ELK M1 - About to buy finally: Parts Check


Well, 18 months after I originally intended to do this, I'm about to pull the trigger. I was hoping some of the more knowledgeable people here could back check me.
I have a panel from work that we pulled out of a customers site. Has a few penetrations but it's in excellent shape. More than is needed for the inside of a closet, but hey a free NEMA 4 panel...
I have 56 unique pairs of alarm wires, at least 8 pairs of those are smoke.
I have 3 existing keypad locations that currently use CAT3 but I ran CAT6 to them while running the data infrastructure.
At this time I only want email/local alerts. With the option to go cellular in the future.
I would like local alerts to be audio w/voice (what are my options here? Any total customization options?) & local android alerts
I would like to be able to disarm locally from key fob, keypad & android.
Zwave options? Isn't there a single solution that does Z-wave & Insteon, what's the advantage / disadvantage of this single device. It too has its own programming capabilities doesn't it? Is there an Elk plug-in for it? Is the integration two way? Can I get confirmation from the ISY that task were completed? This is the one item i am least sure of.
Here's the current parts list, sans ISY if I go that route.
ELKM1GKS - ELK M1 Gold Controller Kit for Structured Wiring Panel & M1KP2 Keypad
ELKM1KPNAV - ELK Navigator 3.5 In. Touchscreen Keypad
ELKM1KP2 - ELK M1 LCD Low Profile Keypad x2
ELKM1XIN - ELK M1 16 Zones Input Expander
ELKM1XEP - ELK M1 Ethernet Port Expander Interface
ELKM1XRFTW - ELK 2-Way Wireless Transceiver
ELKM1DBHR - ELK M1 Data Bus Hub for Retrofit
ELK6010 - ELK 2-Way Wireless Four Button Keyfob
ELKM1XSLZW - ELK M1-to-Leviton Z-Wave Interface
ELKM1XSP - ELK M1 Lighting, Thermostat, Serial Interface Board
Many thanks, if not for this board I wouldn't be about to jump in.
A few things that I see missing at a glance
an enclosure for the m1kp2 keypad
a backup battery
a speaker or two if you want local announcements and alarm noise
a surge protector if you will be hooking up to a pots phone system
wireless sensors
wired sensors and wire
and I think that the zwave interface requires an additional serial port
You say that you have a panel pulled from work...do you mean an enclosure? You will need an enclosure for the M1.
Mike, the M1XSLZW is the Zwave serial port interface. You just need to add the Leviton VRC0P to it, which is a secondary Zwave controller that interfaces via serial port (to the M1XSLZW).
RE: speakers. I'd suggest the SP12F speakers behind your keypads for local announcements.
RE: wireless. If you go with the Elk 2-way stuff, I believe the Wireless Starter kit they have is the most cost effective solution.
RE: surge. I'd suggest something like the Elk-950 that can be wired to both POTS (if you use it) but more importantly (to me) is the Low Voltage side for power.
Be sure to account for how you will mount all of your accessories in your can. Will you use SWGs or SWP3s?
What size is the can that you said was pulled from another customers site? Are you sure it's big enough to fit all of this equipment? If not, that's obviously another order consideration.
How will your battery mount? Bottom of the can? Or do you want a ELK-SWS?  Consult the Elk installation manual regarding battery installation; the battery leads are not current limited...
Honestly, I wouldn't go crazy with the used panel. For what you'd go through to adapt to a M1 install with a 28" can, honestly, you're not saving much.
I'd look at the smoke detector wiring. You mentioned PAIRS, which is wrong and incorrect. You should at minimum have 4 conductors (2 wire fire loop) per device or 8 (4 wire loop).
And honestly, I wouldn't go with the M1 2way unless there was an absolute need (fob status or the 2 way smokes). Their application and variety of devices aren't that great IMHO.
I chose the Elk wireless smokes first because I was retrofitting and it eliminated the need to pull wires and second because I thought that with wireless smoke detectors there are no wires to burn in a fire which might defeat a wired smoke detector from working.
Thanks a ton guys
I am retrofitting, I have all the existing wiring.
Yes the enclosure I have is more than big enough for the elk and accessories 24x36x10.( think Hoffman Panel), yes its over kill, but its also free.
Good call on the box for the keypad, I didn't realize it was flush mount.
I have a battery and all the EQ in the closet is UPS backed on top of that.
I see the SP12F speakers are for a single gang box, Is the practice to flush mount them and then the keypad over them? You said behind, that's why I ask. Can I use the old cat3 wire for the speakers? (I ran cat6 for the new keypads, but the cat3 its replacing is still in place)
I am not hooking up to a POTS at this time, where would I place the low voltage surge suppressor?
As for the wireless, I believe its on the list for the key-fob and for future stuff after WAF is achieved I will get more money
As for mounting, the panel I have has a back plane that can be drilled and tapped I was considering just using small stand offs and mounting the eq without any adapter plates, if this is a functional issue I fail to understand because I haven't done an alarm panel before then let me know.
I didn't see anything in the manual about battery mounting, what's the advantage of a shelf?
I will check the wires in the old enclosure again for the smoke. All the other leads come from various hard wire door/window/motion sensors. (existing)


