Reviews

Honeywell VISTA-128BPTSIA - Commercial Alarm Control Panel

Very Powerful Panel!
Submitted on 01/02/2020 Alarm Grid

The Honeywell VISTA-128BPTSIA is a hardwired commercial burglary panel that is compliant with standards outlined by the Security Industry Association (SIA) for preventing false alarms. This is a very complicated and powerful security system that is usually only used in a commercial or industrial setting. Although this panel can be used just fine for residential use, we would recommend that homeowners get a system that is easier to work with. But if you have a commercial or industrial business that requires burglary alarm monitoring, and you want to be compliant with SIA standards, then the VISTA-128BPTSIA is an excellent system to choose. We give it a 5-Star rating.

The best thing about the VISTA-128BPTSIA is that it is extremely robust and powerful. Users can take advantage of up to eight (8) partitions, and program up to 128 zones. The panel has a Polling Loop, and you can add one or more V-Plex Polling Loop Expanders or start adding V-Plex Polling Loop Sensors with the system. Polling Loop Sensors are great for commercial locations, as they support extremely long wire runs that cannot be used with standard hardwired sensors. Up to 150 user codes can be added to the system, making it perfect for medium to large businesses. And by getting it on cellular and/or IP, you can use the system with Total Connect 2.0 for remote access and control. Also, SIA compliance helps prevents false alarms.

The biggest downside to the VISTA-128BPTSIA is that it is very complicated. New DIY users will have a very tough time setting up this system on their own. If you just need a system for your home, then it is almost always more practical to get a wireless system, or at least a residential wired system. Adding an extremely powerful and robust system like the VISTA-218BPTSIA to a residential location is almost always overkill. And although SIA compliance is great for preventing false alarms, it does place some restrictions on how you can program the panel.

Overall, the VISTA-128BPTSIA is an outstanding system if you require commercial burg protection for a medium to large business with SIA compliance. We give this product 5 Stars.

Good: Very Robust & Powerful, 8 Partitions, 128 Zones, V-Plex Polling Loop Expansion, 150 User Codes, Total Connect 2.0, SIA Compliance for Preventing False Alarms

Bad: Extremely Complicated, Usually Overkill for Residential Use, SIA Compliance Restricts Certain Programming Settings

Bottom Line: 5 Stars

DSC SS-102 - Seismic Shock Sensor w/ Tamper

Great Wired Shock Sensor!
Submitted on 01/02/2020 Alarm Grid

The DSC SS-102 is a wired shock sensor that is used with hardwired security systems. It activates upon detecting the associated shockwaves of a door or window being struck with force. The sensor works really well, and it offers some nice features that help it stand out. It does not have many downsides, and it is a good option if you are looking for a wired shock sensor for a security system. We think this is a great product, and we give it a 5-Star Rating.

There are many things we like about the DSC SS-102. For one, it is reliable at detecting shockwaves that occur due to a window or door being broken or smashed. The sensor comes equipped with an LED light that will provide an indication of whether the detected shockwaves were major or minor. This can be useful in determining if a serious break-in occurred, or if it was just something minor that caused a small tremor. The device is moisture-resistant, which is good if it accidentally gets exposed to rain or other sources of liquid. We also like the fact that the DSC SS-102 has a tamper switch to let the system know if someone tries to open or disable the sensor. And you can adjust the device's sensitivity to the desired level.

There are not many downsides to the DSC SS-102. Perhaps the biggest negative is the fact that this is a fairly old sensor with a somewhat dated design. Also, we find that listening-based glass break sensors are better at preventing false alarms than shock-detection sensors like this one. And although this sensor is moisture-resistant, it should not be submerged in liquid, and it is for indoor use only. But still, if you need a wired shock sensor for your system, then this is a very good option. We give it 5 Stars, and we can recommend using it.

Good: Reliable, LED Light, Moisture-Resistant, Tamper Switch, Sensitivity Adjustments

Bad: Old Sensor, Outdated Design, Shock-Sensing May Lead to False Alarms, Indoor Use Only

Bottom Line: 5 Stars

Somfy ZDMI - Z-Wave Shade Controller 1870171

Good Z-Wave Curtain Controller
Submitted on 01/02/2020 Alarm Grid

The Somfy ZDMI is a Z-wave shade controller. It is a relay module that connects with a shade motor for controlling the blinds or curtains. The name ZDMI stands for Z-Wave to Digital Motor Interface. By using this device, you can control your blinds, curtains, or other motorized window coverings. As a Z-Wave device, it is universally compatible with most Z-Wave controllers. Keep in mind that some Z-Wave hubs might see the device as a light switch or something other than a relay for window coverings. The Somfy ZDMI works great as a Z-Wave relay for curtains, and we give it 5 Stars.

