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In recent years, consumers have seen more information about IP ratings. Probably the most common example is with regard to cell phones. First came the IP67 rating, and then IP68. Cameras, particularly ones for outdoor use, also have an IP Rating. IP Rating standards are controlled by the IEC.

The IEC is the International Electrotechnical Commission. They are the official body that defines the IP Code. The code is defined in IEC standard 60529. In europe, it is EN 60529. The purpose for the code is to provide specific information about ingress protection, as opposed to the use of terms like waterproof, or water resistant. One company's water resistant, may be another company's waterproof. The IP Code is intended to take the leeway out of these descriptions.

The digits in an IP rating indicate conformity to protection under certain conditions. When you see a 0 in an IP rating it means that no protection is provided for that particular portion of the code. An X means that there is not enough data to determine the amount of protection. IP ratings will never have a - in them, so a product claiming to have a rating of IPX-8 is providing invalid information.

There are four (4) digits possible in an IP Code. For our use, only the first two (2) digits, which are mandatory, will be covered. Digit 1 describes the level of protection that an enclosure provides against access to hazardous parts, and the ingress of solid foreign objects. Digit 2 indicates the level of protection that an enclosure provides against harmful ingress of water. It should be noted that the ratings for water ingress are not cumulative. This means that just because something has a Digit 2 rating of 7, doesn't mean that it also has the Digit 2 rating of 1 - 6. If a device has protection against multiple types of ingress, it will be indicated by multiple ratings separated by a slash, for example, IPX5/IPX6.

Digit 1: Protection Against Solid Objects/Particles

Digit Value Effective Against Description
X - X indicates there is not enough data available to specify a protection rating for this type of protection
0 - No protection against contact or ingress of solid foreign objects
1 >2" (50mm) Any large surface of the body, such as back of hand, but no protection against deliberate contact with a body part
2 >.49" (12.5mm) Fingers or similar objects
3 >0.098" (2.5mm) Protection against tools, thick wires, etc.
4 >0.039" (1mm) Protection against most wires, slender screws, large ants, etc.
5 Dust protection Ingress of dust is not entirely prevented, but must not enter in sufficient quantity to interfere with proper operation of equipment.
6 Dust tight Complete protection against dust ingress. A vacuum must be applied, with test duration of up to 8 hours depending on airflow.



Digit 2: Protection Against Liquid Ingress

Digit Value Protection Against Effective Against Details
X - - X means there is not enough data available to specify a protection rating
0 None - No protection against water ingress
1 Dripping Water Vertically falling drops shall have no harmful effect when mounted in an upright position on a turntable and rotated at 1 RPM Test duration: 10 minutes
Water equivalent to .039" (1mm) rainfall per minute
2 Dripping Water while tilted at 15° from normal position. Vertically dripping water shall cause no harm when the enclosure is tilted at 15°. Four (4) positions are tested on two (2) axes. Test duration: 2.5 minutes per direction (10 minutes total)
Water equivalent to .12" (3mm) rainfall per minute
3 Spraying water. Water falling as a spray at any angle up to 60° from vertical shall have no harmful effect. A) Test uses either an oscillating fixture or B) a spray nozzle with a counterbalanced shield.
Test A lasts for 5 minutes, then is repeated with the test object rotated 90° horizontally for another 5-minute test. Test B is conducted with the shield in place for no less than 5 minutes.
Test duration: For a spray nozzle, 1 minute per square meter for at least 5 minutes. Water Volume: 10 liters per minute (.037impgal/s) Pressure: 7.3-21.8 psi (50-150 kPa)
Test duration: Oscillating tube duration 10 minutes. Water volume: .00026 impgal/s (.07 liters per minute) per opening.
4 Splashing of water. Water splashing against the enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effect.
Test Utilizes either A) An oscillation fixture or B) A spray nozzle with no shield. Test A is conducted for 10 minutes. Test B is conducted without shield for 5 minutes minimum.
Test duration: Oscillating tube duration 10 minutes. Spray nozzle is the same as #3 with the shield removed.
5 Water jets. Water projected by a nozzle .25in (6.3mm) against the enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effect. Test duration: 1 minute per square meter for at least 3 minutes. Water volume: 12.5 liters per minute. Pressure: 4.4 psi (30kPa) at a distance of 9.8' (3m).
6 Powerful water jets. Water projected in powerful jets .49" (12.5mm) against the enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effects. Test duration: 1 minute per square meter for at least 3 minutes. Water volume: .37 impgal/s (100 liters per minute). Pressure: 15 psi (100 kPa) at a distance of 9.8' (3m).
6K Powerful water jets with increased pressure. Water projected in powerful jets .25" (6.3mm) against the enclosure from any direction, under elevated pressure, shall have no harmful effects. This standard is found in DIN 40050, not IEC 60529. Test duration: At least 3 minutes. Water volume: .27 impgal/s (75 liters per minute). Pressure: 150 psi (1,000 kPa) at a distance of 9.8' (3m).
7 Immersion, up to 3'3" (1m) in depth. Water ingress in a harmful quantity shall not be possible when the enclosure is immersed in water under the defined conditions of pressure and time. Test duration: 30 minutes. Tested with the lowest point of the enclosure 39" (1,000mm) below the surface, or the highest point 5.9" (150mm) below the surface, whichever is deeper.
8 Immersion, 3'3" (1m) or more in depth. Suitable for continuous immersion in water under conditions specified by the manufacturer. For some equipment, it means water can enter, so long as it causes no harmful effects. The test depth and duration should exceed the requirement for IPX7, and other environmental effects may be added, such as temperature cycling before immersion. Test duration: Agreed upon by the manufacturer. Depth: Specified by the manufacturer, but generally up to 9.8' (3m).

