There goes the newb...


New Member
Hello All,

As I read through this forum, I keep absorbing so much information - it's great. That said, I am now very confused on the standards for fire/smoke/co/ror, etc. In a fairly spread out two level house that is only occupied part time, with a workshop that holds several vehicles, etc., I very much want to cover all my bases.

From some recent thread, it sounded like 120v hardwired smoke detectors were required by code, yet they seem to be a rarity in the HA crowd. At this point I am strongly leaning towards an M1 purchase in the next month or so, and was hoping I could find some integrated detectors that would handle smoke, ror AND co in one unit. This would (presumably) be 12v and driven by the M1. However, as I learn more about the way the M1 is configure, it sounds like this is not possible/practical, and that separate detectors (of different kinds) should be installed, each on it's own address [??] (does that determine/become a zone?).

I guess the benefit is that you have precise information (too much CO in this area, smoke at that unit, high rate-of-rise at another), but this sounds like I am going to need a lot of detectors and have to pull a LOT of additional cable.

Is there such an integrated unit that works with the M1? If not, can I at least get everything from a similar family of products so that I don't have 3 different looking objects on my ceilings? Oh, and while I am at it, why not an integrated speaker? Am I really smoking the pipe now???

There is alot of info here if you search. Smokes basically come in 2 wire or 4 wire. I use the System Sensor 2 wire models. They are smoke and thermal sensor. I use ror heat only in the garage, attic and sometimes kitchen. I have not done CO detectors. My understanding though is they work better on the wall because of the nature of the gas whereas the smokes are better on the ceiling. So for that reason alone it would be better imho to use separate co and smoke.

While there are several schools of thought and opinions, my strategy lately is to use the 2wta's in bedrooms and other open areas wired to zone 16 on the m1. Then I use the ror's on other zones. I don't even bother with reversing relays. I also use several piezo screamer sirens. Trust me, a few of these screamers scattered around are much louder and better imho than all your smokes going off together. Some people like 4 wire so you can zone them, but my theory is I am exiting first and asking questions later. The screamer will get your attention and then you get out of dodge. When all is clear and you go back, you can easily go see which detector went off by looking at the LED. This way is less expensive, easier to setup and works for me.

If you like and trust the 120's, you can replace one of them with a relay model and tie that into the HA system. Only problem with those are maintaining individual batteries.
There are any situations where you would not an all in one unit. You would not put a smoke detector in a kitchen, attic, garage, or utility room in most cases. But a thermal (heat) detector could easily be used and hte are relatively cheap.

When you do use a smoke you can get them with a thermal built in (but the are usually fixed temperature.

The school of thought on CO's going on the wall versus ceiling seems to be like a pendulum going back and forth. I think that many are still saying to install them on a ceiling. Gas detectors would be dependant on type of gas (NG or Propane) if I remember correctly.

With the ELK wiring them to seperate zones can be benificial. You can have it voice announce the location of the fire. So if you are upstairs and the fire alarm goes off in the basement den and you know your kids are down there playing you can go get them (or vice versa you are donwstairs and they are upstairs). That is how I set mine up.

Dont forget flood detectors and gas detectors etc.
I use the 2WTA-B for smokes on Zone 16 (2wire fire)....( i use this as a back up sounder...... if your siren driver fails i will still have a sounder to wake people up)

I use 194 fixed temp in attics and 135°F Fixed Temp/Rate-of-Rise in garages, kitchens, laundry rooms....... on one zone.
thewireguy said:
I use the 2WTA-B for smokes on Zone 16 (2wire fire)....( i use this as a back up sounder...... if your siren driver fails i will still have a sounder to wake people up)
I like the sounder idea, is this smoke on the approved list for the M1? I don't see it in the manual.
Its approved but not on the label yet. The 2WTA is a new version of one of those old ones.

I guess I should say at least thats what I was told. But Elk would have to say for sure if you are concerned about liability or something.
I think it's time for Spanky to jump on the installation guide updaters. Perhaps when he gets back from CEDIA.