How do I get into programming mode on my VISTA-20P?

You need to enter your installer code followed by 800 on a keypad in order to program your VISTA-20P. The default installer code is 4112 so on a new panel you would enter: 4112 + 800. If you are not sure of your installer code, you can try the default listed above or use the back door method. **

Power cycle the panel > Within 50 seconds of power up press and hold the * and # keys simultaneously.

If your VISTA panels was previously monitored by Xfinity, Comcast, Spectrum, or any other TV provider, you may have an iControl unit attached to the system. If so, this will have to be removed, and you may need to add a regular VISTA keypad to the system before you can proceed. This FAQ and video can help you to safely remove the iControl unit.

The back door method allows you to get into programming without the installer code. Simply do a hard reboot on the panel by removing any battery connection, then pulling the AC transformer from the receptacle. You may need a screwdriver to remove the screw holding the transformer into the wall plate. It is not recommended to remove power connections from the panel side, since it is live and can damage the panel if shorted. After you have removed battery and AC power, the keypad(s) should be dead. Now reboot by applying AC power, followed by battery. During the reboot cycle (within 50 seconds of power up) press and hold the * (star) and # (pound) keys simultaneously for 3 full seconds.

If you successfully get into programming you will see "installer code 20" displayed if you have an alphanumeric keypad or "20" if you have a Fixed English keypad. The alpha keypad will allow you to enter sub-menus such as *56 zone programming and *29 communicator programming while the Fixed English is limited to viewing only the basic programming selections. See the VISTA-20P programming guide for other programming fields. First reset the installer code by pressing *20 followed by the 4 digit Installer code you wish to use. You will hear a beep after each digit entry, and 3 beeps after the final entry. You can reset other user codes once you know the installer code. After completing programming, it is important to use *99 to exit. This method allows you to reenter programming using the new installer code next time.

**Please note: It is possible to completely lock the Vista-20P from local keypad programming. There are a couple of ways this can be done. If the back door method does not work to re-enter programming, there's a good chance the panel has been completely locked out, and only the downloader who locked it, can unlock it.