There is a Digit 2 rating of 9K, but it is reserved for specialty equipment so most DIYers won't be concerned with it. For that reason, we have omitted it here. So, when you see a product that has an IP66 rating, now you'll know what that means. It means the product is dust tight, and can stand up to powerful water jets without harmful water ingress.

The information for the tables above came from various enclosure manufacturer sites all over the web. I would have liked to have gotten the information directly from the IEC itself, but to download a PDF of this standard you must pay a hefty fee. For that reason, we did not get this information from the horse's mouth, as they say, but we attempted to fact-check it to the best of our ability. Any mistakes are the author's alone.

So, what do you think about the IP ratings system? Are you ready to take your phone out and give it a test? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below. Did you find this information helpful? Is there other information you'd like to see covered? Leave a comment, or shoot an email to support@alarmgrid.com. We'll do our best to be accommodating. As always, stay safe!

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One of the good things about an alarm system is the fact that there are redundancies built-in. This prevents a single point of failure. To be certain that everything is working as it should, proper testing is required. Life-safety devices should be functionally tested on a regular basis.

There are numerous aspects to an alarm, that's why it's called a system. The senors are its eyes and ears, the keypad and sirens are its mouth, the alarm panel is its brain, and the communicator is how it calls for help. Whether that's by an old-fashioned POTS line, or cellular, or IP. It is recommended that all the basic aspects of the system be tested once a month. That means putting the system on test with the monitoring station, if necessary, then setting off an alarm and making sure that it both shows up locally at the keypad, causes the siren to sound if applicable, and communicates successfully to the monitoring station.

When an alarm system is first installed, it should be tested in such a way that every single facet of the system is verified to be working properly. That means every zone should be tested, and verified to have performed as programmed, including sending a report to the monitoring station, if central station monitoring is in use. It is important to do this properly because it sets a starting point. When you know that everything was working on a particular date, then later tests may be spot tests, without having to test every single zone. If you keep good records, then if a problem does arise, you'll be able to look back and know when was the last time this particular portion of the system was known to be working, and begin troubleshooting from there.

Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors are considered life-safety devices. They can be wired to the alarm system, but they are often battery powered and some may be wireless, but still connected to the alarm system. There may be others that are battery powered, stand-alone devices that only sound locally, and are not tied to the alarm system. When moving into a home where an alarm system is already installed, it's very important to determine what life-safety sensors are present, whether they are stand-alone or tied to the system, and if possible, get any testing records, and any information you can on battery maintenance. If there are no life-safety sensors, or if there are none that are tied into the system, make it a priority to change this as soon as you can. Always follow the recommended guidelines when laying out the life-safety portion of your system.

