How do I start this?


I apologize in advance for my ignorance, but let me start by asking the most general question here: “How does does all this work?”

Let me follow up that question with a few details regarding my situation and what I’m trying to accomplish with ST:

  • I’m a new homeowner and have been looking into getting a security system for my house.
  • My house is pre-wired with an ancient security system that I would like to be able to monitor and manage from a computer and/or mobile device (without having to pay a monthly service fee, obviously!)
  • Along with the security system, I’d like to have the capability to add additional functioning devices that can also be remotely managed, such as door locks.
  • I’ve read through a few topics already and believe that this seems fairly plausible, but I’m not entirely sure on where to begin.
  • I have no “scripting” nor “engineering” skills. I mention this, because I was getting lost and discouraged while going through many threads that were referencing “coding” or “sketching”, and redoing the wiring for the alarm systems, etc.

Any guidance/assistance/references would be greatly appreciated, as I know how annoying it probably is for a newbie to ask (what can seem to be) the most simplistic questions. I can try to provide additional information or specifics on my equipment, if necessary, upon request. Thank you in advance!

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I would recommend getting an Arduino Mega and a Smart Things Shield (Assuming they ever come back in stock… if they don’t, this will be much more complicated…)

If you can get a Smart Things Shield, you can attach it to the Arduino. Then, you can take the wires from your ancient alarm system, ti all of the “ground” wires together and attach them to ground on the Arduino and then connect the “positive” wires to individual pins on the Arduino.

Then, use @ogiewon 's garage door opener project as a base.

You can remove the garage door buttons and sensors from the code and just use the door sensors. You can expand and rename them to match your house.

Then, look at @geko 's Smart Alarm

The door lock part is the easiest, there are many to choose from that work well with ST out of the box.

Read through some of these threads and reply back if you have questions.

Good luck!


Welcome to the community!

As Todd mentioned, doorlocks are easy these days. A number of excellent models to choose from.

As far as the existing installation, that depends on many factors, including the condition of the existing equipment, the network protocols used, changes in local RF use, etc.

For example, many older systems used a lot of proprietary stuff, and much of it was hardwired. You might be able to get the whole thing working, you might only be able to control a few individual devices, you might not be able to use any of it.

Do you have the specs? Brand, model, date installed, last date working?

Then if that seemed worth investigating further, the next step would usually be an electrical inspection to make sure everything is still safe to use.

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Again, apologies in advance… I guess I’ll need to look into what Arduino and a smart things shield is/does, as I still don’t fully understand how this stuff works on an engineering level. I have read through much of the Smart Alarm thread, though, and am really anxious to try it out; it sounds on point to what I’m looking to get out of setting all this stuff up!

As far as the current equipment in my house, the system was installed in the 80’s. I know that the contacts and panel are still functional, but am not sure whether the system can actually be armed and if there is an alarm or not. Everything is hardwired. I was actually considering replacing the old control panel with a newer one that could possibly already be compatible with ST/z-wave. Is that even an option (as in, is there anything already out there that is basically “plug and play”) and if so, how much more easier/difficult would it make my overall goal to accomplish? Assuming that all the existing wires and contacts are checked and/or working properly, of course.

If ST Shields ever come back in stock, I’dbe happy to help you set up an Arduino to do pretty much what you are looking to do.

For the cost of an Arduino and a shield (about $75) you get the equivalent of a door sensor for each hard-wired door you have. Compare that to $30 per door to use the Z-Wave or Zigbee devices on each door.


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Anyone happen to know or can provide any insight about my second suggestion regarding installing a brand new control panel that is already z-wave compatible? Is this an option? If so, what are some panels that could fulfill this request and my needs?