Honeywell ACU - Analog Converter Unit

Allows Analog Cameras to Work With TC2
Submitted on 08/01/2019 Alarm Grid

We strongly recommend the Honeywell ACU for anyone who wants to use an analog security camera with the Total Connect 2.0 platform. This device is ideal if you have existing analog security cameras and you want to start using them with TC2. However, if you are looking for new cameras to use with TC2, then you are probably best off just getting new Honeywell IP Cameras. Still, the Honeywell ACU fills an important niche, and we have found that it works very well. That is why we give it 5 stars.

When you use an analog camera with the Honeywell ACU, Total Connect 2.0 will consider it to be a "legacy" IP Camera. You can have a maximum of six (6) legacy cameras on TC2. This is very important to keep in mind when planning your video surveillance network. Our technicians are still satisfied with the performance of legacy TC2 Cameras and the Honeywell ACU when used today. We have also found that the Honeywell ACU is easy to use. You can connect the analog camera to the ACU VIDEO IN port. We recommend using a 75 ohm cable like an RG-59 to connect the camera to the ACU module. You can then connect the ACU to your IP router through a wired ethernet connection, or you can use its built-in WIFI feature with a WPS setup.

What is interesting about using a Honeywell ACU is that the video analytics happens at the server level. The Total Connect 2.0 Server will recognize pixel changes in the video stream sent in by the ACU. That is how it knows that movement is present and to begin capturing video clips. Our technicians have found that this works very well and that a camera used in this manner will work just as well as a regular Total Connect 2.0 IP Camera.

There is one very important note about Honeywell ACU. Since this is considered a "legacy" model, the ACU had to receive a firmware update 1.0.09R02 to work with the new HTML5 platform of Total Connect 2.0. Honeywell pushed down a critical firmware update to all legacy TC2 IP Cameras and all ACU devices on March 24, 2016, to make these devices compatible with the updated version of TC2. Any newly purchased Honeywell ACU module from our website will have this update applied and will work with TC2. This also applies to any ACU manufactured after the date when Honeywell pushed the critical update. Additionally, any ACU module that was online and connected with TC2 at the time when Honeywell pushed the update is also compatible with TC2. However, any ACU manufactured before the date of the update push that was not online and connected with TC2 to receive the update will NOT work with TC2. This is very important to consider if you are considering buying a used ACU device elsewhere.

Bottom line, the Honeywell ACU is excellent in fulfilling the role of allowing analog cameras to be used with Total Connect 2.0. We recommend this product if you have an existing analog camera that you want to use with TC2.

Leviton VRUSB-1US - Z-Wave Programmer USB Installer Tool

Difficult to Recommend
Submitted on 08/01/2019 Alarm Grid

It is difficult for us to recommend the Leviton VRUSB-1US Z-Wave Programmer USB Installer Tool. However, we do acknowledge it can still be the best option in certain situations. For that reason, we give this product 3 Stars out of 5.

If you are building a new Z-Wave network, then you might want to consider using a different hub or controller than one available from Leviton. Our technicians have found that they get much better results out of a security system with a Z-Wave controller using or Total Connect 2.0. If you are not using an alarm system, then you might consider going with something like Samsung SmartThings. All of these platforms allow you to add compatible Z-Wave devices without any special programming. ADC, TC2, and ST will all allow you to create special rules and scenes for your Z-Wave devices, with only a compatible hub being required.

The Leviton Z-Wave Hubs also normally allow you to pair most Z-Wave devices without applying any software to the Z-Wave devices. However, if you want to start making associations between Leviton button controller switches, then you will often need to apply the Vizia RF+ Software from Leviton. That is where the Leviton VRUSB-1US comes into play. The Leviton VRUSB-1US allows you to apply the aforementioned software to your Z-Wave devices.

You use the Leviton VRUSB-1US by plugging it into a compatible computer and downloading the Vizia RF+ Software, which is linked on our product page for the Leviton VRUSB-1US. Then plug the Leviton VRUSB-1US into your Z-Wave controller or hub. It will be able to apply the software to your Z-Wave devices. You will then be able to make advanced associations between your Z-Wave devices and Leviton controllers and switches.

