Tips & Tricks – Part II

Glenn Hultz by Glenn Hultz | 07.30.2013

Have you ever experienced what some refer to as an “Aha!” moment?  That moment when the light bulb comes on and you finally get it?  Even from where I sit, I learn something new every day and “Aha!” moments still come my way.  With the amount of products and services being offered in the alarm industry these days, it’s virtually impossible for anyone to know everything there is to know.  However, it’s also important to avoid thinking “Well everyone knows that!”  If you’ve ever experienced any of the programming or troubleshooting issues below, hopefully we can shed a little light on how to avoid them in the future.

My Keypad Won’t Work
Believe it or not, this is still one of the biggest call generators and I went over the addressing scheme for different panels in my last blog.  If your keypad isn’t working and assuming your wiring is correct, then either the address you chose is incorrect, has been duplicated on an addressable panel or the address hasn’t been enabled in programming.

Zones vs Users vs Programming Entry
In general, if your panel has two-digit zone numbers then you’re also going to have two-digit user numbers. Getting into programming will mean entering your installer code plus 8 plus 00 (two digits).  The same applies to one or three digit zone numbers.  For example on a VISTA-128FBP, to get into programming you would enter your installer code plus 8 plus 000 (three digits).  Setting up users on a polling loop panel can be accomplished by entering the installer or master code plus 8 plus a two or three-digit user number followed by the four-digit user code

Remember, just because the customer gave you their code doesn’t mean it’s the master code.  Setting up users on a non-polling loop panel can be accomplished by entering the master code plus 8 plus a one or two-digit user number followed by the four-digit user code.  Please refer to your installation instructions at all times – the process can vary on older panels.

My Keyfob Won’t Work
If the zone is programmed correctly then a user has not been associated with the fob.  Some older panels, including the LYNX series, don’t require a user to be associated with the fob.  Associating a user with a fob is done differently on polling loop panels than non-polling loop panels but the fact remains that this will cause the fob not to work.  The panic button, if programmed, always works so don’t let this cloud the real issue.  Also, I’d strongly advise assigning a different user per fob especially when using opening and closing reporting or if Compass is involved since Compass won’t allow the same user to be associated with multiple fobs.

The Quicker the Better
Do you need to set up a weekly test or program your panel for two-way voice?  You may not even need to get into programming to complete these tasks.  For example, on a VISTA-20P, entering your installer code plus # plus 0 plus 1 will automatically set up a schedule for a weekly test as well as setting up the report code.  Again, please refer to your installation instructions as to what commands are available in your panel.

My Zones Won’t Chime
Assuming that the zone is programmed correctly as an Entry/Exit or Perimeter zone type and that chime is turned on via the keypad, then the culprit is most likely *26 in the panels that support the Chime By Zone feature, like a VISTA-20P.  Try to avoid looking at this field as a question of “Do I want my zones to chime?”  What the field is actually providing is for Entry/Exit and/or Perimeter zones to chime only if they are entered into Zone List 3.  For example, a customer may want to know if someone is coming and going via their front door but would be much less concerned about being audibly notified if a window in an upstairs room is being opened and closed.

Next time we’re going to cover some common wireless issues that tend to generate a high volume of calls.  However, what causes you the most problems?  Is there an ongoing issue or panel feature that you don’t fully grasp or need clarified?  Feel free to bring up the topic in our comments area and we’ll try to tackle it in an upcoming blog.  As I’ve mentioned before, tech support is a team effort and there’s always room for improvement, regardless of which end of the phone you’re on.