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Bewildered! Need Help With New Security System - Qolsys vs. 2Gig vs Honeywell Lyric


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#1 SteveInNorCal

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Posted 07 August 2018 - 12:01 PM

Good morning...we bought a used house in Idaho as a second summer home and I'm going to replace the ancient Regency security system. At first I thought I would install an Elk M1 Gold system to duplicate what we have at our main house, but I started talking local installers and they are urging me to consider more modern solutions like Qolsys, 2Gig, and Honeywell Lyric. I'm also hearing raves about the extensive features and capabilities of the Alarm.com app.

 

Below is a long list of requirements and my assessment of the new systems. I hope you have the patience to read and digest this. I really need knowledgable assistance here.

 

My requirements are:

1. High quality panel, hardware, firmware, and software.

2. Encrypted sensor RF communications.

3. Integration with smoke detectors. The house has two existing wired smokes and a heat detector in the furnace / water heater utility room.

4. Ability to use legacy hard-wired sensors on doors. Currently, there are no sensors on the windows.

5. Motion detectors. House currently has two wired motions, but could use one or two more. 

6. Home lighting system integration.

7. Integration with thermostats. I have two existing and brand new Honeywell Lyric T5 thermostats which I'd rather not replace.

8. Remote temperature readings.

9. Integration with interior sirens and speakers.

10. Text, email, and push alerts to our phones.

11. Cellular coms probably using AT&T LTE. Our town has both Verizon and AT&T LTE coverage. Lyric has an AT&T LTE card available now, but the Verizon card is supposed to be introduced soon. 2Gig and Qolsys have both AT&T and Verizon LTE cards available. 

12. "Smash & crash" protection because the controller is not locked away in a steel structured wiring panel.

13. DIY installation.

14. Voice Commands. We are an Apple ecosystem house, so I would prefer Siri voice integration rather than Amazon Alexa. But the breadth of products that work with Alexa is amazing (see "The Ultimate Guide to Smart Home Compatibility").

15. Integration with Apple Homekit

 

I don't particularly care for the thickness of the modern panels, especially when used as a keypad on a wall by an exit door. Worse, you have to power the panels with a huge, ugly plug-in transformer that must be located near the panel. At our primary residence, the Elk M1G and power supply is in a closet and I have recessed the Elk KP2 keypad for a sleek, simple look. I'm thinking of putting the new panel in a desktop stand in the kitchen (which isn't that far away from the exit doors) and skipping arming keypads or panels at the doors. We can always arm the system on our phones if we forget to arm it when leaving. I might put a remote panel in the upstairs master bedroom.

 

For lighting, my main interests are having the house look lived in when we are away; lighting that goes into away mode when security is armed; and lighting scenes. I haven't settled on a lighting system yet. There aren't many Apple Homekit switches available yet (and few oddball suppliers), so I'm leaning towards Z-Wave which is built into the three security panels (Z-Wave Plus in Qolsys and 2Gig; only Z-Wave in Lyric). I would love to use UPB again, but cannot find a way to integrate it into the panels. Is such an integration of UPB into these panels possible? I'm thinking about using Samsung SmartThings as a secondary Z-Wave Plus controller for improved speed and reliability at home. Would I be able to control the secondary SmartThings controller via phone app through the Lyric? I briefly considered Lutron RadioRA 2, but the prices are astronomical. Lighting is very confusing to me. Both GE/Jasco and Leviton have extensive product lines that meet my needs, but I'm concerned about light reaction speed and communications reliablity.

 

All three manufacturers meet all of the above requirements. For mail, text and alerts, I think I have to subscribe to Alarm.com (Qolsys and 2Gig) or Honeywell Total Connect because I cannot send my own text and emails directly from the panel like I can on my Elk M1G with the XEP card.

 

Should I replace the existing wired smokes (2) and heat detector (1) with the new Honeywell Six Smokes (they are combined photoelectric / rate of temp rise / temp detector)? Or should I continue with the wired smokes and heat detector and route them through a wired to wireless conversion module? I haven't looked, but the existing wired smokes are probably 20 years old and need to be changed anyway (the existing smoke alarms all say "change by 2007"!!). Can I use a combined photoelectric / rate of temp rise / temp detector in a utility room with a furnace and water heater?

