Will this work - Elk Siren Voice

brotsten

Active Member
I'm getting close to wiring my new house and I want to bounce this idea off the experts. (More to follow :) )

I'm using an Elk M1 for security. I purchased a half dozen Moose piezo screamers I was planning on using for siren mode.

I'm also putting in a home-brewed whole house audio system using a couple of Autopatch switchers and a pair of AudioAccess 12 channel amplifiers.

I was going to run the voice announcements from the Elk into the Autopatch so I could hear them anywhere in the house and leverage the existing equipment.

Do you think this will work?

Am I asking for trouble by not using dedicated speakers for the Elk system?

Thanks,

Brian
 
The tricky bit I ran into when I faced a similar situation was dealing with the "speaker level" output from the Elk. Most distribution amps, mixers, switches, etc want to deal with "line level" output.

Since I was also doing the Russound Compoint intercom I went ahead and used single-gang speakers for the intercom / elk. I had considered using a "stereo to mono speaker level mixer" to mix the music / elk downstream of the amp. Never got that far, however. http://www.hometech.com/audio/sphead.html
 

Steve

Senior Member
ChuckSchick said:
The tricky bit I ran into when I faced a similar situation was dealing with the "speaker level" output from the Elk. Most distribution amps, mixers, switches, etc want to deal with "line level" output.
That's the easy part. All you need to do is this. Usually the bigger problem is switching, etc to make sure you get the right source and don't chop off the beginning of the announcements. Or - mixing the Elk with a PC announcement/TTS.
 

upstatemike

Senior Member
Just to be clear... you are not planning to put put your primary fire/security sounders through some kind of switcher? This would be a bad idea becasuse a malfuction of the switching logic could prevent connection of the sounders during an actual fire situation. This also would not meet code requirements for monitoring fire sounders for trouble situations.

No problem for automation announcements but make sure your fire sounders do not depend on any kind of switchbox to operate.
 

brotsten

Active Member
Steve said:
Usually the bigger problem is switching, etc to make sure you get the right source and don't chop off the beginning of the announcements. Or - mixing the Elk with a PC announcement/TTS.
This is one of my main concerns. I'll be using CQC to set the switching and I don't know if this will happen fast enough to catch the entire announcement.

Is there a way to delay the announcements?
 

brotsten

Active Member
ChuckSchick said:
Since I was also doing the Russound Compoint intercom I went ahead and used single-gang speakers for the intercom / elk.
I've been looking without success for a single gang speaker. Do you remember where you got yours?
 

brotsten

Active Member
upstatemike said:
Just to be clear... you are not planning to put put your primary fire/security sounders through some kind of switcher?
That's what I was planning on using the piezo screamers for.
 

BraveSirRobbin

Moderator
You can select between Elk voice announcements and another in-place audio distribution system that requires pre-amp level inputs.

I did this for my friend's house (details HERE). I used the Elk's on-board double throw relay and have the Elk announcements on the default (NC) position of that relay. When my HomeSeer computer needs to make an announcement I just turn on that Elk output, make the announcement, then turn that Elk output off. Dirt simple with HomeSeer and it only requires two additional lines of code that can easily be placed in an "event" trigger. I really don't know why speed would be an issue as the code you use determines when the switching and speaking occur. For instance in my HomeSeer event I have basic code that switches the output, then use the "hs.speak" command and determine the actual words I want to hear. If there is the need for a slight delay I could just use a delay command and wait a fraction of a second or so between the switching of the relay and the actual hs.speak command.

There are some limitations to this and one is when the HomeSeer computer speaks, it switches over and has the priority. The voice announcements that are used do not last more than approx. four seconds so this is not a problem. Grant it if an Elk critical announcement occurred during that four seconds you would miss it.

I used this method rather than "mix" the signals. The main reason is I didn't want a garbled message coming through and you wouldn't be able to make out either message.

If a message is so critical with the Elk that you would not want to miss it, surely there must be a way to "close" that relay via a rule, then speak the critical message. Also, couldn't one chirp the alarms indicating a critical condition?

Just some thoughts to get you thinking about some options. Everyone has their own priorities and methodologies that match their own goals of course! :)
 

BraveSirRobbin

Moderator
Also as far as your half dozen piezo alarms are concerned. I'm sure there is a minimum impedance for the siren output, may want to check the manual before you wire all of those in parallel to the Elk's output.
 

Spanky

Senior Member
ELK has a new 32 ohm speaker mounted to a single gang wall plate which should be available by early February. With this speaker you can parallel 8 of them and still have a 4 ohm load to the M1 amplifier. They are plenty loud for voice and alarm messages through out a house.

Best of all, they are low cost!
 

BraveSirRobbin

Moderator
Spanky said:
ELK has a new 32 ohm speaker mounted to a single gang wall plate which should be available by early February. With this speaker you can parallel 8 of them and still have a 4 ohm load to the M1 amplifier. They are plenty loud for voice and alarm messages through out a house.
Man, if I was going to do a new house setup, I would have this speaker, an elk arming station, and a fob reader all in a three gang box in certain rooms. That would be pretty cool looking! :)
 

sic0048

Senior Member
I'm exploring similar ideas. So I figured I'd ask a question or two...

I will also have an ELK and a A/V distribution system. Obviously there are two general choices, have the ELK utilize the A/V system as this thread is talking about. The second is to have the ELK make annoucements via it's own standalone speakers - seperate from the A/V system. I would probably program some rules to mute the A/V system while making ELK announcements if I went that route.

I can see the advantage to having the ELK not use the A/V system - specifically, the A/V system would not have to be on all the time. It is certainly most power efficent to run a small amp all the time for the ELK system and be able to shut down the main A/V system when not in use. I'm planning on having 10-15 A/V zones, so the power consumption there would be pretty large.

How many people have the ELK make announcements using a ELK only speaker system and how many of you guys also have a seperate A/V system? I'd love to hear from people actually doing this to see the pros and cons.

Thanks.
 

BraveSirRobbin

Moderator
Good point about the power, but in my friend's case I purchased an additional Elk 12 volt distribution system which came in its own box, circuit protection board and battery backup. I distribute this 12 volt via Elk distribution modules to all "critical" items so they all have battery backup. One of these critical items is the Elk-800 amplifier powering the voice announcement system.

I also have all those systems plugged into a UPS in the closet so that UPS battery would have to run out before the battery backup of the power supply and M1Gold kick in. :)

Another reason for this UPS in the closet is it also powers the Network hubs and cable modems so a critical page can be sent via Email.
 

acheslow

Active Member
I have three Elk speakers dedicated to M1 announcements, separate from my AV system, and am very happy with the setup. The HA geek in me really wanted to re-use my existing in-ceiling speakers for announcements, but in the end I just found it more straightforward to keep the systems separate.
 
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