What does a bF error on a Honeywell alarm keypad mean?

If you're getting a new bF error today, it's likely because you have an old 2G communicator and will need to replace it.

AT&T has finally sunset their 2G network. It no longer works as of January 1st. While Alarm Grid offers free phone support for any customer that is monitored by us, for everyone else, there is the FAQs on the site.

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  • If you have a VISTA 10P, 15P, or 20P, then you will need a GSMV4G-TC2 or a GSMX4G-TC2 to get your system back online.
  • If you have a LYNX Touch system, but do not know which system you have, we have put together an identification guide for you.
  • If you have an old L5000, then you will need to replace it if you would like to continue cellular service. There is no 3G communicator for it. The current LYNX Touch is the L5210 or the bigger screened L7000. Consider also the Lyric security system which will work with all your old sensors. The Lyric-3G is the communicator for that unit, and it supports WIFI as well.
  • The L5100's communicator can be replaced with a GSMVLP5-4G or the newer 3GL. The 3GL does work in those older units, but the GSMVLP5-4G was built specifically for the L5100 and we would recommend it over the 3GL.
  • The L5200, L5210, and L7000 were never released with 2G communicators. Hurrah!

bF, or sometimes seen as 6 (six) F, on a fixed English alarm keypad stands for "backup failure", and indicates a problem with an AlarmNet alarm monitoring communicator. AlarmNet alarm communicators are also called Long Range Radios (LRR) and a bF trouble signal may be associated with many different LRR trouble conditions. There are many common reasons a bF may be displayed. Cover Tamper, the communicator not being registered, loss of communication between the panel and the AlarmNet device, failure to receive acknowledgement of a signal transmitted within a certain amount of time, loss of network connection, and in some cases power/battery issues.

One of the most common reasons for a bF trouble signal is that the alarm communicator was not able to successfully transmit an alarm signal. If you have an internet alarm communicator, that could mean your internet connection is down. Perhaps there was a power outage and your modem and router lost power, or your internet service provider (ISP) may have had an interruption in service. If you have a cellular alarm communicator, the device may have lost connection with the cellular network in your area. You can check with your AlarmNet dealer to see if your cellular communicator had a drop in cellular signal strength. These communication failure situations can resolve themselves, and if the connection is restored, the AlarmNet alarm communicator should be able to automatically restore communications. The bF trouble signal will remain on your keypad until you acknowledge the trouble by pressing your code followed by the 'OFF' key, twice. Your Honeywell security system wants to make sure that you are aware of the issue, even if it has already restored, and that is why the bF signal will remain on the keypad display until acknowledged, even if the trouble condition is no longer present.

Another common reason for the bF signal, when first activating an AlarmNet communicator, is that the cover on the device is removed. AlarmNet devices have a built-in tamper so that you will be alerted if someone removes the cover of your communicator. When first activating your AlarmNet communicator, you have to remove the cover and therefore, many people end up getting the bF trouble signal once the device is active. If you simply put the cover back in place, and then go through a disarm sequence on your keypad (code + OFF), the bF signal should clear.

If you had an alphanumeric alarm keypad, the bF signal would actually be displayed as a 'Check 103, Long Rng Trbl' which is short for a trouble with the long range radio. In this case, a 4 digit trouble code will be displayed, which will tell you exactly what the problem is:

Status Code



Control Panel lost communication with AlarmNet Device


AlarmNet Device Cover Tamper Detected (Cover Removed)


Communicator has lost contact with the AlarmNet Cellular Network


Communicator has lost contact with AlarmNet


Communicator is not registered; account not activated


Communicator Shut Down


Communicator Power-on Reset AND the panel lost communicator with AlarmNet Device


Communicator Power-on Reset AND Tamper Detected


Communicator Power-on Reset AND Tamper Detected AND Device Not Registered


Communicator Tamper Detected AND Communicator Low Battery


Primary Power Loss (will only be displayed in conjunction with another event)


Battery Charger Fail (will only be displayed in conjunction with another event)


Low Battery (will only be displayed in conjunction with another event)

