Mier Products BW106BP - Beige Metal Alarm Cabinet with Back Plate

Good Metal Cabinet Enclosure
Submitted on 01/22/2020 Alarm Grid

The Mier Products BW106BP is a beige metal cabinet that is used for containing alarm system equipment. This could include a panel, a relay module, a power supply, or really any type of security system equipment. The cabinet measures in at 12"L x 12"W x 4"D, which is ample space for storing a panel and a backup battery. This cabinet is also commonly used when setting up a relay for use with a siren. In fact, a similar metal cabinet is included with our LYNX-EXT and LYNX-WEXT Siren Kits. Overall, this is a really nice metal cabinet that we can definitely recommend using in a variety of situations. For that reason, we give the Mier Products BW106BP a 5-Star rating.

There are many positive aspects regarding the Mier Products BW106BP. For one, it is large enough to store a variety of equipment for any given application. Whether you are setting up a new panel or adding a siren relay, you should be able to put the BW106BP to great use. The module includes a 10" x 10" backplate that makes it easier to mount a circuit board. Installers should really appreciate that aspect. The cabinet is built from a durable steel material that will not easily become damaged. This helps to ensure long-lasting use and performance.

The negative aspects for the Mier Products BW106BP are relatively minor. The cabinet is basically a generic model, and it isn't really built with any specific application in mind. In other words, while the cabinet is good for a variety of different uses, it doesn't really excel in any one given application. You may find that getting a more specific or more tailored enclosure for your unique needs is a superior option. Also, the cabinet does not come with a cam lock, though one can be added separately.

Overall, we think the Mier Products BW106BP is a really nice metal enclosure for alarm system equipment. It gets 5 Stars from Alarm Grid.

Good: Large Cabinet, Variety of Uses, Backplate, Durable Steel

Bad: Generic, Not Really Built for Any Specific Use, Cam Lock Not Included

Bottom Line: 5 Stars

Altronix SMP3 - Auxiliary Power Supply

Fantastic Power Supply
Submitted on 01/22/2020 Alarm Grid

The Altronix SMP3 is a 2.5A power supply that can be configured for a 6VDC, 12VDC, or 24VDC power output. The device is used to power external alarm devices when the alarm panel lacks sufficient power to do so on its own. The Altonix SMP3 also includes a charging circuit that is used to charge a connected backup battery. Overall, we think this is an excellent power supply module that can be reliably used when alarm equipment requires a substantial amount of additional power beyond what an alarm control panel can offer on its own. We give the Altronix SMP3 a 5-Star rating.

There are many positive aspects regarding the Altronix SMP3 to discuss. The selectable power output of 6VDC, 12VDC, or 24VDC is a nice addition. We also really appreciate the charging circuit for keeping the device's backup battery nice and charged. The LED lights on the unit are helpful for letting the user know that the device is working properly, and they can be used to assist with troubleshooting. And since this device provides up to 2.5A of power, it will provide sufficient power for most security setups.

But there are some downsides that should be mentioned regarding the Altronix SMP3 as well. The device needs its own power transformer, and it cannot share a transformer with a panel. No backup battery comes included, so you will want to add one separately. The transformer required will depend on which selectable power output you use, and you will need a very powerful transformer for a 24VDC configuration. But these downsides are relatively minor, and they do not change our favorable opinion regarding the Altronix SMP3. For that reason, the Altronix SMP3 gets a 5-Star rating from Alarm Grid.

Good: Selectable Power Output, Battery Charging Circuit, LED Lights, Up to 2.5A of Power

Bad: Needs Own Transformer, No Backup Battery Included, 24VDC Output Requires Powerful Transformer

Bottom Line: 5 Stars

System Sensor COSMOD4W - i4 Interface Module

Very Difficult to Use
Submitted on 01/22/2020 Alarm Grid

The System Sensor COSMOD4W is the required i4 interface module for use with System Sensor COSMO-4W Hardwired Combination Smoke and CO Detectors. The COSMO-4W is a rather unique 4-wire life-safety sensor option that isn't set up like a traditional 4-wire device for a security system. You need to use this COSMOD4W module with a COSMO-4W device. But that isn't enough, as you must also set up a reset relay and a CO trigger relay for the set up to work properly. And to top it all off, the System Sensor COSMOD4W is very difficult and tedious to set up. As such, we do not recommend using it. Most users will find that using traditional 2-wire smoke detectors on a designated reset zone and 4-wire carbon monoxide sensors at a regular hardwired zone is a preferable option. Simply put, we do not like the System Sensor COSMOD4W, and we only rate it at 2 Stars.

