Concord 4 / ELK


I'm in the midst of a new home construction. I'd like to use the M1 for security and control, but, unfortunately, my installer is not experienced with it and wants to install a GE Concord 4 system. I'm searching for someone who can install the ELK for me -- I just don't have the time to run the wires and do it myself, even if I could. I was hoping to use the ELK not only because of its flexibility and automation options, but also because I am also installing a LiteJet system and my understanding is the two systems integrated pretty well.

Questions are as follows:

1. Any opinions on the Concord 4? It's not my first choice at all, but maybe someone can convince me it's not that bad...
2. If I can't find someone who can install an M1, would my best option be to go ahead and install the Concord and then interface to it (if even possible) or to have my installer go ahead and run all the security wires and either (i) hold out until I can find somebody to install the ELK or (ii) install it myself.
3. As for (ii) above, what sort of job would this be? I'm pretty technical, but far from many of you on this board. Is it something I could do with all the necessary wires sitting in front of me?
4. If I go with either (i) or (ii) above, are there any differences between wiring for the GE control unit versus the ELK -- are the runs pretty much the same in either case for keypads, sensors, etc?

Many thanks for any insights you have! Very much appreciated....
Can't comment on the Concord, but its no Elk :) The hardest part of the whole thing imho is to run the wires properly. The next hardest part is to hook them up neatly. If you can use a wire stripper and screwdriver, you can hook up the Elk yourself fairly easily.

So.... If you can't find someone to do the Elk job from the start, if you will save money just doing the wiring, I would do that and install the Elk myself. I know, easy for me to say but its really not that hard if you follow the instructions and help on this board. Like I said, the hardest part is the wiring, laying out the panel and wire management, connecting the wires is the easy part.

As for the wiring, insist that the wires are tested (at least for open/short) and labelled very clearly.
I definitely agree with Steve, have your installer run/test/label the wires, and install the M1 yourself. If you were closer to NY, I would offer my help. Don't be afraid of installing it yourself, it is extremely easy, and you can get plenty of help from here.
Thanks for the advice. I'm going to keep looking at my install options, but keep a self-install in my back pocket.

One last question..... are all alarm keypad/sensor wires the same across different platforms. In other words, will I need to spec ELK wiring requirements against the GE?

Thanks again!
sensor wire is universal, 2 conductor for mag switches, 4 conductor for motions. if you plan on some unusual sensors, then the wiring may be different, but it is more dependent on the sensor than the panel.

keypad wiring is probably not universal, I don't know. But, the Elk only needs 4 conductor or cat5 homerun and I cannot imagine many panels working with less than that, so you should be safe.
Keep in mind the EOL resistor values may be different depending on what system you get. Of course you don't have to install EOL's at all if you don't want to.

GE Security systems are old school! They haven't come out with anything new even worth posting about here. I visited their booth at the ISC West 2006 Security Expo last month and it was a complete waste of time. They even ran me off when I started taking pictures of their products to mention here (they were probably embarrassed about the lack of anything new to show).

Do yourself a favor and get ANY system other than a GE unless you are getting it for a really really cheap price. They are like X-10, resting on the success of their earlier systems and not upgrading them to provide conventional standards that we take for granted with products like the Elk M1 today!
Where in VA are you and what do you want to do yourself? Drop me a PM if you'd like... I'm in DC, and can probably think of a few options/pros/DIYers. :p

Generic Installation Thoughts:
1) Don't mess around with 2 and 4 conductor wire. Install 4 conductor to every drop. There is negligible cost difference.
2) Are you installing 12vdc smokes, or are you getting 120v hard-wires? If the former, you need fire-rated cable (it'll be red) for every smoke detector drop; your electrician probably does the latter.
3) If you're technical, and automating your house, I'm also assuming that you've pulled/contracted for network + video cable? If not: RG6 quad shield, cat5e bundles, and perhaps some conduit.
-- Add an extra cat5 cable for every keypad. This is in addition to the 4 conductor. Again, its very cheap, and you'll never kick yourself for having an extra one (vs. not having one and needing to run them later!)
-- Add an extra cat5 for every thermostat in the house
-- Add an extra cat5 just about everywhere. :p
4) Security Cams? Prewire a few drops (1xcat5e, 1xRG6, 1xSpeaker --> allows some flexibility in camera choices down the road) around yor front door, garage, back-yard, etc
5) Consider whether you'd ever consider add-ons:
-- door strikes
-- intercom
-- RFID sensors
-- floor weight sensors
and install the cables now

DIY Thought:
6) Is your installer also locking you into a long-term, expensive contract with a monitoring company? Will that monitoring company accept an ELK swap-out?
7) Make sure whomever installs the M1 also provides you the codes. Nothing rose than paying for an M1 and not being able to customize it yourself later.

