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If you're planning to give the gift of security this holiday season, then we're here to help! Today, we're looking at the best alarm panels available for the 2020 holiday season. Finding the right panel is the first step to building the perfect security system for your home or office.


The panel serves as the central hub for an alarm system. All sensors programmed with the system will communicate with the panel. The panel is also the piece of equipment that communicates with the outside world, namely a central station and/or a monitoring platform. To do this, the panel must have a communicator that is installed and activated. Some alarm panels come with a communicator already built-in, while others will require you to purchase one separately.

Today, most alarm panels are wireless, all-in-one devices, where the panel itself serves as the keypad for controlling the system. There are still hardwired panels available, but these are less common due to the sheer convenience and ease of wireless all-in-one panels. For the purpose of this buying guide, we will only be focusing on wireless panels, as most new users today opt to go the wireless route. We especially recommend wireless panels for anyone looking to save money by installing their own system without hiring a professional installer. It's easier than you might think, as many installations are done using a screwdriver as the only tool!

The panel you choose will affect virtually every other aspect of your security system. Your panel selection determines sensor compatibility, available communication paths, the user interface (UI) for the system, what accessories you can use with the system, and even the interactive platform you use when controlling your system through your phone. In a way, the panel itself IS the system. It's such an important decision, so you really want to get it right.

Today, we're going to be presenting you with our three (3) most favorite alarm systems available for the 2020 holiday season. What's great about all these systems is that they are all extremely DIY-friendly, and they can be taken to virtually any monitoring company, whether that is Alarm Grid, or someone else entirely. With all of that out of the way, let's get started!

Honeywell Lyric Controller

The Honeywell Lyric Alarm System still represents our favorite alarm panel from Resideo, and it is the most popular system for use with Alarm Grid monitoring services. It is the oldest panel on this list, and it doesn't support some of the more high-tech features offered by the other panels presented here. But when it comes down to choosing an all-around great system for alarm monitoring, the Lyric is hard to beat.

There are three (3) things that the Lyric can do that are impossible for the other panels on this list. If you choose the Lyric, it's usually because of one or more of these aspects. The Lyric is the only panel here that can be set up with an IP-only communication path, without cellular. While cellular is always recommended, some users opt to go internet only for alarm monitoring. The advantage of doing this is that the user can obtain monitoring service at a lower monthly rate. A Lyric System user can sign-up for an Alarm Grid Bronze Plan with central station service for just $15 per month. But a user with a system that requires cellular monitoring will need to pay a minimum of $25 per month for the Alarm Grid Cellular Alarm Monitoring Plan. That $10 monthly saving equates to $120 annually. The user should understand that an internet outage will take their system offline and leave their home or business vulnerable in that situation. But if a user is confident enough in their internet service, then they can certainly take that chance. Of course, the Lyric can be upgraded to use cellular at any time, but if you are trying to save money by setting up IP-only monitoring, then the Lyric offers you that option.

Second, the Lyric is one of the very few alarm systems that is able to interface with Apple HomeKit. This is the premier automation platform used with iOS devices, and many users have existing HomeKit networks that they build around. If you already have HomeKit devices in your home, then it is natural that you would want a security system that can also integrate with that network. It's important to note that the HomeKit integration isn't perfect, as Apple HomeKit can only provide specific alerts for a limited selection of system activity. But the integration makes it possible to perform some basic commands through HomeKit. The integration also allows you to set up automations so that your HomeKit devices activate automatically with activity on your security system. Overall, it's a great feature, and we often recommend the Lyric over other systems just for this feature.

Third, the Lyric is the only system on this list that uses Total Connect 2.0 as its interactive monitoring platform. This is the service that you will use to control your Lyric System remotely through a web browser or an app on your smartphone. The platform allows you to arm and disarm, check the current status of your system, and control automation devices. Remember that you will need to upgrade to a Silver level plan to take advantage of these great features. We think Total Connect 2.0 works just as well as any other monitoring and automation platform, but we have heard of users specifically choosing the Lyric to use this platform over the other ones out there.

You have no shortage of sensor options for the Lyric, as the system has its own lineup of encrypted wireless sensors in the Honeywell SiX Series Sensors. It is also backwards compatible with the widely popular Honeywell 5800 Sensors. As we mentioned earlier, the system is a bit on the older side, and it lacks some of the more advanced features like partitioning and automatic Bluetooth disarming. The panel does technically support camera streaming, but that's only for older legacy cameras that are no longer being manufactured. Also, the system only offers classic Z-Wave functionality, so you won't be able to take advantage of the the extended wireless range and longer battery life of Z-Wave Plus. If you want Z-Wave Plus, and you have the Lyric, then you will need to replace the panel entirely. There is no way to upgrade the existing classic Z-Wave firmware for the Lyric and make it Z-Wave Plus. But if you need HomeKit compatibility, or if you are trying to keep your monthly monitoring costs as low as possible, then the Lyric is almost certainly your best option. With its support of local end user programming, the Lyric is the best system from Honeywell and Resideo as of late 2020. There is a good reason why it remains the most popular Alarm Grid security system.

One last note is that while a plug-in transformer comes included with the Lyric, no power cable for connecting the system to the transformer is included. We recommend purchasing a Honeywell LT-Cable for this purpose.

