2GIG GC3e Posts

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The Smart Arming feature can be enabled for any residential customer who has an interactive monitoring plan with Alarm.com. Once enabled, the feature can easily be configured using either the customer website or iOS or Android app.

Once configured, the Smart Arming feature will automatically arm the system to the Stay Mode once the occupants of the home have gone to bed. This can be accomplished using a schedule, or by configuring certain door and/or motion sensors to work in conjunction with the feature. You can reach the Smart Arming settings by going to Security, or through the Automation page. The Smart Arming programming is listed as Goodnight for Arming, and Wake Up for Disarming.


For example, you can set the system to Arm Stay at 10:00 PM, or you can set the system to Arm Stay when no activity has been detected for 30 Minutes between 10:00 PM and 11:30 PM (this is just an example, and you can use whatever time frame you want). If you choose the latter option, you then configure which zones you want to apply this logic to.

For the Stay Arming feature, doors, windows, and motions can be used along with the feature. So, once you choose the zones to be used with this logic, if no activity has been detected on ALL of those zones for a full 30 Minutes, and the time is between 10:00 PM and 11:30 PM, the system will automatically Arm Stay. Smart Arming logic is canceled if the system is already Armed Away.

For Disarming the options are similar. You can set the system to Disarm at a specific time, or you can set it to Disarm when motion is detected on certain motion detectors within a specific time window. For example, in our screenshot below, you can see we have our system set to Disarm if the Upstairs Motion detects movement between 8:00 AM and 9:00 AM. We also have it set so that if no motion is detected, the system will still disarm at 9:00 AM, which is sort of the best of both worlds.

Notice that only Motion Detectors are now available to tie to the Disarm logic. You don't want someone opening a door to disarm the system. By the same token, be sure that no outdoor motions are configured to work with this automation.


This is an excellent new feature that can go a long way toward preventing false alarms. No more forgetting to disarm the system when you go to let the dog out in the morning. As long as you set it up so that a motion you walk past on your way to the door causes the system to Disarm, you're all set. No more laying in bed wondering if you remembered to set the alarm. Now, as long as you have configured the Goodnight options, you know your system will arm itself based on either a schedule or activity (or lack thereof) combined with a time window.

The following Alarm.com compatible panels support this feature:

Panel Compatible Motion Sensor
Groups (Arm & Disarm)
Compatible Contact
Sensor Groups (Arm Only)
2GIG GC2/e 4, 10, 23 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 10, 23
2GIG GC3/e 4, 10, 23 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 10, 23
2GIG Edge 4, 10, 23 All
DSC PowerSeries Neo/Pro 4, 5, 9, 10 4, 5, 9, 10
Interlogix Concord 15, 17, 18, 20 14, 16
Interlogix Simon XT/XTi/XTi-5i 15, 35 14, 16
Qolsys IQ Panel 2 17, 20, 44, 43, 35 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 16, 25
Qolsys IQ Panel 4 17, 20, 44, 43, 35 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 16, 25
Note: Sensor-based disarming is only available in the Simon XT/XTi/XTi-5i with firmware versions below 193a.

What do you think of this new Alarm.com feature? For that matter, what do you think of Alarm.com's commitment to bringing you new products and features in general? They're doing an excellent job of listening to customers and responding with great new options. Drop us a note in the comments and let us know what you think. We always look forward to hearing from you!

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Alarm panel manufacturers routinely offer panel firmware updates. This allows them to add features and correct issues. However, most DIY users don't have access to the restricted portion of the company's site where these files are housed. Alarm Grid offers the latest firmware file downloads.

Most alarm panels can be updated Over-the-Air (OTA) using either Alarm.com or AlarmNet360. AlarmNet never charges anything for these updates, and Alarm.com also offers them for free, unless they have to be sent to the panel using cellular data. In that case, the update will incur a small fee, depending on the size and number of updates that need to be sent.

Qolsys panels will not perform an OTA update unless the panel is connected to WIFI. If you have one of these panels installed in a location where WIFI is not available, then the only option is to either update using a cell phone as a WIFI Hotspot, or download the firmware files, and then install them via either Micro SD Card (IQ2/IQ2+) or Access Point (IQ4).

Honeywell L5200, L5210, and L7000

Honeywell used to offer free firmware updates for the LynxTouch panels that they pushed remotely using AlarmNet360. It was a messy process, AlarmNet tech support was required to request these updates individually, per account. So, sometime after the introduction of the Lyric panel, they stopped this practice. The Lyric can only be firmware updated using AlarmNet360, but the update can be requested by the dealer, and now, the customer can also request the firmware update via the panel. When Honeywell, now Resideo, ceased offering OTA updates for the LynxTouch panels, they released the Honeywell LYNXTOUCH-MSD Firmware Update Tool. This tool can be used to update the L5200, L5210, or L7000 panels.

When an L5200 is updated to the latest version, it becomes an L5210 internally, though there are certain physical traits of the L5200 that won't change, like the screen size. Depending on when you purchased the LYNXTOUCH-MSD tool, it may come with the latest firmware version already on the SD Card (it comes with both L5210 and L7000 firmware already loaded). However, if you purchased your update tool when they were first released, it will have an older firmware version on it, and you will need to download the newest firmware to the SD Card and update the panel again to get the most current version. The update files are housed on the Resideo website in the password-protected portion of MyWebTech, so we offer the files for download from our site:

2GIG Go!Control 2 (GC2) or 2GIG GC2e

The 2GIG GC2 and 2GIG GC2e have a couple of different methods for updating the firmware. There is the 2GIG UPDV Easy Updater Tool and the 2GIG UPCBL2 Firmware Update Cable. The updater tool is geared more toward a professional installer who will be updating multiple different panels over the course of years. It comes with a version of either the 2GIG GC2 or GC2e firmware loaded but the tool itself will then have to be updated when newer firmware is released. The files to load are available from our site and are linked below.