While this sounds great on paper, our technicians have found that the Leviton VRUSB-1US doesn't always work that well. We have found that the device does not work reliably with Macintosh or MAC OS Computers. It also does not work reliably with Windows 8 or Windows 10 Computers. In fact, we have found that you can really only use this device with PC devices that are running Windows 7 or older. This severely limits the usability of the Leviton VRUSB-1US. Coupled with the fact that you really only need this product for some extremely niche Leviton Z-Wave associations, and it is very difficult for us to recommend. There are much better and more efficient ways to go about building a smart home network.

Bottom line, if you are building a new smart home network, get a security system that uses ADC or TC2, and use that as your Z-Wave controller or hub. If you have no intention of using an alarm system, then you are still better off with something like a Samsung SmartThings Hub. If you are an iOS user, then Apple HomeKit is also a great option, though that won't use Z-Wave devices. The only reason to buy the Leviton VRUSB-1US is if you already have a Leviton Z-Wave Network and you need to make some advanced associations with your Z-Wave devices. If you are in that situation, then the Leviton VRUSB-1US will work, but you must remember its weird quirks of only being compatible with a very limited selection of computers. It is extremely hard for us to recommend this product, but we know that it is the best option in some situations.

Honeywell IS3035 - PIR Motion Detector with 40' by 56' Coverage Range

Simple, Effective Hardwired PIR Motion Sensor
Submitted on 08/01/2019 Alarm Grid

We strongly recommend the Honeywell IS3035 as a hardwired PIR motion sensor. Although it isn't the most advanced motion detecting sensor on the market, it is perfect for most residential users who don't need all the fancy features of a more powerful motion sensor. If you have a hardwired system, and you are looking for an affordable, simple, and effective motion sensor, then you really cannot go wrong with the Honeywell IS3035 PIR Motion Sensor.

Our technicians have found that the Honeywell IS3035 works great across its detection coverage area of 40 feet by 56 feet. You can also adjust the sensitivity for the Honeywell IS3035 by increasing or decreasing its pulse count. For pet-immunity, you will want to use a high pulse count and low device sensitivity. The motion sensor provides pet immunity for small animals weighing up to 80 pounds, and our technicians have verified that this is accurate. Other great features for the Honeywell IS3035 include its bug guard to keep out insects and its LED status light for troubleshooting.

While the Honeywell IS3035 is an easy-to-use hardwired motion sensor, it is not the right answer for every situation. If you have a wireless alarm system, then you will probably want to go with a wireless motion sensor. This is because wireless motion sensors are easy to install and adjust for DIY users. If preventing false alarms is your top priority, then you might go with a dual-tec motion sensor instead. Finally, if you need something more powerful, you might go with something like the Honeywell IS3050A instead. But when used in its intended applications, the Honeywell IS3035 Motion Sensor works great. That is why it gets 5 stars from us.

Bottom line, if you are looking for a simple hardwired PIR motion sensor for residential use, then the Honeywell IS3035 is a good choice.

Honeywell CELL-EXTRA - AlarmNet External Antenna Cable for CDMA Communicators

Do Not Buy! Upgrade to LTE Instead!
Submitted on 08/01/2019 Alarm Grid

We do not recommend the Honeywell CELL-EXTRA CDMA Cellular Antenna. This antenna will only work with CDMA communicators on Honeywell Panels. If you are still using a CDMA communicator, you should upgrade to a Verizon LTE Communicator instead. You may find that you get stronger signals from the Verizon LTE Network, thereby eliminating the need for an antenna in the first place. And even if you don't and you still need an antenna, you will eventually have to upgrade to LTE in the near future anyway. You may as well do it now.

Verizon is in the process of shutting down their CDMA Network. You can no longer activate CDMA communicators for use with AlarmNet and Total Connect 2.0. And once the CDMA network is shut down, all CDMA communicators will no longer function. Verizon has not publicly stated a date for when their CDMA network will be put out of service, but we do know that it will be within the next few years. Once that happens, the only way to keep using your current alarm system for cellular monitoring service is to upgrade to an LTE communicator.