There are many things we like about the Somfy ZDMI. For one, it is one of the few home automation options that provides smart control for a motorized curtain controller. This can be extremely convenient if you want to control your blinds while you are away from home or have them activate automatically with smart scenes. The device is easy to operate and install. It gets its power from the curtain motor, so you don't need to plug-in the ZDMI. We also like the fact that the wire between the ZDMI and the shade motor can run a maximum distance of 30 feet. This gives you great flexibility in choosing an installation location.

However, there are some downsides to the Somfy ZDMI. For one, it is specifically designed for use with Sonesse 50 ILT2 and Sonesse 30 RS485 curtain motors. You may not be able to use it with other curtain motors, so make sure to check compatibility before purchasing. Additionally, you may experience some limitations when using the Somfy ZDMI to open the curtains partially. For example, many Z-Wave controllers can only use the Somfy ZDMI to either open the curtains completely or shut them completely. If you want to open the curtains part-way, then you might not be able to using the Somfy ZDMI. But if you are just wanting to open or close the curtains, then it should work just fine. One final downside to the Somfy ZDMI is that it uses standard Z-Wave, not Z-Wave Plus.

Overall, we think the Somfy ZDMI is a great option for users with a compatible curtain motor. Just make sure to keep its limitations in mind. We give it a 5-Star rating.

Good: Controls Motorized Curtain Controller, Easy to Operate and Install, Gets Power from Motor, 30-Foot Wire Run from ZDMI to Motor

Bad: Only Designed for Certain Curtain Motors, Most Z-Wave Controllers Only Allow for Complete Opening/Closing, Standard Z-Wave

Bottom Line: 5 Stars

DSC PG9916 - PowerG 915MHz Wireless Smoke And Heat Detector

Great Smoke and Heat Detector!
Submitted on 01/02/2020 Alarm Grid

The DSC PG9916 is a wireless smoke and heat detector from the DSC PowerG Lineup. The sensor has since been discontinued in favor of the DSC PG9936. However, an existing DSC PG9916 will still work just fine. The sensor features a photoelectric smoke detector and a fixed temperature heat detector that activates upon detecting a temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. The device also features an 85 dB sounder to alert building occupants when activated. Overall, this is a really nice sensor with few downsides. We give it 5 Stars.

There are many things we like about the DSC PG9916. For one, it offers both smoke and heat detection. This helps it identify fires as soon as possible. The sensor supports one-go-all-go when used with other PowerG Smoke Detectors. This means its sounder will activate if other PowerG Smoke detectors are activated. This is great for ensuring that everyone on the premises is alerted to a fire. Speaking of the sounder, it is built right into the sensor, and it can produce sounds of up to 85 dB. This is loud enough for most residential locations. The sensor also provides all the benefits of a PowerG device. A PowerG Sensor can operate wirelessly from up to 2 km away from the receiver in an open-air environment when paired with certain systems. It also utilizes 128-bit AES encryption for added wireless security.

There aren't many downsides to the DSC PG9916. Its biggest downfall is that it has been discontinued, and you can no longer purchase a new model from Alarm Grid. But if you already have one, then it should still be okay. Another issue is that the heat sensor is fixed temperature only. It does not offer Rate of Rise temperature detection. Also the 85 dB sounder is pretty quiet if the sensor is going to be used in a larger location. But the one-go-all-go feature helps overcome this weakness, as the other smoke detectors on the network will also activate. This makes it more likely that everyone in the building will be made aware of a fire. Overall, the DSC PG9916 is a good sensor with few flaws. It gets 5 stars from Alarm Grid.

