Saturday, April 11, 2015

@MAKE Electronics Experiment 24: Gonna Skip It

I've been away, and recovering from being away, for a couple of weeks, so I'm just getting back to my journey of discovery with Charles Platt as my guide.

Experiment 24 involves enhancing the intrusion alarm from experiment 15.  All the enhancements are worthwhile, but I never implemented the system (my wife was not enthusiastic about adding the reed switches to windows and string wires around the house). So, the enhancements would be a learning exercise only. That's not bad--these are all learning exercises--but I think I've got the concepts and I'm ready to move on.

Here's what Charles proposes:

  1. Delayed activation
    Use a 555 timer mounted in a separate box with a button to activate the circuit and the 12V power to the alarm passing through it. Before leaving the house (e.g.) you push the button, activating the circuit which cuts the power to the alarm for 30 seconds. That gives you 30 seconds to open and close the door (which in this case has the reed switches) without triggering the alarm,  After 30 seconds, the power to the alarm is restored and the next time the door is open the alarm will be triggered.
  2. Keypad Deactivation
    In experiment 15, once the alarm is triggered it makes noise until the power is cut.  By adding a latching relay and keypad system a la experiment 20, we can turn it off without cutting power
  3. Delay before deactivating
    It would be nice to have some time when entering the house before the alarm sounds.  The solution here is to add another 555 circuit, in bistable mode.  This is interesting, becuase in addition to using the threshold/trigger mechanism, it is necessary to be sure the the circuit starts and stays going without being reset, so there is a smaller capacitor on the reset pin to make sure it starts LOW (output inhibited) and becomes HIGH (output allowed) faster than the output is triggered.  If we did not do this, we're leaving it to a 50/50 chance that the output is H or L. This feature allows us to control that.
A worthwhile exercise, but I'm ready to move into Chapter 5.