Newbie with some questions


Hi,guys.Long time lurker first post.

I am in the framing stage of a one story 2500sf home.I have to decide on an alarn sytem asap.I am very computer literate just hesitant still on setting up a system.

First I am interested in the elk gold.I will be getting lutron wireless switches(family member gets 80% off)that I want to operate thru my PC and with alarm.I will have all doors wired as well as contacts for rear windows,garage doors and will have motion sensors for when house is empty.I also will have M&S for intercomm.I want to have an alarm as well as a way to track kids sneaking out at night.I want it to turn on lights and audible alarm inside.Outside monitoring I am not sure about.

Do I need an Elk?I mean is it too powerful for me?

Is it hard to install contacts in doors?

I will use surface contacts on windows since I am hesitant to drill them.

Do the install cd's explain installation thoroughly?

Thanks for any help you guys can give.I am still reading.
Welcome to Cocoontech Bearfan!

The good news is that Elk supports Radio RA if thats what you were referring to.

Do I need an Elk?I mean is it too powerful for me?
You can never have too much power! You will always find new and exciting uses and you want a system that can grow with you.

Is it hard to install contacts in doors?
Depends on the doors and contacts. If you can wire before drywall it is fairly straight forward. Most doors I like the recessed one - reed switch is in the top jamb and magnet in the door.

I will use surface contacts on windows since I am hesitant to drill them.
Still best to prewire for them. You can use a mini surface mount

Do the install cd's explain installation thoroughly?
There is an install video but I have not looked at it. The Elk documentation is actually VERY well written and easy to understand. If you buy it at Automated Outlet, Jim is a great support resource there, Elk is helpful for diy'ers and of course there is Cocoontech, aka Antlerville, population 1800 and growing.

If you have basic mechanical skills and a few tools you should be able to handle the install.
Thanks alot!Only thing I do not quite understand is the end of the line resistors.

I will set up a zone with windows and doors for when we are home.Then activate motions for when we are gone.Pretty simple I think.
EOLs are designed to be put at the far end of the circuit (hence End of Line) and is used to supervise the line for short circuits. The Elk does not require them and you can configure the zone for just plain normally closed. In many installs they are just more trouble then they are worth, but if you are concerned about short circuits, whether it be your own doing like a nail thru a wire in the wall, or somebody somehow physically shorting the wires to bypass a sensor then George Risk (GRI) makes a contact in which you can get a built in EOL. The Elk uses a 2200 ohm (2.2K) EOL resistor. The price for a sensor with an EOL embedded is roughtly 85% more than a standard contact.

Welcome to the forum. You'll get lots of help here and go from newbie to pro in no time.

To expand on what Steve said regarding the End-Of-Line resistors...

When a zone is "shorted", don't think that that might mean the house will burn down, etc. It is the normal path of a zone to have a small current going through the line.

The problem with doing without EOL resistors is that someone could come along and short the line AHEAD of the sensor itself, defeat the sensor, and the alarm panel would never know about it (think meddling kids or a smart crook). The EOL resistor, when placed at the far end of the zone, allows a certain amount of current to pass though so the voltage is roughly half of what the Elk panel sent out.

This is important since it serves two important purposes.

1) If the voltage suddenly goes higher than what SHOULD be on the line then it mean the line was shorted to bypass a sensor (or you nailed in the wrong spot). Elk response? ALARM!

2) If the voltage suddenly goes to zero then it means that a door/window contact was opened or someone cut the line. If the system was armed at the time then the Elk will go into alarm mode.

If you do not elect to use the EOL resistors then the Elk (or any panel) can only respond to condition two above. Without an EOL resistor, the zone will always be at a higher voltage than with one and will be unable to detect someone shorting the zone out to bypass a sensor/zone. If you have kids, trust me when I say they will figure this out quickly (my son tried to sneak out and shorted across the window sensor in his room... BUSTED! ).

As for your kids sneaking out at night, yep, been there done that myself in my younger years, but my Elk guards against it with MY kids by disabling thier access codes between midnight and 6am. If the system is armed and a zone violated between these times the keypad will show "account disabled" and continue to count down to an alarm until it reaches zero. This is where dear old Dad gets up and figures out what is going on (usually resulting in kids running to the bed pretending to be asleep-doesn't work).

Sorry for the long EOL resistor explaination but thought you'd appreciate knowing more about it.

Because you would be in parallel with the existing resistor - alarm sets off.
Because you would have to know what type of panel / resistance used (or not)
Because it adds significantly to the dexterity one would need to break in (and technical background).
Dean Roddey said:
Whey couldn't they just short it with the same type of resistor?
Because you would then have 2 resistors in parallel = half the required resistance = the circuit goes into alarm.
SKS (sneaking kid syndrome) is also a case for using magnetic switches instead of push switches. You could slide a plastic ruler or screwdriver into gap between the window and the frame to puch the button on a push switch. It's a little harder to do this with a magnet. I suppose there is a way to do this, but it just seems like it would be harder.

Thanks for taking the time to explain.I am a mechanic so wiring is not a problem.The install looks pretty easy I will get a list together of what I want to get and run it by you guys.Thanks again!
How does the arming disarming work?Do you put a keypad near front door and in garage?When you come in do you have x amount of time to disarm alarm?Same with leaving,x amount to get out?