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Honeywell Vista-20 programming questions

AnalogKid

Jun 10, 2015
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To ChosunOne and anyone else experienced with the Vista 20 -

For my home alarm system I have one Vista-20 panel (with some zone doubling) and two 6150 (fixed-word) keypads. As part of some renovating I need to add a third keypad and document more of the system.

1. Is there a way to interrogate the system to see the user numbers that already are configured? User number and access code would be nice, but just the numbers would help.

2. According to the installation manual I can add a third keypad, but there is nothing about programming it. Is there any programming needed, or are the keypads relatively dumb and all user data is stored in the main panel?

3. I tried to get the keypad addresses for my two panels. For the rear door panel it worked just fine - I held down keys 1 and 3 for a few seconds and the number 18 popped up. When I did the same thing to the front door panel it started flashing dE, then both panels started beeping with the message CHECK 100. While waiting for an answer from you gurus I'll bounce power to the front panel panel and see if that clears it.

Thanks,

ak
 

ChosunOne

Jun 20, 2010
476
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Jun 20, 2010
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476
To ChosunOne and anyone else experienced with the Vista 20 -

For my home alarm system I have one Vista-20 panel (with some zone doubling) and two 6150 (fixed-word) keypads. As part of some renovating I need to add a third keypad and document more of the system.

1. Is there a way to interrogate the system to see the user numbers that already are configured? User number and access code would be nice, but just the numbers would help.
Sadly, there is no easy way to interrogate the Panel from a keypad, about existing User numbers or User Codes. (Note for future reference: In alarm tech jargon, "panel" always refers to the Control Panel, not a keypad. There is only one Panel in any system.)

There is software for a PC, Compass Downloader, that can access all Users and codes through a landline (assuming you still have a POTS line connected to your Panel) but it's iffy whether it would do you any good. If the company that installed the alarm system used (or enabled) the downloading feature, then they put their own Download Access Code in it and they aren't going to give you that--most companies tend to use the same code for all their systems and they aren't going to just hand it out. So if you buy the Compass Downloader from Honeywell and whatever peripherals you may need, there's no guarantee you'll be able to use it. Assuming a company holds the Downloader code, It's possible they'll agree to call your panel and change it for you, probably for a fee; but I don't want to get into too many contingencies, not knowing your Downloader status nor relationship to the installing company (if any).

If you're concerned about hidden codes in the programming, all I can recommend is to null out the User Numbers you aren't using, one-by-one. In normal circumstances (worried about prior owners), you'd only need to worried about half a dozen, maybe a dozen to be safe (in case there were a lot of users). If you suspect a prior user put a high-number User Code, then you have a long boring task ahead of you.

BTW, Off-Topic: I strongly recommend that you program at least two User Codes for your system, even if you only use one. (The Master Code is a User Code.)

Also OT: Honeywell is my preferred brand by far, and you have a good system platform in the Vista-20, in my not-so-humble opinion; but they dropped the ball in not letting the User or Field Tech query for User Numbers and Codes through the KP.


2. According to the installation manual I can add a third keypad, but there is nothing about programming it. Is there any programming needed, or are the keypads relatively dumb and all user data is stored in the main panel?

Nearly all the programming is resident in the Control Panel. Only the keypad address is stored in the keypad. The "Installation Manual" gives the Keypad Local Programming for setting the KP's address.
https://www.homesecuritystore.com/amfilerating/file/download/file_id/217/

The only Panel programming needed is to enable any address higher than 16. Look in Fields *190 and upwards in your Installation/Programming Manual and you'll see.
Address 16 is always enabled, so not in Panel Programming. When I program a panel for a home system (not commercial), I usually just enable at least 4 extra addresses (beyond 16) since I'm already in there. Having addresses enabled doesn't mean the addresses have to have keypads.

I sincerely hope the keypad you're adding is a 6160 (or possibly the older 6139--same thing, different package) because you won't have full programming capability for your system without a 2-line Alphanumeric Keypad to navigate the Menu Modes.

CAVEAT: Don't connect a live 12VDC wire to a keypad to power it up. Connect the KP to an unpowered panel and power the KP up and down by powering the Control Panel up and down. You may get away with connecting a live wire, but I've heard too many stories of zapping keypads that way.
I love Honeywell/Ademco panels, but that's one of the Vista series's annoying quirks.

3. I tried to get the keypad addresses for my two panels. For the rear door panel it worked just fine - I held down keys 1 and 3 for a few seconds and the number 18 popped up. When I did the same thing to the front door panel it started flashing dE, then both panels started beeping with the message CHECK 100. While waiting for an answer from you gurus I'll bounce power to the front panel panel and see if that clears it.

If you have 2 6150s, and one of them is address 18, I'm guessing that the installer originally programmed your system with a 6139 Alpha KP from ad. 16, and enabled ads. 17 and 18. Your glitching KP is probably set to ad. 17.
You did the right procedure and the recalcitrant KP should not have balked. Hopefully it behaved itself after you bounced power.
"CHECK 100" indicates a Trouble condition with the RF Receiver, so I'm going to guess that your troublesome KP is a 6150RF and you have wireless (RF) capability, extra zones (beyond 15 in your case) and/or keyfobs. But being an RF Keypad (Keypad + RF Transceiver) shouldn't have affected the 1+3 KP address query.
 

AnalogKid

Jun 10, 2015
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Outstanding response, even if I don't like some of the answers.

Both keypads (I thought I scrubbed all of the errant "panel" references) are hard wired 6150's; no RF anywhere. Entering the "off" code twice cleared the CHECK message.

I no longer will bounce power at a keypad.

Construction guys are here; more later.

Again - 17 stars.

ak
 
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