your feedback on DIY security alarm system


I am planning to purchase a DIY home alarm system and I was wondering if I could get your opinions about the alarm systems present here:

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that captured my attention:

- Ademco Wireless Ready Package

- Ademco Plus PowerPack V20P

- PowerMax Plus Wireless System

Here are my constraints:

- Want to cover about 10 windows and 3 doors

- Need a feature that has the ability to send alerts via. phone, e-mail

- Easy to install (wireless most probably)

- Price limit $350

- Expandability (ability to monitor to about 30 devices)

- Supports a couple of motion sensors

Nice to have:

- Access from the internet to the alarm system

- Ability to send alerts to more than one phone number

I am new to home security alarm systems but I have chalked down all the features that I like to see. I would really appreciate if you would please give me feedback on the systems that are present in the web page. I am open to alternatives.

Thanks for your time.

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add the Elk M1EZ8 to your list of panels to check out. For a great site to review the Elk, check out

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I use the Elk M1 Gold. See my site below for the GUI software I use to manage it.

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One question about Elk M1EZ8 though. If any of the wired connections get disconnected or if the PSTN wired is cut off from the control unit does the device set off an alarm in another way (like triggering the siren through the speakers)? If the PSTN wire is cut off how can the alarm system notify the owner? Can we run some software elsewhere on the internet and keep poking the control unit to see if it is reachable or something like that? I am just thinking about the extreme conditions where the burglar might cut off the PSTN or the magnetic sensor wires before breaking in.


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Variety of ways of dealing with this, ask over on, there's a TON of Elk users there.

Ways that i've heard&remember:

- CAT5 in the same conduit as the telephone, terminated at one end and setup as a N/C circuit, which if cut activates an alarm

- cellular backup if above or other issues occur

- use the automation capabilities to blast speakers/siren/lights at the point of intrusion to deter the thief before he enters

others are doing some neat stuff, don't remember it though.

----------------------------------------------------- Note: I am a mere end-user with no financial stake in any products that I may discuss.

My Personal Website w/my Home Automation PC:

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last updated 4/11

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I believe most if not all current alarm panels can detect if the phone line is cut.

The mighty M1 from Elk surely can, and does!

I use an M1 Gold myself. Spend the extra money - go for the gold!

Most alarm systems have the phone wired such that the home's incoming PSTN wires loop through the alarm panel, THEN back out to the house. As such if the phone is in use, the alarm can still take control and dial out - as needed. This also prevents the intruder from interrupting the call out by picking up a phone within the house, etc.

The alarm will monitor the PSTN... This is a low level feature.

On a higher level the M1 is an automation controller. You program it with "Rules" with just about ANY desired result.

So for example you might write a rule like this one:

WHENEVER TelephoneTamper becomes Active AND Alarm is NOT Armed THEN Speak "Warning: Telephone is disabled" THEN send e-mail message #2 Then...

The AND statement shown isn't needed, of course. But I show you to illustrate the kind of control you have. M1 knows if it is Dark or Light outside, and that might make a difference to you...

You can have multiple Rules for any given situation. So if the alarm was armed, in Away-mode, and the PSTN goes away, you might choose to activate the siren(s) and flash the lights, etc.

You can control the action(s) easily. The ElkRP software works very well. Use it to program the M1 with your PC via serial, or even modem.

Add the Ethernet option to the Elk, and you can communicate with the M1 over your LAN or over the Internet! And the M1 can send e-mails, etc.

ElkRM software is a cool option, and I love it! I use it on a wireless PDA to monitor and control the M1. It also allows M1 controlled things like lights and thermostat to be controlled by my hand-held device wirelessly.

I use MisterHouse software, and I've interfaced it with the Elk M1 too. I have MH send messages to the M1 over the LAN, and I've written Rules to deal with them. For example I use MH to do a CallerID lookup. Each database entry has a category (vendor, family, friend, etc.) associated with it. So if it is a friend, the word "Friend" - when received by the M1 on it's ethernet port, will trigger it to speak a pre-defined message! Same thing as when my mailbox is opened: A wireless signal received my MH results in M1 telling the home's occupants verbally.

If you want it ALL, and you know the extra $$$ spent divided by the number of years of service you'll get out of it (not to mention the improved functionality) make it an easy choice...

You want the Elk M1 Gold.

Now go shopping!


Jack :)

aerosmith wrote:

Reply to
Jack Edin


Thanks for the detailed info. I think I will go for the M1 Gold. I was also thinking about the following in the alarm system to trigger alarms (something similar to peer-peer software).

When the alarm in one house goes off it should send a signal it's peer which is nearest to it (probably the neighbour's security system). In this case even if the PSTN line or the iternet line is cut off we can at least warn our helpful/watchful neighbours for a quick response. In this collaborative way we can make the alarm system more secure and tamper proof. And our neighbour's alarm system can do the same thing. I don't know if such a system already exists. But if it does not do you think I can patent this technology ;-)?

Now off to froogling for the M1 Gold :).


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There are a number of online stores that will cater to your specific requirements. Some links here:

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Good luck!!

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Frank Olson

Well, if we're done with all the bashing (and why do I doubt that), I actually purchased mine from

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. Not only is Brian the owner awesome, you can contact him directly on The Elk head engineer also checks that forum regularly. Look here for the marketplace section:
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Also check the main forums for dozens of posts about the Elk.

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