Industry News and Discussions Posts

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The maker of the 2GIG GC3 and GC3e recommends that all users with a panel approaching 3 years of age replace the backup battery. Initially, the expected battery life was between three and five years. With the recent notice Nice, 2GIG's parent company is now suggesting a battery replacement ahead of schedule.


Apparently, swelling has been observed in some of these panels' lithium-polymer batteries. The manufacturer notes that some minor swelling is normal, but based on the notice it sounds like some batteries may be swelling beyond what is normal.



Once you open up the GC3/GC3 panel to access the battery, Nice is also warning not to puncture the battery upon removal. Do not use any type of sharp object to remove the battery. Puncturing the battery could allow dangerous chemicals to spill from the casing. Once the battery is removed, please follow local guidelines with regard to the proper disposal of lithium-ion batteries.

It is also recommended in this notice to do a firmware upgrade of your 2GIG GC3 or GC3e alarm panel at the time you replace the battery. The latest revision for these panels is 3.2.6.6770.

Reading through the firmware release notes, it does mention that the latest firmware update includes the addition of battery testing, and conditioning, as well as a status indicator for battery replacement. So, we will double down on the advice to update your panel's firmware. This revision also includes compliance with UL 985 edition 6. This standard requires that the panel recognize batteries that can no longer provide battery backup for at least 5 minutes worth of alarm signaling. When the panel recognizes that the battery lacks this capacity, it will alert the user of a low battery and the battery should be replaced at that time.

The 2GIG GC3 and GC3e use the same firmware beginning with revision 3.2.3. If you already have revision 3.2.1 or higher, then you can find all updates on the GC3e firmware update page. Older revisions may require a stepped approach to upgrading and cannot be updated all-at-once. You can find the older firmware versions on the GC3 firmware update page.

You must update to the base build of each revision, and then you can skip to the latest build of that revision. The base of each version is 3.0.x then 3.1.x, then 3.2.x. If you have an earlier revision and attempt to update directly to 3.2.1, your panel will very likely be damaged and will have to be replaced. Updating over the air using Alarm.com can help with this process, as their server should only allow you to update in the proper order.

GC3/GC3e firmware updates can be sent by your alarm dealer. When the update can be sent using WIFI at the panel, there is usually no charge, though different dealers may have different policies on this. An upgrade that has to be sent using cellular data will incur a fee, which will likely be passed onto the user by the dealer. Alarm Grid always passes these fees along with no markup. We recommend that you update using the USB port at the top of the panel. We have written detailed instructions on updating the firmware using the USB port to make this process easier to accomplish.


If your panel is approaching or past the 3-year mark, it is best to be proactive and purchase your new GC3/GC3e battery today. Then make sure to install the latest firmware, as recommended.


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A New Rules Builder feature has been added for customers who have a monitoring plan with Alarm.com. It was designed to simplify the process of automating actions for scenes and rules. The feature can easily be accessed using either the customer website or the iOS or Android app.

A benefit of modern-day alarm systems is the ability to add smart devices to them. This allows for control directly from your alarm panel, remote app, computer, or by using your voice (when connected to Google Home or Alexa). Rules allow you to automate many of these actions rather than having to manually activate your devices over and over.

Previously, there was only an option to create event triggered rules, which is still a thing on the customer website, but Alarm.com has also made this new rules builder available. Alarm.com can be accessed via an app on a mobile device or a web browser on a computer. The Alarm.com mobile app is available on iOS and Android app stores. On a computer, navigate to alarm.com to log into the website.

If you always want the connected lights to come on when you enter a room that has a motion detector, you can set up a rule for that to occur any time the motion detector is activated. In an attempt to make building these types of rules easier, Alarm.com created the New Rules Builder to assist.

For example, to set up a light to turn on when motion is activated:

After logging in and selecting Automation, select +ADD NEW RULE then New Rules Builder.



Select "when." When is the trigger or what initiates the automation rule to run. In this case, when motion is detected in the Living Room. Next, you select "then." Then is the action(s) that the rule will perform after it is triggered. In our example, we want the Office Hallway light to turn on. Next, decide if the rule will run at all times or only during specific time windows. Finally, don't forget to "Save" your work.

The creation of rules can automate many repetitive functions to save time and make life easier. Rules can also go a long way toward going green and becoming more energy efficient. They provide convenience and can save you precious time and money.