The updater cable is the method of update most DIY users choose to use. It requires that the user have a windows computer available. The cable is a fixed length, so the computer that will be used needs to be near the alarm panel in order to perform the update. Ideally, a laptop is used. Instructions for using the updater cable to load the latest firmware onto a 2GIG GC2 or 2GIG GC2e can be found here. Instructions for loading new firmware onto the 2GIG UPDV Easy Updater Tool can be found here. Instructions for using the updater tool to update a 2GIG GC2 or GC2e panel once it has the latest file loaded can be found here.

The 2GIG GC2 and 2GIG GC2e firmware pages are linked below. Each page has both Updater Tool and Updater Cable files:

2GIG GC3 and 2GIG GC3e

The 2GIG GC3 and 2GIG GC3e technically use the same firmware. The 2GIG GC3e was released at firmware version 3.2.1, so any GC3e panel will have at least this version of firmware already installed. Alarm Grid offers firmware versions 3.0.1 up through 3.2.4.6725 on our 2GIG GC3 Firmware Update Page. On our 2GIG GC3e Firmware Update Page, we offer 3.2.3.6713 up through the current version which, at the time of this writing, is 3.2.6.6770.

The 2GIG GC3 and 2GIG GC3e are both much easier to update than the 2GIG GC2 or GC2e. Both 2GIG GC3 versions offer WIFI, which makes OTA updates simple, as well as free. For systems that need it, an OTA update can be pushed from Alarm.com via cellular for a nominal fee. Again, Alarm Grid offers this type of upgrade to our customers at our cost, with no markup. If WIFI is not available at the panel, and a user doesn't want to pay for an OTA update, we offer the upgrade files from our site. This FAQ provides a walkthrough on how to perform the update using the files from our site. Instructions for performing the update are also listed on the page along with the firmware files.

2GIG Edge

The 2GIG Edge updates in the same way as the 2GIG GC3 and GC3e. It has a USB port located on the top of the panel. Once the firmware update file has been loaded onto the root directory of a USB drive, the drive is inserted into the port on the panel's top and the panel prompts the user to update. For full instructions on updating a 2GIG Edge, check out this FAQ.

Qolsys IQ Panel 2 and IQ Panel 2 Plus

The IQ Panel 2 and IQ Panel 2 Plus also use the same firmware version. The difference between the two panels is hardware. The IQ Panel 2 does not support PowerG, and the IQ Panel 2 Plus does. As noted above, Qolsys panels will not download firmware updates via cellular data, so the options are to connect the panel to WIFI, temporarily connect the panel to a Hotspot on a cellular phone, or update locally using a Micro SD Card. The step-by-step instructions for loading the firmware from an SD Card are shown on the firmware update page.

Qolsys IQ Panel 4

The Qolsys IQ Panel 4, like the previous IQ Panels, will not download firmware updates via cellular data. However, unlike the IQ Panel 2 or IQ Panel 2 Plus, the IQ Panel 4 does not have a Micro SD Card slot. Instead, if WIFI is not accessible by the panel, either directly or via a cell phone Hotspot, then the firmware update files have to be downloaded to a phone or tablet, then the phone or tablet must be connected to the IQ Panel 4 Access Point, and the files then loaded to the panel from the phone or tablet. Instructions for updating using the Access Point are available on the firmware download page.

Above are links to all the different panel firmware pages we offer here on the Alarm Grid site. In addition to alarm panel firmware, we also offer some firmware pages for the Honeywell Home TUXEDOW or Resideo TUXEDOWC touchscreen keypads as well as the older Tuxedo Touch firmware. We don't have a page for the older 6280 touchscreen keypads, but if you need access to that firmware, send an email to support@alarmgrid.com letting us know what you need and we can get you access to it.

As mentioned above, the Lyric panel can only be updated via AlarmNet360 and in order to update the firmware, the panel has to be actively monitored. The same is true of the newer Honeywell Home and Resideo ProSeries panels (PROA7, PROA7PLUS, PROA7C, and PROA7PLUSC). These panels must be actively monitored and registered with AlarmNet360 before an update can be applied to them.



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It seems every week we're reporting a new feature being rolled out by Alarm.com. They recently added remote Duress Code programming through the Alarm.com app or website. Alarm.com must first enable this feature for the dealer, then users will have access if their panel supports the feature.

Before any Alarm.com user can start configuring codes remotely, the alarm dealer for the customer account must have this feature enabled. If the feature is not showing up when a user attempts to remotely program the Duress Code, contact the Alarm.com dealer and ask them to enable it. They may need to contact their Alarm.com Sales Representative to get the feature enabled.

Next, be sure that the alarm panel being used supports this feature. We have an FAQ on how to set up this feature via the Alarm.com Website and another FAQ on how to set up this feature using the Alarm.com App. Both of these FAQs have a list of compatible panels, and advise if a single or multiple codes are supported by the panel.

The way a Duress Code works is simple. If a system user is forced to interact with their alarm panel in any way, though this will usually involve disarming the system, if the Duress Code is used, then in addition to performing the security system function a silent signal is sent to the monitoring station alerting them to the fact that the system user is under duress. They are being forced to do something against their will. The monitoring station will receive this signal and then process it according to the customer's pre-stated wishes, and their own policies regarding duress situations.

The key element to the use of a Duress Code is the ability for someone who is not onsite to receive the signal and immediately take action. If the security system is not monitored by a trained 24/7 monitoring station employee then the Duress Code might just as well not exist. It may be possible to send a text, email, or push notification to someone outside the home or business, but there's a good chance that person may never see it, or may not understand what they're seeing. If there is any concern that a duress situation might occur, then central station monitoring is the best way to protect the people you love.