The Lyric is for you if:

  • You want to save money by going IP only.
  • You want compatibility with Apple HomeKit.
  • You want to use Total Connect 2.0 as your interactive platform.
  • You don't need automatic Bluetooth disarming, partitioning, or Z-Wave Plus functionality.

Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus

The Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus is without a doubt the most feature-packed system we offer at this time. It has totally changed the game with its advanced features like automatic Bluetooth disarming, camera streaming from the panel, partitioning, facial recognition, and a super innovative wellness platform. The IQ2+ offers a seamless integration with Alarm.com, which serves as the interactive monitoring and automation platform used with the system. It is also currently the only system where you can perform Alarm.com Smart Scenes directly from the main panel. We also love the system's UI, as automation devices like lights, door locks, and smart thermostats can all be accessed from the main panel screen. It is easy to navigate, and we find that it is arguably the most intuitive panel for users who have never used a security system before. Really, the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus is the system we almost always recommend for any user not needing HomeKit functionality or low-cost IP-only monitoring.

Since this system, communicates through Alarm.com, you must have a cellular connection set up with the system. The good news is that you won't have to buy a communicator, as the IQ2+ already has one built-in (AT&T LTE or Verizon LTE). The bad news is that monitoring for this system starts at $25 per month, assuming you get service with Alarm Grid. And if you want central station service and the ability to do cool things through Alarm.com, such as arming and disarming remotely and setting up automated smart scenes, then the minimum cost jumps up to $35 per month for our Gold Plan. You may want to review this post that explains our monitoring plans in more depth.

One other awesome aspect of the IQ2+ is that it supports DSC PowerG Sensors. These wireless sensors are some of the best in the industry. They can be used from up to 2,000 feet away from the IQ Panel 2 Plus in an open air environment, and they utilize 128-bit AES encryption for advanced protection and security. You also get the choice of one of three (3) legacy sensor frequencies (319.5 MHz, 345 MHz, or 433 MHz). If you are upgrading from an older system, this is fantastic, as there is almost certainly a version of the IQ2+ that will let you bring over your old wireless sensors.

But even with all its bells and whistles, the IQ Panel 2 Plus is still not a perfect alarm system. We aren't blown away with its build quality, as some users have reported struggles in properly closing the panel after opening it up. And having an integrated communicator might seem like a good thing, but it also means that the entire panel must be replaced if the one inside fails for any reason. The same will hold true when the inevitable LTE Sunset occurs, though that should be years into the future. All that being said, if you are looking for the most feature-rich alarm system on the market today, you would be hard pressed to find a better option.

And unlike the other systems listed here, the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus comes complete with BOTH a plug-in transformer AND a power cable for connecting. It is ready to be set up and powered on using nothing more than a screwdriver! Also included is a small table stand for keeping the system upright if wall-mounting is not desired.

The IQ Panel 2 Plus is for you if:

  • You want a system with the most advanced features.
  • You want easy access to smart home automation.
  • You want to use PowerG Wireless Sensors.
  • You can accept a system without replaceable components.

2GIG GC3e

The 2GIG GC3e is the current flagship system from 2GIG, though that might soon change with the 2GIG Edge on the horizon. This panel was introduced in 2019, as 2GIG was a fairly late arriver to the encryption game. But it's here now, and it's ready to support 2GIG eSeries Encrypted Sensors, while still being backwards compatible with older 2GIG 345 MHz Sensors and Honeywell 5800 Sensors.

If we're being completely honest, we rarely recommend the 2GIG GC3e over the Lyric or the IQ2+. The Lyric offers some unique features (HomeKit support and IP-only monitoring) that make it the best option in many cases, while the IQ2+ is the most feature-rich system we offer. The GC3e just doesn't have any one particular feature that helps it stand-out from the other two. We usually only steer people toward the GC3e if they want an Alarm.com System, but don't want the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus for whatever reason. We must also admit that the GC3e local end user programming is a bit more cumbersome than the Lyric or the IQ2+. People who choose the GC3e are usually those who are accustomed to the 2GIG panel, and are upgrading from an older 2GIG GC2 or 2GIG GC3.

That doesn't mean the GC3e is a bad system. The truth is that it actually has the best build-quality out of any system listed here. The panel just feels well-made and durable, especially when compared with the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus. And while you don't get fancy features like panel camera streaming, Bluetooth disarming, or Apple HomeKit support, you do get a nice partitioning suite, and Z-Wave Plus functionality with the ability to create localized smart scenes. Also, unlike the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus, you can actually swap out the cellular communicator in the GC3e. It is rather inconvenient that you have to buy a communication module add-on to get the system monitored, but this is a good thing if you ever need to replace your system's communicator for whatever reason.

This is matter of subjective personal opinion, but I can say one very nice thing about the GC3e. Out of every panel we offer, the 2GIG GC3e looks the nicest on the wall, and has the most fluid and satisfying touchscreen controls out of any panel I have personally ever used. And sometimes, that alone is the selling factor. There are users out there who don't care about fancy technical features or easily accessible automation menus, and they just want a high-quality system that looks good and does what they need it to do. If that is you, then maybe you should consider the GC3e.

Remember that while the 2GIG GC3e includes a plug-in transformer for providing power, it does not include a power cable for connecting the transformer to the panel. Just like with the Lyric, the Honeywell LT-Cable makes a fantastic power cable for this purpose.

