DIY Security Systems Posts

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If you're looking to get started with DIY home security, then your first step is usually to get a system. What many people don't realize is that they don't necessarily need a brand-new panel and sensors to get started. Most users can achieve dependable security setups with used systems.

Honeywell l5210 lynx touch wireless security system with 4 1 sla


Really, the decision to whether you get new or used equipment comes down to personal preference. For some users, there's nothing quite like taking a fresh panel out of the box and appreciating its modern beauty and shiny exterior. We understand. It's fun. Believe it or not, this is actually why many of the people at Alarm Grid chose this profession - we love working with the latest and most advanced security equipment on a regular basis!

For other users, this might not mean as much. They might not care how their system looks or if it is technically the most advanced model. They just want a reliable piece of equipment that will keep their home or business safe for many years to come. And that's fine. Alarm Grid embraces these customers just the same as those who are willing to shell out thousands of dollars for brand-new state-of-the-art equipment. In fact, we often view trying to use existing equipment as the true DIY spirit. If you have it and it works, why replace it?

From our perspective, we don't really care whether you use new or used equipment. We just want to get you monitored and keep your home or business safe. Our monitoring plans are not dependent upon which system and sensors you use. They are dependent upon the services you receive. Customers pay higher monthly fees for necessary services like cellular connectivity, central station monitoring, access to an interactive service platform like Total Connect 2.0 or Alarm.com, smart home automation features and video surveillance.



In other words, your monitoring fee is not affected by whether you use a brand-new Honeywell Lyric Controller with encrypted sensors or a 15-year old VISTA Panel running the same hardwired sensors since day one. If that VISTA is running cellular and the Lyric is WIFI-only, then the VISTA will have the higher monitoring costs. It's as simple as that. So really what you should be doing if you are new to monitoring is finding out what services you need.

When you think about it, the main job of an alarm system is being able to send reliable outbound alerts. Everything beyond that is just used to add extra features or to improve upon the end user's experience. It doesn't matter whether your system is brand-new or 20-years old. What does matter is whether or not it can function reliably based upon today's standards.

The main reason why alarm systems ultimately become obsolete is because they cannot keep up with the latest communication technology. These days, if a system cannot support cellular communication through an LTE network, then it could be considered obsolete. Older 2G networks are already a thing of the past, and 3G networks should follow suit in the coming years. For a long-term investment, getting on an LTE network or higher is a must.

But not all alarm system cellular communicators are created equal. Older modules can only connect to older cellular networks. And when these older networks become discontinued, the communicator becomes obsolete. The alarm manufacturer needs to decide whether or not it is worth releasing a new communicator for this older system. This is more difficult than it might initially seem. Releasing a new communicator might require a major system firmware update that could be difficult to apply, and many people might have already moved on to a new system.

The reality is that sometimes it's just best for an alarm manufacturer to drop support for a panel and try to steer their customers to their newer offerings. This is how they stay competitive and move the industry forward. What can be difficult for customers is knowing when they are best reviving an older system and when it's time to just buy a new model instead.

Honeywell vista 15p alarm control panel

There are many older panels that can do nearly anything a modern alarm system can. They can receive communicator upgrades to work across faster and more reliable networks. They can have smart home automation modules installed to support Z-Wave devices. Many even have touchscreen keypads available for a better end user experience! You just need to ask yourself if the system you are looking at can support a proper communication path and whether or not it can fulfill all your needs.

If you do decide that an older system is the way to go, then we think that's great! Our team will certainly help you embrace the task of helping you get your used alarm system up and running with Alarm Grid monitoring services. We even had s few tips for helping you find older equipment.

First and foremost, you should look around you. For example, you might have moved into a new home with an existing alarm system. Or maybe your friend or loved one has a system they don't use any more, and they don't mind giving it to you. Even if you just find some old sensors, they might be a start. Check around and see if you come across some older systems. You might be surprised!

If you do need to make some purchases, why not try an online auction site or your online classifieds? There is often perfectly functional security equipment available at shockingly low prices. You may be able to buy it for yourself and get it monitored. Just make sure to find out what the panel can and cannot do before you buy it! We strongly recommend getting a system that can support cellular communication and access to an interactive service platform. Used security sensors are also often a great option, since they can usually be obtained at a fraction of the price!

For users who want a quick and easy answer, they might consider buying refurbished equipment from Alarm Grid. We currently offer options for refurbished Honeywell Lyric Alarm Systems and refurbished Honeywell VISTA 21iP Systems. This equipment is sent to us directly from the manufacturer, and it is guaranteed to work just as well as a brand-new system. This way, you can get a system at an affordable cost and know that it will work just as well as a new one.

