Building my own security system?

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  #1  
Old 05-19-18, 12:41 PM
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Building my own security system?

All the security systems I'm finding online don't seem to be quite what I want. You have to use THEIR equipment THEIR way, and I can't even find detailed info about each device.

What I want to do is get stand-alone sensors (contact, motion, etc.) and connect them to a PC, then I can add as many as I want, whenever I want, and program it however I want. I want to get at least two sirens that will go off simultaneously if ANY of the sensors go off.

I guess it's okay if the sensors don't connect to a PC, just as long as I can connect them to the sirens and a simple interface to arm them. I would just prefer if it was a PC, because I'm going to be getting cameras, too, which I will connect to a PC.

I want smoke and carbon monoxide detectors that will connect to the sirens as well, and I want to be able to make the siren make a different sound if it's the sensors or the smoke/CO detectors. I'd also like to make it play a slightly different tone for the sensors, depending on their location, so I already have an idea of where someone is breaking in. Which is also a reason I want to connect it all to a PC, so I can pick whatever sound it plays. I wonder if speakers wouldn't be better for this purpose than sirens? As long as the speakers can be as loud as sirens. I'm a heavy sleeper and I've slept through my smoke detectors going off before. I'm going to place the speaker/siren right over my bed, so I'd like to figure out how loud I need it to be to wake me up, without damaging my hearing, and automatically shut off after about a minute or so.

I'd like to be able to program my own preset modes I can switch quickly from the PC, such as, there are some sensors I will never want to be off, and only having a delay on one of the outside doors when I leave, and otherwise it being instant. Perhaps for that I should get a little keypad interface by the door so I don't have to run to my PC whenever I want to go outside quick, although I don't know if I could connect that to the computer.

If there's some commercial security system that can do all of that with or without the PC, I'm open to it, but I haven't found one.

Also, I was wondering about putting a siren outside, to potentially scare off anyone who trips the alarm, or alert the neighbors, but I don't know if then I'm getting into problems with the city code/police/etc., especially if there's ever a false alarm.

As a bit of a side note, I don't understand how PIR sensors work, they seem unreliable to me. In the winter couldn't someone be wearing a coat which would look cold on the outside, so it wouldn't set off the sensor? Plus I can't find any info on most motion sensor's field of view or just how large/hot something has to be to set it off for me to feel comfortable with them. I'd like to know exactly what area they're covering.
 
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Old 05-19-18, 06:06 PM
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Everyone’s dream. Here are some suggestions:
1. Go to your garage, get a friend to help. On your PC design a system code that will do all of that. Working out of your garage is key.
2. or Go live in a dorm room. Again, find a friend...and a PC. Another lucky location for success.
3. and You must be a college dropout. We suspect that even dropping out of a community college might work.
When my husband was young, his mother made him go into the dark, damp basement (with big bugs) to check that someone had not left the cellar door to the outside open. So he rigged a wired circuit with a battery and a bell that if the door was closed (circuit closed) he could push a button (at the top of the stairs) and make the bell ding. If left open...no ding. This saved him from unnecessary trips to a place that made him shudder with fear. That was over 65 years ago. He never qualified for #’s 1, 2 or 3, so he became a military doctor instead, missing out on all that $$$ made by those who successfully designed security systems.
I do feel your pain. Look at our smart phones. I can give a different sound for each email sender. Why not for each different sensor in my security system? But I do pay Samsung and Google a pretty good amount of money for all of that ability...because I never had the time or the smarts to do all of that “figuring out”.
But I have learned the basics of installing a security system, and studied how to program one kind. Hours and hours reading about each component and sensor, trying, failing, and succeeding at some of it. Lots of help from other people – like on this forum. Better, and more satisfying, than Sudoku in my “twilight years”.

Do yourself a favor. Buy SimpliSafe. Get that really loud siren they mention and put it over your bed. Trust that a guy in a coat (masking his “heat signature”) looking to break in will be detected by the motion sensor. Done, done and done!! Enjoy.
 
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Old 05-20-18, 02:43 PM
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I'm sorry, but trusting my family's security with " that a guy in a coat (masking his “heat signature”) looking to break in will be detected by the motion sensor." isn't enough for me. Where can I find more info about them?

Maybe programming it all into a PC isn't very realistic. Surely there's something like this: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005LC6PFQ/ That I can get another siren for, or maybe a separate siren for the smoke detectors? Because I could get a security system and a separate system of smoke/CO detectors that are connected together so that if one goes off they all go off, and preferably that I can connect to a siren.
 
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Old 05-20-18, 04:17 PM
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Do you make your own shoes? Only eat bread that you baked yourself? Have a grove of latex trees from which you harvest rubber and eventually mold tires for your car?

My point is, just because you CAN do something all on your own does not mean that is the best or most cost-efficient method. This is very true of alarm systems. Remember also, the most detailed super-duper alarm system that anyone can imagine won't stop a break-in by itself. Unless you have, or are willing to install, 6 inch thick solid steel doors or panels that completely enclose your home (remember the home of Dr. Morbius in Forbidden Planet) that are actuated by the alarm system you cannot absolutely prevent entry.

If you are not home when the unlawful entry occurs in almost all cases the perp will be long gone before any police agency arrives. If you ARE home then life could be in danger. Alarm systems are for alerting that something HAS happened, not that something is about to happen.

Most systems already have different audible alarms for fire and burglary. Many systems have remote alerting functions. Most wired system sensors are universal and can be used interchangeably. Most security experts feel that a wired system is more secure than a wireless system. Unless you are a computer programmer (maybe you are) I don't think that starting from scratch to using a computer for a security system is a good idea, in fact I'll go on record as stating it is a BAD idea.