The GC3e is for you if:

  • You want the panel with the best build-quality.
  • You don't care about fancy extra features.
  • You want an Alarm.com System with a replaceable communicator.
  • You can deal with programming that is a bit more cumbersome.

We hope that this post has given you some insight into choosing a new system for alarm monitoring. Stay tuned to our blog, as we will soon present a buying guide for the various security sensors you can choose from. Remember to email us at support@alarmgrid.com if you have any questions. We are available to respond to emails from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Alarm Grid is proud to offer the Honeywell Lyric LCP500-L24 with 24-Hour Backup Battery. This deal comes with the same great Honeywell Lyric Alarm System that is loved by thousands of Alarm Grid monitored customers, plus an extended LCP500-24B Battery for longer runtime during power outages.


Like most security systems, the Lyric uses a backup battery to stay running when the system experiences AC power loss. This can occur during electrical outages, or when the system's plug-in transformer has been disconnected. Traditionally, the Lyric System comes with a standard 4-hour battery called the Honeywell LCP500-4B.

But with our special Honeywell LCP500-L24 deal, you can get a Lyric System that includes the Honeywell LCP500-24B 24-Hour Backup Battery. This bundled deal is less expensive than buying the Lyric System and the LCP500-24B separately a la carte, so taking advantage of this offer is strongly advised. The battery is advertised to keep the Lyric Alarm Panel and its connected accessories running for at least 24 hours during power outages.

Normally, the Lyric comes with the 4-hour LCP500-4B Battery pre-installed. When you order the Honeywell Lyric LCP500-L24 Deal, your Lyric System will arrive with no battery installed. The 24-hour LCP500-24B Battery will be included in the package separately. You will need to open up the Lyric Panel and connect the battery during setup. We recommend doing this prior to powering on the system using its included plug-in transformer. For more information on powering the Honeywell Lyric, please see this FAQ.

In addition to powering the Lyric, the LCP500-24B will also keep any connected system accessories running. Most notably, this includes the system's communicator that is used for monitoring service. The Lyric has a built-in WIFI card for connecting to the internet, and you can also add a cellular communicator to provide an additional communication pathway for the system. This is important because an internet outage, which often accompanies a power outage, would otherwise take your system offline, even if the panel itself remains powered on with its battery backup during this time.

Available cellular communicator options for the Honeywell Lyric include the Honeywell LYRICLTE-A AT&T LTE Communicator and the Honeywell LYIRICLTE-V Verizon LTE Communicator. Alarm Grid also sells the Honeywell LYRICUPGRADE-A and the Honeywell LYRICUPGRADE-V bundles that include the Lyric System and one of the aforementioned cellular communicators. Keep in mind that our Lyric LTE bundles only come with the standard 4-hour battery, so you must buy the Honeywell LCP500-24B Battery separately if you want to provide an extended backup power option for your Lyric. Remember that you will need a monitoring plan that includes cellular service in order to use a cellular communicator with your Lyric System. Examples of monitoring plans that include cellular service are the Alarm Grid Gold Level Plans, the Alarm Grid Platinum Level Plans, and the Alarm Grid Cell-Only Plan. More information on all our monitoring plans can be found here.

The Honeywell Lyric is one of the top security systems on the market today. We love the Lyric and its 7-inch touchscreen display, support for 128 wireless zones, local end user programming, built-in Z-Wave, Apple HomeKit compatibility, and its ability to interface with the Total Connect 2.0 platform for controlling the system remotely though a mobile app or web browser. This is truly a state-of-the-art alarm system, and it gets even better with its extended 24-hour backup battery to stay running when it matters most.

If you want to learn more about Lyric, or if you are interested in starting alarm monitoring service, please email us at support@alarmgrid.com. We will review your message at our earliest convenience and reply back as soon as possible. Our team checks emails during our usual business hours of 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

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We have some new offerings from 2GIG that have just been added to our website. These include the 2GIG STZ-1 Z-Wave Plus 700-Series Thermostat, the 2GIG CO8 Wireless Carbon Monoxide Sensor, and the 2GIG CO8e Encrypted Wireless Carbon Monoxide Sensor. All three are available as of now!


Starting with the 2GIG STZ-1, this is a smart thermostat that uses the latest Z-Wave Plus 700-Series technology. This represents the next generation of Z-Wave Smart Home Automation after the 500-Series of Z-Wave Plus. The 2GIG STZ-1 is actually one of the very first 700-Series Z-Wave Plus devices we have ever seen. You may also see this protocol referred to as Z-Wave Plus V2. Although we haven't encountered many 700-Series Z-Wave controllers or hubs quite yet, we are sure that they will begin to pop up before too long. This new generation of Z-Wave will provide even better battery life and wireless range capabilities than ever before.

For the time being, you will have no trouble using the 2GIG STZ-1 with Z-Wave Plus controllers like the 2GIG GC3e, 2GIG GC3, 2GIG GC2e, Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus, and Honeywell Home Tuxedo. However, 2GIG has stated that the STZ-1 Thermostat is not compatible with their older 2GIG Go!Control GC2, which only has a classic Z-Wave controller. Therefore, you may want to refrain from getting the 2GIG STZ-1 if your automation network is still centered around a classic Z-Wave hub. But the good news is that you can take advantage of advanced features like SmartStart QR Code Pairing and the S2 Security Protocol when using it with the latest Z-Wave Plus hubs.