Honeywell lyric controller encrypted wireless security system

If you're looking for used alarm system equipment, you don't have to go at it alone. Alarm Grid is here to help you so that you can get monitored. We can answer your questions about used security panels and sensors and determine whether or not they are right for your needs. We recommend sending an email to support@alarmgrid.com with any questions you might have. We also offer phone support for those interested in our monitoring services. Just call (888) 818-7728 during our normal business hours of 9am to 8pm EST M-F. We look forward to helping you find the best security equipment for your needs.

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Hi DIYers! If you're a business owner, they you know how important it is to make sure you are protected in every situation. Setting up security cameras in your shop or business can help protect you against fraud. That way, you'll have video evidence if someone tries to take you to court!

Honeywell lyric oc1 standalone wifi outdoor 1080p hd total conneIt's no secret that customer-oriented businesses and security cameras are the perfect match. A video surveillance system is great for catching theft and dishonest bait-and-switch tactics that a small number of dishonest people may try to get away with. But what you might not think of is using security cameras to protect your company in case of a lawsuit.

Having unsafe conditions in your store is a recipe for a costly lawsuit. That is why most business owners take every precaution to ensure that their customers are safe and that their company is not liable in case of an accident. However, this doesn't necessarily stop a dishonest individual or group from trying to pull a fast one.

This is actually a really easy scheme to pull off. Any individual can go into a store and intentionally put some water or loose objects on the floor. They might come back shortly thereafter and pretend to slip and fall on the hazard that they just laid out. From there, they claim to be injured and try to make a quick payday based on "negligence" of the company. That's not fair!

While it might seem crazy that some people would go to such lengths to try and make a quick buck, the practice is all too real. Just take a look at this video where one man pretended to slip on some ice cubes:


Fortunately, this company had security cameras installed to catch the man in the act. But just imagine if the cameras hadn't been there. This man could have easily gotten away with thousands of dollars once everything was said and done! This is another reason to invest in security cameras for your business! If you already have a business security system, then adding cameras is usually quite simple. You can usually keep your existing equipment and add cameras as a new addition.

At Alarm Grid, any customer can add security cameras by upgrading to a Platinum Monitoring Plan. In addition to supporting security cameras, this plan also includes dual-path connectivity through IP and cellular, remote alerts via text and/or email, and automatic emergency dispatch from a central monitoring station. Our Platinum Plan is only $10 more per month than Alarm Grid's standard cellular monitoring plan, the Gold Plan. This means that there really isn't any major up-charge for video monitoring.

Just $45 per month will get you all of the monitoring features mentioned above. You will purchase your system and your cameras outright from the start. These devices are yours to keep, and they can be taken to a different monitoring company if you ever decide to do so. They are also very easy to install, and most end users can complete the process with minimal online or phone support. Alarm Grid offers both Total Connect 2.0 Cameras and Alarm.com Cameras, depending on the customer's interactive service.

Please reach out to us if you're an Alarm Grid monitored customer interested in learning more about video surveillance. The best way to reach us is to send a quick email to support@alarmgrid.com. You can also call us at (888) 818-7728 from 9am to 8pm EST M-F to talk with us on the phone. We look forward to working with you to keep your business safe!

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Hi DIYers! Did you know that one of the best perks of owning a home security system is receiving a large discount in your homeowner's insurance? In many cases, an alarm system will pay for itself and save you money in the long-run! This goes beyond most security aspects and considerations.

Alarm grid inside security stickers

We hear of customers all the time who live in extremely safe areas, and the likelihood of them ever needing to use their security system is quite low. It's fair to wonder why these customers even bother to get security systems in the first place. Well the answer is that these individuals are likely saving substantial money in their homeowner's insurance.

Most insurance companies will offer their customers a premium discount of 5% to 10% for simply owning an active alarm system. Some companies even offer discounts as high as 20% in certain areas. The actual rate of the discount is dependent upon many different factors, and it's usually best to check with your insurance company to find out exactly how much you can save.

With Alarm Grid central station monitoring plans costing as little as $15 per month, sometimes it's a no-brainer to get monitoring service. Just think about it. You will be adding a new layer of security to your home, and you will have protective measures put in place in case an emergency ever does occur. Better safe than sorry!

At the same time, you will actually be saving money just for having this equipment installed and activated. There really is no reason for you to not have an alarm system if you plan on maintaining an active homeowner's insurance policy!

