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To Elk or not to Elk ...

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#1 MichaelT



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Posted 17 July 2012 - 08:41 AM

Once again ... here comes an elementary question ...

I'm looking to do "basic" HA stuff (turn lights/HVAC on with occupancy sensors) with either CQC or HomeSeer. I hear a LOT of people using Elk ...

... but are you using Elk AS WELL as CQC, HomeSeer or the like. And ... would I need to use Elk?

#2 JonW


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Posted 17 July 2012 - 10:54 AM

For doing "basic" stuff, I prefer using a hardware solution like HAI or Elk. You have a full fledged security system plus a very strong automation system as well. All the basic stuff is usually plug and play on those systems. If you're looking at using occupancy sensors and turning lights and HVAC on/off with them, you'll still need some hardware to interface to if you were to use CQC, Homeseer, etc.

#3 Work2Play



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Posted 17 July 2012 - 04:02 PM

I do 90% of my automation solely through the Elk - and the advantage is, anything that can talk to the Elk, can talk to anything connected to it (lights, HVAC, irrigation, etc). This means with an Elk and eKeypad, I have simple smartphone control of my whole house without building a single screen.

I also own Elve - been meaning to make new screens for well over a year now, but haven't yet - still just using it for some more advanced rules that are a bit beyond what the Elk can do (like fetching weather data from wunderground.com and feeding it to the Elk for the thermostats).

#4 Dean Roddey

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 05:24 PM

There are pros and cons either way. Some folks want the fundamental stuff to be controlled via a simpler embedded device. OTOH, somtimes a lot more functionality is available if you let something like CQC talk directly to the devices. And of course the super-pretty touch screens, ability to do media management stuff, deal with the internet, talk to lots of devices that Elk or Omni can't really talk to, and do advanced logic, are other reasons why a higher level controller may be used (either alone or layered over an Elk or Omni.)

There are lots of ways to configure the cat.

Edited by Dean Roddey, 17 July 2012 - 05:25 PM.

#5 Steve



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Posted 21 July 2012 - 08:41 AM

And then, as I always used to say is the hybrid, where you have the best of both worlds. I think it comes down to a simple question - do you need/want an alarm/security system? The Elk/HAI are security systems at their core with some great automation layered on top. If you need the security/alarm I would go with the Elk or HAI and see how far that takes you first, it will certainly cover all your basics of lighting, etc. Then, if you need/want more explore a software solution to work in concert with it. You may find eKeypad (Elk) or Haiku (HAI) type solutions are all you need for control of the panel.

OTOH if you don't need or want security but rather just automation, I would explore some of the software offerings like CQC/Elve/HS, etc. As Dean said, you will get an almost unlimited amount of control from these. They are great if you have digital media libraries, control a home theater with various equipment, etc. The negative to them is you have to build it up yourself, although most of them have wizards to help you build at least some generic interfaces. You can even run them on some of the modern low power devices out there or get it prepackaged in a controller like the Homeseer Hometroller.

You really need to sit down and analyze your needs and go the route that makes sense, but be aware that you may now say basic but you will catch a bug and want to grow, so try to anticipate future growth. But the good news is you can start with one or the other then add the other aspect later to have the hybrid which will give you the opportunity to do almost anything you would ever want. Just get the checkbook ready ;)

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