Smoke and CO detectors can be tested in two ways. Each device usually has a push-button on the device itself. Depending on the device, pressing this button will cause the detector to sound locally and test its own battery. With newer devices, testing one smoke or CO detector in this way will cause all of the associated life-safety devices on the system to sound. This is called one-go-all-go by some manufacturers. There is usually an LED that provides feedback with this test, with some detectors actually speaking their status. If this happens to be a life-safety sensor that is tied into an alarm system, then pressing the test button should also cause an alarm condition to show up on the system keypad, and if the system is being monitored by a central station, a signal will be sent. If a low battery condition exists, it should be displayed via LEDs, or spoken, on the detector itself, and will show up on the alarm keypad if the detector is tied to the alarm system.

The above test is fine for the monthly system test, but at least twice per year, life-safety devices should undergo a functional test. A functional test is where you actually cause a smoke or a CO alarm. With smoke detectors, you can sometimes do this by lighting a 3-wick candle then blowing it out right under the smoke detector. Functional testing of a CO detector is more difficult, but still possible. We offer both canned CO for testing, and canned smoke. When testing, it may be helpful to hold a bowl upside-down over the detector to be tested. Make the bowl only as large as is necessary to cover the detector completely. Spray the canned smoke or canned CO into the area covered by the bowl. This should result in an alarm with a minimum of the canned product being wasted. It will also prevent you from possibly breathing it in. It is recommended to perform the functional test during the Spring and Fall, at the same time that the clocks are changed for Daylight Saving's Time. This Fall, that's going to happen on November 7, 2021.

Once you've caused an alarm to occur either with actual smoke, or with canned smoke or canned carbon monoxide, you can perform a disarm at the panel keypad to silence the system. It is possible that the system will begin sounding again if there is still smoke in the sensing chamber of the smoke detector, or canned CO in the sensing chamber of the CO detector. To stop the alarm, you need to clear the chamber. That means removing the bowl or other covering you used during the functional test, and blowing out the chamber. Be careful not to breathe in the canned test product. It is noxious! It may be helpful to have a fan handy, or possibly some canned air but be careful not to damage the sensing chamber. If using canned air, hold it at a distance of eight (8) inches or more from the detector.

Testing CO detectors is particularly important at this time of year. Carbon Monoxide buildup is caused by the inefficient burning of certain types of fuel. Natural gas, oil, kerosene, gasoline, wood, and charcoal are all fuel sources that can cause CO poisoning when not burned efficiently. As we head into the colder months, the use of all of these types of fuel for heating and recreation will be on the rise. If you're interested in how carbon monoxide detectors work, you can learn more here.

Above is a general guideline for how to functionally test smoke detectors and CO detectors. Follow the instructions found with the product literature for proper testing and be sure, if your system is monitored by a central station, that you call and put the system on test with them prior to causing an alarm. There are a number of ways that you can accomplish this. You can call the monitoring station, provide verification of your identity, then ask the operator to put your system on test. If you are an Alarm Grid customer, you can use the myalarms.com feature to put your system on test and take it off. If you are an Alarm.com subscriber, you may be able to put your system on test, or take it off, through the Alarm.com app. Alarm Grid has many guides, both written and video, to various specific smoke detectors and CO detectors. Check out our Youtube channel, or search the site for information on your devices. If we don't have information on a device you need to test, if it's one we sell leave us a comment below and we'll be happy to create content for that specific device.

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AlarmNet360 is both a website and an app that can be used to create, edit, and cancel AlarmNet accounts. Access to this website and app is only available for licensed alarm dealers who are affiliated with AlarmNet. As an end-user you will not need to have or create an AlarmNet360 account.

Being a DIYer in the alarm industry can be pretty confusing at times! Nearly all of the documentation provided with alarm systems that have historically been installed only by alarm professionals is intended only for alarm professionals. So, when you buy that new ProSeries or Lyric Alarm System, and you begin reading the installation instructions, one of the first things you are told to do is create an AlarmNet360 account. This is not something that you, as a DIYer will be able to do.

This is where Alarm Grid comes in. Alarm Grid is a DIY friendly company. We sell professional grade alarm systems to anyone who wants to buy them. Sometimes, alarm professionals purchase from us and then they go about configuring the system themselves because they have access to AlarmNet360. Sometimes, customers purchase from us and then hire their own alarm professional to install their system and that alarm professional completes the setup on AlarmNet360 themselves. But usually, when an individual buys a system from us, they then sign up for one of our no-contract monitoring plans, and then we set up their account through AlarmNet360.