The types of discounts offered from insurance companies typically varies by location. The only general rule is that the customer must have central station monitoring with automatic dispatch, as opposed to self-monitoring. We have heard of customers receiving discounts for the following types of monitoring:

  • Intrusion
  • Fire
  • Freeze
  • Flood
  • Carbon Monoxide

Receiving a Certificate of Alarm (CoA) that you can pass on to your insurance provider to receive a discount is very easy. Just activate a system with Alarm Grid. We will run tests to make sure your system is successfully sending signals to a central station. From there, you can download the certificate and send it online to your insurance provider. More information can be found here.

If you would like to learn more about Alarm Grid monitoring service, we invite you to check our alarm monitoring page. This page is also a great spot to sign-up for new service. If you would like to talk with us first, you can always email support@alarmgrid.com or 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 and helping you save money on your homeowner's insurance!

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Hi DIYers! We have learned that Alarm.com has rolled out the facial recognition feature for the Qolsys IQ Panel 2. This feature notifies a user if an unrecognized face disarms the system using a valid code. The user can receive these unexpected activity alerts via text and/or email.

Qolsys iq panel 2 at and t wireless security system with at and

This is the first time we have seen a home security system using facial recognition technology. Although the feature is still in its early stages, we believe it will be very useful in helping end users remain safe and secure. Facial recognition will work with both the standard IQ Panel 2 and the IQ Panel 2 Plus, as long as the system is connected with a local WIFI network and running at least Firmware Version 2.3.0 or higher. More about this Firmware Update is available here.

In order to use this feature, you must enable the Capture Panel Camera Disarm Images from within the IQ Panel 2 settings. To do this start from the main screen of the system, and press the small grey bar at the top. Choose Settings > Advanced Settings > Installer Code (default 1111) > Installation > Camera Settings. Then make sure the Disarm Photos option is enabled. Press the picture of the house at the bottom of the screen to return to the home screen when finished.


The setting will also need to be enabled and configured through Alarm.com. If you don't already have a monitoring plan with access to Alarm.com, you can check out our alarm monitoring page for more information. If necessary, check with your alarm monitoring company to make sure that the Unexpected Activity Alerts feature and the Images - Plus feature are both enabled. At this time, only customers in the United States can use this feature.

Each user should have their own access code for the system. This is necessary for the facial recognition feature to work properly. If you need to create a new user, you can login to Alarm.com through the website. Click the Users tab on the left, and then choose Add New User. Then follow the steps to add a new user to the system. This will involve choosing a system code and providing any notification information.

From there, you will proceed to turn on the facial recognition feature. Login to the Alarm.com website, and choose the Settings tab on the left. Then choose Facial Recognition. You must then approve the necessary agreements before continuing. This will tell the panel to start collecting data for facial recognition. However, you won't be able to use the feature right away. You need to collect some images first!

Most users should just go about their business collecting images as they use the panel. Or you can be like us and repeatedly arm and disarm the panel to quickly collect images. Make sure you are using the code associated with the user you want to enable the facial recognition feature for. Just be aware that it may take a few moments for the images to show up on alarm.com.

Once you have collected some images, choose the Settings option on the Alarm.com website, and choose the Facial Recognition option. Press the blue Get Started button underneath Configuration. Then choose the user you want to configure facial recognition for. Choose the calibration option. Alarm.com will show you if there are any images to review. Go through and choose the checkmark for any image that is yours. If you see any image without your face, press the X button. You will need a minimum of 10 images to enable the feature.

Once you have 10 images, you can enable Unexpected Activity for facial recognition. From Alarm.com, choose the Notifications tab. Then find the Unexpected Activity option, and make sure it is turned on. Then press the pencil on the right to edit the settings. You will see the option for Facial Recognition. Make sure it is enabled for the user with at least 10 approved images. Then you can choose where the notifications will be sent at the bottom of the screen. Both emails and phones for text messages can be configured. Press Save when finished.

You will then receive alerts for any unexpected activity!


If you have any questions about this feature, please reach out to us! You can email us at support@alarmgrid.com or 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 your IQ Panel 2 System.

Note: Due to privacy concerns, this feature is currently available for users in the 50 US States. We are hopeful that this feature will be made available to users in Puerto Rico and Canada in the future.

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Hi DIYers! After you sign-up for monitoring service and get your system, you still need to have it activated! This is a one-time process that is used to get your system up and running and communicating properly. We have some tips to make sure that your alarm system activation is successful.

Alarm grid inside security stickers

Alarm Grid is a DIY monitoring company. All the support we provide is either online or over the phone. When you sign up for one of our self-monitoring plans, we can usually activate your account remotely, with no one onsite. However, if you sign up for one of our central station monitored accounts, the process is slightly more involved and requires an appointment. Anyone on-site can complete this process, so you can certainly ask a spouse, relative or other roommate to do this on your behalf.

