New guy... new system... need some recommendations


I've been lurking for a while and decided to fianlly post up. I've been putting together a parts list for a system that I'm going to be building after Christmas. I want to get the main panel installed along with door/window contacts and motion sensors for a basic security system and then build onto it from there.

My house is a log home and all exterior walls are 12" thick solid wood, so running wired sensors to the doors and windows is near impossible. Anything on the exterior walls will have to be wireless, everyting else will be wired back to the panel.

Also, with log walls and tongue/groove, white sensors stick out like a sore thumb.

I've done quite a bit of reading here and other places online but I still have a few questions:

1) Honeywell vs GE. I realize this is like Ford vs Chevy, but with my specific needs which one would be better. (ie. available in brown or paintable, able to broadcast through solid wood). Is there a reason that doesnt sell the M1XRF2H Honeywell receiver, but carries the GE receiver.

2) I really like the plunger type sensors and the mirca sensors, but I wonder if I'll be able to get any kind of range with them as I will have to drill through the door frame and into the log for the antennae. I believe the antennae is made to be fed into a stud space not a solid log.

3) If plunger/micra sensors are not going to work... which wireless surface mount sensors are most people using?

4) I see some sensors are available in brown. Is it possible to paint sensors?

5) Should the panel be wired on it's own electrical circuit or can I just jump off of a nearby junction box for power.

6) What is the difference between the M1KP keypad and the M1KP2 keypad. Which is better?

Below is my shopping list so far. I still need to add a wireless receiver and some sensors. Anything else that I'm missing for a basic install?

- ELK-M1GK Elk M1G (Gold) Kit - Control, Transformer, M1KP Keypad, Battery, Speaker, RJ31X Jack & Cord (Qty 1)
- ELK-M1XEP Elk Ethernet Port from Data Bus Expander/Interface (Qty 1)
- ELK-M1DBH Elk Data Bus Hub (Qty 1)
- ELK-SWB28 Elk Structured Wiring Box 28" x 14" w/Door & Camlock (Qty 1)
- ELK-SP12F Elk Speaker- Flush mount, 12W, 32 Ohm (Qty 4)
- ELK-SWS Elk Structured Wiring Battery Shelf (Qty 1)
- ELK-950 Elk Telephone & Low Voltage Surge Suppressor (Qty 1)


- Steve


In regards to your question 4) You can use a special plastic paint, but I would sse a vinyl dye to change the sensor color. It will penetrate, leave a flat finish and not peel later. For ABS plastics, you can use the common RIT dye. Adding a dye to clear pvc pipe cleaner can also make a stain that will color PVC.

If you go this route. I would suggest getting a bunch of broken white sensors (of the same type of plastic as your desired sensor) for testing to get your color right. Once you get your color dialed in, color all of the final sensors at once. No matter how good you are, there will still be some variation between batches, even in the same batch because the plastic may be from different batches.

Also if you have the exposed logs on the inside, remember they will darken in time, so don't be afraid to go a little darker than you think.


Active Member
I am not familiar with Honeywell sensors, but GE wireless receiver supports a variety of sensors, including Ion Security recessed sensors, has upto 500 ft range with most sensors and works very well with ELK.


I can't comment on GE and Elk, but I have approximately 40 Honeywell 5800 wireless sensors connected to an Ademco Vista panel. I have be extremely happy with the reliability of the sensors and battery life. My structure isn't log; it is stud walls with a 12" thick granite boulder exterior. Most sensors are within 75' of the receiver.

Battery life on the window and door sensors is approx. 2-3 years. Other devices, such as smoke/CO detectors, motion sensors, and glass break detectors typically have a 12-18 mo. battery life. I have had these sensors for approximately 6 years, and haven't had a single failure. The sensors also provide a very reliable low battery warning, and were very easy to install.

For double hung windows and pairs of French doors, I have used the miniature surface mount reed switch, because it is inconspicuous, and one sensor can protect both halves of a double hung window, or a pair of French doors. On single doors, I have used the switches that flush mount into the door frame and are invisible when the door is shut.
1. Can't comment about a 3rd party reseller's stock, but both receivers and RF work equivalently, the difference is peripherals that are offered, mainly the selection and variety.

2. In your case, you should be able to get the antenna into the hollow between the buck and the log. The antenna doesn't need to be fed straight into a hollow, mainly just extended and not coiled.

3. I've gone with the larger units mainly due to enhanced battery life on my installs. Remote wiring a contact back to these units is an acceptable, albeit more labor intensive, practice.

4. GE and Honeywell both offer packs of brown (mahogany) cases for their standard transmitters. I haven't had to attempt color changing smaller transmitters.

5. If there's a fire alarm involved, NEC dictates a separate branch circuit, and for straight burglar, it is a best practice.

6. There's a spreadsheet type comparison on Elk's site (or there used to be) but the main items are size, built in temperature sensor and 2 additional F keys on the KP.