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Multiple Parallel Power Supplies for Elk M1

kwschumm

Active Member
I'm putting together my first Elk M1 system having used HAI previously.
 
The Current Draw Worksheet that Elk has is telling me our system needs 15.66 amps.
 
This is quite a bit more than most people here seem to have, Altronix doesn't even offer a power supply that can supply that much.
 
The biggest draws are 11 COSMO-4W smoke/co detectors at .40mA each, combustible gas sensors at .8mA each, and assorted other sensors that have a max draw of nearly an amp each.
 
It is apparently unwise to have several parallel power supplies in parallel because they can fight each other, or overload one the others if one fails.
 
I could use dedicated power supplies for some purposes, such as one for the smoke circuit, another for glass breaks, another for sirens, etc.
 
There are also some lab power supplies available that offer up to 30A at 12VDC such as this one on Amazon.
 
https://www.amazon.com/TekPower-Analog-Display-TP30SWI-Switching/dp/B01MQ2PGYO/ref=sr_1_19?crid=3Q2LWVUVIJJ1C&keywords=12v+lab+power+supply&qid=1568840764&refinements=p_72%3A2661618011&rnid=2661617011&sprefix=lab+12V+power+supply%2Caps%2C807&sr=8-19
 
Is there a better way? How have others solved this problem?
 

RAL

Senior Member
While there are power supplies that provide high current outputs, things will be easier to deal with if you use only Class 2 power supplies.  These are inherently power limited and make wiring on the 12V low voltage side simple and easy.  If you use a power supply with higher current output or that is not limited, then your low voltage wiring needs to follow stricter NEC wiring standards.
 
If you need 15A total current, I would recommend four (4) Altronix AL400 series power supplies. These can provide 12V at 4 Amps each.  Connect the negative terminals of all the power supplies together, and also connect them  to the M1's NEG terminal, so they all share a common signal ground.  
 
Then divide your devices across the four power supplies so that you have a load of about 4A or less on each one.  Do NOT connect the +12V outputs of the power supplies together.
 
Another possibility would be to use certain Altronix AL600 series power  supplies (such as the AL600ULPDxCB models.   Not all AL600 models are rated as Class 2 - only the CB models are.  With these, you would get 6A per supply, and would need only 3 instead of 4.
 
As an aside, It's good practice to connect the negative terminals together and to the M1.  But it is only necessary if a device powered by one of the aux power supplies needs to communicate to the M1 using signals rather than a switch contact.  So if you power a M1 databus device like an input expander from an aux supply, then connecting the negative terminals together is  required.  But for devices like motion detectors, it is not.
 
An additional complication is that if you power smoke detectors from the aux supplies, then you will need a relay there to interrupt the power to the smokes when the M1 does a smoke-reset and drops the SAUX power output.
 

kwschumm

Active Member
RAL, Thanks very much for your clear and complete advice. It was very helpful and confirmed some of the things I was wondering about.
 

ano

Senior Member
kwschumm said:
The biggest draws are 11 COSMO-4W smoke/co detectors at .40mA each, combustible gas sensors at .8mA each, and assorted other sensors that have a max draw of nearly an amp each.
Hmmm  you might want to double-check your math.  11 X 0.40ma = 4.4ma = 0.0044 Amp.     10 sensors drawing 0.8ma each = 10 X 0.8ma = 8ma = .008 Amp.  What sensors draw an amp each? That is pretty rare. At 12V that would be 12W.  Maybe a siren draws 1A but sensors rarely do. You might want to recheck that.
 

kwschumm

Active Member
ano said:
Hmmm  you might want to double-check your math.  11 X 0.40ma = 4.4ma = 0.0044 Amp.     10 sensors drawing 0.8ma each = 10 X 0.8ma = 8ma = .008 Amp.  What sensors draw an amp each? That is pretty rare. At 12V that would be 12W.  Maybe a siren draws 1A but sensors rarely do. You might want to recheck that.
I knew there as something screwy with the numbers being so high. Operator error, off by one. I entered .4 amps and it should have been .04. Thanks for saving me a lot of money on power supplies!
 