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Have you power cycled the panel yet? https://www.alarmgrid.com/faq/how-do-you-power-cycle-a-honeywell-vista-series-alarm-control-panel
Hello. There's a code 974 dialer at my honeywell...but i check with verizon and they say i have service...how easy can i get rid of this code
OK - - I was just hoping someone could tell me what MM FAILURE means? It seemed like a simple question. Too bad I still don't know. Thanks
I would follow the advice of the tech you spoke with over the phone. The addressing was to see what the keypad is addressed to, that was all. If you do not want to check the address that is fine. Any major tech questions or continuous questions, we suggest to call or email since these comments are not the best way for us to keep track of an issue. We provide support over the phone or through email to monitored customers.
Just called in and spoke with someone else. Was told you aren't available & it was suggested that I switch the keypad to find out if the problem follows the keypad or not. The keypad address did not seem relevant to the person I spoke with since the keypad isn't exhibiting the problem all the time. Let me know if you can think of any other suggestions. Thanks again.
OK Thanks - - I'll call in.
Powering down the system will not erase your codes and yes we are trying to go into the address mode and see what address the keypad is on. I suggest email us at support@alarmgrid.com or calling in so we can have a better way of troubleshooting this with you.
But right now that one keypad isn't beeping and displaying odd characters. Pressing 1&3 is to get the keypad to address mode, right? You want to know the keypad address? After 10 seconds it should exit address mode, right? Will this erase my access code?
Yes fully kill power to the system by disconnecting the battery and power supply. Then power it back on, after the panel reboots press the 1 and 3 keys at the same time.
You mean 1. Disconnect Battery 2. Unplug Power Supply and then wait few minutes & reconnect battery & power to reboot the panel? Would this erase the access code I programed into it some time ago? When you say press down 1 & 3 keys - - I need to know "WHEN" to press them & do you mean press them simultaneously or one after another? I need step by step by step instruction. Thanks
Can you reboot your panel and press down the 1 and 3 keys on the keypad and let us know what they keypad says?
I forgot to mention that I have 2 keypads in the house and it only does this one one of them.
https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5a20f443bed8eef3ca22aed24f523013ba10db35c3c6befdc1fe098e15ebf7fe.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/06a81499b87aeb4157eee15b1f160da5277566ac64a0a29d2ac4335e1880c018.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7fc7d00611df3ceab499fd68d8563b5e1165c4435f4f2cb83bcc775e578b062c.jpg Thanks for your response. The Keypad went back to normal mode yesterday after beeping numerous times. I thought it was just a glitch and it reset itself. Normal mode means the status it displayed prior to this strange Failure Message. Then last night around 2AM it started beeping and displayed random letters and symbols. I tried to turn it off with my 4 digit number code plus 1 (off) but that didn't work. It just kept beeping and continued to display random odd letters and symbols. Finally a few hours later it worked and I was able to turn the beeping off and the display went out of the beeping and random letter display mode. Here are some pics from this latest incident. Thanks for your help.https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5a20f443bed8eef3ca22aed24f523013ba10db35c3c6befdc1fe098e15ebf7fe.jpg
Hello, would you be able to take a photo and post it or email it to support@alarmgrid.com?
Hello - - my Honeywell Ademco 6160 Keypad is giving me MM. FAILURE message. Anyone know what this means? I can't seem to find any info on this. Thanks
That is something you should request from your monitoring provider. They can edit that on the server end. If you are interested in no contract service check out our plans here: https://www.alarmgrid.com/monitoring
Where do you set the GSM Fault time? Is this something I can do in my system (Vista 20p) by entering programming mode or does the alarm monitoring company have to do this on their end at their control center?
For anyone that has the same problem as me (where the GSMXCN is causing the problem with the bF error code), the FIX was as simple as opening the GSM box and pulling the plug jack. I am so pleased that I found someone that could help me with this. Problem solved! Yeah! The out of date GSM is disconnected and I didn't have to punch anything into the Honeywell keypad. I had been trying the *29 to no avail. Just glad it's all 100%. Thanks for your help!
If you ever decide to get an upgraded Honeywell communicator and activate service with us, we'd be happy to help with the setup needed.