Good: Smoke & Heat Detection, One-Go-All-Go, Built-In Sounder, Great Range, 128-Bit AES Encryption

Bad: Discontinued, No Rate-of-Rise Heat Detection, Sounder is Quiet For Large Homes/Businesses

Bottom Line: 5 Stars

2GIG GC3PK-3G-A - 3G AT&T Wireless Security System w/ 3 Door/Window Sensors, Motion Sensor, 8-ft Cable

Get an LTE Kit Instead
Submitted on 12/31/2019 Alarm Grid

The 2GIG GC3PK-3G-A is a discontinued wireless security system kit from Alarm Grid. This kit featured the 2GIG GC3, an AT&T 3G Communicator, three (3) door/window contacts, one (1) motion sensor, and a Honeywell LT-Cable for providing power. It is no longer possible to activate the 2GIG GC3 using the communicator included with this kit. This is because Alarm.com no longer allows 3G activations, as AT&T is planning to shut down their 3G network in the near future. As a result, this is not a good kit to purchase if you are looking for a system to get monitored. However, the kit worked very well with Alarm.com before the 3G sunset took effect. And if you have one that is currently activated, it will still work well until AT&T shuts down its 3G network. At that point, you will need to replace the 3G communicator with an LTE module. Overall, the fact that this kit can no longer be activated is a serious downside. We give this product a 4 Star rating.

There are some positive aspects of the 2GIG GC3PK-3G-A. The 2GIG GC3 is an easy-to-use system that looks great mounted on a wall or positioned on a desk or table using a desk mount. The included sensors all work very well, and they will reliably alert the system to any intrusion events. The LT-Cable makes it easy to power the system. The system can still be used until AT&T shuts down its 3G network, provided that the system is already activated.

However, the downsides to the 2GIG GC3PK-3G-A are major deal-breakers for new buyers. This system can no longer be activated using the communicator included in this kit. You would need to get an LTE cellular communicator instead. The 2GIG GC3 has largely been replaced by the newer and more advanced 2GIG GC3e. We recommend getting the GC3e if you want a new 2GIG System. And once AT&T shuts down its 3G network, you will need to replace the communicator with an LTE module anyway. Otherwise the system will not work for alarm monitoring service.

The 2GIG GC3PK-3G-A was once a useful security system kit. But now it is defunct, and it has been replaced by newer, better technology. We do not recommend this kit for those who are looking to start new monitoring service. But if you have one activated, you can continue to use it for the time being. However, you should start thinking about your upgrade options sooner rather than later. You will need to either get an LTE communicator for your GC3, or upgrade to a new panel entirely. All things considered, we give the 2GIG GC3PK-3G-A 4 Stars.

Good: Easy to Use System, Panel Looks Great, Excellent Sensors, LT-Cable, Can Still Be Used Until AT&T 3G Network Shut Down

Bad: Can No Longer Be Activated, GC3 Discontinued, Must Receive LTE Upgrade Once AT&T Shuts Down 3G Network

Bottom Line: 4 Stars

Lutron Caseta P-PKG1W-WH - In-Wall Dimmer Remote Kit

Great Add-On Lighting Kit!
Submitted on 12/31/2019 Alarm Grid

The Lutron Caseta P-PKG1W-WH is a bundled kit that includes a Lutron In-Wall Dimmer Switch, a Lutron Pico Remote for controlling the in-wall dimmer, and accompanying back plates for both. You can integrate the in-wall dimmer with compatible dimmable hardwired lights to provide them with smart control functionality. But you will need to have a Lutron Caseta Smart Bridge Hub to get started. Overall, this kit is great for anyone looking to expand upon their existing Lutron setup. We give this product a 5 Star rating.

There are many things we like about the Lutron Caseta P-PKG1W-WH. For one, it does not require a neutral wire, which makes installation possible for older homes that do not have neutral wires readily available. By establishing a Lutron Smart Lighting setup with a Caseta Smart Bridge, you can use the in-wall dimmer with a variety of different smart home platforms. These include Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, IFTTT, Google Home, and more. Since wallplates are included with the in-wall dimmer and the Pico Remote, you can ensure that the end result looks neat and tidy. The Pico Remote can be hard-mounted using the included wallplate adapter or kept loose as desired.

There are not many downsides to the Lutron Caseta P-PKG1W-WH. One thing to keep in mind is that you will need the Lutron Caseta Smart Bridge for any smart home functionality. You can still technically wire in the in-wall dimmer switch and use it as a dimmer, but then it will basically just be a regular old dimmer switch. You should also keep power load limits in mind when using the in-wall dimmer. It can support up to 150 watts for dimmable LED and CFL bulbs, or 600 watts for incandescent and halogen bulbs. These downsides are very minor, and they do not stop us from giving the Lutron Caseta P-PKG1W-WH a rating of 5 Stars.

