Honeywell VISTA-128BPTSIA Posts

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Hi DIYers! We know that many users take on the task of setting up their own hardwired security system. We think this is great, as it really lets a DIY user get to know their alarm panel. But there are some extra tools we recommend for setting up a wired system. One of which is a voltmeter.

Honeywell vista 20p wired alarm control panel

All alarm systems require electricity for basic operation. But this electricity is used for more than just powering the panel. Various equipment like sensors and keypads will also require power. With hardwired systems, the peripheral equipment will actually draw power from the panel. Not only is the system's plug-in transformer powering the panel, it is also keeping its many devices running as well. If the electricity goes out, the panel should also have a backup battery to ensure that everything remains powered.

The important thing to understand is that plugging in a transformer does not suddenly supply an infinite amount of electricity for an alarm system. There's a limit to how much power a system can provide. Each transformer can only provide a limited amount of current. There are also current limiting devices like fuses and breakers that are built into each of the output circuits on a system. These are used to prevent things like the bell circuit, the battery charging circuit and the auxiliary power circuit from allowing enough current through to damage the system. If you try to add too many devices to a system, you may find that they will not work properly. Worse yet, if you don't use the specified transformer and other manufacturer-specified peripheral devices, you could cause serious damage to the system.

For smaller applications, this is not usually a major concern. But as you add more powered devices to an alarm system, the chance for overload becomes greater. You may need to add a second power supply, along with an additional transformer and battery. However, you shouldn't be working blindly. Using a voltmeter with the ability to read current (technically a multi-meter) is very important for knowing the current load and making sure that the current power supply is adequate.

A voltmeter works by applying a known amount of current and resistance to a circuit. Ohm's Law tells us that if you know any two of three values (voltage, current or resistance), you can then calculate the third value. A hardwired zone on an alarm panel works largely in the same way. Voltage, along with a small amount of current, is fed through a zone circuit. Based on the Ohm's Law principle, if you know the amount of voltage being applied, and you know the amount of current being applied, you can then calculate the amount of resistance that is present on the circuit. This is how a zone with an end-of-line resistor works. When you make a zone Normally Open or Normally Closed, you simplify things even further. If current is flowing, the zone is open. If current is not flowing, the zone is shorted or closed. Without a voltmeter, troubleshooting wired zones becomes much more difficult. The voltmeter doesn't even have to be a big expensive model. It just needs to provide basic function.

Also keep in mind that many system problems occur due to electrical issues. Having a voltmeter on hand can save a user a lot of hassle in troubleshooting. We hear of users all the time who don't know why their system isn't working, only to find that it is because they aren't supplying enough power. Performing a simple check with a voltmeter can help you discover an issue that would otherwise have gone unnoticed. For that reason, everyone with a wired panel really should invest in an inexpensive voltmeter or multi-meter.

If you're just beginning to consider purchasing a panel, and you don't want the hassle of worrying about wired zones, then a wireless system may be a better option. Wireless sensors operate strictly on battery power, and a user won't have to worry about overloading circuits. We generally recommend wireless systems for DIY users in general, as they are much easier to use and install. But if you do decide to go the hardwired route, or you already have a working wired system, we certainly recommend you keep a voltmeter on hand!

If you're an Alarm Grid customer, and you need help using a voltmeter to check your system, don't hesitate to reach out to us! We are happy to help monitored customers get their systems up and running and perform any necessary troubleshooting. We invite you to check out our monitoring page for more information. If you ever need help, you can send an email to 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 working with you!

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After much anticipation, partition support for Total Connect 2.0 will soon be available for compatible VISTA Systems! With this update, users will gain full access to each live system partition. This includes controlling, checking the status and receiving updates for individual partitions.

