Reviews

Qolsys IQ Carbon - Wireless CO Detector for Qolsys Security Systems

Great CO Detector!
Submitted on 12/18/2019 Alarm Grid

The Qolsys IQ Carbon is a wireless 319.5 MHz carbon monoxide detector. It alerts the system it is programmed with to the presence of harmful CO gas. Carbon monoxide is both odorless and tasteless, and an outbreak can quickly result in loss of human life. We have found that the Qolsys IQ Carbon responds accurately and reliably to CO gas, and it is great for use with any compatible 319.5 MHz system. That is why we give the Qolsys IQ Carbon a 5 Star rating.

The most important aspect of the Qolsys IQ Carbon is that it responds quickly to unusually high levels of CO gas. This device checks that box, and you can count on it to reliably respond to a CO gas leak in a home or business. Beyond that, there are some other aspects that help the IQ Carbon stand-out. It has an integrated LED light that is useful for providing a visual indication of the current status. The device also features a Temporal 4 sounder, which produces sounds of up to 85 dB. This is crucial for making sure that building occupants are quickly alerted to an outbreak of CO gas. You can also technically use the IQ Carbon as a local sounder even if you don't enroll it. However, enrolling it to your panel is still strongly recommended!

But there are some downsides to the Qolsys IQ Carbon that should also be mentioned. For one, the IQ Carbon uses a lithium CR123A battery for power, and the battery will need to be replaced periodically. Like most carbon monoxide detectors, the IQ Carbon has a limited lifespan of roughly five (5) years. Once the device reaches its end of life, it must be replaced entirely. But overall, these are relatively minor issues that you would likely encounter with any wireless carbon monoxide detector. Its benefits outweigh its downsides. For that reason, Alarm Grid gives the Qolsys IQ Carbon 5 Stars.

Good: Reliably Detects CO Gas, LED Status Light, Temporal 4 Sounder, Can Be Used w/o Programming

Bad: Battery Needs Occasional Replacing, Finite Product Life

Bottom Line: 5 Stars

Honeywell GSMX - AlarmNet Cellular Alarm Monitoring Communicator

Discontinued Model
Submitted on 12/18/2019 Alarm Grid

The Honeywell GSMX is a 2G cellular communicator that connects with the AT&T 2G Network, which has since been shut down. As a result, this communicator has been discontinued for sale, and it can no longer be activated. Existing modules will no longer function. When the AT&T 2G Network was still active, the Honeywell GSMX Cellular Communicator provided reliable monitoring service for a connected VISTA System by connecting it with the AlarmNet Servers. This allowed the system to be used with the Total Connect interactive monitoring platform. This communicator was good for its time, but now it is seen as a relic of the past. It also drew all its power from the panel, which often led to power supply issues for the system. We give this communicator a 3 Star rating.

The main thing to like about the Honeywell GSMX when it was still usable is that it provided reliable monitoring service. Cellular connectivity is known for being very reliable once an adequate signal is obtained. This isn't always the case for IP connectivity, as an internet outage will take a system offline. Many Honeywell VISTA users relied on the Honeywell GSMX to provide them with reliable and trustworthy monitoring for their homes and businesses. Once activated, the module also allowed the system to connect with the Total Connect servers, provided the feature was included in the user's alarm monitoring plan. We also like the fact that this communicator can be mounted on the outside of the panel's metal enclosure. This made it easier to install.

The downsides to the Honeywell GSMX are pretty glaring. It can no longer be activated or used in any manner. Anyone with this communicator should have upgraded a long time ago. If you need a new communicator at the time of this writing (late 2019), then we strongly recommend getting an LTE communicator. Another downside to this communicator is that it draws all of its power from the panel rather than using a plug-in transformer. As a result, you will need to calculate its maximum power draw (250 mA) into any draw calculations. That's quite a bit of power for panels that only supply power of up to 600 mA (low P-Series) or 750 mA (TURBO Panels) without the use of a power supply.

The Honeywell GSMX was a good communicator for its time. But it is completely obsolete now. We give it 3 Stars.