You can mount a speaker behind a KP2 keypad by using a M1BBK2 back box, which has a knockout for the speaker.  To do this, remove the SP12F speaker from the mounting plate that comes with the speaker and remount it in the BBK2.

The reason to use a battery shelf is to allow the battery to be mounted close to the alarm panel so that the wires to the battery can be easily kept away from other wiring in the enclosure.  The wires to the battery are not power limited, and the NEC requires such wiring be separated from other wiring by at least 1/4" of space.  The wiring to the battery in your photo looks like it violates the code and is a good example of how not to do things.
If you aren't connecting to a phone line, then you don't need to install a phone line surge suppressor.  You might want to install an AC line surge suppressor (whole house or outlet type) if you don't already have one.  Or you could also go with an ELK 950 on the AC transformer output to the M1.
There may be some UL listing issues with installing the M1 in an enclosure not qualified for that purpose.  You may not care about such things, but your insurance company might.   You'll find this on pg 67 of the M1 manual:
For Household Burglar or Household Fire Listed Installations one of the following enclosures must be used:
* ELK 14” Enclosure model ELK-SWB14 or ELK-UB14
* ELK 28” Enclosure model ELK-SWB28
* OnQ Legrand 14” Enclosure models 363474-01or 363474-11 utilizing the Universal Mounting plate part no. 364453. Not LISTED FOR CANADA
* OnQ Legrand 28” Enclosure models 363475-01, 363475-11, 364591-01, 364591-02 or364591-11 utilizing the Universal Mounting plate part no.
* OnQ Legrand 42” Enclosure models 363476-01,363476-11,364592-01, 364592-02, or 364592-11 utilizing the Universal Mounting plate part no.

Someone like @DEL probably can tell you why you should care about this.
For your smoke detectors, if they are not wired in a daisy chain fashion, you will have a difficult problem.  If you have 4 wire cables to each location and they are all home run, then you can use 2-wire smokes and use the second pair of wires in each cable to build a daisy chain back at the panel location.
I'm going to bow out of the discussion of non-listed enclosures or assemblies. Basically it's a "don't do it" if you enjoy insurance coverage and don't know the specifics. Free vs. $75 and a heck of a lot better install......and listed for the application. Seems like a no brainer to me, on top of giving you the right way to mount the hardware (then again, you could have a perforated type enclosure, which may work, but I still fail to see the attraction. Same with laying Elk boards flat.
You've got a proprietary Vista 15 with a 4219. 14 zones.
I still wouldn't suggest Elk's wireless.
BTW: You don't have to use the backboxes (BBK2) to get the perforated cutout for the SP12F speakers. The perforations are built into the KP2 surface mount back plate if you choose to not flush mount them. I opted not to because I knew we are not in our forever home and that I would be putting an older system back in when we move. I didn't want to have to deal with patching drywall had I used BBK2 boxes and went to replace...
Sorry for the delay in response, I had to travel for work and just didn't get back to this.
Let me be the first to say that I fully support doing this the right way for the right reasons. I am not a professional alarm installer, I defer to experts in the field. I do work in industrial controls / automation and have a fair understanding of enclosures and electronics in general. I posted here in hopes of gaining some knowledge and maybe leaving a digital trail of bread crumbs that someone else might follow and even save them from making a mistake I did.
So on to the questions that arise:
1) What insurance coverage would I be jeopardizing by using a UL listed Hoffman Enclosure?
2) What do you mean by not laying the Elk boards flat? I had planned to use standoffs threaded into the back plane, I'm assuming that would allow airflow and  isolation.


