Help with semi-complex Security project for remote cottage

I have had two breakins at our cottage property up north. I’m seriously thinking of using SmartThings to deter potential thiefs and then to catch them on camera if they do breakin. I’m not sure if this will actually work so i’d appreciate feedback.

Here are my requirements:

  • ability to detect motion using multiple high end Optex motion sensors paired up to HinkVision IP camera
  • Optex motion sensors don’t have IP capability so I would wire them into the alarm harness on HinkVision. Need quality sensors as false alarms would be problematic
  • Hinkvision would then wake up and start recording (I would want this to then trigger action in the SmartThings Hub)

On motion detect/record from HinkVision, i’d want SmartThings to do following:

  • Turn on some outdoor floodlights (hopefully spook the intruder)
  • Turn on some interior lights
  • Start recording on a cheap interior camera

If the door sensor is opened, i would want to move to a new action whereby an alarm would sound if correct sequence wasn’t enter in keypad (OR my smartphone was detected as presence).

Here are a few questions I have…

  • DISARM/ARM keypad - I sometimes rent the cottage or have a couple handymen do work while not there. Is there a supported keypad setup I can use like with traditional alarm system. I don’t want to give out FOBs and my doors won’t support retrofittings new locks? has to be low tech. Saw some threads on this but didn’t seem to be officially supported?
  • assuming a false alarm is detected (i.e. animal or neighbor cutting through property), how does SmartThings reset things back to normal away state (i.e. lights off etc)

Is above doable? My property is very remote so if they decide to breakin, cops won’t get there in time so it would be imperative to spook them and get as many pictures /videos as possible. Last breakin they hung around for hours drinking my booze and having a party!!

Few things to keep in mind:

  1. SmartThings requires always-on Internet connection to operate.
  2. There’s currently no off-the-shelf hardware keypad for SmartThings.
  3. SmartThings does not currently support video streaming or recording.

With this in mind, yes SmartThings can be used as a substitute for a security system, but it’s not ideal. If your primary application is security, not automation, you’ll probably be better off deploying dedicated security system. You can get complete kit for less than $150. See for example:

Thanks for the speedy response!!

I have solid internet at the cottage but no voice line. In fact I’ve hidden all the gear under the cottage in a heated/vented NEMA enclosure to make virtually impossible to find and disable. Internet comes over a local wifi service that is more reliable than my city DSL. Was thinking of adding 4G backup to the router incase connection was compromised (using cradlepoint).

In terms of the other limitations:

  • Can I not use the Camera to trigger an event? I plan on using Camcloud to store the video that results … Just want camera + fancy motion detectors to be the trigger
  • Lack of keypad is a bummer… are there any other ideas for simple arm/disarm for guests/renters and contractors?

There’s a community developed support for Foscam that has motion trigger, if I remember correctly.

There’s a number of dashboard implementations (also developed by community) using Android tablet. Considering low price (< $50), this may not be a bad choice. I’ve seen pictures of using a tablet with Smart Alarm:

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very interesting!

I doing a bit more digging, seems like Vera has plugins for interfacing with traditional alarm systems. This may be the best of both worlds. Wire up traditional DSC with keypad and some motion sensors which ties back to Vera. Vera could then detect the DSC alarm event and trigger lights, camera action:)

I’m amazing how far this space has come in general. So many exciting options!! I have to really think about this.

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There’s also a SmartThings integration with DSC and Honeywell Vista, but it’s a bit wonky (it requires a gateway between the hub and the alarm panel). Vera integration is definitely simpler.

How to have a monitored alarm system for $30 a year and no land line.

If the area has Verizon cell service I can tell you how to get around the no phone service … cheaply. I have a lake cabin with no landline. I bought a dial-er and programmed it to call 4 different people, 5 times and play a message saying the alarm had been activated. Dialer for $100 This way if the alarm is activated it calls me and my kids over and over.

Then buy an X-link that will hook up to the dialer…X-Link for $50

Then get a cheap cheap cell phone from here that has blue tooth and sign up for their minimum pay as you go cell plan which is $10 every 4 months… get phone and service here You can even get them to setup where they bill you every 4 months for $10 automatically and you then do not even have to remember to add time.

Now for $30 a year you have a monitored alarm.

I have solid internet and a backup 4g connection but no telephone service.

Key for me is to roll the video cameras when motion is sensed by the doors as i’m sure the intruders will be back in the winter.

I think I can accomplish everything I want to do except the simple ARM / DISARM procedure via keypad.

Assuming I got with FOBs instead of keypad, can I have the IP cameras stop recording when I am at the cottage? It is key for me to have the cameras stop sensing and sending notifications once we are there.

How do you get ST to dial upon activation? Does the dialer have an auto-dial on boot feature, so you could boot it with a smart power plug?