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Help using existing wired system with Elk M1

Just moved into a new house which is about 25 years old.  
 
An extensive WIRED security installation exists.  Every door has the in-door contractors, several motion detectors (wired also), fire detectors.  No wireless element i can figure out.  There are many end elements such as DOOR CONTACTORS,  GLASS BREAK SENSORS, MOTION DETECTORS, SIRENS which are wired back to the basement where the panel is, but much of it is not hooked into the most recent panel.
 
A DSC PowerSeries system control panel is installed with three keypads.  This system DOES NOT CONNECT to the majority of the wired contractors - only to the fire detectors (the prior own seemed to be exclusively worried about fire, not security).  Accordingly, most of the wiring from the rooms although well organized is not connected to the DSC and not well documented.  
 
I am looking to replace the control panel with an ELK M1 in order to accomplish a few objectives including integration with ISY Lighting controller, internet access, third party monitoring and so forth.
 
My questions are primarily about how to wire the ZONES to the ELK panel:
 
1. In re-using the existing wiring coming into the basement (wether connected to DSC or not), do i need to worry about End of Line resistors and if so what can be done to RETAIN AS MUCH of the wired infrastructure?
2. How can i tell which wires coming into the basement are for the MOTION DETECTORS?  any trick to finding that out?  same question from the GLASS BREAK detectors etc.  Any trick to more easily identify what's a door contractor vs. a glass break unit?  
3. is there an easy to test wether a door contactor two floors above is working properly from the basement (if i have a friend opening and closing the door)
4. any GOTCHA i need to keep in mind or think about when re-using this wiring back to the M1?
 
You can see the images below for existing wiring.
 
 
 
 
 
 
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/15659778/elk/1.IMG_7982.jpg
 
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/15659778/elk/2.IMG_7989.jpg
 
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/15659778/elk/3.IMG_7984.jpg
 
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/15659778/elk/4.IMG_7986.jpg
 
 
 
[sharedmedia=gallery:images:966]
[sharedmedia=gallery:images:965]
[sharedmedia=gallery:images:964]
[sharedmedia=gallery:images:963]
 
 

RAL

Senior Member
urbanscribe said:
My questions are primarily about how to wire the ZONES to the ELK panel:

 
1. In re-using the existing wiring coming into the basement (wether connected to DSC or not), do i need to worry about End of Line resistors and if so what can be done to RETAIN AS MUCH of the wired infrastructure?
2. How can i tell which wires coming into the basement are for the MOTION DETECTORS?  any trick to finding that out?  same question from the GLASS BREAK detectors etc.  Any trick to more easily identify what's a door contractor vs. a glass break unit?  
3. is there an easy to test wether a door contactor two floors above is working properly from the basement (if i have a friend opening and closing the door)
4. any GOTCHA i need to keep in mind or think about when re-using this wiring back to the M1?
 
 
1. Yes, you do need to worry about EOL resistors.  From the picture, it doesn't look like they were installed on the panel end, so if they are present, they will be with the contacts.  And if they are there, you'll need to replace them with 2.2k resistors for the Elk. This can be a pain if the installer didn't leave enough slack in the wire to allow you to pry the contact out and get to the resistor.   If there are no EOLs, you are in good shape, and can just connect them as-is to the Elk.
 
2. Motion detectors and glass break detectors require 4 wires, 2 for the contact and 2 for power.  Door and window contact are usually wired with 2-wire cable.   But sometimes, installers run 4-wire cable for everything, which makes is more difficult to tell what is what.
 
3. You can use an ohm meter across the wires in the cable to check for open and short conditions (or 5600 ohms if EOL resistors are used), while the friend opens and closes a door or window.  But that will be painful if you don't know which cable goes where.  A much easier way is to get a tone generator and probe kit, like the Fluke Pro3000. There are also other less expensive brands, but the Fluke works really well.  You can usually find them for about $50 on eBay.  This makes finding the end of each cable a one person job.
 
4. You may be able to re-use the smoke detectors if the are 4-wire smokes.  But if they are 2-wire, you need to check to see if they are compatible with the M1, or replace them if they are not.
 
You also need to look at how the keypad wiring is done.  I believe the DSC keypads can simply be daisy chained, or wired with multiple home runs.  You may need to reconfigure this for the Elk. An M1DBHR may allow you to adapt to the old keypad wiring.
 
You should also do a power calculation to make sure you don't need an auxiliary power supply.  Elk has a spreadsheet that makes this easy to figure out.
 