Try out the new rules builder and let us know what cool things you are doing with it, and what you think of the feature.


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The year 2022 is quickly drawing to a close, with about 30 shopping days left until Christmas. But before we jump ahead to the next holiday, we wanted to take a moment to reflect and give thanks in honor of Thanksgiving. It's one of our favorite holidays, with a simple goal of togetherness.

If you'll be traveling this Thanksgiving, be sure to lock your doors and arm your alarm system. Your system can't do its job until you do your part. If you have smoke detectors connected to your system you should definitely test them regularly. Whether your system is armed or disarmed, smoke detectors are always active when properly configured.

So that our dedicated support and planner staff can celebrate with their families, Alarm Grid will be closed all day on Thursday, November 24, 2022, for Thanksgiving. We'll be back bright and early on Friday, November 25 at 9:00 am. Of course, our monitoring station operates 24/7/365, so for those customers who have chosen full central station monitoring, your system will be continuously monitored by trained operators who stand ready to respond to any alarm you may have.

If you need to contact the monitoring station, either to report a false alarm or to put your system on test, you can call Criticom Monitoring Services (CMS) at (888) 818-7728 and choose Option [9]. This is the process for Alarm Grid customers who reside within the United States. Once an operator answers, you'll need to supply your name, address, and false alarm password.

For our Canadian customers, our monitoring partner in Canada is Rapid Response. They can be reached at (800) 932-3822. Remember, when you call either monitoring station you will be asked for your name and address, and to verify your false alarm password or phrase. Providing the wrong information, or providing the Duress password, will result in a police dispatch.

If you have a support question or need to make adjustments to your account, the monitoring station won't be able to assist you with that. In that case, send an email to support@alarmgrid.com with your request and we'll get back to you as soon as possible when we return to the office on Friday. There can be a bit of a backlog, so please be patient while we catch up.

2022 has been a year for reacquiring a solid footing in the post-COVID-shutdown era. We've dealt with supply chain issues, sudden discontinuation of some products, and name or model number changes in others while manufacturers struggle to meet the demands of their customers, and by extension, our customers. The waters are choppy, and we're navigating them to the best of our ability. We appreciate you staying in the boat with us. We will arrive at the dock together, safely.

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Resideo announced today that the final Lynx product still being manufactured is discontinued, effective immediately. Some components required to produce the LynxTouch L5210 panel are obsolete, so the decision has been made to move on. Rest in peace LynxTouch. You were a good product.

I was never meant to be an alarm technician. I went to school for networking, and I had a job doing technical support for an ISP. Then the Dot-com Bubble burst in 2000 and suddenly there was a surplus of qualified candidates for every networking job. The ISP I worked for went out of business, so I knew that there were at least forty other people looking for the same networking jobs I was.

I saw an advertisement for a technical support specialist at Ademco. I studied up on the company, and what it offered. The largest manufacturer of alarm products in North America. Not bad! The main reason I applied was that I knew none of the other people who were also in the process of losing their jobs, would. I figured I could continue looking for networking jobs if I managed to get hired. I went into it actively not wanting the job. I literally said, "I'll probably get this job because I don't want it."

I had an interview and got a tour. They were interested in me because of my networking background. They were about to begin supporting a touchscreen keypad that had an internet connection and most of their alarm technicians were not good with software, computers, or networking. I left the interview thinking, "I probably won't get this job because now I want it."

But I did get the job, and for the first few months, I thought I would fail. I had no electronics background and no alarm panel background. They trained me on downloading software first. For the first week, I bet I didn't say two words all day long during training. At night I went home saying, "What do they mean 'control panel'?!" What everyone else in the world called a download, they called an upload, and vice versa. Eventually, I made it to alarm panel training.

At that time, in early 2001, the Lynx panel lineup was their only wireless all-in-one panel. Its competition was the Simon panel lineup from ITI/Interlogix/GE. Both manufacturers' panels spoke, and both spoke with a female voice. For a person who didn't have any experience with wiring or resistors, it was like an oasis in a desert of hardwired panels. The Lynx could be a bear to program because it didn't have an actual alpha display, but nearly every Lynx panel in use was exclusively using wireless sensors.

I really liked the early Lynx panels. My reasons were selfish. The thing that made it difficult for others wasn't a problem for me. The menu prompts, particularly in zone and output programming, made perfect sense. The feature that made other panels difficult for me, various wiring scenarios, was almost completely absent from the Lynx. Working with Lynx panels gave me the confidence to stick with alarms until I could master the rest of the product line. Also, because a Lynx panel would allow you to record a custom voice descriptor for a zone, you could use it to play some pretty good pranks on fellow technicians.

That was twenty-one years ago. I was so intent on trying to master this technology I didn't have time to look for a networking job. Anyway, I had found a home in this industry. Interlogix shut down its North American alarm operations at the end of 2019. So, the Lynx has outlived its old nemesis the Simon panel. Earlier this year, Resideo announced that it would discontinue the Lynx 3000 and LynxTouch L7000 panels. The L5210 was the final remaining Lynx system, and now it too is discontinued. Forgive me if I get a little misty-eyed and nostalgic. After all, I'm saying goodbye to an old friend.

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Alarm.com partners with electrical power companies all across the country to offer a demand response program they call "Give Back, Get Back". They have recently announced they will be adding AEP I&M to this program. AEP I&M is the power company for some Indiana and Michigan customers.

When summer comes along and temperatures rise, so does the demand for energy. Managing this energy consumption and controlling energy use during high-demand periods, allows the power company to rely on more renewable sources of energy. These high-demand times are called "Peak Energy Use Events". According to the program, there are usually up to fifteen (15) of these events per summer.

When you opt into the program, you will receive notifications when any Peak Energy Use Events occur. Each event typically lasts between two (2) and three (3) hours. During these times, AEP I&M will make slight adjustments to your thermostat in order to decrease overall energy demand. Before a peak event, AEP I&M may alter your set point to help with an expected increased demand. You still maintain control of your thermostat, and you can adjust your thermostat during an event. You also have the ability to opt-out of a particular energy event, or out of the entire program. If you manually adjust your thermostat during an event it may affect your ability to obtain credit for that particular high-demand event.

Alarm.com customers with a compatible thermostat can now enroll in this rewards program through AEP I&M. Upon enrollment, Give Back Get Back participants will receive a $25 credit per device for up to two (2) devices. Plus, Michigan customers will receive a bill credit of $1.95 and Indiana customers will receive a bill credit of $2.40 per Peak Energy Use Event when your participation is at least 50% of the event’s duration.

To be eligible for the program, it does require a compatible WIFI-Connected Smart Thermostat with central air conditioning. Compatible thermostats are listed in the chart below.

AEP I&M Qualifying Thermostats:
Manufacturer Approved Thermostats
ecobee ecobee3; ecobee3 Lite; ecobee4; ecobee Smart; ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control
Honeywell Home WIFI Smart Color Thermostat; WIFI 7-Day Programmable Thermostat; WIFI 9000 7-Day Programmable Thermostat; 9000 Smart Thermostat; 7-Day Programmable Smart Thermostat; VisionPro 8000 Smart Thermostat; Round Smart Thermostat; T5+ Smart Thermostat; T6 Pro Smart Thermostat; T9 Smart Thermostat, T10 Smart Thermostat
Amazon Amazon Smart Thermostat

Thermostats and discounts vary, based on your utility provider. If you have Alarm.com and a WIFI thermostat, check enroll my thermostat to see if you qualify for the program in your area. Check our website, to look into adding a compatible thermostat.

To opt-in from the customer website only, login and click the > symbol on the Thermostat card. If you have an eligible thermostat, you should see an option for "Give Back, Get Back". Click this option, then click Settings and Notifications and follow the instructions. Alarm Grid customers needing additional assistance, please email us at support@alarmgrid.com. Our support hours are from 9:00 AM - 8:00 PM Eastern, Monday - Friday.

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Alarm.com announced via their Release Notes for the week of 10/24/22 that they will be hosting a firmware update for the Qolsys IQ Panel 2/2Plus panels. This firmware gives a programmer the option to set the panel to report to the monitoring station if the panel is manually powered down.

In addition to this added capability, there will be various fixes implemented. This includes an issue where the panel would sometimes report a false AC Failure trouble condition in error, and also an issue with controlling garage door openers from the panel touchscreen.