The 2GIG STZ-1 is also no slouch when it comes to controlling an HVAC system. The thermostat supports 3-Stage Heating and 2-Stage Cooling, humidity and fan control, and the ability to be used without a "C" wire connection and rely solely on battery power. Like any Z-Wave thermostat, you can include the 2GIG STZ-1 with smart scenes so that it automatically begins heating or cooling your home or office on a set schedule. This is great for keeping energy costs to a minimum, while also ensuring that you stay comfortable!

Meanwhile, the 2GIG CO8 and the 2GIG CO8e serve as the latest carbon monoxide sensors from Nortek Control. The 2GIG CO8 joins the always popular 2GIG 345 MHz Sensor Lineup, while the 2GIG CO8e is part of the 2GIG eSeries Lineup of encrypted sensors. The 2GIG CO8 is a non-encrypted wireless sensor, and it is compatible with a wider selection of alarm systems, including all of the 2GIG Panels, the 345 MHz Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus, and the Honeywell Lyric on Firmware Version MR3 or higher. The 2GIG CO8e is only compatible with the 2GIG GC2e and GC3e, but it uses encryption for better wireless security and protection.

Whether you go with the CO8 or CO8e, you will be providing valuable carbon monoxide detection for your home or office. Carbon monoxide (CO) gas is odorless and tasteless, and it kills hundreds of people every year in the United States. Most CO-related deaths occur in the winter months when heaters are more frequently used. With the winter quickly approaching us, now is a great time to get started using carbon monoxide sensors. You will have peace of mind in knowing that you and others around you will be alerted in case a CO gas situation occurs. And with central station monitoring service, help will be automatically sent to the location in the event of a carbon monoxide alarm. Remember to check out our monitoring page if you are interested in learning more about alarm monitoring.


If you have any questions about the 2GIG STZ-1 Thermostat, 2GIG CO8 Carbon Monoxide Sensor, or 2GIG CO8e Encrypted Carbon Monoxide Sensor, please email our support team at support@alarmgrid.com. We check our email from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Alarm Grid is thrilled to announce that our Honeywell Lyric LTE Upgrade Kits now feature the Honeywell LCP500-24B 24-Hour Backup Battery. You can pick between the LYRICUPGRADE-A with AT&T LTE and the LYRICUPGRADE-V with Verizon LTE. Rest easy in knowing that your Lyric will stay connected!


Our Lyric LTE Upgrade Kits represent the ultimate option for anyone who wants to be sure that their monitored security system will always stay online and connected. These systems come with built-in WIFI and added communication modules that provide cellular backup. Even if your home or business experiences an internet outage, the cellular backup will keep your system reliably monitored. Cellular connectivity almost never goes down, so you will have peace of mind in knowing that you are consistently protected. This is crucial for receiving the most reliable and dependable alarm monitoring service available!

But these aren't just any cellular communicators. These are LTE cellular communicators that will receive network support for many years to come, possibly for even decades. As older 3G and CDMA networks are soon being shut down in an event commonly referred to as the 3G Sunset, users are being urged to upgrade to LTE as soon as possible. The term LTE stands for "Long-Term Evolution", and cellular companies like AT&T and Verizon have promised to support their LTE networks well into the very distant future. These networks are expected to remain running as important backups to the 5G networks, which you have likely heard about. With an LTE communicator like those included in these kits, you won't have to worry about making any communication upgrade to your Lyric any time in the foreseeable future.


The new change to these LTE upgrade kits is that they now include a 24-hour backup battery instead of the prior 4-hour backup battery. Your Lyric Security System will rely on this backup battery to stay running when the electricity is out and AC power is unavailable. The backup battery represents the last line of defense for a security system in staying powered on and connected for monitoring service in these crucial moments. Being able to keep your Lyric Alarm Panel running and connected for 24 hours versus 4 hours will give you much more confidence and peace of mind when a sudden power outage occurs. And even during an extended outage, your home or business will be protected. This is the perfect complement to LTE cellular connectivity, which works perfectly when your internet router is down and unable to provide WIFI service for your system.

Of course, these kits wouldn't be complete without the state-of-the-art Honeywell Lyric Alarm System. This security panel includes a full-color 7-inch touchscreen display, support for up to 128 panel zones, the ability to interface with Honeywell SiX Series Sensors that use military-grade 128-bit AES encryption, built-in Z-Wave capability for smart home devices, and full compatibility with Apple HomeKit, the robust and powerful automation platform for iOS users.


Both the Honeywell LYRICUPGRADE-A and the Honeywell LYRICUPGRADE-V come with a brand-new Honeywell Lyric Alarm System with plug-in transformer, an LTE communicator, and a fully prepared Honeywell LT-Cable for conveniently providing system power. Whether you choose the LYRICUPGRADE-A with AT&T LTE or the LYRICUPGRADE-V with Verizon LTE will not make much of a difference. This decision will have no impact on your monthly monitoring costs, and we have found both cellular networks to work great when adequate signal coverage is obtained. Just go with the network that provides the most reliable and consistent coverage in your area. If you aren't sure, coverage maps are widely available. Remember that this decision has nothing to do with your personal phone. You can have an AT&T Phone and get a Verizon Communicator for your system, or vice-versa.

