Elk Wireless - Erratic Response

I finally went in and bought a Elk M1G and 2-way wireless and 319.5 wireless setup along with some other goodies (Lutron integration), etc etc....
 
In the setup and testing I'm having "weird" results from the wireless contact sensors.  I've tested with the ELK-6020, ELK-6023 and with Interlogix (EcoLink) TX-E201 and TX-E251. I think I can rule it out being one sensor type or one wireless type between the Elk 2-way wireless and the 319.
 
The issue is the response from the wireless sensors is erratic/spotty.  Sometimes the response is perfect but most of the time there's a 1 - 3 second delay in the response to the contact opening.  I've tested this with Elk rules directly to the RR2 main repeater to turn on a light and I've tested it through my control system and the result is the same.  Sometimes perfect but most of the time really delayed.
 
On the 2-way sensors I can see the LED flash green when testing and I can see the delay directly at the sensor LED. 
 
I've moved the transceiver to a new location and tested and same results.  I've even tested standing in the same room as the transceiver and it's the same results. 
 
Everything is connected via CAT5 with a data bus hub.  I went and checked everything to make sure the termination of components was correct and they are.....
 
I'm at a loss of what to check/try next and was hoping someone here might have some ideas.
 

RAL

Senior Member
I can't say I know what the cause might be, but I'll ask some questions to start with, just to collect more information.
 
1. If you use a wired contact to trigger the same rules that you are using with the wireless sensors, do you get a fast, consistent response?
 
2. How do you have your data bus configured (one branch, or two branches)? You mentioned you have  a hub.  Is it a M1DBH or M1DBHR? How many devices are plugged in to the hub?  Where do you have terminators installed on the data bus?
 
3. Can you provide a list of the devices (and quantity) you have connected to your system?  Data bus devices, motion sensors, smoke detectors, etc.
 
4. Have you done a current draw calculation for the devices you have connected?
 
5. When you moved the wireless receivers, did you move one or both?  If both, are they located close to each other?

6. Do you ever see a red led blink from the sensor indicating it was unable to communicate?

7. How many rules do you have configured?
 
RAL said:
I can't say I know what the cause might be, but I'll ask some questions to start with, just to collect more information.
 
1. If you use a wired contact to trigger the same rules that you are using with the wireless sensors, do you get a fast, consistent response?
 
2. How do you have your data bus configured (one branch, or two branches)? You mentioned you have  a hub.  Is it a M1DBH or M1DBHR? How many devices are plugged in to the hub?  Where do you have terminators installed on the data bus?
 
3. Can you provide a list of the devices (and quantity) you have connected to your system?  Data bus devices, motion sensors, smoke detectors, etc.
 
4. Have you done a current draw calculation for the devices you have connected?
 
5. When you moved the wireless receivers, did you move one or both?  If both, are they located close to each other?

6. Do you ever see a red led blink from the sensor indicating it was unable to communicate?

7. How many rules do you have configured?
 
  1. Wired sensors are fast and consistent.  I have 4 wired sensors.  Garage doors and two rope water sensors
  2. Single Branch using a M1DBH.  4 devices plugged in terminated at port 5
  3. Devices:
    Data bus - keypad, 2-way transceiver, 319.5 receiver, lutron interface
  4. XEP
  5. Relay board
  6. Sensors Wired - 2 x garage doors, 2 x water sensors
  7. Sensors Wireless - 2 x 6022, 1 x 6023, 1 x TX-E201
  8. In process of installing and testing which is why not a lot of wireless sensors yet. 

[*]Draw calculation - Haven't bothered to do this as it's barely a handful of things connected so far
[*]Started out with 2-Way transceiver and was experiencing this problem.  I had the 319 receiver so I added it to compare.  Moved the 2-way transceiver further away from the can and added the 319 next to the 2-way.  As they are on far apart (spectrum wise) to each other their proximity shouldn't matter unless they are doing something wonky
[*]Yes occasionally I have seen a red LED on the 6022 even when in the same room as the transceiver
[*]Rules - 1 rule for testing purpose
 

RAL

Senior Member
simplextech said:
  1. Wired sensors are fast and consistent.  I have 4 wired sensors.  Garage doors and two rope water sensors
  2. Single Branch using a M1DBH.  4 devices plugged in terminated at port 5
  3. Devices:
    Data bus - keypad, 2-way transceiver, 319.5 receiver, lutron interface
  4. XEP
  5. Relay board
  6. Sensors Wired - 2 x garage doors, 2 x water sensors
  7. Sensors Wireless - 2 x 6022, 1 x 6023, 1 x TX-E201
  8. In process of installing and testing which is why not a lot of wireless sensors yet. 

[*]Draw calculation - Haven't bothered to do this as it's barely a handful of things connected so far
[*]Started out with 2-Way transceiver and was experiencing this problem.  I had the 319 receiver so I added it to compare.  Moved the 2-way transceiver further away from the can and added the 319 next to the 2-way.  As they are on far apart (spectrum wise) to each other their proximity shouldn't matter unless they are doing something wonky
[*]Yes occasionally I have seen a red LED on the 6022 even when in the same room as the transceiver
[*]Rules - 1 rule for testing purpose
2. Do you also have a jumper on JP3 on the M1 to provide a second termination for the data bus?  The data bus always requires 2 terminators to be installed - one at each end.  Since you only have one branch, the M1 itself is the "other" end.
 
4.  I did a quick power calc based on your list, and you might just be at the limit of the M1's power supply.  Are you providing power for the XEP from the M1 itself, or from the separate wall wart power supply that comes with it?  If you're using the wall wart, then you're ok.  The XEP uses quite a bit of power.
 
The relay board can also draw quite a bit of power (250mA) when all the relays are active.  But since you don't have any rules to activate them right now, it shouldn't be causing any problems.
 