I don't see anything that alludes to a large or in depth system, just fire alarm based on the single junction you posted (which unfortunately appears incorrectly wired/T-tapped by whoever took it over) on "zone 2"
 
That said, it looks more like the system probably developed issues and was abandoned in sections, unless there's other junctions or cables involved.
 
At a minimum, you're looking at investigating the cabling and performing partial rewiring or splitting devices; how it's connected in the JB and in the panel is incorrect, and frankly, dangerous.
 
@ RAL, he has 4 wire detectors. Very easy to tell. (I count 6 or 7 total). No power supervision, T-taps and EOLR's installed across the devices at the panel....pretty poor installation and practices, downright dangerous. He should really open the fire alarm up and correct that portion first. If that's how it was done for only that section, he has larger issues on the other side.
 

RAL

Senior Member
DELInstallations said:
I don't see anything that alludes to a large or in depth system, just fire alarm based on the single junction you posted (which unfortunately appears incorrectly wired/T-tapped by whoever took it over) on "zone 2"
 
That said, it looks more like the system probably developed issues and was abandoned in sections, unless there's other junctions or cables involved.
 
At a minimum, you're looking at investigating the cabling and performing partial rewiring or splitting devices; how it's connected in the JB and in the panel is incorrect, and frankly, dangerous.
 
@ RAL, he has 4 wire detectors. Very easy to tell. (I count 6 or 7 total). No power supervision, T-taps and EOLR's installed across the devices at the panel....pretty poor installation and practices, downright dangerous. He should really open the fire alarm up and correct that portion first. If that's how it was done for only that section, he has larger issues on the other side.
 
 
You're right DEL.  When I looked at the photos initially,I didn't blow them up to their largest size and missed spotting the EOLRs.
 
It looks like someone knew enough of what they were doing on the rough, but the trimming out or later executions were poor and downright incorrect/dangerous at best.
 
thanks VERY MUCH for this very valuable insight.
 
A. indeed the DSC seems to be only connected to the FIRE detectors.  i believe the red casing color gives that way.
 
-> can you explain a little more how i should rewire this in the context of the ELK M1.  if these are 4 wire FIRE detectors, can i get away with assigning them to normal zones (not 16) with no resistor?  can i just unplug them from this board and use the four wiring in these zones.  by the way where do i connect the power for the detectors?  can i gang up all the detectors power supply together or on separate outputs of the M1?
 
here are some more (full rez) pictures of the end points
 
motion detector = i think Visonic Srn-2000
https://www.dropbox.com/s/1omzbfowgx0ab7g/IMG_8008.JPG?dl=0
 
fire detectors
https://www.dropbox.com/s/qmi9d3w3wwszstp/IMG_8009.JPG?dl=0
 
glass break
https://www.dropbox.com/s/cq00967ytonzy62/IMG_8011.JPG?dl=0
 
B. i also think that some of the original wiring (20+ years old) was abandoned in this system (5-7 years old)
--> how deluded am i to think that i can try to salvage the original wiring for SOME of the system and add wireless for what fails?
seems to be a shame to ignore so much wiring (that by the way looks reasonable in good shape at the panel if unknown at the end)
 
Hey Cocoonut
 
Regarding the Probe kit
http://www.amazon.com/Fluke-Networks-26000900-Pro3000-Generator/dp/B000FTADX0 
has a few pictures 
 
Just took a look at it.  Would you mind describing how you would use it to detect which wire connects to which (for example) door contactor.  i imagine i close the loop on the panel side wires using the kit (with tone box) and then use the probe on the sill side of the doors until i hear the tone?  would you mind pointing me in the right direction on how to use the probe - that would be very much appreciated.
 

RAL

Senior Member
urbanscribe said:
Hey Cocoonut
 
Regarding the Probe kit
http://www.amazon.com/Fluke-Networks-26000900-Pro3000-Generator/dp/B000FTADX0 
has a few pictures 
 
Just took a look at it.  Would you mind describing how you would use it to detect which wire connects to which (for example) door contactor.  i imagine i close the loop on the panel side wires using the kit (with tone box) and then use the probe on the sill side of the doors until i hear the tone?  would you mind pointing me in the right direction on how to use the probe - that would be very much appreciated.
 
