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If you were starting from scratch, which system would you install?

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    If you were starting from scratch, which system would you install?

    I'd like to pay someone to come out and hardwire my condo (taking down some ceiling drywall anyways so why not), and I'm trying to figure out what brand system I should go with. I have a limited set up, 4 doors and 8 windows. I'll also include some plug in motion sensors I'm sure.

    It seems like most people on here either use Honeywell, DSC, or Elk. I've done some reading and DSC seems like it could be the cheapest. Are there any benefits (or negatives) to the Elk system, since it's more expensive? I don't mind paying more if it's 'better' in some way. I know Elk has some automation chops, but I don't feel as if I really need those since everything I do goes through Homeseer.

    Appreciate any input y'all have before I pull the trigger, not sure the cost of hardwiring but I doubt it's cheap

    edit: Also, if anyone has any suggestions for a system that would call me during an alarm, and let me speak 2-ways with who is in the house, that would be awesome. An old acquaintance had that set up on a non-monitored system, and he could talk to whoever had come in (babysitter, contractor, etc.)
    Last edited by Dnomyar220; May 20, 2016, 12:21 PM. Reason: added info

    #2
    My Honeywell LYNX Touch 5200/5210 has a phone connection, system will call me on alarm, also has a dial pad for speakerphone calls.
    It has an optional Z-Wave card, but has really limited capabilities. Communication with HS doesn't work due to security protocols.

    Although I was able to take a trigger output from the alarm panel and hook it up to HS to Lock and Unlock doors on entry/exit
    Blair

    HomeSeer: HS3 Pro | Blue-Iris 4 on Windows10Pro
    | Devices: 832 | Events: 211 |
    Plug-Ins: Z-Wave | RFXCOM | UltraRachio3 | Sonos
    BLLAN | BLLOCK | NetCAM | Global Cache Pro | Blue-Iris4

    Comment


      #3
      I just did start from scratch 3 months ago. Was using Stargate controller talking to Caddx alarm before that. I almost went with DSC to save some $ but switched to Elk at the last minute after discovering DSC only supported fast loop response on the first 8 zones. Elk M1G does it for sure on the first 16 zones on the board and it can be configured on expander board zones. Can't say for sure those are as fast as main board, but seems pretty fast. This was important to me as I need PIRs to quickly trigger for motion controlled lights.

      The other bonus with Elk M1G for me was on-board outputs. I connected them to a cheap relay strip to control a bunch of 70V speakers. I played a bit with the automation stuff in Elk but deleted that and really only use it for alarm panel & I/O functions.

      Presuming you are using HomeSeer, the Ultra plug-in for Elk is top notch, no headaches, worth every penny.

      John

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by Dnomyar220 View Post
        I'd like to pay someone to come out and hardwire my condo (taking down some ceiling drywall anyways so why not), and I'm trying to figure out what brand system I should go with. I have a limited set up, 4 doors and 8 windows. I'll also include some plug in motion sensors I'm sure.

        It seems like most people on here either use Honeywell, DSC, or Elk. I've done some reading and DSC seems like it could be the cheapest. Are there any benefits (or negatives) to the Elk system, since it's more expensive? I don't mind paying more if it's 'better' in some way. I know Elk has some automation chops, but I don't feel as if I really need those since everything I do goes through Homeseer.

        Appreciate any input y'all have before I pull the trigger, not sure the cost of hardwiring but I doubt it's cheap

        edit: Also, if anyone has any suggestions for a system that would call me during an alarm, and let me speak 2-ways with who is in the house, that would be awesome. An old acquaintance had that set up on a non-monitored system, and he could talk to whoever had come in (babysitter, contractor, etc.)
        I am very happy I went with DSC. I used hardwired motion sensors and glass break detectors with RF door/window sensors. I use an Envisalink ethernet adaptor and Spud's plug-in to interface with HomeSeer.

        It was relatively inexpensive and has been reliable. A 64 zone capable panel has 8 zones initially and can be expanded 8 at a time. The keypad is the RF component and can handle up to 64 wireless zones. There is a limit to a total of 64 zones mixed RF and hardwired. It was about $230 for the whole kit. You can save about $20 by going with 32 zones, but the 64 zone main board has more features. It does not have 2-way voice.

