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Random thoughts of a Brit living in the Imperial Valley of California

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A Little Home Security

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Thanks to an individual who we don’t seem to be able to keep out of our house, this weekend will see us install a mini-DIY home security system. Rather than buy a package and pay monthly fees for monitoring I decided to do something home-grown that I can expand for both security and automation. A friend of mine is quite the expert (I think everything in his house is monitored and/or can be controlled from his website) and I went with the software package he recommended.

HomeSeer is able to take signals from most, if not all, of the home automation device-types out there, X10, Z-Wave and so on. It is fully programmable thanks to a Visual Basic like language that lets you code to a specific library. For example, it knows about sunset times so you could have lights come on when it gets dark. As well as regular things like lights, sensors etc it can also control telephones, voice speakers, all kinds of things. I saw one page where a guy put an RFID chip in his car and now when he gets near his garage, the door automatically opens.

To start off, I have some door sensors and a couple of cheap wireless IP cameras. I aim to set the system up so that when an external door opens during times where there is supposed to be nobody home I will get some pictures sent to me. What we will do if we see someone we don’t like I am not yet sure, both Teri and I are too far away to go and challenge the unwelcome visitor, but it will at the very least serve as evidence that the person was there when they say they were not.

One reason for not going with a regular security system is that if it gets disabled, or the PIN is shared, then it’s useless, and typically these systems don’t allow for remote internet monitoring (at a reasonable price). If I want to move things around, or change a condition then I can. And since it’s more than just security I can add automation as and when I want.

So we’ll see how it all goes this weekend, and then over the next few weeks…..

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April 10th, 2009 at 12:31 pm

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