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Door contacts represent some of the most popular sensors that are used with alarm systems. Nearly every setup will incorporate these devices in some form. After all, knowing when a door has been opened is critical for most systems. But there is a lot to consider when choosing door contacts.

Honeywell 5816 wireless door window sensor

A door sensor is a device that is used to let an alarm control panel know when a door has been opened. When this happens, the system will respond depending on panel's current arming state and the programming settings for the zone. Some popular responses for door contacts include requiring a system disarm within the entry delay period, producing a simple chime and triggering an immediate alarm. These responses are present with virtually any door contact and system setup. A previous blog post of ours actually covers the Response Types for door sensors in greater detail. We recommend checking out that post for more information. But while the general functionality is the same across almost any contact, selecting the best option for your system might seem overwhelming.

Perhaps the first thing you should consider is whether you want a hardwired contact or a wireless contact. A wired contact will communicate with the panel through a direct hardwired connection. A wireless contact will communicate with the panel through wireless RF signals. The advantage to a wireless sensor is that it will be much easier to set up, since no wires will need to be run from the system to the sensor. But some users prefer hardwired sensors, as they essentially become a fixture for the building itself. Another advantage to hardwired contacts is that they don't use batteries. This means that a user will never have to buy new batteries for their hardwired contact. There are all types of door sensors in both the hardwired and wireless variety.

If you choose a hardwired contact, you will need to have a hardwired zone available on your system. Most hardwired contacts can be used with nearly any system that supports hardwired sensors. On the other hand, if you choose a wireless contact, you will need to have a wireless zone available. You will also need to make sure the wireless contact communicates at an RF frequency that is compatible with your system. Knowing which wireless RF signals are accepted by your alarm system is very important for getting sensors to work properly. Some of the most popular RF signals used by alarm systems include 319.5 MHz, 345 MHz, 433 MHz, 915 MHz and 2.4 GHz. Remember to always make sure the wireless door contact you choose operates at a frequency that works with your alarm system!

Qolsys iq dw mini s encrypted wireless sensors for iq panel 2 qs

Honeywell pal t wh surface mount door contact and window contact

Another major distinction for door contacts is whether they are surface-mounted or recessed. A surface-mounted contact is visible on the outside of the door. A recessed contact is hidden inside the door and its frame. As a general rule, surface-mounted contacts are easier to install, since no holes need to be drilled. But the advantage to recessed contacts is that the end result can appear neater, since no sensor will be visible. We generally recommend that users installed surface-mounted sensors, due to the fact that they are easier to install and generally offer more reliable performance.

With that in mind, door sensors can be assigned to one of four major categories. These are wireless surface-mounted contacts, wireless recessed contacts, hardwired surface-mounted contacts and hardwired recessed contacts. Regardless of which category a door contact is assigned, these devices generally all work in the same way. Most door contacts consist of a sensor and a magnet. The sensor is installed on the stationary portion of the door frame, while the magnet installed on the moving portion of the door. In most cases, the magnet must be within a half-inch of the sensor. Placing the sensor itself on the stationary portion of the door helps prevent it from being damaged when the door is opened or closed. Once the door is opened, the magnet will separate from the sensor and cause a reed switch inside the sensor to activate. The sensor will then alert the system to let it know that the door has been opened. Please note that there are a few door sensors that are exceptions to this general operation. Namely, recessed sensors that use a plunger switch, like the wireless Honeywell 5800RPS and the hardwired Honeywell 956RPT.

Honeywell 5818mnl wireless recessed door sensor and window sensoBefore we get into general door contacts that would be used for most applications, we want to make special mention of some more unique sensors that would be used for specific setups. Honeywell offers many hardwired wide-gap contacts that can be used with garage doors and industrial applications. The advantage to these sensors is that they can utilize a much larger spacing gap between the sensor and magnet than what is possible with standard door contacts. We have seen some industrial contacts where the spacing gap can be up to 2.5 inches. That's five times the recommended maximum spacing gap for standard door contacts! Some examples of these industrial-grade hardwired contacts include the Honeywell 958, the Honeywell 968XTP, the Honeywell 959, the Honeywell 958-2, the Honeywell 950W, the Honeywell 960 and the Honeywell 7945. Many of these industrial-grade contacts are also suitable for outdoor use. Another option for a garage door is to use a tilt sensor, like the Honeywell 5822T or an Interlogix TX-E401.

But if a user requires a wireless contact for an outdoor application, there only option is really the Honeywell 5816OD. This wireless contact offers a recommended maximum spacing gap of 1.5" inches, and it is great for use with fences and outside doors. It has a nominal range of 200 feet when used with most systems. As a 345 MHz Sensor from the Honeywell 5800 Series, it will work with nearly any Honeywell Alarm System.

Honeywell 5816od wireless outdoor door and window sensor topIf you don't require an industrial or an outdoor contact, you will most likely be able use a relatively standard contact with your alarm system. We prepared a table below that outlines many of the most popular and widely used door contacts sold by Alarm Grid. Please note that not every contact is included - there would be too many to list! But this is a good chart to help you find the perfect sensor for your system.

