In firmware version 4.1.0 Qolsys added an Input Voltage Test feature to the other system tests already available in the panel. This is a boon to the DIY community, whose users often don't have a multimeter available to check things like input voltage. With this new feature, you can troubleshoot random or recurring AC Loss issues.
If you've been a DIYer in the alarm system community for any length of time, you may know that power issues can be caused by some things that most people wouldn't even think of. The wrong gauge wire, a wire run that is too long, or sometimes a combination of these two things can often lead to power issues. Particularly on the newer touchscreen all-in-one panels. The installation instructions on these panels are very clear about the wiring parameters required to properly power the system, but often people, even professional installers, overlook this information. The result can be nagging power issues that may make you want to pull your hair out!
In the DIY community, this issue can be compounded by the fact that many users don't have the type of equipment for troubleshooting that a professional installer does. Well, the Input Voltage Test feature can help with that. When you run this test, it checks the input voltage at the IQ Panel 4. You may get a different reading each time you run the test, based on the amount of current being consumed by the panel at that moment. In every case, the input voltage should be at least 6VDC or higher. If the panel receives input voltage below 6VDC, it will alert you that the voltage is low, and suggest ways that you can resolve the issue.
You can reach the Input Voltage Test by selecting the gray bar at the top of the Qolsys IQ Panel 4 screen, then choosing Settings > Advanced Settings > Entering the Installer or Dealer Code (Default is 1111 and 2222 respectively) > System Tests. When you select the Input Voltage Test, you'll see a screen like the one on the left below:
When you press "Start" the panel will do a real-time check of the input voltage at the panel. Each time you come to this screen and press the start button, a new test is run, and as mentioned above, the reading may vary a bit each time, depending on what's happening on the panel when you run the test. An example of when it would be good to check input voltage is in a situation where the panel has been reporting either an AC Loss, or a low battery condition, either constantly or randomly. One of the most important factors in having a healthy battery is providing good input power, which in turn provides good charging voltage. Often, one of the first symptoms of an input power problem is a low battery report.
There are still situations where a multimeter is helpful and will make troubleshooting much quicker. For example, if the low input voltage is being caused by a bad DC power adapter (the thing you plug into the wall) this test can't determine that. It can tell you that the voltage is too low, but not necessarily why it's too low. It also can't tell you if you have a bad piece of wire between the power adapter and the panel. To determine those things quickly, you still need a multimeter. We sell an inexpensive meter on our site, and you can probably also find one at your local hardware store.
So, while this test doesn't necessarily negate the usefulness of a multimeter, it will provide the DIY user with information that was unavailable to them before if they didn't possess a meter. When you're troubleshooting an ongoing issue, all pertinent information is helpful. Thank you to Qolsys for providing this handy tool!