Directing an alarm system straight to the Internet

[Scott] has a pretty nice alarm system at his house – it will give the operator at his alarm company enough information to determine if it’s a fire alarm, burglary, or just a cat walking in front of a sensor. [Scott] wanted to cut out the middle man and receive notifications from his alarm system on his phone. He did just that, with the help of a trusty Arduino and the very cool Electric Imp.

[Scott]‘s build began with an Arduino attach to a Raspi to monitor state changes in the alarm system. Because the designers of the alarm system included a very helpful four-wire bus between the alarm panels and the part connected to the phone line, [Scott] found it fairly easy to tap into these lines and read the current alarm status.

Dedicating a Raspberry Pi to the simple task of polling a few pins and sending data out over WiFi is a bit overkill, so [Scott] picked up an Electric Imp Arduino shield to transmit data over WiFi. We’ve played around with the Imp before, and [Scott] would be hard pressed to come up with a cleaner solution to putting his alarm monitor on the Internet.

Now [Scott] has a very tidy alarm monitor that sends updates straight to his cell phone, no middle man required. A very neat build, and an excellent use of a very cool WiFi device.


  1. Dan says:

    Man. I wish we could get that Imp without the cloud crap. The cost is just amazing for the device.

  2. Chankster says:

    “Now [Scott] has a very tidy alarm monitor that sends updates straight to his cell phone, no middle man required.”

    But the Imp is now their new middle man…

  3. ajford says:

    At ~$40 (incl. shipping) for a RasPi, isn’t that cheaper than the Electric Imp? And like the other comments, that would really allow you to cut out the middle man. You could then leverage a PBX system to dial out and let you listen in on a mic, maybe even yell out over a speaker, etc.

  4. Glenn says:

    I’m sure I read somewhere that the Imp folks plan on making the backend software available to run on our own servers.

  5. M4CGYV3R says:

    There are a variety of WiFi SDHC cards that would work in place of this system. I think Toshiba has a few, and there is always Eye-Fi. I don’t think it can tell what the files you are ‘pushing’ are so it could theoretically be anything.

    • az1324 says:

      Not really. This is not a wifi SDHC card it is more like a wifi shield/module in a SD housing. Actually it’s just the WICED reference design in an SD housing. Plus the cloud features.

      • hfiennes2 says:

        Actually it was designed before we knew about WICED – the first protos used a CSR wifi chip – but we use the WICED wifi drivers (though not the OS, TCP stack, TLS implementation or anything else!)

        We also have a nicer STM32 than the WICED modules do, optical config, etc :)

  6. Hello, I’m quite new in electronics, so here is one thing I didn’t understand well:

    How he monitors the alarm from his cell phone?

  7. fartface says:

    Why wifi? you have a wired device, hook up ethernet. Second the RasPi is a better device for this. Making it vastly more expensive by adding an arduino and a special board is not making it better.

  8. tradiuz says:

    So, if he’s got a DSC panel (which uses a very tidy 4 wire bus) he could just us an IT-100 with something to talk over serial (it has a well documented protocol from DSC, albeit odd) or IT-120 which connects via ethernet (which would be a really nice hack if someone figures out how). I can poll devices, arm/disarm, trigger alarms, trigger F/A/P, change date/time, etc using an IT-100 connected to a broken netbook (no screen) acting as a home controller.

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