Sensor Name
Communication Frequency
Surface-Mounted or Recessed
Special Notes
VERSA-GE 319.5 MHz Surface-Mounted Same as 5800MINI, but for 319.5 MHz Systems.
VERSA-2GIG 345 MHz Surface-Mounted Same as 5800MINI, but will only work with 2GIG Systems, the Honeywell Lyric Controller, and the IQ Panel 2 Plus with 345 MHz Daughercard.
Honeywell 5800MINI
345 MHz Surface-Mounted Very popular slim sensor that is used with Honeywell Systems.
Honeywell SiXMINICT 2.4 GHz Surface-Mounted Encrypted 2.4 GHz Sensor designed for use with Lyric System only. It is smaller and more discreet than the similar SiXCT, but offers less range. Uses 128-bit AES encryption.
Honeywell SiXCT 2.4 GHz Surface-Mounted Encrypted 2.4 GHz Sensor designed for use with Lyric System only. Larger than the SiXMINICT, but offers superior range. Uses 128-bit AES encryption.
Qolsys IQ DW MINI-S 319.5 MHz Surface-Mounted Encrypted S-Line Sensor. Will only utilize encryption when used with an IQ Panel 2 or IQ Panel 2 Plus System. Otherwise operates as standard unencrypted sensor. Mini version of IQ Door Window-S.
Honeywell 5818MNL 345 MHz Recessed Recessed sensor from Honeywell 5800 Series. Requires 0.75" diameter hole that is 3" deep to be drilled in the door frame.
Honeywell 5820L 345 MHz Surface-Mounted Slim Line sensor that is great for applications that require a thinner sensor.
2GIG DW10 345 MHz Surface-Mounted Door contact designed by 2GIG. Will only work with 2GIG Systems, the Honeywell Lyric Controller, and the IQ Panel 2 Plus with 345 MHz Daughtercard.
Honeywell 5816 345 MHz Surface-Mounted Honeywell's most popular wireless sensor! Also includes a wireless transmitter for a normally closed hardwired device.
DSC PG9945 915 MHz Surface-Mounted PowerG Sensor with up to 2km range. Also features an auxiliary input and wireless transmitter for a normally closed hardwired device. Uses 128-bit AES encryption.
Qolsys IQ Door Window-S 319.5 MHz Surface-Mounted Encrypted S-Line Sensor. Will only utilize encryption when used with an IQ Panel 2 or IQ Panel 2 Plus System. Otherwise operates as standard unencrypted sensor. Larger version of IQ DW MINI-S.
Interlogix TX-E221 319.5 MHz Recessed Relatively standard recessed sensor that works with 319.5 MHz systems.
2GIG DW20R 345 MHz Recessed Recessed contact from 2GIG. Will only work with 2GIG Systems, the Honeywell Lyric Controller, and the IQ Panel 2 Plus with 345 MHz Daughtercard.
DSC PG9975 915 MHz Surface-Mounted PowerG vanishing surface-mounted contact with thin profile. Great for any standard application where PowerG Sensors are supported.
Qolsys IQ Recessed Door-S 319.5 MHz Recessed Encrypted recessed sensor from Qolsys. Will only utilize encryption when used with an IQ Panel 2 or IQ Panel 2 Plus System. Otherwise operates as standard unencrypted sensor.
Qolsys IQ Mini 319.5 MHz Surface-Mounted Standard door and window contact from Qolsys. Same as IQ DW MINI-S, but without encryption features.
DSC WS4945 433 MHz Surface-Mounted Surface-mounted door contact for 433 MHz DSC Systems.
DSC EV-DW4975 433 MHz Surface-Mounted Slim line version of DSC WS4945.
DSC EV-DW4917 433 MHz Recessed Recessed door contact for 433 MHz DSC Systems.
Qolsys IQ DW Standard 319.5 MHz Surface-Mounted Unencrypted version of Qolsys IQ Door Window-S.
Honeywell 951WG Hardwired Recessed Recessed hardwired contact with leads. Measures 3/8" in diameter.
Honeywell PAL-T Hardwired Surface-Mounted Currently the smallest hardwired surface-mounted contact offered from Alarm Grid.
Honeywell 7939WG Hardwired Surface-Mounted Relatively standard hardwired surface-mounted contact manufactured by Honeywell.
Honeywell 944T Hardwired Recessed Recessed hardwired contact with screw terminals. Measures 3/8" in diameter.
Honeywell 944TSP Hardwired Recessed Recessed hardwired contact with screw terminals. Measures 3/4" in diameter.
Honeywell 7939-2 Hardwired Surface-Mounted Basically same as Honeywell 7939WG, but is Form C for normally closed or normally open wiring.
Honeywell 940 Hardwired Surface-Mounted Relatively standard hardwired surface-mounted contact manufactured by Honeywell.
Honeywell MPS5 Hardwired Recessed Recessed contact with leads and diameter of 1/4".
Honeywell 944SP Hardwired Recessed Recessed contact with leads and diameter of 3/4".