During your activation appointment, you will be on a live phone call with one of our support technicians. The technician will create your account, verify the information you have provided for the monitoring company, and walk you through a test to verify a working system. Our activation appointments are allotted one hour. We know that your time is valuable, so we want to ensure that the process goes smoothly and quickly and results in a successful activation!

The basic premise behind an activation is that you will have a pre-arranged time slot during which an Alarm Grid activator will call you and provide you with one-on-one and focused attention to help program your system to communicate successfully. You will receive information beforehand via email with some basic guidelines to follow. This is designed to help get you ready for your activation. Remember, nobody is going to come out to your home or business. Your Alarm Grid activation will be completed over the phone, and you will be the one working at the panel.

While our team members will certainly do their jobs, you have to do your part as well for the activation to be successful! By following these five tips, you can help us perform our duties more effectively and make the overall process easier for both of us:

1. Be on-site. Although our support is provided over the phone, an activation occurs at the panel or keypad. Security systems cannot be initially setup or programmed remotely. You, or a designee, need to be on-site with the system to complete the activation. If you aren't on-site, we will need to reschedule the activation. There are no exceptions to this rule, and a rescheduled activation is very inconvenient for both of us. Don't think that you can activate your system while you are driving, on a plane, or on vacation. You must be at your home or business directly in front of the panel. All the work will be completed right there.

2. Know your codes. Many panel activations are stalled or terminated because a customer does not know their codes. We have no way of seeing any system codes until the system is activated. You really need to know these codes to complete the process.For an activation, you will need to know the system's Installer Code. This is the system code used for deep-level programming. If the system is brand-new, then the Installer Code is almost certainly at its default. If the system has been monitored before, then a different monitoring company may have changed the code to lock the customer out of programming.

Knowing your Installer Code is crucial as a DIY user. After all, you will want to be able to make your own system programming changes when needed. At Alarm Grid, we work to empower our customers and prevent them from ever being locked out of programming mode. That is why we advise our customers to keep their Installer Codes at the default. If you don't know your Installer Code, trying the default first is always a good option. If that code doesn't work, then you may need to get the information from your prior monitoring company. If they are refusing to provide your Installer Code, then they are holding your system hostage, and you can often threaten legal action!

Keep in mind that some systems offer the option for a backdoor method that can be used to get into programming if the Installer Code is lost. Once you are inside programming, you can change the Installer Code to something you know. However, this process is not possible for every panel. Any backdoor steps should be completed prior to your activation, as it takes up valuable time to complete the process. Alarm Grid offers the following FAQs that cover the backdoor process:

The default Installer Code can usually be determined by the manufacturer of the panel. Keep in mind that there are occasionally some panels that break this norm. The typical default Installer Code and Master Code for various alarm system manufacturers is shown in the table below:

Manufacturer
Installer Code
Master Code
Honeywell
4112 1234
2GIG
1561 1111
Qolsys
1111 1234
Interlogix/GE
4321 1234
DSC
5555 1234

3. Program beforehand. Having to go through and program a panel will slow down any system activation. You really should have most or all of this process completed prior to your scheduled activation slot. Of course, if you have any questions or troubles with programming, then our team is happy to help. But just remember that it gets in the way of our main task of configuring the system. Getting an early start with programming is a great way to start learning your system and setting things up the way you want. This includes things like learning-in sensors and adjusting Entry and Exit Delay timers to your liking.

We offer many FAQs and videos that can help you complete various programming tasks. We also encourage you to use the search bar in the upper-right corner of our website to browse through any content we have created. Also keep in mind that there may be answers elsewhere. You can always search Google or YouTube to see what solutions and guides you come across. We fully understand that the typical DIY user will have a few minor programming questions; that is to be expected. But whatever you can figure out and complete yourself will save trouble and time during your appointment!

4. Listen to your technician. One thing you can most definitely expect during your activation is to receive instructions from your Alarm Grid technician. It is very important that you listen carefully and follow these instructions exactly as described. Your technician is working to get you through the process as quickly and accurately as possible. The steps we provide and the tasks we ask you to complete are given for a reason. We're trying to help you to keep your family, and your property safe. So put on your best listening ears and follow our instructions. Before you know it, you'll be ready to go with a complete security system!

5. Minimize conversation. Our support technicians are all very friendly, and we will gladly listen to you. But just remember that we're here to get a job done within a relatively small time window. We understand that you may be very excited about getting a new alarm system. And if you just moved into a new home, then you most definitely have some interesting stories to tell about the experience. We realize that you probably want to tell everyone about your new house that you've worked hard for. And while that's great, too much idle chatting slows down our activation.

