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Thread: Alarm Systems, driveway sensors, etc Need to upgrade my shop security.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    NorthCentral WA. (Highlands)

    Default Alarm Systems, driveway sensors, etc Need to upgrade my shop security.

    Howdy, I find myself getting more paranoid about having my shop burglarized than ever before. Especially after my neighbors (a few miles down the road) had one of their gates cut open and stuff stolen out of one of their outbuildings. I want to create a situation where i can sleep comfortably at night by making my shop as unatractive to theives as possible and making sure that if anyone does decide to try to break in that I'll know about it instantly. That's the goal. I make my living in my shop so other than the safety of my family my shop is my primary focus. We don't live in a dangerous area, it's very rural and not really any violent crimes but there's plenty of petty theft in the area. Around here ranchers and farmers leave ATVs, tools and equipment out and stuff disappears. My house is protected pretty well by my wife and I, we are both proficient at using our firearms and train at least 8 times a year with our local sherrif's dept. So this post isn't about personal safety or home invasion issues. It's about protecting an outbuilding from theft while we're away or asleep.

    Now the challenges.

    My shop is located about 120 yards from my current house (will eventually be around 1/2 mile once I build our new place).
    There's no cell reception at our location.
    There is only power at my house and at my shop, there is no power anywhere in between.
    I have a few storage containers located by my shop I'd also like to protect though not nearly as important as my shop.

    I actually have a camera system, alarm system and a single floodlight installed currently but these are cheap chinese systems and although they do work I'd like to increase the quality of them all and also install some sort of driveway alarm so something will beep at my house anytime a vehicle enters my shop driveway.

    So the questions

    1. can anyone recommend a vehicle sensor alarm that is battery operated and has a transmission range of at least 500-600 ft? motion detection wouldn't work as I get plenty of coyote, birds, deer, etc going through so I need a metal detector type sensor.

    2. Can anyone recommend a good 8 camera system that will work day/night and have enough resolution to actually identify faces. Remote access is also a must. I don't need to store much data as I'm in my shop pretty much daily so 48-72hrs of footage recording would be plenty.

    3. I only have one man door and one rollup door i need to protect (no other entry points and no windows) what about a good quality alarm system with an external horn speaker/siren. something loud enough it will wake me up at night in my house if i goes off. Currently my system has an internal alarm that is loud and i can hear it from inside my house (barely when it's quiet at night).

    I'd love to be able to hook up additional LED flood lights to the driveway sensor so as soon as someone drives into the driveway multiple lights around the building turn on and stay on for some amount of time. I already have outside lights but i want the automatic lights to act as a deterent so potential thieves know they're already tripping sensors as soon as they drive onto the property. I always think it's easier to deter thieves looking for an easy score than it is to catch a thief during or after. I am always tempted to put up "beware of owner" type signs but I fear in the even of an actual shooting, those types of signs will only hurt a home owner in court. In my state you are not allowed to shoot someone just because they're stealing your stuff unless they actually break into your house. Outbuildings don't count.

    Any advice is appreciated. The more specific (make/model) the better. I don't want to break the bank with any of this but am looking for decent quality stuff.
    2nd Law: In a closed system, the entropy of the system will either remain constant or increase

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2011

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Canadian border state that begins with a "M"


    I have 3 of the Q-See brand hardwired outdoor/night vision cameras (760p) and it's easy to make out faces, they don't sell the same model I have anymore - many newer models at their website however. Purchased about 4 years ago, only one has been mounted outside the whole time but it still works fine. Not sure how they compare to other brands since it's the only kind I've ever owned.

    For the gate sensor, I know you said a motion detecting one might not work but I'm in a similar situation with wildlife and dogs, and my Dakota Alerts don't get many false alarms from them. Mounted mine about 4' high at the gate and my 2' tall dog doesn't set them off. They have short/med/long range settings, and an indoor/outdoor setting that helps adjust the sensitivity. They also sell a vehicle sensor model that only alerts when driven over (like a full service gas station has to alert them of customers), don't own one of those tho. I like the Dakota Alerts because they run on anything between 9v (single 9v battery or 6 AA batteries) up to about 15v, and since they use MURS frequencies they're easy to monitor with any VHF amateur radio.

    For the door alarms, using Dakota Alerts (inside) for those too. Have 3 set up inside a steel pole barn, cottage, and small shed about 400 yards from the house, even the transmission from the one inside the pole barn is heard fine. Two of them use a 12v battery for power, and have horns attached (one horn taken from a old security system, and the other a car horn) through a automotive relay to activate the horn when the detector senses motion. The horn sounds for about 7 seconds, then shuts off if no other motion is detected. The horns are mounted about 12 feet up, near the roof peak of the buildings. Pretty simple to wire it up for the relay and horn, it's a bit of a hack, but been working reliably for over a year now. Part of the reason I went this route was they're good both for gridup and griddown use, and portable so we can move them whenever and where ever we want, and could take them if we bugged out too (running them off AA batts or the vehicle battery if parked).

    Just some thoughts anyway, good luck.
    Everything marked, everything 'membered. You wait, you'll see.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2008


    Dogs. Medium-large
    Good medicine in bad places

  5. #5


    Install motion sensors inside your shop, integrated with the alarm system. Unless your walls are reinforced concrete, thieves may try to cut through a back wall or the roof to circumvent doorway and window alarms while you are away. You can also have high-set motion sensors covering storage container areas - or at least the doorways if they are sea containers.

    If you have a window-type AC unit mounted up in one of the walls, drug addict thieves will often push these into the building and crawl in through the hole.

    Depending on your type of shop structure, you will have to decide how much of a threat someone entering through the wall or roof may be. Do not underestimate how much cunning and effort drug addicts will apply just to get a few tools to pawn for their next fix.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Mountains & Lakes of the extreme NorthEast


    One quick note, I found it a good idea to have sensors that the public can see and hear, then have a second set that only you get notified of. Case in point, I had a back yard alarm which covered the driveway and set off a sounder in the house. It also sends a text message. Well, at work one day, and the stalker shows up, my cell goes off, I remotely observe the cameras and see this person walking around the back yard, straining to hear the inside sounder to try to find a dead spot. I moved everything around the next weekend, and installed a 2nd system I only activate when I am home.

    Son wants to put a flat screen with every camera on it at the BOL, Last thing I want is people stopping by and figuring out where the cams and sensors are. He calls me paranoid, I call myself realistic.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2007


    I have a 1080p Samsung system with 10 cameras expandable to 16. It makes out faces well even in total darkness. Even better with some ambient light. The 2TB DVR is nice. Not the most friendly set up, but I'm happy with it. I wonder if you could run a cable to a video monitor in the house from the shop. Don't know how you would other than using the remote access app.
    Common sense is so uncommon nowadays it ought to be reclassified as a super power

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