And finally, one thing I nearly forgot to mention above, an Alarm.com dealer cannot program a Duress User for a customer through their panel programming portal. Only the Admin Alarm.com Account user, the homeowner or business owner, is allowed to affect these codes remotely. So, what do you think about this new feature? Do you like the idea of being able to control system Duress Codes remotely? Leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts. We always enjoy hearing from our readers. That's all for now, stay safe out there.

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Update 12/30/21: The 2GIG GC3e has been discontinued and is no longer available. The 2GIG Edge w/ AT&T LTE or the 2GIG Edge w/ Verizon LTE have replaced it.

In an effort to clear out existing stock, the 2GIG GC3e Alarm Panel is now available at the bargain price of $189.99. This is an excellent chance to get a modern and reliable alarm panel for your home or business at a super low price. Act quickly, because supplies will run out very soon!

We announced earlier this month that the 2GIG GC3e was discontinued. However, due to existing stock, the GC3e Panel is effectively back from the dead for one final run. Once the limited stock runs out, the 2GIG GC3e will be discontinued forever. Room needs to be made for newer panels, so we're offering the 2GIG GC3e for the low price of $189.99. This is a rare opportunity to get a great alarm panel to build around. It can certainly fulfill all of your security and smart home automation needs once you get it set up and running!

The GC3e is fantastic for alarm monitoring. Just add either a 2GIG LTEA-A-GC3 AT&T LTE Communicator or a 2GIG LTEV1-A-GC3 Verizon LTE Communicator, and you will be able to connect the GC3e with the Alarm.com Servers for monitoring service. Since the 2GIG GC3e already has an internal WIFI card, adding the cellular communicator will make it into a dual-path system that will stay monitored even if one path goes down or becomes unavailable. Alarm.com requires cellular connectivity, so you will need a monitoring plan that includes cellular communication, such as an Alarm Grid Gold Plan (Self or Full).

Although the 2GIG GC3e doesn't support more advanced features like Bluetooth Disarming and Facial Recognition Disarming, the GC3e does support the robust lineup of 2GIG eSeries Encrypted Sensors. You can also supplement those encrypted sensors with non-encrypted sensors from the 2GIG 345 MHz Series and the Honeywell 5800 Series for good measure. The panel also has an integrated Z-Wave Plus controller so that you can start building a smart home network to make your life more convenient.

Overall, the 2GIG GC3e is an outstanding choice if you want more of a simple, no-frills panel that is still unmistakably modern and offers all the remote access and function through Alarm.com. If you do want something more advanced, than the 2GIG GC3e's effective replacement, the 2GIG Edge is available in AT&T LTE and Verizon LTE variants. Both the GC3e and the Edge connect with the same Alarm.com platform, and both offer the same sensor compatibility. The main benefit to going with the Edge is that you get access to some more advanced features, such as the aforementioned Bluetooth Disarming and Facial Recognition Disarming. If you don't mind missing out on those features, then the 2GIG GC3e is basically just as good. Both systems feature very similar menus and user interfaces (UIs), so if you know one, then you pretty much already know the other!

In addition, we are also offering special pricing on 2GIG GC3e System Kits. Each kit includes a cellular communicator for getting the system monitored a Honeywell LT-Cable for providing power, one (1) 2GIG PIR1e-345 Motion Sensor, and either three (3) or ten (10) VERSA-2GIG Door and Window Contact Sensors. Just decide whether you want AT&T LTE or Verizon LTE, and also whether you want three (3) door and window sensors or ten (10) door and window sensors. Then find the corresponding kit below. Hurry, before time runs out!

Remember, once supplies of the 2GIG GC3e run out, then the system is gone forever. If you have any questions about the GC3e, or any of the other security systems on our website, or if you want to speak with a security system expert who can help you build the perfect setup for your home or business, then please do not hesitate to send an email to our dedicated team at support@alarmgrid.com. We're here to check your emails from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. Whether you go with the 2GIG GC3e, its replacement, the 2GIG Edge, or a different system entirely, we will be there to help you every step of the way. Thank you for reading the Alarm Grid Blog, and we will be back with more news and promotions real soon!

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A new alarm panel hitting the market often means an old one is discontinued. That is the case here today, as the 2GIG GC3e has been formally discontinued by Nortek Control. The GC3e has been replaced by the 2GIG Edge, which is available in both an AT&T variant and a Verizon variant.

As we look back on the 2GIG GC3e, we gotta admit that the panel was in an unfavorable position from the start. The system was a direct replacement to the 2GIG GC3, as it retained largely the same user interface, and its design only received a minor refresh. The big new addition with the GC3e was its ability to support 2GIG eSeries Encrypted Sensors. Along with the 2GIG GC2e, this marked the first time that 2GIG Alarm Panels could support encrypted sensors.

Unfortunately, 2GIG was late to the party, as other security systems like the Honeywell Lyric and Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus already had encrypted sensor support, not to mention a wide selection of sensors to choose from. Coupled with the fact that Qolsys continued to release new features for the IQ2+, and Resideo (formerly Honeywell) had the PROA7PLUS on the way, it quickly became clear that 2GIG would need to do better in order to keep up.

Thus began development on the 2GIG Edge. We first learned about the system in October of last year. With a bold new website and heavy promotion, hype around the Edge grew quickly. But this also brought questions in the back of our minds - what would happen to the GC2e and the GC3e? These panels had been on the market for less than two (2) years. Would 2GIG really abandon them so quickly? Well, today we have the verdict. The 2GIG GC2e stays, and the 2GIG GC3e heads off to the old alarm system graveyard in the sky.