Look, we know that some small talk is to be expected. We enjoy talking with our customers and providing friendly service. That's one of our top-goals. But we also want to move through the process efficiently. If you start getting off-task, then it will not be in the best interest of our activation. While we won't shoot down any customer who wants to socialize, we will be trying to subtly move the process along. You're certainly free to talk with us during your activation, but you may want to save any deep conversations or lengthy stories for a neighbor, your family or your co-workers at the water-cooler. It's nothing personal, we just ave a job to do!

Have you signed-up for Alarm Grid monitoring yet? If not, now is a great time to get started. Just click the orange Monitoring button at the top of the page to check out our plans. You can also start browsing our site for a security system to install in your home or business. If you need help planning an Alarm Grid security system, reach out to us by emailing support@alarmgrid.com. We also accept phone calls at (888) 818-7728 during our normal business hours of 9am to 8pm EST M-F. We look forward to working with you during your activation!

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If you're like many system owners, you're looking for a way to add a new noisemaker to your security setup. Maybe you need a louder sounder or you want audible alarms to occur in a second location. In any case, a wireless siren may provide the perfect solution, especially for DIY users.

Qolsys iq siren z wave siren for qolsys iq and iq panel 2 qz2300

External alarm system sirens aren't just for users with hardwired alarm control panels. These devices make a great addition to almost any setup. Adding an external sounder is now easier than ever before thanks to the rise of wireless sirens. Unlike their hardwired predecessors, wireless sirens do not need a relay module or a complicated power supply. Most can receive power through regular batteries and stay operational for years on end. Programming is generally very easy even for novice users. And we're not talking about a conventional hardwired siren that is operated using a wireless relay like a Honeywell 5800RL We're talking about true wireless sirens that communicate directly with the security panel.

There remains a common misconception that hardwired sirens are significantly louder than their wireless counterparts. While there are still industrial and commercial locations that need hardwired sounders, the reality is that there are some extremely loud wireless sirens available for almost any alarm system. Nearly every home can get the results they need using a wireless sounder. And if you're a DIY user installing your own home security system, there's practically no reason to even consider using a hardwired device when you can get great results using a wireless sounder.

At the end of the day, there are still louder wired siren options than wireless sirens. But the difference is not as big as you might expect. We have encountered wired sirens that produce sounds of up to 120-125 dB. Meanwhile, the most powerful wireless sirens tend to top out at the 105-110 dB rang. But there are almost no residential applications that need the power of a hardwired siren! A 105 dB wireless siren will still alert everyone in the building to an alarm event. Keep in mind that 105 dB is about as loud as a powerful table saw. You will certainly hear it!

Once you decide that a wireless siren is right for you, the question becomes which one to get. It can be difficult to decide with all the great options available. But we're here to break down the options and point you in the right direction. One of the easiest devices to recommend is the Qolsys IQ Siren. This is a Z-Wave siren that operates at 105 dB. Since it communicates as a Z-Wave device, it can successfully pair with almost any alarm system with a functional Z-Wave controller. This makes it one of the most versatile and easy to use wireless sirens available. All you have to do is enroll it with your system and keep it plugged into a wall outlet.

A very similar wireless siren is the Linear WA105DBZ-1. This is a 105 dB Z-Wave siren manufactured by Linear, a company well-known for its Z-Wave offerings. This device also plugs into a wall outlet using an included transformer, and it has a backup battery for situations when the power is out. A white LED strobe light with red plastic cover provides visual indication of any alarms that occur. Just like the Qolsys option, the Linear WA105DBZ-1 can pair successfully with virtually any alarm system that has a functional Z-Wave controller.

If you're looking for a louder siren, then you might consider the DSC PG9911B. This siren communicates using PowerG RF signal, making it compatible with the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus Systems and the DSC PowerSeries Neo Panels. Unfortunately, PowerG is not as widespread as Z-Wave, so there aren't as many panels that can use the PG9911B. But the upside to this device is that it offers an incredibly loud sound rating of 110 dB. PowerG sensors also boast a highly impressive signal range, making this siren perfect for spots like detached garages or barns located across the property. The PG9911B is also one of the few wireless outdoor sirens available, which only adds to its excellent versatility!

Not every user will need an external siren in the 105-110 dB range. Some users just want a second sounder to install in the second area of the property. Honeywell offers a couple of wireless sirens that fit this bill. These are the Honeywell 5800WAVE and the Honeywell SiXSIREN. Both devices operate at 85 dB, which is about as loud as the integrated sounder inside most wireless alarm panels. They are great for users with larger properties who need sounders in multiple areas. The 5800WAVE will work with LYNX Touch Systems, as well as VISTA Systems that have an added wireless transceiver. Meanwhile, the SiXSIREN works exclusively with the Lyric Controller. DSC also offers a similar siren, the DSC WT4901, which works with their 433 MHz systems.