Good: No Neutral Wire Required, Works w/ Many Smart Home Platforms, Wallplates Included

Bad: Requires Lutron Caseta Smart Bridge for Smart Home Control, Load Limits

Bottom Line: 5 Stars

Honeywell 7670F - AlarmNet GSM-ANT3DB Antenna Mounting Bracket

Great Mounting Bracket!
Submitted on 12/30/2019 Alarm Grid

The Honeywell 7670F is the mounting bracket for the AlarmNet CELL-ANT3DB Outdoor Antenna. This mounting bracket is weather-resistant, and it is built for use in an outdoor environment. The Honeywell CELL-ANT3DB already comes with this mounting bracket, so you don't need to buy one separately. But if you ever need to replace the mounting bracket for whatever reason, then this is the product to get. Unfortunately, the Honeywell 7670F is discontinued, and it can no longer be purchased new. But if you can find a used one somewhere, then it should work just fine. Overall, the Honeywell 7670F does its job well, and it does not have many downsides. We give it a 5 Star rating.

There are many things we like about the Honeywell 7670F Antenna Mounting Bracket. For one, it is weather-resistant, and you should experience no issues using it outside. This is very important, as placing your cellular antenna outside on your roof is often the best way to achieve strong cellular reception. The mounting bracket is very sturdy, and it should keep your cellular antenna in the desired position when mounted properly. By positioning your cellular antenna where you want it, you are more likely to get good cellular reception. And as such, the Honeywell 7670F improves cellular reception.

There are not many downsides to the Honeywell 7670F. The most glaring weakness is that it is discontinued. You can no longer purchase a new 7670F mounting bracket from Honeywell. Also, you need to install the mounting bracket. This may be difficult for some DIY users, especially if the 7670F is being mounted on the roof. But these are just minor downsides to consider. We think the Honeywell 7670F is an excellent mounting bracket, and it gets 5 Stars from us.

Good: Weather-Resistant, Sturdy, Improves Cellular Reception

Bad: Discontinued, Must be Physically Installed

Bottom Line: 5 Stars

Honeywell 7626-5 - AlarmNet 5' RF Antenna Coax Cable

Good Cable
Submitted on 12/30/2019 Alarm Grid

The Honeywell 7626-5 is a 5 foot long coaxial cable designed for use with AlarmNet Communicators and compatible antennas. The cable connects with a compatible cellular antenna, such as a CELL-ANT3DB, and an SMA-N adapter cable like the Honeywell WA7626-CA. The 7626-5 has two (2) male N ends that are used for completing the connections. One end connects with the cellular antenna, and the other connects with the SMA-N adapter cable. The purpose of this cable is to extend the distance of the CELL-ANT3DB away from the cellular communicator. This can help improve reception and overall device performance. However, there are longer cables than the Honeywell 7626-5 available. Overall, this is a fine cable that does its intended job. We give it a 5 Star rating.

There are many things we like about the Honeywell 7626-5 AlarmNet Coaxial Cable. For one, it improves cellular reception by providing more flexibility in where you place the cellular antenna. Both sides of the cable are identical, with both having the male "N" connector. This means you can connect either side to the antenna and the SMA-N adapter cable. This makes the Honeywell 7626-5 very easy to use. The connections are also quite easy to make, and the installation process can be completed by a DIY user, assuming they know what they're doing.

There aren't many downsides to the Honeywell 7626-5. The most glaring weakness is that the cable is only five (5) feet long. This doesn't give much distance for choosing a spot for the antenna. There are other longer cable options available, including a 25 foot cable and a 50 foot cable. But if you just need a short cable for adjusting the position of your antenna, then the Honeywell 7626-5 can work quite well. The Honeywell 7626-5 gets 5 Stars from Alarm Grid.

