Comparison

pequeajim

New Member
Is there a comparison page for the HA controllers?

For instance, I would like to know from a programming standpoint, what ti difference is between a Elk M1 Gold and the Ocelot?
 

DavidL

Senior Member
It is typically easier to answer these types of questions if you advise what you are trying to accomplish with home automation / security.

The M1 is first and foremost a security system that is very extendable and has a great DIY followwing. The Ocelot is older device but has a historic avid user base. For most needs and if you don't have a security system now, go ELK.
 

pequeajim

New Member
DavidL said:
It is typically easier to answer these types of questions if you advise what you are trying to accomplish with home automation / security.
Thanks for replying.

I currently do not have a security system and live in an area that is traditionally very low in crime, however, I know that this will change somewhat over time. Unfortunate as it is, I will have to consider this in the future.

I should tell you that I am an Electrical Engineer who specializes in plant automation; Programmable Logic Controllers, high level information systems and operator interfaces, so while I am a total newbe to Home Automation, I do have some experience in computer based control systems.

My interest at first will be 90% home automation. I want to be able to program the controller, upload the program and let it run. That's why the Ocelot interested me from the start, but I would hate to invest my money in a system, only to find out later that there was a newer and more versatile controller that will meet my needs.

My initial thought was to utilize powerline control where applicable because I have a fairly new house with clean power and this would save unnecessary wiring. The other thing with those type of accessories is that they are mature in the market and very reasonable in cost.

So, my main forcu is home automation and programmability. :D
 

BraveSirRobbin

Moderator
pequeajim said:
I should tell you that I am an Electrical Engineer who specializes in plant automation; Programmable Logic Controllers, high level information systems and operator interfaces, so while I am a total newbe to Home Automation, I do have some experience in computer based control systems.
You "may" want to look into both an Elk M1 for your security needs and an Ocelot depending on your funding.

Looking at your experience I can tell you that you will be disappointed with the Elk's lack of PLC programming functionality compared to that of the Ocelot's (in my own opinion of course).
 

pequeajim

New Member
Hey, I love your handle, I'm a Python fan...

BraveSirRobbin said:
Looking at your experience I can tell you that you will be disappointed with the Elk's lack of PLC programming functionality compared to that of the Ocelot's (in my own opinion of course).

That is what I am talking about. I want to make sure I understand what the programming side of the controller is like. My friend from work has an Ocelot, and has done some pretty amazing things with it. If the Elk's programming side is not as strong as the Ocelot's then I would be dissapointed that I bought the wrong product.

To me, the Ocelot is minimally acceptable, but very usable nevertheless...
 

DavidL

Senior Member
Of course if you wanted to put a PC into the equation, then the PC is much more versatile yet than either with respect to power and configurability.

Whether your house is new or not, it's not immune to powerline issues that affects X10. One device that creates noise and you have problems.
 

Guy Lavoie

Active Member
The Elk plus the Ocelot is a combination with growing popularity. The Ocelot can handle the more intricate conditional logic and the Elk does it primary security function, but the two can talk to each other serially. Some people also add the Ocelot to an Elk just to add IR capability. The Ocelot's low cost makes it a great way to get started in home automation and is very reliable and expandable. Mine has been running for years without a hitch.
 

elcano

Active Member
The main advantage of the Elk is its compatibility with almost every automation technology in the market with the exception of IR (too many to list here). So you might want to use the Elk as your automation hub, and the Ocelot or a PC for advanced automation logic and IR.

You might have a supercomputer but without the appropriate I/O you cant do a thing.
 

Spanky

Senior Member
It is my opinion that the security system is a vital central element of a home automation system and it needs to be tied closely to the automation operation.

When you arm/disarm the security system, this tells the automation that you are at home or away and the appropriate lights, heating/air, hot water,.... etc. can be adjusted. You can use the door, window, and motion detector sensors from the security system to control lighting and other occupancy automation. The security systems telephone interface can call you on your cell phone and deliver a voice message when something happens in the automation system or security alarm.

A big advantage of the M1 is that all these operations are tightly integrated together and can send serial ASCII commands out to third party PC software like CQC, MLobby, mControl, and more... for much more advanced automation operations. The M1 integrates with most major lighting and HVAC controls systems.

All software upgrades are FREE and downloadable, and the engineering department is full of new stuff coming out.

Got technical issues? You are at the best home automation technical forum available.


...but I am biased! :eek:
 

deranged

Active Member
I have an ocelot and 4 modules that have pretty much been running for more than 6 years, and there are times I forget it's even there.

The only drawback I have found that recently has me considering replacing the ocelot and modules is the lack of support for new technologies.

In my case it would be Z-wave, not being able to directly control my Z-wave HA installation from the ocelot has been frustrating.

Over the years I have been extremely happy with the ocelot, with that said if I was starting over this moment I don't think I the ocelot would have been my choice. ( no Z-Wave support, Appdig are you listening..................... )

StevenE
 

BraveSirRobbin

Moderator
I agree with Spanky and as always my criticism of the Elk is only on its minor weaknesses. I would buy an Elk myself if starting over.

As far as the Ocelot not supporting new technologies, that's why I said you may consider an Ocelot combined with an Elk. I don’t do this myself, but Guy Lavoie does and you may want to solicit him for further details on making this combination work.

I also like the way the I/O is arranged with the Elk and if they would just fix a couple of minor problems with the A-D aspects (polling and pull-up resistor option) it would be an even better unit for the advanced enthusiast! :eek:

I'm also sure Elk & Spanky does not mind these suggestions as it would just make for an improved overall unit in the end. (They listen to the facts/complaints/suggestions/problems on this forum and take them into consideration for product upgrades/updates/features. This is what separates them from the rest of the home automation hardware providers!).
 

upstatemike

Senior Member
Spanky said:
It is my opinion that the security system is a vital central element of a home automation system and it needs to be tied closely to the automation operation.

When you arm/disarm the security system, this tells the automation that you are at home or away and the appropriate lights, heating/air, hot water,.... etc. can be adjusted.
I don't disagree with what you are saying here but I would like to point out that the whole Home/Away paradigm is not universal. Many of us live in more rural areas where security is not the most critical function and it is not unusual to go months between times when the house is ever completely unoccupied. There is usually always somebody at home. The "house is empty all day" lifestyle is fairly popular in urban areas I guess but for someone like me, a Home/Away (Arm/Disarm) type trigger would not be all that useful.
 
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