Also keep in mind that you will need a cellular monitoring plan to take advantage of all the cellular communication capabilities of your new Honeywell Lyric LTE Security System Kit. Examples of compatible monitoring plans include the Gold and Platinum Plans from Alarm Grid. We advise checking out our monitoring page for more information about signing-up. And if you have any questions, you can always email us at support@alarmgrid.com for extra assistance. We check our email during our usual business hours of 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you and helping you get started with your new Lyric System!

Update: These kits no longer include the 24-hour battery. They once again include the standard Lyric 4-hour battery. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

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While many alarm panels have been outfitted with LTE cellular communicators to accommodate the 3G and CDMA Sunset, one system that is being left behind is the Honeywell L5100. Luckily, we have two (2) great panel upgrade options if you want to continue receiving cellular alarm monitoring.


Without getting too in-depth, the 3G and CDMA Sunset will leave the Honeywell L5100 with no functional cellular communicator option. This is because any Honeywell GSMVLP5-4G units that are currently activated for monitoring service will stop working once the associated AT&T 4G Network is shut down. If you are still using a Honeywell L5100 with a GSMVLP5-4G for cellular monitoring, then it is crucial that you upgrade to a new system as soon as possible. This is the only way that you can continue receiving cellular monitoring service. Remember, cellular connectivity represents the most reliable communication path available for an alarm system. We strongly urge you to not wait until the end of the 3G/CDMA Sunset.

Unless you have some specific knowledge of security systems, then you may have trouble determining which alarm panel you should get to replace your Honeywell L5100. That is where we are able to help. We have two (2) recommended systems if you are needing to upgrade. Both of these system options will allow you to continue using the majority of your existing sensors, and they will provide some great new features that you can take advantage of. We will briefly discuss both of these options so that you can make an informed decision.


Honeywell Lyric


If you want to stick within the Honeywell banner, then the Lyric is a great option. It has two (2) excellent LTE cellular communicator options in the Honeywell LYRICLTE-A AT&T LTE Communicator and the Honeywell LYRICLTE-V Verizon LTE Communicator, and it can readily support all of the one-way Honeywell 5800 Sensors used with the L5100. This system is preferred by users who want to continue using Total Connect 2.0, as well as any Honeywell IP Cameras. The makes the Lyric the go-to option if you are currently using security cameras with your L5100. The Lyric is also preferred if you are a regular iOS user, and you want to integrate your security system with your Apple HomeKit Network.


Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus 345 MHz

For L5100 users who don't necessarily feel married to Total Connect 2.0, and who also don't really care about HomeKit compatibility, jumping ship to a different manufacturer is an option. The Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus 345 MHz is hard to ignore. It can also support your existing one-way Honeywell 5800 Wireless Sensors right out of the box. You will need to make the switch from Total Connect 2.0 to Alarm.com, but this transition is fairly seamless if you don't have cameras set up. And while the IQ2+ might not have HomeKit, it does offer its own unique benefits like Z-Wave Plus functionality, automatic Bluetooth disarming, and partitioning support. You won't find any of those features on the Lyric. Just remember to choose the 345 MHz IQ2+ in the silver and white box to continue using your old Honeywell 5800 Sensors.


We're Here to Help!

There isn't a truly one-size-fits-all solution for existing Honeywell L5100 users. For some, the Lyric is the best option. But other users can get more mileage out of the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus 345 MHz. Although we gave you some general guidelines and considerations above, you may still want some more advice on which move to make. Our security system planners are happy to help you determine which system is right for you.

Upgrading early is the best way to ensure that you do not experience any interruptions in your monitoring service. If you are a Honeywell L5100 user looking to plan for the future, feel free to email our team at support@alarmgrid.com. We will check your email during our usual business hours of 9am to 8pm ET and respond back at our earliest opportunity. We look forward to helping you plan out the long-term security solution for your home or business!

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We are happy to announce that some new products are available on our site. The Linear GD00Z-7 Garage Door Opener and the Alarm.com ADC-SWM150 Smart Water Valve and Meter can both be purchased from Alarm Grid. Both devices use Z-Wave Plus technology for communicating with a compatible hub.


Starting with the Linear GD00Z-7, this new Z-Wave Plus unit replaces the older Linear GD00Z-5 model previously offered on our site. This new unit connects with a compatible garage door motor to provide smart control for the connected garage door. You can open and close your overhead garage door using an interactive service platform like Alarm.com, and you can also include the device with smart scenes for automation operation.

Unlike previous models, the new Linear GD00Z-7 can utilize the S2 Security Protocol when it is paired with a Z-Wave Plus controller that supports the protocol. This is only available on the most advanced Z-Wave controllers, including the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus once the Z-Wave Firmware is upgraded to Version 6.81.03. It is also backwards compatible with most other Z-Wave controllers, where it will simply use the older S0 Protocol. However, it cannot be used with the wireless Honeywell Panels. Any Lyric or LYNX Touch owner should still get the Honeywell GDCK, which is also sold by Alarm Grid.

As for the Alarm.com ADC-SWM150, it is a complete smart water valve and meter that can be used for both controlling water flow and monitoring water usage for energy monitoring and consumption purposes. Once installed, the unit detects leaks of any size in the building, and you can access it remotely to shut off the main water supply in the event of a leak.