The TC2 partition update applies to the following panels:

  • VISTA-20P
  • VISTA-20PSIA
  • VISTA-21IP
  • VISTA-21IPSIA
  • VISTA-128BPT
  • VISTA-128BPTSIA
  • VISTA-250BPT
  • VISTA-128FBPT
  • VISTA-250FBPT
  • VISTA-32FBPT

By using TC2, users can control up to eight different partitions on their alarm system. However, if their VISTA System supports fewer partitions, the user will only be able to control the number of partitions that are supported by their respective system (e.g. VISTA-20P can only support three partitions, with one being a common partition). With this update, users with compatible systems will be able to perform the following functions from Total Connect 2.0:

  • Name partitions
  • Arm and disarm individual partitions
  • Bypass sensors
  • Assign partition control to different users
  • Enable or disable event notifications
  • Set remote disarming capabilities for individual partitions
  • Choose which user codes can activate and edit partition settings
  • View activity of fire partitions remotely (cannot control a fire partition remotely)
  • Additional features to be announced

To ensure a successful rollout, Honeywell is making partition support available for a small percentage of customers each day. The process already started on Monday, June 11th, and it is expected to continue until the week of June 25th. By the week of June 25th, all compatible VISTA Systems should have TC2 partition support. Also note that any new Honeywell Total Connect VISTA partition account programmed during the rollout will be enabled for partition support the next regular business day.

Sometime during this rollout period, you should notice an update on your Total Connect 2.0 account. The message will state that partitions for your location have been made available. You will then be able to configure the partitions for your VISTA System through both the Total Connect 2.0 web browser and the TC2 Mobile App.

Please note that you will not be required to set up multiple partition configurations for your system right away. You can also choose to save the set up process for a later time. To configure partitions for your system immediately, select "Configure Now". To save the process for another time, choose "Later". You will be able to access partition support by clicking the "Partitions" tab on Total Connect 2.0.

To learn more about this feature, please review this helpful guide from Honeywell.

If you have any questions about Total Connect 2.0 partition control, please do not hesitate to contact us at support@alarmgrid.com or call us at 888-818-7728 from 9am to 8pm M-F.

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Alarm Grid now offers the Honeywell VISTA-21iP and the Honeywell VISTA-128BPTSIA alarm control panels. We feel it is every alarm company's responsibility to focus on false alarm reduction to avoid unnecessary false alarm fines for the customer and more importantly, to ensure that local authorities will continue to respond to central station alarm dispatches. The Security Industry Association (SIA) recognizes that if police departments continue to respond to a high number of false alarms, they may eventually refuse to respond to any alarm dispatched by a central station. If this were to happen, the entire alarm monitoring industry would be at risk as alarm monitoring relies on the quick and effective response by the local authorities. Just like the story of the boy who cried wolf, police officers that continually respond to false alarms begin to assume all central station dispatched alarms are false alarms and therefore, response time goes way up and apprehensions go way down.

If local agencies feel they are wasting too much time and resources responding to false alarms, they may refuse to respond at all. Customers would then be required to hire expensive private guard services to respond to their alarms. Alarm monitoring is expensive enough already. Without the important partnership with local authorities, customers would be left with a very difficult decision. Do you save your money and have your security system just make a loud noise, or do you shell out the high cost for a guard service to respond to all alarms? At Alarm Grid, we feel everyone should be able to afford to protect their family and their property and therefore, we recommend SIA CP-01 compliant alarm control panels for every new security system installation. All SIA CP-01 compliant alarm control panels were manufactured to comply with the ANSI/SIA CP-01 standards document which details the features required to prevent false alarms. The VISTA-21iPSIA is a great residential option for a SIA CP-01 alarm control panel, while the VISTA-128BPTSIA is ideal for commercial applications. Both systems will ensure that you minimize your chance of activating false alarms. Since, the VISTA-21iPSIA and VISTA-128BPTSIA are the same price as the standard VISTA-21iP and VISTA-128BPTSIA, you do not have to pay extra to avoid the high cost of false alarm fines and you will be doing your part to ensure that alarm companies will be able to continue to offer low cost alarm monitoring services.

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