I don't know what research you have done on security systems but it is COMMON to have different sensor devices to be always on (fire and CO), switched on only when you are gone (inside motion sensors) and other scenarios and still other devices (perimeter break-in or outside motion detection) switched on at will.

As for passive motion detection...there are motion detectors that combine dual methods for determining motion and while they are more expensive the cost is often justified for better response to real incidents as well as reduced false alarms. In your situation utilizing infrared light beam breakage may be a far better outside motion detector than a passive IR model.

I'll end by stating that in all my 67 years I have only ONCE been a victim of a burglary. That happened when I was not home and was a simple break in the front door, steal all my AV equipment (except console TV), take a quick trip through the house (looking for firearms?) and lastly stealing Christmas presents for my parents. I doubt the thief (or thieves) were in the house even five minutes. MY material losses were all covered by insurance and no one was injured. This has also been the story of almost anyone I have ever asked.
 
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Old 05-20-18, 05:49 PM
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Forgive my paranoia, but many things have happened recently that I believe give me good cause to feel paranoid.

When I can, I do it myself. Then if something fails it's on me, and I can fix it.

I do have my doubts about it being the best option, but it was looking to me that it would be the most cost-efficient. Buying 10 $15 sensors and connecting it myself for free sounds better than a ~$200 system.

I wasn't aware that most wired sensors could be used interchangeably, I thought they were system-specific.

While I would trust a wired system better, one of the things I'm not comfortable doing on my own is wiring the system through my walls, and I don't really want to pay someone for that when I can just use a wireless system.

I can't find any infrared light beam breakage sensors that can connect to anything for the life of me. We get animals outside a lot, so I'm thinking a PIR sensor might be the best option, I just don't know enough about them, or where to find that info, to tell.
 
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Old 05-20-18, 06:25 PM
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You have to do what ever is necessary to give you some comfort. I hear/read almost every day of someone getting shot, knifed, assaulted or killed in Seattle, my hometown. For what it is worth I try to avoid Seattle as much as possible although I live in a neighboring city less than 7 miles away.

There are no guarantees where I DO live. While nothing like Seattle, my city does have strong-arm robberies, knife fights, gun fights and such on occasion. Although it was several years ago one evening I was going to drive down to my local grocery store and when I left the house there was a cop at the end of my driveway with a 12 gauge shotgun. He asked me to please go back inside and I readily did so, noticing that there was another cop at the entrance to the cul-de-sac with a shotgun and at least three cop cars in view.

I never found out what was going on and an hour or so after I went outside I saw no evidence that anything had happened so continued to the store. I watched the TV news that night and checked the Internet and newspapers for the next couple of weeks and never found one iota of what had been happening. I DO live on the edge of an urban forest and it is entirely possible for someone to enter my back yard from the forest totally surreptitiously but I refuse to be "prisoner" in my own home. I used to think that since I had little there was little reason for anyone to bother me. But, I know better now. The greater Seattle area is infested with "homeless" people and that population is mostly made up of drug users as well as gang members. Many of them would just as soon cut your throat as to ask for a cigarette. I do not live in fear, I know that the chances of ANY kind of "security system" stopping someone from doing me dirt, of any kind, is just slightly better than zero. Security systems are for notifying someone AFTER the event, not before.

Fences will often deter someone from taking a shortcut through your property. Security lighting, or motion-sensing floodlights will usually deter someone from breaking into your home. A big, barking dog is usually a huge deterrence to anyone that wants to harm you.

My memory is shot right now but there many companies that supply outside IR photobeam sensors, some with a range of 200 feet. I know that Amazon sells them and here is one company that has a variety of photobeam sensors as well as other security equipment. http://www.seco-larm.com/sensors/Reflective-Beams Something else I found with a Google search is https://www.hkvstar.com/item/3-beam-...-detector.html which may be of interest.
 
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Old 05-29-18, 12:33 PM
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It's really a big loop

The simplest possible no-frills DIY alarm system would be a big loop of wire that goes to every door and window, two batteries, a buzzer, and a small relay. One battery keeps power going through the big loop and the coil of the relay, holding it open. The other battery goes through the NC contacts of the relay, and attaches to the buzzer.

When the big loop is opened by someone opening a door or window, the buzzer buzzes. Also when the first battery goes flat.

Chances are though -- and I think that this is what my esteemed colleagues are trying to say here -- is that you want something with more features. So you would be better off buying a system and using the manuals to customize it to your requirements (loud horn over your bed, for example), or else consulting an alarm company and having them install a system.

A simple system might only cost you a couple hundred installed -- depends on your house and the system you buy. And that will come with monitoring for a monthly fee (which, if it's really important to you, would be really worth it). When an alarm event happens, a monitoring company calls you at a number you choose and asks if you set off the alarm. If your phone wakes you at night, the alarm plus the phone ringing should wake you up.

You could cobble together a crude home-made system, and take personal responsibility for each and every component. It is possible. It is not recommended.
 
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Old 05-30-18, 09:45 AM
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Nah, he want's to monitor it himself. Why trust a central station and besides he can do it better than they can on his computer
 
  #9  
Old 05-31-18, 10:03 AM
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The following will help get you started designing and building your own security system:

  1. Learn all about pyroelectric elements
  2. Learn about Analog/Digital and Digital/Analog computer interfaces
  3. Learn and become proficient in a compileable programming language such as C++


#1 Will put you on the path to designing your own Passive Infrared motion detector
#2 Will help you start learning about getting signals into and out of your computer
#3 Will let you write the program to do whatever your heart desires
 
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