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ELK m1 Gold vs HAI - thoughts?


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#1 jaydubb1

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 09:00 AM

I'm getting the impression that more cocooners use ELK over HAI, but I haven't figured out why.

Feedback please?

#2 jaydubb1

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 05:27 PM

I just talked to one of the guys that gave me a quote on an HAI system and he said ELK is great for security, but not much else. He said HAI can match the ELK in security, but also does lighting etc.

FWIW.


#3 picta

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 06:11 PM

Both systems support lighting, security and thermostats. The main difference for me is that HAI expansion modules can be placed away from the main controller, while ELK zone expanders have to be in one place. If you have a big house, you can place HAI expanders to minimize wire runs to the zones and other connected components, like window shades. The disadvantage is that HAI does not support analog and pulse inputs. HAI has built-in Ethernet port, while for ELK its optional. HAI also offers humidity and water sensors, and has other gadgets like HiFi music system, camera server etc. The pricing for entry level system is lower for ELK, however it quickly grows as you start adding optional components, so if you have a medium/large size install, the pricing will be similar.

#4 wuench

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 06:35 PM

The main difference for me is that HAI expansion modules can be placed away from the main controller, while ELK zone expanders have to be in one place

That's not a true statement. ELK modules run on an RS485 bus so can be placed away from the main controller as well.

Although I don't own one, I think HAI has more native features than the Elk though, as mentioned above. The Elk does have some support for controlling whole house audio but via it's ethernet interface. Camera support is only through the touch screens direct, not really involving the control.

Elk does have Chief Engineer Spanky who shows up and answers questions on this board from time to time though... :)

Edited by wuench, 08 December 2011 - 06:43 PM.


#5 jaydubb1

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 06:57 PM

My home is larger, about 4400sf... and I do plan on doing all the audio and video, so perhaps the HAI system is a better choice.

One thing I do not like is the clunky modules I have to use on the wall.

This is what got me interested in ELK in the first place: http://www.hometoys....son01/index.htm

I even bought a kindle fire to experiment, but my HAI guy told me I can't make HAI work with anything other than iPhone or Windows devices.

Grrrrrrrrrrrr...

#6 PaulB

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 07:05 PM

My home is larger, about 4400sf... and I do plan on doing all the audio and video, so perhaps the HAI system is a better choice.

One thing I do not like is the clunky modules I have to use on the wall.

This is what got me interested in ELK in the first place: http://www.hometoys....son01/index.htm

I even bought a kindle fire to experiment, but my HAI guy told me I can't make HAI work with anything other than iPhone or Windows devices.

Grrrrrrrrrrrr...

I'm not entirely sure that is true. There are the following HAI products that appear to use a web browser as the interface:

WL3 for Windows Home Server - This requires a Microsoft Home server and does not support the current version of Homer server 2011.

Web-Link II

"HAI's multi-awarding winning, Web-Link II software allows for remote access and control of your HAI home control system. Check and adjust the temperature, lights, and security via a PC, PDA, or web-enabled phone. Web-Link II offers video surveillance over the Internet, wireless access, and the ability to receive e-mails and text messages based on programmed events."

I do not know have first hand knowledge with these programs.

#7 wuench

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 07:12 PM

That guy's using Homeseer (HSTouch) in that article. So it will talk to anything it supports (HAI or ElkM1, plus lots of other stuff). It's not just native ElkM1. Homeseer runs on a separate server, if you want to run home automation software in addition to your panel you can do just about anything you want beyond the limitations of either panel. A lot of us do that, I run CQC (which supports Elk and HAI as well, plus lots of other stuff).

Edited by wuench, 08 December 2011 - 07:16 PM.


#8 pete_c

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 07:20 PM

Spanky is a great guy and will answer all of whatever questions you have.

I picked the HAI mostly because of the small all in one footprint in a very small closet (FL). The modular feature set with the Elk makes it pretty much do everything.

I look today at my HAI OPII and see daughter boards piled on top of one another and it does looks a bit tight and that can be overwhelming sometimes.

Besides just Homeseer; he is now using the on sale Android tablets for his interfaces to HS. The software design multitasking do all package will create touchscreens which are similiar for a wintel (CE and XP), android, Ipad, etc based OS.

The design package for the touchscreens I guess would be similiar a bit to Visio with its elements and based design "widgets". What is neat is that you can utilize variables from the mothership "preassembled" or "roll your own" with customized graphics putting VB code right into the element or button you design. I drop my security cam videos in boxes by just using the HTML to the Linux DVR box. In addition there are custom perl scripts running on the linux box for specific IP cams proving motion etc via the touch screen interfaces.

Lately playing with a VLC overlay which plays back a combo all day video of one of the security cams in just a few minutes of video. Its working ok but a bit kludgy still. But this also allows for watching videos etc on the touchscreens.

Currently on the Wintel clients playing a bit with a mix and match of different things. I liked the developed flash widget clocks for the Chumby and use those on the Wintel box or the Microsoft Silverlight developed dials and guages in my Cumulus weather station so utilize those too for the touchscreens.

