What Is the Difference Between Arm Stay and Arm Instant?

The difference between Arm Stay and Arm Instant is that the system will ignore all Entry Delay settings when it is set to Arm Instant. In other words, any zone that would normally trigger an Entry Delay countdown will instead cause an instant system alarm. Hence the name "Arm Instant".

In most cases, an end user will activate an Entry/Exit Zone when they enter the building. The user will typically want an opportunity to Disarm their system before an alarm will occur. That is why Entry Delay countdowns are put into place. As long as the user manages to successfully Disarm the system before the countdown period expires, no alarm will occur. That is how a system operates when it is set to Arm Stay or Arm Away.

The only real exception to this rule is if the system's Entry Delay period is set to zero. In that case, there will be no Entry Delay, and an immediate alarm will occur. If your system does not have an official Arm Instant option, then you can essentially mimic the setting by setting the Entry Delay period to zero and then Arming Stay. But a Honeywell VISTA System can be set to Arm Instant by entering the command [User Code] + [7].

However, the Arm Instant setting ignores this rule. Arm Instant is basically the same as Arm Stay, but with no Exit Delay periods. If the system is set to Arm Instant and a zone that would usually cause an Entry Delay countdown is activated, then there will be an instant alarm. Other than that the system will behave as though it were set to Arm Stay Mode. This means that Interior Zones will be automatically bypassed and unable to cause an alarm. This will allow people to move throughout the building freely. But if someone activates and Entry/Exit Zone, there will be no opportunity to Disarm.

Basically, if you have your system set to Arm Instant and you want to avoid setting off an alarm, then you must Disarm your system without setting off any Entry/Exit Zones. If you can get to your panel or keypad without triggering one of these sensors, then you can Disarm like normal. But if an Entry/Exit Zone is blocking your path, then you will need to use a key fob or an interactive service like Total Connect 2.0 or Alarm.com to Disarm.

The principles between Arm Stay and Arm Instant are actually very similar to Arm Away versus Arm Max. The Arm Max setting is the same as Arm Instant in that it eliminates Entry Delay periods. But Arm Max will have the system behave as though it is set to Arm Away rather than Arm Stay. This means that Interior Zones will not be bypassed, and people will not be able to move throughout the building freely. For more information on Arm Away versus Arm Max, please review this helpful FAQ.

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