If you have ever experienced a flood or serious water leak, then you know how costly of a situation it can become. Being able to shut off the water flow remotely can really come in handy when time is of the essence. Many users will pair the ADC-SWM150 with one or more flood detection sensors and build smart scenes to have the water shut off automatically once a sensor is triggered.

The difference between the ADC-SWM150 and the previously released ADC-SWV100 is that the new ADC-SWM150 also includes an advanced water meter for tracking water usage and flow. If a leak occurs, whether it be from a burst pipe or a dripping faucet, you can see the information on the mater. Also included with the ADC-SWM150 is the ability to use the S2 Security Protocol when paired with a compatible Z-Wave Plus controller.


Both the Linear GD00Z-7 and the Alarm.com ADC-SWM150 are available now from the Alarm Grid website. If you have any questions about either of these products, please reach out to us by emailing support@alarmgrid.com. We check email during our usual business hours of 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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As you may know, the fall season began earlier this week. This means that cooler temperatures are on the way. If you want to prepare your home or business, then you will certainly want to consider getting some low-temperature freeze sensors. Nearly every system has good options available!

Freeze sensors alert your system when the temperature in the building drops to a dangerously low level, usually due to the HVAC system being broken. Having one of these sensors in your home or business is crucial for monitoring the building while you are away. The consequences of having below-freezing temperatures in your home or business can be dire. The pipes can freeze, and major damage can occur. Installing a freeze sensor is small price to pay to prevent this from happening.

Most freeze sensors are designed to alert a system before freezing temperatures occur. Usually, a freeze sensor will activate at or around 40°F to alert the system. This a little bit higher than 32°F, which is when water begins to freeze. This function is intentional, as the user will hopefully be alerted to the situation with enough time to take action. Many users will set up notifications on an interactive service platform used with their alarm systems so that they are notified via text and/or email when a freeze sensor activates while they are off-site. This is possible in both Total Connect 2.0 and Alarm.com.

The main thing to consider when choosing a freeze sensor is whether or not it will work with your security system. If you know which sensor lineups are compatible with your system, then you likely already have a good idea which sensors will work. But we'll list out some of the more popular options to get you started. A very versatile 345 MHz freeze sensor that will work with the Honeywell Lyric, the Honeywell LYNX Touch Panels, and any 2GIG Panel is the Honeywell 5821. This sensor can also be used for flood detection if a probe is added.


If you have a PowerG-compatible system, such as any version of the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus, then you might consider the DSC PG9905 Temperature Sensor. Many users prefer PowerG Sensors like the the PG9905 due to their superior wireless range and 128-bit AES encryption. If you have an original, non-Plus IQ Panel 2, then the 319.5 MHz Qolsys IQ Temp-S is a good choice. The Qolsys IQ Temp-S will utilize rolling code encryption when paired with the IQ Panel 2. Users of the 2GIG GC3e and 2GIG GC2e also have a good encrypted freeze sensor option in the 2GIG FT6e-345. There's also the non-encrypted 2GIG FT6-345 for users of the older 2GIG GC3 and 2GIG GC2 Systems.

Alarm Grid wants to help you keep your home or business comfortable this winter, as well as for many more winters to come. If you need help choosing a freeze sensor, then please don't hesitate to reach out to us. We are also happy to discuss monitoring services that you might use to receive alerts regarding a freeze sensor that activates while you are away from your home or office, The best way to reach us is to email support@alarmgrid.com. We check our email during our usual business hours of 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Alarm.com has won a 2020 New Product of the Year Award from Security Today for their Wellness Camera, also known as the Alarm.com ADC-V622-WELL. The Alarm.com Wellcam won the award in the Fire & Life-Safety category. We congratulate Alarm.com and their Wellcam for their continued success.


With social distancing guidelines still in effect due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Alarm.com Wellcam has proven to be highly effective in helping many doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff communicate with patients, while still maintaining a safe distance. The product was actually first unveiled at ISC 2018 a couple of years ago, but it's good to see it really shine during an era of social distancing.

Alarm.com Vice President of Products Steve Chazin said of the award, "The need to stay connected with family and loved ones is greater now than ever before. Wellcam extends the power of modern security systems to help protect and connect people wherever they live. We're thrilled that Security Today deems Wellcam a New Product of the Year. This recognition underscores just how critical innovations like Wellcam are in helping all of us look after one another, regardless of whether we're feet or miles apart."

The Alarm.com Wellcam is loaded with excellent features that help it to thrive both as a wellness camera and as a security camera in general. The device offers 1080p recording capabilities, a 180° viewing angle, 6 MP zoom, and IR night vision of up to 15 feet. This helps ensure that the camera captures detailed video of any activity that occurs in the room. The camera also has a call-button on top that a patient or monitored individual can use to call for help, if needed. A built-in microphone and Bluetooth speaker allows the individual to engage in a two-way voice call with the monitoring party through Alarm.com. The speaker can also be used for entertainment purpose, including streaming music and podcasts.

Alarm.com originally designed the Wellcam for use with the Alarm.com Wellness Platform. But the capabilities of the device have really been put to the test with the ongoing pandemic. Needless to say, the Alarm.com Wellcam has passed with flying colors. Like all Alarm.com Cameras, the Wellcam is designed exclusively for use with the Alarm.com platform. You can get started using the camera by getting an Alarm Grid Platinum Plan or an Alarm Grid Video Monitoring Plan. More information about our monitoring plans can be found in this post.

