in Asterisk, X-Geek

Monitoring alarm panels with Asterisk

My new home has a built-in alarm system but no landline. Thus, any event will alert us, our Dobermans, and the neighbors but it won’t alert a monitoring service.

Since I don’t want to put in a landline nor subscribe to a monitoring service, and since I’m an Asterisk and Linux geek, I thought I’d see what the Internets had that might let me monitor my home with Linux and Asterisk.

Looks like I hit pay dirt, too. Asterisk has an application built in called AlarmReceiver which decodes the tones an alarm panel sends and saves the events to disk. It turns Asterisk into a monitoring service, essentially.

There isn’t much documentation on AlarmReceiver, but I did find a few useful scripts from fellow Asterisk guru Shane Young to interface with AlarmReceiver. Shane’s got Asterisk reading the key fobs being used to enter his house and then announcing who it is on the PA. Pretty cool!

I hope to configure Asterisk to page me whenever an intrusion or fire alarm gets triggered. I could get bolder: have it page me and begin a countdown. Unless I interrupt the countdown (say, two minutes), the system would automatically call 911 and play a recording describing the event.

One thing mentioned over and over on the documentation for this app is that it isn’t UL listed and not to be depended on for any life-saving events. Wise words indeed, but anything’s better than nothing at all.

One thing I still need to determine is if the tones get mangled over a SIP connection or do I have to buy a FXO port (aka, real phone line adapter) to properly receive data from my panel. I’ve seen one mention that SIP works, so since I have plenty of SIP adapters handy I’ll go that route to begin with.

  1. I think both Vector and ADT offer wireles monitoring. So, you don’t have to have a land line.

    What are you going to do without a land line if the black helicopters attack during sun spot activity?

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