How Do I Backdoor Into Programming on a Honeywell VISTA System if I am Locked Out?

You can backdoor into programming on a Honeywell VISTA System if you are locked out by pressing and holding the [*] and [#] keys within 50 seconds of powering the system on. You can then set the Installer Code to the default of 4112. This will allow you to get back into programming later.

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Backdooring a VISTA System is useful if you do not know the Installer Code. By using this method, you will get back into programming so that you can change the Installer Code and get into programming later. Please note though that there are some system programming options that will lock you out of programming entirely, even if you try to get back in using the backdoor method.

In programming, there is a command field for locking a user out of programming if they use the [*98] command to exit. This lockout option field is the [*88] field. The [*88] setting can be set to three values, which are 0, 1 and 2. Setting it to [0] will lock the user out unless they use the backdoor method described below. Setting it to [1] will prevent the method below from working, but the user will still be able to get in like normal using the Installer Code. Setting it to [2] will prevent the user from using either method, and the only way to get back in is through a downloader. Alarm Grid will not be able to access the downloader if we have not yet activated your system. This means you will need to replace the system entirely in that situation. The [*88] field is set to 0 by default. Please see the VISTA Programming Guide on Page 12 for more information.

To avoid all of this, you should never use the [*98] command to exit programming. Always use the [*99] instead. Additionally, you should never attempt to configure the [*88] field. Keep it at its default value of 0. This will prevent you from permanently locking yourself out of programming. Even if you accidentally use the [*98] command to exit programming, you will still be able to get back in using the backdoor method.

If you ever hear a long tone when you attempt to enter programming, then you will know that the [*88] field has been reconfigured. That long tone might mean that you are permanently locked out and have no way of programming the system. This long tone can occur whether you attempt to enter programming conventionally using the Installer Code or by using the backdoor method to access programming.

For reference, the usual command to get into programming is [Installer Code] + [800]. You should always try that code before assuming that you need to use the backdoor method. Remember that the default installer Code is 4112. If that code doesn't work, then performing the backdoor method is usually the best option.

The steps below assume that the [*88] programming field has not been reconfigured and that the system is not permanently locked out of programming. Complete the following steps to backdoor a Honeywell VISTA System:

1. Power down the system. Power down the system entirely by disconnecting the backup battery and unplugging the transformer. The keypad and any communicator lights will all go blank. This indicates that the system is fully powered down.

2. Power it back on. Plug the transformer back in to power the system back on.

3. Backdoor the system. As soon as you see any activity on the keypad LCD screen, immediately press and hold the [*] and [#] keys simultaneously. Keep them held down until the screen reads either "Installer Code 20" or just "20". This means that you have successfully backdoored the system to get into programming. You must do this within 50 seconds of the system powering on for this to work. You may need to get someone to help you if the panel is not near the keypad.

4. Change the Installer Code. If you were locked out because you don't know the Installer Code, you should change it to its default of 4112. Enter the command [*20] to enter the appropriate programming field. Then enter [4112] to set the code to the default. The keypad will beep three times to confirm that the new Installer Code has been set successfully.

5. Exit programming. Use the [*99] command to exit programming. Make sure to always use the [*99] command to exit programming in the future so that you don't need to perform the backdoor method again!

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