Author Topic: Alarm.Com Z-Wave Module with Vera  (Read 32600 times)

B0SST0N

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Alarm.Com Z-Wave Module with Vera
« on: June 28, 2011, 12:28:35 pm »
After reading several reports that the Alarm.com zwave module (Can be used with the GE Concord 4 Alarm Panel and GE Simon XT System, maybe also others?) could not be used as a secondary controller I decided to call Alarm.com and find out the truth behind the mystery.

The technician I spoke to gave me several positive responses after talking to the module project manager (the engineering department is in-house there).

#1 - The Alarm.Com module can be used as the secondary controller it just needs to be put into replicate mode by pressing the zwave button 3 times after putting the primary controller (vera) into add controller mode.

#2 - The Alarm.Com module firmware is upgradeable over-the-air.

#3 - Alarm.Com has been in contact with micasaverde to ensure interoperability with Vera.

I am going to try and add the Alarm.Com controller module again tonight using the replicate mode as instructed by the technician. If it works, awesome! If not, I will be in contact with MCV and Alarm.Com to help get these two working together. The Alarm.Com remote interface is very nice and would be a great way to have some basic functionality of our Zwave systems remotely. It is nice that it is connected by GSM (more reliable than my broadband) and already has auxiliary power from the Alarm panel in case of an outage.

In the meantime, I have also installed the GE Superbus2000 Automation Module so that I may use the Vera Plugin for the Concord 4 panel when it is ready.

Overall, it seems as if Alarm.Com has a good thing going and I appreciate their motivation to ensure compatibility with other companies in the industry and it is nice to see them be responsive and supportive to advanced users and configurations.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2011, 05:18:07 pm by B0SST0N »

B0SST0N

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Re: Alarm.Com Z-Wave Module with Vera
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2011, 04:06:39 pm »
Ok, I tried adding the module to vera... I put the Vera into include mode.

Then I held down the zwave button on the Alarm.Com module for 3 long consecutive presses until the "Busy" light changed modes on each press. The modes work like this:

1st Long Press - Yellow Busy LED 4 Blink Pattern - Include Mode
2nd Long Press - Yellow Busy LED 2 Blink Pattern - Exclude Mode
3rd Long Press - Yellow Busy LED Solid - Replicate Mode

Make sure to hold down the zwave button on each press until you notice the LED pattern change that reflects the new mode, this is what I was doing wrong before.

Once the Alarm.Com Zwave module entered replicate mode vera started going nuts trying to add the device... SUCCESS!... or so I thought.   :-\

Ultimately the Alarm.Com module was added to the device list successfully but failed to configure with the error "Failed At: Getting Secure Classes". The Vera and Alarm.Com module are within 3FT of eachother.

The good news is that this DOES seem like it will work with a little tweaking from MCV. I believe the Alarm.Com module will have no problem being added as a secondary controller once MCV fixes the Secure Class Transfer of the Locks. I am submitting a trouble ticket and hopefully we will see this fixed and working soon!
« Last Edit: June 28, 2011, 05:20:22 pm by B0SST0N »

B0SST0N

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Re: Alarm.Com Z-Wave Module with Vera
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2011, 04:16:16 pm »
Successfully submited ticket: 19876

PurdueGuy

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Re: Alarm.Com Z-Wave Module with Vera
« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2011, 02:42:20 pm »
I'm REALLY hoping you have success with this!  I'm glad to hear Alarm.com is more open to it.  FrontPoint (sister to Alarm.com) didn't have much/any interest when I called.  They just said "it doesn't work with other controllers."
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blazinace

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Re: Alarm.Com Z-Wave Module with Vera
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2011, 04:02:52 pm »
Bosston, I have been using the alarm.com app with my Go ControlPanel by 2gig since February.  However, isn't there a fee attached using Vera as a secondary device with it ?  When I click on the Security and the Home Services button to use zwave, it doesn't display any of the zwave devices.  The 2 GIG manual explains that it is "a system option for controlling zwave devices". I'm just curious if there is a way around it without paying the extra fees.

