Home Security System


Is anyone working on using spark as a home security system?
I would be keen help.
Search here I’ve no found much so I’m thinking maybe the issue is spark draws to much power to consider coupling it with sensors?

It’s an interesting idea. I personally think the Spark Core would work great as a sensor in the home however I’m not sure, at least at this point in the firmware development, if it can be counted on (yet) for something as mission critical as home security.

Using the Spark Core to monitor and control my AC? Sure
Using the Spark Core to alert me if there’s mail in my mail box? Sounds good
Using the Spark Core to alert me if a potential threat is breaking into my house? Nah, I’d rather use something proven.

Does that make sense?


Thanks for your input.

What aspect of the Spark core do you feel lets it down from being a sensor?
Battery Life?
Wifi Connectivity?
Spark Cloud?

I love wifi and I love the cloud, I really do, but when my life is potentially on the line I want something that’s hardwired and doesn’t need an internet connection. The SparkCore is a fantastic product and I could see people using it to do home security but I, personally, wouldn’t trust my life on my crappy Comcast router and my crappy Comcast internet :wink:

I second this, i use a generic of the shelf home alarm system for the main part - they are relatively cheap and do what they are meant too… but… i do have a core hooked up to send me a notification for arm/disarmed and alarm “events”

Hello again,

So what I’m hearing is a relying on crap ISP issues.
Lets just pretend we can resolve that for now.

Are there any other issues to consider?
Battery life?
Local Wifi?

Battery life can be greatly increased by using deep sleep with interrupts, but it depends of how often if activates. If you’ve got a PIR sensor hooked up, that fires every couple of minutes, your battery life will greatly decrease. The same goes for door sensors and pretty much anything that will make the Core wake up repeatedly.

Your wifi will need to be really stable to ensure your Core can always connect. Setting up a local cloud circumvents the ISP issues, but still requires a solid local connection.

I’m also thinking of setting up a combination of sensors/home security with the Sparks, but mostly for fun, not real security. We currently don’t have any security system, so it’ll be an improvement either way :wink:

Just found this thread

According to this battery life should not be an issue is managed right.
The sparks should be in deep sleep while you are home.
They should only be in a wake on interrupt mode when the security system is “on”.

So I guess the question is can a spark wake on a network event?
E.g. can I send the spark a tcp message from the spark cloud or via a tcp port which makes it wake up?
Does the spark maintain an active wifi connection when in sleep mode?

My house came pre-wired for a security system even though I am to cheap to pay for monthly service. But what I did 2 years ago was hooked up an Arduino Ethernet that sends me emails whenever the doors open/close.

I plan on upgrading this to a Photon and adding a siren.


Nice adaption of an existing system! I presume you used opto-couplers or some other way of isolating the alarm circuits from the arduino, can’t see from the image.
I installed a home automation system a couple of years ago that uses 434mhz radio signals and soon found out how to control and add to the system using arduinos. As the system had PIR’s and magnetic switch door / window sensors I decided it could be adapted to also be an alarm so got an ethernet shield on an arduino as an early alarm and although it often worked the major problem was that it was tied to the ethernet line.
When the Spark Core was released I got two specifically for the project but the Arduino libraries did not work with the Spark. Now have got it working fine with great thanks to Bob Tidey’s LightwaveRF library (on Github) and Peekay’s SparkIntervalTimer library (on Spark IDE).
The spark merely listens to the 434mhz traffic and sends emails and push messages upon certain triggers. It works most of the time.
I have had it working for months now and see no reason why it could not be a viable security system especially with a local spark cloud server to send the alerts.



How are you finding 434Mhz to setup at the start?
My research is telling me there are many issues with finding equipment that’s happy to work together.

No optocouplers. Just a simple input. Its basically acting like switches

Proprietary systems generally will not talk to eachother but if you can decode the messages then you could in theory use sensors and switches from different manufacturers. The system I use is intended for home automation and is cheap, wireless and can be controlled by a smartphone etc. I used this library to communicate with the system.
The system relies on internet and mains at the moment, I will add battery backups and a GSM failover in time.
This website might be of interest to you if you plan to sniff and decode signals. The author mentions the use of your computer soundcard as an oscilloscope which is a brilliant idea, although a £8 logic analyzer is more ideally suited for the precise timings.

Ok, sure it will work. But as a time-served electrician I would always tend to isolate circuits, especially with microcontrollers. As optocouplers are so cheap it seems there is no reason for not using them!