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My Elk experience thread

mdonovan

Active Member
Please bear with me while I vent. I spent a Saturday neck deep in frustration, and there's still more ahead for today.

I got my Elk parts Friday, and I'm going to spend Saturday getting everything all set up and working. Wrong.

I hooked everything up according to the documentation I have that I downloaded from Elk. I read over it all ahead of time so I can just hook everything up. I power the Elk up. Lost Comm on the keypads (2), no response from the M1XEP when I search for it in RP2. After looking at everything over and over and not seeing anything, I just put the jumper on the XEP, powered off then on to set it static IP, then repeat to get DHCP. Suddenly it works. Ok, whatever. RP software connects fine.

Start looking at the keypads now. They are on an M1DBH, along with the wireless adapter. I notice in the RP software when I try to enroll bus devices, keypad shows missing. XEP is there, working great. RF receiver doesn't show. Nothing on the data bus shows actually.

Spent the rest of the day checking everything, rechecking everything, putting EOL terminators on, taking them off, and inventing new cuss words. Nothing works. I'm checking everything against PDFs I got stored on my laptop. Everything matches. Then I notice that the RP software can connect to the XEP, but I get an error that the XEP didn't respond.

I decided to quit and go drink beer and forget about the stupid Elk for the evening.

This morning I decided to go over everything again. Maybe a nights sleep will help me see something. This time I didn't have my laptop handy, but the directions for the M1DBH were handy, so I used them. Then I saw the documentation error.

The PDF has Orange and white/orange going to data A, and Green and white/green going to data B. The paper directions that came with the M1DBH show Orange and Green going to A and White/orange and White/green going to B. I rewired my keypads to this, and now one of them is working, but the other still shows Lost Comms, so at least now I'm getting *somewhere*. Elk - you need to fix that, please.

So now I have a keypad working, showing Ethernet Trouble, and a non responsive XEP that I used to be able to connect to, but now can't. I can find it, and the RP software says it connects, but no response. I tried connecting with a browser, but no response.

So, I'm going back at it again today for a bit, then if it's not working I'm going to gather all the parts up and chuck them out the window onto the driveway, then run over them with my car.

Thanks for listening/reading :)

Matt
 

Photon

Active Member
I hooked everything up according to the documentation I have that I downloaded from Elk. I read over it all ahead of time so I can just hook everything up. I power the Elk up. Lost Comm on the keypads (2), no response from the M1XEP when I search for it in RP2.

I suggest you start over and add just one item to the DBH at a time. Power up, configure, test, then shut down and repeat for the next. The DBH wires the devices on the bus in series, even though it appears to make it appear as a home run configuration. If any device is wired incorectly, the remainder don't communicate. For example, I have a working system. I unplugged the bedroom keypad to take it to the wiring closet while I experimented with some new sensors. Before I could connect it to the hub I had to listen to the M1G reporting trouble-missing device messages. Once I plugged it into the hub everything was fine again.
 

standon

Active Member
I had the exact problem the other day with the databus hub. I was adding an arming station. I used wiring from the old alarm panel (since it was 4 wire) and I couldn't get it to work for the life of me. Finally I ran a Cat5 to it (finally as in 3 hours of crawling around later). Then the real fun began. I had recently bought the bean connectors to replace my electric tape for those tiny wires and I cut it all, then used the PDF instructions to reconnect everything. After about 2 hours, I looked at one of my taped connections and saw Green and Orange connected to A, so I re-re-redid it and it worked. Very frustrating. I didn't go back and look at the PDF afterward, I was too disgusted.

One more thing about the other keypad that is showing lost comms - did you set it to address 2 before enrolling? Elk says something similar to "Keypads cannot be enrolled to like addresses" which sounds like beating around the bush. The first keypad always goes to address 1 and I think by default the others try to use 1 as well until you change it.
 

mdonovan

Active Member
My installation has failed so far. RP says it's connected to the XEP, but I get no response back. I'm beginning to wonder if it's the XEP or the M1EZ8 that's acting up. It has me so frustrated I'm giving up on it for a while. Why can't things just work????

Matt
 

standon

Active Member
My installation has failed so far. RP says it's connected to the XEP, but I get no response back. I'm beginning to wonder if it's the XEP or the M1EZ8 that's acting up. It has me so frustrated I'm giving up on it for a while. Why can't things just work????

Matt

Check the settings by finding the XEP. Maybe they just need some reconfiguring.
 

mdonovan

Active Member
So far I have spent about 8 hours on Saturday, 5 hours on Sunday, and an hour this evening, and no go. I have checked, rechecked, and re-rechecked everything. I just don't see anything wrong. But... when I try to connect to the system in RP it gets to Connected: verifying system identity, then spins a bit, then says "System did not respond Connection may have been terminated". I retry several times, no luck. Then I cancel, it disconnects, then says "System returned invalid information". I just cannot get it to talk, which is extremely frustrating, because it was working for a little. I can Find the XEP, all my network settings are right, it just doesn't work. I really am ready to throw the Elk out the window and start looking at other alarm panels.

Does anyone have *any* suggestions what I can check beyond the basics? I've checked all the normal stuff so often I could scream.

I would appreciate any thoughts anyone might have before I give up on Elk altogether and count the money I spent as a lesson learned. The Elk will wind up in the same pile as Insteon, the lesson learned pile.