PurdueGuy

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Re: Alarm.Com Z-Wave Module with Vera
« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2011, 04:11:13 pm »
Bosston, I have been using the alarm.com app with my Go ControlPanel by 2gig since February.  However, isn't there a fee attached using Vera as a secondary device with it ?  When I click on the Security and the Home Services button to use zwave, it doesn't display any of the zwave devices.  The 2 GIG manual explains that it is "a system option for controlling zwave devices". I'm just curious if there is a way around it without paying the extra fees.
From what I've gotten from the different tech support people, they have to "toggle bits" to get you to be able to see anything on the Alarm.com site.

I was paying for lights and such, but I wasn't enabled on the site. A quick call to tech support fixed that. It appears that the billing and website features are not coupled together right now.  They had to manually configure my account for lights, locks, and thermostats as I went.  Perhaps the reasoning is they don't want the site to expose items that the customer hasn't paid for?
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PurdueGuy

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Re: Alarm.Com Z-Wave Module with Vera
« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2011, 05:00:27 pm »
Ok, I tried adding the module to vera... I put the Vera into include mode.

Then I held down the zwave button on the Alarm.Com module for 3 long consecutive presses until the "Busy" light changed modes on each press. The modes work like this:

1st Long Press - Yellow Busy LED 4 Blink Pattern - Include Mode
2nd Long Press - Yellow Busy LED 2 Blink Pattern - Exclude Mode
3rd Long Press - Yellow Busy LED Solid - Replicate Mode

Make sure to hold down the zwave button on each press until you notice the LED pattern change that reflects the new mode, this is what I was doing wrong before.

How long did you hold it down for the 3rd press?

I can get it to the 4-blinks, then 2 blinks, but each time I try for the solid blink, it just goes back to 4-blinks.
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B0SST0N

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Re: Alarm.Com Z-Wave Module with Vera
« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2011, 06:10:04 pm »
Frontpoint is a dealer of alarm.com. Alarm.Com actually makes the module and the interface, dealers are good for low level tech issues... But if you want to get the real story you have to go to the engineering department that develops the services (alarm.com). Livewatch (the dealer I bought from), while helpful with the alarm, was not well versed yet on the zwave stuff. I sent an email to the alarm.com developers today, I hope to hear back from them soon.

BTW, I got to the replicate mode by pressing the button the same amount of time it took to get into the first two modes.

If you put vera into include mode... Then put the alarm.com module into replicate mode... You should watch the status area in the Vera dashboard. Once you successfully get the alarm.com module into replicate mode you will see that status area immediately start to change and go through various steps while vera copies the network into the alarm.com module.

PurdueGuy

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Re: Alarm.Com Z-Wave Module with Vera
« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2011, 07:04:45 pm »
BTW, I got to the replicate mode by pressing the button the same amount of time it took to get into the first two modes.

If you put vera into include mode... Then put the alarm.com module into replicate mode... You should watch the status area in the Vera dashboard. Once you successfully get the alarm.com module into replicate mode you will see that status area immediately start to change and go through various steps while vera copies the network into the alarm.com module.
Strange...I tried about 10 times with no luck.  Tried with Vera not in include mode and with it in include mode...no difference.  I'll try it again.

I assume you got to include mode by tapping the Z-Wave button once?  Or did you do it via the dashboard, and sent it to include one controller for 60 seconds?
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fronobulax

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Re: Alarm.Com Z-Wave Module with Vera
« Reply #9 on: June 30, 2011, 02:58:55 am »
It appears that both systems listed by LiveWatch are GE and that the cost for monitoring without video is $30 per month and with video $40 per month?

B0SST0N

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Re: Alarm.Com Z-Wave Module with Vera
« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2011, 07:20:01 am »
BTW, I got to the replicate mode by pressing the button the same amount of time it took to get into the first two modes.

If you put vera into include mode... Then put the alarm.com module into replicate mode... You should watch the status area in the Vera dashboard. Once you successfully get the alarm.com module into replicate mode you will see that status area immediately start to change and go through various steps while vera copies the network into the alarm.com module.
Strange...I tried about 10 times with no luck.  Tried with Vera not in include mode and with it in include mode...no difference.  I'll try it again.

