Need an Inexpensive Home Alarm System? Check Out the X10 Wireless Systems

It’s been several years since I installed my X10 wireless alarm system. X10 is a simple way to control wireless devices with or without a computer. X10 devices are inexpensive and easy to install. Here’s an example. I’m looking at a 25 piece alarm system on eBay right now that you can buy for $91.99 with free shipping. This system has (1) wireless console with a phone dialer, (3) remote controls that looks like a keychain, (you can even attach your keys to it) (1) lamp module, (5) door/window sensors, (1) remote console, and (1) infrared motion sensor. Various decals and splitters are included as well.

This is a complete alarm system and entirely wireless. That’s one of the reasons it’s so easy to install…no wires to run. About all you need is a screwdriver. The sensors come with screws and double-sided tape. Installing them is a breeze. You’ll need a sensor for each door or window you want to protect. Extra sensors can be found on eBay for a few dollars each. Motion detectors cover a wide area. I only needed one motion detector, three door sensors, and one window sensor to cover my entire house. Placement of the motion detector played a critical part in this setup.

The alarm system comes with a control console but I interfaced mine to my computer. I looked on the Net and found a USB computer X10 interface and a software package called “Active Home” for $49.95. The software can be found ‘free’ on the Net. This is where the fun began. My computer can turn on or dim the lights, sound alarms, turn on radios or TVs, and best of all- control three wireless color cameras. You’ll find X10 wireless color cameras on eBay for just over $40 each including shipping. I also found someone selling three used ones as a package for only $30 total! Got to love eBay! I set one camera so I can see who’s at the front door, the second one looks out the back towards the lake, and the third camera is hidden and watches over my computer equipment.

Hidden cameras are big business these days. They are so small that they can be hidden inside of radios, books, toys, lamps, pictures, clocks, etc. You really have to look to find them. They send their image over the X10 wireless network just like any other sensor. The “Active Home” software can even pan and tilt the outdoor cameras.

What good is an alarm system if you can’t record who’s breaking in? Well, with iWhitness software (an Active Home add in costing about $20) you can turn your computer into a digital recorder. The recording process can be set for “time of day” or it can be triggered by one of the sensors.

This is a nice and inexpensive alarm system as long as someone doesn’t break in and steal your computer! Hopefully, the sounding of alarms will scare a burglar off. One nice touch with the systems included console is a phone dialer. You can program in four phone numbers that will be called if the alarm is triggered. It delivers a message you’ve previously recorded.

An X10 wireless alarm system might not be secure enough if you needing to protect a business. Because it transmits on a frequency that’s also used by mobile phones, it’s not nearly as secure as a wired system. But considering the ease of setup, the cost, and knowing the limitations of the X10 technology, I couldn’t be happier with my setup and intend to keep it for many years to come. It’s definitely worth considering!