If you're an Alarm Grid monitored customer looking for a wireless siren, our team is here to help. We invite you to email us at support@alarmgrid.com with any questions you might have. We also offer phone support for monitored customers at (888) 818-7728 during our regular business hours of 9am to 8pm EST M-F. We look forward to assisting you and helping you find the perfect wireless alarm siren for your needs!

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Hi DIYers! If you haven't heard yet, a new firmware version for the 2GIG GC3 System is now available. This update provides support for the system's screensaver feature, and it allows video demos to be uploaded to the panel. It also fixes a few minor bugs that were known to cause issues.

2gig gc3 diy wireless security system w slash 7 screenThe firmware update is version 3.2.1.6653. Although the changes it offers are relatively minor, it's still worth downloading for users who want to get the very most out of their GC3 Systems. The biggest change is the addition of the screensaver feature, which will also likely be referred to as the slideshow feature. Users can add personal photos to a USB drive and transfer them to their GC3 System or associated 2GIG SP1 Keypad. They can then arrange these pictures to appear in a slideshow, which will automatically go into effect if the system is left unused for a certain period of time. These options are available in a new My Photos Menu found within System Settings.

Also included in the update is the video demos feature. Although this feature was intended with alarm dealers in mind, there's no reason why it can't be used by end users as well. Users will transfer personal video clips to the panel through a USB drive. They can then use the new Demo Menu option within the Installer Toolbox to add demo videos to the panel. Just like with the slideshow feature, the demo videos can be viewed from both the GC3 System and the 2GIG SP1 Keypad. Both photos and videos are uploaded independently so that a user can have different slideshows and demo videos between their system and their SP1 Keypads.

Other updates included fixed to low-battery indications and problems with the Access Point mode. If you want to download this firmware update, please check our GC3 Firmware Update Page. Download the necessary file, and transfer it to the root directory of a USB drive. You can then insert the USB drive into the top of the GC3 System. Then confirm the update, and provide either the Master Code or the Installer Code (default 1561) to begin. The system will reboot, and the update will be applied. Alarm Grid customers can also ask us to push the update down manually. However, this will include added costs.

If you have any questions about this update please email 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 hearing from you!

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Hi DIYers! We've heard many reports that end users were having a tough time auto-enrolling their DSC PowerG Wireless Sensors with their Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus Systems. After doing some of our own research, we've found that it is possible. In this quick and easy post, we will show you how.

PowerG Sensors are somewhat unique because they don't learn-in with an IQ Panel 2 Plus by removing a tamper cover or by faulting the sensor. Each PowerG device actually has an enrollment button that is used for enrollment. But even then, this button isn't just simply pressed and held. It has to be activated in a very specific manner for the sensor to learn in.

First, you must locate the enrollment button on the PowerG Sensor. The location of this button can vary greatly between different pieces of equipment. For a key fob or panic button, the enrollment button is usually one of the primary inputs. But another sensor may have its enrollment button on its main board or beneath the battery cover. We recommend referring to the sensor's Installation manual for more information on where this button is located.

The picture below shows the enrollment button on a DSC PG9944 Outdoor Image Sensor. Notice how it is underneath the back cover next to the batteries.


Please keep in mind that the location of this button will vary between different sensors. Once you have located the button, put the IQ Panel 2 Plus System into its auto-enrollment mode like you would for any other sensor. You can access this mode by pressing the small grey bar at the top of the screen and choosing Settings > Advanced Settings > Installer Code (default 1111) > Installation > Devices > Security Sensors > Auto Learn Sensor.

From there, press and hold the enrollment button on the sensor. An LED light on the sensor should appear and then disappear. Keep holding down the button, and do not let it go. After a brief moment, the LED light should appear a second time. Release the button while the light is still illuminated in this second cycle. If performed successfully, the sensor should transmit a signal to the IQ Panel 2 Plus. The system should recognize the signal and learn-in the sensor. You can then proceed to adjust the programming settings for the zone.

Please note that there are some PowerG Sensors that require three (3) LED light cycles for auto-enrollment. For these sensors, try holding down the enrollment button. An LED light should appear. Continue to hold the button. The light will go out, and then a rapidly blinking LED light will appear. Again, continue to hold. Then a third LED light will appear. Release the button when this third LED light cycle begins. The device should auto-enroll. An example of a PowerG Sensor that uses this third cycle enrollment process is the PowerG Flood Sensor. We recommend trying this three cycle process if the regular two cycle process does not work.

