replicating ELK functionality with HAI

signal15

Senior Member
I purchased an ELK M1 Gold because I was under the assumption that it ended up being much cheaper than the HAI solution. I was told, that this isn't exactly the case, and they come out very similar when you start adding things to the ELK. So now I'm a bit torn as to what I should do. I have the ELK plugged in and set up with some speakers and things on my workbench, and have the network interface attached to it.

I like the ElkRP software (even though I have to run it in a VM since it's Windows only). It's easy to use and gives me a ton of control. I do not like the fact that the ethernet interface is basically a serial->IP converter. I wish the unit had integrated ethernet, and the Java Applet that runs when you hit it needs some TLC from a graphics designer to make it at least look somewhat modern. I also have not dug into this much yet, but I would like to be able to send messages or commands into the ELK from other servers/systems on my network, and also receive them. It would be nice if the unit supported sending logs to a syslog server, and taking commands using SOAP or some other type of internet/web API standard. If it does this, someone please correct me.

HAI appears to me to have more 3rd party support. Both in the devices that it supports, and other companies that have made their products integrate with it. For example, the Pronto remotes, or the Domobec Moonshine keypads that are coming out. They also have integrated ethernet, although I am not sure how the capabilities of it differ from the ELK system. And I see that they've recently added Zigbee support, and I already have some Zigbee power monitoring stuff in my house (Brultech and KillAWatt with the Xbee mod). But, I have also heard that HAI is not exactly helpful to DIY'ers, which is a huge turnoff for me.

If I wanted to replicate the functionality of the following ELK equipment with HAI, what would I need to buy?
Code:
1 ELK-M1GKS - Elk System with new KP2 and no cabinet
2 ELK-M1KPAS - M1 Arming Station
1 ELK-M1XEP - M1 Ethernet Port Interface
1 ELK-M1XIN - M1 16 Zone Input Expander
2 ELK-M1ZTSR - M1 Zone Temperature Interface with 7 foot Remote Probe
1 ELK-SWB28 - 28" Elk Structured Wiring Box with cover and lock
1 ELK-M1XRF2G - Crystal Wireless Receiver for Elk
1 ELK-M1DBH - Data Bus Hub
1 ELK-M1TWK - M1 Two Way Listen-in KIT

I think the reality of it is that I'm probably not going to be 100% happy with any embedded system solution. Both systems seem to have limited support for recording your own voice announcements. With ELK you have to buy a module, which IMO is one of the few ELK modules that is overpriced for what it does. I don't know how HAI handles it.

As of now, my goal is strictly security, temperature monitoring of my freezers, water leakage monitoring, and voice announcements for certain things (like garage being open after 10pm). I am also setting up the front doorbell with a two-way interface that will dial into my phone system (Freeswitch with Polycom IP phones) and ring all phones in the house and my cell phone. The system will just dial into the phone system through a Sipura SIP adapter that I put into the structured wiring panel, and I'll be able to talk to anyone at the front door of my house even if I'm not home.

But, at some point, I want sprinkler control, possible audio control, thermostats, etc. AND, I would like to have a system that ties it all together in one pretty interface that I can access on a computer, iPhone/iTouch, Blackberry, or whatever. And, I also have surveillance cams that would be nice to get into the central interface. So it seems like, at least from what I've seen that HAI might have more support for this stuff. But, if it's drastically more expensive, then I'll stick with the ELK and just make product suggestions to them on a regular basis. :) I heard their Chief Engineer is a great guy and actually talks to his customers.
 
I think the reality of it is that I'm probably not going to be 100% happy with any embedded system solution. Both systems seem to have limited support for recording your own voice announcements. With ELK you have to buy a module, which IMO is one of the few ELK modules that is overpriced for what it does. I don't know how HAI handles it.
It will be interesting to see the answers you get from the knowledgeable folks here. In the meantime, I wanted to comment that with the Elk M1 Gold you are able to record your own voice announcements without having to purchase anything. It is done via a connected telephone.
 
I think the reality of it is that I'm probably not going to be 100% happy with any embedded system solution. Both systems seem to have limited support for recording your own voice announcements. With ELK you have to buy a module, which IMO is one of the few ELK modules that is overpriced for what it does. I don't know how HAI handles it.
It will be interesting to see the answers you get from the knowledgeable folks here. In the meantime, I wanted to comment that with the Elk M1 Gold you are able to record your own voice announcements without having to purchase anything. It is done via a connected telephone.

