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ELK M1 Intermittent False Alarm

BraveSirRobbin,
Unfortunately, I can't get any picture of the kitchen window to show the gap properly.
 
I have repositioned the kitchen window magnet and the system will now arm normally.
 
I have done the ohms testing with the following results:
1) Kitchen window, Closed = 0.02 to 0.03 ohms, Open = 1 (infinity)
2) Great Room window, Closed = 0.01 to 0.02 ohms, Open = 1 (infinity)
I am thinking the difference is likely due to distance from the panel.
The Kitchen window is approx. 22 ft. from the panel and the Great Room is only 12 ft.
 
All window sensors are "normally closed".
 
I have rattled both windows while armed and no violation.
 
I am thinking I will order a few wide gap sensors as you have noted and see if this makes any difference.
 
I am still trying to understand why I would suddenly have this problem.
Is there any way to test and see if the problem is moisture related?
 

BraveSirRobbin

Moderator
The ohm distance is indeed the extra line length's resistance.
 
Those reading sound right.  Is your meter auto-scale, or do you have to manually select the scale?  If manual, remember to do a reading with the LARGEST scale with the window open to check for any cable leakage (shorts).
 
I don't think the magnet sensor is your issue if you can't get the meter reading to change by rattling the windows.  Sounds like you 'did' have an issue until you moved the magnet to a more proper alignment.
 
Shame you don't have a tone meter so you could leave it hooked up for a day just to see if you hear anything (temp expansion?) while you were around the area.

I guess you could lightly spray water on the sensor while the meter is connected and see if that makes a difference. I'm thinking no as this would be a short...and the sensors are normally closed anyway (exhibiting a short) while in the closed position.

How much of a gap do you need to have before the meter shows infinite again with your magnets re-aligned? Any difference?

I'm hoping you solved the issue with the magnet repositioning.
 
BraveSirRobbin,
 
I have not had any issues since the magnet repositioning.
 
I am going to order some wide gap sensors as I think the distance between the sensor and magnet on both windows is close the maximum spec.
 
I am going to mark this as solved.
 
Thanks very much for all the help and input!!
 

upstatemike

Senior Member
Be sure to come back when you get them changed and let us know which model sensors you used and how they are working.
 
Trouble!!
At 1:21 am this morning a false alarm was triggered.
The alarm is on a different sensor from the previous false alarms.
Previous alarm times were 2:01 am, 2:32 am and 3:44 am.
 
I haven't received new sensors as yet!!
 
Questions:
1) Would a weak CR2032 battery on the main board cause any alarm issues?
2) Even though my tests show the backup battery is holding a charge, could this still be the problem?
 
Gary
 

BraveSirRobbin

Moderator
Given the history of your other two sensors, I would perform the exact same testing methodology to try to determine if the cause is the sensor itself.  You might have had an installer who wasn't careful in the alignment of the magnets during the installation.
 

BraveSirRobbin

Moderator
BraveSirRobbin said:
Given the history of your other two sensors, I would perform the exact same testing methodology to try to determine if the cause is the sensor itself.  You might have had an installer who wasn't careful in the alignment of the magnets during the installation.
Some more thoughts.  Can you place the meter in DC volts and read the sensor values (of these three sensors) with the window open, then closed AT the terminals (just place the probes on top of the terminal screws)?
 
Also, I believe there is a setting on the actual sensor in the Elk RP software that has a checkmark for 'slow response' or something like that.  I would check that box as well (I believe this lengthens slightly the violation time of the sensor before the alarm trips).
 
I did the installation and as I'm not a professional I may have not been as careful as I needed to be  :D ...Lol I did the installation in October of 2017. The only reason I mention this is so that you know this isn't a recent install and until now I haven't had any issues.   For the Terminal test, are you meaning at the Elk Panel?   For the settings the Zone is set as "Burglar Perimeter Instant" and the only option is "Fast Loop Response", no "Slow Response". Looks like a delay can't be programmed for this.
 

RAL

Senior Member
Elk's documentation of the CR2032 battery is somewhat fuzzy.  They refer to it as the "clock" battery but don't say what else it might affect other than the internal clock.  It wouldn't hurt to replace it, but in the past, others who had false alarm problems reported that it made no difference.
 
The default configuration setting for a zone is "slow response" and there is only the one checkbox to override that and switch to fast response.  You want the default of slow response for door and window contacts.
 
Have you pulled the plastic cover off the M1 and looked it over carefully for any signs of burn marks or corrosion?  Especially in the lower left corner of the board around where the battery wires connect. That's where the power supply components are located.  It's worth a look if you haven't done it already.
 

lanbrown

Active Member
No idea how the Elk uses the CR2032 battery.  I have seen where it has been used to power the clock all of the time and also where it only powered the clock when the system was powered down.
 
