Why Can't I Upgrade the PROM on My Vista-21iP?

The Honeywell VISTA-21iP is one of the most advanced of Honeywell's residential wired alarm panels. The predecessor the VISTA-20P is essentially the same system excluding the addition of the RJ-45 ethernet port. The VISTA-21iP is the only VISTA series alarm control panel with internal communications designed for monitoring. All other VISTA panels require an external communicator like the Honeywell iGSMV4G dual path communicator. While the external radios require a 4-wire connection to the ECP bus, the VISTA-21iP is equipped with an integrated internet communicator. Also, Honeywell has incentivized customers to go with the VISTA-21iP over other systems by discounting a bundled kit known as the VISTA-21iP-6160KT. This kit includes a 6160 alphanumeric programming keypad for only a few dollars which makes the kit very attractive.

With all this said, here are the facts. Honeywell offers PROM upgrade chips a-la-cart for the VISTA-15P and 20P. They also bundled communicators like the iGSMV4G with PROM chips like the iGSMV4G-TC2 kit. These kits include the chip for almost nothing! This offers an affordable and easy solution for upgrading the firmware on your alarm system. Instead of replacing the board, rewiring zones and programming a new upgraded system, the old PROM chip can simply be swapped with a new one. Chip upgrades were offered on the Vista-15P and Vista-20P, because the board for every panel, version 2 and above is the same, however, in order to support Total Connect 2.0, the panel version had to be a 9.12 or higher. Since this was a simple matter of swapping in a chip, offering the chip upgrade made sense. The VISTA-21iP does not have PROM upgrade chips. In order for the Vista-21IP to support the newer 4G radio communicators (Vista-GSM4G) , a board change was required, a simple chip change wouldn't do it. For the most part, this board change coincided with the addition of support for Total Connect 2.0 in the Vista-21IP, so upgrade chips were never offered. Honeywell originally planned on offering firmware updates via the ethernet connection on the board. However, the 21iP was released over 10 years ago, approximately 2005. New versions have been released but no ability to download the newer software via ethernet, even if the panel is configured on AlarmNet.

Unfortunately there is no way to truly confirm if Honeywell will start doing firmware updates in the future. If you are someone cognizant of being on the latest firmware and you do not wish to swap a panel in the future we recommend looking at the VISTA-20P with the iGSMV4G or 7847i IP only communicator. You will not be able to bundle savings in the form of a kit, but PROM chip upgrades will be readily available. Again it is entirely possible that sometime after today (January 6, 2017) Honeywell will begin offering firmware updates to V21iP owners. Just no clear way to confirm it.

Our highly recommended approach is swapping in the Honeywell 5800C2W and installing the Lyric Controller! Check out some of our videos on the Lyric and 5800C2W.

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