Home security and monitoring systems have helped us feel more confident about leaving our homes unattended for long periods of time. Third party monitors notify us if something unusual has occurred on our property, or we can just see it through our mobile devices using the camera systems inside our homes. But is this feeling of safety worth the price of these security systems? ADT Home Security charges $35.99 / month for their security services and Google’s NEST products can range from $169 to $499 . Having that same service but for a smaller price is possible by building your own DIY home security system that relies only on low-cost material.
As a hobbyist, getting the most of every dollar is important when choosing projects of interest. Single-board microcontrollers and computers like the Arduino and Raspberry Pi are two of the most important hardware for hobbyists and are crucial for a DIY home security system. Both boards are relatively inexpensive and adaptable to allow for unlimited functions. They let creative ideas be brought to reality through hardware applications. For home security systems, they are the core pieces that make the security devices work.
Why make a DIY Home Security System
- No/Low Fees: You would not need to pay for the service or products of a home security system. You might pay for parts and possibly low monthly fees for software-related items like an IoT platform.
- You Control Everything: Current home security services will receive, then send alerts to the home-owners regarding the situation. This is a time delay that could be crucial to resolving the security situation.
- No False Alarm Penalty: Emergency services may charge a fee for a false alarm sent by the monitoring service.
- Easy to move from Place to Place: There is no monitoring center that needs to know your address. DIY security systems will usually be smaller and more portable, especially if you live in an apartment or townhouse.
- Flexible Configuration: The home-owner can upgrade, change, or cancel their security system at any time with no fees.
Now that we know why we should make a DIY security system we need to know how to do it.
Creating security and monitoring devices with Arduino and Raspberry Pi is simple with the help of online communities like Hackster and Instructables. With projects on just about everything, making your own security and monitoring system is easy. Below are three examples of some devices that can be part of your home security system.
For your smart home, you should be able to detect any hazardous gases like smoke or carbon monoxide. While some smart smoke alarms can cost over $100 USD , making an Arduino Based Smoke Detector can cost less than $40 USD. This smoke detector uses an Arduino Pro Mini and a MQ6 gas sensor to detect the smoke, a DC motor to fan the smoke away from the sensors, and an LCD display board to show the status. Other sensors that could improve alertness of the smoke detector are flame sensors and temperature sensors. With a DIY Arduino Smoke Alarm, you can be warned of hazardous gases without burning too much cash.
One of the most common devices when monitoring a location is the security camera. There is an Instructables tutorial on how to build a Raspberry Pi security camera that will cost roughly $120 USD. This would be a significant price reduction from some home security cameras that cost thousands. This camera is made using simple parts: a Raspberry Pi, the Raspberry Pi Camera Module , any housing that fits the Raspberry Pi (3D printed casing, wooden box, etc), a power supply, SD card, and a network connection. If you are feeling more ambitious, there are a lot of posts on Hackster on how to build larger home security systems including Raspberry Pi Security System with Motion Detection / Camera, Raspberry Pi Home Security System with Camera and PIR Sensor and many others. With a DIY security camera, you will always have something watching your back (and your house).
Finally, while not security related, this DIY device is monitoring something very useful that could affect your day: weather. Building your own weather station is really simple and should take about an hour. You could also build a weather station from scratch as it is just as easy. You just connect a few sensors including barometers, temperature sensors, humidity sensors, raindrop sensors, and other weather-related sensors to a Raspberry Pi and encase them in the proper housing. Whether or not a weather station is important for your home monitoring, it is a good project to get you started with DIY devices involving Raspberry Pi.
The price you pay will depend on how many devices you wish to make for your monitoring system. Some of the main hardware necessary for these projects include:
- Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ Board: $35.00 USD
- Raspberry Pi Camera — 8 Megapixel: $29.36 USD
- Arduino Uno R3: $22.00 USD
- Sensor Kit (37 different sensors): $29.99 USD
- ESP8266 ESP01 (4 pieces): $13.98 USD
- ESP32 (2 pieces): $14.89 USD
There are many different devices that you can make using these hardware, all of which can be applied in protecting your home. While there are thousands of tutorials to learn from, the best devices might come from your own creativity.
Monitor in Real Time
Congratulations, you now know how to make your DIY home security system and everything should be working fine. To ensure everything stays working, you should monitor your monitoring system from time to time, from anywhere and anytime.
To help with that, we present a versatile IoT platform for centralized digital transformation, data integration, and visualization. It has an IoT hub that allows you to connect, process, and visualize real-time data in a secure way. Introducing uBeac : the adaptive IoT platform. With uBeac, you can display all of the important monitoring data on a customizable dashboard.
Using the smoke alarm example, you can display the battery levels of your smoke alarm and the different gas readings that it receives, and if a specific gas level gets too high, it can let the user know through their desktop or their phone through the uBeac website. Best of all, connecting all of your devices to uBeac is completely wireless, so there is no hassle of cables and wires around your home.