There is very little point in buying a cellular antenna that will only work with the CDMA network. Although the Honeywell CELL-EXTRA CDMA works great with CDMA communicators, it is not compatible with the newer LTE communicators. The Honeywell CELL-EXTRA will only help you for a short period of time before the associated CDMA network is shut down permanently. You should just go ahead and upgrade to an LTE communicator right now. You may find that the LTE communicator provides a stronger and more reliable connection than your current CDMA communicator.

LTE networks are more powerful than their CDMA and 3G predecessors. Our technicians have encountered many situations where users who upgrade to LTE modules have stronger cellular signals as a result. In some cases, this can eliminate the need for using an antenna to boost the cell signals. You may indeed find that this is the case when you upgrade to LTE. Even if you don't get stronger signals, at least you will have a long-term solution for your panel. You can then get an LTE antenna or cellular amplifier if necessary. A good LTE-compatible antenna to use for this purpose is the Honeywell CELL-ANT3DB Weatherproof Antenna. If you don't need an outdoor antenna with that much power, the Honeywell CELL-ANTSMA and the Honeywell CELL-ANTU are more affordable indoor models. You can also go the cellular amplifier route to boost the signals for all the compatible devices in your household. A good cellular amplifier to use is the WeBoost 470101.

Bottom line, do not get the Honeywell CELL-EXTRA. Try upgrading to a Verizon LTE Communicator first. You will have to do that anyway soon, and you may find that it boosts your signals enough so that no antenna is needed. If you do still need an antenna, you can then get one of the LTE-compatible options.

2GIG ANT3X - 10 inch In-wall Cellular Antenna Module

Do Not Buy! Upgrade to LTE Instead!
Submitted on 08/01/2019 Alarm Grid

We do not recommend the 2GIG ANT3X. This is because it works with older cellular networks like 3G and CDMA. It does not work with newer LTE networks. If you haven't upgraded to an LTE communicator for your 2GIG GC2 or 2GIG GC3 System yet, now is the time to do so. The 3G and CDMA networks will be discontinued in the next few years. Once that happens, your older communicator will no longer work.

The 2GIG ANT3X is an antenna designed for use with a 3G or CDMA communicator on a GC2 or GC3 System. People use antennas like this one because they do not have strong enough cellular signal for their system to communicate properly otherwise. However, many users will find that they get strong signals with LTE communicators. This is because the LTE cellular networks are more powerful and more reliable than their predecessors. In many cases, you can actually use an LTE communicator in place of a 3G or CDMA communicator and get strong enough signals so that no cellular antenna or amplifier is needed. This isn't always the case, but it's worth trying before you go out and buy an antenna that will only work with a communicator that you will need to replace in a few years anyway.

If you are currently using a 3G or CDMA communicator with your 2GIG System, then you should get an LTE communicator first and foremost. If you still need to get an antenna or amplifier, then so be it. But at least you will be "future-proofing" your system and making it compatible for alarm monitoring for the long run by going with LTE. If you decide that you still need an antenna for your LTE communicator, then the 2GIG ANT5XL-GC2 is great for GC2 Systems, while the 2GIG ANT5XL-GC3 is built for GC3 Systems. Alternatively, you might consider getting a cellular amplifier, as one of those modules will boost the cell signals for every compatible device in your household. We recommend the WeBoost 470101 4G LTE Cellular Amplifier for this purpose.

Bottom line, do not waste your money on a 3G antenna like the 2GIG ANT3X. Start by upgrading to LTE. If you still need an antenna or amplifier, you can get an LTE model.

Honeywell IS3050A - PIR Motion w/ Anti-Mask

Great Anti-Mask Motion Sensor!
Submitted on 08/01/2019 Alarm Grid

We strongly recommend the Honeywell IS3050A PIR Motion Sensor. This device does exactly what it needs to as a hardwired motion sensor. It offers a large detection area of 53 feet by 72 feet when mounted from a height of 7.5 feet high. It also offers anti-mask detection to let the system know if someone tries to defeat the motion sensor by using reflective materials or by applying a substance to the lens.

