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You have likely heard us talking about the benefits of PowerG Sensors at one point or another. Today, we figured we would break down the benefits of these sensors and explain why we like them so much. Let's take an in-depth look at PowerG Sensors and all of their wonderful benefits.


PowerG Sensors were originally designed for the hardwired DSC PowerSeries NEO Systems. By adding a compatible transceiver unit to your PowerSeries NEO, the system will be able to support PowerG Sensors. Johnson Controls, which you may know as the parent company of DSC, took the technology associated with PowerG Sensors, and brought it over to the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 System. This move was not a major surprise, as Johnson Controls also had partial ownership over Qolsys at the time, and Johnson Controls has since bought out Qolsys entirely.

The addition of PowerG support for the IQ2 marked the beginning of the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus, which is how the system is still marketed and sold today. PowerG support is also available for the DSC Iotega, though that panel has largely flopped due to its lack of local end user programming. Today, the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus represents the most popular panel for supporting PowerG. All versions and variants of the IQ Panel 2 Plus support PowerG Sensors, and their exceptional performance makes them the go-to choice for IQ2+ users who want equipment with the best versatility and protection.

Starting with the range, PowerG Sensors can be used from up to 2,000 feet away from the IQ Panel 2 Plus when they are used in an open air environment. By open air environment, we are talking about a perfect setting with a direct line of sight, and no obstacles between the sensor and the alarm panel. Most homes and businesses do not provide the ideal, "open air" environment, as there are usually walls and metal appliances present. When you see us mention that 2,000 feet open air range, take that with a grain of salt, because in practice, the range is likely a bit less. But still, we can undoubtedly say that PowerG offers arguably the best wireless range in the security industry. Even if its nominal range isn't quite as far as its "open air range", it is still a very powerful signal that can help you overcome the range issues that other sensor lineups may experience. It is great for use in detached garages, barns, multi-building complexes, and even just large industrial buildings.


To make matters even better, there is also a PowerG Repeater, the PG9920. This device will effectively double the range of any PowerG Sensor and help you overcome range limitations caused by thick walls and other obstacles or signal disruptions. The repeater works by taking the signal sent out from any PowerG Sensor and sending it out a second time with just as much power and force as when it was first sent from the original sensor. By strategically placing the repeater, it's theoretically possible to double the useful wireless range of these sensors. That would mean that they can be used from up to 4,000 feet away from the IQ2+ in an open air environment. And if your building is particularly large, you may even have repeaters going away from the IQ Panel 2 Plus System in different directions, including up and down in building stories above or below.

But PowerG Sensors offer more than just an impressive wireless range. They are also known for their exceptional security. This is thanks to their military grade 128-bit AES encryption. To put this as simply as possible, the PowerG Sensor and the panel share a unique encryption key at the time of pairing. The sensor must provide this encryption key to the panel whenever it transmits a signal. Additionally, the panel must then provide a return response with the encryption key as verification in order for the command to go through. In the past, we have referred to this two-way communication process as a "digital handshake". Because of this encrypted pairing process, a PowerG Sensor actively knows whether or not it is currently paired with a panel. You may need to factory default a PowerG Sensor before you can pair it with a new system.


PowerG Sensors also take proactive measures against RF jamming. When a wireless sensor communicates with an alarm panel, it does so at a certain wireless radio frequency (RF). When we talk about RF jamming, we are referring to any malicious technique that prevents wireless signals from reaching their intended destination. This is accomplished by blocking the receiver with a stronger signal at the same wireless frequency as the device that is legitimately trying to communicate with it. When this is done on an alarm system, the system doesn't receive the incoming signals from faulted sensors, and no action is taken during a security breach or an unfavorable environmental condition. Early wireless sensors did not take this into account, and this made RF jamming an effective way to defeat an older wireless system.