The relationship between Alarm Grid and our monitoring customers is a symbiotic one. DIY alarm users choose not to pay a professional to do something that they can do themselves. That being the physical installation of the alarm equipment. With the proliferation of self-contained, all-in-one systems, installation has gotten more and more simple. A child can do it. We have several young customers in their teens who set up systems just because they enjoy doing it, and figuring out new and interesting ways to make things happen.

On the monitoring side of things, that's where restrictions start to come in. There are certain things that have not opened up to DIYers yet, and access to AlarmNet360 is one of those things. You may be thinking, "Forget AlarmNet360, what's AlarmNet?" You can read about AlarmNet here. At present, only alarm dealers can sign up for access to AlarmNet360 in order to be able to add, edit, or cancel AlarmNet accounts. Access to accounts is very tightly controlled. The only accounts that Alarm Grid can see in AlarmNet360 are accounts that are assigned to Alarm Grid, which usually means that Alarm Grid created them in the first place.

Alarm Grid chose the DIY business model in part because we have everything we need to administer accounts on the back end, but we don't have a team of installers to send out and put in systems. DIYers are our installers, and in turn we provide for them the account admin services that they are not allowed to perform for themselves. We sell reasonably priced, professional grade alarm equipment. The same equipment that just about any alarm dealer in the country will sell you, and we handle the administrative side of things, in addition to providing free, world-class technical support to our monitored customers. In exchange for that, we charge a reasonable monitoring fee with no activation fees, no cancellation fees, and no contracts. We also don't care if you buy your system from us or elsewhere. We will monitor any equipment that is within our power to monitor for the same prices we charge to monitor the equipment we sell.

So, when you crack open that new system, and start reading the instructions, skip the part where it talks about the AlarmNet360 account. Whoever you sign up for monitoring with will take care of that part. Do you have an AlarmNet communicator? Have you been stumped by the mention of AlarmNet360 in your system's documentation? Leave us a comment below and let us know if this information was helpful. We always look forward to hearing from you.

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Alarm Grid has obtained an extremely limited supply of the brand new Resideo IPCAM-WOC2 WIFI, outdoor, 1080p camera, compatible with Total Connect 2.0. After the announcement in March, 2021 that the IPCAM-WOC1 was discontinued, Resideo and Honeywell Home were left with no outdoor camera option.

Our blog in March announced that the Honeywell IPCAM-WOC1 would be discontinued. At the time, we didn't know why the camera was being discontinued. There wasn't a lot of information available then about why it was discontinued, or whether there would ever be a replacement. With Alarm.com releasing new variations of their cameras at a fast and furious pace, we were left to wonder what Resideo was thinking.

In July, 2021, we passed on to our readers that either the IPCAM-WOC1 (also sometimes referred to as the Lyric OC1) would make a return, or if not a return, that it would possibly be replaced with something very similar. It came to light that the reason the outdoor camera had been discontinued in the first place was that certain components involved in its production were no longer being produced.

Resideo was unable to source those same components elsewhere, so they are preparing to release the IPCAM-WOC2. This camera is technically not even released yet, so we don't have official documentation, with the exception of a Quick Install Guide, which frankly, contains several errors. For starters, we know for a fact that the image of the camera and its components used in the guide is incorrect. This document, much like the camera itself, will soon be receiving a face lift.

Some of the things that we know are updated in the IPCAM-WOC2, as compared to the IPCAM-WOC1 are: The Bluetooth Antenna is internal on the IPCAM-WOC2. It was external (part of the big wiring bundle) on the IPCAM-WOC1. The WOC2 will support Audio Analytics, with intelligent sound detection. The WOC1 did not support audio. The IPCAM-WOC2 comes with a 16 GB MicroSD card pre-installed, the IPCAM-WOC1 came with a 8 GB card. These are just a few things that we know about, when the full specs are released, we will update our product description with the full gamut of features and specifications.

If you've been waiting to get your hands on an outdoor 1080p camera that's compatible with Total Connect 2.0, now is your chance to pick one up. Given all the supply chain issues revolving around the global chip shortage, this is one of a handful of products that we know is currently in stock. But you had better hurry, because supplies are extremely limited. Once the units we have in stock are gone, we will likely have to wait for the full product release before we can offer any more.