Good: Improves Cellular Reception, More Flexibility in Mounting/Placing Antenna, Easy to Use, DIY Friendly

Bad: Only 5 Feet Long

Bottom Line: 5 Stars

Honeywell L5200PK-5811 - Basic Wireless Home Security Kit with Wafer Thin Sensors

Old System Kit
Submitted on 12/30/2019 Alarm Grid

The Honeywell L5200PK-5811 is an Alarm Grid system kit that includes a Honeywell L5200 System, three (3) Honeywell 5811 Door/Window Contacts, one (1) Honeywell 5800PIR-RES Motion Sensor, and one (1) Honeywell 5834-4 Key Fob. The Honeywell L5200 is a relatively old system that does not support the more advanced features offered from most of the newer panels. The kit also does not include a power cable, nor does it include a communicator. Still, the L5200 is a decent system, and it can be upgraded to support dual-path connectivity and standard Z-Wave. If you already have an L5200, then it can still be used nicely without total replacement. All things considered, we give the Honeywell L5200PK-5811 a 4 Star rating.

There are some key things we like about the L5200PK-5811. The L5200 is a touchscreen system, and it is relatively easy to use. The Honeywell 5811 Door/Window Sensors are quite thin and unobtrusive, making them great for use in the home. The Honeywell 5800PIR-RES works quite well as a motion sensor, and it offers pet immunity. The Honeywell 5834-4 is a convenient key fob that makes it easy to control the system. You can upgrade the L5200 with various accessories, and the LYNXTOUCH-MSD Firmware Updater tool can be used to get the panel on the latest firmware.

However, there are some major downsides to this system kit. Although a power transformer is included, there is no wiring or cabling. You must provide your own wiring or compatible cable, such as a Honeywell LT-Cable. The kit also lacks a communicator. You will need to add a Honeywell L5100-WIFI and/or an LTE communicator (LTE-L57A or LTE-L57V) to get the system connected with AlarmNet360 for use with Total Connect 2.0. And if you want to use Z-Wave, then an L5100-ZWAVE module is needed. This is also an older system, and many users may want something newer and more robust. Some examples of more robust systems include the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus and the Honeywell Lyric Controller. Finally, this system kit is discontinued, and it can no longer be purchased.

The Honeywell L5200PK-5811 was a fine system kit for its time. But today, it is pretty outdated, and there are better options available. It gets 4 Stars from Alarm Grid.

Good: Touchscreen System, Nice Sensors, Convenient Key Fob, Can Receive Firmware Updates

Bad: No Wiring/Cabling Included, No Communicator, Requires Added Accessories for Some Functions, Some Accessories Need Firmware Updates, Discontinued

Bottom Line: 4 Stars

Linear WD500Z-1 - 500 Watt Z-wave Dimmer

Not Z-Wave Plus
Submitted on 12/30/2019 Alarm Grid

The Linear WD500Z-1 is a 500 watt in-wall Z-Wave dimmer switch. It is for use with dimmable bulbs only, and it has a load limit of 500 watts. The module can fit nicely into a single-gang bracket, which helps to ensure a neat installation. The device can be paired with nearly any Z-Wave controller or hub, making it quite versatile. However, this device only uses standard Z-Wave communication, as opposed to Z-Wave Plus. It has also been discontinued in favor of more advanced dimming modules. Overall, the Linear WD500Z-1 is a fine device, but it has some flaws that must be considered. We give it 4 Stars.

There are many things we like about the Linear WD500Z-1. For one, it is really easy to pair with a network. Only minor wiring is needed to install the device, so it works great for DIY users. Since the module fits into a single-gang bracket, you can rest assured that the end result will look aesthetically pleasing. And the dimming feature is nice, as you can set the lights to the perfect level for the mood or situation at hand.

However, the downsides to the Linear WD500Z-1 must also be discussed. The module cannot be used with non-dimmable bulbs. These include compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs and LED lights. The 500 Watt load limit is suitable for most residential situations, but it does present restrictions on how the device can be used. The WD500Z-1 only speaks standard Z-Wave, and you cannot take advantage of Z-Wave Plus with this module. The module has been discontinued, so you can no longer purchase it new. However, if you already have one, then it will still work fine.

The Linear WD500Z-1 is a decent in-wall dimmer, but there are better options available. It gets a 4 Star rating.

Good: Easy to Enroll, Only Requires Minor Wiring, Fits In Single Gang Bracket, Dims the Lights

Bad: For Dimmable Bulbs Only, 500 Watt Limit, Standard Z-Wave, Discontinued

Bottom Line: 4 Stars