How do I know if my security system's dialer is bad?

There could be any number of reasons why your alarm panel, when trying to communicate via its built-in digital dialer, may fail. It could be a programming problem such as lack of account number, lack of receiver phone number, lack of valid report codes, there could be issues caused by the lack of a true analog phone line connected to the panel, it could even be caused by the fact that someone, usually a previous alarm company, has connected to the system and disabled the dialer. Fortunately, there's an easy way to tell if the dialer is defective, as opposed to having been disabled.

On the Vista-15P, Vista-20P, enter programming (Installer Code + 8 + 00) hit *94, and enter a valid phone number, which will be easy for you to verify if it is dialed, such as your cell phone number. Enter the number exactly as you would dial it from the phone line the panel is connected to, and after the last digit, press *. Now press * 99 to exit programming. Once the panel resets, enter your Installer Code + # + 1. You should get an acknowledgement beep, to let you know the panel has accepted the command and the display should show CC or Modem Comm. This command tells the panel to dial the number programmed into *94. Even if the dialer has been disabled through software, the panel will execute this command if the dialer is good. If the panel does not even attempt to dial when given this command (and it may be helpful to have a telephone test handset to verify this) this means the dialer is bad.

You can perform the same test on the Vista-50P, Vista-128BPT, and Vista-250BPT. Enter programming (Installer Code + 8 + 00, or Installer Code + 8 + 000). Once in programming, press *35 and enter your cell phone number, or some other easy to verify phone number, exactly as you would dial it from the panel's phone line. After you enter the last digit of the phone number, press *, then enter *99 to exit programming. Once the panel has reset, enter Installer Code + # + 1, and again, you should get an acknowledgement beep to let you know the panel is processing the command, a display of CC or Modem Comm, and the panel should attempt to dial the number entered in *35. If it does, the dialer is good, if not the dialer is most likely bad.

If your panel does attempt to dial in the scenarios described above, but it will not dial out for alarms/troubles, and you've verified that all programming is correct (Account Numbers, Receiver Phone Numbers, Report Codes, any dial delays are taken into account, split/dual reporting is properly programmed) this indicates the dialer has been disabled from a downloader, and would need to be re-enabled the same way.

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