Like most motion sensors the Honeywell IS3050A uses passive infrared (PIR) technology to detect movement. This involves looking for the changes in infrared (IR) energy to occur when a person or large object comes into the sensor's field of view. Our technicians find that this technology works very reliably for motion detection, and the Honeywell IS3050A performs as a trustworthy motion detection sensor when used correctly. As long as you mount the sensor properly, you should find that it responds accurately to true motion events and that it does not cause false system alarms.

What really helps the Honeywell IS3050A is its anti-making capabilities. A smart intruder might know that they can beat most motion sensors by applying a substance to the lens or using a reflective material. A common practice is to apply various substances to the motion sensor so that it does not detect movement properly. This is often done in retail outlets where an intruder can discreetly do this to a motion sensor without anyone noticing. If they do this to the IS3050A, then a trouble condition will appear on the system. This is because the IS3050A indicates a trouble whenever various substances or reflective objects are placed within two (2) inches of the front of the sensor. Our technicians find that the anti-masking feature works very well, and it can certainly be useful in many situations.

Bottom line, we definitely recommend the Honeywell IS3050A as a hardwired motion detection sensor. It is a great sensor, and it will serve your home or business well.

Honeywell GSMX4G-TC2 - AlarmNet Total Connect 2.0 Upgrade Kit

Replaced by Honeywell LTEXA-TC2
Submitted on 08/01/2019 Alarm Grid

We do not recommend the Honeywell GSMX4G-TC2. This product has since been replaced by the Honeywell LTEXA-TC2. The GSMX4G-TC2 includes both a GSMX4G AT&T 3G Communicator and the latest PROM Chip upgrades for VISTA 15P and 20P Panels. While the PROM Chips are still good, the GSMX4G can no longer be activated with the 3G Sunset. As a result, it makes no sense to purchase this kit. You should get the LTEXA-TC2 instead. That kit includes the latest PROM Chips and the newer communicator.

The AT&T 3G Network used with the Honeywell GSMX4G-TC2 is going to be shut down in the next few years. As a result, the carrier no longer allows activations for 3G models like the Honeywell GSMX4G. In our experience, users in areas with strong service from AT&T should find that an AT&T LTE Communicator will work even better than an AT&T GSM Communicator. The AT&T LTE Network is superior in virtually every way, and it should provide faster and more reliable connectivity. There really is no reason to get a GSMX4G or its associated GSMX4G-TC2 Kit when you can just get the newer equivalent. You should find that the LTE-XA or LTEXA-TC2 works better in every aspect.

LTE stands for Long Term Evolution. Cellular service providers have stated that they plan to support their LTE Networks for many years to come. By getting an LTE communicator like the LTE-XA or LTEXA-TC2, you are "future-proofing" your VISTA System so that it can be used for alarm monitoring for many years to come. Anyone looking for a new cellular communicator should make sure to get an LTE model. Additionally, Honeywell is expected to offer a dual-path LTE/IP option called the LTE-IA in the near future. There is already a Verizon dual-path option with the LTE-IV, and the LTE-IA should serve as the AT&T LTE equivalent. There are PROM Chip upgrade kits available for these dual-path communicators as well.

Bottom line, do not get the GSMX4G-TC2. Get the LTEXA-TC2 or one of the other LTE options instead.

Interlogix GE 600-1053-LTE-VZ - Verizon LTE Cellular Communicator for Concord 4

Great LTE Communicator for Concord 4 System.
Submitted on 07/26/2019 Alarm Grid

We strongly recommend the Interlogix GE 600-1053-LTE-VZ Verizon LTE Cellular Communicator for the Concord 4 System. If you are looking for a cellular communicator for a Concord 4 System, then this is a great option. This device communicates with the Verizon LTE Network, so anyone with good Verizon coverage can receive excellent benefits from this communicator. And with Z-Wave functionality, you can start building a smart home network around your Concord 4 System once you add this communicator.

Now, that does not mean that everyone with a Concord 4 System should use this module. If you have better coverage from AT&T in your area, then you should use the Interlogix GE 600-1053-LTE-AT instead. Additionally, there are also dual-path options available with the CD-410-US-AT AT&T LTE and IP Dual-Path Communicator and the CD-410-US-VZ Verizon LTE and IP Dual-Path Communicator. The only real reason to get an LTE-only communicator if you have a Concord 4 is if you don't have internet in your home. However, we know that many people who want alarm systems don't have internet access. For those users with strong access to the Verizon LTE network, the Interlogix GE 600-1053-LTE-VZ is the best option.

