Explaining the 6F Message on an Alarm Keypad

Explaining the 6F Message on an Alarm Keypad

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In this video Jorge from Alarm Grid explains what the 6F message on a Honeywell VISTA Keypad means. This message is really bF, and it stands for "backup failure". It indicates that there is something wrong with the system's alarm monitoring communicator. The message appears on Fixed English Keypads.

There are many reasons why a bF message may appear. One possibility is that the alarm monitoring communicator is unable to successfully transmit signals. For an IP communicator, a common possibility is that the internet is down. A power outage may cause the internet to go out by taking the router offline. Cellular communicator can also experience outages, but they are much less frequent. Some reasons for a cellular service outage can include severe weather or network problems. You might also get this error if your cellular signal is very weak.

Some causes of a bF trouble condition can be extremely minor. For example, there might be a loose tamper cover on the communicator. Its also possible that the communicator is not properly registered. No matter what the trouble is, you must fix the problem in order for the trouble condition to go away. If you cannot fix the trouble condition, then you can always disable the communication path. However, you will need to have a different communication path enabled so that the system can still send out signals during alarm events.

Please note that on an Alphanumeric Keypad, you will get a Check 103 error instead of a bF error. You only get a bF error on a Fixed English Keypad. Check 103 and bF mean the same thing in this case. If you have an Alphanumeric Keypad, then you can get a four (4) digit status code to determine exactly what cause the Check 103 error message to appear on the keypad.



