Wired Panel Choices 2022

jeditekunum

Active Member
Looking for opinions on panel options for DIY in 2022.
 
I've been putting off replacing my defunct Interlogix UltraSync while hoping that some company would update their products OR a new company would appear with a modern solution. Notice that was what I was apparently looking for the first time, ~4 years ago, when I took the bait on the UltraSync. It was in fact more modern but not enough IMHO and then the company/division was put out of its misery.
 
I don't have a fully operational setup yet - only using for Smoke/CO via a pair of COSMOD2W. Unfortunately all my door/window sensors have 3.3k EOL resistors. They are not operational because all the wires are rolled up in my attic and haven't been run down to my basement where the panel is.
 
I am well aware that most here have pointed to the Elk M1 in the past. From what info I have seen it is more modern than most the other options but again not as good as one would like. And the price for value is ridiculous. I really have zero use for the automation capabilities as I have a Loxone setup.
 
DSC has killed automation integration with their recent Neo series. The older 18xx are primitive although I am aware of the EnvisaLink.
 
Honeywell Vista with EnvisaLink is another in that aging category.
 
Am aware that Omni is no more.
 
The Bosch B series looks promising and it appears one can now buy them through JMAC. I've found documentation online and supposedly a CD is included with all the documentation. I downloaded their programming software (a whopping 1.28GB!) and it appears to run (and actually seems to be of high quality). In the past Bosch was pretty locked up as a dealer-only option but maybe things are different now.
 
I came across a startup, https://www.verkada.com, that looks like an interesting product but not available without a quote and I suspect requires a pro install. Have seen some comments they are a marketing nightmare.
 
I fully expect any replies to be of the "nothing new" variety. Thanks for reading and all comments appreciated...
 
 

RAL

Senior Member
I've been waiting to see what Elk says they will announce as their new panel "soon:"
 
From the Elk web site:
 
What's next for ELK?
ELK has a lot of new and exciting products on the horizon, we have been working hard to finalize our new platform and control. 
 
https://elkproducts....6ea1340dc55bbbf
 

jeditekunum

Active Member
Thanks! That is exactly the kind of news I was hoping for. I think...
 
It is a serious risk that the new product could be another in the "be everything" camp, be greatly "locked down", and tilt toward dealer-only installation. None of which would be a good thing.
 
I have first-hand experience with that kind of thing. I installed Loxone as my automation system almost 4 years ago. About 2 years ago they decided to cease selling direct and shifted to a dealer-only model. They've been flooding the market with "be everything" products which I suppose are ok but very proprietary. They came out with a new "MiniServer" (the core compute model). All the while do nothing to fundamentally improve the software or programming tool (all of which needs major cleanup and enhancement). In just the last couple of months they are once again selling direct - a nice confirmation that the dealer-only business model is dead. Hopefully Elk won't make the same kind of stupid moves.
 
The UltraSync sounded great. On the hardware front it was a much smarter design. The software was little more than the same old crufty stuff with a dumb web interface wrapping.
 
I was actually impressed with the Bosch documentation. Was more than the usual cryptic junk. In fact the whole product looks like something that was actually designed in the 21st century.
 

pete_c

Guru
I recall your posts relating to the Loxone automation system.
 
Wired integration has moved to wireless integration and very proprietary these days unless you DIY your integration.  You can purchase wired to IP and MQTT integration devices for the DIY pieces today.
 
Here went to using Wireless integration in 2nd home installing a Ring Alarm (which is proprietary ZWave) and Tasmota (ESP) switches for lighting and MQTT.
 
Home Assistant / Homeseer does the automation.  The Ring Alarm is subscription based and using a Ring to MQTT add on to be able to utilize the Ring Sensors.
 
There is Alexa cloud integration using a Home Assistant Alexa media manager.
 
Continue to utilize the OmniPro 2 panel in house #1 with same wired sensors as before and integration of said legacy system to Homeseer and Home Assistant. TTS is provided by Microsoft SAPI and works fine for me.
 

jeditekunum

Active Member
I remain resistant to wireless automation core. I can tolerate a few edge pieces where there is no other choice. I believe a single Tasmota-powered Sonoff is the only wireless thing currently in my setup. While my Velux skylights and Chamberlain garage openers are proprietary wireless they have ethernet interface boxes.
 
