Keep The Burglars Away With Some Pi

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Ten years ago, we never imagined we would be able to ward off burglars with Pi. However, that is exactly what [Nick] is doing with his Raspberry Pi home security system.

We like how, instead of using a standard siren, [Nick] utilized his existing stereo system to play a custom audio file that he created. (Oh the possibilities!) How many off the shelf alarm systems can you do that with?

The Pi is the brains of the operation, running an open source software program called Home Assistant. If any of the Z-Wave sensors in his house are triggered while the alarm system is armed, the system begins taking several actions. The stereo system is turned on via IR so that the digital alarm audio file can be played. Lights flash on and off. An IP camera takes several snapshots and emails them to [Nick].

Home Assistant didn’t actually have the ability to send images in an email inline at the time that [Nick] was putting together his system. What did [Nick] do about that? He wrote some code to give it that ability, and submitted it through GitHub. That new code was put into a later version of the program. Ah, the beauty of open source software.

Perhaps the most important part of this project is that there were steps taken to help keep the wife-approval factor of the system on the positive side. For example, he configured one of the scripts so that even if the alarm is tripped multiple times in succession, the alarm won’t play over itself repeatedly.

This isn’t [Nick’s] first time being featured here. Check out another project of his which involves a couple of Pi’s communicating with each other via lasers.


32 thoughts on “Keep The Burglars Away With Some Pi

    1. Yeah, 10 years ago as the article says I was using a webcam on my new router that had a USB port and could email you pictures of motion detection. Oh the horror of leaving a window open with bouncy curtains.

    2. Wouldn’t it be easier to just hook up a tape recorder to the sound system that is triggered by some kind of security sensor? The impressive part of this build is not the auditory warning, it is the fact that it can take photos and email them to you.

    1. Yeah, we need a rule, like function first. Once that is met, we can focus on the WAF increasing criteria. Or she can focus and come up with pertinent suggestions, if you know how to challenge her. Worked for me, quite a lot of times.

    2. Are you triggered now?

      People still die all across the globe in the worst ways possible but omg… speech that normalizes antiquated gender roles must be stopped like the worst kind of evil it is.

      When I read it I predicted… ‘Within the first 5 comments’ but you got it in three so props for that I suppose.

        1. Nope. Just think it’s funny how some people are against everything. The entire gamut of things wrong with the world and lack any real sense of perspective.

          Wife-Approval-Factor is a shorthand way of expressing a widely understood sentiment. It’s a stereotype, for sure, but stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason and that reason is because stereotypes are often rooted in reality.

          It’s not meant to be derogattive and while it offends some people who want to be offended there are plenty of other people that /aspire/ to live that kind of life.

        1. Ya think?

          Or maybe I just think it’s fucking stupid for someone to read ‘wife approval factor’ and immediately jump to ‘gun’ and ‘penis’.

          It’s shit like that which makes it real easy to make a couple of quick assumptions about the writers gender, political leanings and likely a couple other terms they’ll bandy about when describing their own personal philosophies and from that it’s a real easy to make the leap over to where their true motivations lie.

          And that shit offends *me*. To use a common shorthand as a jumping off point to flex their own personal agenda some place where it’s really not needed.

          Yet these same people won’t hesitate to pick up ‘e-peen’ and beat someone with it not realizing the hypocrisy of what they do. True story. G’head… make me go look for it so I can link it.

          What can I say? I like being the wall of reason that people bash themselves to pieces against.

  1. I wonder if this would reduce your insurance premiums… that is the problem with DIY solutions; even if they are better than off the shelf ones, as soon as your insurance company hears about it they will refuse to pay out on any claim.

    1. on what basis would they refuse to pay out a claim because of a DIY home security system?

      I am genuinely curious, because i don’t see how they would have grounds to do so.

      1. The system is not being monitored by a licensed security monitoring company. I’m sure thats the issue. Its a local system. Sending alerts to the home owner doesn’t count. Usually the discounts are applied to security systems that have fire monitoring capabilities.

        1. Ahh so they would only have a basis to reject a claim if the home owner had received a discounted premium based on a “security system”. In other words, if he was paying the premium of a non alarmed house then the insurance company would not have the grounds to refuse a proper claim.

      2. Also because there is no outside licensed security company putting their money on the line to guarantee the quality of the product and the service offered.

        There’s no one to blame but you if somehow the system doesn’t work properly, and obviously insurance companies are there to make money, not give it away. If they can get out of paying or make somebody else pay for it, they will.

        If a malfunction occurs in your DIY monitoring system, they can’t reasonably ask you to pay yourself.

  2. I started making a DIY security system a few years ago. Didn’t get too far. My favorite part was that when an exterior door was opened the voice of the Portal Turret would say “Who’s there?” in it’s charming way. If you stepped in front of the motion sensor it would say, more menacingly, “There you are.” It always gave me a bit of a chill. There are a few more, relevant sounds that might have been fun to add “Are you still there?” “Who are you?” etc. It’s still on my list of projects to finish!

    1. I found zoneminder reasonably poor and over engineered.

      Motion(eye) is nice too, but still isn’t super stable with my setup.

      If only there were decent cheap webcams that didn’t constantly fall over!

      Currently considering reusing my various arm boards with webcams :/

      I also have my eye on those mips-based openwrt-based £20-30 routers with a built-in USB port as they seem to have webcam support … I forget the name. or something?

  3. Just make sure to image the SD card!
    I was using a Pi for a PBX and after a year and a bit, the SD card died through overuse.
    (My image was faulty so there is no backup) so after you get it going and image the SD card, make another SD card and run on that to ensure your image is ok.
    Other option is to make the file system read only. This is a big problem with Raspberry Pi systems that need to run 24/7.
    But still have a backup image!

    1. There are 2 things I really want a Pi to have.. Boot from SATA and GbE.

      Given the volumes the Raspberry Pi foundation pulls, requesting it from Broadcom should be easy

      1. Pi3 already is capable of booting from Ethernet, but only 100Mbps.

        Pogoplug has SATA and Gigabit Ethernet, and can boot from onboard Flash, SATA, USB, or SD card. And it’s less than $10 including the PSU.

        1. I’ve read bad reviews. “Unlimited cloud storage” isn’t unlimited, and it’s on the ‘cloud’.
          Can one do their own thing with it, or must you pay the subscription?

  4. My plan is to combine my 2 favorite things, Halloween & Superheroes, for the ultimate in spooky automated vigilantism. If done correctly, the burglar should have so much fear instilled in him that he calls the cops himself, requesting they bring with them fresh & clean prison issues underwear.

    A few features would be electrified door handles, a blood spewing safe and the scariest thing of all would be to add the custom stereo alarm used above to play a horrifying assortment of Justin Bieber songs. Maybe for good measure have the system turn on all televisions to play clips of Bett Midler. That would scare the !&@p out of me!

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