Use existing in-home sensors with smartthings


I have a Brinks home security system that was in the home when I moved in. All the windows and doors have sensors installed already. Instead of buying the door/window sensors, it makes sense to me to buy a zigbee or z-wave device that connects in the brinks box in the basement to the hard wired sensors already. Does anyone have a product that will do this or have an idea on which products to use to build my own?


I use Schlage z-wave door sensors as they have two screw posts under the cover that allow you to wire it into already existing hard-wired sensors (such as the pre-existing door sensors). I tapped into my alarm box using these, and while I can’t control my alarm system with them, it’s a cheap way to use the existing door and window sensors to let you know what’s open and closed. If you search this forum, you’ll find links on it.

If you want direct control of your alarm system, that can be done too, using shields and the like. Also links for that! Just depends on what you want to accomplish.


Those door sensors look like they are $30+ a piece which is what i’m trying to avoid. At that price, I would be able to just buy the smartthings multipurpose sensors.

The Brinks system in the home is broken (the panel wont turn on) so i need somethibg that i can plug all of the sensors into. The thought was that i could buy an arduino board and plug all those sensors into it, but I’ve never done that before.

HA isn’t cheap. Yes, you could buy multi sensors, but then they’d be exposed on the doors and you’d have to look at them instead of using the already installed, hidden (I assume) door sensors. You shouldn’t need power to the alarm panel. The existing door sensors are (most likely) magnetic switches, they just complete a circuit. Tying the wires into the Schlage sensors just tells the sensor whether the door is closed or not, and the Schlage sensor sends the signals to ST for you to see/use. That’s what I’ve done for my home and it’s been very successful. I’d like to consider gaining remote control of the alarm itself, but that’s not really necessary for me, so I’ll put my $$ elsewhere!

While I’ve not done it myself, from what I’ve read using a shield or arduino is just a way to gain control of the functioning alarm system…which it doesn’t sound like you’ve got. I’ve not done much of anything with arduino, so I’d be the wrong person to speak on how you might integrate those switches into a useable model. I’m sure someone on here can give more information!

FWIW… I have a similar system (an old Honeywell security system) that uses wired magnet sensors around the house to monitor windows and doors. These sensors are almost always chained together into zones (usually 3-5 zones) with those old monitor systems. So I used some of these z-wave sensors to connect each of those zones into SmartThings monitoring. Very simple solution, and a LOT cheaper than breaking all those zones apart and connecting individual z-wave sensors to each contact. Besides the Schlage model, I know the Ecowave units have external hookups, as well as the ones sold in the GoControl bundle that Home Depot offers.

Just my two cents.


I am doing this with an Arduino with a Smart Things shield. I am using @ogiewon’s amazing ST_Anything library and the device driver and multiplexer app that he wrote. It works great and can save you a ton of money.

Start here:

If you are new to ST, a lot of what is presented here can be overwhelming, but there are so many devices out there that require this kind of knowledge to properly use them, that this is a good skill to learn if you are serious about ST Home Automation.

Read through the start of the thread, and try to go through the instructions. When you get stuck, post questions there. @ogiewon is very responsive and has helped many people with their projects.



Thanks for posting this. Its exactly what i’ve been looking for! I bought an Arduino Mega (overkill i know, but it was $9…) I also have the smartthings Shield on the way. Thanks for the comment!