Submitted on 08/12/2019 Alarm Grid
We think the Honeywell N6277V1 Cam Lock and Key works very well for keeping the metal cabinet for a Honeywell VISTA System properly secure. If you are looking to add some extra security to your panel's metal enclosure, then this is a great product to get. It is simple to install, and it will prevent others from accessing your security panel.
A Honeywell VISTA Security System is a hardwired panel that is hidden away inside a small metal cabinet. The keypad that you use to control the system is not actually an alarm system. This is just a controller that you use to give commands to your system. But the panel is where the brains for the system are. If you are worried that someone may get into your panel, then you might consider getting the cam lock and key. Our technicians find that it provides a nice extra layer of security to keep others from tampering with the system.
There is one thing to keep in mind with this product. It does not include the retaining clip needed to keep the cam lock in place. If you need the cam lock, key, and retaining clip, then you should purchase the Honeywell N6277-KT instead. But if you already have the retaining clip, then this product will work just fine. Remember that you may need to knock out one of the indented holes on the VISTA Panel cabinet to install the Honeywell N6277V1.
The cam lock and key is great for people who want to keep others out of their system. It is great for parents who have kids who may accidentally get into the alarm control panel. It is also useful if you have a roommate, and you don't want them tampering with your system. Just remember that the cam lock and key is an option. You can certainly keep your VISTA Cabinet unlocked if you do not believe that anyone will get into it.
Bottom line, the Honeywell N6277V1 Cam Lock and Key works fine for keeping others out of your VISTA System. That is why we give it 5 Stars.
Submitted on 08/07/2019 Alarm Grid
We strongly recommend the Honeywell DT8050 as a hardwired dual-tech motion sensor. This sensor is good if you want a motion detector with a larger coverage area than the Honeywell DT8035, but you don't require the advanced features of the DT8050A or DT8050M. The Honeywell DT8050 fills its niche quite well. That is why we give it 5 Stars.
The Honeywell DT8050 is a dual-tech motion sensor. This means that it uses passive infrared (PIR) technology and microwave signals to detect movement. Unless both the PIR sensor and the microwave sensor for the DT8050 are triggered, the sensor will not activate and alert the system. This is good for preventing false alarms in many situations.
When compared with the DT8035, the DT8050 offers a much larger coverage area. The DT8050 has a coverage area of 72 feet by 53 feet. The DT8035 only offers a coverage area of 56 feet by 40 feet. However, only the DT8035 offers pet immunity. But if you don't care about pet immunity, and you need to cover a larger area, then the DT8050 is usually the way to go. A good way to think about this is that the DT8035 is more commonly used in residential locations, while the DT8050 is more commonly used in commercial locations.
Although the DT8050 lacks the more advanced features of the DT8050A and DT8050M, it is more affordable. The DT8050A offers anti-masking to prevent potential intruders from applying a reflective substance to the lens to defeat the sensor. The DT8050M offers mirror optics for improved accuracy in detecting motion. But if neither of these features benefit you, then the DT8050 is a more affordable sensor. It will detect motion quite reliably and cause no false alarms when used properly. Our technicians find that the DT8050 works very reliably and that it is a great hardwired motion sensor.
Bottom line, if you need a hardwired Dual-Tec Motion Sensor for an industrial location, but you don't need any advanced features, then the Honeywell DT8050 is a good option for you.
Submitted on 08/07/2019 Alarm Grid
The Honeywell CELL-EXT is absolutely necessary if you intend to use an external antenna with many Honeywell LYNX Touch Communicators and Honeywell VISTA Communicators. Because this cable is required in these applications, we are giving it a 5 Star rating. Just be aware that this cable is already included with the CELL-ANT3DB.
If you find that you are not receiving adequate cellular signal for your alarm system, then adding a cellular antenna is often a great option. You just need to keep in mind that a cellular antenna will only increase the signal strength for your alarm system. If you want to improve the cellular signal strength for multiple devices using the same network, then you might consider getting a cellular amplifier instead. If you get the right model, you may be able to improve the reception for your alarm system AND your smartphone when you use it at home.