Thanks

Matt
 

Digger

Senior Member
So far I have spent about 8 hours on Saturday, 5 hours on Sunday, and an hour this evening, and no go. I have checked, rechecked, and re-rechecked everything. I just don't see anything wrong. But... when I try to connect to the system in RP it gets to Connected: verifying system identity, then spins a bit, then says "System did not respond Connection may have been terminated". I retry several times, no luck. Then I cancel, it disconnects, then says "System returned invalid information". I just cannot get it to talk, which is extremely frustrating, because it was working for a little. I can Find the XEP, all my network settings are right, it just doesn't work. I really am ready to throw the Elk out the window and start looking at other alarm panels.

Does anyone have *any* suggestions what I can check beyond the basics? I've checked all the normal stuff so often I could scream.

I would appreciate any thoughts anyone might have before I give up on Elk altogether and count the money I spent as a lesson learned. The Elk will wind up in the same pile as Insteon, the lesson learned pile.

Thanks

Matt

It sounds like the System Serial Number or RP Access Code are not matching between the panel and RP. An ELK M1 and Insteon are two whole different levels of engineering and quality and you should be able to get your system up and running and reliable after this bump in the road. If this does not work PM me and maybe I can give you a call and try and see if I can help you if you would like. I think it is something that another set of eyes might help.
 

mdonovan

Active Member
It sounds like the System Serial Number or RP Access Code are not matching between the panel and RP. An ELK M1 and Insteon are two whole different levels of engineering and quality and you should be able to get your system up and running and reliable after this bump in the road. If this does not work PM me and maybe I can give you a call and try and see if I can help you if you would like. I think it is something that another set of eyes might help.


I double checked the serial # and rp code. They both worked on an old PC using a serial connection. Unfortunately I don't have a PC with a serial port any more to test it with. I replaced the serial cable between the serial port adapter and the xep, but still no luck. Is there a way to just reset everything on the m1exp back to factory and just start over from scratch? I don't know what else to do.

I may take you up on your offer, but before I take up your time, what would you do/ask on the phone that I can check?

Matt
 

Digger

Senior Member
It sounds like the System Serial Number or RP Access Code are not matching between the panel and RP. An ELK M1 and Insteon are two whole different levels of engineering and quality and you should be able to get your system up and running and reliable after this bump in the road. If this does not work PM me and maybe I can give you a call and try and see if I can help you if you would like. I think it is something that another set of eyes might help.


I double checked the serial # and rp code. They both worked on an old PC using a serial connection. Unfortunately I don't have a PC with a serial port any more to test it with. I replaced the serial cable between the serial port adapter and the xep, but still no luck. Is there a way to just reset everything on the m1exp back to factory and just start over from scratch? I don't know what else to do.

I may take you up on your offer, but before I take up your time, what would you do/ask on the phone that I can check?

Matt

The fact that it says the system returned invalid information led me to believe that either the serial number or RP code do not match what is in the panel. It seems you are connecting to the panel correctly so I dont think there is anything wrong with the hardware.

A friend of mine did not put in enough leading zero's for the serial number if I remember correctly and saw this problem.

Could you possibly have changed teh RP code by accident?
 

gcimmino

Active Member
The PDF has Orange and white/orange going to data A, and Green and white/green going to data B. The paper directions that came with the M1DBH show Orange and Green going to A and White/orange and White/green going to B. I rewired my keypads to this, and now one of them is working, but the other still shows Lost Comms, so at least now I'm getting *somewhere*. Elk - you need to fix that, please.

Matt, I added a Uplink Anynet with XSP to my setup this weekend and ran into the same documentation error. I pointed it out to Elk Tech Support, who confirmed it and said they've updated the .pdf on their site. It appears to be an old file/new file issue with the new site.
 

gcimmino

Active Member
Matt, as Photon suggested, start small and work up. Decomposition is the key to debugging.

I heard you don't have a serial connection, but you might want to remedy that. Pick up one of those USB-Serial adapter cables and hook directly to the M1. Ensure you've got control of it, then start adding devices to the bus one at a time.
 

ddennerline

Active Member
After waisting numerous hours troubleshoot M1DBH problems, I personally would not use the M1DBH to bootstrap any Elk system. The M1DBH is wonderful once you have a 3-4 devices working reliably, but getting it to that point can be painful. Personally, I would bootstrap an ElkM1 using master keypad wired straight to RS-485, M1-XEP wired to serial port, add a resistor to OUT/Siren, and startup system. I too tried the read everything, install it, and pray approach. Unfortunately, setting up an Elk is not at all like building a PC from scratch. There are so many small gotchas.

The problems with the M1-DBH are two-fold. First, you have to be 100% sure both ends of the cable have proper RJ-45 termination. This may be sound easy, but on more than one occasion, I have found bad connection on either end of cable. Testing for M1-DBH connection for opens is rather difficult when one end of cable doesn’t use an RJ-45 native connection. For RS-485 devices (i.e., keypads), I wish Elk would provide a direct RJ-45 connection instead of having to fabricate one from the wiring harness. It would be so much easier to be able to use my cable tester. Second, you have to make sure the RS-485 termination is done properly. If you use a M1-DBH you have to make sure jumper on motherboard is enabled (http://www.cocoontech.com/forums/lofiversion/index.php/t11251.html).
 

mdonovan

Active Member
I dug my Quatech serial port server out of it's storage box (once I remembered where I stashed it). I had this working a while back. I used the same cable, and took the XEP and data hub off the EZ8, and it still won't connect. This time it complains about the baud rate. I used this configuration before and it worked, so now I'm thinking the serial port expander went bad for whatever reason. Guess I need to order another EZ8MSI and hope that's the problem.

Matt
 

mdonovan

Active Member
I ordered and received a new serial port expander, hooked it up, and now I can connect fine. So something bad happened to my old expander. Now to move on with the project (hopefully with a lot less frustration).

Matt
 
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