I'm not going to talk about HAI vs. ELK because that has been done many other places. I have HAI and I'm happy with it. I use the built-in video support and like it. What I will say is that with either, you probably can't stop there. This is where Homeseer or CQC come in. (I have CQC) Both connect to both systems and complement them well. At the same time CQC or Homeseer alone don't cut it alone either, as HW connectivity of a PC is very limited, and do you really want a PC controlling your security system? I don't. HAI or ELK does the hardware, CQC or Homeseer does the things that PCs do best, controlling via software.
 
There are folks here who are more knowledgeable than I am about the HAI<->ELK equivalency mapping, but I think the following HAI products would get you there:
  • ChannelVision (or other) 28" structured wiring enclosure
  • 20A00-8, Omnipro II controller on backplate
  • 10A06-1, 16 Zone Expander
  • 10A11-1, two-way voice module
  • 42A00-2 (GE Compatible) or 45A00-1 (HAI Wireless) receiver
  • RC1000 or RC2000 HAI thermostat
  • 3 x 33A00-1 or 33A00-4 Omni Console (optionally w/ Spkr/Mic that work w/ the two way voice board) (I am not aware of an exact equivalent to the M1KPAS, at least not in the size department)
  • 31A00-7, Extended Range Indoor/Outdoor Temperature Sensor
  • and, of course, power transformer, battery, etc

The above sounds pretty similar to "Promo Kit 16S+" from AO, and my HAI setup.. except that I have only one 33A00-4 console and two omnitouch 5.7 touchscreens.

I don't have any experience with zigbee or power monitoring, so I don't know how well the Brultech integration with the HAI would work. I'm also using UPB for lighting control, and a Rain8UPB setup for irrigation. I do have a NuVo GC for whole house audio (and the basic integration is working well, i'm trying to get it working with a NuVo add-on atm).

FWIW, I'm using the 45A00-1 and HAI wireless sensors and I can't say I'm impressed with the signal strength (at least judging by the numbers the HAI is showing me). That's probably my only real complaint about the HAI system, but unless I do a side-by-side with the GE equivalent I can't be sure that the weak signal isn't due to some issue outside of HAI's control. Ok, one other complaint: my cats keep setting off my supposedly pet-immune motion sensors, but that's not an HAI issue (I'm using Rokonet motion detectors).

I'm also using digitaldan's H@me app on the iPhone for control. As for the latter, it's a little buggy but it works. I've stumbled over a couple of 'known issues' that should be addressed whenever Dan can find the time to work on the next release, and I've got workarounds available.

The HAI folks themselves have been fairly responsive to issues I've posted about on CT, and the folks at AO (esp. Martin) have been great.
 
FWIW, I'm using the 45A00-1 and HAI wireless sensors and I can't say I'm impressed with the signal strength (at least judging by the numbers the HAI is showing me). That's probably my only real complaint about the HAI system, but unless I do a side-by-side with the GE equivalent I can't be sure that the weak signal isn't due to some issue outside of HAI's control.

What would be an alternative/fix if the signal strength was poor (without going the wired route)? I was planning to have a fully wireless HAI system installed, but your experience has be rethinking it.
 
FWIW, I'm using the 45A00-1 and HAI wireless sensors and I can't say I'm impressed with the signal strength (at least judging by the numbers the HAI is showing me). That's probably my only real complaint about the HAI system, but unless I do a side-by-side with the GE equivalent I can't be sure that the weak signal isn't due to some issue outside of HAI's control.

What would be an alternative/fix if the signal strength was poor (without going the wired route)? I was planning to have a fully wireless HAI system installed, but your experience has be rethinking it.

Well, again, YMMV, but for my situation, I'm experimenting with repositioning the wireless receiver. If that didn't work I could add a second receiver (or, possibly, try the GE equivalent receiver and swap out the problematic sensors).. but those are 'last resort' sort of options.

I should point out that most of the time the HAI shows full signal strength for all sensors, but there are two or three that are now showing periodic drops to low/no signal. As it turns out they are the ones which are furthest from my receiver, but the total distance is only ~50-60'. The other sensors are within ~10-30' and don't display this behavior.
 
FWIW, I'm using the 45A00-1 and HAI wireless sensors and I can't say I'm impressed with the signal strength (at least judging by the numbers the HAI is showing me). That's probably my only real complaint about the HAI system, but unless I do a side-by-side with the GE equivalent I can't be sure that the weak signal isn't due to some issue outside of HAI's control.

What would be an alternative/fix if the signal strength was poor (without going the wired route)? I was planning to have a fully wireless HAI system installed, but your experience has be rethinking it.

Well, again, YMMV, but for my situation, I'm experimenting with repositioning the wireless receiver. If that didn't work I could add a second receiver (or, possibly, try the GE equivalent receiver and swap out the problematic sensors).. but those are 'last resort' sort of options.

