"Low Battery, Over Current" Error Message


Senior Member
I changed around some wiring in my 2ndary cabinet. Now I'm getting a "Low Battery" and "Over Current" error message when I turn on the Elk.

Any clue as to where I should look? Is that indicative of a short somewhere?
Do a manual battery test using user menu 8,4,1 to check for a battery failure.

You may be drawing too much current on the system. Unplug the AC transformer and measure the battery voltage and the current coming from the battery with a voltmeter.

The battery should be 13 volts or more. Higher constant current will not allow enough charge into the battery. If this is the case you will need an additional power supply to power some of your devices.
Or just check the current drawn in the menus. I was at something like 450ma and was getting the Overcurrent message until I found a short and repaired it at which point everything was fine. So, if all you did was some rewiring and did not add any devices I would suspect a short as the first suspect.
You are not necessarily looking for a dead short. last weekend I measured my standby current and it was 1.4 A (a quick guesstimate as I write this says it is probably about right). I need to do the math and verify that with what I have on my system. If it is then its a matter of adding a PS with battery backup. If its not I have to start troubleshooting.

Its easy to rackup the current...... with so many things you can add to the system over time.
Well, 99.9% sure it's a short somewhere. I added this power distributor thingey for my sensors (so I don't have to twist-tie the 12VDC +/- together) last night and added 1 PIR. I rewired my sensors to use the power distributor, turned everything on, that's when I got the error.

I just pulled off the feed to the power distributor, of course taking out 5 sensor in the process. The problem is immediately gone, but I can't imagine that the 1 PIR screwed up stuff. It's infinitely more likely that I hosed that run as I removed one of the ADT motion sensors and re-used the 22/4 that was run.

Thanks for the quick guidance, I was petrified that I had yanked all the ADT sensors out, terminated my ADT service, and screwed up the Elk all within 3 hours...
Found the short, everything is back to normal, I refuse to tell anyone what it was because it's just too embarassing.
IVB said:
Found the short, everything is back to normal, I refuse to tell anyone what it was because it's just too embarassing.
lol, I knew it would be, it always is. My short was one I put in on purpose to test a line, then forgot about it before I fired it up!
I knew you were going to say that........

Especially since I am using it for Resi Fire.......

I do have a few PS's lying around I just gotta buy more batteries....................

FYI I have my system on a UPS temporarily to compensate. This weekend I plan on adding a few PS's in my system. I have to remember to buy more batteries at work tomorrow. I found out this week I get an employee discount :) Hopefully the prices will be as good as I got at Elcor from my last job.
My problem is my EOL Relays are really not suited for this application and are eating up my currrent. If I replace my relays I can drop my standby current in half.

It doesnt pay to try and use components that you have lying around. EOL Relays with built in resistors are about $10 a piece and at the time my budget was very tight so I used 12 vdc relays I had in my shop.
One thing to keep in mind about adding additional power supplies for things like motion sensors, etc. is to make sure to also add battery backup as well for them. If you get a power glitch, the Elk will keep running but then will see a trip on motion sensors not on battery backup.......
That's a great point; do you mean to put them on a UPS, or is there some other battery backup mechanism for this?

Here is the way I did this for my friend's house. This also gives you a lot of future options for adding in components which is what he wanted.

Before you start on any solution though, look at the installation instructions that came with all of your devices (glass breaks, keypads, motion detectors, cameras, etc...) and write down how much current each of them draws (should be listed under "specifications" in the manual/instructions). This way you can better decide on the options below.

I like Elk's external 12 volt power supplies that include an Elk battery backup (much like your M1) plus a forgiving "short circuit" safety feature. Elk offers two versions, a One Amp Model and a Four Amp Model.

Now I also like to know that if one of the many, many wires going all over the place (motions, glass breaks, keypads, cameras, etc...) gets shorted, that it will not take down the entire system. Plus, I don't want the wire getting "exposed" to the maximum current draw of the power supply before it "trips".

So I use Elk's Power Distribution Modules to distribute the 12 volts to each unit. Sometimes I will connect two sensors or so on one of the outputs (i.e. maybe keep all the glass breaks on one output), but the idea is to get the fuseable limit down to something a little more reasonable. In the case of this unit the fused setting is 250 milliamps (1/4 of an amp). In the case where you need higher output capabilities (say for a multiple IR LED camera) you can double the outputs, or use THIS distribution module which has 400 milliamp fused outputs.

Just listing some options to think about.


Interesting; so you get 1 PD9 for each 12 zones [or groups]?

Yet again another fantastic BSR idea; given that I suffered from a, uh, accidental short just 2 days ago, that's a pretty dang good idea.