Okay, thanks Sterling. Yes, I am in Canada. I had hoped to be able to remove the GSMXCN device or disable it on the Vista 15P panel. The Envisalink 4 works great, and I had planned to self-monitor (device ties into the Modem via a Cat 5 cable). The GSM device blocks my connection to the internet, I believe. I will continue to search on how to disconnect/disable the device. Thanks!
Unfortunately, as we don't sell or support the EyesOn, we aren't familiar with how to properly set it up. Are you in Canada? The GSMXCN is a Canadian 2G AT&T cellular device that won't work anymore now that AT&T has discontinued the 2G network. We do have other communicators and low-cost, no-contract monitoring plans available if you were interested in working with us instead of EyesOn.
Hi there! I am just trying to use the EyesOn. My chipset on the control panel is WA 15PCN 9.12. Hmmm, not sure the model number of my communicator. All I can see if GSMXCN. It has a SIM number and a Mac address. Build date 01-07-2012.
What is the model number of your Honeywell communicator and what is the WA number on the PROM chip in the center of your green VISTA-15P control panel? Are you trying to use the EyesOn and the Honeywell device or just the EyesOn now?
Hi, I am following this thread with great interest. I have already tried the *29 and 0 to disable the GSM/IP Honeywell Cell Phone connection box. Didn't work for me though. I have a Honeywell Vista 15p and the Honeywell cell phone communication module (GSM/IP). I also have the crazy bF code. I have been trying to install the EyesOn Envisalink 4, but cannot get past the bF error code, hence I get 'trouble' on the EyesOn app. Do you have any experience with this product? Amazon raves about it. EyesOn support is less than average. (You ask them four questions, and they answer one question). My system was installed in 2012. Any advice you can offer would be awesome! I have tried the power off to the battery and transformer. When I punch in *29 into the panel though, nothing happens. (Unlike the other programming codes). Is that normal? Hope you can help. Your responses are awesome! Also, this might sound like a stupid question, but can I disconnect the wiring for the GSM/IP board in my security box, or have there been a bunch of jumper changes? Looks like there are two point where r/y/g/b wires are connected. Thanks!
Started at new thread at the top, I am very interested in this thread.
Hmm, a smoke detector zone issue shouldn't cause a bF error. It sounds like your system is monitored so you should make sure to re-activate the *29 in programming or else your system won't send any signals to your monitoring company.
Problem solved.... Even though all the alarms were going off throughout the house, I finally got the alarm company on the phone. They said it was one bad smoke detector setting off the rest (even though I had the 6F on my keypad). Disconnected the one smoke detector that was the culprit.
1. PROM chip in the middle of the board says WA20P - 8.12 2. I unplugged the leads to the battery 3. I unplugged the “Plug” to the wall 4. Plugged it back in and pressed * and # together on a keypad. 5. I got '20'. 6. I then pressed *29 and then 0* (to disable the alarm communicator setting) and then press *99 (to exit programming). 7. But step #6 did not work 8. Any other ideas?
We are very happ to have helped. If you aren't under contract now (or when your contract is up), we invite you to consider switching to us as we offer no-contract monitoring services at https://www.alarmgrid.com/monitoring and can takeover most systems.
"The bF trouble signal will remain on your keypad until you acknowledge the trouble by pressing your code followed by the 'OFF' key, twice. Your Honeywell security system wants to make sure that you are aware of the issue, even if it has already restored, and that is why the bF signal will remain on the keypad display until acknowledged, even if the trouble condition is no longer present." I signed in just to thank you for the above few sentences, this helped us immensely as we were about to have a service call to our home after lightning caused a bF error. We were told at 2 A.M to unplug the cord and battery and plug back in the next morning when the storm passes. Still seeing b5 after doing so had me frustrated and ready to call fuming mad at this damn panel that woke up the whole house in the middle of the night with a constant beep. That tidbit of info solved it all THANKS!!!!
Thanks! I emailed the information and will post what I find out here.
Well if you cancelled service, the bF error is just because the panel is still programmed to communicate using that communicator but the communicator has been turned off at Honeywell because you are no longer active with the company that was paying Honeywell for the service. It certainly sounds like they didn't tell you the full story about why it was down if it started working again when they brought it back t your house. If it is cancelled/released by your old company, you can use it with another company now. We offer no-contract services online at https://www.alarmgrid.com/monitoring and if you email support@alarmgrid.com with the model number of your Honeywell alarm control panel and the communicator and communicator's MAC/CRC numbers, we can verify if it's active with the other company still or not.