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Please provide pricing on a communicator and chip upgrade that will allow self-monitoring of the system through text/email or push notifications. Feel free to call. Regards, Jimmie Goss
The white box is a receiver for wireless sensors (doors, windows, motions, etc.) The monitoring plan you'd need will depend on a couple of things, including which features you want to be able to utilize. Your panel is fine, but if you wanted to be able to monitor the system yourself through text/email or push notifications, then you'd need to chip upgrade the panel. If you just want traditional central station monitoring, where the panel reports, an operator calls you, you verify if the alarm is false or not, and if not, then they dispatch, then your current panel is fine and you just need the communicator. The cheapest central station monitored plan is $15 per month. It would probably be best if you could email us at and our expert planners could then assist you with determining exactly what you need. Don't worry, we won't try to sell you anything you don't need or want, and we don't have any kind of monitoring contract. Understood - Only $10 for monitoring sounds good. What would be the cost to purchase a new communicator? And what is the white box with the antennas? I thought it was the communicator...
Tabitha, That looks like an ADT communicator. We don't have a data sheet on their devices. If your are currently monitored they should be able to provide you this info. If it is an older unit the technology is probably getting phased out and would need replaced. We offer plans starting at $10/mo and with a new communicator, we could keep all your other equipment and get you going.
Why is the red light blinking on my panel?
Hi Salahuddin, Unfortunately the 20p can be locked out of local programming. That sounds like what has happened here. You would have to get in contact with the alarm company that was monitoring it last to get that get that lifted.
Hi , I just bought this home few months ago previous owner did not give the master code. I have an fobkey that does not work. Now i am trying to get my vista 20p reset through backdoor with a key panel. I disconnect AC power and battery, then reconnect battery power. when I press * and # and I get nothing, no error sound, no change in the screen, no response of any kind.
Unfortunately it is hard to troubleshoot without seeing the actual device status and issue coming from the panel. Also these is usually a code that appears after the Check 103. Heres another article that will actually explain what your Check 103 means:
Hello, I recently installed a new 20P and i have two glitches. One is that the system beeps when i add a new user code, but the codes wont arm/disarm the system. Ive tried changing the user authority and tried various user numbers (mainly since 34+ is supposed to have a default std priority), my last thought was to reboot the system but that didnt help. Am i missing something simple? Secondly, I added an LTE-XV to the system and it continually sequentially moves through the LEDs like its in initialization mode but its been like that for 2-3 days. When i try to communicate with the system through my keypad i get a long range radio warning (103) which im pretty sure just means its not seeing the device. Is it a DOA unit you think?
Would you be able to email us at with some pictures of your system and wiring.
Are you currently monitored by us? If so please contact us directly at
So I called around to some security companies, the previous owners had Time Warner Cable security. As it was described to me, the 6160 keypad interfaced with a wireless touch screen provided by TWC, now that the previous owner returned the TWC wireless touch screen to TWC, the security system is inoperable. Can anyone direct me to how to fix this?
Hello, i'm trying to get my vista 20p reset through backdoor with a 6160 panel. I disconnect AC power and battery, then reconnect battery power. I press * and # and I get nothing, no error sound, no change in the screen, no response of any kind. The boot sequence is slightly different though, from the Alarm Grid video I saw (Honeywell Vista: Backdooring system using 6160V). When I apply power i get a short alarm and then a blank screen followed by the disarmed ready to arm screen (with no *** like is shown in the video). I don't know if any of that last bit was relevant however.
Yes, you can. Just be sure to unplug the battery lead first before turning off the breaker.
Hi, I am trying to reset my Honeywell Keypad but I cannot find the transformer. Can I manually turn the circuit breakers off that correspond with the alarm system while removing a lead to battery (but in reverse order)?
Unless they bought the previous company themselves, I also don't think they would have been able to re-program your system if it was already locked out. I imagine whoever you talked to wasn't sure exactly what happened or didn't want to give you the full story. We do have a referral program as well where we provide a free month of service for each person you send our way for new service.
Great advice Sterling! I did just speak to them and they indicated that I may have been locked out from the previous alarm company but they're willing to take a look at it remotely. It seems unlikely that they would have been able to access the panel remotely in order to program it if I were indeed locked out. This system was in the house when we bought it and they took over monitoring from the original home owners company. Adding a few zones and some modern capabilities via some aftermarket devices will make it much more usable. I have recommended my current company a few times to friends but I will be recommending yours moving forward. Depending on the results I may be switching over to you guys for monitoring as well.
Also, we can certainly help you with a system upgrade if you aren't able to get them to unlock your existing system's programming mode.
