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ELK or Ring/Nest?


rubenhak

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Hi Everybody,

 

I’m in the middle of deciding whether to use ELK or more modern solutions from Ring or Nest for home security. I have following devices at home:

- Insteon switches all around

- Isy i994

- Alexa

- Nest thermostat

- Nest smoke detectors

- Ring doorbell

- 8 outdoor camera dvr

 

I also have an Elk M1 with ethernet module, keypad v2, some keyfobs and door/window sensors laying in the box. Not sure if that is a right choice to go with ELK or just go with more user friendly modern optikns provided by Ring or Nest. What would be the benefit of ELK. I’m pretty hands on but this time wouldnt want to spend weeks on setting up ELK if it turns out ti be complex

 

Thanks,

Rube

 

 

 

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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I would agree and cast my vote for Elk. Besides having the benefit of being hardwired, you have close integration with ISY. I have Elk installed in two homes, it just works, trouble free. Plus if your needs change down the road it is expandable. It also allows you to add none Insteon things to your system that then can be tied back to ISY.

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1 hour ago, Michel Kohanim said:

@rubenhak,

I use SimpliSafe. I love it.

With kind regards,
Michel

My information may be outdated, but to the best of my knowledge simplesafe nor ring have any UL (or otherwise) listed security equipment.  The fire stuff is listed as per the standard un-monitored smoke detector listings that any smoke detector you buy will have.  I would call these systems "monitoring" not "security".  The real security systems go to great lengths to get their equipment listed and for the most part this process is for good reason.  Even minor software or hardware changes must be re-certified.  Bugs are not tolerated.

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I've had Simplisafe for several years. It has fully supervised security and smoke / co sensors that work through their 24/7 monitoring system. They have FM Approval for insurance discounts and are UL listed. Its highly rated, pick your own reviewer. Its enhanced monitoring service can be used to inform the ISY of its status (one way) through gmail/IFTTT. 

image.thumb.png.609596fa47345bc3dc1e13365be2526b.png

Paul

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I was expecting too see more bias towards ELK, simply because we are in ELK subforum :), but I just want to dive a little deeper. 

  • Hardwired/wireless. Are you referring to sensors or the "brain" of the system? To my best knowledge door/window sensors are in the most part wireless anyways, right? When it comes to controller connectivity Nest/Ring/Simplysafe provide dual connection using Wifi/Cellural for redundancy. Is this something that ELK can do?
  • More native integration with ISY is great, but how would you use that feature?
  • Maybe I have too simple requirements. All I was thinking to achieve is to get loud siren alarm triggered if someone breaks into the house. Is there anything else you would expect from security system? In this regard how would you compare ELK vs others?
  • And yes, there is IFTTT integration with ISY and Nest/Ring/Simplysafe. is it reliable and easy to setup? What are the common use cases?
  • What does UL listing give you? Just a piece of mind that it works, or there is more to it?

Just to make things clear. I already have the ELK M1 Gold laying around in a box for 2 years. I've been through back surgery and finally can get ELK or some other security system installed. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, rubenhak said:

I was expecting too see more bias towards ELK, simply because we are in ELK subforum :), but I just want to dive a little deeper. 

  • Hardwired/wireless. Are you referring to sensors or the "brain" of the system? To my best knowledge door/window sensors are in the most part wireless anyways, right? When it comes to controller connectivity Nest/Ring/Simplysafe provide dual connection using Wifi/Cellural for redundancy. Is this something that ELK can do?
  • More native integration with ISY is great, but how would you use that feature?
  • Maybe I have too simple requirements. All I was thinking to achieve is to get loud siren alarm triggered if someone breaks into the house. Is there anything else you would expect from security system? In this regard how would you compare ELK vs others?
  • And yes, there is IFTTT integration with ISY and Nest/Ring/Simplysafe. is it reliable and easy to setup? What are the common use cases?
  • What does UL listing give you? Just a piece of mind that it works, or there is more to it?

Just to make things clear. I already have the ELK M1 Gold laying around in a box for 2 years. I've been through back surgery and finally can get ELK or some other security system installed. 

 

 

1) Hardwired means you ran wires to your sensors.  Wireless is chosen for convenience of install in a retro-fit.  I would never choose wireless over wired on new construction or where wired is reasonably achieved.  Wireless requires battery maintenance and may have radio interference issues.  Wireless zone supervision is going to be on a heartbeat basis which will be every x minutes vs supervision on wired zones which is instant.

2) I certainly use the Elk integration a lot.  

3) A loud siren is of course a basic of any security system.  But generally speaking you must have central station monitoring by local code and I would certainly want that.  If no one calls the police for you and you are being held at gunpoint or incapacitated from CO, that siren doesn't do you much good.  Elk can be managed by any certified CS.  I suspect that with these other systems you are restricted to their proprietary CS.  Most of use Watchlight for our CS at roughly $125/year.  You can use IP reporting, cellular, or land line or a combination of primary/backup.