I assume you got to include mode by tapping the Z-Wave button once?  Or did you do it via the dashboard, and sent it to include one controller for 60 seconds?

I put vera into include mode by tapping the zwave button once.

Do you have a Concord 4 or Simon XT?

B0SST0N

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Re: Alarm.Com Z-Wave Module with Vera
« Reply #11 on: June 30, 2011, 07:23:20 am »
It appears that both systems listed by LiveWatch are GE and that the cost for monitoring without video is $30 per month and with video $40 per month?

Yes, that is correct... I dont think it is a bad deal including central alarm monitoring...

Dare I say, back in my naive days I paid 45$ a month for a simple bare-bones system with cellular backup (no phone line) from Brinks... never again.

The going rate from companies like ADT/Vivint for this kind of control is 60$+ a month (under contract for 3 years!). Even FrontPoint I believe is 55$+ a month for full functionality with cameras.

LiveWatch seems to be one of the better "all-inclusive" deals around. I hear you can do it cheaper by paying Alarm Relay and Alarm.Com seperately but it looked like too much of a pain to research and implement...

Yes, vera can do most of this... and I will still use vera for most of my remote needs... but what I am paying for is a UL-Approved Alarm System and UL-Approved monitoring because Vera is not an alarm system and shouldn't be considered an equal replacement for one. The zwave features, cameras, and remote control of the alarm system are a bonus... but vera can do those better for free (but perhaps not as reliably).

The times I have gone on vacation or gone on a business trip it would have been nice to have a reliable backup to vera... things always seem to have problems when you need them most... with LiveWatch I am eliminating the unreliable factors (and my broadband connection is one of them).
« Last Edit: June 30, 2011, 07:41:27 am by B0SST0N »

PurdueGuy

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Re: Alarm.Com Z-Wave Module with Vera
« Reply #12 on: June 30, 2011, 08:24:56 am »
I put vera into include mode by tapping the zwave button once.

Do you have a Concord 4 or Simon XT?
I have Simon XT, firmware version 1.4 (I believe).  The unit is about 6 weeks old (to me), not sure how long it might have been sitting on a shelf.
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B0SST0N

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Re: Alarm.Com Z-Wave Module with Vera
« Reply #13 on: June 30, 2011, 11:12:07 am »
I put vera into include mode by tapping the zwave button once.

Do you have a Concord 4 or Simon XT?
I have Simon XT, firmware version 1.4 (I believe).  The unit is about 6 weeks old (to me), not sure how long it might have been sitting on a shelf.

I'm not sure if the programming is different on the Simon XT, your best bet would be to call Alarm.Com directly. I can't imagine they would change the firmware between each system as the Zwave/GSM implementation is just an add-on daughterboard.

PurdueGuy

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Re: Alarm.Com Z-Wave Module with Vera
« Reply #14 on: July 01, 2011, 01:35:12 pm »
I put vera into include mode by tapping the zwave button once.

Do you have a Concord 4 or Simon XT?
I have Simon XT, firmware version 1.4 (I believe).  The unit is about 6 weeks old (to me), not sure how long it might have been sitting on a shelf.

I'm not sure if the programming is different on the Simon XT, your best bet would be to call Alarm.Com directly. I can't imagine they would change the firmware between each system as the Zwave/GSM implementation is just an add-on daughterboard.
For anyone keeping track...

I called Alarm.com, and was told "The Simon XT can be a secondary controller, but it's more involved.  You'll need to contact FrontPoint, who can then call us directly if they don't know what to do."

Called FrontPoint back, and the guy was really nice.  Initially, they wanted me to pair Vera as secondary, and use Vera to include (similar to using the GE Remote).  I told them that I wanted the Simon XT as secondary, so he's calling Alarm.com right now, and will call me back.

B0SST0N, if your contacts at Alarm.com want any additional help/beta tester, I'm more than happy.  Being a computer engineer and gadget geek, I'm more than willing to endure some bugs if it can prove useful!
« Last Edit: August 30, 2011, 12:26:13 pm by PurdueGuy »
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