Back in the 80’s, visual, information and auto-detection technologies were very poorly understood by the average person. If you’d suggested building a DIY home security system in 1990, most people would probably have thought of Kevin McCallister’s maze of booby-traps in Home Alone.
But computers have traveled light years in the past couple of decades. Hardware glitches, though still not a thing of the past, are far rarer, and operating technologies such as media recording and storage and motion detection is now a fairly simple business, accessible to anyone with the time to skim through a short user manual or do a little browsing on the internet. You can, believe it or not, actually build pretty efficient DIY home security systems using simple webcams of the sort people use to chat online. With a little more cash in hand, you can even override issues of poor lighting by installing your own infrared security cameras.
You should keep in mind, before you get too caught up in building a DIY home security system that turns your home into a hi-tech fortress, that the most effective form of crime prevention is really simple common sense. More than half of all burglaries occur as the result of negligence – someone leaving a door or window open, or forgetting to put the alarm on. Make sure that your spouse, children, and any other residents of your home are set in the ritual of locking doors whenever they leave, even if it’s only to run a quick errand.
On from this, you’ll want to install contact sensors on all your windows and doors. Contact sensors are simply two pads which, when in contact, complete an electrical circuit. If that circuit is broken by, say, the opening of the window, a switch will trip in the contacts, causing them to signal to their central hub (which, in the case of a DIY home security system, would probably be your personal computer). Contacts can be purchased for less than ten dollars at most hardware stores.
If your DIY home security system effort is going to include the rigging of a full-blown home security camera system, it’s possible to have your contacts serve as the activators for the recording function of your cameras. Thus your cameras will be set to record as soon as the contact circuit is broken and the perimeter of your fortress is breached. Truly, if the lighting in the house is decent, and you’re generally at home at night, there’s no reason to construct your home security camera system using anything more snazzy than a few good webcams. Webcams start at under $ 20, and go right up to the point of being far more accurate as regards color and contrast discrimination than the human eye.
Infrared security cameras present an opportunity to take your DIY home security system to the next level, leaving it immune from changes in lighting conditions, and ensuring that you find out what happened in your home entirely regardless of whether a bulb blew. The flip side of this coin is the fact that buying one may leave you feeling like you’ve been robbed – while infrared security cameras have become a lot cheaper in recent years, decent ones are still priced in the $ 2000 area. The question is really one of need – if your home is adequately lit by streetlights from the outside, then your home security camera system probably won’t be much improve by the purchase. Keep in mind, however, when doing your cost-risk calculations, that infrared security cameras can double as fire detectors, eliminating the need to install smoke detectors.
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