But if you do decide that a cellular antenna is the best option, then you may need a Honeywell CELL-EXT to complete your setup. This is a simple cable that connects a VISTA or LYNX Touch Communicator with the external antenna. The CELL-EXT was originally used with various 3G communicators. In fact, the Honeywell CELL-EXT was originally called the Honeywell GSM-EXT for its use with various LYNX Touch Communicators that connected across the AT&T 3G GSM Network. However, the name was later changed to the Honeywell CELL-EXT, as the cable is still compatible with the newer LTE communicators for these systems. Some of the most popular communicators used with this cable include the LTE-L57A, the LTE-L57V, the LTE-IA, the LTE-IV, the LTE-XA, and the LTE-XV. Our technicians find that the cable is very easy to connect and that it is quite durable.
Please note that there are some older communicators that may use a Honeywell K14207LF Cable instead of a Honeywell CELL-EXT Cable. However, most of those communicators have since been discontinued. Today, the CELL-EXT is the most common cable for connecting the LTE communicator for a LYNX Touch or VISTA System to an external antenna. One final thing to consider is that you may need a secondary antenna coaxial cable to extend the antenna for outdoor use. Honeywell offers such cables ranging from 5 to 50 feet in length. However, this is normally only required for outdoor antennas like the Honeywell CELL-ANT3DB. Indoor antennas like the Honeywell CELL-ANTSMA and the Honeywell CELL-ANTU do not normally need a cable beyond the CELL-EXT. And in some cases, the antenna will actually include the CELL-EXT as part of the package. Check the contents to make sure.
Bottom line, the CELL-EXT is required in many cases to connect a Honeywell Alarm System Communicator with an external antenna. It gets 5 Stars because it serves its purpose.
Submitted on 08/07/2019 Alarm Grid
We generally like the Qolsys IQ Recessed Door-S, but there are sometimes better options available. The first thing to note is that this is a recessed contact sensor. That means the sensor will be hidden inside the door or window frame. This is good for users who want to have their sensor hidden from outside view. However, a recessed sensor will require that a hole is drilled into the door or window frame. You will also need to drill an accompanying hole in the door or window itself for the magnet. Not every user is going to want to drill holes, so some users are best off buying a surface-mounted sensor instead. Our technicians find that installing the Qolsys IQ Recessed Door-S is pretty easy, but a surface-mount sensor will be even easier to install.
If you do need a recessed sensor, then the Qolsys IQ Recessed Door-S is a pretty good choice if you have a 319.5 MHz system. Some 319.5 MHz systems include the original IQ Panel 2 System, the Interlogix Simon Alarm Panels, and the 319.5 MHz version of the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus. The biggest selling point of this sensor is its S-Line Rolling Code Encryption. This feature prevents the sensor from being hacked or taken over by potential intruders. However, the sensor will only utilize the S-Line Encryption with the original IQ Panel 2 and the 319.5 MHz version of the IQ Panel 2 Plus. On all other systems, including the Interlogix Simon Panels, the sensor will behave as a non-encrypted 319.5 MHz sensor.
If you have a 319.5 MHz system other than the IQ2 or IQ2+, then you are actually better off buying the Interlogix TX-E221 instead. The TX-E221 is basically the same recessed sensor, but without the S-Line Rolling Code Encryption. Since only the original IQ2 and 319.5 MHz IQ2+ can use the S-Line Encryption, there is no reason to buy the IQ Recessed Door-S if your panel cannot support it. Meanwhile, if encryption is important to you, then there might be a recessed sensor that offers even better protection. The DSC PG9307 PowerG Recessed Contact uses 128-bit AES encryption, which is considerably more secure than the rolling code encryption used by the S-Line Sensors. The DSC PG9307 will work with any PowerG-compatible system, including ALL versions of the IQ Panel 2 Plus. With that in mind, the IQ Recessed Door-S is only the most secure recessed sensor for the original IQ Panel 2, a system which has since been discontinued.