4) IFTTT seems to work with rare instances of anything more than 10 second lag.  IFTTT is a little tedious to set up and would be very tedious if you were going to have lots of them.

5) UL listing means they are following industry standards and that it works according to those standards.  It is also going to be important when looking at insurance and liability claims.

 

If you already have the M1G, I would install it.  If you want wireless, there are quite a few options that work with Elk.  Elk follows industry standards and are not proprietary.  Personally, I have no wireless sensors.  Everything, including my smokes are hardwired. 

FYI, Nest (and all other) smokes go out of range after a period of time (7 years for Nest).  Then, you trash a $200 Nest.  My GE 4 wire smoke detector are now 10 years old and my first one went out of range (which my Elk panel alerted me to).  I tested them and about half of my 10 others were at the edge of range.  For $22 dollars (total for all of them), I was able to replace the optical chamber and bring them all back to spec.  That would have cost me $2000 with Nest (plus they only cost $500 for all 11 to start with).  (EDIT:  I don't have CO detection, just smoke/heat.  I don't really have anything in the house that makes CO since my waters heaters are on demand/outside mounted and I use heat pumps.  I do have an attached garage so I suppose I am taking a chance there with car exhaust should someone leave the car running and close the door.)

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1 hour ago, rubenhak said:

I was expecting too see more bias towards ELK, simply because we are in ELK subforum :), but I just want to dive a little deeper. 

  • Maybe I have too simple requirements. All I was thinking to achieve is to get loud siren alarm triggered if someone breaks into the house. Is there anything else you would expect from security system? In this regard how would you compare ELK vs others?
    This is my primary requirement - monitored security. My requirement is also for integrated / monitored smoke and CO. I think Elk excels in flexibility and control. Its possible to have the ISY respond to the Elk alerts and turn on lights in the house, etc if there is a security or fire violation. You could also have switches, keypads etc arm the system (I would never allow disarm this way.. how do you know who's pushing disarm). 
     
  • And yes, there is IFTTT integration with ISY and Nest/Ring/Simplysafe. is it reliable and easy to setup? What are the common use cases?
    The integration with IFTTT is not direct from Simplisafe. HA integration is one place I rate them lower. To get IFTTT to work, you have to forward the emails from their monitoring system to gmail, and then use gmail filters to drive IFTTT. It takes a little to set it up and there can be a delay.  Its also one way... Simplisafe>gmail>IFTTT>ISY Portal>ISY. I documented this a while back, follow the link and review the top of the page..

    I use it to inform my Home / Away state in the ISY, but its not a critical integration for me. My wife can arm/disarm with the simplisafe app. 

    Some people are big on security cameras and Simplisafe supports it. Its not something that matters to me.
  • What does UL listing give you? Just a piece of mind that it works, or there is more to it?
    FM is the critical one. FM is a third party that the insurance industry use recognize alarm systems and central stations for supporting national fire codes. Typically the FM rating means that your insurance company will give the discount associated with installing an alarm system. 

Just to make things clear. I already have the ELK M1 Gold laying around in a box for 2 years. I've been through back surgery and finally can get ELK or some other security system installed. 
Its a trade off:

  • Elk -
    + you own it. Its the most flexible and powerful.
    - It will take time to plan, wire sensors and network, install and setup wireless alarm company integration. 

     
  • Simplisafe: 
    + Simple to install .. it took me just a few hours plus probably an hour for the IFTTT setup. Its simple to get to end of job for simple requirements for an FM rated system that is centrally managed.
    - You'd have to buy equipment over again, i think my initial investment was $400. You have to use their monitoring service @$25 a month to take advantage of the ability to use IFTTT with the ISY. Its IoT HA integration is weak.

Paul

 

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20 minutes ago, paulbates said:

 

To your point.  When I have an Elk smoke go off, ISY turns on most of the lights in the house.  And along similar lines, when I arm the house, Elk turns off my main water 45 minutes later.  And if a water sensor in the house trips, it shuts off water right away.  All of this happens instantly and doesn't require any input from the internet.  It is all local.

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This all makes sense.  I think I will get the M1G installed. 

I've got few installation questions.

  1. Regarding speakers/sirens. I've got ELK-73 speaker, and ELK-71 and ELK-74 sirens. My understanding was that I'd connect ELK-73 speaker to  OUT-1 for voice, and ELK-71 and/or ELK-74 for alarm siren. Is that correct? How much voice notifications does the OUT-1 provide? Do i need to use resistors for connection?
  2. What is the best way to reduce the volume of speaker/siren during setup and initial testing?
  3. My keypad is ELK-M1KP2. Does it come with integrated keyfob reader or I would need ELK-M1PR or ELK-106055 to get it working? I'm using ELK-6010 keyfob and "M1 Fobs For Prox Reader"
  4. Is the Touch keypad (ELK M1KPNAV) worth the price? 
  5. For LCD connection can i use regular low-voltage wires, or ethernet CAT5 cable is a must?