I have all of the HAI variables in the Homeseer box so utilize those as well. While not as as quick as I would like it to be they are all there and I can either take the variables directly or use scripts to extract data from the HAI DLL running on the HS box.

So we basically have a motion PIR on the HAI panel that triggers an event on the touchscreen which say stops the screensaver, and presents a view as defined by the mothership. On the same note I have weather alerts which pop up, CID or CNN news alerts (a biggy for me). Now integrating alerts to the telephones such that I will also ring the phones with a custom CID telling me someone is at the door (using W2C for this) or an event driven purely by a CID.

#9 Work2Play

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 08:01 PM

Sounds like your HAI guy could use a small refresher course.

The real reason most people on CT use Elk is that about 3 years ago, HAI wouldn't even talk to DIY'ers - where Elk has supported them all along. Within the last 3 years or so, HAI finally decided to start working with the DIY crowd through the subforum that Dan created here on CT for them. I'm not sure how they are when a DIY'er has to call them, but I know that Elk still does go above and beyond for real issues (but neither has the time to educate every individual homeowner).

And Elk absolutely does allow people to run subpanels - in fact, I had never heard of anyone doing that with HAI talked about here - but many of us do it with Elk. I personally have always kept a sub-panel in the garage with input/output boards for sprinkler control and other automation.

For the advancements in interfaces for Android and iPhone, you might need to look at the non-manufacturer options - like ElkDroid for android; or there's a very busy thread on here about HAI on the iPad that shows what's happening there. In the case of the Elk one at least, Elk is very supportive of these independent developers and works closely with them (Check out the eKeypad product for iPhone/iPad control - very slick!).

Automation capabilities between both systems are very similar; and over the years there have been a lot of threads comparing the two - there has never been a clear winner; there are differences but with either you can accomplish all the same things.

I do have to agree that HAI has been coming out with more and more integrated modules and it's much easier to buy an off-the-shelf HAI w/touchscreens, intercom, audio, and lighting without much customization needed... but, you can accomplish all these things through both systems. I have everything but audio (including a 4,000sq ft house with 95% lighting automated) via my M1, plus sprinklers, HVAC, etc - and have a sub panel... so it's all doable. And when I get to whole house audio, it'll still work - i'm sure of that.

Then again, if you're going really advanced you'll quickly find out that doing all that processing and programming in a simple hardware controller is going to be too much anyways - and you'll find yourself looking at CQC or Homeseer or Elve or otherwise; at that point it doesn't matter which panel you have... so I guess don't get too hung up on it.

My take as an Elk user for 5+ years... I like Elk - I think they're a good company full of good people; but they aren't putting out products or innovating as quick as HAI. I haven't dealt with HAI, but I still don't get the same warm & fuzzy from them... but I have no doubt you'll be able to accomplish all the same goals with either.

#10 jaydubb1

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 08:14 PM

Work2Play, thanks for the detailed feedback.

Am I correct in understanding that you can run a program like HomeSeer on either HAI or ELK hardware?

#11 jaydubb1

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 08:32 PM

(Is HAI and ELK considered hardware? I think it is.... )

#12 wuench

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 10:31 PM

Homeseer runs on a PC. It would sit between your tablet and the ELK/HAI panel talking to them over a network interface.

Alternatively, an app like Elkdroid or eKeypad runs on the tablet itself and talks directly to an Elk panel.

Edited by wuench, 08 December 2011 - 10:34 PM.


#13 jaydubb1

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 10:36 PM

So I could always "upgrade" HAI or ELK at a later date with HomeSeer or another application, if I had the desire.

Assuming I'm not already straying from a logical path - can you add ELK modules to an HAI system? (Is there any reason I'd want to? I'm just trying to eliminate the "DAMN! Wish I had done X" factor.)

#14 sic0048

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 10:56 PM

So I could always "upgrade" HAI or ELK at a later date with HomeSeer or another application, if I had the desire.


Yes. Any of the automation systems can be added after the fact. I too run CQC and can control my entire house (which includes an ELK System) via my Android phone or iPad. Kids at home with the baby sitter and want to watch a movie - I can pick one and start it from these devices (although they are old enough now to use the system themselves so that doesn't happen anymore).

Assuming I'm not already straying from a logical path - can you add ELK modules to an HAI system? (Is there any reason I'd want to? I'm just trying to eliminate the "DAMN! Wish I had done X" factor.)


No - the core ELK and HAI components are not interchangeable. Perhaps a power supply or something along those lines could be, but the main components of the system won't work together.

HAI has added a lot of neat stuff over the last three years (like good audio integration, etc) and I'm not sure ELK has really kept up. But if you plan on adding an automation system to the unit, you won't use a lot of the integrated features because the automation unit will generally have better options and equipment it can control. However the ELK or HAI unit is great for those "core systems" that need to be bullet proof and not go down.

#15 jaydubb1

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 11:15 PM

But if you plan on adding an automation system to the unit.........


Ok, now we're getting somewhere. I thought these WERE the "automation system". When I buy an HAI system.... isn't that the "automation system"?

I just went through my preferred quote and I don't see anything that differentiates the hardware from the automation system...

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