If you're still having trouble deciding on the perfect door contact for your alarm system, our experts are always happy to help. You may email us at support@alarmgrid.com, and we will get back to you as soon as possible. You may also call us at (888) 818-7728 during normal business hours, which are 9am to 8pm EST M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Alarm Grid is happy to announce that many of the wireless modules from iDevices are now available on our site! These convenient modules are all compatible with the Apple HomeKit platform, as well as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. No external hub is needed to get these modules connected.


All of the iDevices modules are set up using the iDevices Connected App that allows the user to connect them to a local WIFI network. The modules can then be set up for voice control using Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. The HomeKit compatibility is particularly exciting, as the user can operate the module from virtually anywhere using their iPad or iPhone. They can also integrate the module into HomeKit Smart Scenes for automatic operation and control. These modules also offer energy consumption data so that users can better manage their energy costs.

The following smart modules from iDevices are now available:

These modules are also compatible with the iDevices Wireless Instant Switch that serves as a connected wireless remote controller for on-site operation. The switch can be wall-mounted for a neat and tidy installation. Alarm Grid is also now offering various kits that include an iDevices Wireless Instant Switch and an iDevices Smart Module.

The following iDevices Kits are available:

Also available from iDevices is the iDevices Smart WIFI Thermostat. This smart thermostat is also HomeKit-compatible, and it replaces the existing thermostat in a home or business. It offers an effective any convenient way to control almost any HVAC system. Voice functionality for the iDevices Smart Thermostat is available through Siri, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Programming options for the module allows a user to control their HVAC system in a way that suits their lifestyle, while also saving them money.

Alarm Grid is also now offering the WIFI version of the Honeywell T6 Pro Thermostat. Previously, we only offered the Z-Wave Version of the T6 Pro. The T6 Pro Z-Wave is still recommended for users who want to control the thermostat from their HomeKit security system, as well as those who want to use their thermostat with Total Connect 2.0 or Alarm.com. But the advantage to the WIFI version is that it is compatible with Apple HomeKit. Any iOS user who has a HomeKit setup or is looking to get started with the HomeKit service should strongly consider this outstanding device!

Finally, we have also added the additional smart products:

If you have any questions about these new products, do not hesitate to reach out to use. You may contact us at support@alarmgrid.com, or call us at (888) 818-7728 during normal business hours, which are 9am to 8pm EST M-F.

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Hi DIYers! Today, we're taking a look at the Honeywell 5800FLOOD Wireless Flood and Temperature Sensor. This device provides monitoring for water leaks and extreme temperature changes. It will work with any panel that accepts the 345 MHz frequency, including most Honeywell and 2GIG Systems.

The 5800FLOOD is a great device for anyone who needs reliable monitoring for water leaks or potential flooding. The sign of a good flood sensor is the ability to detect leaks before they cause costly damage, without setting off any false alarms. The 5800FLOOD will activate once its built-in water probes have detected at least a quarter-inch of liquid. The device will respond within 22 seconds for a quick and accurate alert about the potential for water damage.

Alarm Grid recommends using the 5800FLOOD in places that are most prone to experiencing water damage. Popular locations include bathrooms, laundry rooms, furnace rooms, basements and garages. You will want to put the 5800FLOOD in the area of the room where a water leak will most likely occur or where the water is most likely to accumulate. Once the device detects a leak, it will send an alert to security system to let it know about the situation.

In addition to flood sensing, the 5800FLOOD also operates as a viable temperature sensor. The low-temperature loop will have the sensor respond upon detecting a temperature of 45 degrees Fahrenheit or lower for 10 consecutive minutes. This is great for catching a broken HVAC unit before the pipes freeze and cause serious damage. Meanwhile, the high-temperature loop will have the sensor respond after detecting a temperature of 95 degrees or higher for at least 10 minutes.

When programming the 5800FLOOD, the loop number that is set will determine how the sensor is used. There are three separate loops for flood detection, low temperature detection and high temperature detection. In order to use all three functions, the 5800FLOOD will need to be programmed to three separate wireless zones, with each zone being assigned the appropriate Loop Number. The table below outlines the Loop Numbers for the 5800FLOOD:


The 5800FLOOD Wireless Flood and Temperature Sensor is available from Alarm Grid now. Protect your home or business from serious water damage with this versatile and effective sensor!

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When most people think of a home alarm system, they picture burglary protection. They might also think of fire protection through the use of connected smoke sensors. But medical monitoring is also a big part of alarm monitoring. This can help the elderly and disabled live more independently

Honeywell lyricpk10 lte enc encrypted at and t lte alarm system There is a unique challenge that comes with configuring an alarm system for use by a person who is elderly or disabled. The goal is to respect their dignity and privacy, while also ensuring that they will be properly taken care of in the event of an accident. Using a home security system is one of the best ways to achieve this delicate balance. This is largely because of the great features an alarm system offers. Some of these features include the ability for the user to request help, the ability for their loved ones to monitor them and their caretakers, and the overall ease-of-use of these systems.

