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Author Topic: Savage's Bunker  (Read 9998 times)


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Savage's Bunker
« on: March 31, 2009, 04:52:58 PM »

Wow I'm glad I found this before the end of today!

Since I do have a rather simple and straightforward system (for now) I'd like to start with what I believe is the most important aspect of this security "stuff."  This is how to assess your needs and situation so that you can get the most for your dollar, a system that works and is reliable, and meets those needs best.  Of course, below you'll see my actual X10 equipment inventory, the configurations I've used, per the Contest rules. 

I cannot stress enough how important this first step in any system configuration really is, and hopefully you'll see how my system meets my needs exactly, how my "wants" were addressed, how the neat "to come" things will integrate, and most of all- why X10 was THE best choice for those needs.  I’ll try to be as succinct as possible, though I have a tendency to write and talk too much…

First, it should be known that I live in an apartment on a fairly busy town corner.  I have traffic on two sides of my residence regularly 24 hours a day.  The previous tenant GLUED the sash windows shut in an attempt to seal them.  (Which worked TOO good, I suppose.)  Since the windows are inoperable, they would have to be smashed to enter through them, and every one is visible to passing traffic.  Therefore, I have five feasible theft entrances into the apartment: exterior basement door, Kitchen door, Bedroom door, Living Room door, and Front door.  I also have a garage with an exit door. 

When I moved in, I asked the landlord if the locks were changed, since the previous tenant moved to the only other apartment in the building, on the second floor.  The landlord answered no, and it was obvious they were not willing to change them.  At that point in time, I had no reason to believe the tenants above would enter my apartment without permission.  (The reality is that- with a couple, a teenage daughter, and two sets of parents- there was a darned good chance at least one of those five keys was still in the hands of the previous tenant, in the form of an extra copy someone forgot to hand over or throw away.)

Early on in my lease, I discovered that the basement had some sort of leak.  Though not very serious, I felt it should be watched continually, since I stored property there.

I dabble quite a bit with Visual Basic and external integration for VHF/UHF frequency scanners and my shortwave radio.

I felt I needed security for a number of reasons:
1.   I have some personal property I felt needed protected.
2.   I have a young Son I needed to know was secure.
3.   I had a vehicle vandalized within plain view of those two busy streets.
4.   I had reason to believe the upstairs tenant might enter the apartment while I was away, without permission.
5.   I had reason to believe the landlords would enter the apartment while I was away, without notification.
6.   For comfort’s sake, I kept a number of relatively expensive items on my enclosed porch, which cannot be locked.  (Furniture that I couldn’t easily afford to replace if stolen.)
7.   The tenant upstairs repeatedly left the garage unlocked.

I assessed the possible threats as such, in order of likelihood being greater, to less:
1.   The upstairs tenant or landlord would enter my apartment in an attempt to discover my inside smoking status.  (I do not smoke inside, but have had repeated heated discussions about this very topic.)
2.   The items on the porch (enclosed and exterior) would be vandalized or stolen.
3.   A criminal would enter the unlocked garage and steal or vandalize the contents.
4.   A leak in the basement would flood and ruin the property I store in it.
5.   To a much lesser degree, that the apartment would be burglarized by conventional means and reasons.

The X10 System was perfect for my needs!  X10 Benefits for me are as follows:
1.   The greatest need I had was to identify that someone actually entered my premises.  Most likely, they were there to snoop around, not to burglarize, so a simple picture and notification were what I needed most.
2.   I could install the entire system myself.
3.   I could install the system without the knowledge of the landlord or upstairs tenant- no “company truck” or technician would be visible to others.
4.   I could install the system in the apartment without impacting the structure.  (Mounting with small screws in hidden locations on the top of door frames, Velcro, and other non-intrusive methods.)
5.   I could install the system quickly, to acquire a reasonably safe premises in under two hours.
6.   The system could notify me via email.  (I am at my work computer 75% of the day, so this would be immediate notification.)  It could send images to me via email as well.
7.   The system could be operated remotely, via internet access.
8.   The cameras could be watched, and moved, via the internet.
9.   The system could dial me, my parents, a neighbor, a friend, and the operator at work.  (The message is “Please contact [my real name] for an unauthorized entry into his home.)
10.   The system is interfaced via PC and X10 has a Software Development Kit; so the possibilities for me were endless with regard to security, monitoring, and operation.

I felt I did NOT need an “expensive, monitored” system because I didn’t feel the threats were great enough.  The X10 system answered the reasons why I did not want such a system, so reading the “X10 Benefits” explains the lack of need for an expensive system.