If you have any questions about the Alarm.com Wellcam, or any other products or services relating to Alarm.com, please don't hesitate to reach out to us! The best way to contact us is to email support@alarmgrid.com. We check our email from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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While we love talking about our various security products, we also want to remind everyone about the security stickers and yard signs we offer. These goodies provide a great way to display our logo and let others know that you are monitored. You can buy them a-la-carte on our website.

Alarm grid security yard signs christmas signs

The purpose of our yard signs and window stickers is quite simple. You put them around your property to let others know that you are monitored by Alarm Grid. This will discourage intruders from trying to get into your home. Even if your security system works perfectly during a home invasion, an intruder might still cause damage during the break-in process. Therefore, the best case scenario is to prevent the bad guys from even trying to begin with. Intruders are less likely to target homes with alarm systems, so putting up stickers and yard signs serve as an excellent deterrence tool.

Alarm Grid sells two (2) types of window stickers. Our indoor window stickers have an adhesive front, and you place them on the inside of a window, facing the outside. Anyone who looks at the window will see it peeking. We also sell outdoor window stickers with an adhesive backing. The outdoor stickers are super versatile, and many users get creative by placing them on refrigerators, mailboxes, laptops, and even cars! Stickers are available in regular and mini sizes. Mini window stickers are sold in packs of 1, 5, and 10.

Alarm grid inside security stickers

While our stickers are ideal for posting around the home or office, a security yard sign is a bit more tangible. These yard signs come with a metal stake that you can push into the ground to keep them upright. A hammer can be useful for pushing the stake into the ground. You then secure the sign to the metal stake using the included hardware. And just like that, you will have a prominent sign outside your home or office deter any burglars from entering!

Alarm grid security yard signs christmas signs

We give away signs and stickers to newly monitored customers as a free gift. Make sure to ask when you sign up for monitoring. And if you want some extra ones, they are available for purchase on our website. You can get single stickers for just 99 cents plus shipping, so they are super convenient to add to an existing order. If you have any questions about our stickers or yard signs, feel free to email us at support@alarmgrid.com. We check our email from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. Also remember to check out this page to learn more about our monitoring plans. We look forward to hearing from you!

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After much anticipation Firmware Version 2.5.3 for the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus is now available! This update brings support for the PowerG Wired to Wireless Converter, as well as some other new features. Everyone with an IQ Panel 2 is encouraged to download the update as soon as possible.

Qolsys iq panel 2 plus verizon lte with powerg s line and legacy

Support for the DSC PG9WLSHW8 PowerG Wired to Wireless Converter is the biggest new addition for Firmware Version 2.5.3. We covered the PowerG Wired to Wireless Converter extensively in a post last month. But just as a quick recap, the device allows to you to connect hardwired sensors so that they can communicate with the IQ Panel 2 Plus wirelessly across the PowerG protocol. This is an excellent way to upgrade from an older hardwired system, as it can prevent you from having to purchase entirely new wireless sensors.

The PG9WLSHW8 also includes all the benefits of PowerG. This includes a wireless range of up to 2,000 feet away from the IQ2+ in an open air environment, military grade 128-bit AES encryption, and Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum (FHSS) technology for added protection. Up to eight (8) hardwired zones are built into a single converter, and you can use up to two (2) of the PG9WLSHW8 units per IQ2+ System. The unit even offers support for 2-wire or 4-wire smoke detectors, plus a 700mA supervised output for adding a wired siren.


Of course, IQ Panel 2 Firmware Version 2.5.3 includes a huge bundle of other new features and functions. Even if you don't plan on adding a DSC PG9WLSHW8 unit, there are still many other reasons to receive the upgrade. We'll touch on all the other new additions below.

The IQ2 system now has Panel Ambient Noise Detector settings to adjust noise threshold and duration. Qolsys added this feature with MDU settings where noise complaints are a concern. The feature can be used in-place of the panel's built-in glass break sensor. Alarm.com is planning to add back-end support for this feature sometime in the future.

Alarm.com commercial customers will be able to take advantage of their Smarter Business Temperature Monitoring (SBTM) service plan, which is used in conjunction with the DSC PG9905 PowerG Temperature Sensor. The SBTM service plan allows for 24/7 monitoring, real-time alerts, and historical temperature reporting. It is designed with businesses like restaurants, grocery stores, and pharmacies in mind. Alarm Grid customers with Alarm.com commercial accounts can contact us for more information. In addition, the IQ2+ can now display a trouble condition when an external probe is disconnected from the DSC PG9905.


If you use Alarm.com for solar energy monitoring, then you will be pleased to know that IQ Panel 2 Firmware Version 2.5.3 offers the ability to provide information from your solar inverter right on your security panel! Solar inverter units from SolarEdge and Enphase are supported. Please see this prior blog post for more info about Alarm.com Solar Monitoring.

Thinking ahead, Qolsys has made Firmware Version 2.5.3 compatible with future Z-Wave 700-Series daughter cards. The 700-Series of Z-Wave will represent the successor to Z-Wave Plus, also known as the Z-Wave 500-Series. Like all new iterations of Z-Wave technology, the 700-Series will allow for extended range and battery life when used with a compatible Z-Wave controller or hub. We hope to see 700-Series Z-Wave devices enter the market sometime in the not-so-distant future. Qolsys also made improvements to the IQ2 Z-Wave Diagnostics Map when using the Z-Wave 6.81 SDK to include RSSI values, as well as the ability to move automation device on the Diagnostics Map.