The way that PowerG Sensors overcome RF jamming techniques is through a process called Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum (FHSS). This process involves splitting the RF bandwidth into multiple channels. Each independent channel represents a unique radio frequency for wireless communication to occur. The transmitter (the PowerG Sensor) and the receiver (the alarm panel) both agree on a set of channel hopping sequences that will take place. These sequences are encrypted and time-based for them to occur seamlessly. Since the transmitter and the receiver are both synchronized, they can switch between channels very rapidly. A potential intruder would never be able to re-tun an RF jamming device to keep up. In the case of the PowerG Sensors, the frequency hops occur between 912 MHz and 918 MHz. There are 50 different unique frequency channels that are used, and frequency switches occur 64 times per second. More information on FHSS is available here.

One other benefit of PowerG Sensors that we have never discussed previously is their Adaptive Transmission feature that helps them conserve battery life. This is why you will often see a PowerG Sensor with a very long expected battery life, sometimes more than ten (10) years). Adaptive Transmission involves two-way communication between the PowerG Sensor and the alarm panel. The alarm panel will tell the PowerG Sensor how well its signal is being received. The PowerG Sensor can then adapt its outgoing signal so that it reliably reaches the panel, without expending too much energy. The sensor and the panel regularly exchange this information so that the ideal amount of energy is always used in signal transmissions. This saves battery life in the long run.

We have also found that PowerG Sensors are extremely easy to enroll and they offer the reliable and effective performance that you should expect out of your security system. We wholeheartedly recommend them for use on the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus, as well as any other compatible alarm system. It is expected that the upcoming Qolsys IQ Hub will also be able to utilize PowerG Sensors, so look forward to using PowerG Sensors on that panel once it is available.


For now, if you have any questions about PowerG Sensors or the systems that support them, or if you are interested in signing up for new alarm monitoring service, then please reach out to us by emailing support@alarmgrid.com. We'll be available to check your emails from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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One great thing about owning a PowerG Security System is that it is super easy to add a wireless siren. DSC manufactures an indoor model and an outdoor model for PowerG users. Whether you are looking for a DSC NEO Wireless Siren or a new siren for an IQ Panel 2 Plus, we have you covered!


The two (2) sirens in the PowerG lineup include the DSC PG9901 Indoor Alarm Siren and the DSC PG9911B Outdoor Alarm Siren w/ Strobe. Both will easily pair with any system that supports PowerG Sensors. These systems include the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus, the DSC PowerSeries NEO w/ added PowerG Transceiver, and the DSC Iotega Security System. Both sirens work great, and they can make a nice addition to nearly any compatible alarm panel.

The Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus and the DSC Iotega already include their own built-in sounders that will activate during alarm events. But if you are using the system in a larger home or business, or if you find that the internal sounder isn't loud enough, then you might consider adding an external siren as well. Meanwhile, the DSC PowerSeries NEO Systems are wired panels that are typically paired with hardwired sirens. But if you want to skip the process for wiring a siren, then adding a wireless PowerG Siren can be the perfect solution.

There are two (2) main benefits to adding an external siren with a security system. The first is that most external sirens are louder than the internal sounders built into alarm panels. The Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus and the DSC Iotega both have internal sounders rated at 85 dB. The DSC PG9901 and the DSC PG9911B are both rated at 110 dB. Remember that volume increases exponentially with the decibel (dB) rating, so you are certainly getting a major increase in volume output with a DSC PowerG Wireless Siren.

The other major benefit to adding an external siren is that it spreads the sound out during an alarm event. Just because you add an external siren to your wireless system does not mean that the system's internal siren will stop functioning. Instead, both the system's internal sounder and the added siren will activate during alarm events. If you have the external siren in a different area, then you can really spread the sound out. This can be crucial for making sure that everyone on the premises is alerted.

Sirens activate during intrusion, fire, and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms on a system, unless the alarms are specifically set to silent. There are many purposes to alarm sirens, and every system should have one set up. First and foremost, a siren alerts building occupants to let them know that there is danger and that they need to evacuate immediately. A good alarm siren can mean the difference between life and death in many situations.

