Adding an External Communicator to a DSC PowerSeries NEO
In this video, Michael from Alarm Grid shows you how to add an external communicator to a DSC PowerSeries NEO Security System. The main reason to add an external communicator to a DSC PowerSeries NEO is to get the system monitored. The system does not have built-in cellular or IP communication capabilities, so you must add a communicator to get it monitored.
Per Alarm.com requirements, a cellular communicator must be registered and activated for the system. This will allow the system to communicate with Alarm.com. When an alarm event occurs, the system will send the notification to Alarm.com. From there, Alarm.com can forward the notification to a central monitoring station and/or the end user directly via text and/or email, depending upon the user's alarm monitoring plan.
The main communicators to consider for the DSC PowerSeries NEO are the DSC TL880LEAT N and the DSC TL880LTVZ N. Both are dual-path communicators, meaning that they use both cellular and IP communication. Cellular connectivity is required for use with Alarm.com, and IP connectivity is just nice to have as an additional communication path. The difference between the two aforementioned communicators is the cellular service provider they use. Whether you go with AT&T LTE or Verizon LTE should depend upon which network provides more reliable service in your area.
Another benefit to adding a communicator to a DSC PowerSeries NEO Alarm System is that it will double as a Z-Wave Plus home automation controller. This will allow you to start building a smart home network around the system. Popular smart home devices include lights, door locks, and thermostats. Since the PowerSeries NEO does not allow for local automation control, you will need to access the Alarm.com platform to operate your connected smart home device. But you can create scenes through Alarm.com to have your smart home devices activate automatically based on a schedule or with certain system events.
Hi, DIYers, this is Michael from Alarm Grid. And today I'm going to be showing you how to add an external communicator to a DSC PowerSeries Neo system. Without getting into it too much, the reason you're adding an external communicator to your DSC PowerSeries Neo is to get the system monitored. It has a lineup of dual path communicators available that use LTE cellular, and they also connect to the internet using a hardwired ethernet connection. So it's dual path. You get the cellular and the IP communication, and that allows the panel to communicate with alarm.com for monitoring service. Then alarm.com forwards the signals to either the end user and/or the central station, depending on the user's monitoring plan. And as long as your monitoring plan includes access to alarm.com, you'll be able to control your system remotely using a mobile app or a web browser. So that's why you're adding an external communicator to your DSC PowerSeries Neo. So let's get into it. So we have our communicator over here, and we have our keypad here. Neo is over there. So we're going to first, without powering the system down yet, we're going to go and change a programming setting that enables the alternate communicator. We have our keypad here. And we're going to get into programming, first of all, by entering star 8. And then it's going to ask us for our installer code, which ours is at the default of 5555, and then we're going to choose programming label 382, 382. And we're going to scroll over to option 5 for alternate com. And you see that right now it's set to N for No. We want to just press the star key to toggle it to Y for Yes. And that's all we need to do. We're just going to back out of programming by repeatedly pressing the pound key. And that's all we need to do at the panel right now. So now that we're installing the communicator, we want to power our system completely down. Because if you don't power it down, you might damage the communicator and/or the system. So we're going to disconnect our backup battery, and we're going to unplug our transformer, which we have an LT-Cable, so we can just unplug it like that. And you see our keypad is blank. The system is completely powered down. And we're done with the keypad for the rest of this, so we're just going to move it out of the way. And we got our communicator over here. This is the AT&T version, AT&T LTE. There's also a Verizon version. Just go with whichever one works best in your area, whichever one provides the best coverage. This has nothing to do with your personal phone. You're not going to save money either way, so just choose whichever one gives you better signals. If you're not sure, check coverage maps. So the first thing we want to do is open the communicator. So we have a flathead screwdriver here. And we have two openings right here, two tabs that we're going to press in. And we're just going to stick our screwdriver into there to pop the first one, and then release the second one. And then we can open up the communicator. And now we have access to the inside here. Now, one thing you will want is you before you start setting everything up, you will want to note the IMEI number, which it's right there, right on that sticker right up there. So make sure to note that, take a picture of it, write it down somewhere. You will need that when you go to do your activation. So that's the IMEI number. Now, you will be working with the PCL-422, which we have ours already mounted in the panel. This comes included with the communicator. We do sell it separately in case yours becomes lost or damaged. But you will need this to connect it to the communicator. The way this is going to work, there is going to be a four-wire connection, and then another two-wire connection. So six connections in total between the communicator and the PCL-422. And then the PCL-422 is going to use a link cable, which I'll be talking about that in a little bit. But you're going to have four connections for data, and two connections for power between the two. And you do want to remember to run you run your wires through the back plate, so that way you can close the communicator. So I'm going to be demonstrating that. So let's get our four-wire connections set up first. You have our wires tangled up here. Let's get the four-wire one. We have a 22 gauge wire. 18 gauge also works great. We prefer stranded wire, because it's easier to work with. So you see on the communicator, we have our terminal block here. We're actually going to use all six of these connections here. We have TX+, TX-, RX+, RX-, and then we have the power connections, the ground and the 12-volt. For the four-wire connection, we're going to be working with the TX and the RX ones. So the way this is going to work, we're going to have TX+ going to RX+, TX- going to TX-, RX+ going to TX+, and RX- going to TX-. So match the TXes and the RXes, and then keep the plus and minuses the same. And the color really doesn't matter as long as you remember to match the colors. So we're just going to go randomly here, it's really not important. And remember to run your wires through the back plate, which we're going to do. This, we're going to stick it through, just like so. And our terminal block is open, so I guess we're starting with the red wire here. So now we're going to do our power connections. There's a ground for the black wire. That's the negative power connection. And then we have our red wire for the positive power connection, which goes to the 12-volt plus one. So we're just going to take our two-wire connection. In our case, we're using a four conductor wire, but