Ready to buy an Elk


Active Member
I'm about ready to pull the triger on my M1 so I can start to learn / play prior to needing to install it in the new house.

What I've got in my shoping cart so far:

- ELK-M1G Control + Transformer + Keypad + Battery + Speaker + RJ31X Jack & Cord
- Lighting/Thermostat Interface, Serial Port Expander
- M1 Ethernet Port Interface
- Zone Temp Sensor

Is that a good starter package to play with most of the features?
Does it get me what I need to interface with Insteon and UPB?
I dont have Cat5 to my current thermostat, but it's only about 10 feet from where the Elk wil be so I wonder if I should get a communicating thermostat to play with as well? How hard is it to swap the thermostat in and out (as I'd take the new one with me to the new house)?
Took me <5 mins to pull my old Carrier and put in an Aprilaire thermostat.

I don't yet do lighting with my Elk, so i'll have to defer to someone else on that.
"Does it get me what I need to interface with Insteon and UPB?"

Yes along with the matching Insteon/UPB serial interface.
If you're anywhere near seriously considering UPB I would recommend the SAI Product Eval Kit which is an awesome deal and may not last too long.

Sorry, to see whats in it - look here.
And you also probably want to get at least 1 set of contact switches to play with opening/closing zones.
What does the data bus hub do? How would I use it up front? I'm certain I'll add more components as I get more into it. Do I need this now?

Good idea on the contact switches.

In terms of the UPB kit, I've already got several UPB and Insteon devices working in my house, with the computer interfaces for both.

Why do I need a 2nd serial expander for the thermostat?

I realize these are probably dumb questions but I'm a newbie so what can I say?
You really don't need the hub up front, its really good for when you have a bunch of devices on the bus. It would be easier with a keypad and 2 serial expanders but all its gonna save ya is a bit of wiring.

Well, if you decide to go with UPB its still a great deal and I like having 2 PIMs. 1 stays on the Elk all the time and the other is available for programming/testing without disturbing the Elk not to mention all the other components at a great price.

Each system requires its own XSP (serial expander), so you would need 1 for the lighting and 1 for the t-stat. Also be aware that Insteon requires special firmware for the XSP so if you are going to be switching between UPB and Insteon you will need to reflash each time, or you will need a third XSP.
A M1XSP contains the software device driver for the various systems that are connected to the serial port on the M1XSP serial port expander. Most of the devices are selected via jumpers on the M1XSP. The Insteon driver is too big to fit into the M1XSP with all the other drivers, so ELK had to have a separate software driver program that can be downloaded from the ELK website for FREE and loaded into the M1XSP to run the Insteon lighting.

Every different type of device such as UPB lighting, Insteon lighting, Thermostats, W800 receiver, etc. needs a separate M1XSP. The M1XSP converts the various devices to a common protocol that is sent back to the M1 on the M1's RS-485 data bus.
Okay. Here's up updated list. I'm about to place the order from AO.

- ELK-M1G Control + Transformer + Keypad + Battery + Speaker + RJ31X Jack & Cord
- (3) Serial Port Expanders (Insteon, Themostat, UPB)
- M1 Ethernet Port Interface
- Zone Temp Sensor
- Aprilaire 8870 Themostat
- Data Bus Hub

I'll probably pick up some alarm sensors as well so I can play with those.

Of course, the last time I did this and went in to AO to pick the stuff up, Martin talked me into completely different stuff ... so who knows what I'll actually come home with. :lol:

I noticed from your profile that you are in the Dallas area (Rockwall). I live in Dallas (Lake Highlands area), just recently ordered an Elk as well, and would be very interested in hearing of your installation progress. I ordered everything that you did, except the Tstat and extra serial adapter, but I will be getting those soon.

We also both happen to have the same last name.

Keep us informed how it goes together!