NX-8E or something else?

Jeff d

New Member
Very informative forum you guys have here. I've learned a lot just browsing though the old posts.

I've been researching alarm systems extensively over the past few weeks for my new house which is pre-wired for 12 windows, 3 doors, 2 keypads and 1 motion sensor.

My primary goal is to have a reliable working stand alone alarm system. My secondary goal is to have the future option for some basic home automation; really just lighting control on arm and disarm and maybe simulated occupancy. All of these functions are within the capability of the NX-8E with the appropriate expansion modules, right?

The main reasons I'm leaning towards the Caddx alarms is that they seem to be very widely supported and can be programmed using a PC (with the appropriate software, module, and cable).

Anyway, here's what I'm thinking:

CaddX NetworkX NX-8E Faspack- NX-8E Control Panel, NX-1448E Fixed English keypad, the PI-6000 motion sensor, 15w speaker, RJ cord & block, transformer, and battery.

NX-1448E (2nd keypad, is this one any good?)

ELK44 - ELK Universal 30 Watt 8 Ohm Speaker

Assorted magnetic contacts

What do you guys think? Is there any reason I'd be better off with the NX-8 over the NX8-E? Given my circumstances and goals does anyone have a better suggestion in the sub $400 range than the Caddx NX series?

Does anyone have a vendor recommendation where this hardware or similar would be available at a decent price? I've already found basshome.com, homesecuritystore.com and smarthomeusa.com; any thoughts on those?
For vendors, I don't have anything against any of those stores, but check out www.AutomatedOutlet.com. You cannot beat the service and you usually cannot beat the price. Martin (the owner) is active here.

For the money, the Caddx is a good choice. If your budget can go a little higher, make sure you investigate the Elk M1G as it offers more automation than the Caddx. If your needs are not immediate, Elk has a newer, lower cost version called the M1EZ (or something like that) coming out in the near future.

And, welcome to CocoonTech!
I agree with Wayne. If you want to expand and add more capability get the Elk.

If you "just" want an alarm system, go with the Caddx. It is rock solid but it's old school and a PITA to program. It does interface nicely with Homeseer 1.x versions with Dave Crawford's plugin, though that isn't being supported anymore.

I like THIS as a second keypad.

You will find the LCD keypad is necessary for preliminary programming, but the LED keypad's are better for glancing at to see what zone is faulted.
I just got a brochure from GE introducing the NX-8 v2. Does anybody know the difference between this and the NX-8E? In the fine print it notes the NX-8E, NX-8-CF and the NX-8E-CF will continue to use a standard microprocessor but it does not elaborate on what that means.
The low budget version of the M1 Gold is the M1 EZ8. I would vote for the M1G as well, and I would also get the ethernet module.
I have a NX-8E and have been happy with it. The big difference (that I remember) is the E builds in a communication port which is good if you ever plan on expanding it to communicate with an outside controller. If you get a NX-8, you can later add the NX-584 (I think) that adds the comm port. I am not aware of the differences of V2.

Programming it is NOT straight-forward and intuitive... It's not difficult, but it takes some time to figure out. The programming manual is intimidating, but once you start doing it - it's not that bad. I did not use the software to program it.

I'm not sure about turning on lights, I never intended to use it that way. I have mine connected to an automation controller (HomeVision Pro) which manages my entire house (IR, lighting, security, etc).

I have a combination of wired and wireless contacts (about 25 wired including several glass break and window breaks and only 4 wireless) with a couple alarm horns. Connecting everything in the panel was very easy and no issues.

I purchased my unit from SmarthomeUSA and have no complaints with them. Since purchasing it however, I now buy the majority of my stuff through AutomatedOutlet - Martin has taken great care of me.
I have the NX8e and it is a very solid performer and simple to use. Never had a false alarm ever and I use primarily wireless modules. True the ELK M1 is much more powerful on the HA side of things, but one of the main advantages to having an alarm system is the insurance discount. And correct me if I am wrong, but at this point I do not believe the ELK M1 is UL certified as of yet. So that would be the only reason I would stick with the Caddx. I will Highly agree that the NX8e is a severe pain in the rear to program also.

my 1 1/2 cents,
I am pretty sure David told me that it was UL certified, but I will have to wait for him to get back from his business trip before I can confirm this.
I just got a response from Elk, I was told that the M1 UL listing is pending, but it will be UL.
Jeff D- I have a Caddx 8e, It worked good for me, but not great. I kept having minor problems with it. I finally had to return it and get a replacement unit.

While I was waiting for the Caddx 8E to be returned to me, I decided to purchase an Elk 1Gold. The Elk cost more, but is is well worth the money. So far I have not had any problems, and it is easy to program. I purchased the Elk from Martin at AutomatedOutlet.

If you are intrested in a used Caddx 8e with an hard wired expansion, and a LCD key pad let me know.

