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ELK the only ISY Option?


pjt588

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I've tried to read as much as i can in the forum on this topic, but there's quite a bit of content so apologies if this was already asked and answered.  I have an extensive Insteon/ISY setup which I also use for "monitoring" the house when i'm not home - motion sensors and door sensors that send alerts to me when triggered and nobody should be home.  I've read all the cautions about insteon not replacing a true security system but for my needs it has worked fine.  Now however, I am leaving Allstate for my home insurance for a much lower premium elsewhere, but I am going to be required to have a monitored security system for break-ins and fire. 

 

In my ideal world, I would get a security system that could be monitored by someone like Alarm Relay for a reasonable monthly fee (about $10/month), AND make use of my existing Insteon door sensors, motion sensors, and First Alert Insteon smoke bridge compatible smoke alarms.  It doesn't appear that ELK will do this and requires it's own/different sensor equipment - is that correct?

 

If ELK isn't an option for that scenario, is there another Insteon/ISY compatible solution that would work?

 

Even then the ELK equipment required (M1 plus M1EXP) runs almost $1000.  Why do this when I can pay a "traditional company" like ADT, etc about $25 - $30 month and get the sensors for free?  It will take quite a while for the $15/month savings with Alarm Relay to pay off the $1000 worth of ELK hardware.....

 

It just seems to make sense to have my HA and alarm integrated together but I would stronger prefer not to have double door sensors, double motion detectors, etc.  If my new insurance didn't require it, I'd probably stay with what I have now, but the Insurance savings is too much to ignore.

 

Any suggestions?

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If you have the UL / cUL alarm sensors located in the proper locations there isn't a need to double up with Insteon window, door, motion sensors. The ELK to ISY integration will allow you to use those sensor(s) as conditions to initiate Insteon controlled lighting.

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Hi

Here are a couple of options:

  1. Member io_guy has an interface to a traditional Honewelly/Ademco system. You need an intermediary server like an RPi or light windows box to run the interface. There is also a card needed to connect the Honeywell/Ademco to your local LAN. Its arguably a bit technical to get working, not to mention setting up the ademco. But this solution has a lot of loyal followers.
     
  2. I too am Insteon only and have alerts for different things in my house provided through pushover. I also have the Simplisafe alarm system very loosely coupled to my ISY. Basically the SimplySafe status generates emails that I turn into IFTTT messages. Not full control, but the hardware was $500 (4 door sensors, 2 glass breaks, 1 motion, 2 smokes & COs). $25/month, insurance accepted. It was very easy to install. I have the simplisafe messages go to pushover as well, so I have one message client of all of my HA and computer related activiites. I also use the ISY Portal support IFTTT

Simplisafe's draw back is that the are maniacally stubborn about not supporting IFTTT and the interface is through gmail->IFTTT. Some of the other self install systems IFTTT, so those might get you closer integration wise. Alarm system features "overuled" integration when I bought my system, but I'm sure things have changed a lot during that time. I love simplisafe other than not supporting IFTTT, having said that, take a good look at the competition.

 

Paul

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ELK directly integrates into the ISY-994, every other solution is going to take some middleware "glue" to work.     If you're willing to put the time and effort in, you can achieve strong and secure integration between many Honeywell/Ademco/DSC alarms and an ISY -- you can even have a physically one-way link such that events from the alarm system trigger programs on the ISY, but the ISY cannot be used to make any changes to nor disarm the alarm system.

 

ADT Frontpoint, etc provide a controller, dialer, and some sensors, then make the money back with a substantial profit over the 36-month duration of the contract.   You might want to instead use a local installer, pay the actual cost, and obtain no-contract monitoring from Alarm Relay or another  "$9.99 Alarm Monitoring!" services.

 

Many alarms and providers are now offering "Home Automation" features, usually by acting as a Z-Wave controller.   You'd think this would make it easier to tie the alarm to a Z-Wave enabled ISY-994iZW, however even with the ability to have a primary and secondary Z-Wave controller, things can get weird when you have two controllers in a Z-Wave deployment.

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When I asked ADT, the 'free' panel not included two door sensors and one motion. Any more than that cost extra.

 

The $40/month (as I was quoted) for ADT vs $120/year for Alarm Relay.

 

I've had my system for 12 years now. 144 months. I even moved it when I moved house.

 

ADT would have cost me $5760.

Alarm Relay cost me $1440. With the OPs $1000 Elk investment added, buying the Elk and going with Alarm Relay it's a very significant saving.

 

In my case, I went with wireless sensors. So, a greater investment. However, I also didn't get onto a grossly expensive ADT contract, and still have to buy additional sensors.

 

Also, all of my Elk sensors work seamlessly with ISY. Fully integrated. The main benefit is a much greater range of sensor options. For instance I had joist stress sensors integrated into the frame of my house during construction...

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  • 4 weeks later...

Could you go into more detail on your joist stress sensor installation? I'm interested in doing something similar for a new construction project.

Sure. They are made by a company called 'Sure Action' and are called 'Pulsar' sensors.

 

I have two 3 channel controllers with 2 pulsars wired to each channel. I epoxied the sensors in pairs at 6 strategic places in my home as it was being built. This allows me interior detection without needing motions, and I can tune the sensitivity of each to account for pets. I've never had a false activation...

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Thanks. Have you found their 4x7' detection area spec to be accurate? Do you know how it would work across different floor surfaces (tile, interior stone, etc)? Would it still work with an in-floor radiant heat system?

 

And how do you get the controllers' data to the ISY? Are the pulsar sensitivity adjustments done manually or through some web interface?

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Thanks. Have you found their 4x7' detection area spec to be accurate? Do you know how it would work across different floor surfaces (tile, interior stone, etc)? Would it still work with an in-floor radiant heat system?

 

And how do you get the controllers' data to the ISY? Are the pulsar sensitivity adjustments done manually or through some web interface?

I've found the detection area to be an approximate oval about the size you say. In my case I put two sensors a few joists apart, to get a wider coverage.

 

My floors are all oak plank over an own subfloor on engineered joists. The engineered joists apparently fox less and they warned me that my detection area may be less because of this, but I have not experienced that. It should similarly work with on all flooring types above a similar subfloor structure. I don't see any reason it wouldn't work under a gradient heat floor.

 

I wired the controller to zones on my Elk (some are walk zones, some interior) and I have the Elk module in my ISY so I can also use them for automation.

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