 

Some strengths and weaknesses I've garnered:

* Honeywell's new 2.4 gigahertz SiX Sensor line looks solid. I've been told it operates on channels not used by WiFi so it will not cause congestion on WiFi networks. both SiX and legacy 5800 which can be used with Lyric.

* Only Honeywell has Homekit integration.

* Honeywell Lyric does NOT use Z-Wave Plus. If they introduce a new panel with Z-Wave Plus, I'd probably have to throw away the old panel. 2Gig and Qolsys are Z-Wave Plus controllers

* Qolsys is built on Android. I've never used Android OS products and, frankly, I'm leary about having a security panel built on the Android OS.

* Honeywell seems to be slower to introduce new features and firmware updates, but they have a strong history and presence in both residential and commercial security systems. Qolsys is a newcomer, but has good reviews for product quality and feature releases and updates.

* Setting up a system based on 2Gig, Qolsys or Lyric is cheaper, less labor intensive and faster than setting up another Elk M1G system.

 

Right now I'm leaning toward Honeywell Lyric because of company reputation, the SiX and 5800 sensor lines, the Lyric Thermostat compatibility, the 2.4 GHz encrypted sensor RF comms, and company reputation. I would miss out on Alarm.com, but could use Total Connect. I'm also very concerned about the original Z-Wave instead of the more robust Z-Wave Plus.

 

Lastly, there is a brand new August 2018 wildcard -- Honeywell's "Smart Home Security" system and Alexa speaker, an all-in-one security setup with a built-in smart speaker, camera, and accessories for $450. Should I put this in the mix?

 

What are your thoughts? Can you smart security and automation guys help me sort through this? This is so much more confusing than six years ago when I bought our Elk M1G system. So much has changed in a few short years!

 

What to buy??? Is Lyric the right solution for us?

 

If you read all the way to the end, I thank you (and say "congratulations for sticking with it!")


Steve

 

 

 

 

 

 



#2 lanbrown

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Posted 07 August 2018 - 03:15 PM

May not be a popular option, but you don't really need an alarm panel per se.  You could use Raspberry PI's or other Z-wave devices to handle the sensors.

 

I have an Networx NX-6V2 panel that I'll be integrating into my home automation system.  I have Z-wave Plus devices also on the HA system.  The HA system can send me alerts and if I wanted to use say LTE backup, I can easily do that as well.  The HA system I use someone wrote a plugin to app Home Kit support.  I don't have a need for it.  Best of all, no monthly fee to get access from my phone to control my system.  The HA system also has a Nest plugin, so the Protects and Nest thermostat are also controllable.  I can even set conditions.  Like if a temp sensor gets to or below a value it can say turn the water line heating circuits on.  If the temp reaches a certain point in the house, it can turn fan(s) on.  The fans on the back porch will turn off after a certain amount of time.  Integration with TV's and Roku boxes.  I even have DoorBird doorbells integrated into the HA system via a plugin.  There is also one for the Ring as well.  I can even integrate security cameras well.  If I want to keep the streams local, there is software that will do that and once again, a plugin to integrate it in.

 

So maybe then trying to find one thing to control a lot of things, you just find the right HA system that can integrate those separate systems into one logical system.  If the HA system is being upgraded or even down, the alarm system still works.

 

The HA system I use is Indigo Domotics which itself is Apple centric; it runs under macOS.



#3 neillt

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Posted 07 August 2018 - 08:23 PM

Your first 4 requirements really narrow you down to a legacy UL listed panel.  Whether that's a HAI/Leviton Omni, M1G, or some kind of dedicated Honeywell or Interlogix panel is up to you.  To be fair, I don't think any of the alarm system RF interfaces have what we would call modern encryption.  So that requirement may be a sort of red herring.

 

As far as the rest, there is no silver bullet.  You get close with an HAI Omni and Homeseer since it can control your existing Lyric thermostats and provide Amazon Echo control as well as push notifications.  Another option if you really want Apple Homekit is to run OpenHAB to speak to your panel and provide the HomeKit integration.  So that's 2 boxes plus the panel to do it all.



#4 ano

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Posted 07 August 2018 - 09:02 PM

Unfortunately NO system will ever meet all your "requirements" unless you design it yourself from scratch, and this will probably take several years. Most people here have either ELK or Leviton as these panels are UL listed and offer lots of extras. Most others, like Honeywell, for example, are less expandable and more proprietary, although at first it may not look like it.  So I'd start with ELK and Leviton, and see if you can live with what they support, which is a lot. If not, then look at others, but they are more limiting in the long-run. Of course, each system costs money too, so make sure you understand the price of everything, because prices can add up.

