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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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Actress Anna Faris, known for her comedic roles, suffered from a not-so-funny incident over the recent Thanksgiving Holiday. The actress and 12 members of her family were the victims of a carbon monoxide (CO) gas incident. The incident occurred in a North Lake Tahoe cabin they were renting.

Qolsys iq carbon

A representative from the North Tahoe Fire Protection District stated that the vacation cabin had carbon monoxide levels as high as 55 parts per million (ppm). Long-term indoor exposure should be no higher than 15 ppm. The structure did not have any carbon monoxide sensors installed to indicate such danger. Nevada state law requires CO alarms in all family dwellings.

Thankfully, Anna Faris and her family are okay following the incident. However, two of her family members visited the local emergency room. Doctors diagnosed them with CO poisoning, and they were perfectly fine after receiving some care. Firefighters from the North Tahoe FD immediately rushed to the cabin and saved Ms. Faris and her accompanying family shortly thereafter.

According to North Lake Tahoe Fire Official Erin Holland, the CO levels indicated inside the building would have caused a "fatality in a short period of time" had the rescue team not intervened. Faris made sure to send her sincere gratitude to the North Tahoe FD following the incident.

Honeywell 5800combo smoke heat and co detector

We have spoken about the dangers of carbon monoxide gas many times on the Alarm Grid blog. The odorless and tasteless gas kills hundreds of people every year in the United States. If it weren't for the quick work of local firefighters, a talented actress and her family may have fallen victim as well. They are lucky to be alive, and the rescue team deserves praise for the fact that any exposure was kept as minimal as possible.

As you know by now, it is crucial to have carbon monoxide sensors installed in your home. Ideally, you should have CO detectors enrolled with your security system. By pairing these devices with a system that has active monitoring service, you and/or a central station can receive alerts regarding any of your CO sensors that activate while you are away.

If your home has hardwired high-voltage CO sensors (as is required in most jurisdictions), you can indirectly integrate these devices with your alarm system using a wireless takeover listening module. We offer variants for 345 MHz, and 433 MHz wireless alarm systems. And if you don't have hardwired CO detectors in your home, then we sell plenty of standalone units that pair directly with alarm panels like any other sensor.

Encore firefighter ff345 circular smoke detector takeover module

When traveling, make sure that all on-site CO sensors and smoke detectors are working properly. If you have any doubts, ask the building operators to perform a test. This is a reasonable request that any property manager should be able to accommodate. Please note that we ARE NOT suggesting that you bring canned CO gas or canned smoke on an airplane for testing purposes. That could get you into a lot of trouble. Make arrangements for on-site testing, without bringing your own supplies.

It may also be a good idea to buy a cheap conventional battery-operated carbon monoxide sensor when you get to your vacation site. It may turn out that the place you visit does not have CO detectors. This was the case with Anna Faris and her family. We do not sell standalone battery-operated CO detectors on our website. But you can get most models between $10 and $20 from most department and hardware stores. Some models will even show you the detected parts per million for CO gas! If you are staying in a larger property, you may want to obtain multiple sensors.

Remember that our goal at Alarm Grid is to keep you and your loved ones safe. If you ever need help choosing a carbon monoxide sensor for your system, or if you would like to learn more about how we can monitor your home, please email us at support@alarmgrid.com. You are also invited to call us at (888) 818-7728 during our usual business hours of 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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