For as cheap as a CR2032 battery is, I think I would replace it just to remove it as a possibility either now or the near future.  That battery is nearing 4 years old.
 
Replying to Ral,
Thank you for the confirmation on the zone settings.
I pulled the cover off the M1 as you suggest and I don't see any corrosion or burn marks. Everything appears normal.
 
Replying to Ianbrown,
I have replaced the CR2032 as suggested.
I have also replaced the main battery with a spare ice fishing battery that is 1 year old and has the same rating as the ELK battery.
 
Replying to BraveSirRobbin,
The Terminal Test you are suggesting, are the terminals the ones at the sensor?
 
I have recessed, not surface mounted, sensors.
If the test is at the sensor then I am assuming I would:
1) pull the sensor out, read the volts across the terminals (which would simulate window open) then;
2) place a magnet on the sensor and read the volts (which would simulate window closed).
Is that correct?
 

BraveSirRobbin

Moderator
Read the voltages at the Elk panel.  This is just grasping and eliminating the low hanging fruit.
 
I'm curious how the sensor gap is before it 'opens' compared to the other windows.  Have the windows warped at all during these years?  The alarms seem to happen in the coldest part of the day/night correct?  Are these wooden windows?
 
Have you ever had a false alarm during the daytime?  Just trying to determine a cause here.  Do the false alarms happen when armed in away mode or stay?
 
You said you did try to 'wiggle' and knock hard on the windows to simulate wind rattling before correct?
 
The fact that this is the third sensor in a short amount of time giving false alarms may point to the panel itself, given the history of zero false alarms since then.
 
Has anything changed in the home?  New major appliance?  Notice any power surges?  Anything change in the wiring closet where the Elk is stored?  Is the Elk in a temperature controlled area or is it subjected to swings?  Anything changed in the attic or walls where the wiring is installed?  Have you changed from caffeinated to decaf coffee (ok this one doesn't matter obviously, but you see we are after any change recently)?
 
BraveSirRobbin said:
Read the voltages at the Elk panel.  This is just grasping and eliminating the low hanging fruit.
Voltages from ElkRP show 0.0 and 13.7 on all zones.
I will need to get back to you doing multi-meter testing on each zone.
 
I'm curious how the sensor gap is before it 'opens' compared to the other windows.  Have the windows warped at all during these years?  The alarms seem to happen in the coldest part of the day/night correct?  Are these wooden windows?
I will get the exact gaps and let you know.
I have not seen any obvious warping but, the kitchen window wouldn't arm until I repositioned the magnet. That would suggest to me that there has been some warping causing the gap to change. Also, ElkRP showed the volts at closed, before changing the magnet position, as 0.02 to 0.03. After repositioning the magnet it is now 0.0 at close.
Yes, the alarms started happening as we entered winter and always at night when it is coldest.
The windows are vinyl clad casements.
 
Have you ever had a false alarm during the daytime?  Just trying to determine a cause here.  Do the false alarms happen when armed in away mode or stay?
Alarms have never happened (knock on wood) during the daytime.
Alarms have happened only during nighttime and in Stay mode.
 
You said you did try to 'wiggle' and knock hard on the windows to simulate wind rattling before correct?
Yes, that is correct.
What I haven't tried is tapping on the sensor to see if the voltage changes / varies.
 
The fact that this is the third sensor in a short amount of time giving false alarms may point to the panel itself, given the history of zero false alarms since then.
 
Has anything changed in the home?  New major appliance?  Notice any power surges?  Anything change in the wiring closet where the Elk is stored?  Is the Elk in a temperature controlled area or is it subjected to swings?  Anything changed in the attic or walls where the wiring is installed?  Have you changed from caffeinated to decaf coffee (ok this one doesn't matter obviously, but you see we are after any change recently)?
There have been no changes in the home.
No major appliances added / removed.
The power supply is protected by a CyberPower 1000va.
Nothing has changed in the wiring closet where the Elk is stored.
The Elk is in the basement and my home has a HRV system to control humidity and has forced air central gas heating. Normal temperatures range from 18 C to 22 C with humidity between 35 and 50 percent.
The wiring for the affected zones is in the floor space between the basement and the main floor where the windows are located. This is a one floor plan and the wiring for 2 of the 3 affected sensors is open i.e. not closed in with drywall.
Haven't changed from caffeinated to decaf but have started on Rusty Nails (scotch and drambuie, with ice) LOL
 
Replying to BraveSirRobbin,
 
Gap at sensors is 1/4" to 3/8".
 
Voltage measurements at Elk panel are:
Zone 7, Bedroom Window, Closed 0.30, Open 13.65
Zone 14, Great Room Window, Closed 0.04, Open 13.65
Zone 17, Kitchen Window, Closed 0.00, Open 13.59
All of these zones have given false alarms recently.
 
All other zones measure Closed = 0.00 to 0.01, Open = 13.59 to 13.65
 
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