Since you are seeing delays in getting a green light and are also seeing occasional red lights on the wireless transmitter, I'm thinking that the problem is not with the M1, but is more likely with the wireless communication. 
 
My understanding is that the two way handshaking of the M1XRFTW is handled by the wireless board itself.  The M1 doesn't know anything about it.  The M1 is just sent a packet on the databus saying that a zone is secure or not secure.  The fact that the wireless transmitter is sometimes slow to show a green light indicates that it had to send several transmissions before receiving an acknowledgment.  And sometimes it never gets one, and that's when it shows a red light.
 
It's strange that you're having trouble with both wireless receivers. It makes me wonder if there is some source of serious RFI that's affecting them.   You could try turning off all of the circuit breakers in your house, except for the one that is providing power to the M1, to see if there is something in your house that is the cause.  Kind of a long shot, but it's worth a try. 
 
One thing I would do, if you haven't done it already, is to replace the batteries in a couple of the transmitters and see if that makes a difference.  A number of people in the past have reported that the batteries that came from the factory were half-dead.
 
RAL said:
2. Do you also have a jumper on JP3 on the M1 to provide a second termination for the data bus?  The data bus always requires 2 terminators to be installed - one at each end.  Since you only have one branch, the M1 itself is the "other" end.
 
4.  I did a quick power calc based on your list, and you might just be at the limit of the M1's power supply.  Are you providing power for the XEP from the M1 itself, or from the separate wall wart power supply that comes with it?  If you're using the wall wart, then you're ok.  The XEP uses quite a bit of power.
 
The relay board can also draw quite a bit of power (250mA) when all the relays are active.  But since you don't have any rules to activate them right now, it shouldn't be causing any problems.
 
Since you are seeing delays in getting a green light and are also seeing occasional red lights on the wireless transmitter, I'm thinking that the problem is not with the M1, but is more likely with the wireless communication. 
 
My understanding is that the two way handshaking of the M1XRFTW is handled by the wireless board itself.  The M1 doesn't know anything about it.  The M1 is just sent a packet on the databus saying that a zone is secure or not secure.  The fact that the wireless transmitter is sometimes slow to show a green light indicates that it had to send several transmissions before receiving an acknowledgment.  And sometimes it never gets one, and that's when it shows a red light.
 
It's strange that you're having trouble with both wireless receivers. It makes me wonder if there is some source of serious RFI that's affecting them.   You could try turning off all of the circuit breakers in your house, except for the one that is providing power to the M1, to see if there is something in your house that is the cause.  Kind of a long shot, but it's worth a try. 
 
One thing I would do, if you haven't done it already, is to replace the batteries in a couple of the transmitters and see if that makes a difference.  A number of people in the past have reported that the batteries that came from the factory were half-dead.
M1 JP3 is jumpered.
XEP is powered externally
Relay board has nothing connected yet
 
One thought I had with the 2-way was because the spectrum is within the 900Mhz range and I have a decent install of Z-Wave devices there might be interference here.  Which is part of the reason I installed the 319.5Mhz receiver just for the giggles to test.  Unfortunately it shows the same behavior.
 
I do think there's something wonky going on and I'm thinking I'll move the transceiver and test again.  Need something to do today anyways.  I did read others complaining about the bad batteries from factory so I can replace the batteries before I move things again.
 
A bit of a delay in a response but I did move the 2-way and 319.5mhz wireless receivers to the attic.  I put the 2-way mostly centered to the main part of the house even.  
 
  • Checked/Verified termination at the end points.  Meaning making sure nothing was terminated because they are connected via CAT5 to a data bus hub.  Data bus hub is terminated after the last device (not last port)
  • Checked wiring at the receivers/transceiver
  • Checked Diags for data bus errors and this has me questioning as the 2-way T02A02 is showing 27 which is not high but in an ideal world should be 0.  The 2-way at T02A02 is the only device showing up with any errors too... so... has me questioning the wiring
  • The 319.5mhz sensors I'm testing are still reporting "slow" to me.... maybe 1-2 seconds is normal?  If so then it's not acceptable for automation.
  • Honeywell receiver and sensors are on order for testing.
  • Called Elk support.  Went through the typical steps of termination, location of the receivers, I asked about possible interference with the 2-way from all of the Z-Wave devices I have all around the house (still a possibility but does not explain the 319.5mhz slowness).  This could be the issue with the 2-way as it's in the same 900mhz range.  
 
Still testing this setup and hoping the Elk wireless (whatever receiver works) will provide reliable and speedy responses for contact sensors.
 
Anyone have any other ideas?  I'm still hoping I'm overlooking something in this setup.
 

keepersg

Active Member
I have all three of the Elk wireless receivers--M1XRFTWM,M1XRFEG,M1XRF2H.  They all have a faster response rate than you're experiencing.  Assuming the following 1) Wireless receivers have their data bus addresses set correctly so there are no bus conflicts 2) Wiring is correct and you have the correct voltage readings at the receivers 3) The sensors are installed with the correct parameters as you can check on Elk RP, you might try the procedure for checking the signal strength.  When you enroll a new transmitter (sensor) the Elk should announce the total number of received packets.  You can also check that with a keypad walk test of a wireless zone.  If it's working correctly, you should get an announcement something like "sensor <sensor number> level 8 meaning all 8 packets have been received.  Anything less than 4 is likely to mean you have inadequate signal strength for some reason and that would explain what you're seeing although it wouldn't give you what's causing it of course.  Good luck with it.  I've had an Elk M1G for years with basically no trouble other than the batteries on the sensors needing replacement.  It's down right now due to a remodel we've got going and I'm definitely missing the data and automation that it drives in my ISY and Homeseer.
 
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