Good: Reliable Connectivity, Total Connect, Mounts to Metal Enclosure

Bad: Can No Longer Be Used or Activated, Discontinued, Draws Power from Panel

Bottom Line: 3 Stars

DSC BV-300 - Bravo® 3 PIR Motion Detector

Excellent Wired Motion!
Submitted on 12/18/2019 Alarm Grid

The DSC BV-300 Bravo 3 is a hardwired PIR motion sensor. The device looks for changes in infrared (IR) energy that occur with movement. It alerts the system upon detecting a change in IR energy that is determined to be from a human. The sensor uses "multi-level signal processing" to actively distinguish between human activity and activity from other sources. This is a good hardwired motion sensor with few flaws. We give it a 5 Star rating.

There are many things we like about the DSC BV-300 Bravo 3. The multi-level signal processing is a good feature that helps the sensor more accurately respond to motion from humans, as opposed to other sources. The fact that the sensor is wired means that you never need to replace batteries for the sensor. Instead, it will get all its power from the panel. The sensor has a coverage area of 40 feet, which is usually enough for residential use. The device also offers temperature compensation so that it will still detect changes in IR energy properly when the ambient temperature is close to that of the human body. There is also an LED light on the sensor to show when movement is detected, and the sensor includes four (4) interchangeable lenses. The sensitivity for the sensor can also be adjusted if needed.

There are not many downsides to the DSC BV-300 Bravo 3. The sensor notably lacks pet immunity. This can be a deal breaker if you have pets in your household. But if you are not using the motion sensor with pets, then this isn't really a concern. Overall, we think the DSC BV-300 Bravo 3 is a solid hardwired PIR motion sensor. It gets 5 Stars from Aalrm Grid.

Good: Multi-Level Signal Processing, No Batteries, Decent Coverage Area, Temperature Compensation, LED Light, Interchangeable Lenses, Sensitivity Adjustments

Bad: No Pet Immunity

Bottom Line: 5 Stars

Interlogix TX-E401 - Wireless Garage Door Tilt Sensor

Great Tilt Sensor!
Submitted on 12/18/2019 Alarm Grid

The Interlogix TX-E401 is a wireless garage door tilt sensor that alerts the panel when the garage door has been opened. The sensor operates at 319.5 MHz, and it is compatible with a variety of systems that accept the frequency. Some of these systems include the original Qolsys IQ Panel 2, the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus with 319.5 MHz daughtercard, and the Interlogix Simon Series Panels. This garage door sensor works great, and it has very few drawbacks. We give it 5 Stars.

There are many things to like about the Interlogix TX-E401. Since it is a tilt sensor, you do not need to align it with a corresponding magnet for operation. You just mount it at the top of the garage door. Opening the garage door will cause the tilt sensor to transition from a vertical position to a horizontal position. When this happens, the sensor will send an alert to the panel to let it know that the garage door has been opened. The system will then respond based on the programming settings for the zone. The Interlogix TX-E401 uses a slow loop response to prevent factors like wind hitting against the garage door from causing a false activation. The device also features a tamper cover so that the system will know if anyone tries to open it up. We also like the five (5) year battery life of the sensor using a single lithium CR123A battery.

There aren't many downsides to the Interlogix TX-E401. One issue would be that its wireless range is somewhat short. It can operate from up to 500 feet away from the panel in open air. But since the sensor is going to be used in a garage, there may be sources of interference. For that reason, it is advised that the sensor be used no more than 100 feet away from the panel if possible. But other than that, we like everything about this sensor. It gets a 5 Star rating from Alarm Grid.

Good: Tilt Function, Slow Loop Response, Tamper Cover, Good Battery Life

Bad: Weak Wireless Signal Range

Bottom Line: 5 Stars

Honeywell FG1608 - Glass Break Detector with Integrated Door/Window Contact

Great Combination Sensor!
Submitted on 12/13/2019 Alarm Grid

The Honeywell FG1608 is a hardwired combination glass break sensor and door/window contact. By using this device, you can add a glass break detector and a door/window contact to your system with just one single device. However, the sensor will still need to be wired to two (2) separate zones for full functionality. Overall, this is a high-quality sensor that will last for a long time if cared for properly. You really can't go wrong with the great build quality from Honeywell. And it's nice that the sensor offers dual functionality to increase its versatility. We give this sensor a Five Star rating.

