Hacking Chamberlain Reporter driveway alert PIR detectors for alarm inputs

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I've had an older model Reporter driveway alarm for years. It came with a 5A rated relay switch for additional alarms. After updating to the newest version, now produced by Chamberlain, I've found that the external alarm switch is no longer included on the circuit board. Without modifications, I would not be able to use the Reporter to trigger the NVR and specific cameras as desired. The motion detection on the cameras is not working as well as I had hoped so I will put the PIR sensors up to the task of starting the record sessions.

I've also been experimenting with an Arduino Duo micro controller. Neat stuff that can take inputs, make decisions and then outputs as desired. I should be able to use the Arduino to count the number of alarm signals representing which sensor has tripped in order to decide which cameras to start recording on. I'm not 100% up to speed on the Arduino system yet as I brush the programming rust off of my brain. For now, I have made the hack into the base unit of the Reporter in order to get a 5 volt signal which goes into the Arduino as a digital input and then the Arduino makes an output to switch an LED on. At least the basics are now working.

The Arduino can take 0-5 volts but no more or the board might get fried. The tap that I made on the Reporter base was putting out just over 5 volts so I added a #7805 voltage regulator for $1.99 from Radio Shack. This insures that the voltage input into the Arduino is safe. The following pictures show the hack points on the receiver circuit board if anyone else wants to do the same.

One of these points near the screwdriver tip will output 5 volts when the receiver gets the alarm signal. Use a voltmeter attached to battery input ground to determine the exact pin.



View of actual taps made on the back of the pc board. Red is positive alarm output and yellow is ground wire (I just used some old video cable for the hack). Again, use a voltmeter to make sure that the correct point is found. 0 volts at rest, 5 volts during alarm when the alarm LED is lit.

A slot was cut into the original receiver cover to allow the cable out of the enclosure. This will be wired into the 5v voltage regulator and then into the Arduino. I will be able to incorporate multiple alarm outputs when the sensor is tripped now, thanks to the multiple uses of the Arduino. I will post more results as I get the code written and debugged to operate the way I want it to.
 

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amthar

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This post is over 5 years old now, but it hit the nail on the head for what I want to accomplish. I have a new Chamberlain driveway alert system, and I'd like to receive a text message when motion is detected. I opened one of the 3 receivers I have, and it perfectly matches the pictures of the board you attached. I have an Arduino Wifi REV2 on order along with some jumper wires and the 7805 voltage regulator. I am an experienced software developer, so the programming side of the project will probably be the easiest for me. I'm godawful at soldering... so we'll see how this goes :)

Thanks for posting this, it saved me close to $200 and I've wanted to play with an Arduino for a really long time, so this project is the perfect excuse to do so. I'll upload the code once I finish it in case anyone else wants it
 

amthar

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My annual update, lol. I decided to go a different route and I ordered an Arduino Uno and a Sparkfun ESP8266 Thing Dev board. I had no idea what I was doing, and none of the tutorials (from SparkFun, anyone really) were 100% accurate. I learned a lot over the past 48 hours. Here's where I'm at:

1. I was able to connect the Adruino Uno to my laptop and program it. I was also able to connect the ESP8266 directly to my laptop and program it too.
2. I was able to figure out that Arduino's don't "control" add-on boards like the ESP8266. Instead, you program the ESP8266 to work as a standalone board, but your Arduino can communicate with the ESP8266 by wiring their serial interfaces together.
3. I found ~ 3 different example sketches that did different things, and I was able to take learnings from those and program the Arduino to send a message over to the ESP8266 any time the "reset" button is pressed on the Arduino
4. I programmed the ESP8266 to join my Wifi network on boot-up, and then start listening for that message to come over the serial interface from the Arduino
5. When the ESP8266 receives the message, it does an HTTP GET of a URL on some webspace I own
6. At the URL that is called, I wrote a simple PHP script that sends an email to XXXXXXXXXX@vtext.com which is Verizon's email-to-sms gateway.

So, when the RESET button on the Arduino is pressed, I am now getting a text message to my phone.

I have a voltage regulator on order to decrease the output voltage from the Chamberlain board to 5v to safely connect it to one of the analog IN pins on the arduino. Then it's simply changing a line of code to look for voltage on that pin and send the message to the ESP8266, rather than look for a button press to send the message.

So now I have to bust out my soldering iron and pray to god I don't murder the chamberlain board trying to tap into the voltage output on motion signal.
 

amthar

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Another Update...

So I still suck at soldering, and I wasn't able to successfully tap into the Chamberlain board, try as I might. You people who can solder are freaking amazing... honestly.
I ordered a Guardline 1/4 Mile driveway alert system because it actually has an external 12v relay built into it. It has some other cool features that the Chamberlain doesn't, like a sleep feature (so when I'm mowing the front yard it's not beeping for 30 minutes straight and driving my family insane). It has a volume knob so you can turn the volume of the receiver all the way down and just receive text messages. It also has 20+ different chimes you can choose, which is kinda fun. The Guardline arrived the same day that the pack of L7805CV voltage regulators came in.

After playing around with some hookup wire and the voltmeter, and googling the pinout of the L7805CV I figured out that:
  1. The left pin of the L7805CV was input and should be connected to the "12v OUT +" on the Guardline receiver
  2. The right pin of the L7805CV is output, and goes to A0 analog pin of the Arduino
  3. The middle pin of the L7805CV is ground, and needed to be connected to the "12V OUT -" of the Guardline receiver, AND a ground pin on the Arduino. The Arduino analog input pins are floating voltages (or something like that), and unless all the devices are connected to a common ground, your analog pin won't read at 0v - it will read all over the damn place. Once I had a ground pin on the Arduino connected to both the middle pin of the L7805CV and the "12V OUT -" on the Guardline, the A0 pin started reading zero (or very close to zero). I did solder the wires to the L7805CV, and I soldered the 3 wires for ground together. I put heat shrink tubing over the soldered connections. I ran two pigtails out from the Guardline and put quick disconnects on them to allow easily connecting/disconnecting the Guardline receiver from the Arduino setup.

I changed the program on the Arduino to fire a message over the serial interface to the ESP8266 whenever the voltage of the A0 pin goes >=4v.

Turned it all on, waved my hand in front of the motion detector, and wouldn't you know, I received a text message on my phone :) :) :)

Next up, I have a small project box that I'm going to mount the Arduino & ESP8266 boards into. I also ordered an external wifi antenna and pigtail for connecting the antenna to the ESP8288 U.fl antenna connector.

Here's a parts list of everything I've used:
I'll post again (and with pictures) when I have it all buttoned up inside the project box.
 

NightLife

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Remarkable. So far beyond my comfort zone which is why I think it's so bloody awesome. Seriously dude, great job, and top notch write-up.
 
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