 

Lets look at your list.

 

1. High quality panel, hardware, firmware, and software.

  Sure, make sure its a UL listed burgler/fire alarm.

2. Encrypted sensor RF communications.

  Not really much reason for this and you won't find it that I know.

3. Integration with smoke detectors. The house has two existing wired smokes and a heat detector in the furnace / water heater utility room.

  You DON'T "integrate" your 120V smokes with a panel, but you can certainly install 12V smokes, and you should.

4. Ability to use legacy hard-wired sensors on doors. Currently, there are no sensors on the windows.

  Sure, any can do this.

5. Motion detectors. House currently has two wired motions, but could use one or two more. 

  Sure, any can. If they are really old, I'd replace them. New ones are so much better.

6. Home lighting system integration.

  This is where the ELK and Leviton excel. The others don't compare.

7. Integration with thermostats. I have two existing and brand new Honeywell Lyric T5 thermostats which I'd rather not replace.

  You may have to change thermostats. Most are proprietary.

8. Remote temperature readings.

  The Leviton Omni can connect to lots of these.

9. Integration with interior sirens and speakers.

  Sure, within power limits. Again if old, replace with newer ones.

10. Text, email, and push alerts to our phones.

  Leviton and ELK can do email and text with some extras. Push alerts, not so much.

11. Cellular coms probably using AT&T LTE. Our town has both Verizon and AT&T LTE coverage. Lyric has an AT&T LTE card available now, but the Verizon card is supposed to be introduced soon. 2Gig and Qolsys have both AT&T and Verizon LTE cards available.

  Shouldn't be a problem with any of them. 

12. "Smash & crash" protection because the controller is not locked away in a steel structured wiring panel.

  Hmm They are all mounted in metal locked boxes.

13. DIY installation.

  Mostly all are.

14. Voice Commands. We are an Apple ecosystem house, so I would prefer Siri voice integration rather than Amazon Alexa. But the breadth of products that work with Alexa is amazing (see "The Ultimate Guide to Smart Home Compatibility").

  You may have trouble with this but you can add Homeseer or other system if this is a requirement. I used to have this but rarely used it.

15. Integration with Apple Homekit

  If you want the Apple Homekit and voice commands, you may want to add a security system without this, then add another device like Alexa to control your lights and "home automation" control.



#5 SterlingDonnelly

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 09:29 AM

While most on this forum would steer you away from the security system brands that are typically sold through an alarm dealer, your list of requirements does line up nicely with the Honeywell Lyric system as it's the only HomeKit enabled system available and it does have available encrypted RF sensors.

 

1. High quality panel, hardware, firmware, and software. 

 

Honeywell has the best reputation in the industry when it comes to making rock solid UL listed systems. Their AlarmNet communications division has been handling IP and/or cellular alarm communications for decades and their Total Connect 2.0 software is continually getting updated. (AlarmNet/TC2 does require some level of monthly service through an alarm dealer though.) The Lyric system, and the SiX Series sensors, support firmware update which come out with pretty good frequency.

 

2. Encrypted sensor RF communications.

 

As the SiX Series sensors are new, it seems many don't know about them yet but they are Honeywell proprietary encrypted wireless sensors that work with the Lyric Controller.

 

DSC, another popular manufacturer of traditional UL listed security systems, also has their Power G line of encrypted wireless sensors. These will work with DSC's Neo systems and soon will work with the Qolsys IQ Panel 2, once their new Power-G daughter-board is released (https://qolsys.com/q...-sensor-line-2/).

 

3. Integration with smoke detectors. The house has two existing wired smokes and a heat detector in the furnace / water heater utility room.

 

Assuming these are life safety, house-powered smoke detectors, the best way to tie those in with a monitored system would be to use an FF345 device. As the Lyric supports 2Gig sensors (https://www.alarmgri...honeywell-lyric), one FF345 installed next to any of your interconnected smokes would make it so you can have a fire alarm triggered at your system once one of the smoke/heats goes into alarm mode. If the smokes and heat detector aren't interconnected, you could just add new SiXSMOKEs, that have the one-go-all-go feature and work with the Lyric, as another layer of monitored fire protection. Typically the existing smokes will be ionization while the monitored RF sensors, that work with professional systems, will be photoelectric. As both types of smoke detection technology work to detect different fires better than the other, having both can be the best way to protect your home. Depending on your time-line and need for carbon monoxide protection, you could wait for the SiXCOMBOs which should be available in the coming months.

