First Alert FA168C-GP - Unable to retrieve installer code

Reply

  #1  
Old 06-05-15, 08:35 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 13
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
First Alert FA168C-GP - Unable to retrieve installer code

I bought this house with a Guardian Security system. In the main unit box, I found that it's a First Alert FA168C-GP system (what I've read online leads me to believe this is a Honeywell Vista 20P clone). We have two FA6150 keypads. I don't know any of the codes. The previous owners and I are not exactly on good terms since it was a rocky purchase, so I'm hoping that I can get the info I need on my own.

I found these instructions in the forum FAQ on how to retrieve the installer code so that I can set my own master code:
Retrieving Installer code
Nearly all Ademco family (this includes First Alert, Security Link, and several ADT models) panels can retrieve the Installer code by disconnecting the battery, then the AC power. Wait a minute, then reconnect power in the opposite order. Within 50 seconds, on any keypad press * + # at the same time. Unless the system has had an installer lockout feature activated, the panel should go into program mode. The details by system will vary, but the programming section number that shows on the display will be the location for the installer code (on _most_ panels this will be 20). Key in # and the location number, and the panel will read back the installer code one digit at a time. Exit program mode using *99.


However, I can't seem to get all the way through these steps. Here is what I've done and what I see on the keypad.
1) Disconnect battery in the main box.
2) Unplug the transformer.
3) Wait a minute or so (in case it matters)
4) Plug in the transformer (battery is still disconnected).
5) A few seconds later, press * & # at the same time.
6) Keypad displays "20"
7) Press #, 2, 0
8) Keypad displayes "EE"

My understanding is that the fact that the keypad displays "20" after pressing * & # means that there is no installer lockout.

What am I missing?

Thanks in advance!
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 06-06-15, 01:49 AM
Member
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Maryland, USA
Posts: 920
Received 11 Votes on 11 Posts
Okay, this is odd. "6150" is a model number for the Honeywell/Ademco line of panels and keypads. Do you actually see "FA6150" printed on the keypad anywhere? The First Alert equivalent keypad is the FA270, which looks a lot like the 6150, but is different enough to see the difference. I know a lot of techs think the Honeywell and FA keypads are interchangeable, and I've sometimes used Honey/Ademco to replace FA keypads; but other times I found the two systems incompatible.

The FA-168C is almost the same as the Honeywell Vista-20P, but there are small modifications in the data format that sometimes make Honeywell keypads not completely compatible with FA panels: Although they can often be made to work, sometimes data from the FA panel can't be "understood" by the keypad, and you get an "EE" on the display. I've encountered this before--not often, but enough to know it happens. You might be able to use the 6150 keypads to do user functions (arming & disarming) but programming data may be just different enough to confuse the keypad or panel. The installer didn't use the 6150 to program the system--he had to have an Alpha keypad, probably an FA570, to do the *56 Zone programming.

I would try entering a new Installer Code: *, 2, 0, [CODE], then exit with *99 and see if [CODE], 8, 00 gets you back into programming. If it works, then you can program your Master and User codes from there; you just won't be able to read your Installer Code at Field 20.

Let us know what you find.
 
  #3  
Old 06-06-15, 04:48 AM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Gainesville, FL, USA
Posts: 16,168
Received 25 Votes on 24 Posts
I think that it's more likely that the FA dealer used their downloader software to make the installer code not changeable from a local keypad. Will it allow you to view any of the other programming locations?
 
  #4  
Old 06-06-15, 06:30 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 13
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Do you actually see "FA6150" printed on the keypad anywhere?
Yes. When I remove the keypads from the wall, there's a sticker with "FA6150RF-GP" under it behind one of them and "FA6150KP-GP" behind the other. In both cases, if I peel back the sticker, "Honeywell 6150" is molded into the plastic part mounted to the wall. The "KP" keypad has "SA6150AS" on the circuit board and the "RF" keypad has "SA6150RFAS".

I would try entering a new Installer Code
I will do that today and report back. Thanks for the suggestion! I didn't realize I might be able to change the Installer Code without knowing the old one.
 
  #5  
Old 06-06-15, 06:34 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 13
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I think that it's more likely that the FA dealer used their downloader software to make the installer code not changeable from a local keypad. Will it allow you to view any of the other programming locations?
This is the sort of thing I'm worried might be the case. I'll try this if ChosunOne's suggestion of trying to set a new Installer Code doesn't work out.

Thanks!
 
  #6  
Old 06-06-15, 07:56 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 13
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I tried both suggestions. If I try to change the installer code, I see "EE" as soon as I press *, 2, 0.