The biggest thing to like about the Honeywell FG1608 is the fact that it includes both glass break detection and a door/window contact all in one device. This means that it will take up less space than if you had to use two separate devices. Everything you need for the device comes already bundled in. This includes a magnet for using the device as a door or window contact sensor. The internal reed switch allows for a maximum magnet spacing gap of 0.9 inches, which gives you good flexibility in positioning the sensor and magnet. The device also includes the option to wire for tamper monitoring that will let the system know if someone opens it up. We also like the sensor's strong build quality.

There are some downsides to the Honeywell FG1608. For one, you need to connect to two (2) separate zones if you want to achieve full device functionality. One zone will be for glass break detection, and the other is for the reed switch that allows the device to operate as a door/window contact. This means you need to wire and program the device twice if you intend to use it for both functions. But if you only want to use the FG1608 for one purpose, then only one zone is required, and you only need to wire it to one on-board zone. You should also keep in mind that the device's microphone is only designed to listen from up to 8 feet away. This limits where you can position the device if you want to use it as a glass break sensor.

Overall, we really like the Honeywell FG1608. It gets 5 Stars from Alarm Grid.

Good: Combines Door/Window Contact and Glass Break into One Device, Magnet Included, Wide Magnet Spacing Gap, Tamper Wiring Possible, Great Build Quality

Bad: Needs 2 Zones for Full Functionality, Can Only Monitor Windows from Up to 8 Feet Away

Bottom Line: 5 Stars

Resolution Products RE204 - Driveway Sensor

Great Driveway Sensor!
Submitted on 12/13/2019 Alarm Grid

The Resolution Products RE204 is a 345 MHz driveway sensor that works with Honeywell and 2GIG Systems that support wireless sensors. It is used for letting the system know when a vehicle has entered its coverage area. The device works by detecting the change in the Earth's magnetic field that occurs when a vehicle comes into a specific area. A car or truck entering the sensor's coverage area will shift the magnetic field around it and activate the sensor. We think that the sensor is perfect if you want to know when a vehicle has entered a specific area. We give the RE204 a 5 Star rating.

There are many things we like about the RE204. Its detection method means that only vehicles will set it off. You won't experience false alarms due to people or animals coming within the sensor's coverage area. This is great if you want to know specifically when a vehicle has entered the coverage area. The device is fully weatherproof, so you won't need to worry about leaving it outside. The sensor has a pretty long battery life, as it uses a single C battery that gets three (3) to five (5) years on average. The device offers three (3) different sensitivity levels, which are low, medium, and high.

There are some downsides to consider when using the RE204. For one, it is discontinued, and you can no longer purchase new models from Alarm Grid. The device should not be used within 24 feet of the street because of the possibility of false alarms caused by passing vehicles. The sensor can only be used to detect vehicles. If you want to use it to detect people or animals, then it will not work for you. However, this is a positive if you are only wanting it to detect vehicles. Overall, we really like the RE204. It gets 5 Stars from us.

Good: No False Alarms By People or Animals, Weatherproof, Long Battery Life, Three Sensitivity Settings

Bad: Should Not Be Used Within 24 Feet of the Street, Only Detects Vehicles

Bottom Line: 5 Stars

Alarm.com ADC-W100 - Ethernet to WIFI Bridge

Great Ethernet to WIFI Converter!
Submitted on 12/13/2019 Alarm Grid

The Alarm.com ADC-W100 is an ethernet-to-WIFI bridge that is primarily used for providing power to Alarm.com Cameras that support power over ethernet (PoE). By using a device like the Alarm.com ADC-W100, you can provide power and network connectivity to your cameras, without needing to run an ethernet wire from the camera to your IP router. This can make it much easier to get your camera connected with a network. You can also use the ADC-W100 with any device that normally relies on a wired ethernet connection. The ADC-W100 will allow it to get connected to an IP network wirelessly across WIFI. Overall, we like the ADC-W100 a lot, and we think it works great. That is why we give it a 5-Star rating.

There are many things to like about the Alarm.com ADC-W100. For one, it is a very simple device to use. It does not require any special programming. You just plug it in to a standard electrical outlet and connect it with your network using a convenient WPS setup. Then run an ethernet wire from the ADC-W100 to whatever ethernet device you want to use with your WIFI network. If you have a PoE camera, then the ADC-W100 will provide power as well. This can make it very easy to set up your camera. You won't need to run a wire from the IP router to the camera, and you won't need to find a power source for the camera. Just make sure that your camera supports PoE. We also like the fact that the Alarm.com ADC-W100 features LED lights for displaying status.

There are not many downsides to the Alarm.com ADC-W100. The biggest is that the device has been discontinued, and it can no longer be found new. Alarm.com replaced the product with the Alarm.com ADC-W110 instead. Another negative aspect of the ADC-W100 is that it will not work with 5 GHz WIFI networks. It can only be used with 2.4 GHz networks. But these downsides are overshadowed by the positive aspects of the ADC-W100. We think that this is a great product, and we give it 5 Stars.

Good: No Special Programming, Provides IP and Power, Status LED Lights

Bad: Discontinued, 2.4 GHz Networks Only

Bottom Line: 5 Stars

DSC PG9945 - PowerG 915Mhz Wireless Door/Window Contact

Great PowerG Contact!
Submitted on 12/13/2019 Alarm Grid

The DSC PG9945 is a wireless PowerG Door and Window Contact. It is used to let a compatible security system know when a door or window has been opened and closed. The sensor is known for its extremely long wireless signal range and its encrypted communication. However, it does have a rather small magnet spacing gap allowance, and it is somewhat of a bulky sensor. But its strengths outweigh its weaknesses, and it is a good sensor all-around. We give it a 5-Star rating.

There are many things we like about the DSC PG9945. For one, it has a really impressive wireless signal, that can communicate from up to 2 km away from certain system types. This gives you great flexibility in choosing a location for the sensor. It is also quite useful if you are using the sensor in an area with many metal objects and other structures that could cause interference. Anyone needing a sensor for use in a warehouse, factory, or other area with a lot of interference will definitely want to consider PowerG Sensors if they have a compatible system. We also like the wireless encryption that PowerG Sensors like the PG9945 use. Like all PowerG Sensors, the PG9945 communicates using military-grade 128-bit AES encryption. This makes it virtually impossible for others to hack or take over wirelessly. Finally, we like the fact that the PG9945 has an auxiliary input for use with Normally Open, Normally Closed, and Single End-of-Line devices. The wired device will connect with the PG9945, and the sensor will communicate with the system on its behalf. This is great if you want to use a non-powered wired security device with your PowerG System.

But there are some downsides to the DSC PG9945. For one, it has a rather small magnet spacing gap allowance, as DSC states that the sensor should be within 1/4 of an inch from the magnet when the door or window is closed. Remember to test the sensor after installation so that you can be sure that the magnet and sensor are aligned properly. Another downside to the DSC PG9945 is that it is somewhat of a bulky door and window sensor. It is rather large when compared with another PowerG door and window contact, the DSC PG9303. However, the DSC PG9945 is less expensive than the PG9303, so if you don't mind the size, then this can be the better option. Also, only the PG9945 has the auxiliary input. There are certainly many situations where it is best to choose the PG9945 over the PG9303. But if you are looking for the thinnest sensor, then you should go with the PG9303 instead.

All things considered, we really like the DSC PG9945. It gets 5 Stars from Alarm Grid.

