The Elk/NESS M1(G) alarm keypad has some interesting features not found on some other alarms. One of the more interesting features is that the keypad can be used to display custom information under software control. This can be done using the internal programming interface, or externally, via the serial port or optional Ethernet adapter. Given the improved functionality with the Ethernet adapter, I am not sure why anyone would buy this alarm without getting Ethernet.
The keypad allows you to display two messages of 16 characters. The keypad will automatically cycle through them for you, giving a total of 32 characters. Not enough to write War And Piece, but more than adequate for many purposes.
The photo below gives an example of how I am using the keypad. The software architecture will be described later. In this case, the keypad is displaying “A24C O18C” on the user defined second line. This is quite concise, but easy to read when you understand what it is saying.
- A24C – The Air Conditioner is set to 24 degrees Celcius. I have not indicated if the A/C unit is switched on, but that feature is coming
- O18C – The Outdoor Air Temperature is 18 degrees Celcius. I also need to add humidity, which will be of the form H56 for a humidity of 56%
This second photo gives some more information about energy consumption within the house. It reads “0000W 0000V 0163W”.
- “0000W 000V” – This represents the current energy usage and line voltage being read by an energy meter I have. Since it is not plugged in, the readings are blank
- “0163W” – This should read 0163Wh, since it is actually reading Watt Hours. This is a reading of the energy produced by my solar panels since the start of the day. Obviously, this photo was taken on a fairly overcast day.
This gives some idea of what the system is capable of. At a later date I will describe the software architecture required to display this information