House & Large Shop HA Project


Help wanted from the automation experts,

I need some advice on a system I plan on implementing in the next couple months. It involves a new shop with an office area including 40+ inputs, 30+ hard wired outputs prewired (pumps, Air compressor, lighting mostly via contactors). The house (750 feet from shop) std security i/o, sprinklers 4 zones with pump at shop. Fiber will connect the house and shop soon, currently using a WET54G and 25pr 22awg telecom cable. Broadband comes in via fix wireless to the shop. Server room in shop will be my distribution center (Elk M1, CCTV, VOIP PBX all on UPS, also POE adapters or POE switch in house and shop to be powered by UPS for IP phones etc). I am hoping you guys will know of a surveillance / CCTV & dvr system compatible with the Elk M1. For this system I plan to hardwire as much as possible, wireless channels are full, cordless 900hz, multiple 2.4gHz 802.11b/g and fixed wireless on 5.4ghz plus other business related frequencies. The office area is framed and prewired for HA plus has conduit in many places.

I assume this will bring on a lot of discussion but hopefully we will not get too far off topic. Nothing has been purchased as of yet but I am quite firm on the Elk M1 as the controller of choice although the Omni II Pro was a close 2nd. Here is where I need help.

1) I plan to use 8 contactors connected to a XOVR for running 8 - 120V 1600W loads. I found the Fasco H230A contactor switch which is overkill at 30A considering the actual load is less then 15A but it’s only $10 per contactor. I really only need a 20A contactor and my concern is burning out the Elk relays from the sustained load of the contactor coils (all relays burn out at some point don’t they?). I have read a few posts on the GE contactors but I haven’t found any conclusive info.
1a) In regard to installing the contactors, what type of enclosure do I need for the 8 contactors and how to isolate low voltage coil wiring from line voltage in the enclosure? I plan to run one conduit into the enclosure for line voltage and another conduit for low voltage and use 18/2 thermostat / smoke detector wire with a 300v insulation rating and just wire it up. Or do I need an isolation barrier in the enclosure!?!
1b) What is the lifespan on the elk relay when running a Contactor load 8 hours / day 350?
1c) Any contactor suggestions other then the Fasco 20A.

2) Lighting – hardwired only for me, I need industrial grade reliability. EDT looks to be a good choice. The plan is to use the EDT hardwire switches and button pads to trigger outputs on the ELK (for example the contactors). Are these the only semi-reasonably devices priced of their kind (ie CAT5 > interface > ELK > contactor switch controlling the light circuit)? The only thing I don’t like is the cost ~$95 per switch / button pad.
2a) I want to be able to turn a light on via Multibutton switch or from M1 controls
2b) Status light on device to indicate correct status, whether M1 changes the state or the i-on-MB (multibutton) changes the state.
2c) Hope to find them for ~$60
2d) Set M1 to turn off circuit if no motion for 2 hours since turned on or since last motion detected.

3) Any suggestions for triggering a relay 200 feet from M1? I am thinking ELK-924 with local 24v power triggered from M1. The relay will connect / disconnect an outdoor push button which opens an overhead door, only when the M1 is disarmed / armed.

4) Thermostat systems – Aprilaire looks to be my only real choice since I don’t like the RCS or some things about the HAI. I am disappointed that ELK doesn’t support the Honeywell EnviraZone zone control system (including the VisionPro or T8635 thermostats) as it is a more feature rich system. SPANKY do you guys have a firmware upgrade on the way for this in the not too distant future? I am not too excited about writing code to configure connectivity via ascii strings…in order to get the M1 and the Honeywell to talk.

5) CCTV – Don’t know where to go on this one. I need 6 cameras in/around shop, plus 5 cameras between 600-1300 feet away (to be installed Spring). IP cams great on the surface but I am leaning toward a quality, analog system, less expensive, more reliable setup and no network bandwidth issues. The ELK-TS-07 documentation says it supports IP accessible dvr’s (page 4). Is there such a DVR that will interface with the Elk or one of the touchscreen interface systems? I have seen a demo of Geovision onsite.

6) Telephone PBX / VOIP – I am looking to install an Epygi Quadro 16x phone system. I will use some analog ports for paging, and utilize a couple of our current analog extentions. Hopefully all will go well while implementing the IP phones. I will start with 3 Aastra IP phones then possibly move to a color touch screen ip phone like the Cisco 7970G. I would like to integrate it will the ELK but I need to do more research here. If it or a similar screen phone would work it would be the ideal control platform from my desk. I would like to be able to trigger the ELK from the PBX as the phone rings in a specific room. Epygi apparently has xml capability but I don’t know where to start here. Xperinet CTX does this.

7) Have any of you been close to the 4000’ maximum RS485 length of the ELK bus?
7a) Is there any way of extending this maximum?
7b) If I run to the house then connect to a XOVR, XIN, KP2, then EOL resistor. Is it possible to reduce unnecessary cable length running to a data hub all the time by just running from device to device?
7c) Is it possible to interface multiple ELK M1’s on one LAN?

8) How difficult is it to interface with ASCII to the M1XSP? Is there a step by step example of an implementation on the web somewhere for learning purposes?

Sorry for the bombardment of questions and the long post but I have been researching for 6 months.

Thanks in advanced for all the help,

I'll start with one question. If you are going with contactors why not use a Latch/Unlatch type and just have the Elk "pulse" the latch or unlatch coil (for a second or two)? The only thing is I don't know is if you can get them in 12 volt (most are 24 volt industrial type). Even so you plan on using an Elk relays anyway so this shouldn't be a problem (switching an external 24 volt supply with those relay contacts).

Also, the contactors have a "contact closure" indicator the can have 12 volt that can come back to an Elk input so you can verify the position of the contactor. You can also get them with multiple poles.

This way you don't have a solid "ON" from any relay.

Don't know if Fasco has this type of contactor (that web site is terrible to navigate). I do believe places like GE would have them though.

What you have mentioned is exactly what i am looking for. i found a 24v contactor panel and GE Part# CR453CA1HAA for 24 coil 20a/30a contactor. I don't think the contactor is a monentary style though although the panel is.

I just don't technically know what i am looking for. I assume Definite purpose as the IEC type are for motors. I talked to GE lighting group and they want me to buy the panels with RR9 relays. I would just like the relays in a panel? The panels ge has have 24 relays but only 8 control inputs. I would like 8-12 relays with the same amount of inputs.

Has anyone used RR9 relays with Elk M1?

Those web sites you linked to are hard to navigate.

Why do you feel like you need a "full blown" contactor for 13 amp loads? Is it just because of the fact that you don't want a constant voltage applied to the coil of a relay all day long?

I'm not sure that should be a concern if you get a quality relay that is sized properly with a high resistance coil. Would be a lot less expensive than a contactor I would think.

Maybe others advise with their opinions.
Your right, I'm sure a relay is all I need. I just want a reliable solution with a good lifespan. These relays must be in a separate enclosure 50' from the M1.

BSR, do you use relays? If so what brand and where do you get them from?

Thanks for your help,

The relays I use are off of a RLY8-XA unit from Applied Digital and are controlled via my Ocelot. I believe they have Potter-Brumfield relays inside. FYI, I also use an SECU-16I for my "digital inputs".

Actually I don't think contactors (or latching relays) may be all that expensive for your situation.

You might want to browse sights like THIS one.