Good: PowerG Wireless Range, 128-Bit AES Encryption, Auxiliary Input

Bad: Small Magnet Spacing Gap, Somewhat Bulky

Bottom Line: 5 Stars

DSC AC-102 - Acuity® Glassbreak Detector w/ Tamper, Form C

Outstanding Glass Break Sensor
Submitted on 12/05/2019 Alarm Grid

The DSC AC-102 is a Form C hardwired glass break sensor. The device is used to monitor for broken glass. This usually includes windows and protective glass casings. However, you will need to make sure that the type of glass you are using is compatible with the DSC AC-102. We find that the DSC AC-102 works quite well, and we have no trouble recommending it as a wired glass break detector. We give it a 5 Star rating.

There are many things we like about the DSC AC-102. For one, it has an advanced microprocessor that helps it properly distinguish between true glass break events and potential false alarms. This is very important for users who may have had trouble with glass break sensors causing false alarms in the past. We also appreciate the omnidirectional microphone on the sensor that allows the device to listen for broken glass from any direction. The sensor can detect broken glass sounds from up to 25 feet away, which is a pretty nice distance for a glass break sensor. We also like that this device has a built-in tamper switch to let you know if someone is trying to open up or disable the sensor. Finally, the fact that this sensor is Form C is good, as you can choose between Normally Open (NO) and Normally Closed (NC) wiring.

We don't have many downsides to mention about the DSC AC-102. The device has an admittedly "dated" design, that some might even call ugly compared with more attractive glass break sensors. If that is important for you, then it may be a deal-breaker. This device also needs a direct line of sight to the glass, so make sure you position it accordingly. Overall, we really like the DSC AC-102, and we give it 5 Stars.

Good: Advanced Microprocessor, Omnidirectional Microphone, 25 Foot Detection Range, Tamper Switch, Form C

Bad: Unattractive Design, Needs Direct Line of Sight

Bottom Line: 5 Stars

Honeywell Lyric Verizon-CDMA 3-1 Kit - Alarm System, 3 Door/Window Sensors, 1 Motion, 8' Cable

Get a Lyric LTE Kit Instead!
Submitted on 12/05/2019 Alarm Grid

The Honeywell Lyric Verizon-CDMA 3-1 Kit is an old security system kit sold by Alarm Grid. The kit included a Honeywell Lyric Alarm System, three (3) VERSA-2GIG Contacts, a Honeywell SiXPIR Motion Sensor, a Verizon CDMA Communicator, and a Honeywell LT-Cable. Other than the Verizon CDMA Communicator, everything included in this kit is still top of the line and can be used very effectively. And if you already have the communicator activated, then it can continue to be used until Verizon eventually shuts down their CDMA Network. But since we really like the Lyric System and the included sensors, we can still give this 5 Stars.

The Lyric is a great system, and it offers pretty much everything you would expect out of a modern system. It has 128 wireless zones, built-in Z-Wave, integrated WIFI, and a beautiful touchscreen. The sensors included with this kit are simple, yet effective. They are all easy to enroll, and you can program them according to your unique needs. As an added bonus, the SiXPIR Motion Sensor utilizes 128-bit AES encryption for added wireless security. And the Honeywell LT-Cable is a nice addition, as it makes installing the system even easier. We also want to mention that even though the Verizon CDMA Communicator can no longer be activated, the Lyric System can still be used for IP-only with no added equipment.

The main downsides from this kit concern the fact that it has a very outdated communicator. The Verizon CDMA Communicator can no longer be activated for monitoring service. Making matters worse is that if you have one that is already activated, then it will stop working once Verizon shuts down their CDMA Network. You will want to upgrade to LTE as soon as you can. Fortunately, LTE modules are readily available. Overall, we are big fans of the Lyric System. If it weren't for the CDMA Communicator, we would strongly recommend this kit. But luckily, we have some Lyric Kits with LTE modules available for purchase instead. Still, this doesn't stop us from giving the Honeywell Lyric Verizon-CDMA 3-1 Kit a 5 Star rating.

Good: Excellent System, Nice Sensors, LT-Cable, Can Still Do IP Monitoring

Bad: CDMA Communicator Cannot Be Activated, Need to Upgrade to LTE

Bottom Line: 5 Stars