The type of sensors and equipment that is used with a medical alert alarm system will be slightly different from a standard security system. Sure, you can still have regular security sensors, such as door and window contacts and motion detectors. You will probably also want to set up some life-safety sensors as well. But you will need to add some key devices so that the system achieves medical functionality as well. The key accessor in this care is often a panic switch.

Interlogix tx 4200 01 1 white wireless personal panic device

A panic switch is a button that a user can press in the event of a medical emergency. This could be due to a bad fall or a stroke. These devices can certainly mean the difference between life and death in certain situations. Each minute of waiting for help reduces a person's chances of surviving. By keeping a convenient medical alert button on their person at all times, they will be able to call for help quickly in the event that something goes wrong. And when they are doing okay, they will still be able to maintain their privacy.

Many panic switches are wearable, and they can be conveniently kept on the user's person at all times. This is very helpful in the event that the accident occurs in a location where they couldn't otherwise reach the phone or call out to anyone else. Some are even water-resistant so that they can be brought into the bath or shower. Of course, any wireless panic button you use will need to communicate at a wireless frequency that is compatible with the alarm system that is being used. Some of the best personal panic switch available include the Honeywell 5802WXT-2 Dual Button Medical Alert, the Interlogix TX-4200-01-1 Wireless Personal Panic Device and the DSC PG9938 PowerG Wireless Panic Key.

Honeywell 5802wxt 2 wireless dual button medical alertAnother great option is to install security cameras. These devices are used for more than just detecting criminal activity. They are also excellent for keeping an eye on your loved ones. This way, you can discretely check-in at any time and make sure they are doing alright. If they are unresponsive or in danger, you can call 911 immediately so that they get the help they need. One of the best aspects of security cameras is the fact that they can be accessed from essentially anywhere. This is possible using the mobile app for an interactive service on an Android or iOS device, including a smart phone. Two of the most popular interactive services available are Total Connect 2.0 and Alarm.com.

Alarm dot com adc v522ir indoor 1080p fixed camera with night vi

Finally, you should make sure that your loved ones and their caretakers know how to use the security system. Not knowing how to use the panel should never be an excuse for not being able to seek out help if it is needed. Make sure your loved one and their caretaker remember a valid user code that they can use to get in and out if needed. If remembering a code is a problem, you can provide them with a personal key fob for arming and disarming. These devices are great because they can often double as a panic switch. You can even assign a key fob to a guest user code to limit the access that a caretaker has to the property when they are off-duty. The Honeywell 5834-4 is a great key fob for this purpose.

Also make sure that your loved one knows how to activate their personal panic switch in the event of an emergency. There are many cases where elderly or disabled are unable to seek help because they don't know or forget how their medical alert button works. If you are afraid that your loved one might activate the button accidentally, you can ask a central monitoring station to try and call you or your loved one first before sending out automatic emergency medical dispatch. Taking just a few moments to review the proper operation of a key fob can be very important for keeping your loved one safe and sound.

Honeywell 5834 4 wireless 4 button security key fob for honeywell security systems

Keep your loved one safe with a medical alert home security system from Alarm Grid. We are proud to help many people live more independent and fulfilling lives. If you have any questions, please email us at support@alarmgrid.com. You may also call us during normal business hours, which are 9am to 8pm EST M-F. We also invite you to check out our monitoring page for more information about our services.

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Hey DIYers! Today, we're taking look at the Honeywell 5828 Wireless Keypad. This device is great for pairing with a Honeywell LYNX Touch or Honeywell VISTA System to provide a secondary access point. The wireless keypad is great for use in larger homes or those with multiple entryways.

Honeywell 5828 wireless fixed english alarm keypadThe 5828 Touch-Button Keypad provides a Fixed English display for the user. This means that the keypad cannot be used for deep-level programming, and it should only be used as a secondary controller. All deep-level programming will need to be done through the panel itself or through an Alphanumeric keypad. But the 5828 Keypad is still great for conveniently arming, disarming and checking the system status.

As a wireless device, the 5828 Keypad communicates at 345 MHz. It uses bi-directional communication, meaning that it can both send and receive signals. This is important for knowing the current system status and letting the main panel know whenever the system has been armed or disarmed. In order to facilitate this communication, the keypad will only be able to pair with a Honeywell System that has a proper House ID. The Honeywell LYNX Touch Systems and the Honeywell VISTA Systems both feature the House ID for this purpose. However, the 5828 cannot be used with the Honeywell Lyric Controller, as it does not have a House ID. Additionally, if the keypad is being used with a Honeywell VISTA, then the system will need to have a separate wireless receiver added to support the 345 MHz frequency. A great wireless receiver option is the 6160RF Keypad, which can also serve as a primary controller for deep level programming.

The 5828 Keypad has a 50-foot wireless range, but this range can be effectively doubled by using a Honeywell 5800RP Wireless Repeater. It uses three AA batteries for power, but a Honeywell K0991 AC Transformer can be added for continuous operation. The standard 5828 Keypad only produces chimes and tones, but Honeywell also offers the 5828V Wireless Talking Keypad. This is the exact same keypad, only with added voice functionality. It also allows the user to leave voice messages for later use. Both keypads can be wall-mounted or easily rested on a desk or table using the Honeywell 5828DM Desk Mount Kit. This desk mount kit is an excellent way to set up the keypad without having to drill any holes.