Pluto

New Member
RAL said:
While there are power supplies that provide high current outputs, things will be easier to deal with if you use only Class 2 power supplies.  These are inherently power limited and make wiring on the 12V low voltage side simple and easy.  If you use a power supply with higher current output or that is not limited, then your low voltage wiring needs to follow stricter NEC wiring standards.
 
If you need 15A total current, I would recommend four (4) Altronix AL400 series power supplies. These can provide 12V at 4 Amps each.  Connect the negative terminals of all the power supplies together, and also connect them  to the M1's NEG terminal, so they all share a common signal ground.  
 
Then divide your devices across the four power supplies so that you have a load of about 4A or less on each one.  Do NOT connect the +12V outputs of the power supplies together.
 
Another possibility would be to use certain Altronix AL600 series power  supplies (such as the AL600ULPDxCB models.   Not all AL600 models are rated as Class 2 - only the CB models are.  With these, you would get 6A per supply, and would need only 3 instead of 4.
 
As an aside, It's good practice to connect the negative terminals together and to the M1.  But it is only necessary if a device powered by one of the aux power supplies needs to communicate to the M1 using signals rather than a switch contact.  So if you power a M1 databus device like an input expander from an aux supply, then connecting the negative terminals together is  required.  But for devices like motion detectors, it is not.
 
An additional complication is that if you power smoke detectors from the aux supplies, then you will need a relay there to interrupt the power to the smokes when the M1 does a smoke-reset and drops the SAUX power output.
I am planning Elk M1 install for and existing home with 5 separate smoke / heat sensor zones with Napco FW4 or similar. All sensors are wired with 8 conductor fire alarm rated cable. Per the Elk power spread sheet, it computes 1.53 total amp draw for the total of 11 smoke sensors- and other devices ( motion & expander).  It appears the Altronix AL600ULPD8CB or the 400 model will take care of powering these on the auxiliary power. I would use the 2.2k EOL resistor & ELOR-1 relay I believe for supervision. The Altronix & M1 data diagrams are  not clear to me as to connection to SAUX to allow reset for the smoke circuit.  What type of relay or device would I need to connect the Altronix to the SAUX ?  I can only post one time per day with my status here. Thanks Dan
 

RAL

Senior Member
Pluto said:
I am planning Elk M1 install for and existing home with 5 separate smoke / heat sensor zones with Napco FW4 or similar. All sensors are wired with 8 conductor fire alarm rated cable. Per the Elk power spread sheet, it computes 1.53 total amp draw for the total of 11 smoke sensors- and other devices ( motion & expander).  It appears the Altronix AL600ULPD8CB or the 400 model will take care of powering these on the auxiliary power. I would use the 2.2k EOL resistor & ELOR-1 relay I believe for supervision. The Altronix & M1 data diagrams are  not clear to me as to connection to SAUX to allow reset for the smoke circuit.  What type of relay or device would I need to connect the Altronix to the SAUX ?  I can only post one time per day with my status here. Thanks Dan
With 11 of the Napco FW4 detectors at 55mA each, if you put just the smokes on the Altronix supply, you will just barely get below the 1.0A limit of the M1.   I would move a few other devices to the Altronix as well to get a bit more below the limit.  That's just me being conservative about the specs.
 
To allow the M1 smoke reset function to work, connect a relay coil to the +SAUX and NEG terminals.  Then wire the Altronix power through the N.O. relay contact and on to the smokes.   When a smoke reset is issued, and SAUX power drops, the relay will drop out and interrupt power to the smokes.
 
You can use any 12V relay for this, such as the Elk 912.
 
You said you want to have 5 smoke zones.  Do you have a good reason for doing that? Some folks says they'd like to know which detector  (or group of detectors) caused the alarm.  But you can determine that after the fact by walking around and seeing which detector has it's LED on indicating it triggered.
 

Pluto

New Member
Thank you.  I will plan to use SAUX to ELK-912  to  Altronix AL600ULACMCB using the FACP - N.O. trigger input on the Altronix. 
 
