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Security System

Because I don't want to rely on a software based security system, I opted to use a DSC PowerSeries 8-32 Zone Control Panel PC1832 to handle all of my motion sensors, door/window contacts, and glass break detectors. This particular security system is a hybrid and allows you to use hardwired sensors and/or wireless sensors. When I was choosing a security system, one of my main requirements was that it had to have a RS232 serial interface so that it could report back to the main controller all of the sensor status updates. These updates are used by MisterHouse to perform different macros in a very complex way. For this security system, I installed a DSC IT-100 Bi-directional RS-232 interface that works seamlessly. I can even have MisterHouse arm or disarm (using a PIN code) remotely. This is very handy for when I don't feel like getting up to arm the alarm when I'm already in bed. I simply arm the security system using the web interface on my iPhone.

I probably went overboard with this, but every room of my house (including bathrooms) has a hardwired motion detector. Although it is great for security, my primary goal behind this was to have more "eyes" for MisterHouse. Much of my macros I have written for the house rely heavily on different sensors around the house. When I design a macro, I try my hardest not to involve any human interaction. I could have gone the wireless route with the motion detectors, but my experience has been that wireless sensors are slow with communicating their status back to the control panel, and ultimately through the RS232 interface back to MisterHouse.

 

Automatic Door Lock
Having an automatic door lock was meant to be just a playtoy, but it has actually turned out to be very useful. Door strikes require way too much of the door frame to be cutout in order to place the strike in the slot. Not to mention you have to hardwire the power to the door strike nor can you use a deadbolt. I opted to instead use a battery powered deadbolt that would also allow me to use a key in case it were to fail. I have taken apart one of the wireless RF remotes and soldered small wires to each of the buttons on the remote. Then, using a computer controlled relay board such as the Weeder WTSSR-M I can "press" the buttons on the remote to lock and unlock the door using MisterHouse. The distance seems to be pretty good on the remotes, but I decided I would hardwire the remote in a small box on the inside of the family room, just to make sure there were no problems with range.

Deadbolt Lock Sensor
 

I've been thinking about ways for MisterHouse to detect the status of the deadbolt for a while. This would allow the main controller to know if it should attempt to lock the deadbolt, and after the attempt to lock it was made, whether or not it succeeded. There have been cases where the batteries get weak or the door isn't quite latched all the way and MisterHouse will think the door locked successfully when it actually didn't. This sensor would prevent that from happening.

Right image: Wireless door sensor installed near the baseboard.

My solution I developed was to install a recessed tamper switch within the actual hole of the deadbolt. When the deadbolt locks, the tamper switch plunger gets pushed in. The tamper switch is wired to a DSC wireless door contact sensor that updates my DSC security system with the change. This particular sensor actually allows you to use the traditional magnetic contact portion of the sensor, or you can use your own normally-closed contacts like I did and wire them directly to the sensor. Using the wireless sensor prevented me from having to run another wire up the entire wall of the family room, around the crown molding, and then back up to the attic upstairs.

 

Parts List
- Honeywell 955 Recessed Tamper Switch
- DSC Wireless Door Contact Sensor - WS4945
- Soldering gun and solder
- Simple wire snake or fishing wire
- Any 2 conductor wire
 


 

Installing the whole thing was pretty straight forward. I drilled a 1/2 inch hole just far enough for the tamper switch to rest in, then I went the rest of the way through with a smaller bit so that the wire would fit through. I then drilled a 2 inch by 1 inch hole at the bottom of the floor, right above the baseboard. This is where I installed the actual wireless door sensor. I ran the wire behind the wall, straight down, and then back out through the 2"x1" hole I made. It took a few attempts with the wire snake to get from the door jam to the hole on the bottom because of the insulation on the exterior wall, but it finally made it with some wiggling. The wireless door contact sensor screws directly over the hole so it makes everything look neat and professional when it's all finished since there are no wires exposed. I soldered the tamper switch lead wires to my 2-conductor alarm wire just to make sure they have a good contact and don't pull apart in the wall over time. Because the tamper switch is a tad-bit bigger than the actual hole it fits in, I had to cut off one of the screw holes with a pair of pliers. Once this was done it fit right in. I took a spare screw and screwed it down just to make sure it didn't move.

Left image: Door jam with tamper switch installed. Notice only one screw is installed and one screw mounting hole has been cut off due to size.

That's it! The tamper switch was the perfect length for my deadbolt, so it presses the plunger perfectly when locked. The tamper switch does come with a screw that lets you adjust the length of the plunger in case your deadbolt doesn't go in very deep when locked.
 



Jon Scott 2012 -- All Rights Reserved.