 
To use the tone generator and probe, you connect the generator to a cable at one end, say in the panel or wiring box.  Then, you use the probe to walk around to the various sensor locations and listen for the tone.  When you are close to the contact that the cable is connected to, you will hear the tone loud and clear.  You don't actually have to make contact with the wire in the cable, just be near it.
 
You can also do it the other way around, and connect the tone generator to the contact end, say at a motion sensor.  Then, use the probe to pick out the other end of the cable from all of those entering the alarm panel or wiring box.   When you touch the probe to the right cable, it will be much louder than any other cable.  Once you think you have the right cable, short the two ends together.  If the tone stops, then you've got the right one.
 
A couple of things to note.  For the tone generator to work properly, both ends of the cable should be disconnected.  But that's not easy to do with existing door and window contacts in place.
 
If you have a closed door or window contact connected to the cable you are trying to trace, that will short out the signal and you won't pick up anything.  Two ways around this. One is to open the contact. But that means you need to know which contact is on which cable.  Or you have to open all of them.  Another way is to connect the tone generator to just one of the wires in the cable, and connect the other side of the tone generator to the house electrical ground.  
 
If you have twisted pair cables, the twists in the wire will tend to cancel out the tone. It won't kill it completely, but it will be much fainter and more difficult to locate.  If you have a multi-pair cable, you can avoid the problem by connecting to one wire in each of two different pairs, since there are no twists between them.  With a single pair cable, you can do the same thing as I mentioned above, and connect the generator just to one wire and the other side to house electrical ground.
 
Here's a video that shows a bit of how to use one.  There are also many others on Youtube.
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=apIpHPgkevQ
 

RAL

Senior Member
urbanscribe said:
thanks VERY MUCH for this very valuable insight.
 
A. indeed the DSC seems to be only connected to the FIRE detectors.  i believe the red casing color gives that way.
 
-> can you explain a little more how i should rewire this in the context of the ELK M1.  if these are 4 wire FIRE detectors, can i get away with assigning them to normal zones (not 16) with no resistor?  can i just unplug them from this board and use the four wiring in these zones.  by the way where do i connect the power for the detectors?  can i gang up all the detectors power supply together or on separate outputs of the M1?
 
here are some more (full rez) pictures of the end points
 
motion detector = i think Visonic Srn-2000
https://www.dropbox.com/s/1omzbfowgx0ab7g/IMG_8008.JPG?dl=0
 
fire detectors
https://www.dropbox.com/s/qmi9d3w3wwszstp/IMG_8009.JPG?dl=0
 
glass break
https://www.dropbox.com/s/cq00967ytonzy62/IMG_8011.JPG?dl=0
 
B. i also think that some of the original wiring (20+ years old) was abandoned in this system (5-7 years old)
--> how deluded am i to think that i can try to salvage the original wiring for SOME of the system and add wireless for what fails?
seems to be a shame to ignore so much wiring (that by the way looks reasonable in good shape at the panel if unknown at the end)
 
A:

Since the smoke detectors appear to have home run wiring, you can't easily re-use that wiring for 4-wire smokes.  As DEL pointed out, what's there now is the wrong way to wire smoke detectors.  It works, but has some dangerous flaws in that the wiring is not supervised properly and a failure in the wiring could leave you unprotected.
 
Smoke detectors should be wired in a daisy chain fashion, so that if there is a fault anywhere in the chain, the alarm panel can detect it. 
 
The good news is that you should be able to replace the 4-wire smokes with new 2-wire smoke detectors and use the 4-wire cable that is already there to create a virtual daisy chain back at the alarm panel.  You just need to be sure to buy 2-wire smoke detectors that are compatible with the ELK.
 
index.php

 
Hopefully, DEL with chime in with some additional advice on this.
 
B: It's hard to tell why the original wiring and the security part of the system was abandoned.  It could be that the owner just didn't like living with an alarm system.   Or, there could have been some problems with the wiring that gave him trouble.   Even if there were problems, it's hard to believe that all of the wiring is bad.  My hope would be that you'll be able to use much of it.  If you have to go wireless for parts that have trouble, that's not an unreasonable thing to do.
 
One other possibility for abandoning the wiring that I can think of is that there was some other system before the DSC, and it used EOLRs that weren't compatible with DSC.   If the EOLRs were too difficult to replace, perhaps that's the reason it was abandoned.
 