They took the unit out of the housing and drove around with it in their van. They still could not pick up a signal. They said there was a map with a marker on it showing that the tower was "down." But when they came back, it seemed to work and the error disappeared. I had nothing but trouble with this company -- a day or so later, I cancelled the contract. About a week went by and now my unit says bf check all the time. (Perhaps this is because the wireless provider no longer recognizes the alarm unit number, if the number of my unit was put out of service when I cancelled the contract?) Can I still use this unit at all in any way?
Did they try another communicator? It seems odd that they told you it was a tower issue as that should be very rare and the only way they woudl really know is if they had other units active in the area that were all down as well.
I have a Honeywell alarm that was showing the bf check error. I called my company's service department and they spent nearly an hour trying to figure out what was wrong and then finally concluded the cell tower was down. They charged me $99. Is that a common practice in the industry? Shouldn't they know in advance that the tower is down and not charge you a service call if they discover that it is?
If you ever decide to get monitored service, we offer no-contract options online at https://www.alarmgrid.com/monitoring and specialize in the DIY setup/support.
Wow. That did the trick! Thanks so much for your help, Sterling. Now I can sleep in peace.
Okay, so unplug a lead to the battery and then unplug the transformer and the panel will be fully powered down. Then, plug the transformer back in and within 50 seconds, press * and # together on a keypad. It should switch to '20' or 'Installer Code 20'. Once you see that, press *29 and then 0* (to disable the alarm communicator setting) and then press *99 (to exit programming).
Yes. Both are intact. I just unplugged the transformer to test, and the panel switched to "No AC". I plugged it back in, and the "AC" is back on there. The battery is less than a year old, as the previous tenants just had it serviced.
Do you see both the black sealed-lead acid battery in the cabinet with the red and black spade connectors and the beige power transformer that would be plugged into a standard wall outlet to provide power to the system?
WA20P - 9.12
If you open the alarm cabinet where the green circuit board is located, what's printed on the PROM chip in the middle of the board? It should start with 'WA'.
Just moved into a new house. I only want to use the system for the door chimes. I don't have a provider for this. How do I get this to stop beeping throughout the night? It's driving me crazy! I have the BF check code as well. I have a Honeywell panel
The 6 is actually a lower case b so it's bF that you are seeing on the system and the information above explains why you'd see that error. What system and alarm communicator do you have?
What does it mean when the system says '6f check'? I'm trying to get the door chime to work again but when I press code + chime it doesn't work.
Which panel do you have? Feel free to email us photos to support@alarmgrid.com if you are unsure. You will need to disable the communication settings. Do you have an active installer code?
Please help. Due to problems with the alarm company we have discontinued monitoring service with them now with that being said we still want to use the alarm system but lately for no reason at all the Alarm goes off in the middle of the night. Doors and windows are fine and nothing seems out of place. We do have the check 6f and fc on panel. Called company that installed and said they could not do anything unless we started monitoring again and $155. Fee. Any ideas what we can Do? I feel safer just having it set than not doing anything
You can disconnect the battery inside the beige metal alarm cabinet and then unplug the wall transformer that provides power to the system to fully power it down if you aren't using it and don't want to be bothered by any beeping. It's hard to say what might be going on with the sensor but a new battery may certainly help.
Are you able to email us a picture of the system to support@alarmgrid.com?
I have an 320P1 (Vista-20PSIA) system. I've had the bF error for a long time with no issues (cellular was supposed to be disabled on my system due to the multiple problems I had with it). For the past few months the key pad has been beeping at random times and I have to enter my security code to shut it off. Front room code is now erroring on the control panel but there is nothing obstructing that sensor. Now every few days when I come home it's going off (beeping)- the past few nights I've had to get up more than once to shut it off. I checked the battery and it's dated as being changed in 2008. I'm not using the system and do not have monitoring (too many issues with the company). If I replace the battery will the continuous beeping stop? Or is there a way that I can just shut down the system on my own? I'm afraid to touch anything for fear of setting it off. Thanks for any help you can give me!
