Connecting an Arduino to an old alarm panel

By adding an Arduino and Ethernet board to his existing alarm panel, one Maker was able to set up his own security alert system that notified him of events via text message. 

Like many of us, Doug Powers is the owner of a new home. Upon moving into his recently-purchased abode, he happened to stumble upon a pre-existing alarm panel mounted to the wall. Rather than having to deal with all of the time, costs and unnecessary headaches associated with setting up the system, he decided to channel his inner DIY spirit and interface it with an Arduino.


By connecting an Uno (ATmega328) and an Ethernet breakout board to the DSC PC1550 panel, Powers was able to emulate the keypad and configure his own monitoring/alerting system that notifies him via text message whenever the alarm is triggered, armed or disarmed. The Arduino itself is directly powered by the unit’s control board, which feeds it roughly 12V. There is also a backup battery supply should the electricity ever go out.


The new hardware is linked to the existing control board in two ways: analog pins to read and write signals for the keypad and a programable output from the control board that the Arduino uses to determine the state of the alarm.

Do you have an old DSC 1550 alarm system? Powers has made all of the source code and accompanying library available on GitHub, as well as shared a detailed overview of the project in the video below!

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