Homemade Alarm System Doesn’t Lack Features

alarm system

To many of us, our garage (or workshop) is probably one of the most important parts of the house. If a burglar broke in, we’d likely be more worried about our tools! [Ron Czapala] decided he needed an alarm system in his garage to keep his stuff safe, so he decided to build one from scratch.

The system makes use of a Parallax 4×4 keypad membrane, a MCP23008 port expander, a Parallax Propeller, a LCD screen, and a few switches to represent future magnetic reed switches located in the door and window.

Using circular buffers, the propeller has several states for monitoring the garage.

  • Not armed — ignore all sensors
  • Armed — system will react to changes in the sensors
  • Exit delay — system has been armed, 45 second countdown has begun to allow you to exit the garage
  • Window trigger — if the window is opened, the alarm will go off immediately (siren and strobe light)
  • Door trigger — alarm will go off in 60 seconds if correct code has not been entered on the keypad

For a complete demonstration, check out the following video where [Ron] explains it all!

[Read more...]

Working with I2C port expanders

There are times when you don’t need much processing power for your project but you do need a lot of I/O pins. It often doesn’t make economic sense to choose a larger microcontroller just to get extra pins so the answer is to use a port expander chip. [Raendra] posted a guide for using one of these chips, it’s a Microchip MCP23008 chip that uses the I2C protocol for communications.

You are probably already familiar with using shift registers like the 595 series for port expansion. There can be benefits to using an I2C device instead. One of them comes when using multiple port expander chips. With cascading shift registers you must always shift in the data for the entire chain of chips. But I2C devices are individually addressable, so you only need to push data over the I2C bus for the chips that need to be changed, the others will remain unaffected. It is especially easy to use these if you already have another I2C device in your project design as the addition only requires the connection of the SDA and SCL lines. Keep them in mind for future undertakings.

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