[MUSIC PLAYING] Hey, DIYers, I'm Jorge from Alarm Grid. Today, I'm going to be explaining what a 6F message means on an alarm keypad. Now, the 6F message will typically be displayed on a fixed English keypad. So if you're looking at the 6150 right here, it shows you 6F. Now, the first thing I want to touch base on is it actually is not a 6F. It actually is a b as in Bravo and F. A lot of people get the b confused for a six. So this bF there that shows on fixed English keypads, actually stands for backup failure, and it usually just means that something is wrong with the communicator. And there's a whole bunch of different things that can be going wrong, and I'm going to go get into that in just a second. Now, you'll notice here how here we have a 6F, right? Now, I'm going to refer to it as the actual message. It says 6F Check, and then-- this is on my fixed English keypad-- if you look on my alphanumeric keypad, that actually reads out the whole display. It'll actually show you, Check 103 long-range radio and then, we actually have a chart linked to the FAQ below that shows you what every single error code message may mean. By the error code message, it's great knowing that there is a communication error, but if you want to be more specific, look at the four numbers in the right-hand corner, if you have an alphanumeric keypad. If you don't have an alphanumeric keypad, you're basically going to be working blind and going to be trying to troubleshoot different things that can be going wrong with your communicator. But if you have an alphanumeric one, it actually shows you the exact problem that's going on with the communicator right there. So 000 in our case, that just means that the communicator has lost connection-- or the panel has lost connection to the communicator. Now, what this typically means, this 6F error, is something's wrong with the communicator. The most common thing that you will see if you have this is, typically, if you have an internet communicator. Why? Internet goes down a lot. We're not strangers to internet outages or your devices losing connection to the internet. So if you see a 6F error on your keypad and your panel is connected to internet, try checking the internet first to make sure that that's actually working, that your panel's receiving good internet service and that the cable's not loose, nothing's been unplugged, and that's going to be the first thing. Now, one of the most common things you'll see is, for instance, if the power goes out. If the power goes out and you don't have your router on a power supply, then yes, you're for sure going to be seeing a communication error on your panel. Another thing could be just the router needs a reboot, right? It's been on for too long. It needs to be rebooted and it needs to just get refreshed, so that could be another thing that could be causing it. Now, if you are seeing this very often in your keypad, you may want to think about getting a backup cellular communicator. Now, a backup cellular communicator comes into effect in the event that your internet stops working, well, then your panel can continue to send out alarm signals through the cellular path. These VISTA systems, they have an AT&T and a Verizon communicator. And they're actually LTE now, so if you guys are out there watching and you guys have 3G/4G communicators, it actually says VISTA-GSMV4G or an iGSMV4G, GSMX4G, CDMA-X, anything like that, these are all 3G/4G communicators. They're going to be phased out pretty soon here in the next coming years, so I believe, it's by 2022 in February, so by then, you're going to want to make sure if you continue to stay on cellular that you get an LTE communicator. Now, the reason we recommend LTE and backup cellular communicators is because it's not very often that you're going to have your cellular towers go down unless there's some natural weather disaster that knocks down all the cell towers then, yes. But, typically, cellular towers will always continue to stay up and you never will get loss of a cellular communication on the panel unless, like I said, weather, there's a natural disaster, or two, there's just not good signal in your house. And if there's not good signal in your house, you want to think about getting a cellular antenna or a cellular amplifier for the house. Normally, cellular amps are better just because it's going to increase the cellular range for all devices, including your cell phones, anything else that you may have a cellular SIM card in, your alarm system. So cellular amps are definitely the way to go when you don't have good reception in your house. Now, remember how I was telling you how you can only see the specific error if you have an alphanumeric keypad? It'll actually show you in the bottom right-hand corner. So what do you do if you have a 6150 only? Well, first of all, you may want to think about replacing it with a 6160 or adding a secondary keypad, or just an extra keypad to your system. 6160 is always important to have, that way you can go into deep-level programming. You can actually read out what's going on. So a lot of people may not know what 6F means, but if they see this, Check 103 Long Range, long range, you want to thing about communication. So you're going to know something's wrong with the communicator. Now, some of the other most common 6F messages that you'll get on the keypad can be caused from, like I said, internet connection is the main one. It's the very first one. If you guys have internet, make sure to check that. The second one can be some of the wiring from the communicator to the panel, it may have come loose. So if you guys have been adding any devices, keypads, the keypads use the same terminals as the communicator connect. The keypads connect to ECP bus, so does a communicator. So if you're wiring in anything to the ECP bus, a wire may have come loose in the middle of you adding anything to your system. So if you are getting a 6F error after adding anything to your system wired, make sure that you check the wires. Give them a little tug and make sure everything's connected correctly or just make sure the connections are done correctly. Sometimes, you'll get an error message because you wired in the green to the wrong terminal and the yellow to the other terminal. You got them mixed up. So make sure you're checking the connections, as well. Another two common ones are the communicator has a low battery or the cover tamper on the communicator. So if for any reason you take the cover off your communicator, that will also show a communication error on the panel letting you know that something is wrong with the communicator. Remember, if you see 6F, it just refers to the communicator. You don't know what it is. There's a lot of different things you can do. So basically, once you have figured out what it is, if you've gone through every single step, you don't have a 6160, you don't know what's wrong with it, try going through these things one by one and then, when you have done all of these or if you do go one by one and you want to see if that is the problem, whenever you fix an issue with the communicator, you have to disarm the system two times to clear that error message from the keypad. The reason it stays on the keypad is so that the homeowner is aware and nobody can go into your communicator, open it up, close it and then the homeowner never knows. You actually need to clear the error signal or the error message from your keypad by entering in your master code two times. So after you've reconnected it to internet, after you recharge the battery, after you close the cover tamper on, after you've checked the wiring, go ahead and disarm your system two times with your master code. So that's master code plus 1, master code plus 1. And if the error code message, the 6F error code, goes away, then you have fixed the communication error. Now, another reason you will see this communication error is if your system has not been activated. So the communication error will show up if your communicator is not active. It's just letting you know that the communicator is not active and you guys have the communication path enabled. If you guys are using dual-path communicators, you guys can also-- if you guys are using it for cellular only, make sure you let your monitoring company know that so they can change the communication path in that communicator to cellular only or vice versa. If you're starting with internet only, you change it to internet only. You don't want to get communication errors on paths that you're not planning on using and they can be edited or configured from your monitoring company, or if you have an alphanumeric keypad, you can go into deep-level programming and edit that yourself. I normally recommend if you going to do that, do it with one of the techs on the line. So these are the many different issues that can cause a 6F error code message on your keypad. We actually have an-- in our FAQ, we have a chart at the very bottom of the FAQ that goes through all of the codes on a 103 communication error, so once this comes up here, those four numbers, we have a chart that has a whole list of different four-digit error codes that you may see on an alphanumeric keypad. Again, I'm going to stress it has to be alphanumeric, if you're going to be looking for those codes in the bottom right-hand corner. A fixed English will only show 6F. I'm sorry-- bF backup failure. All right. If you guys have any questions regarding the bF error on your keypad, feel free to email us at support@alarmgrid.com. If you guys found the video helpful, make sure you hit Like underneath. Subscribe to the YouTube channel, and enable notification so when we upload new content, you guys get notified. I'm Jorge, and I'll see you guys next time.