Sirens also provide assistance to emergency responders, such as police officers, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians. In the heat of the moment, it can be difficult for a responder to determine which home or business is experiencing an emergency. A siren helps eliminate this issue, as the emergency responder will know to go to the location where the siren is coming from. Lastly, sirens are useful during intrusion alarms, as they will often scare off an intruder and prevent them from sticking around to cause more property damage. This is why every security system should have a functional siren set up and configured. And if you have a larger home or business, then setting up multiple alarm sirens is probably in your best interest.

For basic indoor use, the DSC PG9901 is an ideal option. This DSC Indoor Siren produces sounds of up to 110 dB, which is roughly as loud as an industrial grade chainsaw or a live rock concert in a typical venue. If you need a siren for outdoor use, then you should go with the DSC PG9911B. This siren also operates at 110 dB, but it is built to withstand an outdoor environment with its IP55 protection rating. The DSC PG9911B also includes a built-in strobe light, which can be a nice visual indication of an alarm. Please note that some jurisdictions may have restrictions on the color of strobe lights you can use. Make sure to check local laws and see if blue strobe lights are allowed in your area.

Both the DSC PG9901 and the DSC PG9911B are available from Alarm Grid. We're happy to help you get started with a new PowerG Siren. If you have any questions about the DSC PG9901, the DSC PG9911B, or any of the other products on our site, please contact us at support@alarmgrid.com. We operate support hours from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Hi DIYers! As you may know, testing your equipment is an integral part of owning an alarm system. But your testing should go beyond just making sure your sensors work properly and that your panel communicates with the central station. Testing your sirens and sounders is also important.

Honeywell 5800wave wireless siren for lynxtouch series panels

When you activate your monitoring service with Alarm Grid, there will undoubtedly be some testing involved. Our team will be checking to see if your system sends out signals successfully. This is a vital part of receiving a certificate of alarm so that you can get a discount on your homeowner's insurance. And as a DIY installer, you will be checking to make sure that all your sensors work properly. This includes things like walking through a room to see if your motion sensor notices your presence and opening and closing your doors and windows to check that your contact sensors perform correctly. But what about your sirens?

Look, we know that testing your sirens isn't the most fun. They're loud. They scare pets. They make children cry. With that in mind, it's no surprise that some users decide to disconnect their sirens during system testing. This is perfectly fine in theory. After all, your system will still be able to communicate out, and its sensors will still work properly. You might think that you can just add your sirens later after testing. However, we're here to tell you that testing your sirens and having them activate is a step that every alarm system owner should take.

But why should you test your sirens? The reason actually goes beyond the obvious answer of making sure the sounders and strobes work. It's also smart to have a good idea of exactly what your system's sirens sound like. That way if an emergency does occur, you will have a better chance of knowing immediately what is going on. Keep in mind that not all sirens are created equal. They can differ in terms of volume and pitch. By taking the time to listen to your siren, you are more likely to be ready if there ever is an emergency.

Another thing that many users don't realize is that there are usually different noises for different types of alarms. For example, an activated smoke detector will typically produce a temporal 3 sound (three consecutive tones, then a pause, repeated), while an activated carbon monoxide detector will typically produce a temporal 4 sound (four consecutive tones, plus a pause, repeated). There are also continuous tone alarms (one long, steady tone) that are commonly used for burglary and intrusion alarms. Knowing what each alarm sounds like can potentially save your life in an emergency. For example, how you respond to a break-in won't necessarily be how you respond to a fire!

At Alarm Grid, we want all our customers to be prepared when alarms occur. This includes knowing what sounds your equipment makes. If you're a monitored customer, we are happy to help you however we can. The best way to reach us is to email support@alarmgrid.com with your questions. 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 helping you get the very most out of all your alarm system equipment. That includes your sirens, sounders and strobes!

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