There could be more in this firmware upgrade, but Qolsys hasn't yet posted the full Release Notes for it. Nor have they posted the software itself, for those who have a panel that is not connected to WIFI. Once they do, we will update our Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus Firmware Updates page.

There have been instances in the past where a firmware patch is never posted to the Qolsys site. This usually only happens if there is some prerequisite that must be verified in the panel before the firmware is applied, and Qolsys deems it necessary to have the Alarm.com server verify this prerequisite prior to downloading the new firmware. If a situation like that arises with this software, we'll let you know.

If the panel has WIFI, then your alarm dealer can simply send the firmware to the panel over-the-air (OTA). You can also request the firmware update manually through the panel touchscreen. The only subscribers who may have an issue are those whose panel cannot connect to WIFI. Qolsys and Alarm.com prevent the Qolsys panels from updating their firmware OTA if there is no WIFI connection at the panel. In other words, the firmware file can't be sent using cellular data.

If you have a Qolsys IQ Panel 2/2 Plus panel and it doesn't have a connection to WIFI, you may still be able to update it OTA. If you have a cellular hotspot, either a stand-alone or by using your cellular phone, you can allow the Qolsys panel to join the hotspot, then request the update OTA while it is connected. Technically, this uses cellular data, but it's the phone or hotspot's cellular data. This tricks the panel and the Alarm.com server into thinking the panel is connected via WIFI.

If the above suggestion is not an option, then check back on our Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus Firmware Updates page. If this firmware is made available by Qolsys for SD Card updates to the panel, we will host it on our site.


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Qolsys recently released firmware version 4.2.0, which added a lot of new features as well as fixes and improvements to the panel. However, after updating, a small number of panels reported receiving an error message regarding a panel shut down due to high temperature. This issue is corrected in firmware version 4.2.1.

If you see a message on your Qolsys IQ Panel 4, or IQ4 Hub, that mentions an overheating situation, and/or if the panel shuts itself down without you having a chance to see the message, don't worry. Use the power button on the side of the panel to turn it back on. Press and hold the button for three (3) seconds. Once the panel powers back on, update the firmware to 4.2.1. This should take care of the erroneous panel logic that is making the panel think the battery is too hot. Read the TSB# 221017 IQ Panel 4/IQ4 Hub - 4.2.1 Software Update - Release Notes and Instructions here.

As always, you have three (3) ways to update the panel firmware. If the panel is monitored and has a connection to WIFI, you can have your alarm dealer push the update to your panel over-the-air (OTA) using Alarm.com. You can also choose to request the update from the panel using a Patch Tag. Instructions for how to perform this type of update are included on our Qolsys IQ Panel 4 Firmware Updates page along with the update file, for those who don't have WIFI.

If you don't have a WIFI connection at the panel, then the previous two options are not available to you. In that case, you'll need to download the firmware file, which you can get at our above-linked page, and then use the panel's access point feature to perform the update. Instructions for this type of update are also included on Alarm Grid's IQ Panel 4 Firmware Updates page. We'll post them here as well to make things as easy as possible.

Instructions for Updating the Qolsys IQ Panel 4 Via Access Point

  1. Download and save the required file from our site. You'll need to use a smartphone, tablet, or computer with WIFI capability to perform the update. Remember, the panel should have had 4.1.1 installed prior to installing the 4.2.0 (or higher) firmware.
  2. On the IQ Panel 4, go to Settings > Advanced Settings > Enter Installer or Dealer Code (Default 1111, or 2222 respectively) > Upgrade Software > "Upgrade Using Access Point". The Access Point will need to be enabled in order to use this feature.
    • To enable the Access Point, be sure the panel has WIFI enabled, then go to Settings > Advanced Settings > Enter Installer or Dealer Code > Installation > Devices > WIFI Devices. First, click on WIFI and be sure Activate WIFI has a Check in the box to the right. Then press the back arrow at the bottom of the screen. Go to Access Point Settings. Be sure the WIFI Access Point is enabled with a check in the box at the right. Press the Home button at the bottom of the screen, then go back to Step 2 and continue.
  3. A QR Code will be displayed on the panel. Scan it with your phone or tablet. If you're on a device that won't allow you to scan the QR Code, then you will have to manually join the panel's access point network by entering the panel's SSID and Password which will be displayed on the same screen as the QR Code.


