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New Member

Iflydrones

New Member
Hey yall. Just moved into a new construction home. Looking for ideas on a cost effective DIY security/HA set up that will be compatible with the homes features. Currently we have the following...
 
-Pre-wired sensors on all doors and windows terminating in the master closet (no panel yet).
-One year Nexia home automation with a few lights, door locks and wireless camera.
-2 x Trane Z-wave enabled thermostats
 
Live in Las Vegas with no-response police policy in effect so looking for a self monitoring system (no monthly fee) that will alert our phones if a sensor is tripped. I'd like to use the existing wired sensors, but add some wireless motion detectors and glass break sensors. I'd also like to be able to expand wireless features in the future. Can someone give me a general overview (30,000 feet) of the type of equipment I need to start with that setup? From what I gather so far I need something like an Elk M1 Gold kit to start? Then I hook the panel up to the wires in the closet, mount the keypad and start adding sensors? No landline so we'd need a cell antenna right? Things I don't understand are...
 
-How does the panel communicate with the keypad? Does it need to be hard wired or is it wireless communication? I obviously dont want the keypad in the closet, but I cant run wires now.
-How does the system interface with the automation app for computers/phones/tablets? Do I connect the cell antenna to the Elk panel? Do I have to purchase another monitoring brand system?
-Would my other components be compatible with the Elk system? I'm guessing the Schlage deadbolt and decor light switches use something like Z-wave on the thermostat?
 
I can gladly re-post in a more appropriate forum, I just saw other newbies posting here.  Thanks!
 

RAL

Senior Member
Welcome to Cocoontech.
 
An Elk is a good choice for a panel, especially if you want to expand beyond security into home automation.  Another choice would be an HAI/Leviton Omni Pro II.  Both are compatible with z-wave devices.  Not sure how well either will integrate with a Nexia system, but someone else may be able to help you out there.  But if you dump the Nexia service at the end of the year, you'll still be able to use the z-wave devices, such as the lights and locks you have with the Elk or Omni.
 
The keypads are hardwired to the panel.  If your house was pre-wired, hopefully they ran some cables for this to someplace near the entry doors.
 
The panel communicates with the automation devices via an interface module that connects to the panel (e.g. the Elk M1XLZW). Apps usually communicate via the internet, so you'll need an ethernet connection to the panel as well (e.g. the Elk M1XEP).
 
For sending alert messages to your cellphone, the panel will use the internet.  No need for a cellular interface, unless you want to sign up for monitoring via a central station (though you could do that over the internet as well).
 
If your house was roughed for the basics you spelled out so far, I'd be shocked they didn't pull for a keypad or two at the same time.
 

Iflydrones

New Member
Hmm. Thanks for the info. I'm not seeing a keypad location anywhere. Best I could probably do is run a wire in the attic from master closet to upstairs hallway. Not the best spot but we can always arm/disarm from key fobs or apps anyway right? So do I add a wireless system like Scout to the Elk in order to get the additional wireless sensors or are there ones that communicate directly with the Elk. Can someone give me a sample shopping cart that would list the basic components and a quick reference to where they would go and how/what they would interface with or talk to?
 

Iflydrones

New Member
In addition, our cable modem/router is on the other side of the house. Would I need to run an ether net cable over to the closet from the router or are there wireless options?
 

RAL

Senior Member
Iflydrones said:
Hmm. Thanks for the info. I'm not seeing a keypad location anywhere. Best I could probably do is run a wire in the attic from master closet to upstairs hallway. Not the best spot but we can always arm/disarm from key fobs or apps anyway right? So do I add a wireless system like Scout to the Elk in order to get the additional wireless sensors or are there ones that communicate directly with the Elk. Can someone give me a sample shopping cart that would list the basic components and a quick reference to where they would go and how/what they would interface with or talk to?
 
Are the cable ends in the master closet labeled?  If so, check to see if any are labeled for a keypad.  If there are no labels, then you can count up the number of cables and match that against the number of doors/windows and if there are some extras, that would be a good hint that at least one is meant for a keypad.
 
As DEL pointed out, it would be really surprising if they didn't run a cable for a keypad.  It's possible that it's buried in the wall, but if you can find the other end of it in the master closet, you can use a cable tracer to try and find it.
 
You can arm/disarm with a keyfob, but you really want a keypad near your entry door because you'll need it for the times that the system won't arm, say because you left a window open somewhere.  It's a big convenience factor.
 
Elk supports 3 wireless sensor systems:  GE/Interlogix, Honeywell/Ademco, and Elk's own proprietary system.  You just need to add the appropriate wireless receiver to the Elk.
 
Iflydrones said:
In addition, our cable modem/router is on the other side of the house. Would I need to run an ether net cable over to the closet from the router or are there wireless options?
 
You can use an ethernet-to-WiFi adapter to connect the Elk to your wireless router.  But I would run a cable if at all possible.  Wireless just adds one more point of failure to the path of sending out an alert.
 
 
Here's a starting point for a shopping list.
 
1.  Elk M1G
2.  SWB14 or SWB28  14/28 inch enclosure
3.  Keypad:  Elk M1KP, M1KPB, M1KP2, or M1KP3 depending on your preference
4.  Elk TRG1640 AC transformer
5.  Elk 1280 Battery
6.  Elk 73 or SPF12 Interior Speaker (one or more)
 
The above are available in packaged kits, such as the M1GSYS4, though these will give you some components you don't need in your case, such as a phone line surge suppressor.
 
