How Can I Tell If My Lyric Panel Or Its Battery Is Bad?

You can tell if your Lyric Panel or its battery is bad by using a voltmeter. This is the best way to determine which part of the Lyric's power system is failing and what action to take. You should expect the system's rechargeable backup battery to last roughly three (3) to five (5) years.

The backup battery pack inside the Lyric is rechargeable. When the panel is running off AC power from its plug-in transformer (9VDC, 2.5A), the backup battery is drawing a small amount of power in the background. It is slowly storing power so that it is ready to power the panel in the event of an AC power loss. The most common causes of AC power loss are the transformer being unplugged or the power going out in the building. But if the battery does not have sufficient power stored when AC loss occurs, then eventually the panel will shut down entirely. It is important to remember that batteries have a limited useful life. Over time, they lose their ability to store a charge, and they need to be replaced. In the case of the Lyric Battery, whether you are using the Honeywell LCP500-4B 4-Hour Backup Battery or the Honeywell LCP500-24B 24-Hour Backup Battery, the expected useful life is about three (3) to five (5) years. If it has been about three (3) to five (5) years since the panel's last battery replacement, then it is a good bet that the battery needs to be replaced.

The Lyric Controller supervises its backup battery in two separate ways. First, it checks every three (3) to five (5) minutes to verify that a battery is present. The second type of test that is performed is a load test. This occurs every four (4) hours and lasts for several minutes. If the battery voltage drops below 7.2Volts DC during the load test then this is considered to be a low battery condition. If the battery fails either of these tests, then a low battery condition will be reported and displayed by the panel.

When you see a low-battery trouble condition, then it is likely that the battery is low and needs time to recharge, or the battery has reached its expiration date and must be replaced with a new one. But there are rare cases where the panel is failing to supply proper power to the battery, and you may need to replace the transformer or the panel itself. If there was a recent power outage, and you notice a low-battery condition, then you might try giving the panel 24 hours while running on AC power to see if the low-battery trouble condition will clear.

For reference, trouble conditions are usually cleared by first correcting the cause of the trouble (in this case, letting the battery recharge), then pressing the green picture of the house on the front of the panel, and entering your Master Code (default 1234, but usually changed). For low battery trouble, things are a little different. If the low battery was caused by the panel failing the first type of supervision test mentioned above, then as soon as the panel sees a good battery connected to the panel, the trouble message will clear and send a restore message on its own.

If the low battery condition was caused by the second type of test discussed above, then once a good battery has been installed there are two (2) options. Wait up to four (4) hours for the load test to occur automatically, and assuming the battery passes the load test, the low battery trouble message will clear and a restore report will be sent automatically. If you don't want to wait, you can force a load test of the battery by entering the panel into walk test mode. You won't have to do a full walk test, just enter walk test mode, wait a few minutes, then exit walk test mode. If the battery is charged well enough, this should clear the low battery message. If the message doesn't clear after the walk test has been exited, give the battery up to 24-hours to charge and the message should clear on its own upon the first good load test.

But while those processes above are a good start, the only way to determine if the panel is bad is to use a voltmeter. Alarm Grid has written an FAQ on testing a panel using a voltmeter, which you can check out here. It is strongly recommended that you review that FAQ if you are not familiar with operating a voltmeter. Additionally, if you need a new voltmeter to keep around your home or office for testing your alarm panel, then you might consider the Pro'sKit MT-1210 Voltmeter which is an inexpensive option that you can buy from our website. If you want one faster, then you can check your local hardware store, as they should also certainly have one.

For the remainder of this FAQ, we will be assuming that a voltmeter will be used. We will also be assuming that you know how to operate the voltmeter. If you don't, refer to the FAQ linked earlier for assistance using one. Complete the following steps to determine whether your Lyric Panel or its backup battery is bad:

1. Check the incoming power. First, you want to check incoming power to the panel from the plug-in transformer. If you meter the wire from the transformer without it being connected to the Lyric Panel, it should read approximately 9.4VDC. Determine if the incoming power is sufficient. If it isn't, then try metering the outlet directly to see if the outlet is functioning properly. Remember that this will be an AC Voltage reading, so you will have to change the setting on the voltmeter. A regular outlet in the US will usually meter anywhere from 110VAC to 120VAC. You could try the transformer in a different outlet to see if that fixes the problem. If you determine that the cause is the transformer, then you have also likely noticed an AC loss condition with your Lyric System. In any case, replacing the transformer should fix the problem. Remember that you will need to give the battery time to recharge with the panel operating with a properly functioning transformer before you can clear the trouble.

2. Check the panel power. If you check the voltage for the terminals on the panel with the transformer connected, you should get a reading of about 9.3VDC to 9.4VDC. If that is good, then move on to the next step. But if you find that voltage drops more than a volt or so when AC power is connected to the panel, then try unplugging the battery to see if that improves the situation. If it does, then it could be that the battery is bad. A bad cell on a battery can cause a parasitic draw on panel power. Try replacing the battery to see if that fixes the problem. If you are still experiencing issues, then the panel itself may be dragging down the incoming voltage. Unfortunately, if this is the case, you will likely need to replace the panel.

3. Check the charging power. Next you will check how much power the panel is supplying to the battery. This is obtained by removing the battery connector and metering the pins sticking up from the panel board, where the battery connects. Alternatively, you can also use the two (2) brass test points next to the connector. Make sure the panel is receiving AC power from its plug-in transformer while doing this. The reading should show about 8.5VDC. Any low reading here means that insufficient power is being supplied to the battery charging circuit, and you likely need to replace the panel. You can also meter the battery connector itself to test the battery directly. This should also read around 8.5VDC. If the battery doesn't show a proper reading after being given time to recharge on a panel that is outputting sufficient power (~8.5VDC), then you most likely need to replace the battery.

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