Thanks!

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1) You should refer to the installation manual.  Voice is out 1, and siren is out 2.  You don't use resistors on outputs.  Resistors are for zones (inputs) so you can supervise them for short/tamper.

2) Again, I would refer you to the documentation.  But I don't believe any keypad comes with a built-in keyfob reader

3) I don't think so. 

4) LCD what?

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46 minutes ago, rubenhak said:

Referring to LCD keypad cable. Can I use any 4-wire cable or it has to be CAT5?

One more thing. Is there a way to reduce voice/siren volume during testing?

If you plan on having lots of keypads, then you should use cat5 so you can run the signal out and back to the panel on the same cat5 cable and then daisy chain at the panel to the next keypad with all keypads having a home-runned cat5.  If you only run 4 conductor cable, then you need to daisy chain another 4 conductor cable from keypad to keypad.  If you only have one keypad, then it doesn't make any difference.  You need to terminate the wire with a resistor after the final keypad as per instructions.  If you have lots of keypads, Elk makes a convenient hub that does the daisy chain connection for you.  You just need to terminate the cat5s at the panel with rj45's.  Many (maybe all of them) of Elk keypads have a zone built-in to the keypad.  So if you have a keypad next to the door, you don't need to run a wire from the door to the panel, just from the door to the keypad.

Siren volume can't be changed, at least not from Elk, maybe you might have a speaker with a volume control on the speaker itself.  Just plug it up with a towel to reduce volume.  Speaker volume can be adjusted, but I forget how off hand.

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I recently reviewed the Ring Alarm; it was simple and has an app but it can not communicate with any hub. If you already have an ELK it is a far better system. If you are going to setup a new system by yourself then consider the Ring Security System. Also Ring is wireless only and wired is alway better then wireless.

 

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9 hours ago, apostolakisl said:

Wow, I guess all their advertising has worked.  Nest and Ring are not real security systems.

Ring is; though is is wireless. It has cellular and IP connection to its monitoring center. I have not review the Nest but it does not look very professional from the pictures.

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4 hours ago, rubenhak said:

I was expecting too see more bias towards ELK, simply because we are in ELK subforum :), but I just want to dive a little deeper. 

  • Hardwired/wireless. Are you referring to sensors or the "brain" of the system? To my best knowledge door/window sensors are in the most part wireless anyways, right? When it comes to controller connectivity Nest/Ring/Simplysafe provide dual connection using Wifi/Cellural for redundancy. Is this something that ELK can do?
  • More native integration with ISY is great, but how would you use that feature?
  • Maybe I have too simple requirements. All I was thinking to achieve is to get loud siren alarm triggered if someone breaks into the house. Is there anything else you would expect from security system? In this regard how would you compare ELK vs others?
  • And yes, there is IFTTT integration with ISY and Nest/Ring/Simplysafe. is it reliable and easy to setup? What are the common use cases?
  • What does UL listing give you? Just a piece of mind that it works, or there is more to it?

Just to make things clear. I already have the ELK M1 Gold laying around in a box for 2 years. I've been through back surgery and finally can get ELK or some other security system installed. 

If you have an Elk then install it. I recently did this, it was fun but a lot of work. This forum had the best support.

 

 

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1 hour ago, rubenhak said:

Referring to LCD keypad cable. Can I use any 4-wire cable or it has to be CAT5?

One more thing. Is there a way to reduce voice/siren volume during testing?

Make sure you get your terminations right. I would youtube yourself. The Elk videos are very productive and worth the time to watch them.

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I think I will go with ELK! Managed to get it up and running. Armed with a single wireless door sensor and the alarm siren goes off!

I have few minor issues and could not find solutions online. Hope this gets resolved here:

  1. Speaker doesn't play voice/alarm. It is connected to OUT-1. Black-negative, White-positive. In RP2 when i navigate to Automation -> Voice -> System Alarms and click "Send and Say" I hear hiss but no voice from the speaker. Tested the speaker and the multimeter reads 8ohms as expected. Volume is set in "Globals" settings and Voice messages are enabled.
  2. As much as I understood keypad can be tied to single area only, right? What are the other methods to arm/disarm without a keypad? Is there a way to arm/disarm multiple areas at once?
  3. Managed to get ELK-6010 keyfob work, not sure how to link those M1 Fobs https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0015D8QYS
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41 minutes ago, apostolakisl said:

You have to program the words you want spoken and set a rule to tell it when to say it.  Do you have ElkRP2 software installed on your computer?  You need an m1xep or a serial connection to your computer from the panel.  Of course no one has a computer with a serial port anymore.

Turns out that the small microcontroller got partially disconnected from the board. I pushed it back in and now I can hear voice!! :)

Last thing to figure out is whether or not I would need external prox reader device

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