7.  Elk M1XEP Ethernet interface
8.  Elk M1XRFTW, M1XRFEG, or M1XRF2H wireless receiver
9.  Wireless keyfobs, and other sensors or contacts that work with the wireless receiver you choose
10. M1XIN zone expander (depending on how many wired zones you need)
11. Elk 1RT Exterior Speaker (if you want one)
12. Elk SWD1 knockout grommets
 

Iflydrones

New Member
Does the Elk system allow for video camera expansion? Are Elk and HAI the only systems that allow remote monitoring/control without a monthly subscription? I like the user friendliness of some of the honeywell LCD touchscreen displays, but I noticed they require Honeywell's connect service to use the remote functions.
 

RAL

Senior Member
It's best to think of video as a separate system, as the security panels don't really have any video capability.  There is some integration you can do if you have video touch screens for the system.
 
Other alarm panels, such as Honeywell and DSC can give you internet access without a monthly fee using an appropriate internet interface.  The EnvisaLink 3 is one way to do that.  But if you are serious about home automation, then the Elk or HAI panels would be better choices.
 
There are touch screens available for the Elk and HAI panels.  These are the Elk M1KPNAV and the HAI OmniTouch 7.  The KPNAV doesn't let you view video, but there is an older Elk 7" touch screen, which does.  Occasionally, they show up on eBay.
 

Iflydrones

New Member
OK. The Elk two way wireless ready kit with ethernet adapter just showed up at the door. Here's to a lot of reading and fumbling with wires this weekend. Construction manager told me the keypad wire is likely buried in the wall next to the garage door so I should be gtg. RAL, do you know if the Elk M1 is wire cut resistant. As in, if a no good thief cut my cable internet does it alert us that the internet connection is lost or is the horn the only line of defense then?
 

RAL

Senior Member
I don't believe the M1 has a has a way to monitor the internet connection unless you sign up for central station monitoring and then the M1 can send a heartbeat to the CS to verify connectivity.  Even then, the question you need to ask is how many heartbeats have to be missed before the CS takes some action?  It might not be as instantaneous as you'd want or like.
 
But if you are doing self monitoring, there is no place to exchange heartbeats with, and you are on your own.
 
 
Now that you have your M1, in addition to reading the manuals for the M1 and other components, it's well worth your while to watch the various training videos that Elk has on youtube.
 
This is a good one to start with.
[Edit]:  Not sure why the preview here shows a title of "Programming with ElkRP2," as this is the Basic Training video, which will play once you start it.
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KzMtUjMB5vo
 
 
Also, go to the Elk web site and register as an owner so you can access some of the restricted areas of their web site and get firmware updates and other goodies.
 

pete_c

Guru
Iflydrones
Welcome to the Cocoontech forum!
 
Construction manager told me the keypad wire is likely buried in the wall next to the garage door so I should be gtg.....
 
Is there a way to get any plans or drawing relating to the LV cabling that was done?
 
Have you seen any wiring chases in the attic....there in the attic maybe you can get a bird's eye view of some LV cabling with a flashlight?
 
As RAL mentions above you can light up your LV wires with a tone and use an induction pickup to hear where the wires are at (cable tone generator).
 
Here recently tested a DIY failover internet connection to a cellular internet connection using a hardware firewall called PFSense and a combo (not made anymore) Ericson W25.  Historically also played with a Nexus iSR which has two cellular connections for failover to itself.  The Nexus iSR also includes an access point and GPS for positioning stuff - oldie but goodie.
 
With the PFSense firewall you can do load balancing or failover or a combo of both.
 
You can trigger email / text alerts from the firewall mentioned.
 
I personally like central station monitoring and I have left the combo Security / Automation panel to do it's own thing here while concurrently doing my stuff. 
 
There has been a recent push here to remove all copper POTs lines.  Wondering if it is just local or a nationwide trend?
 

RAL

Senior Member
One thing to consider on whether or not to go with central station monitoring is that you often will receive a significant discount on your homeowners insurance if you have CS monitoring.  What you save through the discount is often enough to cover the cost of the monitoring.
 

Iflydrones

New Member
Got her in. Had to tone out all the sensors cause they didn't label them. Exactly 16 doir and window sensors. Oddly I still have 4 two-wires and 9 four-wires left with no idea what the go to. Could those be 4-wire smokes and maybe some motion sensor wires buried in the wall? I paired 4 sets of windows on the same zone to save 4 zones for later. Would all the 4wire smokes go to the same AUX input if I figure out that's what they are? I'll have to get ahold of the builder tomorrow. Also, the doors were prewired but no sensors we're actually installed in the door. Just a wire cap. What kind of sensor is compatible with the M1?
 

RAL

Senior Member
The left over cables might be for smokes and motion sensors, but there are some other possibilities. One of the 4-wire cables could be for a landline phone connection.  2-wire cables might be for garage door sensors.
 
Smoke detectors are usually wired in a daisy chain fashion, and together require just one zone on the panel.  So you'd expect to see just one cable for the smokes at the panel.  It could be 2 wire or 4 wire, depending on the type of smoke detector the contractor assumed would be used. The wire for smokes is required to be 18 gauge fire-rated cable, so it should be easy to tell apart from the 22-4 that is for the other sensors. The outer jacket is usually red.
 
For the door contacts, get an appropriately sized contact for the pre-drilled hole (3/8" or 3/4").  If you have steel doors, you'll need a contact that is designed for that use.
 
A couple of examples:
 
www.amazon.com/dp/B001UKY1A4/
 
www.amazon.com/dp/B0024JZM7G/
 
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