ADT Cellular system check reports "FAIL" about 40% of the time. Meaning?

Reply

  #1  
Old 12-05-13, 08:48 AM
A
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 6
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
ADT Cellular system check reports "FAIL" about 40% of the time. Meaning?

Hello all,

We recently had a ADT system installed that uses cellular connections (only). I was surprised to learn that there is no TEST mode to demonstrate connection to the monitoring center short of setting the alarm off and awaiting a call. I then asked how do I even know it's connected? The installer showed me the programming code that reports the radio info. Right then and there it showed "-97 FAIL 4G/3G" After repeated trys it continued to show FAIL until it finally crept up to "-95 POOR 4G/3G" The installer shrugged and left. I now walk by and check this daily. I'd say that I see about 40% FAIL, 40% POOR, and 20% GOOD. It is pretty random, maybe slightly connected to weather, which is not unusual for cellular signals.

To my uneducated mind, any random FAIL in a security system is bad news. I sent a note to my ADT sales rep with no response. Before calling and getting my dander up, can anyone with some knowledge tell me what I am seeing and if it is a genuine concern? Or is that system info reporting on something other than a reliable connection to the monitoring center?

Thank!
 
  #2  
Old 12-05-13, 09:54 AM
M
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Gainesville, FL, USA
Posts: 16,896
Received 116 Votes on 107 Posts
Basically it means that the cellular carrier being used in that area has marginal service in your location.
 
  #3  
Old 12-05-13, 10:48 AM
A
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 6
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Howdy MrRon,

That's what I think too. I specifically asked the salesman about cell issues and was told it is not a problem because they use higher wattage transceivers than the typical cell phone. Where I am at now is deciding if it is wise/worthwhile to live with a system that commonly reports "FAIL" in its diagnostics. Or just have them take it out.

One way that I could live with it is if some techie could explain that the fail is in bidirectional communication and that unidirectional (outward bond) signals are blasted out and would get received whereas inward bound signals (network arm/disarm) are less certain.

So yeah, I am just trying to gauge where this should land on my concern-O-meter.

Cheers
 
  #4  
Old 12-05-13, 03:10 PM
kcxj's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Kansas City, MO
Posts: 928
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Bottom line: If an alarm occurs when the cell signal is not present, the alarm will not be reported. What is the model of the alarm that ADT installed?
 
  #5  
Old 12-05-13, 07:53 PM
M
Member
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: U.S.A.
Posts: 58
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
We have Alarm.com. Before the system was installed, the installer triple-checked the wireless coverage in our area before continuing with set-up. The transmitter has an LED that flashed the single strength (1-5 flashes...the more flashes, the better). The installer's manual states to find a different location of anything below "3" is flashed. I would think this to be standard practice whenever a cellular alarm system is setup in a location for the first time...
 
  #6  
Old 12-05-13, 07:54 PM
A
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 6
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Hey Kc,

Good question. Manual says Safewatch Quickconnect Plus. Ref. Lynx Plus. Looks like the part number is 800-03858-4 11/09 Rev. A (but that might be the manual's part number). It is the stand alone unit and not the one that reports to the iHub, or whatever their broadband solution is.

I have attached a picture of what I am seeing from tonight. I see it quite a bit. Problem is, I have not seen the code that I am using provided in the documentation. Hence, I do not know exactly what it is reporting. Though I have a good idea.

Thanks for any insights.

Cheers
 
Attached Images  
  #7  
Old 12-05-13, 07:57 PM
M
Member
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: U.S.A.
Posts: 58
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Also, did you try and trip the alarm when "FAIL" was present? Were you called?
 
  #8  
Old 12-05-13, 08:08 PM
A
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 6
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Maher,

I agree. This unit is wholly radio driven, no hard wires besides the power cable. It is located convenient to entry and exit, but it can be elsewhere for better reception. We use the fob and wireless to interact with it, so hand access is not that big of a deal. The built in "siren" is so wimpy I think I would prefer it upstairs where it might wake us up. Hiding it upstairs may also help prevent "Crash and smash." As to why the installer saw the 'fail' and just left.. no idea. Inexperience?

Cheers
 
  #9  
Old 12-05-13, 08:22 PM
A
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 6
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
No, I have not yet done that. I'd like to know what the metrics mean first. That is, suppose it shows fail but works anyway (it trips and they call). Then, what exactly does fail mean? Otherwise stated, should anyone pay full price for, and rely on, a security system that consistently reports FAIL in the communications module? I have not yet approached them. I wanted to ping the hive before that conversation to see if other have experience with this technology or error message. I have not found anything on Google about it. If ADT can assure me and stand behind that fail message I will happily move in with life
Thanks for the ideas and conversation, I appreciate it.

Cheers
 
  #10  
Old 12-05-13, 09:00 PM
kcxj's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Kansas City, MO
Posts: 928
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
That unit has the cell unit built into the keypad/panel and connects over the AT&T network. Honeywell makes a remote antenna, but they only work so well .
 
  #11  
Old 12-05-13, 10:20 PM
J
Member
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 293
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Cellular strength

I have seen plenty of these work fine with this "fail" message when testing strength thru the panel (code 899, I think?) It has been a while since I used one.

This basically indicates a weak signal more than no signal. It will work up to -104 or so. It is very close tho. The antenna mentioned previously here may add 3 - 5db boost, not very much but sometimes that is enough. If the signal fails completely then you should get a trouble "check 103 lng rng radio" message on the display with an annoying beeping and most likely a phone call.

I would suggest sending a signal to test it and see if they call you, how long it takes, ect. Just be prepared to answer and give your password abort code. Send the medical alarm. Then "everything is fine, I accidentally set it off..." Thats what they get paid for right? If the signal fails to go thru after several minutes, you will get a trouble message communication failure.

If you are able to open the box, two lock tabs depressed with a screwdriver on the top to open, and observe the lights on the cell unit (right side on the back plate), you should see a blinking yellow light and a green light. If there is no green light, your signal is too low but can work, not recommended. If there is a red light then no signal, not good.

Depending on the package you have with ADT, you may either move the panel or opt for a different type, external from the box, cellular unit. They have some universal ones made by DSC that will connect to your Lynx Plus (or pretty much anything using contact ID reporting) but they use a different cell service called Connect24 instead of AlarmNet. I have never had one that didn't work. I have seen several vlp (lynx plus) radios fail.

Good luck with it... If all else fails open the case and unplug the cell unit until they call you. lol. Then they will have to come fix it. Just be sure to put it back together before they get there and pretend you never saw anything.
 
  #12  
Old 12-08-13, 08:07 PM
A
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 6
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Howdy jdh,

Thanks for the knowledgeable reply. So it sounds like I am on the edge, but not completely SOL. I have not seen the check 103 message, so at least in that regard it has not completely crapped the bed. I'll follow up with your diagnostics and then see if I need to go all cloak and dagger to get them out here. ;-)

Cheers
 
  #13  
Old 12-08-13, 09:10 PM
T
Member
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: usa
Posts: 603
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Just a couple of thoughts:

Is there a landline available to use as a secondary method to communicate or, if that panel has wifi capability [and you have wifi] -- maybe have them do that at no charge.

Something earlier mentioned about moving panel to a higher/better location.

Cell towers are often being worked on: being powered down and reconfigured so things will change [for better or worse] -- or things built in between to deflect signals. There are ways of contacting cellular provider to get info.

Possibly threaten breach of contract??? [to manager, not technician ]
 
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: