Replace Concord 4 Ultra with a Vista 20P

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Old 09-12-20, 03:07 PM
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Replace Concord 4 Ultra with a Vista 20P

I am replacing my GE Concord with a Vista 20P with an 6160RF keypad. I have several questions, as I will also be using a Resolution Products RE224GH translator allowing use of all the GE Wireless sensors.

1) Can I learn the GE sensors into the 20P panel, and still have them communicate with the GE Panel at the same time.
2) Does anyone have experience with the old Resolution Products RE224 series translators, and if so, what problems did you run in to. I will be using the RE224GH for wireless translation.
3) Can the Resolution Products translate life safety sensors, like smoke and CO detectors
4) Where is the best source for detailed Vista 20P installer and user manuals.

This forum is a giant wealth of knowledge, and I look forward to learning a great deal on setting up and using the Vista 20P panel, and later on, adding Internet access via the Envisalink EV4-L.
 

Last edited by weigle2; 09-12-20 at 03:43 PM.
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  #2  
Old 09-12-20, 08:56 PM
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1) The quick answer is: Yes.
The GE sensor/transmitters (or _any_ professional grade sensor/transmitter) sends the same information when it transmits: Open/close status, check-in (supervisory), low battery, & tamper). There is no limit to how many devices (control panels with receivers) can be programmed to and listen for and recognize the transmitter's signals. Think of each sensor/transmitter as a voice; and any number of "listeners" (microphones or ears) can learn to listen for and recognize that voice.

2) A few years ago, I set up a Vista-20P/ RE224GH/ 6160RF mock-up at my home, with about a dozen GE sensor/transmitters and a dozen 5816s, and it worked with no hitches through extensive testing. IF other techs on here with more experience have run into problems, feel free to weigh in.

3)
It's not recommended to use the RP Translators for life safety sensors like smokes and CO detects, not because the Translators aren't reliable, but (AFAIK) because it's recommended that you have as direct a signal path from sensor to Control as possible.
(a) Most reliable is a hardwired sensor, wired directly into the Control panel. Sensor devices can fail, but chances are slight.
(b) Next most reliable is a sensor tied to control through a zone expander, either hardwired (4219 for the Vista-20P or RF (wireless) Receiver. In either of those cases, the chance of failure of either the sensor or the expander increases the chance that the signal will not get to the Control. The chance of failure is multiplied.

For some reason, it's recommended that a 4219 not be used for life safety, but wireless seems to be OK---even though I personally have more confidence in the reliability of a hardwired expansion zone than a wireless zone---because there are factors other than sensor or RF Receiver device failure that can cause a wireless signal to fail to reach the Control. (Homeowner adding a large mirror in the wrong place comes to mind.) But I invite other techs to weigh in.
(c) Less reliable is wireless sensor + RF Translator + wireless sensor/transmitter, because the signal has to go through 3 devices to get to the Control: If any of the three fails, the other two that work don't make up for it. The signal gets lost.
Granted, it helps that all three of the devices in question are reliable (I don't know the failure rates, but I'm confident they're all low.) But if we posit a failure rate of 1% (probably very pessimistic) for each device, then each has a reliability of 99%; and 0.99 X 0.99 X 0.99 = 97% reliability: 3% chance of failure instead of 1%.
Again, the actual reliability is probably much higher, but the point is that running the signal through more devices increases, however slightly, the chance of failure.

If someone out there knows the actual failure rate for any of these devices, I'd love to hear it, along with the source. I'm not talking about a device failing so it doesn't check in, and has to be replaced; I'm talking about it failing so a signal doesn't get through to the Control Panel. With the advent of wireless supervision about 30 years ago, my own experience is that it's extremely rare. I have to admit that I don't have extensive experience with Resolution Products Translators. I would appreciate other techs weighing in.

To answer the question directly, all the Translator does is convert signals from one frequency & format to another freq & format: so it CAN be used for life safety devices. Bottom line, I'd have to say that, knowing there is _some_ increased risk of failure, use your own judgement.

4) The best source for Installer/User Manuals is the Internet (Google), which you probably have already used. Be sure to include the Revision Number of your panel when you search for the manuals. There are slight differences.

The manuals for professional-grade Panels like GE Concord and Vista-20P, are written for professions, with the assumption that they have some familiarity with the terminology and jargon of the industry, and how the system will work overall. They're not written for DIYers, and there will be a learning curve in using them.

That's what this forum is for, when you come across something you don't understand. Use us.
 
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Old 09-15-20, 03:50 AM
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ChosunOne - Thank you for the detailed, and quick response. More than helpful.

One last question, please. I'm trying to set up the panel and 6160RF keypad, along with the Resolution Products RE224GH translator. Is there a way around hardwire zones 1 thru 8 reporting as FAULT? There are currently no wired devices connected to these terminals (still connected to the Concord Ultra). All I want to do is test the wireless sensors and how they learn into the Vista 20P for now. Thanks.
 
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Old 09-15-20, 03:56 AM
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Get that Envisilink now! I have been so pleased with mine. A while back they added Amazon Alexa function to it. So much you can do with it!
 
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Old 09-15-20, 03:59 AM
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Shouldn't EOL resistors be put across unused wired zones?
 
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Old 09-15-20, 04:54 AM
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garyemunson - Yes, that looks like the proper thing to do.
Is it not possible to just program zones 1 thru 8 as not being used?

RE: Envisalink EVL-4 will come next, once I am sure everything translates and learns reliably as far as the sensors go. Having IP access to the panel is one of the big reasons I am switching from the GE Concord to the Vista 20P. If I can get around paying monthly fees for monitoring, I will.
 