  4. Press "Start" to begin the local server session, then from your device, scan the second QR code provided by the IQ Panel 4. If that is not an option, navigate to the "https:" URL shown on the panel's screen.

  5. Follow the prompts on your phone, tablet, or computer to select the correct files and transfer them to the panel. The file you download is in .zip format. It should automatically unzip and create a folder called Software-Patch-421. This folder will have three (3) files in it.

    When you go to the URL or use the 2nd QR Code, you'll see a screen that will allow you to choose each of these three (3) files. When you click Choose File on each option, it will only allow you to select the correct file from those available. The other two files will be grayed out.



    Once all three files have been successfully chosen, press "Send Files". A progress bar will be shown on the phone, tablet, or computer, showing that the files are being uploaded to the IQ Panel 4. A message will come up saying "Uploaded ALL files successfully". Hit "Close" on the phone, tablet, or computer.
  6. Once the files have been loaded to the IQ Panel 4, it should automatically begin the update. Once the update begins, don't touch the panel screen. The panel will reboot as part of the firmware update process.
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"That's Brilliant!" You will soon be hearing that a lot in automation circles. Brilliant Smart Home System has managed to gain a lot of ground in a short time. This is due to their many company relationships. Alarm Grid is pleased to offer the complete line of Brilliant Smart Home System products.

Brilliant Smart Home has designed an in-wall Smart Home Controller or Hub, an in-wall Smart Dimmer, and a Smart Plug. The smart home controller incorporates voice control with Alexa built-in. It can also be used with Google Assistant and Apple HomeKit, which offers voice control using Siri. At least one (1) Brilliant Smart Home Controller must be installed in a location in order to use their services.

The convenient thing about Brilliant's Smart Home Hubs is that they replace an existing in-wall switch. A Brilliant hub or dimmer can replace a toggle, paddle, Decora, rocker, or an existing dimmer. These modules are eye-catching and go with just about any decor. Since the Brilliant Control is installed in the wall it eliminates messy, exposed wires, which you usually have with traditional smart hub setups.

Brilliant's line of smart Home Controllers or Hubs includes four (4) options. Each adds a different level of switch control. There is the 1-switch panel, 2-switch panel, 3-switch panel, and 4-switch panel. The hubs each contain a 5" LCD Touchscreen. The 1-switch panel has on/off and dimming for a single light via the touchscreen. The 2-switch panel has on/off and dimming for 2 separate lights. The 3-switch for 3 lights and the 4-switch for 4 lights. These 2, 3, and 4 switch panels, all have separate touch sliders for on/off and dimming capabilities. Each Smart Hub will install in a standard electrical switch box. This should already be in place for retrofit installs.

These smart hubs can do so much more than just operate the lights or outlets they are wired to. They have a built-in camera, a motion detector, and ambient light sensors. They can also integrate with a compatible video doorbell, and allow viewing of the doorbell, and interaction with your visitor, right on the Brilliant 5" touchscreen display. They can connect and control your smart locks, compatible garage door openers, and smart shades. You can utilize the video and audio intercom feature to communicate between rooms. As long as each room has a Brilliant Smart Hub installed.

You can use these smart hubs to control a compatible smart thermostat, a Sonos speaker system, and many other options. They also integrate with Resideo's Total Connect 2.0 remote control platform for alarm systems. This allows for system arming and disarming, notifications, and Z-Wave device control. With this integration, the user can also view TC2 video cameras via the smart hub.

A monitoring plan with Automation enabled is required, and for camera viewing, a plan that includes video. However, the Brilliant integration is included with those plans at no extra cost. For Alarm Grid customers Automation is included with Self Silver, Silver, Self Gold, and Gold plans. Video surveillance is included in our Self Platinum and Platinum plans.

When you are away from home, even if you haven't yet set up scenes to automate your devices, you will still be able to remotely control them using the Brilliant Smart App. It is available as a free download from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store. Automation scenes can be created based on events, schedules, or a combination of both.

Brilliant expands its range of smart home devices with the Smart Dimmer Switch that can turn on/off, dim, or run a scene based on the user tapping the capacitive touch plate. It has built-in motion detection, allowing the system to automatically turn lights on or off. Alarm Grid offers these smart dimmer switches in White, Black, Light Almond, or Gray. At least one (1) Smart Controller Hub must be installed in order to use the Brilliant Smart Dimmers.