Judging from the cabling and age of the system alone (and my 20 years in the field on these things):
 
I wouldn't worry about EOLR's in the field. Judging on the vintage of the original install and methodology, very doubtful why they would've used them on a system of this vintage. 1990 puts us in the realm of the original Ademco and Napco panels (and judging by the "zone" marker writing, doubtful it was a high end panel installed). The present DSC panel is a 2nd or 3rd fit out since the house was wired.
 
Fire alarm appears to be 6 or 8C/18. Looks like they ran the proper cabling to do it right as a home run installation but was either modified or someone else completed the system after the rough. *edit, saw the smokes, whoever replaced them molested the original install* You already know the cabling was molested after the fact by the cut conductors and wire nuts (they don't appear 25 years old and I'm pretty sure the tan twisters weren't on the market then). Looking at the detectors (just saw the pictures) , the System Sensor heads only existed within the last 10 years, so whoever installed those with the DSC caused a lot of the issues then.
 
You've got newer smokes (still should probably be replaced/check date code) Obsolete motions (original fit out) and glassbreaks (either Ademco or Bluegrass units) both of which should be replaced in honesty. You've probably got old unsealed mechanical contacts installed, guessing by the vintage.
 
I'd probably take a look at the contacts and workmanship in the field first, such as splices and junctions since the zip/twist cord pretty much is cut and dry. How the doors/windows were wired at that point would determine what portion is salvageable as-is or if partial rewiring to bring windows back by room and doors by themselves (pretty much a standard install) if possible, then locate the powered devices (motions and GBD's are all going to be 4 C cable) then determine what that multiconductor/pair cable is (I'm guessing it goes to the attic or keypad location).
 
You should be able to reuse cabling, but I'd recommend taking a good quality meter and seeing what the resistance of the pairs actually are and if it's salvageable first. At minimum, You're looking at replacing detectors and most likely contacts....that's probably why that portion of the system was abandoned. The fire alarm should probably be swapped over to a 2 wire wiring method to correct the cabling and simplify the reconnection/wiring of the field devices.The cabling was molested, so you don't know why the other conductors were cut off. I usually only do that if there's an issue with the pair or I literally have no room for them in a fished location.....I'd assume the same holds true for whoever cut them as you have about a 12X12" JB with plenty of room.
 
thanks.  trying to digest and understand.
 
can you point out maybe a tutorial/video or documentation to help.  
 
1. how to tell if there is a EOLR resistor at the contact side?  is there a way to test the wires or only by opening up the devices built into the door or frame?
is there a way to test a few circuits and tell wether it is likely that the EOLR are not there as is likely
 
2. how to transfer the fire detector wiring AS IT IS INTO THE DSC to how i would like it on the ELK?
should we not try that first before replacing the smokes.  again i think they may be only 5 years old.  unless impossible i would think that they can be hooked up to the ELK to see if they function
 
3. mapping the wired end contact to the board wires 
will look more into the probe.  saw the video.
may be another noob rated video or tutorial would be help.  
 
4. DATA BUS and panels.
can you guys tell whether the 3 panels were DAISY CHAINED or HOME RUN.  trying to figure out how best to hook the new ones (standard keypad) to the ELK with existing wiring
should i get the RETROFIT kit (Elk M1DBHR) - is in necessary or do you see a way to use normal data bus setup.
 
5. theoretically it would seem that the first step is to IDENTIFY the wires THEN check if they are GOOD (closing and opening properly)
can you think of a solid method to confirm that the contacts/devices work properly BEFORE just hooking them up and registering them and hoping?  
 
let me know if there is anything else i can take pictures of.
 
FYI.  i build a wireless only ELK before in my prior house so i know the system reasonably well but am honesltly clueless (but catching) on LEGACY issues 
 

RAL

Senior Member
urbanscribe said:
thanks.  trying to digest and understand.
 
can you point out maybe a tutorial/video or documentation to help.  
 
1. how to tell if there is a EOLR resistor at the contact side?  is there a way to test the wires or only by opening up the devices built into the door or frame?
is there a way to test a few circuits and tell wether it is likely that the EOLR are not there as is likely
 
2. how to transfer the fire detector wiring AS IT IS INTO THE DSC to how i would like it on the ELK?
should we not try that first before replacing the smokes.  again i think they may be only 5 years old.  unless impossible i would think that they can be hooked up to the ELK to see if they function
 
3. mapping the wired end contact to the board wires 
will look more into the probe.  saw the video.
may be another noob rated video or tutorial would be help.  
 