        The integration between HomeSeer and the panel is very good.

        Comment


          #5
          +1 for Elk
          -Tim

          HSPro - 3.XXX - Dell mini W7 x32
          Way2 Call
          Elk M1 Gold
          UPB HAI switches
          HAI RC2000 Thermostat

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by jhearty View Post
            I just did start from scratch 3 months ago. Was using Stargate controller talking to Caddx alarm before that. I almost went with DSC to save some $ but switched to Elk at the last minute after discovering DSC only supported fast loop response on the first 8 zones. Elk M1G does it for sure on the first 16 zones on the board and it can be configured on expander board zones. Can't say for sure those are as fast as main board, but seems pretty fast. This was important to me as I need PIRs to quickly trigger for motion controlled lights.

            The other bonus with Elk M1G for me was on-board outputs. I connected them to a cheap relay strip to control a bunch of 70V speakers. I played a bit with the automation stuff in Elk but deleted that and really only use it for alarm panel & I/O functions.

            Presuming you are using HomeSeer, the Ultra plug-in for Elk is top notch, no headaches, worth every penny.

            John
            Does the Elk system allow you to do 'speakerphone' type calls when it is triggered? I have searched around a bit and I'm not sure if this is just a lesser known feature or if I'm looking in the wrong places...

            I feel like for the most part I'm paying extra for the HA options on the Elk, which I don't need since I use homeseer. From what you're saying that might not be the case though. What are these "fast loop" connections?

            Also, what do you use the 70V speakers for? Does it say things like "movement in basement", etc., or is it just a buzzer. Sorry for all the questions...

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Dnomyar220 View Post
              Does the Elk system allow you to do 'speakerphone' type calls when it is triggered? I have searched around a bit and I'm not sure if this is just a lesser known feature or if I'm looking in the wrong places...

              I feel like for the most part I'm paying extra for the HA options on the Elk, which I don't need since I use homeseer. From what you're saying that might not be the case though. What are these "fast loop" connections?

              Also, what do you use the 70V speakers for? Does it say things like "movement in basement", etc., or is it just a buzzer. Sorry for all the questions...
              The Elk supports some kind of listen in thing I have not implemented that might be what you mean by speakerphone. Perhaps others can elaborate.

              Regarding fast loop response, typical alarm panels usually wait for a zone to be violated continuously for a few hundred milliseconds before considering it officially violated and taking subsequent actions. The Elk does too, by default something like 400 ms, but you can configure it to be as little as I think 20 ms. I think I set the lighting control PIRs to 40 ms.

              I have the line level output of my HS controller plugged into a 70V amp to send TTS announcements to it. The amp output goes through relays, one for each 70V ceiling speaker, the typical paging speakers you see in stores. HS3 events doing the TTS announcements also tell the Elk to turn on the outputs tied to the speakers I want to play the announcements. It's a simple way to do zoned announcements.

              Comment


                #8
                Love the Elk!

                tenholde
                tenholde

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by jhearty View Post
                  The Elk supports some kind of listen in thing I have not implemented that might be what you mean by speakerphone. Perhaps others can elaborate.

                  Regarding fast loop response, typical alarm panels usually wait for a zone to be violated continuously for a few hundred milliseconds before considering it officially violated and taking subsequent actions. The Elk does too, by default something like 400 ms, but you can configure it to be as little as I think 20 ms. I think I set the lighting control PIRs to 40 ms.

                  I have the line level output of my HS controller plugged into a 70V amp to send TTS announcements to it. The amp output goes through relays, one for each 70V ceiling speaker, the typical paging speakers you see in stores. HS3 events doing the TTS announcements also tell the Elk to turn on the outputs tied to the speakers I want to play the announcements. It's a simple way to do zoned announcements.
                  I'm very interested in mimicking your speaker set up. I have sonos but a dedicated system for announcements would be good. Do you have a link for the speakers you're using?