Thanks for all the tips on the speakers!
I have not verified the Smoke wiring yet, I'll look when I get home. 
The ISY question is still unanswered, can the ISY be the only Z-wave bridge and is it 2 way, can I get reliable confirmation back to the Elk from the ISY that command was successful? 
When you mount the Elk boards (other than the M1G) in the panel, you can lay them flat against that back of the panel, or mount them on edge using the Elk SWG brackets.  The Elk enclosures have extra pre-drilled holes in the back of the enclosure to allow the SWGs to be installed.
There are literally dozens of UL standards.  The enclosure you have is UL Listed as meeting the UL 508A standard, which covers enclosures for industrial control panels.
The Elk enclosure (and some others, like some Legrand and Leviton models) are UL Listed for UL Fire and Burglary standards.  I believe these are UL 1023, 985 and 1863.
I don't know all the details of each of these standards, so I can't say in what way the Hoffman enclosure is lacking, but the different standards exist for a reason.
Typically, when alarm systems are tested for these standards, the testing is done as a complete package - the panel itself, plus a transformer and enclosure and possibly other components. 
If you were to make substitutes for any of the components, that would invalidate the UL listing because that specific combination was never tested together.
Where you can get into trouble with your insurance company is that they may decide not to pay a claim, say for a fire, because there was a failure in your alarm system, and argue that it was not UL listed.  Sometimes, even if there was no obvious failure in the alarm system itself, they may try and deny a claim because of the lack of a UL listing.  They might lose if you took them to court, but remember, they have much deeper pockets than you do.
In my view, it seems better to spend a small amount of extra money for a listed enclosure than risk a battle in the future with your insurance company.
Here is a picture to illustrate what was described above:

The boards on the left are mounted "flat" (parallel with the back of the enclosure). The boards on the right are mounted with SWG's.
Here's the basics, that RAL already alluded to. I carry a low voltage contractors license personally, my company carries an unlimited electrical license and I work in the fire/security field and the primary focus of the company is building controls and automation, so that's my background.
You can use 3rd party enclosures if the panel and enclosure are listed as an assembly or the enclosure meets the standard. It is possible to get an enclosure that is not necessarily listed with the panel however is listed to the UL standard and would be compliant, but doing such shouldn't be done by a novice. The same holds true with some panels...the installation and NEC dictate which knockouts are able to be used and for either LV or HV cabling, and actually, though it defies logic, even increasing the size of the factory knockouts will void the listing of a listed FACP enclosure (even though it's done all the time and industry standard).
The big item is truthfully the insurers...as a DIY, you can claim ignorance only up to a point. The big issue is the burden of proof becomes yours or your claims adjuster (if you pay for a private to appeal) to prove that your installation as an entirety can be held harmless and meets acceptable industry standards, practices and code compliance.
That said, I have seen and been involved with suits and cases. Proving what you did or did not do and it's effect on the system is a tough item in a forensic investigation of the installation.
Moving this along, your enclosure is listed as a panelboard per the NEC, but does not have the appropriate listing for UL burg/mercantile and fire. Basically, it's suitable for it's original application or a junction box, or to install stuff on the DIN rail, but other than that, it's going to take up a lot more space and require a ton more work to install and wire compared to a real Elk 28" enclosure and SWG's. I fail to see the appeal to laying the boards flat....there's really nothing to really see on them with the exception of a relay card and status relay.
On the topic of enclosures, is it allowed to put an AC power strip inside an Elk enclosure or any other UL listed alarm enclosure? With the main panel, the xep and serial port adapters all having wall warts it seems like the only thing to do at a point. I know that these can be powered with an auxiliary power supply but it's simpler to just use a power strip.
mikefamig said:
On the topic of enclosures, is it allowed to put an AC power strip inside an Elk enclosure or any other UL listed alarm enclosure? With the main panel, the xep and serial port adapters all having wall warts it seems like the only thing to do at a point. I know that these can be powered with an auxiliary power supply but it's simpler to just use a power strip.
Legal. Only item that could remotely be cited is separation of LV to HV cable, assuming factory flexible cable and duplex outlet in enclosure.
I like the power supply method more. Regulated and filtered normally.