible to takeover or hack into. However, this encryption limits their system compatibility. For the SiX Series Sensors, they can only work with Honeywell Lyric Panels. Meanwhile, the Qolsys S-Line Sensors will only work with the Qolsys IQ Panel 2.

It's not to say that older legacy sensors are bad or anything. They will work just fine with a security setup. But they aren't always going to offer the same advanced features and capabilities as newer sensors. So any users who want to incorporate more advanced system sensors into their setup may need to make an upgrade.

Honeywell sixpir lyric smart sensor motion

5. You want to obtain a smart home. Older alarm systems are often limited in how they can be controlled remotely. They are also sometimes restricted in their functionality with smart home applications, such as Google Home and Apple HomeKit. Most of this is done through an interactive service platform, like Honeywell's Total Connect 2.0 or Alarm.com. In fact, most security experts would agree that an alarm system is fairly outdate if it cannot connect with an interactive service platform.

An interactive service is usually accessed through a web browser or through a mobile app on a smartphone. There are some useful basic features that come with virtually any interactive service. These features include arming and disarming the system, checking the status of sensors, controlling Z-Wave home automation devices and viewing the live feed of programmed security sensors. So with access to an interactive service platform, these actions can be performed from nearly anywhere in the world.

Most smart home devices follow a certain protocol when interacting with an alarm system. In these cases, an interactive service platform typically acts as a "middleman" between the smart device and the security system. Any command that is is sent through the smart device (e.g. a Google Home device or an Amazon Alexa device) will first be sent to the interactive service server (e.g. Total Connect 2.0 or Alarm.com) and then to the system (e.g. the Honeywell Lyric Controller or the 2GIG GC3).

However, this type of access can be impossible for older alarm systems. So if you want to obtain a smarter home security setup, upgrading your system may be a good first step.

So, which system is right for me?

If you're in the market for a new system, we generally recommend choosing a wireless system. Most users find that wireless systems are easier to program, and they will provide all-in-one access for the user. These systems are also compatible with some of the most advanced sensors on the market, and they can all be used with an interactive service platform.

Our most favorite systems are the Honeywell Lyric Controller, the 2GIG GC3 and the Qolsys IQ Panel 2. These are all outstanding wireless systems that will provide tremendous functions and features for an end user. They are also each compatible with certain smart home applications. Make sure to check compatibility before making your decision if you want to achieve a smart home setup. But regardless, you can't go wrong with any of these outstanding systems.

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Alarm Grid is making firmware pages available for upgradeable AUI security systems and touch screens that we sell. As a large number of them, including the older Tuxedo Touch, allow the software on them to be upgraded, an end user can extend the life of their system and get all the newest features simply by adding the latest and greatest software to the device. Moreover, any pesky security-critical problems can be easily solved without having to replace the panel.

For now, we've got the the following pages setup:

If you have any questions about how you might install the firmware onto these systems, please email support@alarmgrid.com. We'll be glad to help any of our monitored customers.

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The Alarm Grid team is proud to announce some very exciting news fresh off our journey to Las Vegas at ISC West. For those already familiar with our DIY platform you will be happy to hear that our existing alarm system brands, Honeywell and 2GIG have made some giants leaps in technology. We would like to welcome those that are new to our DIY community! ISC West is a larger than life convention with incredible innovation announcements from our core alarm brands. Where to start? Let's start with our foundation, Honeywell.



Honeywell makes excellent alarm equipment but there is steep competition now when it comes to software on Total Connect 2.0. Ahem, Alarm.com... Thankfully Honeywell came through at ISC West and showcased their new line of HD AlarmNet security cameras. Yes, HD cams that will tie in with your existing TC account. Check out our Lyric HD camera press release.

Another product that Honeywell released at ISC is the 5800COMBO. The first wireless heat, smoke and CO detector that will communicate with any 5800 series receiver. That means the Lynx Touch series, Lyric series and any VISTA series panel with a compatible 5881 RF receiver. Similar to the 5808W3 the heat detector utilizes both fixed temperature (135F degrees) and rate-of-rise heat detection (15F degrees within 1 minute) along with a photoelectric smoke detector. The integrated CO detector makes this combo unit the ideal multi-functional device. Since it does not use the SiX series RF technology it is not encrypted. Honeywell plans on releasing a SiX combo detector at some point in the future. Check out our blog post: 5800COMBO Wins SIA New Product Showcase Award


Those with a Lyric Controller should be psyched to learn that the Samsung Smartthings Z-Wave hub is now compatible as a secondary controller. There are some very unique features to the way the Lyric and Smart Things hub interact as a “primary” and “secondary” controller. The Lyric seems to be learning into SmartThings as a virtual primary of sorts. That is a word I just made up by the way. The point is that the Lyric can be learned into the hub and all devices are shifted to it. The difference is that the Lyric can still include devices after it is paired and shift these automatically to the SmartThings hub. Normally "secondary" controllers can control devices from a primary but only the primary can learn devices. The relationship between the Lyric and SmartThings breaks this general rule. If you have a Lyric and are looking for a more advanced platform to expand your automation this may be the one for you! We have a FAQ on how to pair them on our website.


Enough about Honeywell. Nortek the parent company of 2GIG made some lofty announcements at ISC. We will briefly touch them here and get up some more details FAQs and blog posts shortly. First off, the GC3 has had more firmware updates in the past couple months than it has since the release! Exciting stuff already available and even more to come...

Firmware version 3.0.1 and 3.0.2 are officially available. V3.0.1 added support for the XCVR3-GC3 900MHz transceiver and the IMAGE2 Alarm.com image sensor. While this was exciting the 3.0.2 now supports future LTE communications, Schlage Z-Wave door locks and local WIFI technology. The LTE communicator has not been released yet. We will blog post when we have it available. Should be soon! "Local" WIFI in this case means that it will speak locally to a touchscreen keypad but not offer remote communications to a server. The touchscreen keypad is called the SP1 and it is a slim tablet design that will offer simple security control. It is slated to be released this summer. We will be getting up the V3.0.2 firmware on our website ASAP!

Rumors of a 3.1.0 firmware release are the real buzz. The DW40 push button bypass door sensor will begin logging bypass events with this update. More importantly, broadband WIFI support and a larger fully functional touchscreen keypad that supports full security features and automation control as well. This will be called the SP2 and seems to be the exact same physical design as the GC3 panel. It even has the cellular door which will never be used. They must have done this for production cost efficiency purposes. Although it could have just been a GC3 at ISC West since they did not have the plastics made yet. Who knows. The SP2 will be a sweet addition to the Go!Control family nonetheless.


(Top: SP2 Bottom: SP1)

We got our eyes on two completely new alarm system platforms from 2GIG. The Rely and Vario systems will offer two new vertical business models. The Rely panel will perfectly suit customers looking for an affordable, simple cellular alarm system. It is fully wireless and supports up to 14 of the 2GIG 345MHz wireless sensors (No 5800 series Honeywell like the GC panels). The Vario is a wired, bus based alarm system that supports up to 4 partitions. Prox tag keypads looks super slick! This will be more of a commercial system but will certainly be good for pre-wired residential environments as well.


Honestly Alarm.com has released so many products and third party integrations in the past couple of years I was little disappointed by their announcements at ISC West 2017. The flip side to that coin is the approach of other dealers to announce new products that do not reach the market for another year. I may prefer Alarm.com's strategy to simply push market technologies at full speed all year long. Release products when they are ready regardless of conventions like ISC. With all that said, Alarm.com does have some fun new toys.

Alarm.com currently offers water management tools in the form of flood protection and Z-Wave water valve control. However they announced adding irrigation control now. The Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller and the Rain Bird Irrigation Controller will be offered into the long list of third party integrators. Yes you will be able to schedule your irrigation from your security app from across the world. Alarm.com is relentlessly tackling every vertical market and inviting them into their ecosystem. The final result is an incredibly versatile offering for customers with a wide range of different protocols, technologies and brands.

Alarm.com also announced a partnership with Legrand's On-Q smart audio system. Yes they are now involving AV! Hoping for a Sonos integration in the future. My hopes were not met with any solid responses so don't get your hopes up for anything too soon. Anyways the Legrand integration offers the first audio device to be immersed into automation scenes. Set schedules or build rules to trigger the audio in your home or business. The Legrand system utilizes a network of twisted pair cable like CAT5 or CAT6 to connect the different amps and peripheral speakers. This makes it easy to install with a prewired home.

Lastly the Alarm.com team showed us the new slimline doorbell camera. Manufactured by SkyBell this product fits a specific need for those with small spaces to replace an existing doorbell. The existing SkyBell HD is already available and due to its larger size offers a1080P resolution. The new slim design bumps it down to 720P but it still looks great.

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While we wait for Honeywell to release their exciting security system, the Lyric, 2GIG has finally released their anticipated panel, and Alarm Grid is the first DIY outfit to make it available!

If you are one of the many people who have been awaiting the arrival of the much anticipated GC3, then this is an exciting day for you. The GC3 is 2GIG's much needed update to the Go!Control 2, which has been the workhorse of the brand since 2010. In 2011, the panel was unexpectedly awarded "Security Product of the Year" at the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), as well as the "2011 Best Wireless Security Panel" award, and "2011 Best in Show" at Electronic Security Expo (ESX). The all-in-one panel was revolutionary, and the ability to use Alarm.com as the interactive backbone of the 2GIG line changed the way that the security industry does business.

Now, with Honeywell's LYNX line and the coming Lyric, the Go!Control is a still excellent panel in a sea of many panels that have caught up and, in many cases, surpassed its many features, which in 2011 had never really been seen before. The GC3 is a sleek, new panel that is pulling 2GIG back into the much deserved limelight.


The 7-inch, extremely responsive capacitive color touchscreen is a nice touch, as is the information packed display. Featuring excellent Z-Wave controls, much like its predecessor and competing Honeywell panels, the GC3 makes it clear that it is a security system first, but under the surface, it is a deceivingly capable device that allows users the ability to control their Z-wave home automation capable devices as well as the ability to receive updates to its firmware. This modern security system can and will keep up with the times - whatever they may bring.

Cellular communicator for GC3While you can purchase a standalone panel, we have also made the GC3PK kit available that includes 3 DW10 door and window sensors, a KEY2-345 key fob, and a single PIR1-345 motion sensor, as well as the GC3 system itself. All you will need to add to that kit is a radio that best suits your needs. At the moment, 2GIG has released radios that work with Verizon and AT&T, or, if you're in Canada, Rogers. These simple radios snap into the side of the GC3, making installation incredibly simple and almost exactly as easy as the process of installing a radio in Honeywell's Lyric controller. In all, it seems, 2GIG has made huge improvements over its older systems, as well as making a number of incredible improvements that will make having this security system a delight.

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