The Honeywell 5828 Keypad and Honeywell 5828V Talking Keypad are both available from Alarm Grid now. Get one today, and upgrade your Honeywell System!

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Hi DIYers! Today, we're taking a look at the Honeywell CELL-EXTST. This an antenna adapter cable designed for use with the Honeywell Lyric Panel. This adapter allows you to connect a cellular antenna with the the Lyric Cell Radio to boost its signal strength and communicate more reliably.

Normally, we recommend using cellular amplifiers to boost the strength of a cellular module. These tend to work more reliably than antennas, and they allow you to boost the cellular strength throughout the building. But if a user plans on using an antenna, they will need to make sure it is strong enough to achieve the reliable connection they want. Normally, the fixed-length Honeywell CELL-ANTU will work just fine for this role. This antenna offers a 1dB gain of signal strength, and it has a 10-foot cable that cannot be extended. The Honeywell CELL-ANTU already comes with the Honeywell CELL-EXTST Adapter for integrating with the Lyric Controller. But if a user requires a stronger antenna, they will need to use the Honeywell CELL-EXTST Adapter to complete the connection.

Sometimes, a larger antenna can make all the difference for ensuring reliable communication with the Honeywell AlarmNet Servers. This is especially true for those who live in rural areas that may be located very far away from a cellular tower. But since the Lyric Cellular Modules use a unique TS9 plug, they need the CELL-EXTST to work with the stronger outdoor antennas. For ultimate signal boosting, we recommend using the Honeywell CELL-EXTST with the Honeywell CELL-ANT3DB AlarmNet Weatherproof Antenna. This will provide up to an additional 3dB in signal strength. You will also need a COAX cable of the desired length to complete the connection. The proper extenders will allow the CELL-ANT3DB to reach a wire length of between 25 and 50 feet for flexible wiring options. But please note that a longer wire run will decrease the signal gain that is provided. By using the outdoor CELL-ANT3DB, your Lyric will certainly enjoy a better connection. This will give you great peace of mind in knowing that your home is monitored!

The Honeywell CELL-EXTST is what makes the connection possible, and it can now be purchased individually from Alarm Grid. Get one for your system, and achieve the reliable connectivity you need! For more information on Honeywell Cellular Antennas, please review this helpful document.

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Hi DIYers! We recently made a post that compared wireless systems with hardwired ones. We ultimately concluded that most end users are better-suited with a wireless system. If you have decided that you need a wireless home security system, this buyer's guide can help you review the options.

Remember, no matter which system you buy, you will need an alarm monitoring plan to go along with with it. Please review our alarm monitoring page for more information. Below are some of the best wireless security systems on the market today and what makes them so great:

Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus

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

The Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus is arguably the most robust alarm system on the market today. Each version provides support for PowerG 915 MHz Sensors and a choice of one legacy sensor type (319.5 MHz, 345 MHz or 433 MHz). The PowerG Sensors are particularly renowned for their ability to be used from up to 2,000 feet away from the IQ2+ System in open air. This is also one of the few wireless all-in-one panels with the ability to display the live feed for Alarm.com Security Cameras right from its screen. The panel also includes a built-in LTE cellular communicator (AT&T or Verizon) and a fully functional Z-Wave Plus Controller. In fact, this is one of the very few systems where virtually no add-ons are needed. However, the IQ Panel 2 Plus is one of the more expensive wireless panels available on the market. But users will certainly appreciate its sleek, modern design and superb functionality. The system uses Alarm.com as its interactive service platform, and it can readily connect with the service. All versions of the IQ Panel 2 Plus can be seen here.

Choose the IQ Panel 2 Plus if:

  • You want the remarkable signal range that comes with PowerG Sensors.
  • You want the ability to easily bring over existing wireless sensors (319.5 MHz, 345 MHz or 433 MHz) with your new security system.
  • You want the ability to view your security cameras right from your panel.
  • You don't mind paying top-dollar for an alarm system.

Honeywell Lyric Controller

Honeywell lyric controller encrypted wireless security system

The Honeywell Lyric Controller is still the flagship HomeKit security system from Honeywell, and the time-tested company has once-again produced an excellent panel. The Lyric is perhaps the best system on the market today for use with Apple HomeKit. It can pair natively with HomeKit in order to provide all of the functionality that a user would expect with the feature. The Lyric System also has its own lineup of encrypted sensors, called the Honeywell SiX Series. Additionally, it is backwards compatible with the Honeywell 5800 Series. Another factor that separates the Lyric from other systems is its ability to be used with Total Connect 2.0. This service is designed exclusively for Honeywell Alarm Systems, and it offers similar functionality to that of Alarm.com. The system's built-in WIFI card allows it to readily connect with the service. One downside to the Lyric is that it only includes a Z-Wave classic controller as opposed to a Z-Wave Plus controller. While it can support Z-Wave Plus devices, they will only have the capabilities of Z-Wave classic devices when used with this system. Please note, a separate Lyric Cellular Module is needed for cellular connectivity.