Ah, I didn't realize you were actively being monitored. That's actually a good thing as you have a better chance then of getting them to unlock the local programming. The lockout can be employed locally while in programming but the full lockout is only usually used by companies that have the separate remote programming capability as a way to prevent the end user from making any changes while monitored. The key will be getting them to do the right thing. I would stress to them that it's your system and you want to be able to make changes yourself. They may say they can't support you making changes and if they do, just tell them you want to cancel then and that they better unlock the programming before cancelling. If they don't, they are effectively locking you out of property you own (assuming you don't still owe them for the install/equipment per your original contract terms).
Sterling I really appreciate your responses and help, I did order a new keypad from you today simply because my old one is so ugly and if I get into programming I need the 6160 to do it properly anyway. I have contacted the Alarm monitoring service that I am under contract with and I am hoping that they will get my access to it again. I have already sent them an email and will call again this afternoon. It is very likely that I will leave them as a result of this run around. They've told me a technician can help me for $60 which I not really interested in paying. If I don't have any luck with them going back in and unlocking it I will be back in touch. Is it only the Alarm monitoring company that can lock me out like this?
Unfortunately, getting the long error tone after pressing and holding * and # when attempting the back door method indicates that the system has been locked out of all local programming modes (using the Installer Code + 800 and the back door option). The only way that system can be programmed at this point is by the company that locked it out using remote software available to the Honeywell dealer that locked it out. Are you able to get in contact with them and if so, do you think they'd unlock it for you? We can help with language to use if they are being contentious.
It's WA20P-2.5
I just tried it again.. I do hear the tone when I try the backup method. I plug the unit in and go to the keypad it is displaying dl I press and hold #+* and there is a long tone.
No, you don't need an alphanumeric keypad to access programming via the backdoor method. Are you sure you are getting to the keypad within 50 seconds of powering back up? Are you sure you are pressing and holding the buttons (to test buttons being good or not as they do fail over time, see if the buttons make an audible tone when pressed when using the system normally)? The d1 is the normal keypad display that you see upon boot up so it should either be getting you into programming mode or giving you the lockout beep if doing the process correctly. Can you verify the 'WA' number on the 1" x 1" PROM chip located in the center of your panel's green circuit board?
No, I don’t hear that tone, the display on the fixed English keypad I have displays dl... do you have to have a 6160 for the Backdoor method?
Hi Bob, Yes, if entering the proper installer code + 800 results in a long error tone, then whoever was in programming mode last, exited with a * 98 command instead of a * 99 command which locks out normal re-entry of the programming mode using the code + 800. However, it's not yet clear if you are fully locked out or not. When power cycling the system, are you pressing and holding * and # together on the keypad within 50 seconds of powering up? If so, do you hear the same long error tone once you press hold the two * and # buttons together?
I believe my keypads are 6150s... fixed english
I am trying to access my Vista-20p, I only have numeric keypads. When I type in the installer code and 800 I get a long tone, it seems this means I’m locked out. When I do the back door method, after powering on the panel I get a “dl” on the screen. Any advice would be awesome.
Are you under contract with Cox now? Have you considered switching to us using a Honeywell AlarmNet communicator instead? I'm not sure how Cox would feel about you adding your own zones (especially life safety zones) but you can certainly ask them. The concern would be that, while in theory you can certainly do what you propose, what would Cox do when they get an alarm from a heat zone that they know nothing about?
Bingo! That's what was causing the non-responsiveness to the installer code. Once I removed the interface module and connected the panel directly to ports 4-7 on the Vista panel, I was able to get into the programming mode. Fantastic, thanks! So the whole reason I did that is so I can install a wireless heat detector (rate of rise). the COX system uses Zigbee, and i haven't found any zigbee heat detectors I can buy. Hence, I'm thinking about adding a wireless receiver (e.g. 5881EN) and the honeywell heat detector (5809) to the system (zone 9) while I have the COX interface module removed. Then, reinstall the COX interface module after I integrated the sensor and let it be taken over as part of the overall honeywell system. Does that sound like something that would work? Is there an easier way to do this (I can't hardwire the detector)?
We would recommend re-wiring the panel so that the COX interface module is not connected at all to the system. Depending on the wiring, that may be cutting the crimp and landing the keypad wires directly to terminals 4-7 or disconnecting the wired from the module and landing those to 4-7 on the panel. It's hard to tell from your picture. Once that unit is removed, I believe the system will act as expected.
Hi Julia, I "disconnected" the touch panel by powering it down, which resulted in not having a panic alarm when pressing the * and # immediately after reboot. The Vista 20P has an IControl PIM module attached to it (see diagram below), which wirelessly connects to the touch panel. I did not disconnect the PIM module, as the connections are crimped to the keypay wires that come into the Vista panel box.
How was this device connected to your Vista panel, and when you disconnected it, how did you do so? We've seen these before, and there is usually some type of box that this device connects into, and the box then connects to the keypad bus of the Vista panel. I'm wondering if you removed the connection at the panel, or just at the box.
