Qolsyis vs 2GIG / 2GIG Questions

Apologies for the lengthy first post… I’ve been reading this forum (and one other where I will cross-post this) pretty much nonstop for the last couple of weeks, and have found it immensely helpful in planning out a DIY security system design. The people and resources I’ve found to be able to do something like this myself are pretty amazing in an industry that is traditionally very closed off and secretive to everyone but installers.

I’m getting ready to order a system for a newly remodeled home in the next couple of days. I didn’t have the foresight to install wiring for hardwired sensors, so I am pretty well limited to a wireless setup. I’ve changed my mind back and forth several times between 2GIG and Qolsys, and I think have finally settled on the 2GIG.

I like the aesthetics and much of the functionality of the Qolsys control panel better, as well as the fact that is brand new and far from EOL, but the fact that there are no “real” secondary key panels or touchscreens is a dealbreaker for me. (Yes, I am aware of the IQ2, but what amounts to an iPad sitting on a cheesy stand on a dresser or even worse velcroed to a wall, both with a power cord hanging out of the side, does not feel like a “finished” installation to me). How hard would it have been to create a dumbed down version of the IQ Touch to act as a secondary panel that actually felt like an installed panel?

Appreciate any input anyone has on their decision to go with 2GIG vs Qolsys, and also answers to the below few questions regarding the 2GIG system:

  1. I’m sure I’m beating a dead horse here, but does anyone have any idea on timing of the GC3 panel? I’ve ready Q4 2104, Q1 2015, etc. but obviously it has not happened yet. Is there any assurance that it will be available to the public and not just to the big contract provider?

  2. Does anyone know if there will be a “TS2” or if the TS1 will be software updatable to be compatible with the GC3 panel when it is released?

  3. On the current 2GIG models, is it possible to set a motion sensor as a perimeter sensor or some other type of sensor that will be active in “Stay” mode. Assume a two story home with a walkout basement, and the desire to have the motion sensors in the basement active during “Arm Stay” mode.

  4. Are glassbreak sensors considered interior sensors, or perimiter sensors for the purposes of arming the system? Or can they be programmed to either?

  5. Any disadvantage to the Honeywell glassbreaks that are smaller and better looking than the big 2GIG ones?

  6. Is it possibly to arm and bypass zones from the TS1? The user manual indicates zones can only be bypassed from the control panel, not sure if this extends to the TS1 or not.

  7. If you arm the system and auto bypass a zone (an open bedroom window for example), are you able to open and close that same window as much as you want until the alarm is armed/disarmed and the bypass state is reset, or will it reset and become active once it detects that the window has been closed?

  8. Is it possible to manually bypass a zone and have it stay bypassed (even through arming and disarming cycles) until you manually un-bypass it?

  9. Assume you are armed in away mode, and enter your home through an entry-delay door… If you pass through a regular motion sensor protected area during the entry delay but before disarming the system, will it trigger an alarm immediately? If so, is there a way to ignore anything but the first alarm trigger? (IE, walking in through main delay entry door, passing by a hallway motion sensor on the way to put down groceries without setting off the system, returning back to panel to disarm before delay expires)

  10. Is the z-wave control capable of flashing/blinking a controlled light fixture on a specific trigger (alarm activation during night hours for example), or is it only capable of toggling them on and leaving them on for a set period of time?

  11. What experience has anyone had with ionDigital Micra and Plunger style wireless door and window contacts? Reception, battery life, etc.? I’m limited in a few locations on the depth I can drill into a frame, and these seem a great solution. I’d like to standardize the same type of sensor everywhere, even in locations where I do have more depth, so I want to make sure they are as good as the OEM sensors.

  12. Another Micra/Plunger question:… If installing on a sliding door where the latch has ¼ inch of play (door will wiggle open and shut ¼”)… will that be enough to trip the sensor? How far roughly is the throw on the plunger before it trips, or the distance the magnet on the micra would have to be pulled away before it trips?

  13. Any experiences good or bad with the firefighter module? I have hardwired smoke and C02 detectors which I don't want to replace, but would like to trigger the alarm when they go off.

Thanks so much!!

  1. Soon?
  2. I suspect all keypads/touchpad will be compatible, as well as Image Sensors… educated guess
  3. yes
  4. perimeter
    5 ?
  5. Yes
  6. Bypassed till system disarmed
  7. Q75 (0) MANUAL BYPASS
  8. Zone type (04) interior follower is recommended
  9. Use a Everspring/Utilitech zwave 100db siren/strobe ($30 at Lowes). I have alarm rule to turn on lights, then turn off when disarmed
    11/22. Dunno. I prefer recessed DW20 contacts
  10. Will not work for CO detectors, will work for smokes

Zwave siren/strobe:

1: No ETA. Beta testing was slated for this summer.

2: I am certain a secondary panel will exist for the GC3. It seems a common mistake to not have one ready on release of the main panel, but I would bet more on the side of this not being the case. No information on it is yet available, so anything stated would be guesses.

3: I wouldn’t recommend it, but yes.

