• You've been granted Beta access to this site, allowing you to explore some of the new features while they're still under construction. More information can be found in the Beta forum.

Honeywell Tuxedo vs Elk vs HAI?

2MuchTech

Member
Hi all! I've been trolling the forums here as I collect info to make a decision on which DIY security and HA platform to use for my upcoming new construction. Sorry for how long this post is. I'm looking for feedback from those of you who have used the systems noted below. First priority is a security system, but I eventually want to add IP cameras, whole home audio, and environmental home automation (lights, thermostats, etc). I'm going to pre-wire for speakers and audio control keypads (something like NuVo looks promising), and I'm not overly concerned about being able to control the audio through the home automation system. I do want to be able to see the camera feeds from the security system touch screen(s). I also want to be able to access and control security, cameras, and HA functions remotely from a smartphone (currently an iPhone), and it would be nice to control audio functions locally (over WiFi) from an iPhone / iPad device.

First the Honeywell Tuxedo: I didn't find much info about this system at CocoonTech, but I know it's relatively new. It appears to offer a decent amount of integration for a relatively low price. I especially like the price point of the Tuxedo Touch screens considering that they integrate IP camera functionality, and the Vista 21ip doesn't sound too complicated to install. I'm thinking I'll go with a hybrid wired/wireless setup on the Vista. The Honeywell wireless window/door contacts aren't quite as low-profile as the new Elk sensor, so that's a negative for Honeywell, but they are probably small enough to pass the wife-approval test. I'm leaning towards Z-Wave for lights and thermostats, and the Tuxedo seems to offer good compatibility here. What's not clear to me is whether I will be able to program the Tuxedo to do things such as turning on specific outside lights when a motion sensor trips, then turning them off some preset amount of time later. If the Tuxedo isn't sophisticated enough to do this, can I use some other Z-Wave controller to handle the automation tasks without conflicting with the Tuxedo's Z-Wave controller? Can a secondary Z-Wave automation controller "see" events from the Tuxedo/Vista security system?

Next is HAI: This system looks interesting, but the 5.7 inch touch screen seems crazy-expensive ($1000+ each). I like the integration it seems to provide, but I envision having several touch screens around the house, and that's not going to happen at $1000+ each. Are there any 3rd party screens that can make HAI's system price more attractive?

Finally, the Elk system: I like a lot of things about this system, but their touch screens don't support the IP cameras, and that's a deal breaker for me. I'm considering eKeyPad for iOS as a solution. If an iPod Touch or iPad (or, if the rumors are true, an iPad Mini) can be attractively wall mounted in a "permanent" flush-mounted enclosure, that would be pretty cost effective. The unknown is whether eKeyPad's screens can be customized enough to make the system dirt-simple to operate. I'd also like to know how fast eKeyPad sends commands to the Elk system and how quickly the screens update to reflect changes. If there's a lot of lag time it probably wouldn't be a good solution for being the primary controllers.


I'd love to hear from those of you who have used these brands of systems. I tend to buy technology for the sake of how cool it is, but in this case I need to be cognizant of putting together a system that the entire family can actually use without tech support (me) helping them. The Honeywell Tuxedo system appears to be easy to use, and the integrated IP camera support looks pretty well implemented, but I don't have any feel for how limited the Z-Wave portion of it would be (or if that even matters at all if a secondary automation system could handle the Z-Wave functions and still trigger off of security system events). As much as I want to be able to monitor and control the security system and the home automation functions remotely, I'm not necessarily opposed to using two different apps. Setting the thermostats remotely with one app and checking the security system status with another app is acceptable if it results in a system that's actually easier to use in the house. My fear is that trying to integrate too many functions into a single system could result in each function being hard to use (which is one reason I envision having dedicated keypads to control the whole home audio in each room). For instance, if arming and disarming the security system requires a multitude of keypresses to navigate through screens cluttered with lighting and thermostat controls, my family will want to shoot me!

TIA for any input you can provide.
 

tmbrown97

Senior Member
First - you can control your z-wave with multiple controllers... I do it today with UPB - I have 3 computer interface modules - one for Elve, one for the Elk, and one for the RUC, and I use whichever one is best for what I'm doing.

HAI screens are expensive stock, but their going price on ebay is more in the $350 range - set an alert and keep an eye out for them to pop up. There's also one in the CocoonTech classifieds right now.