                  Sent from my SM-N910P using Tapatalk

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by jhearty View Post
                    The Elk does too, by default something like 400 ms, but you can configure it to be as little as I think 20 ms. I think I set the lighting control PIRs to 40 ms.
                    John, do you see an advantage to going with the 40ms for the PIRs? I have mine set for turning on lights and even set a UPB link for quick ramp to make the light part faster. I never considered the fast loop. I thought they were mostly for the temp sensors.

                    I have the line level output of my HS controller plugged into a 70V amp to send TTS announcements to it. The amp output goes through relays, one for each 70V ceiling speaker, the typical paging speakers you see in stores. HS3 events doing the TTS announcements also tell the Elk to turn on the outputs tied to the speakers I want to play the announcements. It's a simple way to do zoned announcements.
                    The real advantage I see with 70v line speakers is that you can generally turn the speakers on/off without having to worry about impedance. I use it too.
                    -Tim

                    HSPro - 3.XXX - Dell mini W7 x32
                    Way2 Call
                    Elk M1 Gold
                    UPB HAI switches
                    HAI RC2000 Thermostat

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by email68 View Post
                      The real advantage I see with 70v line speakers is that you can generally turn the speakers on/off without having to worry about impedance. I use it too.
                      Can you expand on what you mean by that? I don't know much about speakers... I see the benefit of wiring speakers directly to my security system, so I get alerts even in power failure. Like, "garage door opening". How are you getting TTS through these? Is elk handling the TTS or is HS? Thanks for all the replies

                      Sent from my SM-N910P using Tapatalk

                      Comment


                        #12
                        I am very happy with my DSC 1832 and Homeseer's DSC plugin works great. We just had an Ademco Vista panel installed at work and I appreciate the DSC even more now. The Vista is very bare bones. I am trying to get it removed and replaced with a DSC.

                        - Robert

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by email68 View Post
                          John, do you see an advantage to going with the 40ms for the PIRs? I have mine set for turning on lights and even set a UPB link for quick ramp to make the light part faster. I never considered the fast loop. I thought they were mostly for the temp sensors.



                          The real advantage I see with 70v line speakers is that you can generally turn the speakers on/off without having to worry about impedance. I use it too.
                          For me 400ms is enough time to get to the middle of the room before the lights go on. 40ms gets them turned on just as I'm entering the room.

                          No impedance problems is indeed why I too went with 70v. Turn on how ever many speakers you want and the amp does not care, no overloading problems.

                          I believe Tim is doing the same as me. HS3 plays audio out of its line out when events trigger, usually text to speech generated audio, and that line out goes to the input of a 70v audio amplifier. HS3 also sends commands to the Elk to turn on outputs. Those outputs drive relays that connect selected 70v speakers to the 70v amplifier output. Elk does not need to play any audio in this setup, just turn on outputs as instructed by HS3.

                          Here is the eBay item ID for a 70v speaker I just bought as I needed to add a volume knob in our bedroom that the old one did not have.

                          282028268572

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by jhearty View Post
                            For me 400ms is enough time to get to the middle of the room before the lights go on. 40ms gets them turned on just as I'm entering the room.
                            Ah ok that makes sense. I wonder what delay I'm experiencing now with my non wired zwave motion sensors. Seems like it's very fast but probably closer to the 400ms mark. 40ms I wouldn't even notice a delay probably.

                            Thanks for all the info on the speaker set up. One question I have on the elk... it's got a "500 word vocabulary" in it that is supposedly natural sounding. I find the voices in HS3 atrocious compared to my old Google TTS I used with Vera (only con of full local system). Is there a way to send commands to the elk to say certain common phrases, like door open, window open, etc? It'd be cool to have that in my room, so if the power went out and someone broke in I'd hear which zone it was in as my speakers would all be backed up by battery. Not sure if that's possible.

                            Sent from my SM-N910P using Tapatalk

                            Comment


                              #15
                              I haven't done that myself but you should be able to. The Then actions included with Ultra's plugin include "Speak Words" and "Speak Phrase", and selections within those actions include tons of words and phrases.

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