Note on labels:
A ) By clearly labeled we do not mean: "numbers on the cable and a translation table" or "three character code like 'FDR' for front door." Each cable should have a plastic tab on it and where it goes in english. For example: "Family Room, left side, NE window" or "Garage motion detector." Paper labels and ptouch labels have a habit of falling/ripping off.
B ) You should label both ends of the cable run the same. This provides a little extra security -- if in doubt, you can always reverse engineer which cable you need. And, sometimes, installers are not perfect and may mistakenly label a cable. Looking up the label at the other end saves hours of toning.

Good luck!
BraveSirRobbin said:
Also, politics123, what is the reasoning for running four conductor wiring to door and window sensors?
Only installing 4 conductor makes it almost impossible for the installer to accidentally run the 2 conductor wire to the keypad location!! :p

BSR: good catch, I forgot about your most excellent wiring tutorials.


One only needs 2 conductor for simple contacts.

That said, when I had my minimal prewire contracted, none of my local pros even had it on the truck. Going 4-conductor to every drop:
- simplifies wiring pulls. (same spools/boxes every time)
- only one cable to buy/stock, price difference is minimal eg:
1000' 22/4 -- $64
1000' 22/2 -- $47
- reduces errors where wrong cable was pulled to the wrong location
- provides some admittedly very minimal future flexibility if you care to use multiple sensors (eg: magnetic and rollerball) at the same time, add a tamper switch, add security screens later, or for the occassional "drywall screw with eyes" that manages to only break 1 wire in a jacket!
Yes, that's a simple thing to overlook, running the wrong cable to the wrong location.

When I helped my friend wire his house he ordered the 22/2 (good Belden Wire) with a yellow jacket, and the 22/4 with a green jacket. This way there was no way one would wire the wrong cable to the wrong location.

His Cat5e cable was blue and of course the coax was standard black. This also made it easy to organize the wire in conduit runs which came down to his wiring closet.

So, one should not under estimate how important it is to make sure the correct cable is run to the correct location. One only has to experience being in a "wiring frenzy" (with a deadline before drywall goes in) to fully understand this! :p :p
Thanks for all the insights. Politics, I'm in Charlottesville if you kinow of anybody that would be fantastic!

And to address some of the comments...I purposely excluded any sort of monitoring from my install -- just plan on doing it after the fact. As for the rest of the house, I'm installing a dizzying amount of cable -- 2 Cat5es and 2 RG6s into primarily locations, loads of cat5s everywhere else, 8 RG6 runs from my dish, sleeves from basement to attic, coiled cat5s and coaxs in the attic (just in case), etc. I'd be interested in anyone's opinions on the specs for the Belden wiring my guys will be using for bundled and singles...


Composite • (2) Cat 5e 4-Bonded-Pair UTP 24 AWG • (2) Series 6 Coax w/Duobond Plus® (Bonded Tri-Shield)

Polyolefin Insulation (Pairs) • Gas-injected FPE Insulation (Coax) • F-R PVC Jackets • No Overall Jacket

7876S NEC: 500 152.4 63.0 28.6 .550 13.97 (2) 4-Pair UTP None Polyolefin F-R PVC .204 5.18
CMR 1000 304.8 119.0 54.0 Data Cables: (see chart (1) Blue
CEC: Cat 5e below) (1) Green
CMG FT4 Bonded-Pairs
24 AWG
Bare Copper
(1700R style)
(2) Coax: Duobond Plus Gas-injected F-R PVC .275 6.99
Series 6 (Bonded Foam (1) Black
18 AWG Tri-Shield): Polyethylene (1) White
(solid) Duobond® +
Bare Copper 77% AL Braid
U.S. Patents 7,049,523; 5,606,151; 5,734,126. Cond. + AL Foil w/
Third party verified to TIA/EIA-568-B.2, Category 5e (7915A style) Shorting Fold
Coax sweep tested to 3.0 GHz and jacket sequentially marked. 4.6Ω/M′
Coax shield effectiveness 125dB @ 1GHz is better than Quad shield. 15.1Ω/km

As for alarm wiring, I will take all the comments in when I wire. Good advice.

And those wiring how to's have been tremendously helpful in planning things. Whoever pulled them together, a huge thank you!
Unfortunately, I do not know anyone in charlottesville; they'd have to be imported. I sent you a PM with a few ideas, though.

I've never been one for cable specs/tests... hopefully someone who believes they make a difference can give you a review.

The NEC ratings are key, especially if your local inspectors care. You should call them and ask. Even though you should have the same codes we have, I bet the local inspectors interpret them differently. Stress this is a residential installation and ask:
-- do you need a separate permit for low-voltage prewire
-- whether you need riser-rated/plenum-rated cable between floors
-- what your inspector wants as fire blocking filling holes between floors (rock wool or fire caulk) Even if rock-wool is acceptible -- its quicker to install and less expensive than fire caulk -- the fire caulk does have some air-sealing and energy-savings aspects to it
I suggest you home run Cat 5 to the keypads. That way you can daisy chain them at the control box if you are adding more devices on the RS485 data bus.

Hookup is so easy a Caveman could do it!!
Spanky said:
Hookup is so easy a Caveman could do it!!
Yeah? Have you ever tried to mount the can in a rock wall?

And where are the dinosaur-immune motion detectors?