I should point out that most of the time the HAI shows full signal strength for all sensors, but there are two or three that are now showing periodic drops to low/no signal. As it turns out they are the ones which are furthest from my receiver, but the total distance is only ~50-60'. The other sensors are within ~10-30' and don't display this behavior.

My sensors might be further than that. I was thinking about adding another receiver when I do the install...
 
Looking at that list and omitting the thermostat, it still comes out about 25-30% more than what I paid.

And, the more I play around with the ELK, the more I like it. I see that there are some hacks for getting around the interpretation of some of the conditions (like time of day) by using unused outputs as boolean variables. The scripting support on the unit is adequate, but an OR operator and an ELSE operator would be something nice to have.

I also have not figured out how to get it to speak the value of a temp sensor, or had a chance to check on if you can do an audio line in to the unit to shove audio through the elk speakers.

But at this point, I think I am going to keep the unit unless someone can offer me a very compelling reason to go with the HAI. It is a pretty cool little unit, and if there isn't integration with something, chances are that I can just write it. I don't necessarily need something that's plug and play with everything.
 
Like I said in my last post, I'm growing more and more to love this thing. I hooked up an SPA-2000 SIP adapter that I had laying around, and I gave it an extension on my phone system. Now I can dial my house, dial the extension for the M1, and it answers after one ring. Plus, I'm going to be able to do some awesome stuff with the listen-in interfaces, like intercoms with the front door over the Polycom phones in the house, or dialing multiple numbers at once and looking for the first that picks up (including cell phones).
 
Like I said in my last post, I'm growing more and more to love this thing. I hooked up an SPA-2000 SIP adapter that I had laying around, and I gave it an extension on my phone system. Now I can dial my house, dial the extension for the M1, and it answers after one ring. Plus, I'm going to be able to do some awesome stuff with the listen-in interfaces, like intercoms with the front door over the Polycom phones in the house, or dialing multiple numbers at once and looking for the first that picks up (including cell phones).


I'd love to hear more about your listen in set up. I'm just getting my ELK up and running and I've thought it would be neat to have the 2-way communication added to it.
 
Like I said in my last post, I'm growing more and more to love this thing. I hooked up an SPA-2000 SIP adapter that I had laying around, and I gave it an extension on my phone system. Now I can dial my house, dial the extension for the M1, and it answers after one ring. Plus, I'm going to be able to do some awesome stuff with the listen-in interfaces, like intercoms with the front door over the Polycom phones in the house, or dialing multiple numbers at once and looking for the first that picks up (including cell phones).


I'd love to hear more about your listen in set up. I'm just getting my ELK up and running and I've thought it would be neat to have the 2-way communication added to it.


I have the equipment for the 2-way, I haven't installed it all yet. I'll post details when I get it all going. My setup is going to heavily depend on Freeswitch for the phone portion, but you could also use Asterisk if you wanted to. If you've never done VoIP before, there is a VERY steep learning curve. There are way more options for support of Asterisk, but Freeswitch is better. But both of these products are free, and the Polycom phones can be had very cheaply from ipphone-warehouse.com. Don't get the x01 series. I've got IP 320's and a couple of IP650's. Those are the newer models, will be supported much longer, and have more features. You're looking at $80 per phone or so for the 320/330's, plus a power supply if you don't have a PoE capable switch. Don't waste your money on cheaper phones, you will regret it.
 
I have had both finally switched to HAI about a year ago took out the elk. They both have there good and bad pints. With HAI you will have to get WL3 and a home server to email your self or send text messages that is the major down side on the up side there web interface is awesome on any mobial device or your pc.

This may help. I skimmed the thread.

I was never able to get HAI to announce the temp it just can't say the numbers. This is not quite true you cold code a custome message for every number but then you would use all your messages up.

Same with Zones it can not announce what zone wit out a custome message and you don't have unlimited messages. I think there voice area of the system can use some help.

Speaker and siren are to two different things where the elk uses the speaker as a siren, much better less wiring. However by doing this you can use a whole home audio system with the HAI for voice only announcments.

Now HAI will anounce when a zone is open and closed elk would only annouce when it opened. This is great for gurage doors gates etc.

HAI programming is better.

Elk tech support better to end consumer.

HAI has much better intergration with lights, drapes, audio, thermostats, pronto remotes and other accessories but these can be pricy.

Over all I like the HAI better it just is a more compleat solution and does more.

I have a bunch of elk and hai stuff let over if you need anythign email me it may save me ebaying some of it.
 
With HAI you will have to get WL3 and a home server to email your self or send text messages that is the major down side on the up side there web interface is awesome on any mobial device or your pc.

FYI: The OmniTouch10P and OmniTouch5.7e both support sending SMTP based on events happening in the Omni.

Aaron
 
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