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The new ADC-V724 is the first camera from Alarm.com to offer 2-Way Audio in addition to 1080p HDR video, and IR night vision. With the integrated mic and speaker, you could easily have some fun with the neighborhood trick-or treaters while still protecting your property from vandals.

We all know that house in the neighborhood where the owners go all-out for Halloween. In some cases, it's like a haunted house attraction where, instead of having to pay to get in, you get candy if you're brave enough to get to the door. The Alarm.com ADC-V724 could help you make your house the one everybody's talking about this year!

Don't get me wrong, this camera is great all year. It just happens that it's being released at this time of year, which is fortuitous. Because, maybe you're not that house, maybe you're the other house. The one where the inhabitants turn all the lights off and pretend not to be home because they forgot to buy candy. Maybe you're in for some tricks because you don't have any treats. Well, the ADC-V724 has you covered there too. With one of these installed, you can sit inside and watch your property. If anyone shows up to play tricks, you can politely tell them through the camera that they should skip your house.

The ADC-V724 has an improved mount over previous versions of Alarm.com cameras, for better long-term stability. It also has an easier to reach MicroSD card slot, in the event you want to take advantage of the Onboard Recording feature. No MicroSD card is included with the camera. It also allows you to take advantage of the full suite of Alarm.com Video Analytics, which is a powerful tool for eliminating unwarranted video captures. The ADC-V724 offers High Dynamic Range (HDR) for better light/dark contrast in low-light environments, and can work with either 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz WIFI. With the built-in microphone, audio is included in recorded clips. When it comes to providing evidence to the police, audio is often just as important to them as video evidence, so this is a great added feature.

The speaker and MicroSD card slot can be seen in this image:


What do you think about the Alarm.com ADC-V724? Are you in the market for new indoor/outdoor cameras? Will you be going all-out for Halloween, are you the house with no candy, or somewhere in-between? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think. If there's something you'd like to see us cover in our blog, you can let us know that as well. See you next time, until then as always, stay safe!


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Resideo Technologies recently released a technical notification (TN #69) outlining an issue with the CELL-ANT3DB External Antenna kits. It seems that for some time, these kits have included an incorrect mounting bracket. Without the correct mounting bracket, proper mounting is not possible.

Update provided by Resideo!

The Resideo CELL-ANT3DB External Antenna kit is an outdoor rated antenna kit that supports a number of different cellular frequency bands. In addition to simply moving the antenna from the mounting location of the radio to a location outside, the CELL-ANT3DB also provides up to 3dB of signal gain to improve cellular reception for the AlarmNet communicator.

To resolve this issue, Resideo has released the technical notice listed here. All current stock has been called back and reworked to have the incorrect bracket replaced with the correct one. If you are purchasing a new CELL-ANT3DB, you can check the barcode sticker on the box. If there is a Green Dot on this sticker, the product has been through the rework process and has the correct bracket.

Image showing a reworked product with the Green Dot clearly visible:


If you recently purchased a CELL-ANT3DB from Alarm Grid and you believe your product has the incorrect bracket, contact us at support@alarmgrid.com and we will verify whether your product is affected, and will arrange to have the correct bracket shipped to you if it is. The information in the technical notice is lacking a bit, so in addition we've contacted the product manager to see if we can get some more data on either date codes affected, or images that show us what the incorrect bracket looks like, as opposed to the correct bracket. We will update this post with more information when/if it becomes available.

Update September 28, 2021

We heard from Resideo today that this issue affects a very small number of units. This error occurred on only three (3) days of production. Date codes E215, E222, and E223 are the affected production days. You can see the date code in the image above. It shows E256. If you purchase a CELL-ANT3DB Kit with one of the affected date codes, and the box has the green circle sticker mentioned and shown above, then your product is good to go. If you purchase a product with date code E256 or later, whether it has a green dot or not, the product is also good. If you purchase a product with date code E215, E222, or E223, and it does not have the green dot sticker, then you need to request a replacement mounting bracket.

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Qolsys announced several new products at ISC West in August. However, product availability, including for the IQ Panel 4, has been nil. We now have one iteration of the panel that has limited stock available. The Qolsys IQ Panel 4 with Verizon LTE and Interlogix/GE SRF support in White.

