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Author Topic: Would you build a Steam Punk burglar alarm?  (Read 2080 times)
cossoft
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« on: May 28, 2016, 04:04:07 am »

So there seems to be a great deal of Steam Punk about these days.  An ever increasing great deal.  This thought occurred at the same time as buying some bits for a friend's burglar alarm that had seen better days.

And so I ask, is anyone aware of a home burglar alarm that has been Steam Punked?  I'm specifically thinking of the box that goes on the outside of the house.  They flash and wail and look extremely unimaginative, whilst all being relatively identical.  It's traditional to buy these things ready made, but they could be built if someone were handy with spanner and solder.  At least the outside box thing could be decorated in some fashion, leaving the internals untouched and fully functional.   In extremis, one might build the whole thing from scratch sourcing a sounding device and a flasher thing.  It's only a few wires and such, and many here are at the higher competence levels of Arduino interfacing knowing their capacitors from their resistors.

If you're in and out of the house wearing a funny hat, the neighbours are probably already aware of your lifestyle choices.  Putting up a copper and brass bell /horn /steam box might not strike them as any stranger   :-)

Would any one consider this, or are artisan predispositions outweighed by mundane security requirements?  Would anyone dare to put their plasma TV on the firing line and do it for art?
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Hektor Plasm
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« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2016, 09:00:52 am »

Hello there!

The external box is sometimes just a box- with a light to flash occasionally, it says "Go elsewhere, ne'erdowells and vagabonds, for this property is protected", and may well be a dummy, designed to attract attention. That being the case, the louder and more garish, the better- whether the insides are functional or not.
If there are working innards, then the box should keep them dry, secure and working- above that, the more attention-grabbing, the better- particularly if there is another, more discreet alarm unit elsewhere.

I say go for it- air horns, flashing lamps and whirly things!

HP
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Siliconous Skumins
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« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2016, 11:35:08 am »

In the UK at least, it can be a BIG issue when it comes to getting House / Home Contents Insurance!

I know quite a bit about alarm systems and insurance issues (I'm a landlord), so here is a quick "heads up" about the issue.


Many insurers will either not insure (depending on area) or will increase the cost of the insurance if the alarm is not working, not present, or has been modified in anyway from original installation / normal operation.

Long explanation of what and why:

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

If you DO make changes to your alarm installation, then you should try to keep it simple cometic only, and internal to the house - remember the whole idea is to deter the burglar before he breaks in to your home, and a steampunk burglar alarm box with a gramophone horn mounted to it may not be all that effective as a deterrent... Undecided

However there is no reason why you can't add a SECOND bell box that you could steampunk, that way the easily recognized deterrent is still there. Should not be an issue to your insurance either as it is considered nothing more than a dummy box.
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Spoiler (click to show/hide)
SeVeNeVeS
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« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2016, 02:25:24 pm »

Alarm, no. Boobytraps and limb removing devices, yes.
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Cora Courcelle
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« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2016, 04:16:07 pm »

Can't I just give the butler a cavorite aether blast rifle and let him take care of any intruders?
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« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2016, 06:25:58 pm »

Can't I just give the butler a cavorite aether blast rifle and let him take care of any intruders?

Don't give Geoffrey any ideas...  Grin

HP
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Lord Pentecost
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« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2016, 07:55:02 pm »

Not knowing much about the insurance issues but, unless you specifically need to have an alarm to be able to get insurance surely the best option would be to tell the insurance you do not have one therefore whatever steampunked system you end up with will be better than nothing?

I certainly like the idea of some sort of internal modifications something to make those horrid little PIR boxes look nicer!

As for the external box I would suggest looking into antique electric bells, posibly something like this? Just make sure it is rated for use outside! If not I would sugest making this visble and non-functional and have the actual alarm box located somewhere discreet (e.g. the back face of a chimney stack).
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cossoft
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« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2016, 11:23:30 pm »

Alarm, no. Boobytraps and limb removing devices, yes.

Have you considered the Health & Safety aspects of your suggestion?  You can't just go around cutting off people's limbs willy nilly.    If you remove both legs, the burglar might not be able to get off your premises before bleeding out.  I think that local council legislation would treat the rotting corpse as hazardous waste and you might get fined.  There's also the question of cleaning up 6 litres of blood.  It might attract more vermin.
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SeVeNeVeS
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« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2016, 02:06:18 am »

Have you considered the Health & Safety aspects of your suggestion?  You can't just go around cutting off people's limbs willy nilly.    If you remove both legs, the burglar might not be able to get off your premises before bleeding out.  I think that local council legislation would treat the rotting corpse as hazardous waste and you might get fined.  There's also the question of cleaning up 6 litres of blood.  It might attract more vermin.
Fair point, I didn't think about the clean up and disposal of the body, could get a bit tricky. Grin
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MWBailey
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« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2016, 02:13:47 am »

Have you considered the Health & Safety aspects of your suggestion?  You can't just go around cutting off people's limbs willy nilly.    If you remove both legs, the burglar might not be able to get off your premises before bleeding out.  I think that local council legislation would treat the rotting corpse as hazardous waste and you might get fined.  There's also the question of cleaning up 6 litres of blood.  It might attract more vermin.
Fair point, I didn't think about the clean up and disposal of the body, could get a bit tricky. Grin



An automatic incineration pit or failing that, a large escape-proof acid vat solves many such problems.
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« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2016, 06:09:27 am »

Fair point, I didn't think about the clean up and disposal of the body, could get a bit tricky. Grin

Hogs.
Lots of Large Hogs.

and the delicious byproduct is hams, saussages, and bacon!

yhs
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Hektor Plasm
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« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2016, 09:46:19 am »

Fair point, I didn't think about the clean up and disposal of the body, could get a bit tricky. Grin

Hogs.
Lots of Large Hogs.

and the delicious byproduct is hams, saussages, and bacon!

yhs
prof disgusting

Don't forget...