Choose the Lyric Controller if:

  • You plan to use your alarm system with Apple HomeKit.
  • You prefer using Total Connect 2.0 over Alarm.com.
  • You want to use encrypted Honeywell SiX Series Sensors.
  • You don't require a Z-Wave Plus controller.

2GIG GC3

2gig gc3 diy wireless security system w slash 7 screenThe 2GIG GC3 just gave itself a major upgrade in the form of partitioning support. This makes the GC3 the first ever AIO wireless system to support partitioning. 2GIG refers to this feature as "smart areas", and the system on the latest firmware, and up to four of these areas can be supported. Beyond that, the GC3 is also highly regarded for its strong build quality. That's not to say the other panels are lacking in that department, but the GC3 is perhaps the sturdiest system we have ever worked with. Its touchscreen controls are extremely responsive, and its full-color 7-inch display is a joy to look at. The system can use 2GIG 345 MHz Sensors and Honeywell 5800 Series Sensors. One weakness of the system is that it does not support any type of encrypted sensors at this time. But it does include a built-in Z-Wave Plus Controller for smart home devices. Like the IQ Panel 2 Plus, the system uses the Alarm.com service. But the user will need to buy a separate GC3 cellular communicator to use ADC.

Choose the GC3 if:

  • You need partitioning support.
  • You want a system with superb build-quality.
  • You want to use the Alarm.com platform.
  • You don't need encrypted wireless sensors.

2GIG GC2

2gig cp21 345 front

The 2GIG GC2 is our pick as a "budget" security system. We know that many people getting into home security will not need all of the advanced features that the state-of-the-art systems have to offer. That is where is the 2GIG GC2 comes into play. With the right support, it can still serve as an extremely viable option for many users. The panel features a 3.75" by 2.25" touchscreen with very responsive controls. This is considerably smaller than the 7-inch touchscreen displays of the other panels on this list, but it will work just fine for many users. The panel can support up to 60 wireless zones. Again, this is considerably less robust than the other systems, but it will be perfectly acceptable for most smaller and medium-sized homes. The system includes a Z-Wave classic controller for supporting smart home automation devices. In order to get the GC2 connected with Alarm.com, a separate GC2 cellular communicator is needed. Overall, if you're looking for a new security system at a reasonable price, you can't go wrong with the 2GIG GC2.

Choose the GC2 if:

  • You're shopping for a system on a budget.
  • You want a simple, yet capable alarm system.
  • You don't need support for as many wireless zones.
  • You don't need a larger touchscreen display.

If you still need help deciding on a wireless system, don't hesitate to reach out to us for support! You may email us any time at support@alarmgrid.com. Or you can call us at (888) 818-7728 from 9am to 8pm EST Monday thru Friday. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Hi DIYers! Today, we're examining the DSC PG9916 PowerG Wireless Smoke and Heat Detector. This is one of the best wireless smoke detectors available on the market today. It offers reliable fire detection, and its signal range is second-to-none. It works with any PowerG-compatible system.

Dsc pg9916 powerg 915mhz wireless smoke and heat detector

As you probably know by now, we're major fans of the 915 MHz PowerG wireless sensors. When used with a DSC PowerSeries Neo Alarm Panel, these sensors boast a remarkable wireless signal range of up to 2 kilometers in open air. The smaller wireless antenna used with the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus Systems limits this range to considerably less than the advertised 2km. But it is still a very impressive range for a wireless device. And a repeater can always be used to extend the range if needed. This strong range gives the user a lot of options when choosing a place for the DSC PG9916. For example, they could place it in a guest house across the property and experience no communication issues whatsoever.

As a versatile life-safety sensor, the DSC PG9916 provides both reliable smoke and heat detection. This gives it two methods for detecting any fires that may occur. The smoke detector is a photoelectric sensor that includes an internal light. When smoke enters the detection chamber, the light will be refracted. The sensor will respond to this action and alert the security system. The heat sensor uses fixed temperature detection, and it will activate at a temperature of 140°F or higher. Once the sensor has been activated, the alarm system can request automatic emergency dispatch from a central monitoring station if this feature is included in the user's alarm monitoring plan. The sensor will also produce its own 85 dB alarm to alert those inside the building. And like all PowerG Sensors, the PG9916 uses 128-bit AES encryption to prevent any hacking or takeover attempts.

In addition to the PG9916, Alarm Grid also offers the DSC PG9926. This is a standalone smoke detector with no heat detection function. This sensor can be better-suited for areas that regularly reach above 100°F. Both sensors are available for purchase on the Alarm Grid website now, and they both make great additions to any PowerG-compatible alarm system. Get one for your system today!

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If you're in the market for a new home security system, you are likely faced with the decision to go hardwired or wireless. Both options have their merits, but it really comes down to the needs of the user. But we will say that in most cases, a homeowner will want to go the wireless route.