Equipment I have installed:
1.   (6) LM15A Socket Rockets.  (Used in ceiling lights for security purposes)
2.   (10) LM465 Light Modules.  (Used on floor and table lamps)
3.   ( 8 ) MS10A Motion Sensors.  (Used in each room as Security Motion Sensors)
4.   ( 8 ) DS10A Door/Window Sensors.  (Used on all five exterior doors, an interior basement door, and an interior closet.)
5.   (2) ScanPad Remotes
6.   (1) CM15A w/ ActiveHome Pro and all plugins; for PC integration and operation.
7.   (2) XX20A B/W Low Light Cameras
8.   (2) XX16A Color Cameras “Instant On”
9.   (2) CR14-A Ninja ScanPad Camera Remotes
10.   (4) VK74A Ninja Pan-n-tilt camera bases
11.   (4) MS14A Eagle Eye Motion Sensors
12.   (1) VA11A USB Video Capture Adapter
13.   (1) TM751 Transceiver Module
14.   (1) VR36A Video Receiver
15.   (1) SW26A Vanguard Control Center Software
16.   (1) SH624 Security Remote
17.   (3) KR10A Keychain Security Remotes
18.   (1) PS561 / DS7000 Security Dialer / Console System

Note that some fairly irrelevant details have been left out for security’s sake.

In combination with the ActiveHome Pro software and interface, the following takes place:
  • 1.   (Unarmed State)
    a.   Person approaching exterior porch:
    i.   Ssets off EagleEye sensor
    ii.   Turns Socket Rocket on for Exterior Porch
    iii.   Turns on Socket Rocket for Interior Porch
    iv.   Turns Camera 3 on with good view of exterior porch.  (Turning cameras on immediately, even if you aren’t programmed to capture video, gives a much faster acquisition of the intended surveillance area.)
    v.   AHP PORCH MOTION DETECTED MACRO is activated.  Email is sent to me at work.  Still images are set to record every X number of seconds for a total of X number of seconds.  They are cached and saved locally on the computer, and are also uploaded to a personal FTP site.
    b.   Person entering enclosed porch:
    i.   Sets off EagleEye sensor
    ii.   EagleEye Sensor trips Socket Rocket on Porch with light bright enough to illuminate porch for Camera.
    iii.   EagleEye Sensor turns Camera 2 on- for inside Enclosed Porch view.
    iv.   EagleEye Sensor trips Lamp Module within view of bedroom to alert of entry.
    v.   Security Motion Sensor is set to MOTION DETECTED.
    vi.   Security Door Sensor is set to SENSOR TRIPPED.
    vii.   AHP INTERIOR PORCH ENTRY DETECTED MACRO is activated.  Email is sent to me at work.  Images and video are uploaded to my personal FTP site.  Message (SMS) is sent to my Cell phone.  If the system happens to be unarmed, it arms itself at this point.  The MACRO redundant check (Check both EagleEyes, the Security Motion Sensor, and the Door Sensor) ensures that false triggers are not sent by passing traffic, including trucks that shade the sunlight suddenly.
    c.   Person moving around any other sensed area, or opening any doors, will simply register a SENSOR TRIGGERED or MOTION DETECTED setting with those associated products.
  • (Armed State)  The system operates the same for the Exterior and Enclosed Porches.  I use AHP to give me email notification, and since it may be likely to receive deliveries or have visitors access this area by accident, I don’t consider it an armed zone, and do not have it programmed into the Security Console- so when armed, my system protects everything within the boundaries of External Doors to the apartment.
    a.   Because of repetitive false alarms due to vibration and rapid sunlight changes by passing Trucks, my macros set flags that are checked prior to any emergency email.  My system is often set to “Armed Home” during the day to reduce false triggers by traffic; when I’m troubleshooting the setup without “delayed trigger” set on the sensors.  The Sensor Delay has all but eliminated false triggers- I just have not moved the devices to better locations yet.
    b.   In addition to the usual Security Console events, (Calling four numbers, sounding the alarm, and turning security lights on,) my AHP is on 24 hours to notify me via internet channels to my work email and cell phone.  In this way, I can also have a real time notification of sensors being reset- and if there is any remaining activity on the property.  This is a real nice feature if you’ve called the police or are waiting for them to arrive- you can suggest the presence or absence of an intruder to them. 
    c.   If you keep a “safe closet,” you can watch for SMS instant messages noting that it has been opened.  This could indicate, among other things, that an intruder gained access to weapons or other dangerous items.  This is another great way to help police in the event of a standoff.
    3.   Extras
    a.   I have etched a plate of copper (Radio Shack PWB etching kit) to act as a water sensor, and have hooked it up in the basement.  If water reaches ¼” at the plate’s location, the door sensor is triggered.  With a full leak, I have approximately one hour until the water level reaches a damaging point for stored property.  I have approximately three hours until a real electrical hazard exists at a full leak rate.

I have to run for now but will try to finish up early this evening.


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Re: Savage's Bunker
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2009, 01:53:33 AM »

Nice start ;)
But I find once the HA bug bites, your never finished! rofl
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