To round out its family of Brilliant Smart Home Products, they offer a Smart Plug. It adds the ability to control nearly any plug-in device along with the option to integrate that device into scenes. Use it for lamps, coffee makers, fans, heaters, and more. At least one (1) Smart Controller Hub must be installed before you can use a Brilliant Smart Plug.

The Brilliant Smart Controller Hubs, and the in-wall smart dimmer switch, both require 120VAC, with a neutral, and a ground, and line and load wires for multi-way switches. They can be set up in a single pole or 3 or 4, multiway configuration. The smart hub can share control with a standard switch as long as there is no dimming capability on it. For the Smart Dimmer, all switches would need to be replaced with Brilliant Switches in a 3 or 4, multiway configuration.

Brilliant is compatible with the following manufacturers, and the list is growing all the time:
  • Voice Assistants:
    • Alexa built-in
    • Apple HomeKit
    • Google Assistant
  • Lighting & Switches:
    • Leviton (via SmartThings)
    • Lutron(via SmartThings)
    • LIFX
    • Philips Hue
    • tp-link
    • WEMO
  • Climate:
    • Ecobee
    • Google Nest
    • Honeywell Home
  • Video Doorbell:
    • Google Nest
    • Ring
    • SkyBell (DBCAM-TRIM2 via Total Connect 2.0)
  • Cameras:
    • Google Nest
    • Ring
    • TC2 Cameras via TC2 Integration (IPCAM-WIC1, IPCAM-WIC2, IPCAM-WOC2)
  • Security (Including Locks & Garage Doors):
    • August Smart Lock
    • ButterflyMX
    • EMTEK
    • Genie
    • Kwikset
    • Overhead Door
    • Resideo (Total Connect 2.0)
      • Vista Panels that support TC2
      • ProSeries Panels
      • Lyric Panels
      • Lynx Panels
    • Schlage
    • Yale
  • Music:
    • Sonos
  • Hubs:
    • SmartThings
  • Property Management:
    • Entrata
  • Motorized Shades:
    • Somfy
    • Hunter Douglas
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Alarm.com first reported issues with remote commands failing or being heavily delayed at 3:40 AM this morning 10/10/2022. The delay in receiving commands at a customer's system, would also result in notifications being delayed. Alarm.com assured dealers that they were working on the issue.

At 5:10 AM, Alarm.com notified that commands were being processed at that time. When an issue like this occurs, commands that aren't immediately processed aren't necessarily lost. Often they are queued, and once the issue is resolved, those queued commands must then be processed in order. This can make it seem as though an issue still exists when in reality the delay is caused by those queued commands.

At 6:35 AM Alarm.com advised that there was still some delay in remote commands being processed. We can't say for certain these delays were caused by earlier queued commands that were working their way through the system, but that could very well be the case.

At 7:45 AM, Alarm.com provided another update. According to them, the situation had improved, but at this time, there were still some delays in remote commands being received at the alarm system. This was still causing some delays with notifications as well.

At 10:00 AM Eastern Time, Alarm.com advised that this issue has been resolved, remote commands are being processed normally. They are still monitoring the system, and if any issues should appear, they will begin the resolution process immediately.

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According to Resideo Technical Support, their integration with Accuweather is partially down. This may cause products that receive weather information some issues. Any touchscreen product that can display weather may show incorrect information. Any automation configured for sunrise/sunset may not operate.

We received this information based on a support request we sent to Resideo. In that specific case, automation schedules based on sunrise and sunset that had been programmed through Total Connect 2.0 were not working correctly. So far, there's been no official report of this outage in AlarmNet360. We are hopeful that additional details will be forthcoming.

Do products or TC2 show incorrect weather in addition to the sunrise and sunset timers being off? We don't know for sure. Is this a nationwide issue, or a regional one? We don't know that for sure either. If you have more details or would like to share your experience, leave a comment below. It could be helpful.

Resideo has not had great success with its products and displaying the weather. In the past, we've reported on issues with the older style Tuxedo keypads not updating the weather properly. Hopefully, this is something that will be resolved in due time. In the meantime, if you have automation schedules for your devices that are set to run at sunrise and/or sunset, be aware that they may not function as intended.

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