Our technicians also love the fact that this module is an LTE communicator. LTE stands for "Long-Term Evolution", and Verizon has stated that they will support their LTE network well into the very distant future. Even as older networks are shut down, the Verizon LTE Network will still remain in service. By using the Interlogix GE 600-1053-LTE-VZ, you are providing an effective long-term solution for your Concord 4 System to remain monitored for many years to come.

Bottom line, this is the best communicator to use with a Concord 4 System if you have better Verizon service than AT&T service, and you also don't benefit from IP connectivity. Since this is a legitimate niche, we are giving this product 5 Stars. Just be aware that if you have internet access in your home, you probably want to go with one of the dual-path communicators instead.

Qolsys IQ Power Supply - Replacement AC Transformer (12V DC) for IQ Panel

Great Transformer for Original IQ Panel
Submitted on 07/25/2019 Alarm Grid

We strongly recommend the Qolsys IQ Power Supply as a replacement transformer for the original Qolsys IQ Panel. This is the best transformer to purchase if you have lost or damaged the original stock transformer that came with your IQ Panel System. Remember that the system already comes with this same transformer included in the box. You only need to buy this transformer if you must replace that original one. But if that is your situation, then this is an excellent transformer. It is super easy to connect wires to the appropriate power terminals. The transformer plugs into a wall outlet very nicely.

Our team has verified that this transformer provides a consistent source of 12VDC power. When using a DC transformer like the Qolsys IQ Power Supply QR0017-840, you must make sure to follow proper polarity. This means that the negative (-) terminal on the transformer must connect with the negative power input on the panel. Meanwhile, the positive (+) on the transformer must connect with the positive power input on the panel. The common practice is to use black for negative (-) and red for positive (+). But it really doesn't matter what colors you use, as long as everything is consistent.

One limitation of this transformer is how long of wire runs it will support. Alarm Grid generally recommends using 18-gauge wire for most alarm system installations. By using 18-AWG wire, you can have a maximum run distance of 25 feet from the panel when using this transformer. If you need to achieve a longer wire run, then you can always use thicker wire. Remember, the lower the gauge, the thicker the wire. You might also consider using a Honeywell LT-Cable with the Qolsys IQ Power Supply Transformer. The LT-Cable comes pre-prepared, meaning that you won't have to strip any wires. You will just need a screwdriver to connect the cable to the terminals.

Ademco SA5140-1 - Battery Harness Kit

Excellent Battery Harness Kit
Submitted on 07/25/2019 Alarm Grid

We strongly recommend the Ademco SA5140-1 for anyone who wants to use a second backup battery with their Honeywell VISTA Alarm System. This convenient and easy to us wiring harness will allow you to connect two (2) backup batteries with the panel by wiring them in parallel. This will effectively double the battery life for the system. This is perfect for users who may experience frequent electrical outages. It is also great for users who want to ensure that their VISTA Panel will remain powered on for an extended period of time when the electricity is out, without having to rely on a power generator. Another excellent feature of this harness is that its positive legs have an inline fuse to prevent damage in case of a power surge.

Our technicians have found that it is easy to use the UltraTech 1240 4Ah Batteries and the UltraTech 1270 7Ah Batteries with the Ademco SA5140-1 Battery Harness. However, you should have no problem using this device with any of the similar sealed lead acid batteries that are compatible with hardwired alarm systems. Just be aware that you may have trouble fitting multiple batteries into your panel's metal enclosure. This will depend on the size of the metal enclosure and the size of the batteries. If that is the case you can always get a second enclosure to secure the batteries. Just make sure that the batteries are wired correctly at the panel in parallel.

Overall, the Ademco SA5140-1 is a great product. While it's not going to be useful for every VISTA user, those who can benefit from a second battery can put this accessory to great use. We believe that this is a fine battery harness to use with your Honeywell VISTA Panel if you intend on using two (2) separate backup batteries. Just be aware that it will take slightly longer for your batteries to obtain a full charge, as more power will need to be stored.