It has a number pad with buttons on the left that says off, away stay
I think you haven't completely cleared your Fire Alarm, and that you probably have a Comm Fail (because the system tried to report, but couldn't). I'm just not sure exactly what system you have, so I'm not completely sure how to tell you to clear it. Is your panel a touch screen version, or does it have a number pad with buttons on the left that say Off, Away, Stay?
the screen says Fire and Fail
Yes it does
Does it actually speak the words "Check System"? If so, it's one of the Lynx panels. Check System usually means something to do with the system as a whole, like a low battery on the panel, or a cover tamper. If you look at the display, what does it show?
I don't know what system I have but the smoke alarm when off recently, and now it keeps telling me when I arm it, Armed Stay CHECK SYSTEM. I don't know how to check system!
Yes, if you enter programming mode and press *97 followed by 1, you'll set the panel back to the default programming.
It is Honeywell Lynx plus, I have deleted all sensors to start from scratch. Is there a way to reset the panel to factory default?
What alarm system do you have? If it's a Honeywell system, it sounds like you have a fault on your zone 1. Do you know what zone 1 is for your system?
I have a "01 Fault" on my keypad, any ideas what this means or how rot get rid of it?
You can certainly try a power cycle of the panel and cellular communicator to see if the red LED goes out. If that doesn't work, you'll have to contact your alarm provider to see why the cell unit is offline.
I'm getting the bf prompt on my keypad, this is after we had a loss of power recently. This is running off cell communicator. Box w/ radio in it is showing red fault light on, and tx/rx blinking yellow intermittently. Wondering if I reboot the radio if it will reconnect to cell network? Also, if I kill power to reboot, will I set anything off? Sleeping baby.... Thanks!
Most Honeywell systems (even branded First Alerts panels) have the Auto Stay Arming feature enabled by default. This FAQ - https://www.alarmgrid.com/faq/why-does-my-lynx-touch-switch-back-to-stay-mode-when-i-arm-it-to-away-mode describes why you need to open and close an entry/exit zone after arming to away mode if you don't want the system to revert back to stay mode.
What is the issue with the Honeywell 1st Alert and attempting to arm, but it will revert back to stay mode with all devices in a ready position?
The 6150 is a Fixed English keypad. I suggest you get an alphanumeric keypad like the 6160 ( https://www.alarmgrid.com/products/honeywell-6160 ) before attempting this programming.
I have an ademco 6150 LCD keypad. The bf check will clear temporarily, if I put the chime back on, then the beeping won't stop until I clear and turn chime off. Any suggestions?And how do you get into programming? Thanks
It sounds like you have a Fixed English keypad, not an alphanumeric keypad. It is possible to disable the radio in programming with that keypad but if you mis-type an entry, you will be blind in programming and then can easily make inadvertent programming changes. If you can enter programming and want to give it a try, you would have to press * 29 followed by 0 * and then * 99 to disable the alarm communicator.
I no longer have a provider but want to use the system just for the door chimes. The bf code continues to go off. Can I by passing it?
Thanks. I will try that again.
You should contact your alarm company and ask them to tell you what is causing the error. The bF error can mean many things. It is related to your system's cellular communicator though.
Why can't I get the bf to clear out? I have entered my code and off multiple times. Any ideas? I have the ATT cellular only.
You need to have them set the GSM fault time to 0 minutes so that it doesn't sound the trouble beeping at the panel. Let us know if you need further assistance.
I live in a rural area where cell coverage is spotty. My Honeywell alarm has been sending me an alert every night, in the middle of the night, when the signal temporarily drops. It is a rapid beeping that will not stop until I hit a button on the panel. Our long range radio is just a backup, intended to be there if the land line is disabled, and the signal issues are normal - we have the same issues with our Verizon cell phones. Please, please, please - anyone who knows this stuff, how do I disable the rapid beeping? I have resorted to sleeping in earplugs, because our alarm tech is clueless. Please be my hero and tell me how to fix this. Thank you in advance!
You can only silence it if the issue is resolved so you first need to determine why your panel is showing the bF error before you can get it to silence.
If it continues to go off, how do you silence it?

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