First released in late July 2019, the 2GIG GC3e became known for its strong build quality and stark similarities to its GC3 predecessor. But it had a hard time competing with fellow Alarm.com Security System, the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus. Buyers continued to flock to the IQ2+, which offered Automatic Bluetooth Disarming and Facial Recognition. Those features could not be easily added to the GC3e, so 2GIG decided to cut their losses and add those features into a new alarm panel, the 2GIG Edge. 2GIG even one-upped Qolsys by making it so that the Edge's Facial Recognition feature can be used for disarming the system!

With the Edge firmly in place as 2GIG's new flagship panel, and the 2GIG GC2e set as their "budget-friendly" option, some wondered if the 2GIG GC3e might be kept in production as a sort of "middle-of-the-road" offering. But nope, apparently, three panels is too many at 2GIG, and it's the GC3e biting the dust. And now, less than two years after hitting the market, and barely more than two years removed from its unveiling at ISC West 2019, we are saying goodbye to the 2GIG GC3e. It wasn't a long ride, but it was a good one.

If you have an existing 2GIG GC3e, then don't worry! The system will continue to be supported for alarm monitoring and service with the Alarm.com platform. Given the system's great build quality, it's fair to expect that existing GC3e Panels already out in the field will likely stay in service for quite some time, probably for the duration of LTE cellular networks. And speaking of LTE communication, Alarm Grid is continuing to offer LTE communicators for the 2GIG GC3 and 2GIG GC3e. These are the 2GIG LTEA-A-GC3 (AT&T LTE) and the 2GIG LTEV1-A-GC3 (Verizon LTE). If you need to get your GC3 updated, or your GC3e monitored, then either one of these modules is an excellent option. They're super easy to install, and they provide ultra-reliable cellular connectivity for the peace of mind that you deserve.

Meanwhile, the 2GIG GC2e will remain in production as the company's budget panel. However, we don't usually recommend that system for alarm monitoring, as it has no internet connectivity option to serve as an additional communication path, and it is relatively bare-bones in terms of features. But it is still an available option, and many users find that the GC2e is a strong offering as a replacement for the 2GIG GC2 or as a non-monitored system serving as a local noisemaker.

But for our top 2GIG pick, it should come as no surprise that we are recommending the new 2GIG Edge Alarm System. With its great features like 7-inch touchscreen controller, Facial Recognition, optional Automatic Bluetooth Disarming, Smart Area Partitioning support, 700-Series Z-Wave Plus V2 Smart Home Automation, and being dual-path ready right out of the box, we are proud to say that this system is available now on the Alarm Grid website. While we might miss the 2GIG GC3e, the 2GIG Edge certainly fills the void. Time will tell how the Edge fares against other competing systems like the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus and Honeywell Home PROA7PLUS.

What do you think of the 2GIG GC3e? Will you miss the system? Are you surprised to see 2GIG discontinue the system after less than two years? Did you ever get to try the system out for yourself? Share your thoughts and experiences in a comment down below. We would love to hear what you have to say. And remember to stay tuned to the Alarm Grid Blog for more security system content coming soon. We promise, we don't discontinue systems every day, but when we do, we always make sure to say a proper goodbye. Farewell 2GIG GC3e!

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Alarm Grid has been hearing reports from 2GIG GC3 and 2GIG GC3e users with trouble conditions that they cannot clear. According to reports, these unclearable errors only occur on these systems when Smart Area Partitioning is enabled. While inconvenient, they shouldn't cause much issue.




When a "trouble" condition appears on a 2GIG GC3 or 2GIG GC3e with partitions enabled, the "Smart Areas" menu button on the panel will appear yellow. Normally, you fix the trouble condition itself first. Then, you acknowledge the trouble by clicking on Smart Areas, entering your Master Code, and clicking the "speech bubble" next to the partition associated with the trouble. Then the trouble should clear, and the Smart Areas button should return to its usual blue state, indicating that everything is normal. More information on the trouble-clearing process can be found in this FAQ.

In the case of our customers who have reported this issue, they received a valid trouble condition of "Console Broadband Network Failure" or "Cellphone Communication Failure" appearing on various Smart Areas of their GC3 and GC3e systems. Because this was a system trouble, it showed up on multiple partitions. The trouble condition was then resolved successfully, as evidenced by the ability to send successful test signals via all communication paths to Alarm.com. However, the trouble message became stuck in multiple partitions and could not be cleared by any means.

Alarm Grid was able to replicate a similar issue through a relatively unique method. We found that if you enrolled a sensor with a GC3 or GC3e, put the sensor into a trouble condition (e.g. loss of RF supervision, cover tamper, etc.), and then deleted that sensor from the system without ever correcting and clearing the trouble condition, then the same situation would occur. Whichever partition the sensor was assigned to would be stuck with a permanent trouble condition that could never be cleared, regardless of which troubleshooting method was attempted. Of course, this would rarely happen in practice, as a responsible user would fix a trouble condition before intentionally deleting a sensor. But nevertheless, we were able to replicate a similar problem in practice.

Various methods have been attempted to fix this issue, but nothing has worked at removing these seemingly unclearable troubles. Some of the methods attempted have included disabling and then reenabling partitions, powering down the panel for a hard reboot, performing a reboot through System Manager, upgrading the firmware version, and factory defaulting the system. Users have reported that once they acknowledge the error that the panel stops making any audible sounds associated with the trouble condition, but still, the Smart Areas button remains a disturbing yellow color.

Not every GC3 and GC3e with partitions enabled appears to be affected. From what we can tell, only a small number of these systems are displaying such an error. Either that, or most users have chosen simply to ignore the issue, and not report it to us. Most of our monitored customers with a GC3 or GC3e have not reported this issue. But the ones who have reported the issue have left us at a loss for a solution. We apologize to these users, as we know how frustrating this can be. We don't often encounter issues we can't solve with a little bit of thinking, but this is one of those rare cases where we are just as confused as you are.

