Which components do I need for a remote security system?

I thought that I would turn to the experts on this forum for some general design guidance on hardware selection for a project as there are so many potential solutions that I am somewhat overwhelmed in trying to find the simplest solution.

I have a workshop that I rent that is 1000 feet from my home with partially occluded LoS but I cannot install a traditional security system due to the lack of internet/phone connectivity and issues with monitoring companies refusing to install at a location not physically attached to my house. Running an amplified signal over twisted pair would not work either since I do not own the property between points. I’ve considered a GSM system but that might be a little overkill; the only requirement is that a single motion detector at the workshop needs to send a signal if tripped to some sort of receiver at my home base, which will then send an email alert.

Given the nature of what I am trying to do, what hardware would you recommend? If it matters, I am comfortable with coding in most languages and can solder reasonably well. Your help is greatly appreciated!

Why not just use an Xpress Ethernet Bridge Pair or an XLR PRO Pair? This way you can bring over an Internet connection to the office. You can then do a VoIP phone and have an alarm as well that is on a connection that can’t be cut.

Very portable as well.

That would be an elegant solution, as I could either have a discrete security system (PID + Raspberry Pi with WiFi) or have a WiFi PID that ties in seamlessly into a security system at my home base. However, I kind of gulped at the cost of the bridge. Do you think there is some less expensive way? That might make a lot of sense if I had a bunch of devices at the sensor location, but in this case, only one sensor is necessary.

You are going to be very hard pressed to find a way to get an Ethernet connection 1000 ft for less.


Very true, although with this short range I might be able to rig a directional antenna to a WRT router, but then just having GSM based system to send out a text alert upon tripping the sensor would be more attractive from a cost perspective.

That’s why I started looking into these ZigBee RF chips to begin with, since I was assuming that it would be more cost effective than a GSM device (and monthly service). Given your expertise, I am gathering it’s not possible to use these chips to send an “on/off” signal to a remote base station. I guess I just fundamentally misunderstood what that line of Digi products do, but thank you for fielding my inquiry.

If you just want to send a simple Hi Low state of a DIO, then yes, an XBee connection or network could be done up. You could even use an Arduino to monitor the lines with and trigger an Alarm bell or some other option.

Depending on what country you are in, I would look at the XBee PRO SX or the XBee 2.4 GHz modules. Just note that the 2.4 GHz for out of US is going to be limited on range.

Sounds great! My apologies, but would I need to get just two identical XBee Pro SX chips, or is there some kit that would contain more of what I would need? There seems to be a lot of options in this line of products…

I would suggest you start by getting a development kit. You will need to get the Arduino from someone else along with the necessary shields. Just note that the SX wants 1A of current at 3V so you will need to use an external power source for it.