There are some positive aspects about the System Sensor COSMOD4W. The COSMO devices are the only hardwired combination smoke and CO sensors that we know about. The fact that these devices combine both a smoke detector and a CO detector into one hardwired sensor is a pretty novel concept that does deserve some praise. And we also like the fact that this interface module offers one-go-all-go functionality for all of the connected COSMO Sensors. This can be important for ensuring that all building occupants are alerted to the fire or carbon monoxide alarm.

But we must really stress that the downsides to the System Sensor COSMOD4W are really serious. DIY users will find that the module is extremely difficult to set up and really not worth the trouble. And the fact that a reset relay and a CO trigger relay must both be added only compounds this issue. Whenever a user asks about the System Sensor COSMOD4W, we will instead recommend that they use 2-wire smoke detectors and 4-wire CO detectors on separate zones, because that set up is significantly easier to achieve. Overall, we cannot recommend this device due to its serious downsides. It only gets a 2 Star rating from Alarm Grid.

Good: Combination Wired Smoke & CO Sensor, One-Go-All-Go

Bad: Difficult to Install, Needs Reset Relay & CO Trigger Relay

Bottom Line: 2 Stars

Honeywell 955PS - 3/4” Diameter Recessed Plunger Switch with Leads

We Prefer Rolling Plunger Switches
Submitted on 01/22/2020 Alarm Grid

The Honeywell 955PS is a hardwired recessed plunger switch contact that lets a system know when a door or window has been opened. When the door or window is closed, the plunger switch will remain pressed down. Once the door or window is opened, the switch will pop open, and the sensor will know to alert the system. This plunger switch uses wired leads instead of screw terminals. Using wired leads over screw terminals isn't really a positive or negative aspect, but it may be preferred or undesirable depending on the installer. The switch has a 3/4" diameter, and an appropriate hole will need to be drilled. However, there is a big downside to this sensor. That downside is that this sensor is not a rolling plunger switch. Some users may find that doors sometimes get caught on non-rolling recessed plunger switches, which can prevent the door from fully closing. There are plenty of other hardwired rolling plunger switches available, and most users will generally find that they provide better performance. For that reason, we only give the Honeywell 955PS a 4-Star rating.

There are some positive aspects regarding the Honeywell 955PS. As a wired door/window sensor, it does not use any batteries, and the sensor will not draw any power from the panel. Assuming that the switch does get fully pressed in when the door or window is closed, you should find that it accurately lets the system know about a door or window that has been opened. And since this is a recessed sensor, it will remain hidden when the door or window is closed. But the downsides for the sensor must also be considered. The fact that a door can get caught on this sensor is pretty disappointing, and we generally try to steer users towards rolling plunger switches for that reason. This sensor is best used on sliding doors, that don't swing closed. There is also the fact that you need to drill a hole to install this sensor, and you need to wire it to your panel. Lastly, this sensor is discontinued, and it can no longer be purchased new. We give this product a 4 Star rating because it lacks the reliability of a rolling plunger switch.

