Integrating Elk With Z-Wave

The Elk M1 Gold can integrate with a number of different technologies including ZWave.  In fact there’s more than one way to achieve integration between an Elk M1 and ZWave automation products.

Method#1 – Use a VERALITE or VERA3 controller with Elk’s M1XEP

This method requires that your M1 have an M1XEP Ethernet module or you can use Elk’s Serial to USB adapter and connect directly to the VERA USB port.  You can use VERALITE or VERA3.  VERA would be your primary ZWave controller and will manage integration between Elk and ZWave.  VERA is used to set up the  ZWave network and create associations, etc.

With or without Elk, VERA is a great little device allowing Internet access, smart phone control, scheduling, scene set up and more.  You’ll need to download the FREE Elk M1 software plug-in, to allow VERA ‘see’ your Elk system and all of its zones, armed status, alarm status,outputs and so on.

Once you have your ZWave network set up, and you’ve downloaded/installed and set-up the Elk plug-in module you can start setting up TRIGGERS in VERA.  Since VERA can see both Elk and ZWave device status, you can accomplish just about anything you can dream up.

For example, VERA can send email or SMS alerts when a particular user code is entered on your ZWave door lock, or when a door is opened, an Elk sensor is triggered, a ZWave sensor is triggered, or when the M1 goes in to alarm (just to name a few).  You can create very useful events such as automatically locking the door(s) when the alarm is armed.  Or you can disarm the alarm when any (or select) user code(s) are entered to unlock the Zwave lock.

Method#2 – Use Elk’s M1XSLZW Interface

Elk has produced a Zwave interface module called M1XSLZW.   The M1XSLZW connects to the M1 data bus and then the M1XSLZW needs to connect to a Leviton VRC0P-1LW module (must be a current version).  Basically the M1XSLZW translates between Elk and the VRC0P.

In addition to those two pieces, you need Leviton’s VRUSB-1US USB Installer Tool to add devices to the Zwave network and assign associations, etc.  The VRUSB is only used on initial set up or when new devices are added so technically, installers working on multiple systems can re-use the same VRUSB rather than purchasing one per system.

Elk has an introductory video on the topic here

The pro to this method would be that the Zwave interface is hardwired to Elk without any network connection in the middle.  The con would be the extra programming tool required and complexity for programming.

Once it’s all set up you can use Elk’s internal rules to set up alerts based on alarm zones or other Elk events as usual, in addition to rules based on Zwave device status, lock/unlock events, etc.

Method#3 – ISY994I (ZWave Support Coming Soon)

The folks at Universal Devices have been working hard on Zwave support in their fabulous ISY994 series controllers.  These guys have been the Insteon kings but now they plan to support Zwave so you can have the best of both platforms from a single controller.  This controller can tie in to Elk if your M1 has an M1XEP Ethernet module installed.  By adding the Elk Integration software plug-in (about USD$99) the ISY can ‘see’ all the important Elk events and of course Elk can control your automation devices too!

Bottom line, there are several options available?  Which is right for you?  I personally love the ELK+VERA method as I believe it provides the best of both platforms at least until the ISY folks get their Zwave support finalized.  At that point we’ll have to take another look.

Questions?  Drop us a line and we’ll help!