Bringing my house into the future

When the floor refinishers came and took up the carpet and brought our upstairs hardwood floors back to life, they accidentally burned out my old 1990s alarm system.

But I wasn’t mad — I’d been thinking about replacing it anyway. We haven’t had it monitored in awhile, but I liked having one. Even just to have the door chime sound. In our zeal to update our home in subtle but meaningful ways, this is one. Everyone loves the security of alarm systems, but no one likes paying for it like an annuity.

Since we’ve installed a Ring doorbell and floodlight, I’m comfortable with wireless security technology, but I didn’t want to throw away my wired door sensors, etc. that have worked tirelessly for years. I also didn’t want to increase the wireless cacophony — between distance education, home offices, and streaming entertainment, keeping one’s wireless networks clean and lean is becoming a task with no end.

So I bought a konnected 6-zone board to replace my old board. This is also a Samsung SmartThings hub, which lets me add other smart devices to monitor and control. I can write scripts with “If/Then” logic to automate things, and inform me when doors are open too long. Over time I’ll continue adding more capabilities in the form of more smart devices, but right now the big win is getting rid of the old keypad and replacing it with a Fire HD 8 tablet (above).

This tablet gets power from the konnected board and repurposes the existing keypad wiring in the wall, with a 12vdc-to-5vdc transformer inline. The display software package ActionTiles talks to the SmartThings hub wirelessly, via the Samsung SmartThings cloud software. Using the SmartThings Home Monitor, I can arm or disarm my home alarm from my phone. It controls my Honeywell Lyric thermostats, gathers weather data from a nearby weather station, and constantly scrolls a 9-day weather forecast.

Pretty cool.

Among the other tech-related services I offer, this might be one I might consider adding, once I document everything.

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