4: They can be either. I actually recommend interior. Depending on the glass break sensor model, there are a fair number of false alarm hazards. I would recommend using the Honeywell 5853, programmed as either perimeter or interior. If you go with 2GIG GB1-345, use interior.

5: Do you have a specific model in mind?

6: Yes.

7: Will not auto-unbypass when closed.

8: Yes, as stated above, change Q75 in programming to (0). You can’t pick and choose per sensor or per instance though. You would need to change Q75 again in order for any zones to auto unbypass after disarm.

9: Interior Follower programmed sensors do not activate alarms during delay periods.

10: You cannot strobe Zwave controlled lights by alarm rules. On/off. As the above poster pointed out though, small strobes exist. If you need something brighter you will need to get a little creative. Perhaps an appliance module and a dedicated high power strobe light?

11: I only have direct experience with the standard size Ion Plunger sensors. They do require a good bit of drilling space with a long antenna tube. That said, they have been very reliable. The Ion Micra looks intriguing, and seems specifically designed for the scenario you describe.

12: You’ll need to refer to the sensor’s Magnetic Gap distance in the specs/data sheet/manual. All sensors are different, but I can’t think of one whose gap distance is 1/4 inch. Most are 1/2-3/4.

13: The firefighter is a great addition if you have interconnected AC smoke detectors. It is an audio detector looking for the smoke detector cadence.

Re: 4. Glass break programming

Glass breaks are not substitutes for perimeter window/door sensor, or motion detectors. They are meant as a third line of defense.

Personally I don’t use GB’s myself as they are too easy to defeat, and in my opinion offer a false sense of security. Dishes can set them off, a dog bark, jiggling keys, etc.

also keep in mind if you set these as other than zone type (03), for example as Interior, they will not be active when panel is armed Stay (when you are sleeping for example)

Thanks guys, think that clears up most of my questions!

Regarding the glass-breaks, I am aware of the ability to defeat them and that they are not a standalone solution – I do plan to have PIR motion sensors in strategic locations as well.

My thinking is that all of my windows are high-quality double-locking casement windows that would be very difficult if not impossible to open from the outside without breaking, cutting, or otherwise removing the glass (which wouldn’t trip a regular D/W sensor anyway), so I don’t really see the value in sensoring every single window for security purposes. The glass-breaks seem to be the next best perimeter sensor option, to be backed up by the PIR’s inside.

The glass-breaks seem to be the next best perimeter sensor option, to be backed up by the PIR’s inside.

Program PIRs/Image Sensors as zone type (04) Interior follower
Program GB’s as perimeter zone type (03)

"this is for 2GIG-GB1, but programming is virtually the same regardless for brand type

Hit logo at bottom right of screen
Enter installer code
System configuration
Right arrow to blank sensor location, then down arrow (then down arrow again after each section)
(03) perimeter
* (0864) GB1 glass break detector
Learn serial (shift then learn, activate GB tamper, then ‘ok’)
(0) new equip
Loop (1) 1
(0) disable dialer delay
Voice descriptor (“insert”, enter code)
(1) report enabled
(1) supervised enabled
(01) voice only

If your windows are difficult to open from the outside and you want to use Glass Breaks for perimeter I would recommend the Honeywell 5853. The adjustable sensitivity goes a long way.

I’m in a similar boat actually. PIRs are pretty much a no go due to the floorplan and the two cats that roam freely about the place. There’s a mean dog too but she doesn’t climb on crap, just chases the cats then they escape by going up lol.

The D/W sensors are on the moving portion of the casements and double hungs, and I’m sure they can’t be opened from the outside without breaking something, e.g. glass. I do have them all sensored up and then have the glass breaks as an inside backup but would love love love to be able to use PIRs or Image Sensors if I could find a way to position them properly.


With cats a hallway is your best bet for PIR. Somewhere enclosed that an intruder would need to pass through to get further into the house but without furniture for cat acrobatics.

If you have a particularly open floor plan it is probably very difficult.

My whole house (3 floors) is an open floor plan, and I have a single cat, IS’s are ideal (as you can see what set off PIR, and quickly determine if it is false). I have 4 PIR’s/IS’s.

If you are worried about PIR falsing, program them as “no response” and set up notifications. The newer IS’s even have automatic background image captures (configurable for disarmed/Stay captures) that don’t use your quota (unless you upload them).

A no response IS will give you camera VMD capability without the need for a camera or video plan

Best placement is corner mount, adjacent to sliding glass doors/windows, I set all mine to high, and install at 7.5"-8" height like so:

Yep, the whole place is an open floor plan, hence the challenge. No hallways on the ground floor to speak of, only one on the upper floor and that’s a secondary entry point at best although would make a good monitoring location. My biggest concern, besides the ground floor, is the balcony and glass sliders off the master on the second floor. That would be challenging because the best angles to get that, while not pointing at the glass directly, involve the bed and hence the cat foolery.

The IS set up an interior reporter only is actually a good idea. Four of them might do the trick to get the key area covered. I guess my reluctance is just that it then becomes up to me to verify an alarm and that adds some response delay for emergency services. Better than false alarm fines and no response I guess.

Rive, your image isn’t visible to me. Might be a work network issue, not sure. Those bastards block everything :stuck_out_tongue: