How Do I Remove an iControl From a Spectrum Security System?


You can remove an iControl from a Spectrum Security System by first powering down the alarm panel and disconnecting the wires attached to the iControl PIM. From there, you must reconnect the wires that connect the keypad to the panel. Once finished, you can restore power to the panel.

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Spectrum is best known as a cable company and an internet service provider. The company was also known for its alarm monitoring service. However, the company announced that they would stop offering alarm monitoring service in December of 2019. When this happened, many Spectrum customers began searching for other monitoring companies.

What many former Spectrum Home Security customers might not realize is that many Spectrum Security Systems can be taken to other alarm monitoring companies. Spectrum was known for using Honeywell VISTA Systems, which are great for bringing over to other monitoring companies like Alarm Grid. But one factor that can get in the way is that Spectrum VISTA Systems were known for using iControl modules.

The iControl Panel Interface Module (PIM) is an alarm panel add-on that allows a third-party touchscreen keypad to control the security system. Spectrum used the iControl PIM to make the security systems they were providing compatible with their own touchscreen keypads. It is important to understand that Spectrum was NOT manufacturing their own alarm control panels. They were only offering their own third-party keypads.

A former Spectrum user might mistakenly believe that their Spectrum Touchscreen Keypad is their actual security panel. That is not the case. That touchscreen keypad is only designed to control a security system. The actual alarm panel is usually housed in a metal enclosure that may be hidden away somewhere. While it is highly unlikely that you will be able to use the existing Spectrum Touchscreen Keypad with a different monitoring company, there is a good chance you can bring over your existing panel. However, you will need to remove the iControl module from the system first. Once you do that, you can connect an existing Alphanumeric Keypad and/or a completely new keypad to serve as your new system controller. The replacement keypad will need to be properly addressed with the system before it will work.

If you are a former Spectrum Home Security user and you are looking to start monitoring service with a new alarm company, then there are a few things to keep in mind. First, you should make sure to thoroughly explore your options. You can likely save a lot of money by continuing to use your existing Spectrum Alarm System. It is best to go with a DIY monitoring company, as you most likely will not need a professional installer to help you bring your system over to a new company. If you are still exploring your options, then we highly recommend checking out our alarm monitoring page to see if Alarm Grid is a right fit for you.

Another thing you should consider if you are switching from Spectrum is that you may need a PROM Chip upgrade for your existing Honeywell VISTA System. This is a small black chip found on the main panel board. We offer VISTA 15P PROM Chips and VISTA 20P PROM Chips. However, we strongly advise you to contact the new monitoring company you plan to work with before you replace a PROM Chip on your own. It may turn out that replacing the PROM Chip is unnecessary, or you might need help determining which PROM Chip to get.

If you are planning on working with Alarm Grid, then we would be happy to help you with replacing a PROM Chip and getting your existing system set up for monitoring service. We recommend emailing us at support@alarmgrid.com. In order for us to best assist you, we will ask that you provide us with your system model, what communicator you have, and the revision number for your existing PROM Chip. Please note that it may be necessary for you to replace the system's communicator to get started with monitoring service.

In any case, removing the iControl PIM from your Spectrum System is something you will definitely need to do if you plan to take the system to a new monitoring company. This is the only way you will be able to connect a keypad that will be compatible with your new monitoring service. This could be an existing keypad that you already have on-hand, or you might need to buy a new keypad, such as a Honeywell 6160. But the first part of the process is to remove the iControl PIM. Please note that the steps for this process must be followed in a very specific order. Otherwise, it could result in permanent damage to your system. You should not experience any issues as long as you are careful.

Complete the following steps to remove an iControl PIM from a former Spectrum Home Security System:

1. Power down the panel. You must always power down your system before attempting to add or remove any hardware. Disconnect the backup battery, and then unplug the transformer to power down the system. Do not continue until the system is completely powered down.

2. Remove the iControl PIM. The iControl PIM is what allowed your Spectrum System to support a touchscreen keypad that is proprietary to Spectrum. You cannot use the Spectrum Touchscreen Keypad with a different monitoring company. You will need to remove the Spectrum Touchscreen Keypad and the iControl PIM to bring your system to a new alarm company. To do this, disconnect the iControl PIM at the panel board. The iControl PIM should be connected at Panel Terminals 4, 5, 6, and 7. Disconnect the wires at these four (4) terminals. You should also disconnect the wires on the iControl PIM that lead to your old Spectrum Touchscreen Keypad. You will then be able to physically remove the iControl module from the panel's metal enclosure. You will no longer need this module.

3. Remove the Spectrum Keypad. Now turn your attention to your old Spectrum Touchscreen Keypad. You will disconnect the wires connected to it so that they can be used with a new keypad. If your Spectrum Keypad is mounted to the wall, you will need to remove the front of the keypad from its backplate so that you can access its back area. You may want to remove the backplate from the wall at this time, since you will likely be mounting a new keypad anyway.

Once you have accessed the back of your Spectrum Keypad, disconnect the four (4) connected wires. These wires will likely be colored Red, Black, Green, and Yellow. In some cases, the Yellow wire may be White. That is fine. Simply disconnect the wires from the back of the Spectrum Keypad. Keep the wires where they are so that you can use them with your new keypad.

4. Wire the new keypad. Now take your replacement keypad and wire it using the same wires that were previously connected to the Spectrum Keypad. You may need to remove the backplate from the keypad to access the keypad board. Remember to run the wires through the keypad's backplate before making the connections. This is necessary if you want to mount the keypad to the wall.

The new keypad will use a 4-wire connection. The Red wire should go to Positive (+). The Black wire should go to Negative (-). The Green wire should go to the terminal marked G. The Yellow/White wire should go to the terminal marked Y. Make the connection secure, but not overly tight. Once finished, now is a great time to mount the keypad's back plate to the wall. Be sure that it is level. You can then secure the keypad to its backplate after the backplate has been hard-mounted.

5. Connect at the panel. Now that the connections are complete at the keypad, you can connect the other end of the wire to the panel. This is the end of the wire that was previously connected to the iControl PIM. You will connect all four (4) wires to the main panel board. They should already be in the perfect location, since they were previously used with the iControl PIM that was secured on the panel's metal cabinet.

The Black wire should go to Terminal 4 for Negative (-) Power. The Red wire should go to Terminal 5 for Positive (+) Power. The Green wire should go to Terminal 6 for Data In. The Yellow/White wire should go to Terminal 7 for Data Out. Again, make sure these connections are nice and secure, but not overly tight.

6. Power on the system. Now that you have completed all your connections, you can power the system back on. Plug the transformer back in before reconnecting the backup battery. Confirm that your replacement keypad powers on successfully. You should try to Arm and Disarm your system using your replacement keypad to make sure that it is working properly. If the keypad is not working properly, then you most likely haven't addressed it properly. The replacement keypad must be properly addressed before it will work with the system. For more information on addressing a keypad, please see this FAQ. If you are still encountering issues, then check your wiring at both the keypad and the panel to make sure that it is correct. Faulty wiring will prevent normal operation.

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