The existing -Napco FW4 or FW4-H smoke sensors (11) are wired in 5 separate circuits to the module board. The ELOR-1 & 2.2K resistor will allow supervision. If all 11 smoke sensors are wired to a single zone the system would alarm but there would not be an indication which sensor triggered the alarm  condition - right?
 
Is there a wiring solution to use the RRS- Mod to have all FW4 to sound together. Not essential because the siren will sound but might be desirable. 
 
And I will plan to wire motion sensors to the Altronix to move some power consumption off the M1.  
 
Would appreciate input - advice. 
 

RAL

Senior Member
Pluto said:
Thank you.  I will plan to use SAUX to ELK-912  to  Altronix AL600ULACMCB using the FACP - N.O. trigger input on the Altronix. 
 
The existing -Napco FW4 or FW4-H smoke sensors (11) are wired in 5 separate circuits to the module board. The ELOR-1 & 2.2K resistor will allow supervision. If all 11 smoke sensors are wired to a single zone the system would alarm but there would not be an indication which sensor triggered the alarm  condition - right?
 
Is there a wiring solution to use the RRS- Mod to have all FW4 to sound together. Not essential because the siren will sound but might be desirable. 
 
And I will plan to wire motion sensors to the Altronix to move some power consumption off the M1.  
 
Would appreciate input - advice. 
Each smoke detector has an indicator LED.  Normally, the LED flashes green to show the detector has power and is working.  In an alarm condition, the detector that triggered will indicate that with a solid red LED.  It doesn't matter if they are all on a single zone or separate zones.
 
I've never used the Napco smokes.  But from reading the data sheet, they do not appear to have a built-in sounder.   So no need for an RSS-MOD to get the others to trigger, since the only alarm sound will be from the M1.
 
If you use smokes with built-in sounders, and have multiple zones, then it gets complicated to have an alarm from one zone trigger the other zones.  You would need RSS-MODs on each zone, along with another relay and some M1 rules to activate the relay and trigger the RSS-MODs.
 
Building codes require a smoke/fire alarm to provide a sufficient alarm volume to be heard in every bedroom, even with the doors closed. I think the requirement is for 75dB at the pillow.  So if you don't have smokes with built-in sounders, you'll probably need to place screamers or something similar in every bedroom to meet the code.
 
You said you used 8 conductor cable to wire the detectors.  Is that because you ran each cable as a home run and plan to wire the daisy chains at the panel?
 

Pluto

New Member
[SIZE=11pt]Thanks for your responses. After further consideration & reading I am rethinking how I should proceed for the smoke/ fire / co on this project. Let me recap:[/SIZE]
 

  1. [SIZE=11pt]Existing house wired with 5 separate 8 fire wire circuits to the alarm panel. I am in the process of upgrading from a 17 year old controller to the Elk M1 gold. [/SIZE]

  2. [SIZE=11pt]I can daisy chain all 5 into one circuit by connecting at the panel & at the end of the existing 5 circuits to create one instead of 5 zones. [/SIZE]

  3. [SIZE=11pt]I have computed the load to be about 1.3 amps with the current bits using the Elk calculator. This is beyond the capacity of the ELK M1. So I will use an Altronix auxiliary power supply AL600ACMCB to power the smokes & motion sensors. There are 8 power out connections in this Altronix. The motion will be on another separate power out from the Altronix. [/SIZE]

  4. [SIZE=11pt]I plan to replace my existing Napco FW4 smoke only ( no sounders) with a combination of System Sensor COSMO 4W (outside bedrooms), and several System Sensor 4WTA-B in bedrooms - connected to COSMOD 4W module. If it could work together- would like to use 3 thermal only units -any recommendations? Two of the existing heat sensors I have are on separate home runs to the panel, and could be set as an additional zone if they would play well with the other sensors. [/SIZE]
 
[SIZE=11pt]As per your suggestion - [/SIZE]
 