The Qolsys Roadmap for product releases got a little rocky this year. We expected the Qolsys IQ Hub in the late Spring, with the Qolsys IQ Panel 4 to be released in the late fall. That's understandable with all the things that have been going on. What with the COVID-19 Pandemic, and the recent global chip shortage, we consider ourselves fortunate to be seeing stock on existing products, let alone newly announced ones.

At this time, we have limited stock available on one specific version of the Qolsys IQ Panel 4. This is the panel with built-in WIFI, a Verizon LTE cellular communicator, and support for both PowerG and Interlogix/GE and Qolsys 319.5 MHz wireless devices with the panel in White. Eventually, there will also be another version with these exact same specifications, but with the panel in Black.

As the rollout continues, and the component availability and manufacturing bottleneck abates, we will eventually see several other variations of this panel become available. You can see a list of all of them below:

Qolsys IQ Panel 4 Variations

SKU Product Description Available Date
IQP4001 IQP4, Verizon-LTE, PowerG+319.5 MHz, White Limited Availability Now!
IQP4001BLK IQP4, Verizon-LTE, PowerG+319.5 MHz, Black Tentative 01/2022
IQP4004 IQP4, AT&T-LTE, PowerG+319.5 MHz, White Tentative 11/2021
IQP4004BLK IQP4, AT&T-LTE, PowerG+319.5 MHz, Black Tentative 01/2022
IQP4003 IQP4, Verizon-LTE, PowerG+345 MHz, White Tentative 11/2021
IQP4003BLK IQP4, Verizon-LTE, PowerG+345 MHz, Black Tentative 01/2022
IQP4006 IQP4, AT&T-LTE, PowerG+345 MHz, White Tentative 11/2021
IQP4006BLK IQP4, AT&T-LTE, PowerG+345 MHz, Black Tentative 01/2022
IQP4002 IQP4, Verizon-LTE, PowerG+433 MHz, White Tentative 11/2021
IQP4002BLK IQP4, Verizon-LTE, PowerG+433 MHz, Black Tentative 01/2022
IQP4005 IQP4, AT&T-LTE, PowerG+433 MHz, White Tentative 11/2021
IQP4005BLK IQP4, AT&T-LTE, PowerG+433 MHz, Black Tentative 01/2022

If you click on any of the links above for products that aren't yet available, they will show up as discontinued on our site. Once they become available, we will blog again, and those links will become live. This way, you can come back to this post at any time and check availability on whichever panel variation you happen to be interested in.

In addition to the options shown above, the Qolsys IQ Panel 4 currently uses the same User Interface (UI) as the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus. Eventually they will offer a new look, and users will be able to choose between the new or the existing look. The panel has an 8 MP camera, which can be adjusted for tilt, increased signal range for all wireless cards that are built into the panel, more advanced speakers, three microphones, and many more hardware upgrades.

For those who may not know, Qolsys sought to make it easy to replace an existing panel that uses wireless sensors, without having to replace all of the sensors as well. So if you currently have an older Qolsys panel, or an Interlogix or GE panel, all of which used 319.5 MHz wireless sensors, then you would want to choose the corresponding Qolsys IQ Panel 4 in the color, and with the cellular communicator that best suits your needs.

Honeywell 5800 Series and 2GIG wireless both use 345 MHz wireless sensors. 2GIG has a lineup of encrypted sensors that also operate at 345 MHz, and those sensors will NOT be compatible with the Qolsys IQ Panel 4 that supports this frequency, but most other uni-directional 345 MHz wireless devices that work with either of these two product lines should also work with the Qolsys IQ Panel 4.

Older DSC panels used wireless sensors in the 433 MHz range. As you can see from the chart, there will also be a version of the IQ Panel 4 that supports these devices. DSC is also the manufacturer of PowerG wireless devices. All of the IQ Panel 4 variations will support PowerG. The idea being, once you replace the older panel, and begin to utilize the older RF sensors with the new Qolsys IQ Panel 4, if you need to replace the older devices, you can choose to replace them with the same older model sensor, or you can replace them with a PowerG version, which supports 128-bit AES encryption, and will have a range up to 4,000 feet with the IQ Panel 4. You can read all about why we love PowerG so much in this earlier post.