It will allow me to view other programming locations. So, it sounds like the local lockout option is enabled, which I suppose means I'm out of luck?

Oh well, what got me messing with it in the first place was that the keypad kept beeping with "BAT" and "NO AC" on the display. As it turns out, during a recent appliance install, the wrong breaker got flipped off and left off. This shut off power to the alarm system, so it's been running off the battery and depleted it. Now that I've corrected that, it's displaying "AC" and "BAT" (but I verified with a multimeter that the battery is now seeing 13.56V and should be charging).

So, at this point I think we're back to where I want to be ... the alarm system is inactive but I get a chime when a door is opened. That's good enough for now. If I could get in and program it to dial a different number or something, that'd just be icing on the cake.

Thanks much for your suggestions! And, if you have any suggestions on defeating the local lockout, I'd be curious to hear them. It's not all that important to me at this point, but it might be good information to have down the road if I do decide I want to change anything.
 
  #7  
Old 06-06-15, 09:00 AM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 52,643
Received 340 Votes on 318 Posts
Oh well, what got me messing with it in the first place was that the keypad kept beeping with "BAT" and "NO AC" on the display.
Even if you had gotten into programming you couldn't do anything with the lo battery or no AC.
Those are normal panel functions and cannot be changed.
 
  #8  
Old 06-06-15, 11:56 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 13
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Sorry, I should clarify. I had already corrected the "NO AC" condition before attempting any of this. The battery was disconnected throughout as I connected and disconnected the AC power while trying to get into programming mode.
 
  #9  
Old 11-07-15, 05:00 PM
Member
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: United States
Posts: 4
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Continuation of this topic

So my daughter and son-in-law just bought a house that has a FA168C-GP Alarm system with a 6150RF keypad, several 5816RF door sensors and a couple of PIR sensors and it looks like we have the same issue where the installer code is locked out. I have tried the work arounds posted here to no avail. I get the same results as the original poster. Apparently The previous owner never used the system because none of the wireless sensors seem to be programmed into the system. I was able to figure out the master code (1234) and was able to change it to something else. So the issue is getting the sensors programmed so the system will work.

Is there no other way to disable the installer lockout feature once it's activated? Will I have to replace the control board? I was considering getting a 6160RF Alpha numeric to make programming easier as well. Any other suggesting would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
 
  #10  
Old 11-07-15, 05:16 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 13
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
For the record, I made no progress. We use the system for the door chime function, but we're out of luck as far as an alarm system goes.
 
  #11  
Old 11-07-15, 08:42 PM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Gainesville, FL, USA
Posts: 16,168
Received 25 Votes on 24 Posts
With these systems, pretty much all you can do is replace the motherboard, and start over. The newer First Alert keypads are pretty much interchangeable with the standard Vista 20p ones. It's the previous generation that's based on modified Vista 20se chassis that had the incompatibility issues.

I have a strong dislike of the installer lockout as a business practice. It made sense in the past when the installer was essentially leasing the system to the subscriber. Now, most people are outright owners of their hardware, so I call BS on the use of the lockout, in most cases...
 
  #12  
Old 11-08-15, 07:44 AM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: US
Posts: 391
Received 4 Votes on 3 Posts
Exclamation

Pretty much agree with MrRonFL on wholesale "locking" of panels. However, my contracts for monitoring stated that the communications portion of system programming, including the data, was the sole and exclusive property of my company. Among other things, it also stated that upon discontinuing of monitoring for any reason, I had the right to remove/alter the communications programming at no charge to the customer.

I had a monitored panel sold (estate sale), moved to another property, connected to phone lines and sending signals. Guy that bought the panel wouldn't pay for monitoring, but the police department talked him into letting me turn off communications. Another home owner managed to get into and change programming a couple of times, creating havoc for everybody and ill-will toward my company. That's when I started locking monitored panels; once I turned off comms and removed phone numbers and acct number, I unlocked the panel.
 
  #13  
Old 11-08-15, 03:01 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 13
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
This seems perfectly reasonable to me. As I said above, we bought the house with the panel and everything in it. I've never paid a dime to the monitoring company and they don't owe me a thing. I'm not interested in having it monitored (heck, I don't even have a landline, so I'd have to get a GSM module or something!) ... but I wouldn't mind having it make a really loud noise and/or call *me* when it was triggered.

I really haven't put any effort into figuring out who I need to call, but maybe it's worth a shot. If they'll come out, turn off comms and such and unlock the panel, I'd be perfectly happy.
 
  #14  
Old 11-12-15, 03:05 PM
Member
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: United States
Posts: 4
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Unhappy Thanks

Thank you for the replies.
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


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