We have also encountered some PowerG Sensors that enroll during the first LED light cycle. If that is the case, press and hold the enrollment button until the first LED light appears. Then release the button with the LED light still illuminated. The device should auto-enroll. This is also something to try if you are having repeated trouble enrolling a PowerG Sensor. One sensor where we encountered this is the PowerG Curtain Motion Sensor. Again, a single LED cycle is something to try if you are experiencing repeated problems enrolling a new PowerG Sensor.

We feel this helpful tip should make it easier for end users to enroll their PowerG Sensors without additional assistance. Remember, this is only for Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus Systems that have a PowerG daughtercard installed and operating properly. If you're a monitored customer with additional questions, please reach out to us by emailing support@alarmgrid.com, or call us at (888) 818-7728 during our normal business hours of 9am to 8pm EST M-F. We look forward to helping you!

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Hi DIYers! We're hitting you with a video recap, this time covering January 28th thru February 7th. It has been a couple of weeks since we have last done this, so we have many new videos this time. Your boys Joe, Jorge and Jarrett are all back and ready to help you learn to use your system!

Using the Qolsys IQ Siren with a 2GIG Alarm System

Jorge shows users how to use the Qolsys IQ Siren with a 2GIG GC3 Alarm System. This Z-Wave siren produces sounds of up to 105 dB, and it features a built-in strobe light to provide a visual indication of an alarm. It also has an integrated backup battery so that it will work even when the power is out. This is an easy-to-use siren that is great for boosting the volume of a 2GIG Security System, as well as many other alarm control panels that work with Z-Wave.


Disabling Auto-Stay on a Honeywell LYNX Touch

Chipper Alarm Grid Team Member Jarrett demonstrates how to disable the auto-stay arming feature when using a Honeywell LYNX Touch Alarm System. Auto-Stay Arming has the system automatically revert to Arm Stay Mode when Arming Away if no entry/exit zone is activated during the exit delay countdown. If you want to put your LYNX Touch System into Arm Away Mode, you must either disable this feature or open and close an entry/exit sensor during the exit delay countdown.


Why Can't I Use Z-Wave Security Sensors With My Alarm System?

Jorge talks about how Z-Wave security sensors cannot be used with security systems supported by Alarm Grid. Z-Wave technology is great for use with smart home automation, and we have many systems that support Z-Wave lights, locks and thermostats. However, the Z-Wave communication protocol still isn't considered to be reliable and consistent enough to support security applications. For that reason, most alarm system manufacturers specifically design their security panels so that they cannot use or support Z-Wave security devices.


Changing the Master Code Using the Installer Code on a Honeywell Lyric

Jarrett walks users through the process of changing the Master Code by using the Installer Code on a Honeywell Lyric Alarm System. From the Installer Tools Menu, there is an option for resetting the Master Code back to its default of 1234. The user can then use the default Master Code to access the Users Menu and change the Master Code to a different four-digit code of their choosing. The Installer Tools Menu should be easy to access with the system disarmed since most users keep their Installer Code at the default of 4112.


Using the Smart Areas Feature on the 2GIG GC3

Jorge demonstrates the Smart Areas feature on a 2GIG GC3 Alarm System. This feature allows the system to support partitioning. In this case, the partitions are referred to as "Smart Areas". The system will support four distinct Smart Areas after the feature has been enabled from within system programming. After enabling the feature, a Smart Areas menu option will appear on the main system screen. Please note that your GC3 System must be running firmware version 3.2 or higher to support the feature.


Streaming Alarm.com Cameras to the Qolsys IQ Panel 2

Joe shows users how they can stream Alarm.com Security Cameras directly to their Qolsys IQ Panel 2 System. This feature is only compatible with certain ADC Camera models. You will need to enable the feature within Alarm.com for this to work. In addition to streaming video, some camera models will also allow your to stream live audio on the panel as well. Please note that your IQ Panel 2 System will need to be running firmware version 2.2.1 or higher to support this feature.


How to Safely Remove an iControl from an Existing System

Joe walks users through the proper procedure for removing an iControl module from a Honeywell VISTA Panel. There have been many users who have removed iControl modules from their systems, only to find out later that their keypads do not function properly. This can be prevented by following the correct steps when removing an iControl device. The proper procedure involves powering down the VISTA System before removing and reconnecting the keypad cable to the ECP bus afterwards.


Is Monitoring Required to Use Home Automation with the Interlogix Simon XTi-XTi-5

Jorge talks about how alarm monitoring service is required to use smart home automation with an Interlogix Simon XTi or Simon XTi-5 Alarm System. The reason that these systems require alarm monitoring for home automation is because the Alarm.com Cellular Communicator is actually also the Z-Wave controller. The cellular communicator must be installed and activated with Alarm.com for Z-Wave functionality to work on the system. A user can then control their Z-Wave devices from the panel or through the Alarm.com website or mobile app.