Good: No Batteries, No Power Draw, Works Reliably When Pressed Down Fully, Hidden from View

Bad: Not a Rolling Plunger Switch, Door Can Get Caught, Must Drill Hole to Install, Must be Wired to Panel, Discontinued

Bottom Line: 4 Stars

Honeywell IPCAM-PT - Pan/Tilt IP Security Camera

Good Pan & Tilt Camera
Submitted on 01/22/2020 Alarm Grid

The Honeywell IPCAM-PT is the original pan-tilt camera for use with AlarmNet360 and Total Connect 2.0. It has since been discontinued and replaced by the Honeywell IPCAM-PT2. This is a legacy AlarmNet IP Camera that will not count towards your HD device limit. Even though the camera has been discontinued, it can still be activated for monitoring service, provided that it was online to receive a critical update from Resideo. This critical update made it possible for legacy IP cameras to be used with a newer version of Total Connect 2.0. Unfortunately, if the camera was not online to receive this update, then the camera can no longer be used. Overall, this was a really good camera for its time, and we give it a 5 Star rating.

There are many things we like about the Honeywell IPCAM-PT. For one, it offers pan and tilt functions, which aren't available on most other Honeywell IP Cameras. The Honeywell IPCAM-PT can be live-streamed on a Lyric, LYNX Touch, Tuxedo Touch, or VAM (through a web browser), which isn't possible on the newer HD camera models. We also like the fact that legacy cameras like the Honeywell IPCAM-PT do not count towards the HD camera limit, as legacy cameras have their own limit of up to six (6) devices per Total Connect 2.0 account. As a result, adding some legacy cameras can be a good way to get around the HD camera limit and add more cameras to a single TC2 account.

But there are some downsides to the Honeywell IPCAM-PT. The camera is standard definition (SD), and users might not be impressed with the image quality when comparing it to newer HD camera models. The product is discontinued, and it can no longer be purchased new. And perhaps most importantly, if the camera was not online to receive the critical firmware update from Resideo, then it is bricked and can never be used again. With the exception of the last item, these downsides do not fully take away from the positive aspects of this camera. For that reason, we give the Honeywell IPCAM-PT a 5-Star rating.

Good: Pan-Tilt Functions, Live-Streaming Capabilities Doesn't Count Toward HD Camera Limit

Bad: SD Image Quality, Discontinued, Must Have Received Critical Update from Resideo to be Used

Bottom Line: 5 Stars

Lutron Caseta P-BDG-PKG1W - Single In-Wall Dimmer Starter Kit w/ Smart Bridge

Perfect Starter Kit!
Submitted on 01/22/2020 Alarm Grid

The Lutron Caseta P-BDG-PKG1W is a complete Lutron starter kit that includes a Lutron Caseta Smart Bridge, a Lutron In-Wall Dimmer Switch, a Lutron Pico Remote, and a wall plate. This is really everything you need to get started with Lutron smart lighting. At Alarm Grid, we are really big fans of Lutron, and we would definitely recommend this kit to anyone getting started with the lighting protocol. Anyone starting from scratch can use this kit as a great starting point for building a complete network of Lutron devices. For that reason, we give the Lutron Caseta P-BDG-PKG1W a 5-Star rating.

There are many things we like about the Lutron Caseta P-BDG-PKG1W. For one, it includes everything needed for a new Lutron user. The smart bridge is the central hub for all your Lutron devices You even get a Lutron Pico Remote and a Lutron In-Wall Dimmer to get started. We love the fact that Lutron is compatible with Apple HomeKit, and iOS users will certainly want to take advantage of this compatibility. If you have a Honeywell Lyric Alarm System, then some really nice integrations will be made possible through HomeKit. And even if you don't use HomeKit, there are still other integrations to enjoy, including Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and IFTTT.

The biggest downside to this Lutron Kit is that it does not offer compatibility. If you want to use the Lutron integration, then you will need to get the PRO 2 version of the Lutron Caseta Smart Bridge. The Lutron Caseta Smart Bridge PRO 2 is sold individually elsewhere on the Alarm Grid website, but we do not offer it as part of any complete Lutron Kit. But if you do not intend on using Lutron with, then this is a non-issue. Overall, there are some awesome benefits to this kit with very few downsides. The Lutron Caseta P-BDG-PKG1W earns 5 Stars from Alarm Grid.