we have the green and the white wire twisted around the wire because they're not needed here. So we're just going to stick black into the grounds. And we're just going to tighten that down. So now we'll do our power connections at the PCL-422. Again, there is a positive connection and a negative connection. So we're going to start with the positive connection there. And we're putting that into the 12-volts terminal right there. So I just wanted to point out the six wire connections that you'll have at the Neo communicator. So just going-- starting on this side, we have the 12-volt connection, the positive power connection. So that's using the red cable. And then we have the ground connection, the negative power connection, which is using the black cable. The other four colored cables don't really matter as long as they match up at the PCL-422, which I'll point out that in a second. But I'm just going over-- first we have the RX- connection. So we have the white cable, and that's going to the TX- at PCL-422. Then we have the RX+, which is going to the TX+ on the PCL-422. In this case, we used the black wire. Then we have the TX-, which we used the green wire in this case. So that's going to go to the RX- on the PCL-422. And lastly, we have the TX+. In this case, we used the red wire. And that's going to go to the RX+ on the PCL-422. So now I'm just going to point out the connections at the PCL-422. So just starting from this side. And the labels are upside down, so bear with us here. But first we have the positive power connection, the 12-volt connection. We're using the red wire. Then we have the negative power, the ground connection, and we're using the black wire for that. And then like I said earlier, the color doesn't matter as long as it all matches up. First we have the RX- wire, which is going to the TX- wire on the communicator, and that's the green wire here. And then we have the RX+, which we're using a red wire in this case, and it's going to the TX+ connection on the communicator. And then we have TX-. In this case, we used the white wire. So TX- is going to RX- on the communicator. And lastly, we have the TX+, which we used the black wire, and that's going to the RX+ on the communicator. So now that we have our six connections made between the communicator and the PCL-422, the last thing we need to do is connect the PCL-422, to the actual Neo panel using the PC link cable, which comes included with the communicator, as does the PCL-422. And so we're going to be using the second PC Link connection on the Neo panel. We're not using number one over there. We're using the second one. And we're going to be connecting it to the connection on the PCL-422. Now, you may notice that there is one red wire on the on the PC link cable, so that actually determines which way you plug it in. So the way I like to remember it is, you see that it has the word red on the right. That's actually, you're going to have the red on the right for this connection over here. So you just have it with the red on the right side and you just insert it in. And then at the PCL-422, you'd have the red closest to the terminal block. So you just have it right in there. And so you see the red is the closest to the terminal block on that one, and on this one red is closest to the word red. So that's how I like to remember it. You can use your own system, but that completes the connections. So the last thing I want to point out on the communicator before you go and power on your panel is there is the ethernet port right here. This is a dual path communicator that can use cellular and hardwired ethernet. Ethernet is optional. You do have to have cellular for registering with an alarm.com. But if you want to have a second communication pad set up, you can use the hardwired ethernet connection. Now, if you want to convert this into a wireless connection, you can use the ethernet to Wi-Fi bridge, such as the alarm.com ADC-W110, which we sell on our website. You will need to connect the ADC-W110 to this using a wired ethernet connection. But then the ADC-W110 can interface with your router through Wi-Fi. So you can set that up, so you won't need to run a wire all the way back from the ADC-W110 to your router. It'll be wireless. But you will need an outlet for that, so keep that in mind. But that is an option. Again ethernet is optional. Just something you can set up. So now we're going to close the communicator. We're just going to-- let's see, which way does this go? I think it's this way. Nope, it's this way. It is this way. Start with this one, and then just pop it into place, and there we go. Our thing is not good. So we're going to try that again. We're going to try the backside first, and then we're going to make sure that's good, and then now it's good. So make sure it's closed all the way around. Start with the side away from the tabs and then do the tabs last. That's how you properly close it. Now we're going to power our system back on, and we're going to do our backup battery first. And we have our positive connection and negative connections going to the proper terminals as displayed on the board. Red going to positive, black to negative. And now we can power it on with our Honeywell LT-Cable, or plug your transformer back in, depending on how you had yours set up. And our system is back on, but our communicator is on as well. There, it just took a little moment to get going, but you see the LED lights are lighting up on the communicator indicating that it is receiving power. It is powered on. And now is a good time to position the antenna. I'm going to put this into programming real quick, just so we don't have to listen to it chime all day. Just do star 85555, and then we'll just leave it at that. That was just to have it be quiet for us. So then you would want to position the antenna, and figure out a good place to mount it. Really, you'd want to go about mounting it before doing your wire connection, but you can use the antenna once you have it powered on. Because you need to have a power on to check the cellular signals. Now, you want to position it in a spot where you have the best cellular signals possible. It's a good idea to get the antenna as high up as possible, have it facing a tower if possible. A cell tower that is. And have it away from any obstacles, such as large metal objects, thick walls. Just make sure you get the best signal you can. You can see how to check signals in the installation manual for the communicator. So the last thing I want to show you, when you're actually activating the communicator for monitoring service, you will perform a cell test. This is done after the alarm.com account has been built. It's very simple. You just press and hold the 3 key for roughly two seconds, so I'm going to do that now. And pay attention to the LED lights on the communicator as you're going about doing this. So I will speed up the process, but I'll just go ahead and get started. And the cell test signal has been sent. You see, it gave us some messages on there saying that it was sent successfully. But once it completes, then you'll be taken back to the main screen of the Neo keypad. So that's how you add an external communicator to a DSC PowerSeries Neo security system. If you have any questions about the DSC PowerSeries Neo, its communicators, alarm.com, or monitoring service in general, send an email to email@example.com. If you found this video helpful, make sure to give it a thumbs up below to like the video, and remember to subscribe to our channel for updates on future videos. We hope you enjoyed the video. Thank you.