While this issue is annoying and bothersome, it doesn't appear to have any major impact on the performance of the system. The GC3 or GC3e System will still report to Alarm.com as intended, and it can still be relied upon for security and life-safety purposes. The one pressing factor though is that this issue can make it difficult for a user to determine when in fact there is a legitimate trouble condition on their system. Most GC3 and GC3e users who use partitions rely on the Smart Areas button to tell them if something is wrong. If it's blue, then everything is okay. But if it's yellow, then something needs their attention. This is a pretty simple check, and when it's not functioning properly, it's understandably frustrating.

Unfortunately, we do not have a solid fix for this problem at the current time. But luckily, if a new trouble condition occurs, the system will provide a trouble beep locally. It will continue to beep until a user acknowledges the new trouble condition. In addition, if you have trouble notifications enabled through Alarm.com, then you will also receive a new trouble notification via text, email, and/or push notification should any new issues arise. Nortek and 2GIG have been apprised of this error, and advise they are working on a fix.

Our reports indicate that this issue is still present in both the latest GC3 Firmware and the latest GC3e Firmware. The highest firmware currently available for these panels is Version 3.2.5, and even systems on this latest firmware have been shown to be affected. We are hopeful that 2GIG and Nortek will release a fix for these unclearable trouble conditions in Firmware Version 3.2.6. But unfortunately, we have not yet received any indication that such a fix will be implemented. We also have no release date for Version 3.2.6 at this time. Again, we apologize for any inconvenience.

If you are affected by a trouble condition that you cannot clear, make sure to try the conventional methods of clearing it first. Correct the cause of the trouble, and then acknowledge the trouble by following the the steps in the FAQ linked earlier in this post. If you still can't clear the trouble, then please, report it to our support team by emailing support@alarmgrid.com. Your data is valuable to us in reporting the problem to 2GIG and Nortek so that a fix can be implemented. Our support team is available to check and respond to emails from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. As always we look forward to hearing from you!

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If you're planning to give the gift of security this holiday season, then we're here to help! Today, we're looking at the best alarm panels available for the 2020 holiday season. Finding the right panel is the first step to building the perfect security system for your home or office.


The panel serves as the central hub for an alarm system. All sensors programmed with the system will communicate with the panel. The panel is also the piece of equipment that communicates with the outside world, namely a central station and/or a monitoring platform. To do this, the panel must have a communicator that is installed and activated. Some alarm panels come with a communicator already built-in, while others will require you to purchase one separately.

Today, most alarm panels are wireless, all-in-one devices, where the panel itself serves as the keypad for controlling the system. There are still hardwired panels available, but these are less common due to the sheer convenience and ease of wireless all-in-one panels. For the purpose of this buying guide, we will only be focusing on wireless panels, as most new users today opt to go the wireless route. We especially recommend wireless panels for anyone looking to save money by installing their own system without hiring a professional installer. It's easier than you might think, as many installations are done using a screwdriver as the only tool!

The panel you choose will affect virtually every other aspect of your security system. Your panel selection determines sensor compatibility, available communication paths, the user interface (UI) for the system, what accessories you can use with the system, and even the interactive platform you use when controlling your system through your phone. In a way, the panel itself IS the system. It's such an important decision, so you really want to get it right.

Today, we're going to be presenting you with our three (3) most favorite alarm systems available for the 2020 holiday season. What's great about all these systems is that they are all extremely DIY-friendly, and they can be taken to virtually any monitoring company, whether that is Alarm Grid, or someone else entirely. With all of that out of the way, let's get started!

Honeywell Lyric Controller

The Honeywell Lyric Alarm System still represents our favorite alarm panel from Resideo, and it is the most popular system for use with Alarm Grid monitoring services. It is the oldest panel on this list, and it doesn't support some of the more high-tech features offered by the other panels presented here. But when it comes down to choosing an all-around great system for alarm monitoring, the Lyric is hard to beat.

There are three (3) things that the Lyric can do that are impossible for the other panels on this list. If you choose the Lyric, it's usually because of one or more of these aspects. The Lyric is the only panel here that can be set up with an IP-only communication path, without cellular. While cellular is always recommended, some users opt to go internet only for alarm monitoring. The advantage of doing this is that the user can obtain monitoring service at a lower monthly rate. A Lyric System user can sign-up for an Alarm Grid Bronze Plan with central station service for just $15 per month. But a user with a system that requires cellular monitoring will need to pay a minimum of $25 per month for the Alarm Grid Cellular Alarm Monitoring Plan. That $10 monthly saving equates to $120 annually. The user should understand that an internet outage will take their system offline and leave their home or business vulnerable in that situation. But if a user is confident enough in their internet service, then they can certainly take that chance. Of course, the Lyric can be upgraded to use cellular at any time, but if you are trying to save money by setting up IP-only monitoring, then the Lyric offers you that option.

Second, the Lyric is one of the very few alarm systems that is able to interface with Apple HomeKit. This is the premier automation platform used with iOS devices, and many users have existing HomeKit networks that they build around. If you already have HomeKit devices in your home, then it is natural that you would want a security system that can also integrate with that network. It's important to note that the HomeKit integration isn't perfect, as Apple HomeKit can only provide specific alerts for a limited selection of system activity. But the integration makes it possible to perform some basic commands through HomeKit. The integration also allows you to set up automations so that your HomeKit devices activate automatically with activity on your security system. Overall, it's a great feature, and we often recommend the Lyric over other systems just for this feature.

Third, the Lyric is the only system on this list that uses Total Connect 2.0 as its interactive monitoring platform. This is the service that you will use to control your Lyric System remotely through a web browser or an app on your smartphone. The platform allows you to arm and disarm, check the current status of your system, and control automation devices. Remember that you will need to upgrade to a Silver level plan to take advantage of these great features. We think Total Connect 2.0 works just as well as any other monitoring and automation platform, but we have heard of users specifically choosing the Lyric to use this platform over the other ones out there.