Good: Includes Everything Needed for New Lutron User, Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, Google Home, IFTTT

Bad: No Support

Bottom Line: 5 Stars

Somfy ZRSTi - Z-Wave Shade Controller 1811265

Great Z-Wave Curtain Motor Controller!
Submitted on 01/22/2020 Alarm Grid

The Somfy ZRSTi is a Z-Wave shade controller. It uses Radio Technology Somfy (RTS) to wirelessly control the compatible motors for shades, blinds, and curtains. The ZRSTi can convert this RTS signal to Z-Wave and vice-versa so that your Z-Wave controller can communicate with your Somfy Curtain Motor. When using the Somfy ZRSTi, you can only have the window coverings fully opened or fully closed. The unit does not allow for partial closing. Still, this is a rare example of a Z-Wave device that can be used to open and close your blinds or other window coverings. Since this device provides a useful function that is matched by few other devices, we have no issue giving the Somfy ZRSTi a 5-Star rating.

There are many things we like about the Somfy ZRSTi. For one, it integrates nicely with nearly any Z-Wave controller or hub, including most security systems that support Z-Wave. The module can simultaneously connect with up to 16 different Somfy Curtain Motors that use RTS communication. From there, you can actually program the Somfy ZRSTi with up to 16 Z-Wave slots (aka Nodes) on your Z-Wave controller to allow for individual control for each motor used with the ZRSTi module. We also appreciate the fact that the Somfy ZRSTi is nice and compact, meaning that it won't take up too much space in your home or business.

There are some downsides associated with the Somfy ZRSTi. For one, it can only be used with Somfy Motors that support RTS communication. Other curtain motors will not work with the ZRSTi. The fact that you can only use the ZRSTi to completely open or completely close your window coverings is somewhat of a letdown. There is no way to use the module to leave your curtains partially open. Lastly, the fact that this module only uses standard Z-Wave is disappointing, as the more advanced Z-Wave Plus communication protocol is known to work more reliably.

Overall, the Somfy ZRSTi is a very good product. It has some downsides, but it is one of the few Z-Wave curtain motor controllers available. For that reason, it gets a 5-Star rating from Alarm Grid.

Good: Works w/ Nearly Any Z-Wave Controller, Can Connect w/ Up to 16 Somfy Curtain Motors Using RTS, Small & Compact Design

Bad: Only for Somfy Motors Using RTS, Cannot Partially Open/Close Curtains, Standard Z-Wave

Bottom Line: 5 Stars

Elk 110 - Voice Siren Driver

Excellent Siren Driver!
Submitted on 01/21/2020 Alarm Grid

The Elk 110 is a voice siren driver that is used with speaker units that lack a built-in siren driver. By adding this module to a speaker, the speaker can produce voice alerts during system alarm events, including intrusion alarms, fire alarms, and carbon monoxide alarms. When paired with a powerful enough speaker, the Elk 110 can be used to produce sounds of up to 122 dB. This is extremely loud and suitable for large industrial and manufacturing complexes that require the loudest possible sirens. However, like any siren driver, the Elk 110 can only be used if it is paired with a compatible speaker. Overall, we really like the Elk 110, and we give it a 5-Star rating.

There are some really nice aspects regarding the Elk 110 Voice Siren Driver. We appreciate the fact that it can produce separate spoken voice annunciations for burglary alarms, fire alarms, and CO alarms. This can be very important for ensuring that building occupants are properly alerted to emergencies. The Elk 110 is capable of producing some extremely loud alerts. You will find that 122 dB is incredibly loud and suitable for jobs demanding the loudest siren alerts possible. This makes the Elk 110 extremely versatile and suitable for many types of applications.

Like any siren driver, the Elk 110 can only be used if it is connected with a speaker. And that speaker will ultimately determine how loud the sounds produced are. If you pair the Elk 110 with a high impedance speaker, then don't think you will be able to achieve a 122 dB sound. You need a moderate amount of impedance to achieve the full 122 dB sound this siren driver is capable of. But that is something you would expect with any siren driver. We think the Elk 110 is a fantastic siren driver option, so it gets 5 Stars.