  1. [SIZE=11pt]Use M1-SAUX to Elk 912 relay & use NO out from the 912 to the Altronix AL600ACMCB using the NO. This will allow the Elk to disconnect power to Altronix > COSMOD module to reset the Sensors following an alarm. The COSMOD will allow all sensors to sound when a Smoke or Co Alarm  is triggered. [/SIZE]
[SIZE=11pt]Use Elor-1 & resistor on the last sensor for supervision. Because my loop for the sensors returns to the panel I plan to install the ELOR-1 & 3.9k resistor there as it will be convenient and function the same as on the actual last sensor in the chain. [/SIZE]
 
[SIZE=11pt]           If I understand the COSMOD 4W can transmit a 3 tone temporal for Smoke & 4 tone               [/SIZE]
[SIZE=11pt]          for CO and will sound at all the sensors.  This seems like a worthwhile upgrade.[/SIZE]
 

  1. [SIZE=11pt]If I understand correctly the COSMOD- SMOKE OUT - can connect to any zone input -like #15. The COSMOD - Smoke Trigger out - should (“ bell out “ on COSMOD) to POWER OUT on the M1 to #3 or #7 with rules -”when fire alarm turns on > then turn output 3 on”. Further - “whenever fire alarm turns off > “ then turn output 3 off ”.    [/SIZE]

  2. [SIZE=11pt]The COSMOD 4W -CO OUT  would connect to another zone like #14.  The CO trigger ( not clear here ) to Elk M1 POWER OUT #7 ( or another) also with rule like[/SIZE]
[SIZE=11pt]In 6. Above. [/SIZE]
 
[SIZE=11pt]So the the configuration : Elk M1 SAUX > Elk 912 > Altronix power supply > COSMOD 4W > System Sensors Cosmo 4W & 4WTA-B.[/SIZE]

[SIZE=11pt]A few questions : Is the above correct? [/SIZE]

[SIZE=11pt]Will the temporal signals work for the Sensors with this configuration.   Have I missed anything with this configuration?[/SIZE]

[SIZE=11pt] Would you suggest any changes? It seems this would allow reset, trigger for the Elk , and the sounding sensors to work in unison for smoke/heat  & smoke/co. [/SIZE]
[SIZE=11pt]   [/SIZE]
 
 

RAL

Senior Member
Pluto said:
[SIZE=11pt]Thanks for your responses. After further consideration & reading I am rethinking how I should proceed for the smoke/ fire / co on this project. Let me recap:[/SIZE]
 

  1. [SIZE=11pt]Existing house wired with 5 separate 8 fire wire circuits to the alarm panel. I am in the process of upgrading from a 17 year old controller to the Elk M1 gold. [/SIZE]

  2. [SIZE=11pt]I can daisy chain all 5 into one circuit by connecting at the panel & at the end of the existing 5 circuits to create one instead of 5 zones. [/SIZE]

  3. [SIZE=11pt]I have computed the load to be about 1.3 amps with the current bits using the Elk calculator. This is beyond the capacity of the ELK M1. So I will use an Altronix auxiliary power supply AL600ACMCB to power the smokes & motion sensors. There are 8 power out connections in this Altronix. The motion will be on another separate power out from the Altronix. [/SIZE]

  4. [SIZE=11pt]I plan to replace my existing Napco FW4 smoke only ( no sounders) with a combination of System Sensor COSMO 4W (outside bedrooms), and several System Sensor 4WTA-B in bedrooms - connected to COSMOD 4W module. If it could work together- would like to use 3 thermal only units -any recommendations? Two of the existing heat sensors I have are on separate home runs to the panel, and could be set as an additional zone if they would play well with the other sensors. [/SIZE]
 
[SIZE=11pt]As per your suggestion - [/SIZE]
 

  1. [SIZE=11pt]Use M1-SAUX to Elk 912 relay & use NO out from the 912 to the Altronix AL600ACMCB using the NO. This will allow the Elk to disconnect power to Altronix > COSMOD module to reset the Sensors following an alarm. The COSMOD will allow all sensors to sound when a Smoke or Co Alarm  is triggered. [/SIZE]
[SIZE=11pt]Use Elor-1 & resistor on the last sensor for supervision. Because my loop for the sensors returns to the panel I plan to install the ELOR-1 & 3.9k resistor there as it will be convenient and function the same as on the actual last sensor in the chain. [/SIZE]
 