Some new 500-Series Z-Wave Plus devices are now supported by the IQ Panel 2. Most notably, these include Z-Wave switches from Eaton. Newly supported models include the RF9601, RF9617, RF9640-N, and RF9642-Z. It's good to see Qolsys increasing their support of compatible Z-Wave devices, and we have heard particularly nice things about the Z-Wave switches from Eaton and Cooper.

You can now disarm from the main IQ Panel 2 during the Exit Delay if the arming session was initiated from an IQ Remote, PowerG Keypad, or key fob device. Qolsys also added three (3) new Sensor Groups for keypads, key fobs, and panic switches. These new Sensor Groups include (3) Mobile Silent, (5) Fixed Silent Auxiliary, and (7) Mobile Silent Auxiliary. These new Sensor Group options should add some more versatility for these devices. And as for the Qolsys IQ Remote Keypad, it now has the ability to pair with IP routers using the Protected Management Frame (PMF) protocol.

Qolsys iq remote ag iq panel 2 remote touchscreen keypad

There are some new changes to the Easy Install Wizard that loads upon booting up the system for the first time. A new drop-down option will allow you to select one of (13) languages for the setup wizard. There is also a new page in the wizard with QR links for you to scan using the camera on your Android or iOS phone to quickly download the Alarm.com Mobile App. Also added to the Easy Install Wizard are new help screens that provide more information on how to pair and test door and window contacts and motion detection sensors.

Some general improvements to the system's PowerG firmware have also been bundled with Firmware Update 2.5.3. The PowerG Modem Firmware is now Version 2.38. There is now support for Fire Trouble and Dirty Detector Trouble on the IQ2 and ADC when DSC PG9936 PowerG Smoke Detectors are used. Proximity tag support is now supported with the Visonic PowerG Wireless Keypads (models KP141 and KP241). And the Alarm.com back end can now show the "Not Networked" status for PowerG Sensors in the Event History. This occurs when a PowerG device is enrolled with the panel, but then fails to complete the network association and goes into RF sensor failure.

There are also some changes affecting certain PowerG Door and Window Contact Sensors. For the DSC PG9309 and DSC PG9312, both the reed switch and the auxiliary input can be disabled during disarm. The same also applies to the auxiliary input on the DSC PG9945. The purpose of this is to extend the battery life on high traffic doors. Additionally, the PG9945 and PG9309 can be learned-in with the IQ2+ twice. One zone will be for the sensor's internal reed switch, which the other will be used with the auxiliary input.

Dsc pg9945 powerg 915mhz wireless door slash window contact


Other miscellaneous features have been added as well. LiveAnswer is now supported on the IQ2 for security cameras with non-standard aspect ratio streaming. New languages of German, Danish, Portuguese, Hungarian, and Romanian have all been added to the IQ Panel 2. The IQ2 will also now provide audible and visual indication of dual-path failures when the EN Grade 2 Setting is enabled. A change to the Swinger Shutdown feature has been made so that once a sensor reaches its Swinger Shutdown limit, a subsequent sensor event will tell the IQ2 to send an event notice to Alarm.com. Lastly, various improvements to the system have been made so that the IQ2 meets the EN50131-1 Standard.

Now that we have covered all of the new features included with Firmware Version 2.5.3, we can cover the process for upgrading your IQ Panel 2. Qolsys did things a little bit different this time. In order to download 2.5.3, your IQ Panel 2 or IQ Panel 2 Plus must be running a firmware version between 2.0.1 and 2.4.2. Do not attempt to download 2.5.3 if your IQ Panel 2 is running Firmware Version 2.5.0 or 2.5.1. If your IQ2 is on one of those firmware versions, then you must upgrade in stages by upgrading to Firmware Version 2.5.2 first, and then upgrading to Version 2.5.3. More information on upgrading to 2.5.2 can be found here.

If you need to check the firmware version for your panel, click the small grey bar at the top of the screen, and choose Settings > Advanced Settings > enter Installer Code (default 1111) > About > Software. You should see the firmware version displayed. The panel in the picture below is already on 2.5.3.


Once your IQ2 is on a firmware version of 2.0.1 to 2.4.2, or is on Firmware Version 2.5.2, then you can begin upgrading the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Firmware Version 2.5.3. To begin, make sure your panel is monitored and connected with the Alarm.com servers via WIFI. The panel should be plugged into its AC outlet, and it should not have a low-battery condition.

When ready, you can perform the update by clicking the small grey bar at the top of the screen and selecting Settings > Advanced Settings > Installer Code (default 1111) > Upgrade Software > Patch Tag > enter iqpanel2.5.3 > OK > Upgrade Using Network. Then press OK when prompted. It will take about five (5) minutes for the update process to complete. The panel will reboot as part of the update process.

If you have any questions about the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus, please reach out to us. Also remember to check out this post to learn more about our monitoring plans for gaining access to Alarm.com. The best way to contact us with questions about the IQ Panel 2 System or alarm monitoring in general is to email support@alarmgrid.com. We check our email from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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