There's also the question of cleaning up 6 litres of blood. 

The Black Pudding...
 Grin

HP
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cossoft
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« Reply #12 on: May 30, 2016, 12:08:06 am »

Poorly educated burglar Black Pudding?  Are you serious?  It's not exactly what you get from Bury market is it?  I'm loath to eat anything with > 10% human or horse content.
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SPBrewer
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« Reply #13 on: May 30, 2016, 04:36:34 am »

Each time I think of this I get a head ache, and can only picture a rube goldberg machine.
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morozow
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« Reply #14 on: May 30, 2016, 12:58:32 pm »

Compost.
A good compost heap.
This traditional English compost pile, black, fat, with mushrooms dung on it.
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SeVeNeVeS
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« Reply #15 on: May 30, 2016, 01:20:46 pm »

Back on topic, I fear I have derailed this topic unintentionally (sorry Mr cossoft)

Alarms I think I agree, although very unsightly, burglar alarms are an External visual deterrent and that ugly box on the wall is a well recognized, possibly essential addition to your home and castle, hopefully sending the swag-bagger somewhere else. Bespoke may not have the same effect no matter how good they look.

A slight after thought....... PIR operated lighting, steam the hell out of it!  Cool
« Last Edit: May 30, 2016, 01:30:49 pm by SeVeNeVeS » Logged
Hektor Plasm
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« Reply #16 on: May 30, 2016, 01:33:59 pm »

Poorly educated burglar Black Pudding?  Are you serious?  It's not exactly what you get from Bury market is it? I'm loath to eat anything with > 10% human or horse content.

Not exactly, not any more...  Grin

HP
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cossoft
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« Reply #17 on: May 30, 2016, 11:16:43 pm »

Thanks SeVeNeVeS.  

I see a secondary purpose to a burglar alarm other than as an external visual deterrent.  Once a burglar is inside your property interfering with your pet goldfish, the alarm (having gone off) should draw attention to the fact that your premises have been compromised.  The effectiveness of this "announcement" might be incentive for the bad guy to leave lest people come to investigate.  

Might there be merit in differentiating your house in distress from typical mundane alarm systems?  This is the point at which a certain individual creativity and flair might be injected.  Extra flashing from a souped up /industrial strobe.  Broadcasting Zig Zig Sputnik loudly.  My personal favourite would be a talking alarm that projects with confident stage presence that you're being robbed.  The trumpet speaker would be ideal for this.  Not sure what voice I'd attribute to such an alarm, but I've always been impressed with the narrators from those 1950's Hollywood epics like Ben Hur.  Or a nasty Sergeant Major.  If you kept it below 110 dB and 20 minutes it should be legal.
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Caledonian
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« Reply #18 on: June 01, 2016, 09:20:43 am »

Alarm, no. Boobytraps and limb removing devices, yes.
You would still want to know if they have been triggered, though?
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« Reply #19 on: June 01, 2016, 12:54:21 pm »

Alarm, no. Boobytraps and limb removing devices, yes.
You would still want to know if they have been triggered, though?


I would think the spattered blood stains would suffice as notification....  Grin
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Mercury Wells
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« Reply #20 on: June 01, 2016, 05:40:49 pm »

Surely a heat ray or two, would be better?
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« Reply #21 on: June 01, 2016, 10:55:43 pm »

Off topic, but mayhaps an atomizer?  Break the intruder down to base elements.  Nice and dry, so fluids to clean up.  If you position the beam properly, you can end up with a nice profile portrait of the intruder's shadow.  Build in some fail-safes though, just in case you or someone you don't desire to atomize should accidentally trigger the device.

On topic, intriguing thought.  Would be wonderful to setup something like what you're thinking on heritage buildings, so the modern ugliness doesn't ruin the historical aesthetic.
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oldskoolpunk
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« Reply #22 on: June 03, 2016, 05:29:21 am »

O. B. McClintock burglar alarms looked very steampunk.


Outside bell


Control unit, Cannon Ball Alarm Company

Both companies were in Minneapolis, MN.
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SeVeNeVeS
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« Reply #23 on: June 04, 2016, 11:44:20 am »


No doubt there about what it does, so could work in the modern world to move any shifty individual onto the next available abode ripe for potential pickings.
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steiconi
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« Reply #24 on: June 16, 2016, 09:58:12 am »

shouldn't it trigger a steam whistle?
oooh, maybe jets of live steam as a deterrent to further illicit exploration.
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