 

While the SiXSMOKEs can offer smoke, heat and low temperature detection, all in one unit, the SiXCOMBOs will add carbon monoxide protection as well and will support the one-go-all-go feature.

 

4. Ability to use legacy hard-wired sensors on doors. Currently, there are no sensors on the windows.

 

Depending on how many wired door sensors you have, you could either wire a single door (or group of doors that are wired together on one zone) to a SiXCT sensor, as the SiXCT does offer a set of internal screw contacts so it can act as a pass through wireless transmitter for a wired zone instead of just being a sensor with a magnet like it would normally be used or you could use Honeywell's 5800C2W which accepts up to 9 wired zones and turns them into wireless outputs that can be programmed as wireless zones on the Lyric. The 5800C2W isn't encrypted though and so far there is no SiX version of that device. If you wanted encrypted wired-to-wireless translation, you could do multiple SiXCTs or you could look at the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 as Qolsys does have an 8-zone and 16-zone encrypted wired-to-wireless translator option available today.

 

5. Motion detectors. House currently has two wired motions, but could use one or two more. 

 

Same idea as above for integrating the wired ones and adding new ones is as simple as ordering new wireless sensors that match the system you choose. The SiXPIRs would be the ones to get with a Lyric.

 

6. Home lighting system integration.

 

The Lyric supports Z-Wave lights and offers the HomeKit integration option.

 

7. Integration with thermostats. I have two existing and brand new Honeywell Lyric T5 thermostats which I'd rather not replace.

 

The Lyric T5 WIFI thermostat won't integrate at a panel level with the Lyric, only the round WIFI Lyric thermostats do, but the newer T6 Pro Z-Wave version does integrate at a panel level. If you don't want to replace the one you have now, you would have the option of tying it in with a cloud based integration to your Total Connect 2.0 account, if you choose to go that route, so that you could control your system and automation through one app.

 

8. Remote temperature readings.

 

There aren't any remote temp sensors that would give you temp readings from rooms in your home that works with the Lyric system itself, although there are wireless temp sensors that can cause alarms when it's too hot or gold in the home. Also, the thermostats would give you remote viewing of the temp readings from any tied into the TC2 app.

 

9. Integration with interior sirens and speakers.

 

The Lyric won't integrate with wired sirens but does offer nice wireless SiXSIRENs as an option.

 

10. Text, email, and push alerts to our phones.

 

Total Connect 2.0 offers all of this and the HomeKit integration would offer push notifications as well. Total Connect 2.0 would require some level of monitoring service with an AlarmNet dealer but there are plenty of good options for that type of service so that you don't need to lock yourself into a long term, high priced monitoring contract as you may expect. There are even companies that offer TC2 without central station service, at a reduced monthly rate, if you weren't concerned with actual central station monitoring.

 

11. Cellular coms probably using AT&T LTE. Our town has both Verizon and AT&T LTE coverage. Lyric has an AT&T LTE card available now, but the Verizon card is supposed to be introduced soon. 2Gig and Qolsys have both AT&T and Verizon LTE cards available. 

 

12. "Smash & crash" protection because the controller is not locked away in a steel structured wiring panel.

 

If you went with a Lyric and got central station service, you'd be able to use their Advanced Protection Logic (APL) feature which is their version of "smash & crash". If you went with a Qolsys IQ Panel 2 and Alarm.com service, with central station service included, you'd have the "smash & crash" as well.

 

13. DIY installation.

 

14. Voice Commands. We are an Apple ecosystem house, so I would prefer Siri voice integration rather than Amazon Alexa. But the breadth of products that work with Alexa is amazing (see "The Ultimate Guide to Smart Home Compatibility").

 

The Lyric has built-in voice commands available but I imagine you'd be better off using the TC2/Alexa skill or using Siri through the HomeKit integration.

 

15. Integration with Apple Homekit

 

You won't be able to integrate with HomeKit without activating some level of monitoring service on the Lyric first as the AlarmNet dealer has to enable the HomeKit for it to work. 






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