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I just bought a new home and it had been professionally pre-wired for a security system. There are cables for sensors on all entry doors. There are some cables for motion detectors as well on the main floor. There is also a cable for the control panel near the main entrance. All the cables go to the basement and are not connected to anything at the moment.

I checked one of the cables and it looks like there are four wires - red, black, yellow, and blue - inside.

Is this something I can make one of my DIY projects? If so, any recommendations on wired security systems compatible with this setup?

  • If you're planning on having it monitored by a security company, I'd think it would be best to use their installation service instead - you may even be able to get free installation with the purchase of a monitoring package. – Doresoom Apr 11 '12 at 18:53
  • I'm not planning to have it monitored. I just need a customizable system that will (initially) sound an alarm if there is an intrusion. Preferrably, with an option to send an SMS if the alarm is tripped. Eventually, I plan to integrate it with other systems in my home (e.g. asterisk). – Alfero Chingono Apr 11 '12 at 19:10
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This is actually relatively easy - many hobby shops (eg Maplin in the UK) have kits which require very little technical know-how.

I guess the pre-requisites are:

Understanding your perimeter -

  • use break sensors on the highest risk areas (doors and easily accessible windows)
  • use motion sensors in key hallways
  • do you include your garage
  • do you include external sensors
  • do you want to trigger a camera or similar

Control requirements -

  • where will your control panel need to be?
  • should it have a panic alarm

Compatibility requirements -

  • break sensors may be passive, or may be powered. If powered, what voltage is required
  • usually easiest to go with one brand throughout
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There are several online shops where you can buy anything from a basic wireless security system with peel and stick sensors all the way up to the same panels that professional installers use. If everything is already wired up as you said, then this should be a fairly straightforward DIY project. (One quick note though, even if it looks perfectly wired, you should evaluate the wireless sensors/prices of the system you buy, because you'll almost certainly end up wanting a sensor or keypad in a slightly different location!)

Some brands to get you started: Honeywell/Ademco Vista, DSC, GE Security Caddx or Concord, and Elk.

One other thing to consider is whether you'll want to wire any smoke or CO detectors in to this system -- that can open up a whole host of issues with your fire marshall, depending on where you live. If you'll want to do that, make sure to check your local codes or speak with a fire inspector before you invest money in this.

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Check out safemart. It's a do it yourself home security service, with inexpensive monthly rates.

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