Just today I struggled to bring a new wireless IoT device to life - a replacement robot vacuum. Our Roborock S6 died (well, the fan did anyway) and rather than wait for a replacement fan to try (from China) I ordered a new Roborock S7. Very similar device just next iteration. It should not take a retired physicist/software engineer over an hour to get something like that online. Wonderful products that just say "I give up" with no suggestion of what might be wrong. Never did figure out why but I went from my iPad to my iPhone and suddenly it worked; both had exactly the same network config, same Roborock app, everything done the same way... one wouldn't work and the other did. (I'd guess Chinese wanting my phone number.?; interestingly enough, it absolutely won't work unless one authorizes "high precision" location services - WTF?)
 
My opinion is that most of the current crop of wireless are a chaotic mess. Yes, skilled people can hack them all together and make them behave - mostly. With that kind of setup, if I got terminated by a train tomorrow my wife would be in far worse shape. My setup is already too complicated but at least a local automation company could either figure out the Loxone or rip it out and replace it. All the lighting is centralized DMX dimming and dumb low-voltage switches. Compared to the moderately large Insteon setup in our old house this setup is nearly bulletproof.
 
Will not use devices made by any of the FAANG crowd due to surveillance risk. The Roborock behavior today was just the latest reminder.
 
 

pete_c

Guru
Understood @jeditekunum.
 
I am still keeping the old OmniPro 2 panel with wired sensors running and it works well for me in house #1.  Both homes are wired with Catxx.  
 
I am not tethered to my smart phones here and typically they are in off mode and not used for any sort of in house automation control.  (using in house custom touchscreens)
 
Automation transport or sensors via the "wire" will always be the best.   That said it is not too practical today or easy to implement post construction especially for younger folks.  IE: recently just wired my daughters garage doors to the Internet / cell phones using the cloud and an added WAP in the detached garage using powerline ethernet.  She is totally comfortable with this cloud connection and management via her smart phone and Alexa Devices. 
 
The more you add to the transport whatever it is (network (wired or wireless), proprietary wireless (zwave and zigbee and hybrid Insteon, powerline, cloud et al) the greater the chances that it can fail.   
 
The garage door (s) here too are Chamberlain configured in two ways.  One direct wired to the alarm panel inputs and outputs (2 sensors on each door, button output to the OmniPro alarm) and a DIY'd Tasmota modified Sonoff basic with two sensors, button and temperature sensor).  Using Ruckus AP's here.  Status / speed is the same for both mechanisms.   I can access both alarm combo panel and Tasmota Sonoff device via VPN if need be.   It's been two years now with the Sonoff Basic modded with Tasmota and working fine with the Ruckus AP.  
 

jeditekunum

Active Member
Completely understand that existing structures are a serious challenge to these things and that wireless is often the only way. The one Sonoff/Tasmota I have has worked flawlessly but it’s only there because I haven’t gotten around to running a wire yet. It happens to be in an unfinished basement although at the opposite end from automation gear. So I’d characterize it as a lazy installation.

My home was built about 4 years ago and I did the design so I was able to do a lot of things to either pre-conduit (no wires yet) or otherwise make things easier for when I get around to doing - or having done by someone else - future things. For example, the attic spaces have catwalks running through the center that are just above the insulation. Being in Minnesota we have a lot of insulation! (In my house several inches of closed-cell sprayed foam and up to around 18” of blown in foam beads.)

Despite all that planning and effort it never fails that some issue arises that isn’t easily fixed. For example, we have Marvin windows and I got them with factory intrusion sensors built in. There is a little pocket for connecting wires to the security system. I put the EOL resistor there as well. I knew at the time that I was probably asking for trouble when I put the 3.3k required by UltraSync. I knew there were many other flavors but at the time was rushed so didn’t think it through enough. Those pockets are hidden behind a removable part of the frame. BUT, once painted with enamel paint it might as well be glued shut. Sigh.
 
So now I’ll have to figure out a hack to adapt to a different brand of panel. While I continue to curse the industry that couldn’t bother to standardize. And couldn’t bother to make a panel that could be configured for different EOLR values!
 

pete_c

Guru
Thinking the Elk M1 automation / security panel is still supported.  Not sure about the EOL resistors used for the Elk M1.  
 
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