You have no shortage of sensor options for the Lyric, as the system has its own lineup of encrypted wireless sensors in the Honeywell SiX Series Sensors. It is also backwards compatible with the widely popular Honeywell 5800 Sensors. As we mentioned earlier, the system is a bit on the older side, and it lacks some of the more advanced features like partitioning and automatic Bluetooth disarming. The panel does technically support camera streaming, but that's only for older legacy cameras that are no longer being manufactured. Also, the system only offers classic Z-Wave functionality, so you won't be able to take advantage of the the extended wireless range and longer battery life of Z-Wave Plus. If you want Z-Wave Plus, and you have the Lyric, then you will need to replace the panel entirely. There is no way to upgrade the existing classic Z-Wave firmware for the Lyric and make it Z-Wave Plus. But if you need HomeKit compatibility, or if you are trying to keep your monthly monitoring costs as low as possible, then the Lyric is almost certainly your best option. With its support of local end user programming, the Lyric is the best system from Honeywell and Resideo as of late 2020. There is a good reason why it remains the most popular Alarm Grid security system.

One last note is that while a plug-in transformer comes included with the Lyric, no power cable for connecting the system to the transformer is included. We recommend purchasing a Honeywell LT-Cable for this purpose.

The Lyric is for you if:

  • You want to save money by going IP only.
  • You want compatibility with Apple HomeKit.
  • You want to use Total Connect 2.0 as your interactive platform.
  • You don't need automatic Bluetooth disarming, partitioning, or Z-Wave Plus functionality.

Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus

The Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus is without a doubt the most feature-packed system we offer at this time. It has totally changed the game with its advanced features like automatic Bluetooth disarming, camera streaming from the panel, partitioning, facial recognition, and a super innovative wellness platform. The IQ2+ offers a seamless integration with Alarm.com, which serves as the interactive monitoring and automation platform used with the system. It is also currently the only system where you can perform Alarm.com Smart Scenes directly from the main panel. We also love the system's UI, as automation devices like lights, door locks, and smart thermostats can all be accessed from the main panel screen. It is easy to navigate, and we find that it is arguably the most intuitive panel for users who have never used a security system before. Really, the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus is the system we almost always recommend for any user not needing HomeKit functionality or low-cost IP-only monitoring.

Since this system, communicates through Alarm.com, you must have a cellular connection set up with the system. The good news is that you won't have to buy a communicator, as the IQ2+ already has one built-in (AT&T LTE or Verizon LTE). The bad news is that monitoring for this system starts at $25 per month, assuming you get service with Alarm Grid. And if you want central station service and the ability to do cool things through Alarm.com, such as arming and disarming remotely and setting up automated smart scenes, then the minimum cost jumps up to $35 per month for our Gold Plan. You may want to review this post that explains our monitoring plans in more depth.

One other awesome aspect of the IQ2+ is that it supports DSC PowerG Sensors. These wireless sensors are some of the best in the industry. They can be used from up to 2,000 feet away from the IQ Panel 2 Plus in an open air environment, and they utilize 128-bit AES encryption for advanced protection and security. You also get the choice of one of three (3) legacy sensor frequencies (319.5 MHz, 345 MHz, or 433 MHz). If you are upgrading from an older system, this is fantastic, as there is almost certainly a version of the IQ2+ that will let you bring over your old wireless sensors.

But even with all its bells and whistles, the IQ Panel 2 Plus is still not a perfect alarm system. We aren't blown away with its build quality, as some users have reported struggles in properly closing the panel after opening it up. And having an integrated communicator might seem like a good thing, but it also means that the entire panel must be replaced if the one inside fails for any reason. The same will hold true when the inevitable LTE Sunset occurs, though that should be years into the future. All that being said, if you are looking for the most feature-rich alarm system on the market today, you would be hard pressed to find a better option.

And unlike the other systems listed here, the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus comes complete with BOTH a plug-in transformer AND a power cable for connecting. It is ready to be set up and powered on using nothing more than a screwdriver! Also included is a small table stand for keeping the system upright if wall-mounting is not desired.

The IQ Panel 2 Plus is for you if:

  • You want a system with the most advanced features.
  • You want easy access to smart home automation.
  • You want to use PowerG Wireless Sensors.
  • You can accept a system without replaceable components.

2GIG GC3e

The 2GIG GC3e is the current flagship system from 2GIG, though that might soon change with the 2GIG Edge on the horizon. This panel was introduced in 2019, as 2GIG was a fairly late arriver to the encryption game. But it's here now, and it's ready to support 2GIG eSeries Encrypted Sensors, while still being backwards compatible with older 2GIG 345 MHz Sensors and Honeywell 5800 Sensors.

If we're being completely honest, we rarely recommend the 2GIG GC3e over the Lyric or the IQ2+. The Lyric offers some unique features (HomeKit support and IP-only monitoring) that make it the best option in many cases, while the IQ2+ is the most feature-rich system we offer. The GC3e just doesn't have any one particular feature that helps it stand-out from the other two. We usually only steer people toward the GC3e if they want an Alarm.com System, but don't want the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus for whatever reason. We must also admit that the GC3e local end user programming is a bit more cumbersome than the Lyric or the IQ2+. People who choose the GC3e are usually those who are accustomed to the 2GIG panel, and are upgrading from an older 2GIG GC2 or 2GIG GC3.

That doesn't mean the GC3e is a bad system. The truth is that it actually has the best build-quality out of any system listed here. The panel just feels well-made and durable, especially when compared with the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus. And while you don't get fancy features like panel camera streaming, Bluetooth disarming, or Apple HomeKit support, you do get a nice partitioning suite, and Z-Wave Plus functionality with the ability to create localized smart scenes. Also, unlike the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus, you can actually swap out the cellular communicator in the GC3e. It is rather inconvenient that you have to buy a communication module add-on to get the system monitored, but this is a good thing if you ever need to replace your system's communicator for whatever reason.

