Can I Monitor My Existing Smoke Detectors Remotely?
Yes, you can monitor your existing smoke detectors remotely. To do this, your panel will need to have active service with Total Connect or Alarm.com. Honeywell panels, such as Vista systems, Lynx panels and the Lyric Controller, use Total Connect, while 2GIG and Qolsys panels use Alarm.com.
Both Total Connect and Alarm.com are able show any zone that has been faulted. This includes zones that are used by life-safety devices, such as smoke detectors. For zones used with life-safety devices, any fault will immediately trigger an alarm with the system, even if the system is in a disarmed state. This is because these zones are programmed as "24 Hour" response zones.
If a zone used by a smoke detector becomes faulted, the user can remotely view the faulted zone by using either the Total Connect App or the Alarm.com App. These apps can be downloaded for free, but they require the user to have an active alarm monitoring service that provides connectivity with one or the other service.
If your existing smokes are set up with the panel using a wireless zone, or if they are hard-wired into the panel and use a hard-wired zone, then their corresponding zone will be automatically recognized on Total Connect or Alarm.com. This means that you will be able to view a faulted status for the zone remotely by using the corresponding app.
If your existing smokes are high-voltage smokes that are not integrated with the panel in any way, and which all sound when any one of them goes into alarm, then you will need to add them as a wireless zone in the panel. This can be done using an Encore FireFighter FF345 Takeover Module. This wireless device is programmed as a wireless zone and mounted within six inches of one of the existing smoke detectors. It continuously listens for the sound that a modern, activated smoke detector makes. If the FF345 picks up this type of sound, it sends an alarm message to the control panel, and the alarm will be displayed via Total Connect or Alarm.com. A user can then remotely view the alarm with the corresponding app.
It should be noted that the FF345 is only compatible with Honeywell and 2GIG systems. The device will not work with Qolsys panels. However, Qolsys users can use the FF319 instead. The FF319 will provide the same function as the FF345, but it will work with their Qolsys panel. The FF319 cannot be used with Honeywell or 2GIG systems.
The videos below show how to program the FF345 on a Lynx Touch and a 2GIG GC2 respectively:
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