Security Tech Talk -

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Security System Tech Talk

Do you have a question about your Alarm Engineering system? Many of your most frequently asked technical questions are listed below. There are some questions that apply to all systems, then we list several different alarm systems and give some quick tips and troubleshooting steps for each. Just match up your keypad below! 

If you don’t find the answer you’re looking for here, our team is available to help 24/7 – we’re a phone call away: 410-546-2210.


Frequently Asked Questions

Why Won’t My System Arm?

The most likely reason for trouble arming your system is open zones. Your system is designed to only arm when all protected doors and windows are closed. In your user manual, locate the Status button; every system has a button which provides this information.

If you are unable to identify the open zone, double-check for any protected doors or windows left open. If you still experience a problem, call us at 410-546-2210.


Your Alarm System & Power Failures

We all have experienced power failures of some duration. Know what to expect from your alarm system during a power failure and learn what you can do now to prepare for the next power failure. All modern alarm systems have battery powered backup keeping the system functioning uninterrupted when AC power is down. Beyond that, how long that battery will last during a power failure varies. Alarm systems can function without AC power for hours, even days, depending on many factors.

Battery Replacement

Just like batteries in vehicles, watches, flashlights, etc., alarm system batteries eventually need to be replaced. Typical battery life is 3-5 years, but how old is your battery? Look at your battery – our installation team writes the date on the battery itself with marker for an easy reminder. Alarm systems also automatically test the back-up battery every twenty four hours, and signal the central station if the battery is nearing end-of-life. 

When power is down, the system conserves power by dimming/flickering the keypad. As the power drains expect a low battery notification – most likely a beeping sound. These alerts are expected and are for your protection.

Depending on the type of alarm system installed in your home will determine the type of battery it takes. Please scroll down and match our most frequently used keypads to find your battery type.  If you still aren’t sure, give our team a call.

Stop the Beeping!

To silence beeping, consult your user manual as the steps vary from one system to another. If you do cannot find your user manual, give us a call at 410-546-2210 and our technical staff is happy to help. If you have a generator, be sure your alarm system is connected to that power source.

When the Lights are Back On

After power is restored the system should recharge the battery within 48-72 hours. If after several days with power the system still displays low battery, the battery likely needs replacement. The DIY solution: bring your battery into our office or to a battery warehouse. (Before replacing the battery yourself please consult your user manual, or feel free to call our office with questions.) Of course, we can come out and change the battery for you.

If you’re unsure how long it’s been since your battery was changed, don’t wait for a power failure to test your battery. A proactive approach to your battery backup keeps your loved ones and valuables protected during power failures.


 If you are considering or have already cancelled your land-line phone service to move over to VOIP (such as Vonage or Magic Jack) or switched to Comcast there may be an impact to your security system.  Any work done on your phone lines or phone system may also impact your communication to our Central Station. Phone Line Changes

Q: Does making changes to my phone system impact my alarm system?

A:  Perhaps. If you are considering or have already cancelled your land-line phone service to move over to VOIP (such as Vonage or Magic Jack) or switched to Comcast there may be an impact to your security system. Any work done on your phone lines or phone system may also impact your communication to our Central Station. If you want to go completely wireless, take advantage of our Customer Loyalty Rewards and you may even get your hardware upgraded FREE!

Please call our staff at 410-546-2210 to discuss your changes and stay secure. We recommend testing your system on a regular basis, we’re happy to assist! 


Before You Leave…

If you are planning to travel soon, be sure your home is protected while you’re away with few easy steps:

  1. Create a Temporary Call List, being careful to include at least one person with access to your home.
  2. Create a Temporary Password for the new call list; this ensures that your standard password will stay secure. Don’t forget to provide this new password to everyone on your Temporary Call List.
  3. Be sure anyone with access to your home has a valid user code to disarm the system.  Depending on your system, we may be able to add a unique code for these individuals that can be removed when you return home.
  4. Make sure everyone on your Temporary Call List has the contact info for us (410-546-2210) and the Central Station (800-433-5500) just in case!

Once you have this information gathered call our office at 410-546-2210 and our team will be happy to update your account.  Be sure to let us know the exact dates you will leave and return when you call.


Find Your System

For specific information about your security system, look for your keypad below and get started. As always, our team is available for 24/7 if you are experiencing issues: 410-546-2210.

Qolsys IQ Panel Home and Small Business Security

Qolsys IQ Panel

  • Video tutorials covering many different topics are available directly from your keypad. Click Help and simply play the video that addresses your question.
  • The IQ sound settings are customizeable. Tap the Sound Icon in Settings  or inside the Apps folder on the home screen. Select Volume to control the panel’s master volume.

Click here to download the Qolsys IQ User Manual


Concord 3 & 4 Panel Home and Business Security

Concord Alarm System

  • If PROTEST flashes and keypad beeps when you try to arm your system, there is an open zone. Press the * button to easily discover which zone is open and close it before trying to arm the system.
  • If the * button is flashing, it can mean that a zone is open or there is a trouble. Push the * button and the display will scroll through all open zones or troubles to solve the mystery.
  • Press DISARM and your 4 digit code
  • If your keypad is beeping periodically and you’re not sure why, press the * button. This will tell you where the issue is. To silence the beeping for 8 hours:
    • Make sure your system is already disarmed
    • If you check the zone and it is indeed closed already, there may be a problem with that sensor. To bypass the sensor, arm the system as normal and when the PROTEST flashes, press the # button and you will then bypass that zone. Call our team to schedule a service call to address the issue: 410-546-2210.
  • To reset a smoke detector zone, press DISARM and your 4 digit code. Then press DISARM and your four digit code again.
  • P1 will always display on your keypad. It indicates it is securing partition 1. This is not an error code.
  • If the battery is low, Your Concord Alarm System can use any 12 volt 7 or 8 amp hour battery. You can purchase this battery at PASCO and change it yourself, or we are happy to change it for you: 410-546-2210.

Click here to download the Concord User Manual


Simon XTI Home and Small Business Wireless Alarm System

Simon XTI Alarm System

  • From the home screen (pictured above) press the Gear icon to program certain features.
  • Upon initial installation, the battery may not be fully charged for as long as 36 hours. A low battery icon will be present and trouble beeps will sound until the battery is sufficiently charged. 
  • After the initial charge, if the panel loses AC power and experiences a low battery condition, the low battery and trouble beeps will sound. Please replace your battery as soon as possible. Your Simon XTI uses a GE 600-XTI-BAT battery. You can purchase this battery at Penco and change it yourself, or we are happy to change it for you: 410-546-2210.
  • To silence your low battery trouble beeps temporarily, press the Status & Settings icon and press Listen next to Panel status.
  • The Silent Exit feature allows you to silence the beeps that accompany the exit delay. Press ON next to Silent Exit before pressing the arming icon to silence beeps. The panel will still beep at the beginning and end of the exit delay.
  • Your system is able to test itself automatically for: power failures and low batteries (discussed above) and sensor or communication trouble with Central Station. When your system detects a problem, six rapid beeps sound evey minute until the trouble condition is corrected. Call our team 24/7 for assistance: 410-546-2210.

Click here to download the Simon XTI User Manual 


Home and Small Business Wireless Security with GE Simon XT

Simon XT Alarm System

  • The Silent Exit feature allows you to silence the beeps that accompany the exit delay. Press ON next to Silent Exit before pressing the arming icon to silence beeps. The panel will still beep at the beginning and end of the exit delay
  • Your system is able to test itself automatically for: power failures and low batteries (discussed above) and sensor or communication trouble with Central Station. When your system detects a problem, six rapid beeps sound evey minute until the trouble condition is corrected. Call our team 24/7 for assistance: 410-546-2210.
  • If the panel loses both AC and battery power, upon restoring power the system time will default to midnight and blink, indicating it needs to be set. To reset the clock:
    • Scroll until the display shows Set Clock, press OK
    • The display shows Enter Code, enter your master code, press OK
    • Press OK again. The display flashes hours.
    • Scroll to set the hours, then press OK. The system will now lead you to minutes.
    • Set the minutes, press OK. The display flashes am/pm.
    • Set am/pm, press OK. The display shows current time and stops flashing. 
    • Press Status twice to exit.
  • If the battery is low, your Simon XT System can use any 6 amp 1.3Ah battery. You can purchase this battery at PASCO and change it yourself, or we are happy to change it for you: 410-546-2210.

Click here to download the Simon XT User Manual


Ademco Vista 20 Home and Business Security

Ademco Vista 20 Alarm System

  • INSTANT protection mode is the same as STAY, except entry delay is off
  • NOT READY displays on your panel when the burglary portion of your system is not ready for arming due to open protection zones. Close these zones and then continue with arming your system.
  • CHECK displays on your panel when a malfunction is discovered in the system. If the system is in a Trouble state, the zone number causing the trouble will display. Call Alarm Engineering 24/7 410-546-2210 to have us walk you through the issue or schedule a service appointment.
  • Your system can be set to alert you to doors or windows opening even when the system is unarmed, referred to as chime. Chime can be turns on or off by using the 9 button.
  • If the battery is low, your Ademco Alarm System can use any 12 volt 7 or 8 amp hour battery. You can purchase this battery at PASCO and change it yourself, or we are happy to change it for you: 410-546-2210.

Click here to download the Ademco Vista 20 User Manual 

Big Savings for Alarm Engineering customersUpgrade your Ademco Vista 20 system and enjoy wireless coverage with no need for the expense of a phone system. Also enjoy custom user codes, remote access from your computer or cell phone, full home control including lights, locks, thermostat and garage door, video and more!  Enjoy all these benefits from our Customer Loyalty Rewards and save big. Click here to learn more!


Home and Business Security with the Ademco 4140

Ademco 4140 Alarm System

  • “BAT” display with no zone number indicates the main standby battery is weak. Your Ademco Alarm System can use any 12 volt 7 or 8 amp hour battery. You can purchase this battery at Penco and change it yourself, or we are happy to change it for you: 410-546-2210.
  • Your system can be set to alert you to doors or windows opening even when the system is unarmed, referred to as chime. Chime can be turns on or off by using the 9 (Chime) button.
  • If you can’t arm your system due to open zones, press the READY key to display quickly all open zones so you can quickly close them.

Click here to download the Ademco 4140 User Manual

Big Savings for Alarm Engineering customers

Upgrade your Ademco 4140 system and enjoy wireless coverage with no need for the expense of a phone system. Also enjoy custom user codes, remote access from your computer or cell phone, full home control including lights, locks, thermostat and garage door, video and more!  Enjoy all these benefits from our Customer Loyalty Rewards and save big. Click here to learn more!


Home Security with Napco Gemini  Panel

Napco Gemini Alarm System

  • The Chime Mode will sound a tone at the keypad when programmed zone is open when the system is disarmed. You will see “C” on the display when the Chime Mode is active. To deactivate, scroll through the Keypad Functions by pressing INSTANT until you see the Activate Chime function and select Deactivate.
  • The keypad will display several trouble messages when it detects an error. If you see any of these error messages, call our office to speak to a technician 24/7: 410-546-2210:
    • SYSTEM TROUBLE
    • LOW BATTERY
    • FAILURE TO COMM
    • SENSOR FAILURE
  • If your battery is low, your Napco Gemini Alarm System can use any 12 volt 7 or 8 amp hour battery. You can purchase this battery at PASCO and change it yourself, or we are happy to change it for you: 410-546-2210.

Click here to download the Napco Gemini User Manual

Big Savings for Alarm Engineering customers

Upgrade your Napco Gemini system and enjoy wireless coverage with no need for the expense of a phone system. Also enjoy custom user codes, remote access from your computer or cell phone, full home control including lights, locks, thermostat and garage door, video and more!  Enjoy all these benefits from our Customer Loyalty Rewards and save big. Click here to learn more!


Home Security Sentrol Moose Panel

Sentrol Moose Alarm System

  •  If your top light is blinking, your system likely needs a new battery. Your Moose Alarm System can use any 12 volt 7 or 8 amp hour battery. You can purchase this battery at Penco and change it yourself, or we are happy to change it for you: 410-546-2210. Once you change your battery you’ll need to reset your system. Try pressing the 7 button on your keypad. If that doesn’t work, press 7 and the last three of your master code to reset your system.
  • If you accidentally set off your monitored smoke detectors and need to reset your system,  try pressing the 7 button on your keypad. If that doesn’t work, press 7 and the last three of your master code.

Click here to download the Sentrol Moose User Manual

Big Savings for Alarm Engineering customers

Upgrade your Sentrol Moose system and enjoy wireless coverage with no need for the expense of a phone system. Also enjoy custom user codes, remote access from your computer or cell phone, full home control including lights, locks, thermostat and garage door, video and more!  Enjoy all these benefits from our Customer Loyalty Rewards and save big. Click here to learn more!


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