Finding the Serial Number on a Honeywell 5800PIR-RES

Jorge mentions the possible ways to find the Serial Number on a Honeywell 5800PIR-RES Motion Sensor. The easiest option is to check a sticker on the back of the sensor that lists the Serial Number. If the sticker has been removed, you can also auto-enroll it to the panel. The Serial Number will be displayed on the screen after you have learned it in. This can also be useful for confirming that the Serial Number on the sticker is correct.


Honeywell Panels Compatible With the SEM

Jorge explains which of the Honeywell Panels will work with an Alarm.com System Enhancement Module (SEM). An SEM is a cellular communicator that allows a Honeywell System to work with the Alarm.com service. This is rather unique because Honeywell Systems would normally work with Total Connect 2.0 instead. The SEM devices will work with any of the lower VISTA P-Series Panels, as well as their First Alert equivalents. These modules also include built-in Z-Wave controllers for smart home functionality.


Updating the Firmware on a Vista-P Alarm System

Joe covers the process for updating the firmware on a Honeywell VISTA Series System. This is done by replacing the PROM chip. The PROM chip can be identified as a small black chip on the system board. Upgrading to a new one can be necessary for unlocking certain features. You should always make sure to power down the system entirely whenever you are replacing the PROM chip. Alarm Grid sells VISTA-15P PROM Chips, VISTA-20P PROM Chips and VISTA-21iP PROM Chips.


Bonus: Alarm Grid Intro Video

Okay, so this isn't really a video to help you use a security system. But it is a nifty introduction montage that our video team put together. Many of the Alarm Grid techs and employees are featured, including Jorge, Jarrett, Joe, Dylan and Bryce. I even make a brief appearance! We're very proud to have helped many people get the most out of their security systems. If you're a monitored customers and you ever need further help, please reach out to us by emailing support@alarmgrid.com. Also make sure to like us on YouTube, and subscribe for further updates!

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Hi DIYers! We've learned that a new update to Total Connect 2.0 lets users enable a "Privacy When Disarmed" feature on their HD Cameras. This prevents the cameras from recording and capturing video clips while the system is Disarmed. It will then operate as normal when the system is Armed.

The Privacy When Disarmed feature is great for users who don't want to be bombarded with notifications that appear when their camera activates while they are around. This feature will automatically put the camera into Privacy Mode whenever the system is Disarmed. Once the system is Armed, the camera will exit Privacy Mode and begin operating normally. Many users don't need their camera to record and capture clips while their system is Disarmed, but having to go in and manually toggle the Privacy Mode option every single time can be inconvenient. Now there's an effective solution available!

Each Honeywell HD Camera can be set with the Privacy When Disarmed feature individually. There is currently no way to enable the feature for all the cameras at once. So if you want to use it with all your cameras, you must enable the option for each of them. Additionally, the feature right now turns off Privacy Mode for both Arm Stay and Arm Away settings. We're hoping that a future update will allow the option to be set for only Arm Away Mode. After all, we expect that some users won't want their camera to be taken off Privacy Mode after Arming Stay and remaining inside the building.

Before we get started demonstrating the feature, we do want to note that iOS users may need to log out of the Total Connect 2.0 Mobile App and log back in for the change to be implemented. But it should function normally from there on out. In our example, we will be using the app on an Android Phone.

Start by opening the Total Connect 2.0 App and logging in. Then select the Cameras tab:



We will be demonstrating the feature with our camera "B parking lot". Press the three dots next to the camera to access its advanced settings. Then toggle on the "Turn on camera privacy when security is disarmed". You will be backed out to the previous screen. However, you will notice that the camera's privacy option is still disabled, even if the system is currently in a Disarmed state:




But then try Arming (Away or Stay) and then Disarming from the App. When you navigate back to the Cameras tab, you will notice that Privacy Mode has been enabled automatically. Also the image preview will not be available:



Then if you Arm Away or Arm Stay, you will notice that Privacy Mode has been automatically turned off:



We will be sure to provide you with any additional updates regarding Total Connect 2.0 as we learn more information. If you're an Alarm Grid monitored customer and you have any questions, please reach out to us by emailing support@alarmgrid.com. You may also call us at (888) 818-7728 to during our normal business hours of 9am to 8pm EST M-F. If you would like to learn more about Alarm Grid monitoring and how you can start using Total Connect 2.0, please check out our monitoring page. We look forward to hearing from you!

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