[SIZE=11pt]           If I understand the COSMOD 4W can transmit a 3 tone temporal for Smoke & 4 tone               [/SIZE]
[SIZE=11pt]          for CO and will sound at all the sensors.  This seems like a worthwhile upgrade.[/SIZE]
 

  1. [SIZE=11pt]If I understand correctly the COSMOD- SMOKE OUT - can connect to any zone input -like #15. The COSMOD - Smoke Trigger out - should (“ bell out “ on COSMOD) to POWER OUT on the M1 to #3 or #7 with rules -”when fire alarm turns on > then turn output 3 on”. Further - “whenever fire alarm turns off > “ then turn output 3 off ”.    [/SIZE]

  2. [SIZE=11pt]The COSMOD 4W -CO OUT  would connect to another zone like #14.  The CO trigger ( not clear here ) to Elk M1 POWER OUT #7 ( or another) also with rule like[/SIZE]
[SIZE=11pt]In 6. Above. [/SIZE]
 
[SIZE=11pt]So the the configuration : Elk M1 SAUX > Elk 912 > Altronix power supply > COSMOD 4W > System Sensors Cosmo 4W & 4WTA-B.[/SIZE]

[SIZE=11pt]A few questions : Is the above correct? [/SIZE]

[SIZE=11pt]Will the temporal signals work for the Sensors with this configuration.   Have I missed anything with this configuration?[/SIZE]

[SIZE=11pt] Would you suggest any changes? It seems this would allow reset, trigger for the Elk , and the sounding sensors to work in unison for smoke/heat  & smoke/co. [/SIZE]
[SIZE=11pt]   [/SIZE]
 
The System Sensor COSMO detectors are good stuff.  The COSMO-2W and -4W have some differences that you may or may not care about.  Whichever type you choose, the both types of COSMODxW module connect to the panel as if you have 4-wire smoke detectors.
 
In general, I would choose the 2W over the 4W.  The wiring is a bit simpler: you'll have fewer wiring connection points (3 vs 5 per detector) that can become potential points of failure;  no EOLR is required - one less thing to go wrong.  The COSMOD2W provides a maintenance required signal that can be connected to an additional zone input to provide a heads up for problems.
 
If you want to have heat detectors, I would put them on their own zone. With simple 4-wire smoke detectors, you can put a heat detector on the same loop.  But I don't think you can do that with the COSMOD4W since I believe it uses special signalling between the COSMOD and the detector to indicate fire vs CO conditions. 
 
Usually, you don't see heat detectors in the same locations as smoke detectors.  Heat detectors are better in kitchens, utility/furnace rooms, garages, etc, where smoke detectors are prone to false alarms.
 
Comments on your numbered items:
 
5.  If I follow what you are saying correctly, I think you've got it right.  Yes, the COSMOD module will take care of the temporal signalling.
 
6.  I'm having more trouble following what you are describing here. The smoke zone outputs of the COSMOD can connect to any zone input on the M1.   The smoke trigger input on the COSMOD is used to get all the smokes to sound in a synchronized fashion.  Similarly, the CO trigger input is used to cause a temporal 4 sounding across all the smokes.  To trigger these, use M1 output  under the control of rules. You should be ok using a voltage output (e.g Output7) for this. Otherwise, use an Elk 912 relay connected to a M1 voltage output.
 
 
7. The CO output on the COSMOD connects to any other zone.  Similar to the smoke trigger, you would use another voltage output to the CO trigger input.   And you would have another set of rules to activate the output when the M1 sounds a CO Alarm.
 
If you use a M1 voltage output to drive the trigger inputs on the COSMOD and the COSMOD is powered by the Altronix, you will need to have the Altronix GND and M1 NEG terminals connected together.
 
