Apex 6100 or Vista 128


Active Member
I am helping someone build a house and keep Home Automation in mind. Their security installer only has two systems that they install that can be tied into a home automation controller. We have not decided what controller or software to go with yet but would the Apex 6100 or Vista 128 leave us open to more solutions?
I can't say I'm familair with either of those models so I'm hoping some else can chime in here.

I have recently got my Elk M1G panel and absolutely love it so if the alarm company is open to a new product line you could suggest that to them. It's very cost effective and scales out if needed. As well Elk also has the M1EZ8 which would do many of the same things but would be easier to get into $$wise.

Good luck.
Their security installer only has two systems that they install that can be tied into a home automation controller.

I have never built a house so bear with me if this is a stupid question but I have seen a couple of similiar posts where a builder will only offer a limited number of choices for a security system. Is there a reason why you can't spec whatever you want? I understand that they won't install things they can't support but can't you just get them to wire the sensors to your specifications and terminate them in your wiring closet? That way you can install an Elk or whatever you want after you take posession of the house.
If it was my house I would do it. This person is VERY new to HA and wants an alarm system that is known and local supported. I am going to be contacting ELK and see if there are any certified installers localy
If you have a choice of vendors, ask them carefully if they will give you ALL access codes to the system. Even the Elk panel has the ability to lock out "takeovers" from other vendors. My understanding is that only Elk can undo a lockout, and I'd guess won't do it.

As much as it sucks, the idea is that the alarm vendors can install a panel for close to nothing and recoup the loss on the monitoring.
I think your neighbor just needs some confidence. We've all been there, sometimes learning the hard way. I agree with Mike, I would get the builder to prewire properly with EOL resistors at the ends and slap your own panel in the closet. If he is really is going to get into HA, and he has a dedicated alarm panel, he will have no choice but to spend more money to put a dedicated HA controller or go to less reliable PC stuff. And how competent is he to setup a pc properly along with the right SW and keep it all running? If all sensors are prewired, phone wired into an RJ31X it is really easy to put an Elk M1 in. Pretty much connect the sensor wires to the zone inputs, connect the speaker and siren to output 1 and 2 and the keypad wires to the bus, oh yeh and AC power. I think if he looks at the big picture, in the long run this will be cheaper and actually easier. Programming is easy with RP and Elk offers great support. I had an existing system that was put in actually after the home was built and all I did was pull out the old and put in the new. Pretty easy if all the wiring is there and labeled. Also, he can pay like $9 month for monitoring with NextAlarm vs like $20 or more for the big guys, plus he can monitor an Elk himself with voice as a backup. Even if he needs to find a competent installer on the side to hook it up after the fact I think it is worth it. If I had to do it all over again, I would definitely go an Elk or similar route.
I would use caution with pre-installing end-of-line resistors. Unfortunately, different panels/brands use different values, so unless you are absolutely sure of what panel you are going to use, you could end up with the wrong value. It is also my understanding that EOL resistors don't offer any benefit is a typical residential environment, but others debate that. The Elk does not require EOL resistors, you can configure it per zone to use them or not.
True you should know what panel you are putting in. My old system had them in the panel which we all know is worthless so for a quick install of the M1 I configed all zones simply as NC. When doing a walk test however I found that 1 door doesn't work because I think there is a short somewhere, but I would otherwise never know it without testing. So at least for me I am going back to retrofit EOLs. Is it crtical, probably not if you always test, but the few minutes extra work I know I am covered even if I neglect to test. It has been discussed before how it can be difficult to install EOLs later after things are buttoned up so I still think up front is the time to do it. If he will DIY it, there are only a couple panels to choose from anyway and should be any easy decision to make before wiring. But yes, this can go either way - whatever he does even he puts in one of the above, if the panel *requires* EOL, make the installer put then at the end, not in the panel.
It might be a good idea to ask for an "as built" drawing after the install. This would show where the EOL is as well as the exact order the sensors are wired in for future troubleshooting.
Even if the resistance of the EOL's the installer puts in is not right for your new panel, you can match the resistance at the panel itself by putting resistors in parallel/serial depending on which way it needs to change.

If the panel is sensitive enough, you should still have the advantage of having EOL's at the end of the run.
I might be able to get the ELK installed. I located an installer that is willing to use my supplied equipment. I have also asked Martin to help me out a bit so I think everything should go smoothly. Thank you for everyones input.