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What Are the Best Tips for Making a DIY Burglar Alarm?

By M. Kayo
Updated Feb 12, 2024
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Making a do-it-yourself (DIY) burglar alarm or security system is one of the best things a homeowner can do to ensure the safety of family, home, or business. The best tips for making a DIY burglar alarm include keeping the design simple, using everyday materials that are easily and cheaply acquired, and having a basic knowledge of electronics and electricity. The simplest homemade DIY burglar alarms cost nothing and can be made from items found around the house. For just a few dollars, all the materials needed to make an electronic DIY burglar alarm can be purchased from the local hardware store. For those who don't have the time or technical ability to construct an alarm, most of the components for a home security system can be purchased locally or online.

Common items like brooms, string, tin cans, or other items typically found around the house can be used as components of a DIY burglar alarm system. Leaning an upright broom against a closed door or placing marbles inside an empty can and attaching it to a door or window can serve as a basic alarm system. A string attached to a door or window can be rigged to move or activate a bell in another part of the house. One man tried to prevent a neighbor from stealing milk off the porch by tying one end of a string to a milk bottle and the other end onto his own big toe to awaken him during the night when the bottle was stolen. These basic DIY burglar alarm systems, however, may work but not as reliably as some other burglar alarm systems.

Another simple DIY burglar alarm can be assembled from typical household items, such as a clothespin, battery, rubber bands, some wire, and a cheap mini buzzer from a local electronics store or a discarded toy. When assembled, the electrical circuit is activated by pulling a spacer that separates the wires on the clothespin, completing the circuit, and sending power to the mini buzzer. Most of the simplest DIY burglar alarms use a simple wired circuit connected to some type of noise-making device. Another type of homemade DIY burglar alarm can be made from a security key chain with a panic alarm. Attaching one end of the security keychain to a door and the other end to the door frame will pull out the pin and cause the alarm to sound.

Other homemade DIY burglar alarms may require some knowledge of electronics and require taking precautions to avoid electric shock. One simple alarm involves wiring a noise-making device into the electronics of a motion-sensor light bulb, sending electrical current to the device when motion activates the light. Another tip is to set up a continuous electrical current through a circuit connected to doors, windows and a set of electronic door chimes. When the electrical current in this circuit is interrupted or changes, the door chimes will sound. Several of these circuits can easily be wired into a single control panel.

The next step up from these basic DIY burglar alarm systems is to purchase professionally manufactured individual components. These components function best when hardwired into the existing electrical system of a home or business. There are also detailed DIY burglar alarm plans that can be found online. Some basic knowledge of splicing wires and controlling electrical current may be required. Those who are interested might signup at a local trade school or community college and take a class on basic electrical wiring.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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