Honeywell Vista 20P vs Honeywell VISTA 20PSIA

The Honeywell VISTA-20P is the MVP of the VISTA Series of alarm control panels. It is by far the most popular Honeywell security system and it is installed in homes and businesses throughout the country.

Unfortunately, the VISTA-20PSIA is not nearly as popular as it's brother the VISTA-20P. Despite it's lack of popularity, the VISTA-20PSIA has all of the same great features and functions. You can use AlarmNet alarm communicators with both control panels. Both systems support Honeywell's Total Connect service. You can use up to forty eight zones with the VISTA-20PSIA just like you can with the VISTA-20P. You can even add a Tuxedo Touch keypad to the VISTA-20PSIA if you want to upgrade your security system with Z-Wave home automation devices.

The only difference between the two VISTA control panels, is that the VISTA-20PSIA is designed with false alarm prevention as a key feature. Therefore, it comes with certain programming values that are hard coded to reduce the chance of a false alarm. Other programming values can be changed but are set by default to avoid false alarms. Certain areas of the country actually mandate that you install a SIA control panel if you are installing a new security system. SIA is the Security Industry Association and one of the association's main tasks is to make sure that false alarms are kept to a minimum. False alarms waste the valuable time and resources of our emergency responders and must be avoided at all cost to ensure that our police departments will continue to dispatch authorities to an alarm called in by a central station. We suggest that everyone install a SIA panel, but if you don't have a SIA panel, you can still program your system to avoid false alarms.

Please look at the last paragraph at the VISTA-20PSIA product page for an in-depth look at exactly which programming fields are used to prevent false alarms so that if you happen to have a VISTA-20P installed, you can still do your part to keep false alarms to a minimum.

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I don't know if you solved the problem but that's more likely. I've seen many times that a contact is not good anymore and even when not armed, the panel will chime or beep sometimes on that particular zone. Weather can affect in time a sensor especially if water made it's way through or it's just defective. It's good to change them. Isolating the doors or windows for that zone is the first step when you can't find them. They can either stick when in an Open state or when on a Closed position.
Installer's debug method was to go around to all contacts and do a slight tug on the leads. He found one that he thought was definitely bad - wires kinda loose and twisted. Found two others that were loose (wires came out too easy), so he replaced three contacts. So...hopefully it's fixed!
I thought about the cold, mentioned it to the installer when they were out - they didn't think it was related, I hope not too - that would really have me lose confidence ("warning: system only works if it's not too cold") - haha. Now the system, while disarmed, is occasionally showing a fault/not ready, then will go back to the ready state, so something is definitely flakey and flip-flopping. Installer coming back out next Wednesday - will update with what they find! Thanks again!
No, I was thinking more of motions or glass breaks that require power to put them in the normal state (for example a Normally Closed motion will be open if it's not powered, or under powered). If all you have are normally closed magnetic contacts on the zone, it would not be power related. What about temperature? It's been abnormally cool the past few nights, maybe it's related to that?
Thanks Julia. These are qty. 16 regular, normally closed magnetic contacts. When you say "power", do you mean in terms of the transformer and/or backup battery that's at the control panel?
Environment can definitely play a role in something like this, and this can be particularly true for powered devices. Are these regular, normally closed, magnetic contacts, or are there any motion detectors or glass break sensors on this loop? It could be a power issue.
Lucky for me such a thing does not (yet) exist. I call that "job security". :)
Aargh! Another false alarm last night. They're happening around the same time - maybe some kind of interference at that time? Will call installer and tell them to engage next level of troubleshooting! Maybe some resistance tests with a meter or something. 3 false alarms now!
Thanks Julia - I was kinda hoping you'd say, "Just get one of those "Bad Sensor Finder Matic" meters", but sounds like it just comes down to good 'ole troubleshooting by isolating the problem! I do appreciate your reply though!
Yes, I believe the more you can isolate individual sensors/wire runs to individual zones, the easier it will be to narrow down the issue. Definitely the right track.
I'm having false alarm problems, not from programming values, but apparently from hardware, like sensors or wiring. I've had two false alarms now - same zone - but my installer can find nothing wrong with sensors or wiring, so I just monitor until the next one. There are a lot of sensors in this one zone, so troubleshooting is difficult. I'm thinking if I add more zones with a 4219 Expansion module, I can at least isolate my problem to a specific room for example. Do you think this is a valid route to pursue? Any other troubleshooting ideas for me? I've got a Vista 20p with an iGSMV4G Communicator, Total Connect. Thanks for your thoughts!

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