This is matter of subjective personal opinion, but I can say one very nice thing about the GC3e. Out of every panel we offer, the 2GIG GC3e looks the nicest on the wall, and has the most fluid and satisfying touchscreen controls out of any panel I have personally ever used. And sometimes, that alone is the selling factor. There are users out there who don't care about fancy technical features or easily accessible automation menus, and they just want a high-quality system that looks good and does what they need it to do. If that is you, then maybe you should consider the GC3e.

Remember that while the 2GIG GC3e includes a plug-in transformer for providing power, it does not include a power cable for connecting the transformer to the panel. Just like with the Lyric, the Honeywell LT-Cable makes a fantastic power cable for this purpose.

The GC3e is for you if:

  • You want the panel with the best build-quality.
  • You don't care about fancy extra features.
  • You want an Alarm.com System with a replaceable communicator.
  • You can deal with programming that is a bit more cumbersome.

We hope that this post has given you some insight into choosing a new system for alarm monitoring. Stay tuned to our blog, as we will soon present a buying guide for the various security sensors you can choose from. Remember to email us at support@alarmgrid.com if you have any questions. We are available to respond to emails from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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As security professionals, we often encounter myths regarding security systems. There is a lot of untrue information out there, so we figured it would be a good idea to debunk a few security system myths to help end users understand the facts. Here are three false security system myths.


Myth #1 - Only Professionals Can Install a Security System

There was once a time when security systems were hardwired, and it was virtually impossible for a DIY user to install one. But with the rise of wireless alarm panels, many security systems can be installed using nothing more than a screwdriver. An end user can install their own system, program their own sensors, and get their system activated for monitoring service. Most wireless alarm panels even support desk mounts that allow a user to install a system without drilling holes in the walls. This can help a user save a lot of money by not having to hire a professional installer.

Myth #2 - Wireless Security Systems Are Not Secure

When wireless security systems first hit the market, many were easily defeated by third party devices. An intruder could block the signals from wireless sensors and prevent them from reaching the panel. They could also send false signals to the panel to make it appear as though a break-in was occurring, when really nothing was happening. But most modern wireless panels support encryption to prevent this from happening. This makes foul play all but impossible. There are many encrypted sensor options to choose from, including the Honeywell SiX Series Sensors for the Honeywell Lyric, the PowerG Sensors for the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus, and the eSeries Sensors for the 2GIG GC3e.

Honeywell sixminict wireless door slash window contact for lyric

Myth #3 - Security Systems Only Perform Security Functions

When shopping for a security system, many buyers only consider the security aspects. The reality is that a modern security system does so much more than just keep you and those around you safe. Nearly every security system on the market today also offers smart home automation capabilities. You can pair a variety of smart home devices with your system, including smart lights, door locks, programmable thermostats, and more. You can then control these devices from the panel and have them activate automatically with programmed smart scenes. And if your system is monitored, then you can control the devices from anywhere using a web browser or a mobile app on your phone.


Security systems today are more powerful and easier to use than ever before. Now is a great time to get started with a new security system for your home or business. Check out this post to learn more about the monitoring plans offered by Alarm Grid. If you're interested in getting started, then please email us at support@alarmgrid.com for more information. Our team checks email from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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If you're using a newer wireless security system, then you will definitely want to explore the encrypted sensor options that we offer! Encrypted sensors are virtually impossible to hack, and they can make your security system even more secure. There are many great options available.

Honeywell sixminictpk5 a 5 pack of sixminict encrypted wireless

As you know, a home security system or a business security system is an investment you make for the protection of yourself, your property, and those around you. A proper system should also give you peace of mind and make you feel safe. It doesn't do you any good if an intruder manages to defeat your system. But with encrypted sensors, that is extremely unlikely to ever happen.

If you aren't familiar with encryption, it refers to techniques for encoding data and signals so that only authorized individuals and/or equipment are able to access the information. When it comes to wireless alarm systems, encrypted sensors send protected signals that can only be accessed, received, and interpreted by the authorized panel.

When wireless systems first rose to prominence, they rarely, if ever, used encryption. This made many people wary of wireless security panels, and they felt more secure using wired ones. The lack of encryption wasn't seen as a fatal flaw, as an intruder would have to be extremely savvy and really know what they're doing to defeat even a non-encrypted sensor. To this day, many people feel totally comfortable and safe using non-encrypted equipment. Remember, most intruders don't have the knowledge to beat wireless sensors, even if they aren't using encryption.

But there are the rare, professional criminals who do take the time to extensively study security equipment, and they develop techniques for beating non-encrypted devices. This is very uncommon, but it's not unheard of. And if you aren't using encrypted sensors, then you are leaving yourself open to this small risk. Whether or not that means outfitting your system with all-new encrypted sensors, or even upgrading to a different system that is capable of supporting encrypted sensors is up to you. We just want to make you aware of your options.

Today, we're going to briefly look at some popular wireless systems and explore their encrypted sensor options, as well as their non-encrypted sensor lineups. This will help you learn more about your system, or one you are considering for purchase.


Honeywell Lyric Controller

Honeywell lyric controller encrypted wireless security system


The Lyric represents the first the first encrypted panel from Resideo, formerly known as Honeywell. The system has its very own lineup of encrypted sensors called the Honeywell SiX Series Sensors. The lineup is a bit limited, as its lacking options like an outdoor door and window sensor and a curtain motion sensor. But the good news is that these sensors are extremely secure with their military grade 128-bit AES encryption.