Bottom line, the Qolsys IQ Recessed Door-S is a good sensor, but it isn't always the best option. If you don't want to drill holes in your door or window frame, go with a surface mount contact like the VERSA-GE. If you don't care about encryption, save a few dollars and go with the Interlogix TX-E221. If you have a PowerG-compatible system and you want a more secure sensor, go with the DSC PG9307. The IQ Recessed Door-S is really only the best sensor if you have an original IQ Panel 2. The sensor is also a good option if you have a 319.5 MHz version of the IQ Panel 2 Plus, and you want some level of encryption, but you don't need the ultra-secure 128-bit AES encryption of a PowerG Sensor.
Submitted on 08/01/2019 Alarm Grid
We strongly recommend the Honeywell LCP500-DK as a reliable desk mount for the Resideo Lyric Alarm System. This is the perfect accessory for anyone who doesn't want to mount their Lyric Panel to the wall. This can save tons of time during the installation, and it eliminates the need for drilling holes into the wall. This makes it great for people living in apartments or rental properties who are unable to make marks on the wall. That is why we give the Honeywell LCP500-DK a perfect 5-Star rating.
Nearly every wireless alarm control panel has a compatible desk mount available to let you rest the system on a table or desk. Not every user wants to mount their panel to the wall, and some users are simply unable to. That is why desk mounts can be so useful in many installations. They make it possible for virtually anyone to install their own alarm system. Anyone with a Lyric Security System who wants to avoid permanently mounting their panel can benefit greatly from this product.
Our technicians have found that the Honeywell LCP500-DK is extremely easy to apply to the Lyric System. You just want to make sure that you run the power wire through the LCP500-DK Desk Mount BEFORE you connect it with the panel. Otherwise, you will have to redo the connection to the panel. Remember that we recommend using a Honeywell LT-Cable for connecting the Lyric System with its plug-in transformer.
As far as performance goes, we have found that the Honeywell LCP500-DK works great. It keeps the system nice and sturdy, and it sure beats just lying the panel flat on a table or desk. You will be surprised just how much more pleasant it is to use a Lyric Panel after you have applied a Honeywell LCP500-DK Desk Mount. And if you ever want to take it off, just slide the stand off, and then remove the accompanying back plate. The back plate for mounting the Lyric to the wall can be reapplied easily if needed.
Bottom line, we think the Honeywell LCP500-DK is a great product. Get this desk mount if you want to avoid mounting your Lyric to the wall.
Submitted on 08/01/2019 Alarm Grid
We have found that the Kwikset 888 Z-Wave Plus Smart Lock works very well. This is a great Z-Wave Plus touch-button lock that should make a nice addition to your smart home network. The lock works well with both Alarm.com and Total Connect 2.0. It is also good for use with other Z-Wave hubs like Samsung SmartThings. That is why we give the Kwikset 888 5 stars.
Not everyone needs a fancy touchscreen controller on their smart lock. Many users are perfectly satisfied with a push-button smart lock like the Kwikset 888. Our technicians have found that the push-button keypad works as it should and that it provides a reliable means of entry when entering a valid code. Our technicians are also pleased that the lock also features a traditional keyhole in case you ever need to use a physical key to open the door.
As far as the Z-Wave functionality is concerned, our technicians feel that this Kwikset Smart Lock is very reliable in communicating with a Z-Wave controller or hub. This is true whether you operate the lock from your security panel or from an interactive automation platform like Total Connect 2.0 or Alarm.com. We have tested this lock with a wide-variety of security systems available on our site, and we have found that it works well across the board with any panel that supports this type of control.
Another feature that our technicians have spoken highly of is the ability to create smart scenes for the Kwikset 888 from Total Connect 2.0 or Alarm.com. By creating smart scenes, you can have the lock activate automatically based on a set schedule or with certain system events. This is useful in many instances. You might have the Kwikset 888 lock automatically at 8:30am after you leave for work. Or you could have it unlock the door whenever you disarm your alarm system. There are many possibilities, and our technicians have tested these features with great success.
Bottom line, we believe that the Kwikset 888 is a great smart lock. We recommend it for anyone wanting a reliable Z-Wave Plus lock for their home automation network.
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.
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 Alarm.com 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.
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.
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.