[email protected]
I think there are a lot of good comments here. I would say that if you can go above that $400 mark, you should really look at the Elk M1 Gold system. I was even able to program the one I have in the office without using the manual! Very easy to work with. I was so impressed that I yanked out my 6 month old Caddx 8E out of my house (sorry, already sold it) and will install an Elk there shortly.

If you need to stick with that $400 cap, then I would really think about the Elk EZ8 system that is coming out this summer. Pricing on it will be $320. Electron has one of these units and can probably tell you more about it.

The Caddx system will work, but, as someone else said, it's a tedious process to program it. So much so that I never did get the one in my house working right.
Yes, don't get me wrong, the Caddx NX8e is a great and BULLETPROOF system. The two most reliable systems in my home are the Ocelot and the Caddx.

For my Caddx system I purchased an NX8e plus a 16 zone expander and the eight relay (SPDT Contacts) board as well.

My Ocelot has an SECU16I (16 digital inputs) and a RLY8 (Eight high current relay outputs) expansion modules.

I connected some of the Caddx Relay outputs to my Ocelot/SECU16I inputs and connected one RLY8 output to one input zone on the Caddx. I know have more complexity of programming at my disposal without the use of a computer!

I also really like the Caddx's keypads as far as functionality and looks!

Plus, with THIS Homeseer plugin, I have even more capabilities with the Caddx system. For instance I have an announcement whenever a door or window is opened. When my side garage door is opened and its nightime, I turn on the house side flood lights and turn them off when the door is closed.

I send a text message to my cells and pagers whenever a zone is alarmed. When I leave the house for work (at 5:00 AM) I hit a Smartlinc Keypad8 key that turns on the garage light, then waits two minutes (for my exit), then turns off the light and re-arms the system (very cool).

I also turn on lights and have various announcements if a zone is alarmed. I also have a Main Lobby overview display of the doors and windows in my home and it shows what is opened and closed (more examples of these scenes HERE).

So, you are able to do a lot with the Caddx NX8e, especially when combined with your other HA goodies. BUT the integration did not come easliy as I had to fight the Caddx DL900 programming and time it with the Ocelot's CMax programming. That plus the many, many events that I set up with Homeseer.

I feel the ELK will greatly simplify this integration. For instance if I had an ELK instead of the Caddx and Ocelot setup the tasks I described above would have been a lot simpler.

Thus this long explanation describes in detail of why I said (post above) that if you JUST want an alarm system, go with the Caddx, but if you want options such as the ones I described, go with the ELK. It will save you a lot of time and frustration. :angry:
As a former GE employee and a beta tester of the Caddx NX-590 board for the alarm system, I have had one in my home for a few years now and it has done everything I have ever wanted to to with it, in conjunction with Homeseer and the plugin and my scripting. It has been a solid device. The reason it is so difficult to program is because it has tremendous capabilities, some very complex, and it was designed for old-school alarm company reporting, so it does take work to program it the way you want it to work. (Before I became a beta tester on the 590, I knew nothing about alarm systems. They are different and have a learning curve.)

Some of the things it does for me are the same as for BSR: emails, phone calls, light control, announcements, even just pool patio door alarming when the grandchild was visiting. She figured out those locks so quickly! I have the NX-8 with the 584 board, a 16-zone expansion board, a wireless board for a few wireless sensors, a 590 (Ethernet, Linux, Java), and a nice LCD panel. My fire/smoke detectors are also hooked into the system.

FWIW, prior to the takeover by GE, Caddx was betting on the 590 board for HA integration and expansion (it runs Linux and Java!), but the engineer working on it was promoted out of active development and the consolidation of the Security companies within GE has changed the product landscape and planning. Since I don't work for GE any longer, I'm not sure what the plans are for the Caddx and other lines as they merge. GE listens to its customers for direction, and its customers are large distributors and retailers, and in the security areas, large service and installation companies like ADT, etc. What they want isn't always (never?) in the best interests of us DIYers.

The new version of the NX system could be just a marketing thing, a new manufacturer (China), new programming, or even just a different processor or board underneath it all. I don't know.

I'm selling the house, and I've decided to leave the Caddx system behind. My new home will have a new HA, alarm, and other systems in it, and I'll look at the landscape when I'm ready for that and make a decision. I'm comfortable with the Caddx, but I'm not going to just buy another one without researching the market first. The Elk products look very interesting.

PS> UL cert for the electronics is one thing. A UL certified installation is another. There are requirements for how an alarm system should be installed to meet UL certification on the installation and operation.
Thanks for everyone's recommendations.

I don't think I can swing the extra $ for the Elk or wait on the basic model to be released considering that I can get the NX-8E w/ 2 LCD keypads, contacts, siren and everything for under $300 shipped today.

I doubt that I'd ever get into the advanced automation anyway. All I'd like to be able to do eventally is turn on a few lights through the wireless keychain remote.

Well, if you are going with the Caddx route, don't forget the serial cable adapter and the DL-900 programming disks!

May even want to throw in another motion detector and some glass breaks as well? Do you want to monitor a smoke alarm also? If so, order one of those while you have the credit card out.