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Honeywell lyric controller encrypted wireless security system

That's not to say that hardwired home security systems aren't right in certain situations. It's just that they offer greater challenges than wireless systems. Most users will want the convenience and ease-of-use that hardwired systems simply cannot offer. Perhaps the most obvious factor is that wireless systems are much easier to install and get started with than hardwired systems. This can be very important for DIY users who don't want to hire a professional installer.

Many wireless alarm systems can be installed without even drilling any holes. Although they can certainly be mounted, most wireless systems support desk stands that allow them to be conveniently rested on any desk or table. Wireless systems can also be readily used with wireless sensors. These sensors can often be mounted using double-sided foam tape, thereby eliminating the need to drill holes.

On the other hand, a hardwired system will almost certainly need to be mounted. These systems provide ready support for hardwired sensors. Any hardwired sensor will need to have a wire that is connected directly with the system. This can mean running wires across the entire premises for a complete hardwired setup. Although most wired systems can be configured to use wireless sensors, they will usually require a separately purchased wireless receiver to make this possible.

Honeywell 5881enh unlimited zone wireless receiverThe next consideration that a user should make is the ease of use for the system. Most users find that wireless panels are much easier to use and program. These systems often feature built-in touchscreen controls and menus that are easy to navigate. With some minor instructions, an end user will be able to set up their wireless system in its entirety. Additionally, the touchscreen navigation will make it easier for the user to perform basic system functions like arming and disarming. This can be very important for users who aren't always the most tech-savvy.

Hardwired systems function differently. These panels typically use external hardwired keypads that are wired-in directly to the panel. Although there are some wired touchscreen keypads, most wired keypads are of the push-button variety. This means that a user will have to enter-in various codes to perform basic system functions. The menus will not be as easy to navigate, and deep-level programming will often require the use of an intricate and sophisticated programming guide. In fact, many users of hardwired systems do not even attempt programming, and they leave the task to a professional installer.


Another advantage that wireless systems offer is that they usually come more "ready" than hardwired systems. That is, wireless systems typically require fewer add-ons than hardwired systems. Many wireless systems come ready-to-go right out of the box. As mentioned earlier, these systems come with integrated touchscreen controls so that no external keypad is needed. Wireless panels also come with built-in wireless receivers so that they can support wireless sensors. If a user wants to use wireless sensors with a hardwired system, they will almost certainly need to add a wireless receiver. Modern wireless panels will also usually come with some type of communicator so that they can readily connect with a central monitoring station. But please note that many wireless systems will still need to have a cellular communicator added for cellular monitoring services.

Hardwired systems don't come nearly as ready. Virtually every system function for a hardwired panel will require some type of add-on. Even basic functionality will require an external keypad. And hardwired systems almost never come with a built-in communicator. Instead, a separate communicator will need to be added and installed if a user wants reliable connectivity with a central station or an interactive service platform like Total Connect 2.0 or Alarm.com.

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One area where wired systems do reign supreme is adding value to the property. A hardwired system with wired sensors will essentially integrate in with the building itself. This is something you can actually list when selling the building, and it can certainly increase the property's resell value. But a wireless system is not necessarily considered a fixture in the home, and it will not add to the home's value.

However, the upside is that wireless systems can be taken to a new property much more easily than wired systems. The user will just need to unplug the panel, dismount their sensors, put them in a box, and bring them to their new house. But for hardwired systems that have wires running throughout the building, the process is much more challenging. Many wires and sensors may be inaccessible, and a professional might need to remove them. For that reason, it's not much of a surprise that a user will often leave their hardwired system behind when moving to a new property. As mentioned earlier, this can provide the added benefit of increasing the home's resell value.

One final consideration is that wired systems usually require less maintenance than wireless systems. Wired sensors use power provided from the panel, and they will almost never require any type of maintenance. In other words, once a hardwired system has been installed and programmed, a user will almost never need to make any adjustments. The only thing they will need to worry about is replacing the panel's backup battery every few years.

But the wireless sensors that are used with wireless systems cannot receive power directly from the panel. Instead, these sensors rely on internal batteries that must be replaced every few years. If a user has many wireless sensors, they can expect that they will need to replace many sensor batteries at some point in the years to come. Fortunately, the wireless panel will let the user know when the sensor batteries are low and in need of replacing. It's also important to remember that most wireless sensors offer fairly impressive battery lifespans, and batteries will not need to be replaced very often. But this is still more maintenance than what is required with wired systems.

Consideration
Winner
Ease of Installation Wireless Systems
Ease of Use
Wireless Systems
Readiness Wireless Systems
Adding Property Value Wired Systems
Bringing to New Location Wireless Systems
Required Maintenance Wired Systems

In conclusion, most users find that wireless alarm systems are the superior option for home security. They are easier to set up and use, require fewer add-ons and are easier to bring to a new location. But a user might prefer a wired system in situations where they want to add to the property's value or if they want a system that requires as little maintenance as possible.

If you still can't decide between a wired or wireless system, feel free to reach out to us for help! You may email us at any time at support@alarmgrid.com. Or if you prefer to call us, you can reach us at 888-818-7728 from 9am to 8pm Monday thru Friday. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Hi DIYers! There's an unfortunate misconception in the security industry that wireless systems aren't as reliable as hardwired systems. A person may look down on wireless systems due to the the potential for hacking, wireless signal ranges and the limited battery life of wireless sensors.

