How much should I expect to pay for a Pro install of the Elk M1 Gold? - AVS | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 8 Old 04-07-2009, 11:27 AM - Thread Starter
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I have a 1500 sqft house with an attached two car garage not included in the sqft. I have about 10 windows and two doors. Plus I have a 80 Pound dog so the internal motion sensors, i guess like 3 would need to be 100 pound+. I was wondering how much I could expect to pay for an Elk M1 Gold system install with wireless and ready to work with Insteon since I'm obviously installing this for home automation too. According to what I read on the elk site that just means I need a databus hub and a serial port expander. (I'm not sure if i can do those last ones myself but i'd be willing if it saves any significant cost.

I'm pretty much just looking for a general price so I don't get screwed by security installers since I have no idea how much something like this will cost. Thanks.
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post #2 of 8 Old 04-07-2009, 03:02 PM
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I've never heard of a motion sensor that detected weight?!? size sure, but weight?

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post #3 of 8 Old 04-07-2009, 08:47 PM
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i have a security 101 writeup using the elk as an example in the site in my sig. I'd answer your question here, but that answer is "it depends on your house, what you want, wired vs wireless options (do you really want wireless)".

Wired is about $150/run if it's not too bad. Wireless is based on the type of sensor. Basic programming is probably 2-4 hours based on complexity, @$80/hour.

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post #4 of 8 Old 04-08-2009, 01:25 AM
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I would consider the following things separately

1) LV wiring runs. Any security installer can do this, pretty much run wires from where you need to your security panel/wiring closet. This has little to do with the security panel, pretty standard. Probably a lot cheaper to get a non home automation guy to do this.

2) Security System/Automation panel. If you are somewhat handy you can install an ELK or HAI pretty easily yourself. If not you will need to find someone who does this stuff. Asking a random security installer to learn it is neither cost effective nor in your benefit(using your house as a test run). Easier to find HAI installers, possible to find ELK too.

3) Lighting/Automation/etc. I would seriously reconsider insteon, esp if you are going to hire someone to swap your switches. The cost savings only makes sense if you DIY. This can be done with the security system or later. Both HAI and ELK are easy to program yourself(have your installer give you a demo), other automation systems are not so DIY friendly and will need to be installed all at once.

In general I'd look for an installer who charges for his time/design/services instead of trying to push overpriced hardware onto you. Depends on your area, but a home automation integrator usually costs upwards of 100/hour. LV tech to run the wires is quite a bit cheaper. Make it easier for the bid and buy most of the hardware online(call and ask for a discount), then bid only the install/config/maintenance/etc, makes it easy to compare apples to apples.
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post #5 of 8 Old 04-08-2009, 10:49 AM - Thread Starter
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I got a quote from a place I got through Elk for the whole house at around $2300. This was for everything except the Insteon connection. Basically the Elk box and the wireless sensors installed. The problem is Elk only had one recommendation or rather who ever Elk forwarded me to, i think their sales contractor who doesn't actually work for Elk in this area. So I have no idea if I was being screwed. I'm a little worried this sales rep Elk sent me do might be getting kick backs because she has been unable to provide me with other ELK installers in the Austin TX area and said they were highly recommended.

His quote was for a wireless system because he claimed on an existing house they would have to drill down from the attic and run a wire that you could see. He said it would cost too much to hide it. He also claimed the system is roughly the same cost as a wired one.

IVB: I did read your Intro to Security Systems which is one reason for this post. I started questioning if I was being taken for a ride. I told the guy i'm reading up on it so i would have more questions and after our 2nd call he never called me back.

Dahwoo: The security guy said they sell them...

So i guess the question is what I should do. If I get someone to run the wires how hard is it to just connect them to the Elk box? And can I actually get hidden wires cost effectively? I live in a single level home with an attic space so running the wires all over the house should be easy its just getting them down the walls. I'm already going to do this for my Cat-5 wiring so who knows.

I'm guess i'm just a little lost when it comes to home security systems. I've run x10 and Insteon with computers before but I need help figuring out how to do this security stuff. Which is one reason I was considering a Pro to do the entire install.
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post #6 of 8 Old 04-08-2009, 02:18 PM
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Watch some of the Elk training videos, to see what's involved in the setup and programming. They're available on the Elk website and at Setnetpro.com (same videos). Read through the instruction manuals.

I've been reading up on the installation process myself for several months - seems do-able. Of course, I have an existing alarm system, so I don't have to run many new wires, but it will be a large install.

Elk has an online forum at their website, and there is a lot of talk on the Elk systems at cocoontech.com forums (look for the Elk subforum). Lots of online assistance from others who have self-installed, and the president of Elk (Spanky) is a regular contributor to the forums.

Some people recommend doing the install yourself, to force one to become familiar with the setup, if you want to do home automation with the system.

I'd dig deeper to find other installers for competing quotes, if you go that direction. One of the problems with Elk is that they don't spend enough on marketing - you'd think that they at least keep a database of qualified installers.

I think there are a couple 'cocooners' from Austin, and maybe they have some local installer contacts.

Really, any alarm tech could run the wires. Get some quotes for just the wires.

Edit - I looked for a month for a local Elk installer - couldn't find any. And then just recently, I came across a website of a local alarm company that detailed how they do training with Elk. Sheesh. They'll be available if I need them, but I don't think I will.

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post #7 of 8 Old 04-08-2009, 05:55 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm somewhat handy, more with computers then other stuff, so i'd love to do it myself but i need to know how to find someone to run wires for me and what ever goes on the end of the wires. Are those sensors and wires all pretty much the same? Or do I just need someone to run the wires and i'm supposed to install the door sensors.
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post #8 of 8 Old 04-18-2009, 01:43 PM
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avoid wireless as it is more costly and usually runs at 413mhz/900mhz which a)can be jammed b)can cause 'traffic' in whatever else you use thats wireless.

PIR's/motion are rated for pounds/#'s not size.40#'s,80#'s and 120#'s are all ive seen

running your own wires is not impossible,but its not fun either.if you have top/bottom window sashes its easier than side/side sashes.you will need flex-bits which are basically long flexible drill bits.you will need a minimum of a 24" to do your windows(assuming 8' ceiling).also glo-rods,these are fiberglass rods(get the 3/16" as these are more flexible) that will help pulling the wire,they also hold a charge and glow which helps in the attic.get someone to help you(so many times have i attach wire,pushed rod up thru the hole and gone into attic only to find that it fell back down).

use 22/2 for door/window contacts.22/4 for PIR's/keypads and 18-20/2 for sirens,strobes.

im not sure of the ELK but most panels allow for DEOL resistors.this will help identify opens/shorts/tampers.

most online security stores carry magnetic contacts,wire and whatever PIR's you may want.
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