Qolsys released an RF Compatibility Document for firmware version 2.6.0. Both the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus, and the IQ Panel 4 will use this firmware. This is the base version for the IQP4, so any devices listed on this document as compatible have been tested by Qolsys engineering and are known to work. Uni-directional devices (those that only transmit to the panel, but don't receive any information from the panel) that are not on the compatibility list may or may not work. Bi-directional devices such as the Honeywell 5800RL, 5800WAVE, or 5828 will definitely NOT work.

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Alarm Grid is excited to announce we are now offering certain Qolsys products at a lower price. Price reductions occur from time to time, and we're always happy to pass those savings on to our customers. The products we'll be talking about today cover a wide range of uses. Let's take a look.

The Qolsys Hardwire 16-F: This wired to wireless translator for 319.5 MHz panels sets the Gold Standard for these types of devices. With support for up to 16 wired zones, including one 2-wire smoke zone with up to ten (10) smoke detectors, 500 mA of power for devices such as motion detectors, and a 500 mA siren relay compatible with panels on RF PIC Version 11.1.4.G2 or higher. The Qolsys Hardwire 16-F is one of the most versatile expansion modules we've ever seen.

Qolsys IQ Carbon: The Qolsys IQ Carbon transmits at 319.5 MHz and is compatible with the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 and Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus as well as older Interlogix/GE Simon panels. The Qolsys IQ Panel 2 and IQ Panel 2 Plus come in several different varieties, so be sure your panel supports 319.5 MHz wireless sensors before purchasing the Qolsys IQ Carbon. These panels customarily come in a box with a gold edge.


The IQ Carbon should be used in homes with a high chance of Carbon Monoxide gas build-up. CO gas is odorless and colorless, and is formed whenever carbon-based fuels are not burned efficiently. Carbon-based fuels include coal, oil, natural gas, and even wood. Homes with gas furnaces, gas appliances, fireplaces or portable gas heaters should definitely have properly placed Carbon Monoxide detectors.

Qolsys IQ Dimmer: The Qolsys IQ Dimmer is a Z-Wave plug-in on/off dim capable lamp module. It supports 120VAC/60 Hz and operates at 908.42 MHz, the Z-Wave frequency used in the United States. It can support the equivalent of 2.5A, 300W incandescent, 65W dimmable CFL/LED. If you plan to use this device for dimming, be sure that the bulb being used also supports light dimming. Although this is a standard Z-Wave device, rather than Z-Wave plus, it might be useful in a location where you need to add a device where you aren't concerned with range, and you know that the device won't need to act as a repeater. Although this device WILL repeat Z-Wave signals, it will do us using standard Z-Wave limitations.

Qolsys IQ Siren: The Qolsys IQ Siren uses standard Z-Wave technology, allowing a user to easily add a remote siren that produces up to 105dB siren sounds. This device plugs into any standard outlet. It is then paired with the alarm panel. On Qolsys panels, that's all you have to do. Once the siren is paired as a Z-Wave device, it will automatically follow the alarm sounds from the panel by default. The IQ Siren can also be used on other Z-Wave compatible panels, but may require additional programming in order to sound upon alarms on those panels.

Qolsys Image Sensor: The image sensor is a motion sensor with a still camera built-in. This affordable device just got even more affordable! For situations where you want to be able to see what's going on, but you don't want to add a full video system, the Qolsys Image Sensor is perfect. In conjunction with Alarm.com and the right monitoring plan, you can use the Image Sensor to peek-in and see what's going on at your home or business. You can set it up so that you receive an image capture upon the panel being disarmed, or when motion is detected in an area after a long period of inactivity. It's great for making sure the kids got home from school safely, or just to check in on your dog or cat who may be home alone.


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You may have noticed, particularly if you have attempted to purchase an alarm communicator in recent months, that a lot of products are on backorder. This situation is related to the global chip shortage that has recently made headlines for disrupting the automotive industry.

Microchips can be found in just about everything, from ATMs to pacemakers, and in such varied products as smart pens and running shoes. Human beings love to rev up their traditionally low-tech devices in order to improve their usefulness, or at least their perceived usefulness. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the chips required to make some of these improvements are currently in short supply.

The automotive industry was both a cause, and a victim, of the global chip shortage. According to TechRepublic.com, due to COVID-19, automotive manufacturers were required to shut down in 2020 along with most other businesses. But rather than take delivery of the chips they'd already ordered, they decided to cancel those orders. Chip manufacturers were forced to either pivot, or get stuck holding the bag.

