Elk M1 Installlation questions


New Member
Hello all...

I'm doing a major remodel on our house (meaning I'm down to studs) and I'm putting in all sort of new HA toys, including an Elk M1 system.

A couple of questions have arisen:

- With lots and lots of zones, I was very happy to learn that the expansion boards can be placed away from the control box, with only one data bus (and any aux power) needed as a home run. Regarding the expansion boards, are they able to go into unconditioned space (specifically, the attic)? I know the main control is not supposed to (max 120 degrees) but I couldn't find any docs on the M1XIN's ability to be installed in an attic. This would help me, both in amount of wiring and placement of cans, but it not, I'll find some utility space on that side of the house to stick some small cans.

- I really like the idea of running separately zoned 4 wire smokes in order to pinpoint which one went off. Code here allows smokes to be part of a low-voltage alarm system as long as the alarm panel is on a separate circuit, has battery back-up, and if one smoke is tripped, they all trip. This last bit is the rub. If I go with smokes with a sounder in each one, and zone each separately, is there a way via a rule to trigger all smoke sounders if one zone faults? If not, I'm guessing I could probably put enough of the small SP12F speakers (one in each bedroom, etc.) around to make the inspector happy.

- Out of curiosity, what do most people use the keypads' programmable inputs and outputs for?

Thanks in advance for any input!
I would run VAUX and SVAUX to each can as well as the speaker output and siren output. Its usually not good to mount the expansion boards in the attic in my opinion unless you live in a very mild climate. If you plan on using temperature sensors etc homerun some wiring for that since they cannot go on the zone expanders.

I mounted my expansion cans in closets and dropped down from the attic to the can with the wires. Its a lot easier to troubleshoot as well.

If it was me I would run extra wire everywhere I could just in case. I would also use the biggest cans I could fit/afford. I went back and redid a lot of it once the money was available but it was a lot of work. No choice at the time.
Welcome aboard Chip,

Input / output expanders on the M1 can take alot of abuse, but I would mount them in an area that does not exceed 120 degrees for the long life of the product.

The input on a keypad could be used for a door switch which is close to the keypad and the output could be used for a door strike control or anything else you want to control through a relay connected to the output on the keypad.

If you are in the stud stage of construction, I would home run all the inputs and outputs back to the M1 to be future proof.
Thanks, Spanky... I kinda figured the attic would be dicey.

I have planned lots of back-up wiring, plus some carlon tubing from attic to basement just in case.

How about the smoke question? Is there a way to force a non-tripped smoke on its own zone to trigger when a seperate smoke alarms?

Chip, I hope you don't mind if I jump in here with a related question.

My second building is a pretty good distance from where the main unit will be. I was planning to get my power locally. Is there some reason it would need to come off of the main panel that I've overlooked?

Connect the negative from the M1 to the remote unit along with the Data A and Data B RS-485 data line. The +12V power can then be powered at the remote site with no problem. Remember, you will need a battery backed up power supply in case power fails.

What Spanky said :)

In my case, the expansion cards that I'll be putting away from the main unit will likely have some smoke zones (which need to be powered off the SAUX power bus, as they are latched devices and that bus is used to reset the smokes.) That would be my main reason I couldn't run off a seperate power source.

I was going to home run everything, but I'm going to have around 80 zones (the wife wanted lots of windows...) and being able to put 2-3 expander units on the top floor, on the opposite side of the house from the main unit in the basement is a bonus for me, as I'm doing all the low-voltage wiring in the house myself. This will save me a lot of time running cable.
I think I've figured out the answer to my smokes question, but would love some confirmation.

If I have my 4w smokes on separate zones, all powered via SAUX, in order to have all sound if one goes into alarm, I need to install a polarity reversal relay module on SAUX, correct?

This is, of course, assuming whatever smokes I'm going to use sound when polarity is reversed.