Good: Different Voice Annunciations Depending on Alarm Type, Up to 122 dB, Extremely Versatile

Bad: Needs Speaker, Small Speaker Results in Quiet Sounds

Bottom Line: 5 Stars

Interlogix NX-482 - Wireless PIR Motion Detector

Less Expensive Options Available
Submitted on 01/21/2020 Alarm Grid

The Interlogix NX-482 is a wireless 319.5 MHz PIR motion detection sensor that reliably responds to movement within its coverage area. The sensor uses advanced 4D signal processing technology that allows the device to accurately measure the size, shape, and movement speed of the intruder. The sensor will check to make sure that the detected energy signature matches that of a human before activating and alerting the system. This helps to reduce false alarms, and it ensures that the device works as accurately as possible. The sensor also utilizes special "undercrawl" protection to thwart intruders who may try to pass underneath the sensor's coverage area. But while the Interlogix NX-482 does offer some nice features, it is a very expensive sensor, and it doesn't really offer anything that you won't find on a more affordable model. Overall, this is a good sensor, but we wouldn't necessarily recommend it from a cost-performance ratio. For that reason, we only give the Interlogix NX-482 a 4-Star rating.

We really like the fact that the Interlogix NX-482 offers some nice features. Its 4D signal processing works great, and we have found that it does an excellent job of reducing false alarms. We also really appreciate the sensor's undercrawl protection to detect intruders who may try to pass below the sensor's normal coverage area. The sensor offers a nice wireless range of up to 500 feet in an open-air environment. And we like the sensor's adjustable pulse count as well. Finally, the LED light is a nice touch.

Really, the biggest problem with the NX-482, and the reason it only receives a 4 Star rating, is due to its price. This sensor costs $117 at the time of this review, and that is very expensive for just one motion sensor. That price is more what we would expect for a system communicator or a very cheap alarm panel. You can find many other 319.5 MHz motion sensors for a fraction of the price, most of which will work just as well as the Interlogix NX-482. That is why this product only gets 4 Stars from Alarm Grid.

Good: 4D Signal Processing, Undercrawl Protection, Nice Wireless Range, Adjustable Pulse Count, LED Light

Bad: Too Expensive!

Bottom Line: 4 Stars

Honeywell 6164US - Alphanumeric Alarm Keypad with Four Integrated Hardwired Zones

Feature-Packed Keypad!
Submitted on 01/21/2020 Alarm Grid

The Honeywell 6164US is a wired Alphanumeric keypad for Honeywell VISTA Security Systems. This keypad is just like a Honeywell 6160 Keypad, except that it includes a built-in hardwired zone expander that provides four (4) additional wired zones, provided that there are sufficient zone slots available on the system itself. It also includes a built-in relay for adding devices like sirens and strobes. We think the idea of making combination keypad and hardwired zone expander is a novel concept, and we think Honeywell pulled off this keypad really nicely. For that reason, we give this product a 5-Star rating.

The biggest thing to like about the Honeywell 6164US is the fact that it is jam-packed with features. You get an Alphanumeric keypad for programming your system, four (4) additional wired system zones, and a built-in relay module all in one super convenient device. Needless to say, we absolutely love this device's versatility, and we can certainly recommend it to anyone who needs both an Alphanumeric keypad, plus either a zone expander or relay. And we also like the fact that this keypad can wire into the system just like any other keypad.

One issue with the Honeywell 6164US is that it is probably overkill for most situations. Not many users are going to need an Alphanumeric keypad plus a zone expander and relay in one device. We have found that most users will simply prefer adding a Honeywell 6160RF Keypad so that they can start adding wireless sensors and avoid using hardwired sensors, which are usually more difficult to install. Additionally, the Honeywell 6164US is extremely pricey ($234.99 at the time of this writing), and most users will want to find a more affordable keypad option.

Although the Honeywell 6164US is only going to be used in a very limited number of installations, it is still a viable option if you want a keypad and a zone expander in one device. With that in mind, this product earns 5 Stars.

Good: Alphanumeric Keypad, Zone Expander, Relay Module, Wires Like Any Other Keypad

Bad: Most Users Won't Need This Many Features, Very Expensive

Bottom Line: 5 Stars