Fortunately for them, the shutdown meant that a lot of people were now working and attending school from home. The need for both online access and cloud computing went through the roof, as did the sale of computers, tablets, and laptops. Add to this a huge rollout of 5G smartphones and the folks manufacturing and selling chips were recovering pretty well.

Fast-forward to 2021, the automotive manufacturers have gone back to work, but the chip producers who were forced to pivot away from them have not really been incentivized to do what it takes to increase their supply. To do so would require a major investment in building more foundries for chip production, with no guarantee that they would see the necessary return on that investment. The chip manufacturers seem to be saying, "Poor planning on your part, does not constitute an emergency on our part." So, as long as demand outstrips supply, we're likely to see shortages of any device that requires a chip. Alarm panels, communicators, peripherals such as expansion modules, the list goes on.

Experts in the chip manufacturing industry have provided various estimates as to when the chip shortage may abate. None of those estimates are within 2021. The CEO's of a couple of chip manufacturers, and an automotive industry insider were quoted in Popular Science this past August saying that they expect the shortage to last into 2022, and most likely beyond that, into early 2023. Until equilibrium is reached between supply and demand, expect to wait for some items, and to pay more for others.

Have you been affected by the global chip shortage? Are you waiting for an item that's on backorder? Leave us a comment and let us know how you're dealing with the shortage, or if you're not bothered by it at all. We'd love to hear your thoughts. Drop us a note, start a conversation or just say hello!

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Entergy Mississippi utility subscribers will soon be eligible to sign up for the Alarm.com Give Back, Get Back Program. The program allows Alarm.com users with a smart thermostat to receive incentives for allowing Entergy Mississippi to adjust their thermostat during peak summer months.

For enrolling in this program, Entergy Mississippi will send subscribers a one-time $50 sign-up incentive. In addition, subscribers who remain enrolled will receive a $25 bill credit at the end of each year that they are enrolled. If for any reason a subscriber decides they do not wish to remain in the program, they can opt out.

To be eligible, users must meet the following criteria:

  • Be an Entergy Mississippi residential customer with the electric service in your name.
  • Use an eligible internet-connected smart thermostat for cooling.
  • Allow Entergy Mississippi to make brief, small thermostat adjustments on days of high energy demand.

Once you sign up, it will take about four (4) to six (6) weeks from the time you are accepted into the program to receive the $50 incentive check. The $25 credit at the end of the year will be applied directly to your utility bill. The adjustments Entergy will make are of four (4) degrees or less and will only occur during peak hours of electric demand beginning on June 1 of each year, and ending on September 30. Most customers will never notice a difference in their comfort.

Just about any thermostat that can be used with Alarm.com will qualify to be used with this program. Below is a list of approved thermostats:

Manufacturer Approved Thermostats
ecobee ecobee3, ecobee3 Lite, ecobee4, ecobee Smart, ecobee SmartThermostat with voice control
Emerson Sensi™ WIFI Programmable Thermostat, Sensi Touch WIFI Thermostat
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

Eligible users can opt into this program directly from the Alarm.com website when any compatible Alarm.com thermostat is used. Just go to the Thermostat Card after logging into your Alarm.com account. This must be done from the website, it can't be done from the app at the time of this writing. 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.

If you're not in the Entergy Mississippi market area, never fear. You may still live in an area where the Demand Response Give Back, Get Back program is available. We've written numerous blogs in the past for different areas. Alectra Utilities in Ontario Canada, LA Department of Water and Power in California, Duke Energy of Indiana, and Magic Valley Electric Coop, Delaware Electric, and Wabash Valley, and Baltimore Gas & Electric are just a few of the places whose utilities participate in this program. Alarm.com continues to add partners as time goes on. If you don't yet have a smart thermostat that supports this feature, now may be the perfect time to upgrade to one! Then, by this time next summer, the thermostat will likely have already paid for itself.

What do you think about Alarm.com's Give Back, Get Back program? Is it something you fell is worthwhile? Perhaps you're already enrolled in the program in another market. Leave us a comment below and let us know what your experience has been like. It may seem like a very small contribution toward lowering your carbon footprint and contributing to conservation, but every little bit helps. Until next time, stay safe!


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