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Library for interacting with ElkM1 alarm/automation panel.

Project description

Python ElkM1 library

Library for interacting with ElkM1 alarm/automation panel.


  • Python 3.6 (or higher)


This package is created as a library to interact with an ElkM1 alarm/automation pattern. The motivation to write this was to use with the Home Assistant automation platform. The library can be used for writing other ElkM1 integration applications. The IO with the panel is asynchronous over TCP or over the serial port.


    $ pip install elkm1_lib


Basic connection to the Elk panel:

    from elkm1_lib import Elk
    import logging

    # Print to STDOUT
    LOG = logging.getLogger(__name__)
    logging.basicConfig(level=logging.DEBUG, format='%(message)s')

    # Connect to elk
    elk = Elk({'url': 'elk://'})

The above will connect to the Elk panel at IP address the elk:// prefix specifies that the connect is plaintext. Alternatively, elks:// will connect over TLS. In this case a userid and password must be specified and the call to Elk changes to:

    elk = Elk(
        {'url': 'elks://', 'userid': 'test', 'password': 'pass'}

The following ElkM1 connection protocols are supported:

  • serial:// - Serial port;
  • elk:// - Elk M1XEP Ethernet, non-secure
  • elks:// - Elk M1XEP Ethernet, secure, TLS 1.0
  • elksv1_0:// - Elk M1XEP Ethernet, secure, TLS 1.0, supported on M1XEP version < 2.0.46
  • elksv1_2:// - Elk M1XEP Ethernet, secure, TLS 1.2, supported on M1XEP version = 2.0.46
  • elksv1_3:// - Elk M1XEP Ethernet, secure, TLS 1.2, not yet supported on M1XEP, reserved for future

A username and password are required for any of the secure modes.

To see working example code take a look at the script bin/simple.

The Elk object supports the concept of Elements. An Element is the base class representation of Zones, Lights, etc. So, for example there is a list of zones: elk.zones and each zone can be accessed by elk.zones[index]. Each element has a __str__ representation so that it is easy to print its contents.

All Elements are referenced starting at 0. Even though the Elk panel refers to, for example, zones 1-208, the library references them as zones 0-207. All translation from base 0 to 1 and vice-versa is handled internally in the elkm1_lib.message module.

After creating the Elk object and connecting to the panel the library code will synchronize all the elements to the data from the Elk panel.

Many Elk messages are handled by the library, caching their contents. When a message causes a change to an attribute of an Element, registered callbacks are called so that user use of the library can be notified of changing elements. The following user code shows registering a callback:

    def call_me(element, changeset):

    for zone_number in range(Max.ZONES.value):

The library encodes, decodes, and processes messages to/from the Elk panel. All the encoding and decoding is done in elkm1_lib.message module.

Messages received are handled with callbacks. The library internally registers callbacks so that decoded messages can be used to update an Element. The user of the library may also register callbacks. Any particular message may have multiple callbacks.

When the message is received it is decoded and some validation is done. The message handler is called with the fields of from the decoded message. Each type of message has parameters that match the message type. All handler parameters are named parameters.

Here is an example of a message handler being registered and how it is called:

    def zone_status_change_handler(zone_number, zone_status):
      print(zone_number, zone_status)

    elk.add_handler('ZC', zone_status_change_handler)

The above code registers a callback for 'ZC' (Elk zone status change) messages. When a ZC message is received the handler functions are called with the zone_number and zone_status.

There are a number of pseudo-handlers that act like the handlers. These are called when events happen. The pseudo-handlers are:

  • connect: When a successful connection to the ElkM1 is completed.
  • disconnect: When a connection to a panel is disconnected.
  • login: When a login is made to the panel (using elks:// connection mode. A single boolean parameter is passed succeeded.
  • sync_complete: When the panel has completed synchonizing all its elements.
  • timeout: When a send of a message to the ElkM1 times out (fails to send).
  • unknown: When a message from the ElkM1 is received and the library does not have a method to decode the message. The message is passed to this handler and can be decoded outside of the library.


The bin directory of the library has one utility program and a couple of example uses of the library.


The utility mkdoc creates a Markdown table of the list of Elk messages with a check mark for those messages have encoders/decoders and an X for those messages are not planned to be implemented. There are no parameters to mkdoc. It outputs to stdout. The data for the report comes from the ElkM1 library code mostly. A couple of things are hard coded in the mkdoc script, notably the "no plans to implement" list.


The simple Python script is a trivial use of the ElkM1 library. It connects to the panel, syncs to internal memory, and continues listening for any messages from the panel. The URL of the ElkM1 to connect to is retrieved from an environment variable named ELKM1_URL.


The elk Python script is a bit of a command interpretor. It can run in two modes. Non-interactive mode is the default. Just run the elk command. The non-interactive mode is similar to simple except there are a couple of message handlers (timeout and unknown handlers).

The elk can also be run in interactive mode by invoking it by elk -i. In this mode is uses curses (full screen use of the terminal) that has a command line and an output window. TAB switches between the command line and output windows. In the output window the arrow keys and scrollwheel scroll the contents of the window.

In the command line when running elk -i there are a number of commands. Start with help. Then help <command> for details on each command. In general there are commands to dump the internal state of elements and to invoke any of the encoders to send a message to the Elk panel.

For example, light <4, 8, 12-14 would invoke the __str__ method for the light element to print the cached info for lights 0-3, 8, and 12-14.

Another example would be pf 3 which issues the pf (Turn light off) command for light number 3 (light 4 on the panel -- remember 0 versus 1 base).

All of the commands that send messages to the panel are automatically discovered and are all the XX_encode functions in the elkm1_lib.message module. The docstring and the XX_encode's parameters are shown as part of the help.


This project uses poetry for development dependencies. Installation instructions are on their website.

To get started developing:

git clone
cd elkm1
poetry install
poetry shell # Or activate the created virtual environment
make test # to ensure everything installed properly

There is a Makefile in the root directory as well. The make command followed by one of the targets in the Makefile can be used. If you don't have or wish to use make the Makefile serves as examples of common commands that can be run.

Reporting a Bug

No problem ;) — report the bugs! But, logs are most often required. If you are using Home Assistant, which is about the only use I'm aware of for this library, then add the following to your configuration.yaml:

  default: info
    custom_components.elkm1: debug
    elkm1_lib: debug

Do everything in your power to trim to logs down to their smallest. One way is to reproduce your problem quickly so that few other logs are not generated in between. Another recommendation is to use the simplest configuration that you can think of to reproduce the problem.

Can you reproduce the problem in other ways? If this is a problem that is being experienced while using Home Assistant try using the Services in Developer Tools.

Sometime logs may have sensitive information in them. You may want to scan your logs for that info and "X" it out. In addition, you can send logs directly to me. Support email is in the pyproject.toml file. You may also send a link to somewhere you've stored/shared the file (DropBox for example).

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