PrivateEyePi – a DIY home alarm system

A big thank you to Recantha for spotting this one: PrivateEyePi is a project that went straight on my “I MUST make one of these” list when I saw it. Right now, that list includes an aerial Pi and camera board with the IR filter removed to take pictures of Iron Age sites in inaccessible bits of Cornish moorland; an Airplay-alike MagicPlay receiver; a garden irrigator and an Ambilight clone for the TV. I need a holiday so I can work on all this stuff – there just aren’t enough hours in the day.

PrivateEyePi is an open, configurable, automatable home alarm system that you can build and program yourself. Its maker (identified only as “Gadjet Nut”) has documented the whole system minutely and provides parts lists and pricing; wiring schematics; and all the code you’ll need. You can use motion detectors, or switches attached to doors, or a mixture of the two. There are instructions on adding cameras to the setup, and you can even add a temperature gauge to check on whether your central heating’s working when you’re away. You’ll be able to monitor everything via your computer or smart phone.

Even if you’re not an experienced electronics hacker, this project is very approachable, with clear instructions, great diagrams and an easy learning curve; beginners should feel at home here.

Click on the images to visit the PrivateEyePi project, and let us know if you decide to hack your own alarm system together.

A word of warning here: your home contents insurer may not recognise an alarm system you have made yourself under the terms of your insurance agreement – if you’re going to use this in earnest (and there is no reason why you should not – it’ll do the same job as an expensive, off-the-shelf alarm), it’s best to check first that it won’t affect your premiums. And if you’re disconnecting existing alarm equipment, be aware that in some places there are laws which require you to have a licensed electrician do the work for you.