With many of these systems, there are nice 3rd party systems out there - it requires running a computer full time, but there are plenty of low power options... then you could run something like an Elk and have Elve running on the iPad for the utmost flexibility in your screens. I do love eKeypad and use it daily - especially on my phone; but to be brutally honest, I'm not all that fond of the iPad version - it just doesn't look that great, and wasn't designed to optimize the iPad's display... it's more just a collection of the iPhone screens slapped on a single page. I'm interested in the Blueprint portion, but it's an extra $50, and I haven't been able to get a response on someone to make the me one of the cool blueprint screens yet.

Also - Elk's bigger touchscreen does have some IP camera support - but again, I'd mount an iPad on the wall before I'd worry about that.
 

nlaredo

Member
At only $199 i couldn't resist buying a nexus 7 with an ultimate goal of mounting more than one in walls where I might want control panels for the m1g. It is *just* the right size...

It turns out there is one minor issue.. you can't wake it from sleeping by touching the screen and the only buttons are on the edge. I guess an ipad is still in the running since it has a button on front -- unless I can convince google that wake on touch is an important option to add.
 
The Tux is simply adding some small functionality to a Vista platform, nothing more and really can't be anything else. You're going to be limited to functions provided within the panel's hardware. The positive is it'll allow basic automation/control to be added to a security platform, albeit very limited. The support for any other hardware besides the Zwave enabled Honeywell and cameras just isn't going to be there, nor can I see it happening....the business model isn't there, it's more of a way for an installing security dealer to add to their portfolio.

The HAI, as I've always dealt with them, will work fine, however with HAI, the pricing isn't too friendly and to really integrate, without massive 3rd party support or controllers, you're going to buy into what I call the "HAI system in a box". Nothing wrong with it, but for real functionality and interfacing, you're looking at buying the whole platform.

Elk is more "open source" and their proprietary touchscreens (TS07) can support IP based cameras and NVR's, although the support has been slow to move forward and models haven't been added in a couple of years to my knowledge. The Navigator units are not going to support any IP based items I can see since that much data can't be streamed through the 485 bus on the existing hardware platform. That leaves using a win based UI and running RM or RM2 and build your own screens and GUI. I'm more on the side of caution when it comes to interfacing a touchscreen or other 3rd party item with a security or life safety system....a lag or freeze means (at least to me) the potential for very bad things to happen or occur with potentially dire consquences.
 

pete_c

Guru
To this day after many years I leave the Omnitouch/HAI keypads "control" the security and the generic connect to various devices monitor the security. What is nice about both Elk and HAI is the security features with secondary automation features well integrated in nice packages.

There is plenty of information here on the forum. There are those here whom are avid DIYers and automation is a hobby (addictive) and will and have connected and automated much in their homes on their own and there are professional installers which make a living doing this "stuff".

There are the folks who prefer the drop in "do all" automation whether by hardware or software and with either this or that as their interface (say a nice network connected piece of software client and touch screens or tables that interface with their systems) and those that would prefer for a company/professional provide them with the end all means of automation/security. (at a price)

Personally it's a hobby here; but that said note that while putting the DIYer hat on you still have to consider life saftey "stuff" as primary and go slow with it. IE: you can automate security stuff with an if and then and an and a greater than and less than but you cannot predict human nature and in itself sometimes can cause some issues which are related to life saftey so you really have to go slow with it.

Here too (in my home) there is the WAF factor. Over the last few years I have been helping a friend who's husband was (he passed away) an avid DIYer relating to automation. While "reviewing" his automation I noticed he had no less than maybe 10 automation switches in the master bathroom. Some individual and many multi paddle/button switches. That said I asked what they were for and his wife knew the function of every button, paddle and switch (and still using IR functions to do automation). A few days later I decided to install one paddle/4 button switch to see how well my wife could deal with it. She couldn't nor wanted to; so she doesn't use the switch today.

I recall one day speaking with a vendor of one of the combo automation hardware boards mentioned on the forum. All in all he was happy having a large installed base with no issues. One of the "things" he brought up was that his customers didn't want to see any more of the propietary touch screens for the system no matter how functional they were; but rather many of his customers preferred the look of Ipad, Ipods either portable or mounted in a wall for all automation/security interfaces. Personally I overwhelm my touch screens to the point where my wife is literally afraid to touch them with the assumption that she will break something.

Its difficult to guage what is better than this or that because so many folks here buy one or the other system/software and have learned it over the years becoming guru's relating to what they purchased and DIY'd or had installed. IE: for lighting technologies and automation there are quite of few technologies each with its benefits and quirks. Same for heating and cooling automation methodologies; some very detailed and granular and others very simple. The list goes on and on with an almost limitless automation means left to your imagination and what you want to do.

Welcome to the forum!
 
Top