Hi Sterling, yes, I disconnect the battery completely and then the transformer from the wall. I tried holding * and # when powered down as well as after powering up (within 50 sec). The former won't sound the panic, the later does. But here are some more details on my system that I found out and may cause my issue: - The system is a Vista 20P with a 6160 panel, but the system was taken over by Cox Home Security with a Icontrol PIM V2 (I think) takeover module and a wireless SMC touch panel, which looks like this: - when I disconnected the touch panel and tried holding * and # during reboot, I just hear a single beep, but nothing else (no long beeps, no changes on the alpha display) I'm wondering if the IControl module is somehow interfering with me trying to get into programming mode? Or did they completely lock down my system?
When powering down, are you disconnecting a lead to the backup battery inside the beige metal cabinet AND unplugging the wall transformer from the wall outlet that powers the system? Assuming you are doing that, when you first press and hold * and # together, do you hear a long error tone first and then the panic alarm?
I came across an interesting challenge when trying to use the backdoor method to reset the IC. When I shut down power, reboot, and immediately press [*] and [#], the panic alarm sounds. I've tried a few times now, and made sure the panel is fully powered off. I've tried to press the key combination as fast as 15 seconds after applying power, same result. I have a 20P and 6160 alpha panel. Thoughts on what's going on here?
Happy to assist!
Thank you Sterling and Frank for all your help.
Yes, you can use up to 8 console keypads (in addition to the 4 AUI keypad slots) but you will need each one on a separate address (16-23).
Ok thanks, that's good to know. Assuming I had enough power, would it be possible to add two 6160's as functioning keypads to my current setup? And would they both get an address of 16?
Okay, you can do that by wiring it to the panel (and aux power supply as needed) and then addressing it to the default address of 16.
I'd like to add the 6160 at a door to use as a functioning keypad for arming/disarming, and also for programming.
You can have 5 keypads, you just can't have 5 touchscreen keypads. Are you hoping to have 5 touch screens or are you just hoping to add the 6160 so you can get into programming?
I would have liked to have 5 keypads from the beginning, but was told I could only have 4. Ideally, I'd like to have the 6160 at a door that I wanted the 5th keypad at. I understand that just for programming, I don't need anything but the 6160, but was just wondering if it was worth looking into what was involved and if it was even possible to have 5 keypads at doors.
No, there is no add-on for allowing more than 4 AUIs. I'm confused though. Why do you need more AUI slots? Are you hoping to add more touch screens or do you just want to add the console keypad? You don't need anything extra to add the console keypad.
Ok, thank you. Are there any addons that would allow a vista 20p to have more than 4 ECP addresses, or would that require a different panel? And if a new panel, is there a way to copy all programming over or would I be starting from scratch? Thank you again.
If you have 4 touch screens, you must have an auxiliary power supply already as the panel can't power 4 AUI keypads on its own. As long as you have enough power between the panel and aux power supply to power one additional console keypad, it should be as simple as wiring up a keypad like the 6160 ( ) to the panel. You could even leave this keypad in the panel just for programming purposes. The 6160 draws up to 150mA. The panel puts out 600mA like Frank said and the SMP3 puts out 2.5A. A Tux draws up to 340mA and a 6280 draws up to 270mA. Therefore, you do have enough available power to power an extra keypad as long as you have things wired up properly.
I have one tuxwifi and 3 6280. There is a board in the alarm box that looks like it could be what you are referring too. It's an altronix smp3. Is that what you mean or is that standard? Thank you again.
Which touchscreens do you have? Tuxedo Touch, 6280? I will need that to give you a power calculation. 4 touchscreens is the max due the ECP addresses, not power. The panel's ECP output is 600mA which generally is not enough for even 3 touchscreens. However you can always add an aux power supply. I would imagine that you already have one. Send me the model info on the keypads and confirm if you have an auxiliary power supply.
Thank you. That's what I was afraid of. I was told that the 20p could only have 4 touchscreen keypads and that I couldn't have any additional keypads (even regular keypads) because of how much power the touchscreens use. Is that true, and would I have to disconnect one of the touch to wire the 6160 for programming? Thank you again for your help.
Unfortunately due to the longer boot up sequence on the touchscreen displays, the back door method will not work on those. The only way to get in the back door is to use an alphanumeric or fixed english keypad. I would recommend the 6160: You can just wire it locally at the alarm cabinet and use it for panel programming. The touchscreen displays are not really designed for programming. Although they technically can get you in via the console mode with a valid installer code...
Hello, I only have touch screen keypads. What is the process to get into programming of a Vista 20p? I tried what was written for the regular keypads and nothing seems to happen. Thank you.
The check 103 error is regarding an issue with your internet / cellular communicator and would not be the reason you can't enter programming. What happens when you enter your installer code + 800?
Did you read this FAQ regarding the backdoor method? Have you already tried that? If you are getting a long error tone after trying the back door method that means you are locked out of programming completely. You will either need the installer code or swap in a new panel.
my vista 20p has locked me out how do I get back in???
I canot get in the program mode on my vista 20p iam getting a code check 103
When you say you locked yourself out, does that mean you exited programming with a *98 instead of a *99?
Hi is there a way to get back in to programIng on vista 21ip using tuxedo touch screen . I was adding smokes and by mistake locked my self out .

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