If you drive any relays from the M1, don't forget to include their coil load current to your M1power calcs.
 
You mentioned that you have a AL600ULACMCB power supply.  The ACM series has a bunch of relays meant for use with access control systems that you won't need.  But you can wire it up as a basic unswitched, multiple output power supply.  Just takes some studying of the directions for a while.
 

Pluto

New Member
Thanks for your feedback. 
 
Re # 5: The reset command will break power output to SAUX - my ELK 912 relay NO to Altronix NO will drop power to the COSMOD 4W and allow reset of either " smoke" or the "CO" sensor alarm condition to allow the reset.
 
Re # 6 - to activate sound from sensors - COSMOD - " smoke " - Zone from COSMOD will connect to any zone -perhaps #15 / Smoke out from COSMOD will connect to M1 power out #3 ( or #7) -establish rule - " when fire alarm turns on > then turn on power out 3" / additional rule - " when fire alarm turns off > then turn power output 3 off" .  For the CO alarm similar / CO connection to zone # 14 ( or other ) /  CO out from COSMOD to M1 power output #7 - establish rule - " when CO alarm turns on > then turn on power output 7" / and rule when CO alarm turns off > then turn power output 7 off". 
 
I will place the heat detectors on a separate zone with no other devices - say Elk M1-# 17 ( one zone expander planned) . The heat sensors will be in kitchen & garage. They will probably be System Sensor 5601P single circuit type. I am not sure what their 5621 dual circuit units allow?  They will just need an EOL 2.2K resistor.  The heat detector zone will  connect to the Altronix on a different output ( it has 8 total ). The Elk M1 reset function will also trigger the NO to the Elk 912 and then disrupt power to the power outlet on the Altronix etc.  The 5601P has no sounder and the siren triggered by the M1 will be the notice for occupants. 
 
Does this look like a proper configuration? Any thoughts? 
 

RAL

Senior Member
Pluto said:
Thanks for your feedback. 
 
Re # 5: The reset command will break power output to SAUX - my ELK 912 relay NO to Altronix NO will drop power to the COSMOD 4W and allow reset of either " smoke" or the "CO" sensor alarm condition to allow the reset.
 
Yes, that's right.
Pluto said:
Re # 6 - to activate sound from sensors - COSMOD - " smoke " - Zone from COSMOD will connect to any zone -perhaps #15 / Smoke out from COSMOD will connect to M1 power out #3 ( or #7) -establish rule - " when fire alarm turns on > then turn on power out 3" / additional rule - " when fire alarm turns off > then turn power output 3 off" .  For the CO alarm similar / CO connection to zone # 14 ( or other ) /  CO out from COSMOD to M1 power output #7 - establish rule - " when CO alarm turns on > then turn on power output 7" / and rule when CO alarm turns off > then turn power output 7 off". 
 
Yes.  Just note that Out3 and Out7 are different types.  Out3 is a dry relay contact, so you would wire it up in a similar way to an outboard Elk 912.   +12V to Com and the N.O. terminal to the COSMOD trigger input.   With Out7, you would just wire it directly to the trigger input.
 
Pluto said:
I will place the heat detectors on a separate zone with no other devices - say Elk M1-# 17 ( one zone expander planned) . The heat sensors will be in kitchen & garage. They will probably be System Sensor 5601P single circuit type. I am not sure what their 5621 dual circuit units allow?  They will just need an EOL 2.2K resistor.  The heat detector zone will  connect to the Altronix on a different output ( it has 8 total ). The Elk M1 reset function will also trigger the NO to the Elk 912 and then disrupt power to the power outlet on the Altronix etc.  The 5601P has no sounder and the siren triggered by the M1 will be the notice for occupants. 
 
Does this look like a proper configuration? Any thoughts? 
 
The dual circuit detectors have two switch contacts.  This is useful mostly in commercial environments when you need to send a signal to the alarm panel, but also activate something else on a separate system.
 
If you define the heat detectors as a fire zone, your rules should trigger the COSMOD to sound the alarm.

 
 
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