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Old 09-15-20, 05:03 AM
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I think it needs the resistance across an unused terminal to work right. Any of you pros able to set things straight? I use one of the "other" monitoring services that have a reasonable annual fee. We like to go RVing and there are many times we are out of cellphone range and like knowing the alarm will be answered. With a well installed Vista 20, the chance of a false alarm is pretty slim.
 
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Old 09-15-20, 08:14 AM
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FYI - Lesson learned the hard way when learning RF Sensors.

The process of learning sensors is relatively easy, but there is a caveat to this process if using a translator device as I am. I tried to set up and learn my front door contact and everything seemed to work pretty smoothly. However, I did notice that unlike the GE System, the Vista 20P takes any trigger to learn the sensor. I discovered this after noticing the confirmation tone from the keypad was heard before I even had a chance to trip the tamper switch in the front door sensor. OK, so I did this several times until I realized I was passing directly by a PIR motion sensor on my way to the front door. Turns out any sort of sensor trip, will learn it to the Vista panel. At least on the Concord system, you need to trip the tamper switch for it to learn.
Other than covering motion sensors, and removing batteries from door shock sensors, anyone have any suggestions?
 
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Old 09-15-20, 09:56 PM
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I apologize for not being on earlier. I have been having trouble staying connected to internet at home. Right now (knock on wood) I seem to have a good connection.

Weigle2, you're absolutely right, the enrolling ("learning") process IS different with the Vista-20P. Be aware that 5816s (the most common door/window wireless sensors) actually enroll different zones when different triggers are used to enroll/learn the sensors. If you used a 5816 Tamper to enroll the sensor, then the V-20P will ignore the on-board or external reed switch as triggers. It will only respond to the Tamper that was learned. So you need to enroll all sensors with the trigger that's going to be used for the door/wiindow.

As for passing by the motion sensor, you probably need to enroll that sensor first. Once a sensor is learned in the V-20P's memory, it ignores that sensor while the rest of the sensors are being enrolled.
 
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Old Yesterday, 04:40 AM
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Another caveat to learning GE Sensors in a Vista 20p panel. If you use any of the GE 60-886-01 sensors that are a combination shock/door device, they only have 1 serial number. I have 3 of these, and realized they can only do either door switch or shock duty, not both like in the GE system. Why? There is only 1 serial number.

Also, none of my wireless CO or smoke detectors will work. They only way I have found they will learn, is via the tamper switch method. The TEST button won't do it. I have not tried using artificial smoke yet. That may actually work.

I went ahead and ordered the Envisalink EVL-4 today, along with a key fob. That arrives today and will be set up ASAP. Once done, I will swap out the panels, and hook up the wired sensors. I have found the Vista 20P and the GE Concord can both be ARMED and work correctly, and that was pretty helpful during the testing process.

One last item, about learning sensors. The way you learn a sensor, affects the LOOP number, not the zone number. What happens if you learn it with the TAMPER switch (loop 4) but then change the loop to 1 before saving it. Will it only trip if the tamper switch is activated? Pretty sure that's what will happen.

Thanks go to ChoSunOne and garyemunson for their comments and help!
 
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Old Yesterday, 05:40 AM
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Yes, changing loop numbers on sensors before saving in programming will work. If you are using any 5816s with the V-20P, be aware that the on-board reed switch (as opposed to the terminals for external switch) is loop 2.

Looking over the thread, I noticed I didn't answer your question about the V-20P's hardwired zones 1 thru 8. Yes, you can program them as not used (Zone Type 00), but I always found it quicker just to install the resistors on the zone terminals. For one thing, if you don't install those resistors, and then want to hook something up to one of the HW zones later, those resistors have a way of getting lost in the interim. Having them installed is a safe way to store them.
 
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Old Yesterday, 06:25 AM
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This panel is easy to work with, once you get used to the syntax Honeywell uses in the programming. I will need to test out whether learning a wireless smoke detector via the tamper switch (loop 4) and changing it to loop 1 or 2 to see if the detector will function correctly. That's an interesting idea.

 
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Old Yesterday, 01:36 PM
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4219 restriction

The 4219 connects to the keypad buss which, under certain conditions, can be sloooooow. That's probably the reason it isn't recommended for use with Life Safety Devices.
 
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Old Yesterday, 10:11 PM
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I don't disagree, ThisOldMan. However, I'll point out that the 5881/5882/6160RF also connects to the KP buss and I've personally witnessed times when the CP's response to a wireless device is sloooow. Yet, wireless is approved for life safety devices.

For which I am grateful, btw, since it would be a nightmare to run concealed wires in some smoke and heat locations. Both of us date back to the time that customers just had to accept that some wires were going to have to be surface-run, but those days are long gone. Users are spoiled by RF devices now.

But in light of acceptability of RF devices, I still question the validity of disqualifying HW extenders for life safety. Overall, I consider HW extension at least as reliable as RF.
 
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Old Today, 09:58 AM
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I was simply responding to the not recommended statement.

My experience was slow response from 4204 relay modules in partitioned, multi-building systems. Going by memory, these systems were all 100+ zones (V-plex), 6+ keypads, multiple 4204s and no wireless.

Customer complaints came from remote sirens on 4204 relays sometimes taking up to 30 seconds to silence after disarming (allowing for embellishment, I figured 5-15 seconds). During testing I found them always taking several seconds to silence. Using V-plex relays for the remote alarm outputs resolved the issue.
 
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