SEM Security Systems
a division of Southeast Mobility
So, your yellow light is on, the keypad is beeping, you've pressed *2 and the
keypad is displaying a 4, or it reads out Comunications.
What this means is that your panel has attempted to call the monitoring computer
but the call failed. There are a number of reasons that this may have happened.
Everyone has dialed a number and got the "do da, your call can not be completed
as dialed please hang up .....". You know that you dialed the correct number and
you hang up and dial the same number again and it goes through.
From time to time the phone company will take your line down for maintenance.
This usually is for a short time, maybe only a couple of minutes, and unless you
happen to be talking on the phone at the time you are not even aware of it. The
alarm panel however is constantly watching the line and if it see's it go away it will
attempt to call in and tell the monitoring computer. Obviously it can't complete the
call therefore it has a communications error.
The new voip services that are being utilized by the carriers don't always
regenerate the communications tones correctly. Even though the call may have
gone through, the monitoring computer was unable to interupt the message from the
panel, this also results in a communications error.
Communications errors occur more often during the middle of the night than they do
during the day. This may be attributed to maintenance being performed when there
is minimum load on the circuits. So why is your panel making a phone call in the
middle of the night? It's testing. At least once a month your panel will call the
monitoring computer to let it know that it is still out there and that it is
communicating properly. We usually set the panel up to make that call during the
wee hours because it is less likely that you will be on the phone at that time. Also,
during an alarm call, if the communications fails, the panel will attempt the call again
5 times before it gives up and throws up the communications error. So if it gets the
do da message, it'll hang up, call again, and the call will likely go through, not so
with that test call during the wee hours.
So now we know why you have the trouble light but how do we get it to go away.
We have to make the panel complete a call. If it was attempting to make a test call
when the error occured, we have to make it complete a test call, if it was calling in
an alarm then we have to make it complete an alarm call.
To force a test call, you will press *6 (star then 6) then enter your master code (if
you don't know your master code, call our office during business hours and we'll
look it up for you), then press 6. Wait about 30 seconds and the trouble light will go
To force an alarm call, you have to generate an alarm. You can do this by setting
your alarm, wait for the beeping to stop, then wait an additional 60 seconds. Now go
open a door and let the alarm sound for 15 seconds before entering your code to
silence the alarm. Be ready to answer the phone and give your password to our
operator so that we don't end up dispatching the police to your house. If you
receive your call, you know that not only the communications was sucessful, but
that we received and responded to the alarm as expected.
Alternatively you may want to put your alarm on test ahead of time. This basically
tells the monitoring computer to only log any alarm that may come in, don't show it
to an operator, therefore you don't receive a phone call and reguardless of what the
alarm is, no authorities will be notified. Put your alarm on test by calling
1-800-268-3453, give the operator your account number or name, your password,
and tell them how long you want the system to be put on test.
Assumeing that you don't have a phone line trouble indicated along with the failure
to communicate, and you've complete the above procedures and your yellow light is
still on, it's time to contact us to schedule a service call.