You can supplement your SiX Series Sensors on your Lyric System with devices from the Honeywell 5800 Series. These sensors are not encrypted, but the lineup offers more diverse selection than the SiX Series lineup. You could consider using encrypted sensors for the most vulnerable parts of your home or office, while using non-encrypted 5800 Series devices for areas where it isn't as important. The non-encrypted 2GIG 345 MHz Sensors are also compatible with the Lyric once the system is on Firmware Version MR3 or higher.


Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus

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


There are some outstanding encryption options available for the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus, regardless of which version you have. Any IQ Panel 2 Plus System can readily support DSC PowerG Sensors. Not only do these sensors have an outstanding wireless range of up to 2,000 feet away from the IQ Panel 2 Plus, they also utilize military grade 128-bit AES encryption and Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum (FHSS) technology.

And if you have the 319.5 MHz Version of the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus, then you can also pair Qolsys S-Line Sensors, which use rolling code encryption. This rolling code encryption isn't quite as secure as the encryption used by PowerG Sensors, but it still does a good job of keeping your system protected. The S-Line Sensors will also utilize encryption when paired with the original Qolsys IQ Panel 2. The original IQ Panel 2 cannot use PowerG Sensors.

In terms of non-encrypted options, each IQ Panel 2 Plus can support one of three (3) non-encrypted radio frequency signals. The available options are 319.5 MHz, 345 MHz, and 433 MHz, and it is dependent upon which version of the IQ Panel 2 Plus you buy. Again, it is certainly possible to mix encrypted sensors with non-encrypted sensors on the same system. But with the diversity and selection of the PowerG lineup, you probably won't need to look outside too much.


2GIG GC3e

2gig gc3e wireless encrypted alarm panel


The big highlight when the 2GIG GC3e was introduced was its ability to support encrypted sensors. While it took a little while before its encrypted sensor lineup became available, we were very pleased with the result. The 2GIG eSeries Sensors use highly secure encryption to keep your system protected. It also seems that 2GIG is regularly expanding upon this lineup, as we have been seeing new eSeries Sensors hit the market it recent times. All of the 2GIG eSeries Sensors are compatible with the GC3e, as well as its little brother, the GC2e.

With the GC3e, you also get access to the Honeywell 5800 Sensors and the 2GIG 345 MHz lineup. Just like with the Lyric, there is a bit more of a diverse selection of non-encrypted sensors available for the 2GIG GC3e. You can definitely set up a mixture of encrypted and non-encrypted sensors to meet the needs of your business. But with new 2GIG eSeries offerings continuing to become available, you shouldn't have much trouble building a fully encrypted 2GIG Security System.


Alarm grid inside security stickers

If you are looking to set up an encrypted security system, then Alarm Grid is here to help! We can let you know if your existing system has any encrypted sensor options available. We can also help you determine if you are currently using encrypted devices or if your existing sensors are non-encrypted. Many users have trouble determining. Either way, we'll help you make an informed decision so that you can get the most out of your monitoring service. If you want to reach us, please email support@alarmgrid.com. We check our email from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Alarm Grid is back with another video recap! This time, we have six (6) new videos to share. We spent a lot of time this week focusing on the 2GIG GC3e, but we also covered some other security equipment as well. We hope you enjoy this latest batch of videos. Let's check them out!

Alarm grid inside security stickers

Properly Opening Up a 2GIG GC3e

I show you how to open up the 2GIG GC3e Security Panel. Before opening the system, you must loosen the set screw at the bottom. If the panel is wall-mounted, you can press the panel against the wall and lift upward. Otherwise, lay the panel face-down, and pop off the back plate using your finger or a screwdriver. Opening up the GC3e Panel is often done to access the system's terminal block and backup battery.


Powering On the 2GIG GC3e

I show you how to power on the 2GIG GC3e Alarm System. The system uses a 14VDC, 1.7A transformer for primary power. If primary power is lost, then a backup battery will keep the system running. When powering on the 2GIG GC3e, we recommend connecting the backup battery first, followed by the transformer. Alarm wiring is not included with the 2GIG GC3e, so you must supply your own. We recommend using a Honeywell LT-Cable for this purpose.


Deleting a Defective Z-Wave Device from the GC3 or GC3e

I show you how to delete a defective Z-Wave device from a 2GIG GC3 or 2GIG GC3e. Some reasons why a Z-Wave device might be displayed as failed include the device being powered down or out of wireless range. Deleting a defective Z-Wave device is usually a good option if the device is lost or destroyed so that a traditional exclusion process cannot be performed. Any failed Z-Wave device will have an error icon next to it in the Smart Home Devices Menu.


Setting Up a Cellular Communicator for a 2GIG GC3e

I show you how to add a cellular communicator to a 2GIG GC3e Security System. Doing this will allow you to activate the 2GIG GC3e System for monitoring service. And if the monitoring plan includes access to Alarm.com, then you will also be able to control the system remotely through that platform. The 2GIG GC3e has a side slot for you to easily install a cellular radio. Remember to power down the system completely before installing the cellular communicator.


Powering the TG-1 Express Using the On-Board Terminals

I show you how you can power the Telguard TG-1 Express using its on-board power terminals. The Telguard TG-1 Express is used to take over the phone dialer for a panel so that it can communicate across a cellular network. Normally, the TG-1 uses a single RJ31X connection for power and communication with the panel. But if the existing power wires from the RJ31X cable are cut, then you can instead make the auxiliary power connections at the TG-1 on-board terminals.


Properly Closing the Qolsys IQ Panel 2

I show you how to properly close the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Security System. To properly close the system, you want to align the top tabs first. Then you should lock the bottom two (2) tabs into place. Lastly, make sure the top four (4) tabs remain closed, and click them into place if they are not. The panel will make a strange noise every half-hour if it is not closed properly. The main reason to open the IQ2 is to replace its backup battery every few years.

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