Honeywell lyric controller encrypted wireless security systemThe reality though is that wireless systems are just as reliable, if not more reliable, than their hardwired counterparts. Wireless systems also offer greater convenience and more flexibility both when setting up a system and when moving it to a new location. As a result, it's not much of a surprise that most new alarm systems are of the wireless variety. With a wireless system, a user will not need to run wires across the building, and installing equipment will be made much easier. Wireless systems also have the added benefit of requiring fewer add-ons than wired systems. But even with these positives, some people may still not be convinced that wireless systems are often the superior options. Today, we're going to break-down some of the biggest misconceptions against wireless systems and prove that they are truly a viable option for home and business security.

A major concern we often hear about with wireless systems is that they could be wirelessly hacked. The fear is that a potential intruder could use specialized equipment to takeover the sensors or the control panel that is used with the system. From there, the intruder could control or disable the system and enter the property uninterrupted. While this is extremely uncommon, it is a legitimate concern for those who require the highest level of security for their home or business. However, wireless hacking is really only possible with older, unencrypted sensors. Many newer alarm systems will support encrypted wireless sensors that are virtually impossible for outsiders to takeover or hack into, even with the most advanced equipment available. The way that encryption works is by having both the panel and the sensors know a unique encryption key. Any information that is sent out is encrypted for maximum security. Once the information is received, it is decrypted using the encryption key. This process is often referred to as a "digital handshake", and it allows for wireless sensors to be some of the most secure in the industry. Some wireless sensors that utilize encryption include the Honeywell SiX Series Sensors for the Honeywell Lyric Controller, the Qolsys S-Line 319.5 MHz Sensors for the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 and IQ Panel 2 Plus Systems, and the DSC PowerG Sensors.



The next misconception we hear with wireless systems is that the wireless signals are too weak to work reliably. Some users are afraid that even once the sensor has been paired with the system, its signal could weaken over time, and it might not work reliably. This could not be further from the truth. Once a sensor is paired with a system and permanently mounted within in range, it will always work with the system. The key is to not move the system or the sensors around, as it could disrupt the signals. But there's really no reason to do this.

Users should also remember that each sensor has a certain wireless signal range that should be kept in mind when planning the system. For example, Honeywell 5800 Series Sensors have a signal range of about 200 feet away from the system. On the other hand, a DSC 915 MHz PowerG Sensor will have a wireless range of roughly 2,000 feet in open air when used with an IQ Panel 2 Plus! Remember that walls and obstacles can reduce these ranges, as the wireless signal will have a more difficult time reaching the panel. Just make sure that the sensors work reliably from their final locations before you mount them permanently. If wireless range is an issue, then you may be able to overcome the problem by using a compatible wireless repeater. Some examples of wireless repeaters include the Honeywell 5800RP and the DSC PG9920.

A third concern we come across with wireless systems is that wireless sensors offer a limited battery life. Some users ask us what happens if the battery for a wireless sensor suddenly dies. They believe that their security system could randomly stop working all because a battery died. While it's true that not having to rely on batteries is an advantage of hardwired sensors, this does not make wireless systems any less reliable. A wireless sensor that uses batteries would not just suddenly stop working in most cases. Instead, there are multiple preventive measures put in place to keep the user safe.

Whenever a sensor battery is low, it will transmit a warning to the security system. The user will receive this alert on the panel and know to change the battery as soon as possible. In most cases, the user will have a week or longer before the sensor will die. This will give them plenty of time to replace the battery. And if a sensor does ever go offline entirely, the panel will alert the user to the loss of RF supervision. This way, they will know if a sensor is ever not being detected by the panel before it becomes any type of security concern.

Qolsys iq panel 2 at and t wireless security system with at and In addition to being more convenient and easier to install, there is one other major advantage that wireless systems offer over wired systems. That is, wireless systems cannot be as easily tampered with. A hardwired sensor can have its line to the panel cut by a potential intruder so that it no longer functions properly. Of course, when this happens, the hardwired system will recognize this and trigger an immediate trouble situation. This makes this a relatively minor security concern. But it would still be very inconvenient to have to rewire the sensor and make sure that its working order has been restored.

A user might even bypass the zone for the time being and leave the system vulnerable until they can properly address the issue. With wireless systems, there are no direct physical connections, and this is much less of an issue. In that sense, because there are no physical connections to cut, an encrypted wireless system might be considered more reliable than a wired system in many cases.

Modern wireless alarm systems offer excellent reliability for homes and businesses. Virtually all of the concerns or doubts regarding wireless setups are unwarranted and not of real concern. Therefore, wireless systems offer excellent reliability and protection for virtually any home or business. They make for a great option for anyone looking get into alarm monitoring. And once you have a wireless system, make sure to sign-up for an alarm monitoring plan from Alarm Grid. We offer varying plans based on the needs of the customer. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out to us at anytime through email at support@alarmgrid.com. You may also call us from 9am to 8pm EST M-F at 888-818-7728.

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