4. DATA BUS and panels.
can you guys tell whether the 3 panels were DAISY CHAINED or HOME RUN.  trying to figure out how best to hook the new ones (standard keypad) to the ELK with existing wiring
should i get the RETROFIT kit (Elk M1DBHR) - is in necessary or do you see a way to use normal data bus setup.
 
5. theoretically it would seem that the first step is to IDENTIFY the wires THEN check if they are GOOD (closing and opening properly)
can you think of a solid method to confirm that the contacts/devices work properly BEFORE just hooking them up and registering them and hoping?  
 
let me know if there is anything else i can take pictures of.
 
FYI.  i build a wireless only ELK before in my prior house so i know the system reasonably well but am honesltly clueless (but catching) on LEGACY issues 
 
 
1:
 
To tell if you have EOLRs, disconnect the cable for a zone from the panel terminals. Then use a multimeter on the Ohms scale to measure the resistance between the two wires of the cable.
 
If you get a reading of 5600 ohms, there is an EOLR installed. 
 
If the initial reading you get is zero Ohms (or close to zero), then there is no EOLR, or the cable is damaged and shorted somewhere. To tell if the cable is damaged, open the door or window.  If the reading goes to open/infinite, then the cable is ok, and there is no EOLR.
 
If you get an initial reading of open/infinite, then the contact is open (e.g. an open door or window).  Or maybe the cable is damaged and cut somewhere along the way. To figure out if the cable is damaged, close the contact by closing the door or window.  If the reading changes to 5600 Ohms, then there is an EOLR.  If it changes to zero, or close to it, then there is no EOLR.  If the door/window was already closed, then you have an open cable.  One other possibility would be that a normally open contact was used, but that would be unusual for a door or window contact.
 
2:
 
You could transfer the smoke detector wiring as-is to the Elk to see if the work.  But that seems like a wasted effort, since you will need to replace them anyway with 2-wire smokes.  But I would hesitate to advise you on how to connect them in an incorrect manner, even if it is just for test purposes.  It will be too tempting to leave them as-is until you get around to replacing them.
 
3:  Not sure what you are looking for here.  A more detailed video on how to trace the wires using the tone probe?
 
4:
 
The keypads appear to be home run.  I think I can see 3 wires on the keypad terminals (RED, BLK, YEL, GRN) in the left-side terminal block of the DSC. 
 
Since 4-wire cable was used to connect the old keypads, your best bet would be to use a M1DBHR retrofit hub to connect them to the Elk. Otherwise, you will need to run new cables.
 
5:
 
Yes, identifying the cables is the first step to take.  Once you have done that, you can check for EOLRs as described above, and operate the contacts several times to check that they work properly.   But that won't give you 100% assurance that they are good and solid. 
 
Sometimes, you can have a flaky contact that works sometimes, but not all the time.  A good example is a mechanical roller ball type contact on a door that sticks.  Magnetic contacts that use reed switches tend to be more reliable and less prone to failure, but still, sometimes they do fail.  I don't know of a good way to separate the good from the bad other than to hook them up and see if problems pop up.  Depending on the age of the contacts, some folks might advise to just replace them all to avoid future hassles.
 
super helpful as ever
 
About 2 - smoke detectors --->
 
You could transfer the smoke detector wiring as-is to the Elk to see if the work.  But that seems like a wasted effort, since you will need to replace them anyway with 2-wire smokes.  But I would hesitate to advise you on how to connect them in an incorrect manner, even if it is just for test purposes.  It will be too tempting to leave them as-is until you get around to replacing them.
 
let me ask it another way.  Why do you think i need to replace the fire detectors.  Not necessarily a problem but just want to understand why they should be changed if they connect to DSC now?  is it that how it is connected is wrong/dangerous/stupid (saw that above but not sure WHY), or is it that these units may be old enough and cheap enough to change.  i'd love to understand better why the FD are wired wrong i guess.
 
if i need to change the FDs then:
 
1. can i use the existing wiring?  wireless smokes are > $100 and there are a bunch
2. if i have 10 old ones now then are newer more efficient that they were 5/10 years ago such that i need only 5 (or if i have 10 then i should upgrade/replace 10)
3. should i get 2 wire or 4 wire new fire detectors?  
4. any models you recommend
5. do i over complicate things if i look for FD and Monoxide detectors combined?
6. how can i best re-use the existing wiring for FDs.  am i right to assume (a) replace all with 2 wires, (b) connect all the wires to zone 16 on ELK M1 with jumper change?
 
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